Learning Technologies (SLM 508): A Final Reflection

Description: (What did I do?) During this class I started blogging, using Twitter, Voicethread, and using other Web 2.0 tools. I began keeping all of my on-line sources in Diigo so that they were easily organized. I also started using Creative Commons’ images and videos to enhance my instructional tools and posting Creative Commons licenses to my own work. As I learned about all of these tools I shared them with my colleagues to help them with their instruction and organization. My goals for this module were to participate in the discussion forum, write reflections in my learning log and complete a wiki or LiveBinder as a way to present my module 4 assignment. I met these goals by completing the required readings, posting to the discussion forum, and writing reflections of what I learned. I also created a Google form version of two formative student assessments for my Module 4 assignment and generated a LiveBinder, using a first grade science and media fossil project unit, which I developed with a first grade content teacher.

Analysis: (What did I learn?) I have learned a tremendous amount of helpful information during this class.  With my own research I found that Universal Design and technology complement each other and combined together they represent best teaching practices. I have discovered several tools that are invaluable for keeping up with online resources and have learned that although there is a massive amount of information on the internet, Diigo, Twitter and Professional Learning Networks can help manage these resources so that I spend less time looking for things and more time finding them. This class has also taught me the importance of modeling digital citizenship, including using Creative Commons components for instruction and student projects, posting a license on my own work, and having students do the same. I have learned that Twitter can be a great professional development tool for myself and for me to share information with colleagues and have also learned about a variety of tools that can make meeting instructional standards much easier. During this this module and assignment I learned about LiveBinders, an incredible tool for organizing and storing my units, lesson plans, assessments, forms and online resources all in one place. I also learned how Google forms could be made very quickly and used to help with assessing students. I discovered that Wikis can be used to present students with projects and can contain everything that they need to use in order to complete them.

Reflection: (What will I do next?) As I go forward I can be more confident that I will be a resource for the young people that I will be teaching and the colleagues that I will be supporting. I will create a blog, that links to my media center wiki, for my colleagues to get information about new tools and resources. I will continue to build a positive digital footprint so that future employers can see how I can be useful to their organization. I intend to use screencasts and Voicethreads to enhance my instruction, to cut down on repeated directions, to provide professional development, and to help with substitute lesson plans. I will use Skype to connect my students and myself with authors, teachers and students from around the world. I will also incorporate Googledocs as a way to modify tests and quizzes for students. The way that I think about and use the internet has been transformed and expanded. I will attempt to incorporate the tools that I have learned about to help me organize the resources for future instruction, to help me prepare myself to become a media specialist, and to continue being a lifelong learner.




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Technology and Universal Design for Learning

Technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) used together can meet the Common Core, Technology, and AASL 21st Century standards. Co-implemented they can produce college and career ready students. This voicethread provides specific standards, the main idea and principles of UDL, using technology to implement UDL, and how using technology and UDL together can meet the needs of today’s diverse learners, from special education to those who are gifted and talented.

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Photo Peach as an Instructional Tool

Photo Peach is a simple tool for uploading photos and creating slides with captions or even game-type quizzes for the classroom.  This is a great tool that is easy to manipulate that provides many slideshow options to enrich student activities and helps them to meet the 21st century standards. It is an extremely user-friendly tool that could easily transform conventional activities into digital content. http://photopeach.com/

This quiz game is an activator for a media collaborative third grade  biography unit.  The lesson is a basic overview of what a biography is and what information is included.  The students will be writing their own biography of a famous person of their choice, using this or other web 2.0 tools.  The purpose of this production is to engage the students, give them background knowledge in the topic, and to introduce them to this web 2.0 tool as a possible choice for their biography. This activator meets NETS standard number 2-  “Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. a. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.” If the students use this tool for their biographies it will meet the Common Core standard “Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: 5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations” ” http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy and the AASL Skills Indicator 2.1.6 “Use the writing process, media, and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.”

Photo Peach: Biography Instructional Quiz Game


Print References:

AASL. “Standards For The 21st Century Learner.” American Library Association. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2007. Print.

ISTE. “NETS for Teachers 2008” ISTE. International Society for Technology in Education. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2013.

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The Power of Library Blogs: What is their potential use for media specialists, students and schools?

Part of the job of a media specialist is to share professional information and sources with colleagues and to get students interested and involved in information and technology literacy.  A blog is the perfect forum to provide links to numerous resources, professional development and reviews. A great example of this type of blog is Information Literacy Weblog.

http://information-literacy.blogspot.com/ The purpose of this blog is to disperse news about information literacy. It is very effective at achieving this goal with numerous informative, up to date posts and very brief comments from the blogger. It contains many different types of posts such as bulletins about upcoming literacy conferences and events, links to related articles, posts describing other websites, links to recent presentations, recently published papers, available seminars and webinars, links to online journals and book reviews. This blog is full of resources that explore information literacy and information about where you can receive instruction on topics in information literacy. One post announces, “Library and Support Staff webinar: Rising to the digital literacy challenge, 28th February 2013”

http://wiki.rscwmsystems.org.uk/index.php/Library_and_Support_Staff_webinar:_Rising_to_the_digital_literacy_challenge,_28th_February_2013 This seminar, presented on February 28, 2013, had subjects such as: “Embedding digital literacy in the classroom”, “Addressing the Digital Literacy Void”, and “The risks of NOT addressing digital literacy with staff.” The blogger posted a link to the webinar, which has links to the PowerPoints for each of the subjects, presenters’ contact information and the session recording.  Another post on this blog is about a case study called, Project CoPILOT: Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teachinghttp://delilaopen.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/bham-final.pdf This is a case study on open educational resources (OERs) to promote information and digital literacy and for sharing resources internationally. It involved two librarians in the United Kingdom who were hired to create what they refer to as reusable learning objects that would later be adapted as OERs. These objects were to be created under a Creative Commons license and would then be tracked to see how they were repeatedly used. A third post on this blog is about an online journal,  “New articles in Information Research”


This post, for the open-access journal, Information Research, lists eleven different articles and a link to this issue. The subjects of the articles range from what motivates engagement, Google’s News Alerts, models of information search, and the research process of international students in North America. This online journal with international authors is dedicated to making the research results from information-related disciplines accessible to everyone and includes a Creative Commons License.


Another example of a useful library blog is “On an e-Journey with Generation Y: Immersing technology in the classroom and beyond into the globe!” http://murcha.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/learning-with-librarians/. The purpose of this blog is to connect the blogger’s students to information and people from around the world; I think that it easily fulfills this purpose. My first impression of this blog is just the incredible amount of content that appears on the home page, including multiple Web 2.0 tools that are being taught at a workshop. The librarian, whose motto is “Learning about Teaching, Teaching to Learn,” is at a rural prep school in Australia and is connected all over the world through her blog. One of her resource links is “library 2.0: the future of libraries in the digital age.” http://www.library20.com/

This site has information for librarians, including logistics about the upcoming Library 2.013 Worldwide Virtual Conference, professional development videos, other valuable network links, and blog posts about student learning, Read Across America, and Virtual Student Fairs. Another post is a recording of “FLATs Webinar Presentation – Big Little Classrooms” http://flatactiontalks.podomatic.com/player/web/2011-12-07T19_03_42-08_00

This video is a student reflection on the interactions of one of the blogger’s classes with another class from Beijing, China and a Skype lunch hour with students in Indonesia. This webinar was presented by the blogger as part of the Flat Classroom Projects and shows how significant these learning opportunities can be. There is also a section of her blog dedicated to collaborative works.  One such work is “Photo Fridays.” http://www.flickr.com/groups/photofridays/ where people post pictures that they’ve taken, or that they’ve come across, and also post their comments on the composition of the photo or anything else that strikes them about the photograph. One of the pictures posted was of a single stalk of Queen Anne’s Lace and the person who posted the photograph was inspired to write a poem, which was posted with it.


An excellent model of a student friendly library blog is “The MHMS Daring School Library Blog”

http://daringlibrary.edublogs.org/2011/12/05/edublog-nominations-shameless-campaigning/ The purpose of this blog is to provide links to information for students and teachers and a place for teachers to connect with each other.  The first thing that I noticed about this blog is its great visual appeal. At the top it has an animated librarian and students superimposed on a photograph of the media center and a cartoon speech bubble that says, “Learning Happens Here!” I could see that this would appeal to the student population and get them to use this library blog. It’s not surprising that the first post on the home page is about the “The MHMS Harlem Shake (& Why It’s So Popular!) http://daringlibrary.edublogs.org/2013/03/04/the-mhms-harlem-shake-why-its-so-popular/ This is a video of the teachers at this school doing their version of The Harlem Shake, a dance, with an explanation of an Internet MEME, which is something on the internet that has gone viral due to popularity. There is also a link to the “MHMS Learning Wiki.” http://murrayhill.wikispaces.com/home The school wiki home page has a picture of a superhero and the caption “Avatar Generators & Creators.” This page has the same visual appeal as the blog with a lot of color graphics advertising “Google Apps for Education” and “QR Code Quest: a Library Media Scavenger Hunt.” The wiki, also maintained by the Daring Librarian and linked to the blog, contains a link to an amazing number of “Research Databases” for both students and teachers to use. http://murrayhill.wikispaces.com/Research_Databases On this page the librarian has organized links to World Book, Culture Grams, Sirs, NoodleTools, Howard County Library and many more resources.  This blog definitely fulfills its purpose, with a couple of clicks students and teachers can access whatever information they need.



All of these blogs contain numerous links to resources for librarians, teachers and students.  Having the ability to link to so many resources from one location makes these blogs an incredible source for anyone looking for information. These blogs demonstrate the tremendous potential for use in any media center.  According to the article “Eide Neurolearning Blog Post: Brain of a Blogger” by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide, blogging is becoming an “influential sociocultural force.” They also maintain that blogging can change the blogger’s brain structure because it causes the user to activate their brains differently, and promotes critical and analogical thinking, which corresponds to the first of the AASL Standards for The 21st Century Learner. Eide Nurolearning Blog Post: Brain of a Blogger The “Designing and implementing e-learning” site describes blogs as “An ease-to-update web site publishing tool ideal for online journals, diaries, portfolios and web communities. Can include text, audio, video and “feeds” from other blogs.” http://designing.flexiblelearning.net.au/gallery/activities/blogs.htm

With all of the activities that can be done and the skills that students can use when participating on a blog, many skills from the other AASL Standards for The 21st Century Learner can be covered such as: 2.1.5 Collaborate with others to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems, 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners, and 4.1.7 use social networks and information tools to gather and share information (AASL). Using blogs in the media center is a very effective way to incorporate all four AASL standards.


It is evident that blogs have a variety of uses, but in order to share the power of blogging with teachers in my building and other school librarians in my district I would need to lead the way by example.  If I could create a blog that gave my colleagues links to valuable and practical information, then that would give them a reason to follow my library blog.  There, I would suggest that they check out posted links to other professional and classroom blogs. After seeing so many examples of how blogs can be used and the kind of information that can be posted, they might be willing to try blogging themselves. Professional blogs are the perfect place to save time with professional development.  I intend to use this valuable resource to connect to information in the library field posted by experts willing to share their experience. After investigating library blogs, the conclusion that I have reached is that blogs are a valuable, flexible tool that should be incorporated into any thriving 21st century media center.


Print Reference:


AASL. Standards For The 21st Century Learner. Chicago, IL:  American Library Association, 2007.


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Blogs: How can they be used in the classroom?

Blogging is a way to connect students to real world learning experiences and make learning authentic.  It can take them anywhere in the world to collaborate with students with whom they would never otherwise have a chance to encounter.  Blogs are making it possible to extend the classroom to outside of the school walls and into the world community of learners, allowing students to share their work and getting them motivated. One example of a classroom blog in elementary school is Mr. C’s Class Blog:  The Official Blog of Mrs. C’s Class at Noel Elementary School!” http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/ The purpose of this blog is to model the use of technology to teachers and students, which I think it accomplishes.  This blog contains many activities that the class has participated in, video clips that are interesting and relative to classroom content, and information about upcoming assignments. The first post that I noticed was called “Above and Beyond.” http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/above-and-beyond.html This is a wonderful animation about a contest that kids at a local school compete in by building something from a kit that is handed out to the contestants. However, not everyone follows the directions in the kit. It illustrates how everyone can do things differently, and demonstrates the value of collaboration and of thinking outside the box.  The next post that caught my eye was “Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano.” http://mrcsclassblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/baking-soda-and-vinegar-volcano.html This an activity that is familiar to me, but what caught my eye was that the experiment was done outside in a dirt volcano. Although it is a very short video, it is a great way for kids to share with their parents about what they did at school. It also makes them proud of their work and helps them want to share it with their families. On this blog there were also some links including one to “Deconstructing Peter Pan.” https://sites.google.com/site/deconstructingpeterpan/ This link takes you to the class website where you can view a video called “Bangarang” which re-envisions the story of Peter Pan.  The class will be comparing different versions of the story and then finally creating their own version of the story in different mediums.  This video will certainly get the students’ attention.

A great example of a middle school classroom blog is “Mr. Avery’s Classroom Blog: A 6th Grade Class From Massachusetts Sharing with the World!” http://mravery.edublogs.org/2011/12/05/edublogawards/ This blog’s purpose is to be a place where Mr. Avery’s sixth grade classes can connect to each other and classes around the world. I think that it effectively achieves this goal with reply posts coming from as far away as China, South Africa and Australia.  It contains many different types of post such as news, wiki links, website links, links to student blogs, instructional videos, interactive presentations and posts from other classes. On one side of the blog there are links to third grade class blogs involved with a collaborative writing piece called The “Tale Trail.” This is a link to “Part 1- Mr. Salsich’s class blog.” http://jmsalsich.edublogs.org/2012/05/09/the-tale-trail-part-1/ There are five classes participating in the collaborative project and each one has written their own part of the story. I think that this is a great way to get students excited about writing because not only are other classes involved, but also students’ families and the school staff can share in something that normally would go unnoticed. Also, as they are writing, it leaves the students wondering how their own story will end because they must wait for the other pieces of the story to be written by the other classes. Another post is “Recipes – As Easy as Pi(e)”. http://mravery.edublogs.org/2013/03/15/recipes-as-easy-as-pie/ In this post Mr. Avery explains the value of Pi in a way that I’m sure that I’ve heard before but never understood. “3.14…represents the number of times that the diameter of a circle fits into the circumference of a circle.”  He also used actual pictures of pies and had students bring in recipes for pies and whole pies for demonstration.  What a great way for kids to remember the value of Pi! There is also a post called “A Class of Geniuses” http://mravery.edublogs.org/2013/03/12/genius/ based on the 3M and Google 20% policy where employees can spend 20% of their time on personal projects as long as they help the company in some way. The students got to spend an hour and a half each day for three days in a row to design and plan their projects. Some of the projects that students created are a catapult, timelines, online games, and a slideshow showing how to draw.

Another example of a classroom blog but at the high school level is “Miller’s English 10 Classroom Blog” http://millersenglish10.blogspot.com/

This seems to be a very practical blog used specifically for the teacher to assign and describe assignments and for students to post their responses to writing assignments. It is unclear whether the students do assignments outside of the blog, but it is clear that there are a lot of required assignments to be posted.  This blog has numerous writing assignment posts, student responses to writing prompts, and links to relative resources and the school wiki. I selected one assignment on a “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” http://millersenglish10.blogspot.com/search/label/A%20Midsummer%20Night%27s%20Dream This took me to a description of the writing assignments assigned for this reading complete with the due dates and information about how to cite dialog from a play. The comments link at the bottom of each assignment post takes you to what the students have written, without their names being identified. . I decided to check out one student’s post to a prompt titled “Describing a character” asking students to choose one character and describe what makes them unique. I selected the “comments” link http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=36353946&postID=6510142536679463966&isPopup=trueand

and found a post that a student wrote about the character of Puck.  This is something that really changes the way that students are learning. By being able to see what other students have written they can learn from their peers both about content and about different qualities of posts.  Another link on this blog takes you to the “Miller’s English 10 Classroom Wiki @ BHS” http://millersenglish.pbworks.com/w/page/20937326/FrontPage

The first thing that you see on the class wiki is the title “The Taming of The Shrew” by William Shakespeare and a photograph illustrating the “Kate” character in this play slapping her suitor with his own flowers. Under the picture there are two links, one to an entire audio version of the play and also a pdf of the classroom notes, both great resources for students and parents.



All of these blogs contain numerous examples of the different ways that teachers use blogs in their classrooms.  Incorporating blogs into the classroom is made easy by the many versatile uses and conveniences such as having one place to be able to put assignments, resources and posts where all of the students can also connect with each other and the teacher. Blogging in the classroom has the possibility of being an amazing experience. In his blog post “Destructive Change and How to Resist It,” Will Richardson’s ninth principle about working in the digital world states that, “It’s a focus on learning instead of education.”  http://willrichardson.com/ In order to share blogging with other teachers I would start by sharing links to truly outstanding classroom blogs that have examples of the kinds of activities that are made possible. Once teachers see the possibilities it will be hard to resist. Professional blogs are also the perfect place to save time with professional development.  Since there are blogs in just about every discipline by professionals in their fields it would be easy to find information to grow professionally as an educator.In his book “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms” Will Richardson says about blogs that, “…there is much reason to believe that implementation in schools will better prepare students for a slew of new literacies and competencies in their post-education lives.” (Richardson, p.7) After looking at these classroom blogs it really makes sense to incorporate blogging into the modern day classroom to help make students college and career ready.

Print Reference:


Richardson, Will. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA:  Corwin, 2010.


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