Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reflective Post

Reflective Post: Transforming Learning With New Technologies
Photo from Flickr, Credited to: Partriaziasoliani

In this age of new technologies, it's to anyone's advantage to increase his/her skills in the effective application of electronic devices.  Taking a class such as this is a definite step in that direction.  For someone who was practically illiterate in the area of digital devices, my experience in this course has been very engaging and insightful.  I've not only been made aware of the prevalent existence of this scientific knowledge, but learning about its effectiveness in the classroom setting has truly opened my eyes to a new and fascinating world in education.  The textbook for this course titled "Transforming Learning With New Technologies", is filled with terminology which enables novices like me to identify and relate to specific expressions and subjects.  The course textbook is also filled with rich and relevant information, helping students and instructors to effectively navigate through the lessons. 

The hands-on experience in the course, for me, has made the biggest difference in my learning.  It one thing to tell a student how to do something, but when you allow a student to get a feel of doing something by putting his/her hands on it, the learning is then taking to a whole new level.  The student engagements in the course assignments have been priceless for the learning experience.  Being able to engage in discussion posts by sharing thoughts and information has added a different element to the learning experience.  Using new technologies can be intimidating enough, but learning and engaging together in the learning process can also add some fun to the experience.  Collaborative learning has been the best part of the learning experience for me.  I able to learn better in a group setting, not just because of the fun element, but each team member is able to bring a different perspective and skill that's helpful to other members of the group.  The experience of seeing how technology can level the playing field for special needs students has also been one of great awareness and knowledge.

Aside from all of the excitement of learning with new technologies in the course, another thing that has been helpful is finding out about the legal and ethical practices which come with using such technologies.  I was not aware of the legal usage or copyright laws that accompanies utilizing photos.  Thankfully, I'm learning about how to give proper credit to people for their photo work.  I've learned that through a site called Creative Commons, permission has already been granted to use photos and only artist credit is needed.  

Because Technology is changing the way that we are learning, it is imperative that high standards be placed, not just upon students, but teachers as well.  Educators from around the world are working together to help transform the educational realm with NETS (National Eduactional Technology Standards).  This will not only help students to improve critical thinking skills, but being educated with new technologies will allow them to compete globally in the job market against many other skilled and technologically inclinded candidates.  (ISTE, 2012)


ISTE, (2012)  ISTE and the ISTE Standards.  Web, 2012. Retrieved 23 Apr 2014 from

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Journal Post # 11

What is Digital Inequality and the Participation Gap?
Photo Credit to flickr: alexandraacosta1

We have made leaps and bounds in the age of new technology.  When I was growing up in my childhood years I can remember playing a game called Atari. It was more like little dots and squares moving around the screen as you moved the joystick back and forth, and up and down.  After Atari, the Nintendo was the next best thing.  Shortly thereafter, we had the Super Nintendo.  With each new game installment, the graphics became neater and more realistic.  Now, we have moved on to the world of playstations.  The graphics are so real that we now have more adults playing these games than children.  Technology is fastly taking over the world of activity, entertainment, business, and education. Yet, there seems to be a digital divide between those who use the technology and those who don't.  Some who don't care to use the new technology often times hesitate out of fear of not being electronicallly saavy while others financially cannot afford to keep up with every new digital device which hits the market.  These two dilemmas eventually lead to digital inequality and the participation gap.

So, what is meant by these two terms, "digital inequality" and "participation gap"?  Digital inequality refers to the users of technology who sometimes lack the access, independence, and ability to use the technology.  They may have access to it when they are at school, but whenever they are home, they are not likely to have use the same technology.  Therefore, their skills become very limited as they do not have access to practice or anyone to tutor them about the deeper levels of particular technology usage.  (Sayparn, 2011)  Henceforth, this leads to what is termed as a participation gap.  Not everyone can participate in new technology because not everyone has unlimited access to these technologies.  Because of the limited access to these new digital devices, many are left behind in the area of skill and competency.  (Jenkins, 2008)

Tech Tool 12:1  (Teach with your iPad)
A website established at North Carolina State Universtiy provides strategies about using iPads in the classrooms.  It also provides instructions about iPad apps and accessories. (

Summary & Connection
Educators must do their best to help students who have limited access to newer technologies than their peers.  Since much of what is learned today centers around technology and the internet, teachers have a great responsibility to try and level the playing field for those students who are less skilled and capable.  Only by doing this will we be able to take significant steps forward in trying to bridge that gap between digital inequality.
Jenkins, H., (2008) The Participation Gap: NEA. Retrieved 9 April 2014 from
Maloy, R.W., O'Loughlin, R.E.V., Edwards, S.A., Woolf, B.P. (2014)  Transforming Learning With New Technologies.  Boston, Massachuettes. Pearson
Sayparn, M., (2011)  Instructional Technology: Digital Divide Versus Digital Inequality.  Retrieved 9 April 2014 from


Friday, April 4, 2014

Journal Post #10

What is Performance Assessment for Teachers and for Students?
Photo courtesy of Garuyo, August 12, 2010

Putting teachers in a classroom with a group of diverse students and asking them to educate those students is one big challenge.  Asking those same students to learn all of the curriculum being taught in less than a year is something even more challenging.  So, as an observer of such, you may ask yourself these questions, "How do the teachers know exactly what students are learning?" or "How does a teacher know what he/she is teaching is being taught in an effective way so that students are grasping the material?" Most importantly one may ask, "What about the students who know the material, but aren't good at test taking?" What helps to answer these types of questions is what is called performance assessment.

So, what is performance assessment?  "Performance a form of testing that requires students to perform a task rather than select an answer from a ready-made list." (Sweet, 1993)  In regards to performance assessment for students, sometimes standardized tests are not always a good indicator of what a student has learned or of how effective a teacher may be.  Some good types of performance evaluations involve homework, writing assignments, and group assignments. (Maloy, O'Loughlin, Edwards, & Woolf, 2014)  Students tend to learn better when they are able to explore in their learning environment and use their creative abilities.  Unlike answer taking tests, performanced based learning allows students to sometimes physically grasp the lesson, giving them that hands-on type of learning approach.  This type of learning is known to be more effective for students.

Teachers are also required to receive performance assessments.  A teacher's efforts inside the classroom don't always show up on the student's test scores.  Neither can a job of a teacher be fairly evaluated by a list of written criterion. A principal or supervisor may evaluate a teacher based on a list of standards or student test performances, but these are not always good indicators of a teachers impact in the classroom.  Performance assessment for teachers are similar to students because both stress the importance of hands on interaction as opposed to taken tests.  (Maloy, O'Loughlin, Edwards, & Woolf, 2014).

Tech Tool link:
Most teachers in the classrooms are using interactive whiteboards as a tool to provide lessons and materials to their students. These smart boards are like an extention of a computer. They are utilized in the classroom by teachers as a digital, modern-day blackboard. Projectiles produce images onto these big digital boards, and they act like a computer screen. You can manipulate images on the whiteboard by using your fingers or some other type of tool, just as you would use a mouse on a regular computer. Teachers find these digital boards to be very helpful for presenting group or classroom information, and students find that interactive whiteboards are very helpful tools which provide them with hands on, visual, and auditory learning all in one.

Summary & Connection

Teacher and student assessments are a big part of the educational word today.  Much of the test taking philosophy is losing its power to performance assessment. Interactive assignments which push students creative juices are geared more towards student appraisals than is jotting down a answer in a fill in the blank paper, or some simple multiple choice test. Smart boards and other technological devices are helping students to participate in real-life learning lessons in which students will most likely engage themselves in the real world. With technology-based learning and more of a hands on approach to learning, students and teachers alike are involving themselves in the assessment process.


Sweet, D., (1993) Performance Assessment. Web. Consumer Guide. Retrieved from

Maloy, R.W., O'Loughlin, R.E.V., Edwards, S.A., Woolf, B.P., (2014) Transforming Learning With New Technologies.  Boston, Massachuetts. Pearson

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Journal Post # 9

What is Multimedia Technology and How Can Teachers Use it to Effectively Create and Share Visual Information Dynamically in Their Teaching?

Photo Credit: Flickr, Merrill College of Journalism Press Releases

So, what is multimedia technology?  This type of technology refers to a variety of tools that instructors and educators often utilize in the educational realm.  These tools can range from projectors to digital blackboards, or from auditory to computers.  The combination of these resources together provide for an interesting and often exhilarating learning experience.  When I was coming along in through the public school system, my school's budget barely got us computer labs.  Anything other than that was unexpected and greatly appreciated.  We did not have access to the internet or the availability of youtube and powerpoint, so are teachers did as best as they could with the limited resources they had.  In most of my classes, the teacher and the textbook were the two main sources of information.  This left most of the students with two undesirable choices; and, if the student hated traditional reading and did not get along with that particular teacher...well, let's just say that the student's calender year was not one of longevity.  Fortunately for many students and teachers today, technology has helped to pave the way for multiple educational resources and more exciting learning experiences.  There are a myriad of ways for educators to inform their students today.  "Multimedia and digital technologies use words and pictures as well as sound, voice, and animation to present educational ideas and information in creative, engaging, and memorable ways."  (Edwards, Malloy, Verock O'Loughlin, & Woolf, 2014, pg. 217)  Most students just couldn't bare to hear the voice of some of their teachers for the entirety of the class, so having digital sounds and voices helps to level the playing field, so to speak. 

Throughout the history of education, most students have learned more effectively when their learning involved a combination of materials, all in one setting at the same time.  Well, this is what multimedia devices are able to due.  Teachers who are able to incorporate different sources of materials within their educational environment, these teachers are able to reach higher learning levels for most of their students.  For instance, most of my teachers used blackboards when I was in school.  The blackboards were very limited in what they could do.  However, add a projector with audio recording, and you just added a little something extra to the learning experience, especially for the students who are auditory in their learning style.  In addition to addressing different learning styles while using a combination of resources, a good hands-on approach with multimedia technologies allows for a more in-depth learning experience for the students.  "Multimedia uses computers to present text, audio, video, animation, interative features, and still images in various ways and combinations made possible through the advancement of technology."  (Lovetto, 2014, pg.1)

Tech Tools:  Digital Projectors are able to display electronic images at a rate much faster than teachers in the older days could change a slide (by hand) on an overhead projector.  These digital projectors work great for images and pictures.

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Summary & Connection

The more effective educators are the ones who are learning how to incorporate multimedia technologies into the learning environments.  What teachers cannot do in an 8 hour class day, multimedia technologies will be able to compensate for the lack.  New technological devices are what most students are into these day, and teachers and educators have to be able to effectively use these materials in combination inside the classroom for a more effective and real learning experience for the students.  The many different learning styles of the students have a better chance of being address in a multimedia driven atmosphere.  Multimedia technologies are not just fun for the students, but it can be exciting for the teachers as well.


Edwards, S., Maloy, R., Verock-O'Loughlin, R.E., & Woolf, B. (2014)  Transforming Learning With New Technologies, Boston, Massachuettes: Pearson

Loretto, P., (2014) Internship.  The Definition of Multimedia.  Retrieved 26 Mar 2014.  Web n.d. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Journal Post #8

How Can Teachers Use Email or Text messaging to foster information exchanges with and among students?

One of the biggest goals of effective teaching has to do with the teacher being able to effectively communicate with his/her students. Throughout my educational years in the public school system, this was accomplished through face-to-face action. Of course, I'm talking twenty years ago. Presently communication between teacher and student is done via many technological devices, such as cell phones, computers, ipads, etc. A very big part of effective teacher-student relationship will always have its basis in communication and collaboration. What better way to maintain that foundational flow of connection between teacher and student then in the use of social media.

With the demands in education, the amount of time allotted in the day to accomplish your lesson along with the size of a classroom, educators are needing more assistance to help aid their students in the learning processes. Sending home countless papers in a day can be overwhelming both for the teacher and the student, so teachers have to be able to use other resources in order to effectively and proficiently communicate with their students. Furthermore, students have to be able to provide feedback to their teachers in a timely manner. Today, the usage of emailing or text messaging provides that type of connection between the teacher and his/her students. However, this can be a difficult journey for those who struggle with new technologies. Many times teachers need more technology training in order for them to effectively communicate in technologies with their students.


Photo Credit to Flickr: mgehly

During classroom time, the communication between teacher and student will be synchronous. This type of communication usually involves real time or face-to-face connection. The usage of cell phone and texting could also be a part of this type of communication. There is also asynchronous communication. This type of communication usually consists of emails, text messaging, or blogs, all which require a period of delay before information is passed over from teacher to student. Both forms of communication are used by teachers to provide information to students.  (Maloy, Verock-O'Loughlin, Edwards, & Woolf, 2014) 

Tech Tool: 
The commercially available website called TaskStream is a type of program the allows users to create many features and functions.

Summary & Connection:
In the past two decades, many strides have been taking by those in the field of education to lessen the communication gap between teachers and their students. Classrooms are no longer controlled by teachers who simply give long lectures and students who sit idly and misbehave. Teachers are beginning to utilize modern technology in order to be able to effectively communicate with their students. With the ever evolving cell phone and computer, we can only suspect that the teachers' expectations to consistently and effectively communicate with their students through emailing and text messaging, will only get better.


Edwards, S., Maloy, R., Verock-O'Loughlin, R.E., & Woolf, B.  (2014) Transforming Learning with New Technologies, Boston, Massachuettes: Pearson

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Journal Post # 7

What Are the Key Debates About Using Computer Games and Simulations as Learning Resources?

Photo Credit: Game Design Expo 2010's Industry Panel, Flickr

Video games have been around since the early 1940's, and the topic of discussion has long been their ability to help or hurt the mind the its users, particulary children. In the past, many would have voted that computer games do potentially hurt the mind of its users. As we fast forward into the future however, it seems that much of the discussion has turn 180 degrees towards computer games actually helping children to develop effective critical thinking skills. Yeah, this may seem a bit laughable to the skeptical audience whose concern for their youth are targeted on video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, but these types of games are very different from computer games today which have been designed specifically for learning purposes.

I had my skepticism about video games being an effective tool for students in education. Come on, let's reason about games do have a history of violence, do they not? So, I would say for the skeptic that it is o.k. to feel a bit of skepticism about the matter, but I would also encourage the skeptic to keep an open mind about the whole topic. We have some intelligent people out there who are working extremely hard to use modern technology to their children's advantage. Technologies, like children, are our future; and, it would do us very well to focus our efforts on how the two can effectively work together to bring more innovations to our society. Again, we have to keep an open mind about the usages of computer games in education because research is proving that many newly designed video games are helping students to develop better critical thinking skills. Professor David W. Shaffer of Wisconsin, Madison argues that video games help children learn better because it involves them using certain critical thinking skills such as planning and problem-solving. This entire process, he continues, is essential for developing the child's brain and all around decision-making ability. (Boulanger, 2013)

Although research has proven to have shown positive results for computer games within the learning environment, not all spectators would agree with their findings. There are some concerned parents and educators who are arguing against computer games being inside the classroom, stating that they are only harmful distractions to students and that video games can do nothing to develop a students intellectual skill base. (Edwards, Maloy, Verock-O'Loughlin, & Woolf, 2014)  Whatever the agrument may be, video games are used by a wide percentage of people, especially students from kindergarden to college. It is well documented that computer games have a way of keeping students interest for an extended period of time.

Summary & Connection
Somehow, we must make an effort to invovle games, apps, and software in our students learning because students themselves are more than willing to express how these types of tools are helping them to excel in the learning environment.

Tech Tool:  Zoombinis are a collection of educational puzzle computer games designed to help kids learn critical logic and mathematical thinking skills.


Edwards, S., Maloy, R., Verock-O'Loughlin, R., & Woolf, B. (2014) Transforming Learning with New Technologies, Boston, Massachuettes: Pearson

Boulanger, A. (2013) Medical Daily; How Video Games Can Help Children Succeed in School. Retrieved 1 Mar 2014. Web 24 May 2013.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Journal Post # 6


Photo Credit: StevenW Bohm  (flickr)

As a student growing up through the public school system in between the mid 80's and 90's, I would have never imagined that there would be a time when students would be sitting in a classroom via the web. It's fascinating, but frightening at the same time to think that education today can be received through virtual learning. Students are no longer being kicked out of the classroom because of classroom behavioral issues, rather, they are going to the classroom on their own terms. The question then becomes, "How effective then is virtual schooling and online education?"

So, what would be some of the advantages of receiving an online education.With the fast growing pace of new information on the internet, new knowledge is readily accessible for many teachers who sometimes find it very difficult to find the time to search for information in other places such as books, newspapers, and articles, or even the library for that matter. All of these avenues can be accessed at the web as well. Therefore, teachers are finding it much more effective to gather information, activities, and other resources for their students to engage in. Educators are also finding it a lot easier to store and file information as opposed to paper filing and note keeping. Not only are teachers benefiting from distance learning, but schools seem to be getting a piece of the pie as well, especially in the area of finances. Schools that offer more online learning seem to have a better handle of their school budget. (Maloy, O'Loughlin, Edwards, & Woolf, 2014)

If there are advantages for virtual schooling, then certainly there are disadvantages that follow. I can remember taking some classes online for the first time about three years ago. As a novice of new technologies, I had my skepticism about virtual learning. Thankfully, my first try was a success, but not without much trial and error. One of the biggest complexities of online learning is that your communication is digital and electronic. There are no physical faces to look at or audible voices to answer your questions. Sometimes this can make your learning seem like a solo experience although you have other classmates and an instructor. "If a student needs face-to-face interaction with the professor in order to successfully learn an academic subject, he will not do well with online schooling." (Solis, par.3, 2014)

Tech Tool 6.1: Portaportal (

Portaportal is a web based bookmarking tool that allows teachers to focus on specific webpages for learning resources. For an example, ABCya is an educational website designed for kids K-5 featuring games and apps for teaching students numbers, letters, shapes, etc. This web page can be used to carry a favorite page from a personal computer to other computers that will be using the same information.


Maloy, R.W., O'Loughlin, R.E.V., Edwards, S.A., & Woolf, B.P. (2014) Transforming Learning With New Technologies, Boston, Massachuettes: Pearson

Solis, K.T., (2014) What are the Disadvantages of Online Schooling? WiseGeek, Retrieved 19 Feb 2014, Web 2 Feb 2014