Wow! I made it!

My Experiences in Education 407:

This class has increased my ability to utilize current technology for not only use in the classroom, but in my everyday life as well. While I will probably not use everything that I have learned, this class has put me on a path to incorporate technology in my classroom. Reading and discussing the use of technology among my colleagues has been interesting as well. It is always nice to increase different tools at your disposal and to vary the way in which they are used.

My PBQ screencast tour:

What I learned:

Some of the items I have learned about include copyright laws and the use of creative commons, creating my own blog using WordPress, and utilizing the many Google apps such as Google Drive, Sites, and forms. One of my favorite items I learned about was the use of SnagIt to create my own screencast. Much of what I learned in this class has been incorporated into my PBQ (

My sample screencast:

The Empowerment of Technology for our youth:

I often go to YouTube to learn about how to do things. Just this past week I was on YouTube to figure out what to do with my gas stove because it kept on clicking as if it I wanted the stove to start even though everything was turned off. A couple minutes at the computer and I learned not only why this happens, but also what to check and how to fix the problem. Now, just imagine that we give our students the ability to do this on their own for all the educational items we have are students learn… Imagine the increase in confidence we can give are students when we teach technological tools to our students and they are able to solve problems by themselves. Just imagine how empowering this can be.


Newsela – An educational technology tool for teachers


Newsela is a website that provides non-fiction current event articles on multiple subjects. Subject examples include war and peace, science, money, law, kids, health, arts, and sports. Newsela offers a free service or a paid optimized service. From my teaching experience this past school year, I had the opportunity to see Newsela utilized in the classroom. With today’s movement to common core, Newsela brings an opportunity to increase non-fiction reading and critical analysis to not only a teacher’s language arts curriculum, but also to related school subjects that may be addressed by the varying Newsela articles. The site overs the same articles in up to 5 different reading levels. This allows teachers to incorporate their lessons with students that may struggle with reading or the English language. Each article ends with critical thinking questions relating to the article as well.

Newsela Tutorial:

The Pitfalls:

As long as the website is maintained and articles continue to be varied, current, and available in different reading levels, I don’t see any major pitfalls to this new technological tool. All you need is access to the internet, and a method to print out multiple copies for your students. Now, making the copies for each student everyday may be the biggest pitfall there is. A teacher could easily use a classroom textbook that each student has instead of Newsela articles. However, teachers could be missing out on an exciting way of teaching not only reading and critical analysis skills, but also incorporating different subject matter in the process. To me, the biggest deterrent to this will be that the teacher will need to select a new article each day and make copies for each student.

Newsela Website and Sample Articles:

Newsela’s Future:

Newsela is a great resource for teachers that I believe will be welcomed by many in the education field. Will this be around in the future? It depends. I believe Newsela will be around if it is able to be financially sound. I would think that it costs a lot of money to have a great variety of articles at varying degrees of reading levels. But, if they can continue to maintain a sufficient paid membership and continue to get financial support, I can easily see Newsela becoming a household name decades from now.

Newsela Tips and Tricks:


ePortfolio Thoughts:

While I will be creating my first ePortfolio this week, I believe it will be a great opportunity to portray my achievements, learning experiences, knowledge, and technological skills. Now all of these items will grow throughout my tenure at Laverne and I look forward to supplementing my ePortfolio with more great examples of my abilities and my skills. I am a little hesitant to put all of my assignments up on an ePortfolio because I believe only the most pertinent information should be shown to show employability. I have had teachers ask to put certain assignments up for an ePortfolio that I don’t believe is necessary for showing my employment worth. However, I could also see how listing all of these assignments would be great in aiding and solidify accreditation. So, I will use this Laverne ePortfolio as a starting base to fine tune and commercialize myself for future employment.

K-12 ePortfolios:

While younger students within the K-12 grade level may not be ready to think about employment, I think it is important to be able to see the progression one makes year-over-year. Having a student create an ePortfolio is a great way to do this. Not only will the student be able to see the progression of learning and growth, but the student will also have an invaluable journey of school time memories. The ePortfolio idea reminds me of a journal project my kids pre-school teacher had the parents participate in. The parent was to write in a journal each day and have their child bring it to class. Then, the teacher would add to the journal what they did in the classroom and different discussions that the student may have shared. I cherish these journals as a reminder of my children’s life for their first couple of years of going to school. These journals are filled with memories and pictures. An ePortfolio is a great way to continue this journey through life not only for the students and teachers, but also for the parents.

Journal Prompts:

ePortfolio Examples:

Project Based Learning

Look at Me, I’m Drowning by neener nina is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Look at Me, I’m Drowning by neener nina is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Today’s Classrooms:

Many of today’s classrooms still tend to be teacher based learning. That seems to be slowly turning. With the growth of technology, it seems some classrooms are starting to switch to students based learning. Student based learning is a learning style I became familiar with only through college. In some college classes, I would be given an overall problem to solve and then would need to come up with solutions and reasons for my solutions. However, in my primary grade school years, a problem would have been introduced to us and then the teacher would teach us how society decided to fix the problem. But, through the growth of project based learning, student based learning may be ready for the primary grades. What do you think?

My Impressions:

The project base model approach to teaching is a very intriguing concept for the primary grade level. I don’t think anyone can argue that teachers should be teaching life skills. Skills needed in the real world. A method of teaching that gives students a hands-on experience they can take with them into the job force. I do have a bit of hesitance on jumping on this band wagon. The United States has experienced a decline in the educational status of the American population. The question is, is a project based learning method the correct approach to this problem? If you were to throw all your students into the deep end of the pool, will they be able to swim? Most likely, some will be able to swim, and some will not be able to swim. I have this same feeling when it comes to project based learning. This method requires more from a student than the teacher based learning. This is not necessarily bad, but if you do not teach your students to swim, they will end up drowning. So, I think there has to be a foundation of skills that our taught to the students before a successful project based learning theme will be successful. I don’t know if there is a specific grade in which this happens. I also don’t know how to fully implement this with today’s mix of students with a wide variety of academic abilities. Yes, I think project based learning is a great idea but, I don’t want half of my class drowning in the process. Perhaps a modified version of project based learning is warranted. I think it will all depend on your students, your students’ abilities, and the teacher. Only time will tell.

Project based learning design resources:


The advantages of project based learning is that students develop life skills while also learning grade appropriate learning standards. The disadvantage is that this method of teaching in the primary level is relatively new and needs to be studied more to teach others how to properly incorporate this learning method in the classroom for all students to be successful.


ASB_UN_Plugged_Feb27_ESC-Student_Showcases (23)
ASB_UN_Plugged_Feb27_ESC-Student_Showcases (23) by ASBIndia is licensed under CC BY 4.0

My Experiences:

I have seen many screencasts on the Internet for a variety of tutorials. It’s pretty nice to have the screencasts available. While I have seen many screencasts from Laverne, I had typically viewed screencasts on YouTube. This screencast assignment will be my first time creating a screencast.

Screencasting Uses:

Many great uses were mentioned in our Laverne Module for screencasting. This includes screencasting instead of sending a detailed e-mail, using screencasting for giving assignments and giving feedback on assignments, review class material, and sharing material. The one aspect I like about screencasting is the ability of students to review material over and over again as needed. We know that parents these days are very busy and may not have the time needed to sit down with their child to review homework. Having screencasts available to students is a great solution to this problem. I like viewing screencasts on computer “how to-s.” Being able to visually see where something is located on a computer screen and where to be scrolling down is more efficient and helpful to a user, than reading about these things in written form only.

Screencasting Tutorial Website:

My screencast prediction:

I am hopeful and predict that an entire school based curriculum will be available through screencasts. To me, it seems logical that each state has this available to grade school students. While I definitely see the benefits of each individual teacher knowing and utilizing screencasts, I also believe that there should be a uniform screencast system available. Maybe those who make decisions on school textbooks can require that the publishers create screencasts to go along with their textbooks. I may be stretching the term for screencasting, but if you are familiar with Kahn Academy, you should understand my thoughts on this. Hopefully the same thing can be done with college classes and in doing so, make college more affordable to everyone. What are your thoughts?

Wikis in the Classroom

My Experiences:

My experiences with wikis has been limited to Wikipedia. This has been on a limited basis to quickly look up facts. I typically select a website that is not a wiki site because I have always been told that you cannot always trust Wikipedia. I’m not sure why I trust some stranger’s website instead, but that has been my habit when looking for specific information. It seems to me, website appearances has a lot to do with whether or not I trust a website and its information. So, if the website looks professional and organize, I tend to automatically trust the information on their site. If the website does not look professional, I will seek out additional websites to verify my information. If I’m looking for information that is important, I will check out 3 or 4 websites to see that they all have the same information.

Potential Wiki Uses:

Use of wiki’s in the classroom setting should vary depending on the grade level being taught. I’m currently looking to get a multiple subject credential and I don’t see using wiki’s in lower grades. Perhaps starting around fourth grade, this option may hold more validity. From what I’ve learned to date, it seems that one of the most positive attributes of wiki use in the classroom is for student/teacher collaboration. Then again, we also have Google Drive that can be used for collaboration. Below are a couple interesting websites I found regarding Wiki use in the classroom:

Wiki Advantages and Disadvantages:

One major advantage for wiki use in the classroom is for student collaboration on project base learning assignments. While we will be learning more about project base learning later in this class, what I have reviewed so far makes me believe that wikis would be a great fit for these assignments. Another advantage to wikis is that it could be a new and interesting way for students to become engaged and interested in learning. The disadvantage to using wikis could be poor implementation. The teacher needs to be confident in his/her ability to implement wikis in the classroom and be able to communicate to the student’s expectations and means of utilizing wikis for their learning experiences. Otherwise, you will have many frustrated students and a frustrated teacher.

Project Based Learning Video: