Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reflective Essay

Photo credit to abdullah.khan

Being a part of this class was an experience like no other! Every time I attended class I felt as if I was a part of an invigorating learning experience. Professor Coleman never failed when it came to having something collaborative for my peers and I to do every single class. We played with hand held GPS systems or participated in collecting classroom data by using online poll/survey machines. I participated in all of her activities not because I felt like I had to, or because I wanted a participation grade, but truly because I wanted to. Her positivity made me want to participate, learn, and enjoy my learning experience, and that is exactly what I did. I enjoyed using my cell phone to do the online  surveys/polls. I participated with the discussion posts, supported my partners with every collaborative project, and my two favorite classroom activity was the GPS scavenger hunt and the recent activity we did on Emodo - a school censored network for communication.   

            One of our collaborative assignments was the wiki project. Honestly, I was nervous about this project in particular because of the additional element of communicating through technology. The purpose of the project was not only to collaborate, but to do so through using technology solely. To add on to the stress, we were only allowed to speak to our partners using the wiki. We were not allowed to use cell phones, social networks, or even Google docs! I was actually afraid to do this assignment but I knew I could not let my partners down nor was I going to let the fear of learning something new hold me back. Each group member was instructed to choose an instructional education strategy. After we chose our desired topic, we were each supposed to create our own page for the final wiki after researching the topic; my topic was setting objectives. We also had to include visual aids like a video and pictures.  

When I finally started to work on the project with my partners, I found that the idea of collaborating through using technological tools like the wiki was not only convenient and fun. I also found that is was very realistic and relevant to the developing education profession. For instance, students today are referred to as Generation Z. Their worlds revolve around advanced technology. Completing this assignment demonstrated how they learn and ultimately taught me a new technique on how to grab these students’ attention. The directions for the wiki were precise and finding the information to complete the assignment was unproblematic. I would not deem this assignment as a difficult, but it was a challenge for me to reach outside of my comfort zone and experience something new. I personally enjoyed the process of the wiki and contributing to the final project, but I could tell that others did not grab the essence of the assignment. Overall, my group executed fantastically. The final wiki was pleasing to the eye, well organized, and each group member provided accurate information.  

            I could tell that Professor Coleman was a creative person from the very first class and I knew her goal was to get all of her students to understand how we can be as creative if we learned what tools to use. She made it clear that she did not expect perfect but an effort, to get our feet wet, and then learn how to master the material later.  This is where I had a problem. I have always been a daring character, but never did I imagine creating lesson plans with the assistance of so many technological tools. Because of my age, people automatically assume that using new technologies are second nature to breathing for me. Well, those people are wrong. I have always had the fear of trying new things on my own. Exploring new technologies were never fun or invigorating for me; thinking about the process was always a nightmare. I am a perfectionist. If I tell myself that I cannot master something the first time, I will refuse to even try, hence, my problem with Professor Coleman. However, I do love tackling challenges so I tried anyway and boy did I enjoy myself! I got over my fear of failing, dove in, and loved every minute of it! (The Michael Jordan video helped changed my thought process a whole heap!) I made a vow to myself at the beginning of the semester that I would never look at any of our assignments or projects as hard, but as a new challenge. Each assignment was different making the processes that I took to complete them different. I kept my promise and embraced each challenge and learned something new in the process my technological creations. I have to say my favorite “creation” was my blog. Although we had guidelines as to what we could post about, I appreciated the freedom of making the blog into my own by hyperlinking new things that I learned, playing with the backgrounds, adding videos, etc We had to use the book for the basis of the content, of course, but we were also able to do our own research about the different tech tools that the author provided for us in the book. 

            Overall, I enjoyed my experiences but with each experience came its hardships.  The most difficult parts of collaborating with my partners was communicating and wanting the same goal. Each group that I was assigned to was diverse in many different aspects like: age, educational background, understanding of new technologies, and work ethic. I did not seem to meet eye-to-eye with my older partners because they were more conservative and liked sticking to the books. They were more comfortable with meeting face-to-face and having formal meetings, which I can completely understand, however, everyone’s schedule was different.  A couple of my group members that were closer in age did not have the same work ethic as I did, which frustrated me beyond explanation. They did not take the initiative to take responsibility for their portion of the assignment. Someone else would have to pester them in order for them to get the job done.  I understand that we all have busy schedules, but we are all adults and no one should jeopardize the group’s grade with their laziness. Another thing that bothered me about working together with others was the refusal of compromise for the sake of the group. Some people just do not know how to accept critique. On a positive note, I learned a lot about being patient and communicating with different types of people. I also learned how to make a legitimate lesson plan; that was exciting! I also learned that the more precise and specific one is when developing a lesson plan, the better.

The two collaborative projects were different in the sense of content and what we were ultimately trying to accomplish, but they had their similarities as well. Both projects demanded working together with others and communicating using technology. I felt as if the both of the collaborative projects were challenging in that aspect. In comparison to the wiki; however, the lesson plan was lengthier. It took more time out of my schedule than I thought it would. Unfortunately, the reason why the process was so lengthy was my diverse group did not know how to effectively communicate. I personally enjoyed creating the wiki because I did not have to deal with the stress of always feeling like I had to meet in person with someone in order for the project to be completed. Although creating the lesson plan was super frustrating for me, I felt as if I had more freedom to create than I did the wiki. I enjoyed having the option of creating a lesson plan about whatever I wanted, compared to creating a wiki about a few selected topics. I appreciated the guidelines that came with the wiki, but I feel as if the tool we used to create the final wiki did not allow me to step outside of my comfort zone. I will admit that this feeling of wanting more has to do with the way I approach technology now. Both projects cam with its challenges, but I am proud of the final outcome for the both of them. I Both of my projects received an A, so despite all of my frustrations, my partners and I did a good job on both of the projects.

I will admit that Professor Coleman changed my attitude towards using and learning about new technologies. There is a whole world that I would not dare explore due to my lack of curiosity and my intimidation of the knowledge that I could discover. I am not a master of technology yet, but this class has taught me to explore new technological ways of teaching. I do not want to think about this as a goodbye, but a welcome to a world that I could have easily accessed years ago with a simple click of mouse or tap to a screen. I know for a fact that I will use Survey Monkey in the near future. I will also allow my students to use their cell phones. These tools can be used as attention grabbers, or as a way to wrap up what the students learned in class. I would also like to give my students the opportunity to create their own blogs. It’s fun! It’s an easy way to make sure that students are on task when it comes to chapter readings and another way to let them be creative. Blogs can assure me that my students are actually reading and learning from the book. Finally, discussion boards will be a must in my classroom. This tool will ensure me that everyone in class is on the same page; it helps with communicating without violating school rules, and gives students the leisure to complete assignments when it’s most convenient for them. I am super excited about using technology in my own classroom when I graduate!     


Coleman, M. (n.d.). EME2040. Colemama. Retrieved December 12, 2001, from

Generations X,Y, Z and the Others...Social Librarian Newsletter - WJ Schroer Company. (n.d.). WJ Schroer Company. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from

Michael jordan - nike commercial (failure) - YouTube. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from

SurveyMonkey: Free online survey software & questionnaire tool. (n.d.).SurveyMonkey: Free online survey software & questionnaire tool. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chapter 11

Focus Question:

What is performance – based assessment for teachers and for students?

I learned that there are four different types of tests/assessments that teachers can use to evaluate a student’s progress: norm-reference, criterion-referenced tests, standards-based assessments, and performance-based assessments. Supervisors can also use the same assessments the teachers used for their students, to evaluate their teachers as well.  

Tech Tool:

I appreciated the fact the authors of our book provided different resources for digital portfolio building resources. I for one am not the most organized person in the world, so keeping EVERYTHING that I have ever done for all of my education classes will be impossible for me! Thinking about it gives me a headache. L Fortunately, some smart people came with a way to keep all of my work/files organized by creating digital portfolio building.
Initially, the task seemed impossible, but doing so online makes everything a lot easier! Out of the three resources that were provided to us I liked TaskStream the best. (iLife looks like more fun to paly with but I do not own an Apple computer so I can’t enjoy the site. Aww well J) Anyway, all of the sources get the job done but TaskStream made it easier to put documents together, and it was more appealing.


I’m kind of sad that this will be my last blog about this book. I really enjoyed reading because there’s sooooo many tools for educators for educators to enhance their assessments that I would know nothing about. The part of the book that I enjoyed the most was the Tech Tools. Providing these sources allowed me to go check things out for myself and get a feel for what I like and dislike, and things I need to get better at using. 

Chapter 11 basically gave us steps on how to make ourselves, as educators, more marketable by taking advantage of creating digital portfolio building resources. I was also informed on how to enhance our students’ classroom experience by using pre-assessment tools like clickers or interactive surveys/polls. (If I had fun in class with the polls at 21 years old, any kid will!)

I really enjoyed your class Professor Coleman. I feel like this is the last day of school; maybe because this is my last post. I have learned a lot from the book and from being interactive with you in class as well. Thanks for everything! J  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chapter 10

Focus Question:

How can teachers use technology to create universally designed classrooms?

Creating universally designed classrooms requires a teacher to do one of two things: change the classroom environment or change the way he/she would deliver the curriculum to their students. I learned that there are three different "toolkits" a teacher can choose to use for his/her classroom: low-tech, middle-tech, and high-tech. (Basically, different levels of technology.)

Tech Tool:

Since I am a math geek, I did appreciate the Tech Tool in this chapter - online calculators. I LOVE ONLINE CALCULATORS!! They are super convenient. Although "extra-large" calculators come in handy as well, I do not have to worry about carrying that big thing around if I have some sort of technology on hand like a smart phone or a laptop. I do love online calculators but I did not like the resource that was provided in the book. I understand that the larger calculator will benefit those students with visual issues, but there's no color and no way to create graphs. (Unless it's a huge graphing calculator, but those things cost an arm and a leg!

 One of my favorite websites is called You do not have to subscribe for basic math problems, but if you would want the step-by-step directions there will be a fee. There are so many things you can do on this site - from graphing quadratic equations to figuring out a simple fraction. This tool can easily be used effectively within a classroom setting. It's free and safe for all students to use, even special needs students. I would recommend it to any teacher.


Chapter 11 basically taught us how teachers can take advantage of technology and use these tools with all types of students, even special needs. There are are so many tools out there that a teacher can use to further help her students understand the material like: handheld spellers, electronic calculators, speech-to-text software, and interactive storybooks. These tools are aids to further ensure that students needs are being catered to. These digital tools are effective and are proven to help students comprehend the material better.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chapter 9

Focus Question:

How can teachers integrate podcasts and vodcasts into their teaching?

 Podcasts – online audio recordings that can be accessed by computers or portable media players (iPod).

Vodcasts – they are podcasts that include video and audio.

These tools can easily be used in any topic imaginable making them extremely convenient. Using these tools create new opportunities for students to learn academics outside of the classroom setting. This also allows them to hear or view lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and summaries whenever they want.
Tech Tool:

The Tech that jumped-out at me in Chapter 9 was Tech Tool 9.3 – Digital Storytelling and Digital Art Making. A great picture or clip almost always speak louder than words; this tech tool captures those emotions and gives student the opportunity to put them on display through text, audio, video imagery and art. Digital Storytelling is mainly used to tell personal stories about an individual but can also be used for students to explore the history of a specific topic and present what they have learned through a Digital Storyteller instead of writing a paper. Digital Art Making gives students the capability to be creative and make their own pieces of art by using new technologies.  


Chapter 8 provided information on how teachers can use multimedia technologies within a classroom setting. I found really cool that teachers can now give students “fun” options when it comes to presenting their work. Using multimedia tools also allow the students today to become more engaged with the material at hand. What I personally found to be interesting are the podcasts/vodcasts. I knew what they were I just did not know how to create one or use, but I do now. The term comes from the words iPod and broadcast – it’s an audio recording distributed online and accessed on computers or portable media players using free software such as iTunes or Bloglines (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, 2005, June). You need to download the software called podcatcher in order to successfully create a podcast. A vodcast, on the other hand, is basically the same thing, instead one uses video. I really learned a lot in Chapter 9 about how to incorporate multimedia tools like cameras, podcasts, recording devices, digital projectors, and PowerPoint to create a much more stimulating lesson plan.

Photo credit to Nokia

Chapter 8

Focus Question:
How can teachers use email or instant messaging to foster information exchanges with and among students?

Before taking this technology class, I could never imagine new technologies being integrated within the classroom setting; I would have never considered using technologies on a regular basis in the classroom as a norm. Boy was I wrong! Reading this book expanded my knowledge about technology in ways that I could never understand, especially when it comes to this new generation of children. They are always using some sort of technology/gadget: from social networking, to anything that has an Apple logo on it, the Kindle, hand held video games, and the list goes on-and-on.
Children are the largest users of email and IM (instant messaging), so why not use that form of communication with our students as well? Information will get out the students in a quicker manner by using email/IM as well. Teachers can also use this way of communication to reach out to, not only theirs students, but to their colleagues and the students’ families as well.
Tech Tool:

My favorite tech tool from this chapter was the Digital Image Scanner. After reading the about the Tech Tool, I still did not understand how I would be able to use it myself, so I decided to do some research; I actually found that the Digital Image Scanner is simply a scanner that scans images. (I guess I let the name of the Tech Tool scare me a little.  J) Anyway, you think I would put two-and-two together when it comes to scanning; I scan documents all of the time but it would have never crossed my mind that I would be able to use the same concepts with pictures. Weird,  right? J These scanners come in all shapes and sizes. The following is a picture of a scanner that would best suit my needs - it costs about $120.00.
Photo credit to Mustek
I was extremely comfortable with the information that Chapter 8 provided - probably because I was familiar with the subject matter. My mother always says that communication is key within every relationship; from personal, to business, but especially with our students. The way we communicate with our students will set the tone for the entire school year and will determine whether one is an effective teacher or not. Utilizing new technologies like: discussion boards, teacher/classroom websites, email, IM, blogs, or cell phones will make the classroom setting a much more enjoyable environment for our students to be in.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chapter 7

Focus Question:

How can teachers evaluate the effectiveness of educational software?

There are millions of resources out there that teachers can use and do use to further engage their students; but it never crossed my mind to ask if those sites/tools would actually improve their learning. Fortunately for us, there are ways to help reassure that our children are actually learning. Time-and-time again teachers try to find high-quality software to grab our students attention, but do these tool become too difficult for our students. Yes, we must provide the best software that allows them to explore, but we must also make sure that the software doesn't become too complex - this can cause boredom, lack of interest, and frustration.

Tech Tools:

This book has impressed me every single time with all of the neat resources that are provided through the "Tech Tool" sections, but this tool, by far, has been the coolest and most interesting one. At first, the illustration provided in the book looked cool but it was kind of a trun off because it reminded me of this awful computer programming class I had to take my freshman year of college. (Talk about judging a book by it's cover.) I gave it a chance anyway and went on the Scratch page. Take this from someone who was not tech savvy before taking this class, but boy this website made it so much fun to figure out how technology works for myself; and the best part of it all, students learn while playing! (At least they think they're playing.)  I'm an adult and I was having fun with this website, imagine how much fin students would have exploring and learning at the same time!? The following is a tutorial on Scratch :)


Chapter 7 basically taught me how to find effective software to support lesson plans. The author also made sure to show us how to ensure that the software were benefiting the students instead of hurting them. There are all sorts of educational software that teachers for all grade levels, including great tutoring systems that that teachers can use as options for instruction. This may be a little bias, but I love how there were tools provided to help tutor students in math.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chapter 6

Focus Question:

What and where are differnet types of educational websites availlable to teachers on the internet?

An educational website - a source of Internet-based difital content specifically designed to support the learning of K-12 curriculum. I personally feel that every type of teacher can benefit from these sources, if they are used properly and productively.

There are six major types pf educational websites:
1. Lesson plan websites
2. Student-to-expert websites
3. Real-time and recorded data websites
4. Archival and primary source websites
5. Skills/practice websites
6. Exploration and discovery websites

Tech Tool:

All 3 Tech Tools that the author shared with us in Chapter 6 are great resources, however, my favorite tool was the social bookmarking. (I didn't know that that's what they were called; I learned something new!) Anyway, I will be honest and admit that my decision was very bias. :) When Professor Coleman introduced my technology class to Delicious, I fell in love with the tool right away! Before being informed that social bookmarking existed, I was the type to lose and forget where I found useful inforamtion. It was super frustrating. Delisoius, along with other tools that are similar to it, not only help me save my favorite sites, it also helps me organize them. Delicious provides "organizational tabs", as I like to call them, which help categorize your sources by how you name them. I honestly thought that Delicious would be a tool that I would only use un Technolgy class, but but it's become a part of my life.


Chapter 6 basically taught me about management. I personally become overwhelmed with the amount of resources that are readily available for the world to use! (Sometime, I don't even know where to begin, but I'm getting better since I started taking this class.) I tend to lose/forget which resource I found first  end up in this tedious cycle of trying to find my starting point. I was taught how bookmarking, socail bookmarking, and information alerts can further help teachers with keeping and organizing valuable information. I was also introduced to WebQuests and virtual fieldtrips; these tools extended our knowledge about how to utilize the web to make our students get into an inquiry about specific topics, instead of just feeding them the information. (They'll go on a quest to find the inforamtion on their own.) All in all, Chapter 6 was fun because I got my feet wet with WebQuests; it looks like something I'll use when I become a teacher.