Week 5: Creating a Video

September 27, 2013

This week in class, we dug a little more deeply into our Personal Learning Network tools and started to construct our curricular video. Each day, I’m learning new ways to find information on the Internet. One thing that I believe is different about these tools, such as Twitter and Feedly, is that these sources provide information about the world that I didn’t know I wanted to learn more about. Let me explain. Normally, when I use the Internet I go on to find a specific bit of information, for example I might go to the Internet if I’m looking for how to find the volume of an object. So I would type into Google something and bam! There is the formula for finding volume. However, using tools such as Twitter, I find that I’m presented with information that I was not actively seeking. Some of the information such as what a friend had for breakfast might not be so interesting but other information such as articles about adjunct faculty (something I retweeted from another source this week), I wasn’t actually looking for. I guess this could be called passively finding information. Also, Solomon (2010) had a great way to use twitter by connecting students with professionals all over the world to analyze temperatures in different parts of the world. I’ve used twitter before for another class and I have to say that it’s not my favorite social media outlet probably because I’m not a 140 characters type of person. As you can probably tell by the length of my post, I like to go in depth about things I’m talking about. So maybe the sort bursts of information throw me off. But I think all experience is good experience so I’ll keep an eye on my twitter, maybe I’ll get more interested in it. Plus, I believe it’s good to have an idea of resources our students will use outside of school in case I ever need to address something going on outside of the classroom such as cyberbullying.

Another tool we worked with this week is Animoto. I have to say, I’m really excited about this tool. At the beginning of the semester, I saw that we were creating a curricular video and I thought it would be a video of me giving an introduction of a topic lesson. I’m much more excited about creating a music video to introduce a topic. What a cool thing to do! I’ve seen these types of videos used in the classroom. Every year a school librarian I know creates a video about the book fair complete with quick summaries of books to drum up business and get students interested in books. Students love the videos and they’re a great way to introduce several topics. Also, my 8th grade geography class got to watch videos that introduced human rights. The kids were really engaged in learning more about these topics.

So when I first read about Delicious, I was a little skeptical. I didn’t think that I would find a use for it that related to my needs and interests. Actually, I just started bookmarking pages about a year ago. Before that, I would just type in the website each time I needed to access a particular website. I decided to use bookmarking because I was getting tired of going to a URL such as umw.edu then clicking helpful links then canvas. I wanted a simpler way to get to the webpages I used frequently. Thus, I stepped into the 21st century and started bookmarking. When we started using Delicious, I was thinking that I wouldn’t have any websites to actually put in there. Then I started putting in the direct links to the PLN websites and tagged them PLN.  Now I have all of my PLN websites together under a tag so all I have to go to is Delicious to remember which social media sites I need to go to participate. With one click (on the PLN tag), I can access the important websites thus cutting the time it would take me to remember which sites we are using. Before I did this, I was going back and forth between the Canvas page that says all of the PLN requirements each time I wanted to remind myself about the tools we’re using this semester.

Overall, I’m excited to finish up my curricular video. I’m still in the process of picking out pictures but I have an outline for my video and most of my information is ready to post into Animoto. I’m still working on figuring out an idea about how to use twitter in the classroom and liking the ease of access to links that Delicious provides for me.




Coffman, T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Solomon, G & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0: How-to for educators. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Categories: INDT 501.

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Week Four: Information Literacy and Creativity

September 22, 2013

This week in class we started to look at the construction of our personal learning network and we looked into finding and evaluating information that can be found on the Internet. I found our work with social media to be a bit overwhelming because it is easy to spend a great deal of time constructing your social media profile and investigating each social media outlet. One can spend hours delving into the depths of a particular social media website to find information. Finding and evaluating information can be a difficult process especially with the many different forms of documents, media, and resources.

Creating a personal learning network is such a broad idea. It could really be as in-depth or as low key as the particular person wanted to go. There is so much to find on social media it can be overwhelming. This week we started working with Google+, LinkedIn, and the Personal Learning Network of our choice. Although I had used Google+ and LinkedIn before I still had to reacquaint myself with them. I don’t normally use these websites. It’s difficult for me to keep up with so many different social media sites I typically only use Facebook.  I believe this semester will be a good way to get me into using more of these sites for professional usage.

One reading that I found to be interesting this week was the chapter we read about WebQuests (Coffman, 2013). Prior to this class, I had never heard of a WebQuest. Wow, what an interesting concept! I really hadn’t considered how to construct a lesson using the Internet. I had assumed that I would just have my students browse one particular website for information. However, that doesn’t seem very realistic when you think about it. Students will be tasked with finding information online for the rest of their lives and they’re not always going to have me there to tell them whether or not the site is a good resource to use. So I should be teaching students what good and bad websites look like. Plus, students must use many different websites to find information about a particular topic, there’s not going to be one website that is a one-size-fits-all. It’s actually interesting that we covered the topic of WebQuests this week because it was my first experience with them in the classroom as well. My 8th grade science classes were doing a WebQuest this week where they were given a worksheet about matter to fill out using 10 or so different websites.

A resource from this week that I found useful was Kathy Schrock’s (2013) Critical Evaluation of Information. I know how I evaluate websites but trying to communicate that knowledge that I’ve acquired after years of searching for information can be difficult. Kathy Schrock’s questions helped me to learn what questions I should be asking my students to help them evaluate their sources. Questions like, “Is the purpose of the page indicated on the home page?” help the user to look for information within a website that will help them determine a trustworthy site in the future (Schrock, 2013). This site also helped me in creating my website evaluation mind map and creating the mind map allowed me to write down the criteria that I look for in a website. This was helpful because sometimes I evaluate a website without really thinking about the criteria. I already know to look for dates, information about the author, biased information, and so on.



Coffman, T. (2013). Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Schrock, K. (2013). Critical evaluation of information. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/critical-evaluation.html

Solomon, G & Schrum, L. (2010). Web 2.0: How-to for educators. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Categories: INDT 501, Uncategorized.

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Week Three: Digital Literacy

September 15, 2013

Washington Monument Dusk

Iliff, D. (2006). Washington Monument Dusk. [Photograph] Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Washington_Monument_Dusk_Jan_2006.jpg

For the digital literacy assignment, I decided search for an image of a famous building in Washington DC because I had a hunch that it would be easy to find a picture of this nature. I know it can be difficult to find images that are rare. So many people take pictures of the building in Washington DC everyday that I knew it would be easy to find versus a picture of a rare bird in South America that was just discovered yesterday. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the more images that are available in the world for a particular subject the more likely you will be to find the image freely available for usage.


I began by searching in Google Images using the Advanced Search option. There I choose to limit by usage rights. I used free to use or share because I knew I wouldn’t be manipulating the image in any way or using it for commercial purposes. I used the search statement: Washington DC buildings. The first image to pop up was an image of the Washington Monument. It is published on a Wikipedia page that made it easy to access the information about the copyright agreement. However, I was a bit confused about the copyright information. The website mentioned that it was released by the United States Navy but it was taken by an Air Force airmen. Therefore I decided to scroll down to another photo on the page of the Washington Monument to use as my photo.


The photo I choose was a picture of the Washington Monument by itself. As I scrolled down on the picture’s information page it stated the creator’s name, David Iliff, and the license number CC-BY-SA 3.0. It is licensed under the Creative Commons for attribution and share alike. So I could potentially use this image as long as I give credit to the creator that I will do at the bottom of this post.


I think it’s important to teach students that we must give credit where credit is due for the usage of someone else’s information. Especially in a world where information is right at our fingertips it’s important that we show that someone else created the work because we would want the same for our own work.


I worked for a while as a library graduate assistant where I taught library literacy and information literacy skills. In doing my job, I had to teach students that whenever you take information from a site you must give credit to the author. I strongly believe in this principle because it is important as intellectuals to evaluate other people’s opinions, beliefs, and works but we must still come to our own conclusions. If we were to just use everything that someone else wrote, we wouldn’t necessarily understand the content in depth.


So in order to promote a nurturing environment where people learn from others and build off of materials we must attribute the knowledge that we learned from other people’s work to them. This builds a community of learning instead of a community where people steal each other’s ideas. I think of it as stealing someone’s money, essentially ideas could be worth money one day and you’re taking the person’s opportunity to gain prestige for their ideas. So you should always attribute information to its creator. The creator could gain notoriety if your work becomes popular and both of you win. We should, in a global society, build off of each other’s knowledge as long as we share the fact that we didn’t just come up with it all on our own but rather in collaboration with other researchers or thinkers.


Iliff, D. (2006). Washington Monument Dusk. [Photograph] Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Washington_Monument_Dusk_Jan_2006.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized.

Blog #3: The Story of American Education

September 14, 2013

To what extent did the American system of education succeed or fail at becoming the “great equalizer”?

The American system of education is a work in progress. As I was watching the video, “The History of American Education”, I kept thinking that with each group of folks that gained access to the schools in the United States there were still more groups that were waiting for admittance. The video shows the successes throughout the history of the American school system while also touching upon the many others that were unable to obtain the same level of education as others around them.

From the beginning, American schools were excluding certain groups of people. In order to actually equalize the country, everyone should have equal access to education. I believe we must understand, as a nation, that excluding people based on the religion, race, gender, financial status or any other factor does not create an equal society but rather underscores the idea.

In the video, some of the groups that were unable to obtain access to education in the beginning of our nation were slaves, women, and poor people. This left a great deal of the population unable to attend school at all. This automatically creates a gap amongst people within the nation. Thomas Jefferson believed that in order to maintain a democracy all citizens should be able to attend school yet many folks were left out of the citizen portion of his statement. People that were uneducated to some degree were left defenseless when their children reached the age of understanding; they were unable to educate their children. Meaning that the gaps increased.

Black Americans were unable to attend school. White Women were only able to attend for three years to prepare for marriage. Poor people didn’t have the means to send their children to school. These were all major problems. As these groups fought to obtain their right to an education, many others such as Irish immigrants were alienated at school for their religious beliefs. Native Americans were stripped of their identity and sent to school to learn an unfamiliar religion. Throughout history many groups have been ostracized from American education system. But is the American system of education “the great equalizer”?

I believe that the system is a “great equalizer” as people become more educated it creates a more equal society where everyone has the right and free access to learning. However, I believe there is still work to be done in order to pursue the objective. For example, many parts of our country have underperforming schools, should the location of home that children live in determine their degree or quality of education? I don’t believe so. There are still parts of the country where socioeconomic status has more impact on a child’s learning than their ability to interpret and comprehend information. In summary, I believe that the American system of education is a great foundation for equalizing the nation but there is a still work to be done to ensure that all students receive a quality education and equal access to the American Dream.

Categories: EDCI 506.

Blog #2- Professional Goals

September 8, 2013

My professional goals for the future, as an educator, are to focus on the learners that I have in my classroom and continue to adapt and grow in order to promote an innovative classroom environment. I would like to focus on fostering creativity in the classroom, promoting the use of technology amongst all students, and personalize learning so that each student is able to succeed.

I would like to stimulate creativity in the classroom. It is becoming more and more important that students utilize the information that they learn. Instead of passively learning say the state capitals of the United States, which is information that can be quickly found using the internet, it is important for students to understand why there are state capitals in the first place. Creativity in the classroom takes information a bit further perhaps by having students create a capital of an imaginary state in which they show why they put particular buildings close together, how they would setup a government in their location, and creating an interactive map of their city. In order to be able to do this task, students must first be armed with knowledge about state capitals, government, geography and more.

Technology is imperative to learning in a 21st century environment. Students must be able to utilize technology in order to be relevant in today’s world. Therefore one of my professional goals is to promote the use of technology in my classroom. I would like to use technology in innovative ways in order to keep up with the flow of information in the world. I want my students to learn to use technology effectively and be able to recognize the difference between quality information and biased information.

I would like to promote personalized learning for students in order to develop each student’s needs, interests, and goals. To do this I want to create a classroom, “that empowers every learner to take ownership of their learning, that emphasizes the learning of content and application of knowledge and skill to real world problems, that values the differences each learner brings to the learning experience, and that leverages rapidly changing learning environments by recognizing the possibilities they bring to maximize learning and engage learners” (Council of Chief School Officers, 2011). I believe it is important to develop personalized learning because there is so much information available through the Internet; it would be beneficial to capitalize on each students needs and interests to help them become the best they can be. When it comes down to it, the learners are why educators work in the first place. In order to make education work for all students it is important to figure out their personal needs and work with them. According to InTASC standard number 1, “The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011). Teachers should focus on creating challenging experiences for the particular learner.

In this post I have included my lofty goals for the future of my career but I would also like to touch on my pragmatic goals. I would like to foster a safe environment for my students in which they are actively involved in their education. I want to take continuing education classes to keep up with current knowledge in the special education field. I intend on learning about the lives of each and every one of my students, figuring out their likes and dislikes. I want to keep in touch with my students as well.  I hope to be involved in professional organizations and attend conferences in my subject area.

Coffman, T. (2013). Designing instruction for creative thinking. In Using inquiry in the classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (19-34). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Education.


Council of Chief State School Officers (2011). InTASC model core teaching standards: a resource for state dialogue. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/documents/2011/intasc_model_core_teaching_standards_2011.pdf

Categories: EDCI 506.

Week Two: 21st Century Skills vs Core Knowledge

September 5, 2013

When I read the very first article, What to Learn: ‘Core Knowledge’ or ‘21st Century Skills’, I got the feeling that core knowledge and 21st century skills were actually opposing ideas. Toppo (2009) suggests that 21st century skills could be taking away from core knowledge, “But a small group of outspoken education scholars is challenging that assumption, saying the push for 21st-century skills is taking a dangerous bite out of precious classroom time that could be better spent learning deep, essential content.” However when I read the other websites, both The Core Knowledge Foundation and Partnerships for 21st Century Skills, comment on the others’ ideals. Perhaps, since the Toppo article was written in 2009 both sides have realized that they actually do need both core knowledge and 21st century skills to work efficiently in the world.

In the What to Learn: ‘Core Knowledge’ or ‘21st Century Skills’ article the information presented says the Core Knowledge founder E.D. Hirsch Jr. believes that 21st century skills are a waste of time, “It’s an ineffectual use of school time,” says E.D. Hirsch Jr., founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation and author of a series of books on what students should learn year-by-year in school. He calls the P21 movement “a fragmented approach with uncertain cognitive goals” that could most profoundly hurt disadvantaged children: At home, he says, they don’t get as much background as middle-class students in history, science, literature and the like. (Toppo, 2009). The article goes onto include co-founder of Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), Ken Kay mentioning that both skills are needed, “Kay calls criticisms by Hirsch and others “a sideshow that distracts people from the issue at hand: that our kids need world-class skills and world-class content.” (Toppo, 2009).

I feel as though you can’t exclude one idea from the other. While it is important to learn 21st century skills it is also important to learn core knowledge. According to the Core Knowledge Foundation, “The idea that we have to choose between knowledge and thinking skills is a false choice. Kids need both. “The richer the knowledge base, the more smoothly and effectively cognitive processes — the very ones that teachers target — operate,” notes University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham. “So, the more knowledge students accumulate the smarter they become” (The Core Knowledge Foundation, 2013). While Toppo presents the points of view as opposing Partnership for 21st Century folks also agree that core knowledge and 21st century skills should go hand and hand, “within the context of core knowledge instruction, students must also learn the essential skills for success in today’s world, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration” (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2013).

Perhaps since 2009, The Core Knowledge Foundation has changed their point of view about skills needed to proceed in the 21st century because they clearly state that both ideas are important on their website. Either way, I believe that both need to be presented in the classroom. I believe that to be successful in the future, we must consider both sides that actually don’t seem to be so different after all since both express the need for the other.  As a future special education teacher, I see that language arts are explicitly mentioned throughout the articles. One must have the basic knowledge to communicate their ideas but also learn to think creatively, “In addition to these subjects, we believe schools must move to include not only a focus on mastery of core subjects, but also promote understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects.” (Partnership for 21st Century, 2013). I believe that what we’ve learned in class so far about thinking creatively is backed up by the websites so I don’t believe that either organization’s website changes my point of view about including both into my classroom. The Toppo article did make me question if there is room in the classroom for both and I basically concluded that you couldn’t have one without the other. Sure, students can learn core knowledge but if they can’t preform in the 21st arena then their knowledge would be locked up in a tower. Likewise, if you have the skills to think creatively and innovatively, you would theoretically be able to find any information but what would you do with that information if you didn’t have the basic knowledge to use it? I believe that these are coexisting ideas.

Educational Origami. (2013). 21st Century pedagogy. Retrieved from http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Pedagogy

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2013). Framework for 21st Century Learning.  Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/1.__p21_framework_2pager.pdf

The Core Knowledge Foundation (2013). About the curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.coreknowledge.org/about-the-curriculum

Toppo, G. (2009). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ‘21st-century skills’?. USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-03-04-coreknowledge_N.htm

Categories: INDT 501.

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