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Mar 27, 2013 - education, reflection, technology, Uncategorized    Comments Off on Week 11 Blog Reflection: New Technologies

Week 11 Blog Reflection: New Technologies

For this week’s assignments we were asked to explore some new technologies and see how others have implemented them in the classroom. I really enjoyed browsing all the things students can do with technology to enhance learning, but I especially benefited from the phone usage sites. I currently am a substitute teacher and the amount of times that I either catch students using their phones in class, or get asked if they can listen to music on their phones, is more than I could count. Whether or not they have permission, students will find a way to use their phones during school hours. While this is a problem because students today are not being raised with proper phone etiquette, it shouldn’t be an issue that is just ignored (Nefer, 2010).  I agree that instead of just creating the idea that all use of phones in school is bad, altering the teaching so that apps and other tools can be used in learning (Kolb, 2007).

For example, when I was tutoring some calculus students on trigonometric limits, one of the first things I recommended was that students download the unit circle app. This is an app for a smartphone that gives the unit circle, as well as other basic identities. I found that when the app was on their phones, the students were more likely to reference it and use it to solve the problems without getting immediately discouraged. There are countless math apps that are free to download on a smartphone or tablet device that would be great to use in the classroom. We just recently discovered how even apps like Google Earth can be used to teach real world applications of mathematics.

The technology introduced this week is just an added bonus, this entire semester has introduced me to new tools that I never imagined being able to use in the classroom. Regardless of which technology tool is used, I think it is important for educators to start implementing more into the curriculum. The students in the classroom now have been brought up in a technological world, and refusing them the right to use that to their strengths in the classroom shouldn’t happen. While there are some technologies I am a little skeptical about, such as the “6th sense” tool that allows you to interact with your environment, I still think the benefits of technology are well worth exploring in the classroom (Maes, 2009).


Maes, P. (Photographer). (2009). Pattie maes and pranav mistry demo sixthsense. [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Kolb, L. (Photographer). (2007). K12 cell phones as learning tools. [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Nefer, B. (2010, September 02). Cell phone etiquette for kids. Retrieved from

Mar 24, 2013 - education, reflection, technology, Uncategorized    Comments Off on Week 10 Reflection Blog Post: Mini Projects II

Week 10 Reflection Blog Post: Mini Projects II

Similar to last week, this week we spent more time working with mini projects with a broader focus on research. In order to understand the tools necessary to create these projects, we first had to familiarize ourselves with their capabilities. This week I chose to do the Timeline using Capzles to show the history of the value pi, and how to discover the ratio itself. I really enjoyed using this tool because it offers a new perspective for students to analyze the material through. While I chose to incorporate some history into my timeline, I could have also used this tool to demonstrate a process. Since most applications of mathematics take several steps it would be very easy to present the information on Capzles. I also think it would be good to offer this as a project choice for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the material. For example, in calculus there is a debate as to who discovered the content, Newton or Leibniz. I could have students pick one mathematician to research, then create a timeline of when they were credited with discovering their respective materials to see who they think truly founded calculus.

The other project I chose to work on this week was using Google Earth to create real world applications for the students. I worked on this assignment with classmate Karissa Herrick. We chose the SOL G13 which states that students will use surface area and volume equations to solve real world problems. To see more about what we did, check out my portfolio for the full details. I really enjoyed working on this assignment because it is a great way for students to complete a hands-on activity that keeps them engaged and enjoying learning. This is a tool that could very easily be used in math courses because it makes the content real to the students, and gives them a better sense of understanding (Taylor, 2009). Once I became more familiar with the technology I found more and more uses for it in the classroom (Dunn, 2011). I think assigning the students a project where they used formulas to solve real world problems would be hugely beneficial to their knowledge. Overall I enjoyed this week more than last week’s mini projects because it was easier to apply the technology to math problems. I think these are great tools to use in any classroom.



Taylor, F. (2009, September 09). Real world math using google earth. Retrieved from

Dunn, J. (2011, August 08). These 7 math lesson plans are huge timesavers. Retrieved from

Week 9 Reflection Blog Post: Mini Projects I

This week we focused on mini projects using technology tools. I really enjoyed playing around with the different options because they have so much to offer a classroom. Learning how to use the tools was relatively easy and there are so many benefits to incorporating projects in to the class. I spent most of my time working with the Comic Life activity, and the Voki Avatar tool. I really enjoyed making the comic about quadratic equations because it allowed me to take the process and apply it to a real world situation. I chose this after browsing through the sample page and seeing what others had done with this tool (“Comic life gallery” ). This is something I would easily use in my classroom as an option for a mini project. All students express their knowledge differently and this is a great way for students to use their creativity to portray what they know.

The other activity I chose to do was the talking avatar. I did not incorporate this into a lesson, rather I used it to enhance my professional web portfolio. After playing around on the voki website and browsing some blogs, I chose an avatar and gave it some dialogue. I think this could be a great tool for the classroom for many reasons. First of all, we just learned about the flipped classroom, and I think this would be a great resource to utilize for any teacher who wants to flip. It could also be used to introduce a new concept to the class, or even to clarify tough concepts. I could also use the avatar to remind students of good study or homework habits for when they are working individually at home or get stuck on a problem. One educator, Lisa Nielson, suggested that parents or even others in the schools could use avatars to leave comments for students (Nielson, 2011).

Even though I only did those two mini projects, I still would love to use some of the others in my class. For example, I really like the concept of using a Wordle and would love to offer that as another project option. Another way I could incorporate that into the classroom is by making a wordle for each topic we cover in the class. I could have students do a ticket out the door each day that describes in words what they learned, then compile all of them to create a visual representation of the information. There are several ways this tool could be helpful, and I hope to use it in my classroom.

While I think there are many great uses for these technology tools, I also realize that the process of doing them can be very time consuming. If I structured a mini project with these as the options for my students I would first have to ensure that all students had access to a computer and internet outside of class. However, if I cannot find a way to get the students using these tools I would certainly use them myself to demonstrate to the students the different ways information can be presented.



Comic life gallery. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Nielson, L. (2011, February 18). Interviews with educators. Retrieved from

Week 7 Reflection Blog Post: Shared Sticky Notes

Throughout this week’s assignments I kept a central theme of functions and their characteristics. I am glad I chose this SOL (AII. 7) for all assignments because it gave me a great idea for the types of presentation tools I would like to use in my classroom. The activities that I made included a concept map, a jeopardy game, and a pin board. All three were very easy to complete, and would be great tools to use in the classroom. As an avid user of concept maps, I would easily use this technology to create notes for students, or even have them put together one of their own to gauge their understanding (Brizee, 2011). This would be great for a end of the day/ticket out the door activity. The jeopardy game would be another great review tool before an assessment. The template was free and can be easily edited as needed.

The most unique activity of this week, however,  was the pin board. When I saw the assignment I was a little skeptical because I didn’t see how more sticky notes could be useful in the classroom. With evernote already one of our tools I didn’t see how another version would be any better or different. I was quickly proven wrong. I loved the concept of the pin board after learning more about it and instantly set out to creating one on functions. Since this is a site that can be edited by others I only pinned a few characteristics about functions in the hope that someone else will add to the knowledge. This is something that I would love to implement in my class as another means for studying. All students learn differently, so a tool like this could help all the students in the classroom grasp a concept. The great thing about wallwisher is that it allows the user to attach different types of media to a post, whether it is a video, website, or image (MacGrercy, 2010). So if for example, I had my class post one thing each on a topic then the variety of information would be much better than what I could contribute in a short class period. That way if a student was studying the content they could browse through the selections and find the medium that works best for them. Another way in which this could be used in the classroom is if I chose to do a flipped classroom. Since the site is compatible with videos I could post examples of how to solve problems on one note, and other resources for the content on other notes. There are several possibilities of how a tool like this could be used in the classroom, and I look forward to implementing this and the other resources from this week.



MacGrercy. (Photographer). (2010). Wallwisher. [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Brizee, A. (2011, August 06). Introduction to prewriting (invention). Retrieved from

Feb 20, 2013 - education, reflection, technology    2 Comments

Week 6 Reflection Blog Post: To Flip or Not to Flip

This week we spent a lot of time reviewing articles and watching clips on what a flipped classroom is. This is a concept that I had never heard of before this week, but am incredibly intrigued about. Flipping a classroom means that the “sage on the stage” becomes more of a “guide on the side” in the sense that most of the instruction occurs outside of the classroom. This method was pioneered by Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams in Woodland Park, Colorado when they discovered how to record powerpoint presentations (KNEWTON, 2011). The powerpoints outline skills and concepts that are then put in to practice when the students reenter the classroom. Some people see this as just posting lectures online for students to view for homework, but I think it is actually a little different than that. When I think of lectures I think of long monologue that is boring to follow and involves no interaction with the students. However, when I think of the flipped classroom, I think of videos that are somewhat short and only outline single skills at a time. By using videos that have a clear purpose I think the students are more likely to grasp the concepts being taught as well as be engaged in the learning.

As we have discussed before, technology is becoming more and more prevalent in the classrooms, and flipping the class is just one of the ways it is being used. By making videos available to students outside of class teachers are reaching students on many different platforms (Overmyer). Some teachers have even made videos that the students can download onto their ipods or other devices for convenience. I think this method could be very effective, especially in a mathematics classroom where students often struggle with homework when they don’t have help. When this happens the students will often give up on the homework all together, because they are frustrated with one or two problems. By switching it so that the practice occurs in the classroom, the teacher can prevent situations like this from occurring by being available for questions. (Bennet, 2012)

In theory, I think this strategy could be very effective and cut down on student frustration in the subject of math. However, in reality I’m not so sure. First of all there is the issue of not all students having access to technology resources outside of the classroom. I didn’t see anything in the readings this week on how issues like that would be handled, but it would be a big concern. Another issue I would not be entirely sure how to approach would be the need for differentiation. There are going to be students who may need more examples or a slower approach to a skill, but how do you handle that through these videos? Would the teacher just post extra videos that were optional for students to view if they were still unsure? A couple of the articles mentioned how this is a great method for differentiating the classroom but I am still a little unsure as to how they do so, unless that differentiation is only occurring during the practice in the classroom. Overall I like the idea of a flipped classroom and would be very willing to give the concept a try.



KNEWTON. (2011). The flipped classroom infographic. Retrieved from

Overmyer, J. (n.d.). The flipped classroom. Retrieved from

Bennet, B. (2012, May 3). The flipped class revealed . Retrieved from

Week 4 Reflection Blog Post: Information Literacy and Creativity

This week’s modules, while a little intimidating, gave me a lot of information over numerous resources. I was able to play with a lot of editing and visual resources this week through iPiccy for enhancing pictures, a google custom search engine designed for math, and scratch for creating games. While I have taken a couple of computer science courses involving programming, I have to say this week’s tasks were much harder. When I started playing around with scratch I figured I’d easily be able to figure it out considering I have experience programming games, and I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t look at any tutorials, and as a result had 5 “sprites” all that talked and moved at the same time. To say it was a headache is an understatement! After that failure I decided to go back and check out some of the examples and tutorials. All it took was one good tutorial and I was on track to finish my first game “equations“. It is not the best game I’ll admit, but after playing around with the program for a while I was happy it was just finally working! I am excited to spend some more time figuring out more tools in this program because I think it could be a great resource to use in the classroom. It is one of those activities that I know I could either make for them, or even have my students make themselves and share with the class.

Before I got a chance to play with these new tools, I was able to do a lot of research on blogs and Personal Learning Networks. Before this week I had never heard of PLN, but I now realize it is something that I will benefit greatly from. After setting up my delicious account I explored the other networks that were available to join. After finishing all the modules, as well as doing some blog searching, I ended this week with 8 new web accounts! I haven’t had an opportunity to explore all of them yet, but I did take some time to look at google reader, and Technorati. I was immediately hooked to google reader with how easy it was to find blogs to subscribe to. While browsing that search engine I actually found an article that gave me an option to post to my Delicious page. From there I moved on to Technorati and focused my searches on mathematics and education. I found a few blogs I enjoyed and actually joined one blog network called Huffington Post. There I read an article about a new style of teaching that related to topics I had discussed early in the week during class (Blackmon, 2013). Since it was free to join the network I was able to leave a comment on the blog, something I would have never done before this class! The ease of which I was able to find such interesting blogs took me by surprise, I found myself lost in math blogs about the “11 Most Beautiful Math Equations” (Moskowitz, 2013) – which I can assure you includes the Pythagorean theorem and the fundamental theorem of calculus. Overall I was happy with the blogging assignments for the week because as someone new to blogging and researching bloggers I was able to get a better feel for what it was all about.


Moskowitz, C. (2013, February 2). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Blackmon, P. (2013, January 29). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Week 3 Reflection Blog Post: Copyright

For this week’s assignment I utilized google as my main search engine. This is always my go to search browser so I was the most comfortable looking at the different features there. After reading about copyrights and creative commons I decided to start my search for an amusing cat (Willmed, 2007). As suggested, I typed in my search, and narrowed down my results to those free to use and share, even commercially. Now that I had options in the category of my choice, I freely browsed what there was to offer, and came upon this gem:


After looking further I was able to find the license, who owned it, and what I was allowed to do with it, simply my clicking on image details. Once I got to this page I found where the original picture was located and was then able to access the creative commons page. From here I was able to clearly see what I could do with the photo, which is to copy, distribute and transmit the work, and to make commercial use of the work. I also was able to see what I was not permitted to do, which includes altering, transforming, or building upon the work. This is available to me simply by attributing the image to the creator, Anitesh Jaswal.

The assignment this week was especially informative to me because through the years I have done countless presentations using images found from google or other search engines, never really understanding if I was allowed to or not. The only rule I knew to follow was that music clips were allowed if they were 30 seconds or shorter, because one teacher taught me that. Now that I know how to properly search for images I feel much better about creating presentations to share with my class.

It is extremely important to know and model these skills in the classroom because I wouldn’t want my students to be as lost as I was when it came to presentations. Once students get out into the “real world” it is going to be crucial to know what is acceptable to use, and what needs to be purchased. This also applies to the other side, if a student wants to publish a piece of work they should know how to protect their rights to the work. While many of the copyright videos and articles were beneficial, such as the topic of fair use in the “Copyright for Educators” youtube video, I found the digital footprint video to be the most informative (Copyright Education, 2011).

Since we now live in a society that is dominated by technology, it is important for us as educators to inform our students of the dangers of the internet. While I agree that the internet can be a wonderful resource, it can also be very poorly abused. Many students that grow up using the internet have no filter on what they post, search, and share. After watching the PBS video “Growing up Online” I was shocked at how much damage one mistake can cause an adolescent. While most of the examples used in this video were of social media postings, this could also lead to tremendous trouble with copyright violations (Frontline, 2008). A lot of adolescents are active bloggers, and as we know everything you do online leaves a digital footprint (Jutt, 2009). If a student were to blog a piece of work they have completed where they used images or text from another source without properly citing it could lead to a lot of trouble for the individual. By spending just a little time with students teaching them internet etiquette for copyrights could go a long way for their education and success.


Copyright Education. (Photographer). (2011). Copyright for educators (fair use). [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Frontline. (Photographer). (2008). Growing up online. [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Jutt, J. (Photographer). (2009). Common sense media: Digital footprint intro. [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Willmed. (Photographer). (2007). Creative commons – get creative. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

Jaswal, A. (Photographer). (n.d.). Retrieved from

Jan 20, 2013 - education, technology    2 Comments

Week 1 Reflection Blog Post: The Technology Integration Matrix

It seems like everywhere you turn there is a new technology system that is available to make our lives easier, including in the classrooms. While I haven’t been able to completely familiarize myself with it, the technology integration matrix provides excellent resources for teachers to utilize in the classroom. Upon browsing the different features of this website I noticed that the majority of the math examples were geared towards the elementary school age. I think all the activities were grade appropriate and beneficial to the students, but I also think they could be adapted for higher level learning. I am studying to be certified in secondary mathematics and would definitely consider using some of the techniques shown in the matrix.

One such technique that I really enjoyed was a goal directed learning activity on the transformation level, meaning the teacher used a high level of tools to monitor and plan the activity. In this activity the teacher split a unit into sub-topics, each of which a student signed up for to “teach” to the class. They were given time to record themselves explaining a concept, and solving a problem that they generated. The recordings were then compiled together as a presentation and given to all of the students. I really liked this idea because it covers so many methods of learning and allows the students to have a lot of hands on practice with the material. All students learn differently, and with the use of technology the teacher was able to put together a presentation that included, auditory, visual, and tactile components.

On the other hand, one technique that I did not really enjoy was another goal directed learning activity, this time the technology integration was adaptation. This method allows for students to have some choice in the type of technology, then using it to plan, monitor, and explore a topic. In this activity the teacher allowed the students to self-assess, then plan what they need to work on and in what frame of time. I think this is a great idea in theory, but it just seems like a lot of freedom for the students and may be taken advantage of. The teacher does mention having conferences with the students to help them find more resources, but to individually meet with each student in the class can be very time consuming and hard to do. I think this is a strategy that I could use if slightly altered, perhaps to include a class goal instead of individual, or even conduct in groups.

In practicum placements, the technology I have seen has not been very extensive, but when used I find that students are much more engaged and eager to learn. One example that I have seen is and active adaptation with the use of the CBR to record and match graphs on a graphing calculator.  In this activity students are shown a graph and are asked to model it by using the CBR and graphing calculator. This relates information students are learning to real world applications, and models how graphs can be manipulated. Many students got creative with their experiments and used all sorts of movements to see how it would affect the graph. Another way this technology can be used is to graph the distance traveled of a bouncing ball, another activity the students really seemed to enjoy.                    umw3


Overall there are countless ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, and the technology integration matrix is a guide that helps to show when to use what integration method. I hope to become more informed on strategies to use to benefit learning in the classroom.