Archive for December, 2013

Final Portfolio–TechConnect 2.0


What you will find in this portfolio are the seven portfolio assignments listed on left as well as my my reflections on blended and online learning throughout the course. I earned a Masters in Ed Tech in the mid-nineties just about the time the World Wide Web became a popular household term. In 1996, I had a model technology classroom with a mini TV studio and laptops I sent home with my students. We had a class Web site, we made videos and Hypercard stacks (kids had to write a bit of code to create what Web 2.0 tools do for us now), and we had e-portfolios that we saved on floppy disks and VHS tape.  It was all very difficult back then, but not as difficult as convincing teachers that computers were here to stay. Many of my teaching cohorts were convinced that using technology in the classroom was a passing fad.

Now, nearly 20 years later, I find myself on the other end of the spectrum. I am now the older, experienced teacher, and  my beliefs about education, classroom structure, and tech have become somewhat rigid. I did not really realize this until I began this class and grappled with what it would take for me to let go of the leadership position in the classroom. My observations of how people learn and what learning environments inspire critical thinking, problem solving, and ultimately positive change coupled with the emerging technologies that allow for student autonomy, have motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge my own beliefs in an effort to become a better teacher.

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Teaching Shakespeare English – Reflection One

bromo pcvs_thumb[2]Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.



By now everyone (or at least 4,334,494 people according to the TED site) has viewed Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk, Bring on the Learning Revolution which he ends with the William Butler Yeat’s poem Cloths of Heaven and a reminder that “everyday children spread their dreams beneath our feet” and a gentle warning that we should tread softly. His talk emphasizes the need to create learning environments “where kids’ natural talents can flourish.” It is also likely that most people (885,293 views)  have viewed Sugata Mitra’s TED Talk, Kids Can Teach Themselves about an experiment he did with a computer and a hidden camera in a slum in New Delhi. Perhaps not as popular is Kelvin Doe’s TedxTeen Talk, Persistent Experimentation. Kelvin is a self-taught Sierra Leone 15 year old who was invited to MIT and lectured to undergraduates at Harvard. Kelvin collected scraps of junk, and late at night after everyone had gone to bed he would use the junk to create inventions that he hoped would help his community such as batteries and a generator. His mother would tell him to go to bed because she felt he was wasting his time on that “junk.” Kelvin explains, “She meant no harm, she did not understand where I was going, I was just following my passion.”

I bring up these three TED talks because my highest priority goal for this class has been to somehow be able to create a learning environment that does not tread on dreams. Robinson’s observations, Mitra’s experiment, and Doe’s story make one wonder how many great minds in the world are untapped due to poverty or lack of books or access to schools or simply due to being squelched by standards? 

I had the good fortune of meeting two such minds recently during a marathon on the rim of a volcano in Indonesia. Mr. Mawday and Deidik; two teachers. They had never seen runners before, nobody in their village had, but together with a Peace Corps volunteer (with a passion for running) they put together an international marathon that brought a few thousand people from 30 countries to their isolated part of the world. The marathon was a charity event that benefited school libraries in the region as well as local businesses. Homestays, transportation, and food were arranged in this tiny place without running water. Nobody really knew what they were doing, but the result was an amazing, well organized race that benefited hundreds of families because three teachers and a village decided to be awesome. Needless, to say the Internet was a key factor in making the marathon happen.

These teachers have inspired me to push my own limits and take on the challenge of making a difference in the education community using online and blended learning. 


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Venn Diagram


When comparing and contrasting blended, face to face, and online learning I considered both student and teacher perspectives. I based my comparison on generalizations about the three modes because obviously classes in each category vary from teacher to teacher. I live in Lake Tahoe and do not have access to a university, so I have taken several online classes over the years. The classes I have taken online have all been very different from developing a portfolio (definitely my preference) to watching an hour long lecture, reading a text, and taking an online quiz.

This comparison activity helped me to understand the advantages of a blended online class. Specifically, students have more control over their learning outcomes especially in a flipped classroom scenario. There is an opportunity for remediation in a blended classroom and there is more flexibility for pre-assessment and post-assessment activities. The disadvantage of course, is one has to be within close physical proximity to the facility where the teacher is. However, with Skype and other emerging technologies, it is easy to imagine a version of the blended classroom in a remote location.

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4.2 Activity: Designing an Online Discussion

4.2 Activity: Designing an Online Discussion


Downloadable Transcript:

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6.2 Activity Designing a Comprehensive Assessment Plan

imageFlipping It

This is an assignment for student teachers to create a lesson plan and a sample project for a flipped classroom.


imageStudents will create a learning environment where individuals “develop their own solutions, but with external support based on a personalized curriculum.”
imageStudents will brainstorm ideas for using technology to encourage creativity and student-driven activities.
imageStudents will grapple with how to reconcile meeting the requirements of standardization with developing a plan for how their students will apply their interests and talents to personalize the curriculum and illustrate mastery of the topic using the top level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
imageStudents will create a lesson plan and a sample of a student project (summative assessment).


imageConduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
imageGather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
imageMake strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
imageIntegrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

View the following Ted Talks: Bring on the Learning Revolution , Kids Can Teach Themselves , and Persistent Experimentation .


imageimageSkim samples of student projects (Animoto, PhotoStory, Prezi, student designed games, comics, blogs, VoiceThreads, brochures, videos, artwork, podcasts, poetry slams, books, robots, animation, claymation, music, GoAnimate. . . ).




imageReview the seven step process and consider how it might be modified to suit the needs of varying projects.
1. Brainstorm
2. Collect Information
3. Organize Information
4. Create
5. Test
6. Revise
7. Present

imageReview the “creating and evaluating” sections of Blooms Taxonomy.

imageSelect a standard(s) from California State Department of Education

image Grapple

imageUsing the above information, design a lesson plan which includes a learning objective, standard, and provides multiple opportunities for students to grapple with and demonstrate their mastery of the topic using the seven step process (or a modified version) using the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Mastery of the topic should be student-driven and should encourage students to develop their own solutions.

imageCreate a sample project (summative assessment).

Three Formative Assessments:
1. Consider the following statements made by Sir Ken Robinson in Bring on the Learning Revolution  and Kelvin Doe in Persistent Experimentation :image

“If you’re doing something you love, an hour feels like five minutes. If you’re doing something that doesn’t resonate with your spirit, five minutes feels like an hour. And the reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their spirit, it doesn’t feed their energy or their passion.” (Robinson 14:17)

“My mother would wake up most nights to see a living room transformed into a small electronics scrap yard, and she would insist that I go back to bed as I was just wasting my time on these scrap items. She meant no harm, she did not understand where I was going, I was just following my passion.” (Doe 1:47)

Please go to Padlet: What Makes an Hour Feel Like Five Minutes? and answer the following questions: What types of activities “resonate with your spirit?” What are you passionate about? After viewing your classmates’ posts, create another post listing some common characteristics of  the activities you all love to do and how this information might be helpful as you develop your lesson plan.

Feedback: Self-reflection and Peer to Peer
Web 2.0 Tool: Padlet

2. Consider the following statements from Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk, Bring on the Learning Revolution:

image“The other big issue is conformity. We have built our education systems on the model of fast food. This is something Jamie Oliver talked about the other day. You know there are two models of quality assurance in catering. One is fast food, where everything is standardized.The other are things like Zagat and Michelin restaurants, where everything is not standardized, they’re customized to local circumstances. And we have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it’s impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.” (Robinson 12:44)

“So I think we have to change metaphors. We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.” (Robinson 14:34)

“So when we look at reforming education and transforming it, it isn’t like cloning a system . . . .It’s about customizing to your circumstances and personalizing education to the people you’re actually teaching. And doing that, I think, is the answer to the future because it’s not about scaling a new solution; it’s about creating a movement in education in which people develop their own solutions, but with external support based on a personalized curriculum.”(Robinson 15:08)

Given our current standardized system of education, how could you facilitate the mastery of standards while customizing and transforming your classroom to personalize education for your students?  Post your responses on the discussion board. Your response can be in any form: video, VoiceThread, diagram, paragraph, links to examples, etc.

Feedback: Self-reflection and Peer to Peer
Web 2.0 Tools: LMS and varies depending on student response method.




3. Consider Mitra’s statement in Kids Can Teach Themselves, “Whenever you go to a teacher and show them some technology, the teacher’s first reaction is, you cannot replace a teacher with a machine — it’s impossible. I don’t know why it’s impossible, but even for a moment, if you did assume that it’s impossible — I have a quotation from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer whom I met in Colombo, and he said something which completely solves this problem. He said a teacher who can be replaced by a machine, should be. So, you know, it puts the teacher into a tough bind, you have to think. Anyway, so I’m proposing that an alternative primary education, whatever alternative you want, is required where schools don’t exist, where schools are not good enough, where teachers are not available or where teachers are not good enough, for whatever reason.”

The children in the Hole in the Wall experiment organized themselves and learned on their own. As a teacher what would you do to enrich their learning experience? Brainstorm ideas with your classmates at StormBoard . You may post a comment, video, link, or illustration of your ideas for enhancing self-guided learning.

Feedback: Self-Reflection and Peer to Peer
Web 2.0 Tools: StormBoard and varies depending on student response method.





Sample of Summative Assessment

Below is sample lesson plan (in the form of a Prezi with a GoAnimate)  and project for a flipped classroom (in the form of a blog with a Prezi, Animoto, and game) that I created as a sample summative assessment demonstrating what the student teacher would produce for this lesson (the initial video is from the perspective of the student teacher, but obviously reflects how I am wrestling with the topic) and what her students would produce. The content to be mastered in the student teacher’s lesson is how the human nervous system functions. I know nothing about the human nervous system, so I am testing the flipped classroom on myself. Basically, I have done this portfolio activity twice, once as teacher and once as the student teacher, however, my goal is to teach teachers in developing countries how to use tech to create learning environments where students develop their own solutions and their “natural talents can flourish,” so creating a lesson plan for student teachers was the activity I was passionate about and that “resonated with my spirit” for this portfolio activity.

Please note this is the first Prezi my pretend student teacher has ever done, so it needs some fine tuning.



Link to pretend student teacher’s lesson plan Prezi

Downloadable Transcript


Link to pretend students blog :

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iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching


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Online Course Syllabus


To view my course syllabus, please click on the link below.

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Personal Learning Plan for Online Coaching – Reflection Seven

learning needs

Google Doc Version of Chart (I think – this is my effort to make this image ADA compliant)

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It’s Not About the Gold Star at the End; It’s About the Feedback Along the Way – Reflection Six


I “flipped” this assignment on myself and in doing so played three roles: an online teacher , a student teacher frustrated by standardization and a lack of innovation using technology (see GoAnimate in Prezi), and the student teacher’s students who had to master content about the human nervous system and present what they learned using the media of their choice (see Kaylee, Zack, and Shy Kid’s blog). I learned an enormous amount by walking in each set of shoes.

The formative assessments, a summative assessment, and a rubric were not difficult to create because I was in my comfort zone; I have been doing that for over 25 years. Likewise, using tech for the assessments was not challenging because I have been doing that for 15 years.

What made this assignment challenging was stepping out of the teacher role and into the student role. As the frustrated student teacher, I had to figure out how to flip the classroom so that is was learner-centered, but still focused on content standards.

The student teacher was driven by her passion to develop a plan that would inspire her students, so that task was again not too difficult although I had to really think about how to do it and it took a full day of work developing the plan and project, nonetheless, I was still in my teacher comfort zone.

Once I was in the student role, I flailed about the World Wide Web without any guidance trying to develop an understanding of how our brains work. It was “flipping” hard. Once I finally actually did the formative assessments in the student teacher’s plan (the ones I came up with), I stopped flailing.

One of the most important things I learned during this activity is that I needed many more formative assessment opportunities along the way, and I really needed feedback.

In addition to guidance, I needed someone to talk to. The World Wide Web is a lonely place for a kid trying to teach herself about the brain.

Completing the student summative assessment (the blog, Prezi, and Animoto) was also enlightening. At one point after hours and hours and hours of figuring out how neurons and neurotransmitters and the various parts of our brain function, it came time to put everything I had learned into the blog, Prezi, and Animoto. It was very challenging and very time consuming, I considered giving up and writing “Under Construction.” Not because I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing, but because I needed a cheerleader and encouragement; I needed another formative assessment.

I walked away from it for a day (thank goodness the due date was extended). When I tackled it the next day and completed the Animoto, something awesome and amazing happened; I completely understood how our human nervous system functions. More importantly I realized I had a lot more questions about our brains and that I needed a teacher, an expert, to help me answer those questions.

Completing the project was key to learning the content, but the process of getting to the end was the most meaningful learning experience for me as a teacher and a learner.


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All About Me Animoto

You will be creating a short presentation about your family, favorite thing to do, something surprising about you, and
your goals for the upcoming year.

Step by Step directions:
1. Complete “My Chocolate Kiss” activity.

2. Draw pictures for your storyboard.

3. Write a script for each picture. At least three of your pictures should include a literary device or sensory language.Grading Rubric:
Storyboard – 30 points
Six descriptive sentences – 30 points
Spelling – 5 points
Punctuation – 5 points
Figurative Language, Literary Device, or Sensory Language – 10 points.
Project reflects care and
effort – 20 points.

Total points possible: 100

 Sample Project from
Cinderella’s Perspective

Note: It will take 300 seconds to load this video, please take this time to review the grading rubric.

Can you identify the literary devices Cinderella used in her presentation?

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