Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monitoring my GAME plan progress

NETS-T 3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats (NETS-T)

Finding Resources: It has been a pleasure beginning to find the resources that I need to work on this goal. I have used SmartBoard resources available online to find, download and adapt for my own use. Additionally, I have found a multitude of games and multimedia resources to supplement my lessons and blog. I need to continue to explore and begin to look towards the technologies with which I am not as comfortable such as wikis and podcasts.

Modifications Needed: I need to ensure that I do not bite off more than I can chew in this arena. There are so many resources available, that it can become overwhelming. I am going to modify my goal to include quotas per unit of study so that I do not burn out and I do not overwhelm myself. Too many times I have begun looking for one element to add to a lesson or a blog post and I end up finding more resources than I can handle, often for topics other than the one I was researching. If I make it my goal to plan a great dynamic lesson for one or two topics and a truly engaging blog post for another one or two topics per unit, I will begin to build a library of quality technology rich lessons/posts that will serve me well for years to come but will not be overwhelming.

Learning: The school provided website, FinalSite, and Google’s Blogger have been wonderful repositories for my work and have allowed me to be creative in what I put online. I am in the process of learning how these two separate programs can work together, e.g. linking a document from my FinalSite page to my blog. I have also learned that I need to be an active proponent of using the page in order to encourage my students to use the technology at home. The more I provide, both informational and enjoyable, the more my students utilize the page and the more they get from the resources offered.

New Questions: The major question that I feel I am struggling with is “are these resources being used?” This primarily falls to the blog elements. As I stated earlier, the posts are a large investment of time and energy and I often worry that they are not being taken advantage of. Though my students continue to report that they are visiting the site, I need to find ways to encourage them to participate and get involved in the resources that I have made available. I question how I can incorporate blog elements into homework without penalizing students that do not have access to internet at home. It can be difficult to get computer time during class, so I am unable to provide class time to complete the assignments.

NETS-T 4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources (NETS-T)

Finding Resources: I have been able to find resources on this topic quite readily. If anything, I may have found too many. Various means of documenting resources exist and I have not found one that I prefer or a way to modify existing plans for my sixth grade students. I really do welcome any assistance that anyone can provide on this front.

Modifications Needed: I need to modify my expectations and realize that this process will likely take some time. Students (and teachers) can be resistant to the extra work associated with documenting resources and unless I find an easily implemented means of documenting, I fear that documentation will not take place or that avoidance will occur. Just yesterday, I was about to place a picture on my blog, but realized that I could not determine the actual creator of the image and therefore elected to omit the visual from my post rather than risk citing the wrong source. I need to find image libraries that are searchable and trustworthy so that I can know how I should be citing my images. I also want to explore the possibility of incorporating more of my own images (photography) on my page so as to ensure that I have the right to use the image. This development ushers in the new concern of protecting my own, and eventually my students’, intellectual property.

Learning: Thus far I have learned that I still have some philosophical issues to iron out before I can really move forward. Once I find a type of documentation that I feel comfortable with and can implement without too much burden, I believe that this process will be much easier. I have also come to realize that virtually everything online seems to be stolen from somewhere else. This realization was not necessarily unexpected, but it complicates my goal. Aside from documenting images, I have learned that documentation has not been too difficult. As I believe that I will not ultimately use full APA or MLA documentation, it has been easy to simply cite the source of games, links or information with a brief note or parenthetical comments.

New Questions: I have come to realize that I need to define my philosophy and my expectations for students and myself regarding documenting sources. Additionally, I have begun to question if using images from the internet can be justified when it is nearly impossible to determine original sources.


National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at:


  1. Nancy,

    It sounds like you are doing quite well in your endeavors to carry out your GAME plan. In the past, I have come across the same problem you are facing, in that you have too many resources to choose from. Whenever I conduct research for a technology based resource, I try to focus my research and attention on exactly what I am looking for, or else there is just far too many gadgets, websites, and other tools out there that take up my time. The beauty of the Internet is that it is seemingly endless which allows for easy access to many resources. However, because of the vast amounts of information, it is sometimes hard to stay on track with your research.

    I too am looking into creating a classroom blog that would require my science students to post their results from homework, lab activities, or other open-ended questions I may pose. However, after completing a simple survey, around forty of the one hundrend and twenty students I see throughout the day do not have a computer and/or Internet service. So I am stuck in the same position you are. I so desperatley want to have my students utilize a blog site, but I have virtually no computer time at school, and many students can not complete the assignments at home. I am really unsure of what to do. I wish that instead of wasting millions of dollars producing standardized tests each year, the government would provide funds so that every school could have a one-to-one laptop program in place. This would greatly enhance the education of students.


  2. Nancy,
    Your ideas to promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility seem to be running smoothly. I was pleased to read that you are attempting to use more of your own photographs and pictures, rather than someone elses. I feel that this is extremely important, and you could even design a lesson around this idea. Teaching math lends itself to many opportunities for picture taking.

    Sharing this thought with your students may trigger an innate motivation to also create their own resources, such as digital photography. I know it is not always practical to have your own pictures as an addition to an activity, piece, or project, but the way to teach referencing and citing may be easier if you tackle it from the first person. For instance, students may understand the notion of "using someone elses work" if it was not created by themselves. Sounds basic, but the concept may be solidified if executed in this fashion.

    With the advancement of technology, citing sources have seemed to be brushed under the carpet. Instilling the appropriate methods to youngsters is key at this point in their educational career. It will prepare them for their lives after high school (and hopeffully college!)

    I feel that you are well on your way to perfecting your GAME plans!
    Josh Noel

  3. Jonas,

    Thank you for your comments. I agree with your assessments of the situation. Money needs to be spent on ensuring that the resources that the students need are readily available to them. Even though the vast majority of my students have access to the internet at home, that does not ensure that they will actually be able to get online on a particular evening. With siblings, parents, bad weather, technology glitches, sports, etc it is hard to know if a student is able to get online at any particular time. If I have an actual assignment on my blog, I try to give students multiple evenings to complete their work, weekends if possible. When I find something that I find to be really helpful or fun, I will share it during class time so that all students are exposed to the resources and hopefully encouraged to seek out the resources independently. As well cannot ensure that all students will have access to the internet at home, it is worth finding ways to make resources as close to universally available as possible.

    Thanks for your comments!

  4. Josh,

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. I hope that the use of my own photography will aid in making my blog exciting. In this past week, I sent home a permission slip requesting parent permission to use images of their students and the kids' work on my blog. Ideally, I will be able to populate my posts with my students and their work rather than clip-art. Though I do not necessarily want to use corporate images on my site, I feel that it may give me a bit of reassurance when using an image. For example, if I use an image of t\The Simpson's, I know who I should credit even if the particular image/file came from another source. I still hope to explore Creative Commons and submit work to share, but I am encouraged by the possibility of using my own work to add images. I will also discuss the use of watermarks and other means of showing ownership.

    Thanks again for your words of support!


  5. Nancy,
    Homework is such a touchy topic in my school. We are even looking at not including it in their grades. I know how important it is to have school extend into the home. There are aspects of class that may need to take place outside of school and resources only available at home. Homework also helps parents see what is happening in school. For my students who do not have internet at home I give them the assignment on paper and do not hold it against them. Until all have access at home, we can not have full emersion of school through technology at home.

  6. Nancy,

    Giving students multiple days to complete an online assignment is a great idea. Like you stated, there are many unforseen events that could prevent a child from getting online to respond to a blog or wiki. This is something I need to keep in mind as I start my journey into the world of blogs.



  7. Wendy,

    I agree that homework can be touchy. I used to grade all of my assignments, but our department elected to only grade assessments so I had to stop. I still struggle with what I think is best. I regularly assign homework, but it is a learning curve to determine how I will incorporate the technology in the process.