Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Final Blog Post/Reflection

The GAME plan provided a structure to my goals that made moving towards and achieving them less daunting.  Though it is typically easy to identify hopes, the pathway to success can be difficult to define.  After identifying my goals in the GAME plan, I found the planning of the actions I would take to be more effective than simply attempting to pursue the end goal.  Monitoring and Evaluating the plan ensured that I did not get bogged down in the initial plan and allowed myself to adapt and reflect upon my goals as I moved towards them.  My two goals were to improve communication of curriculum content to parents and students via the use of technology and to model and teach an ethical and responsible presence online (NETS-T, 2010).  I feel that I have made great strides in both areas. 

The incorporation of SmartBoard lessons, creating more depth on my blog, and increasing communication home have helped to make me a better teacher.  I feel that I am reaching further and helping my students create more connections than before.  My examination of ways that I can use technology to reach my students undoubtedly helped with this goal.  Regarding the implementation of ethical usage of resources in technology, I have made great strides in using citations and modeling ethical use.  In order to add my own creative elements, I have used more original work than borrowed images.  I have worked with a variety of students in helping them set up blogs of their own.  Via modeling and a “blog group” that meets periodically, we have confronted issues of fair use and citing sources.  I am very pleased with my ongoing progress on these two goals.

In working with these goals, I was able to explore a variety of technologies and means for implementing my goals.  I used screen capture tools to collect information from class and original images to add to my blog.  I have participated in professional development to learn about the capabilities of my new SmartBoard as well as engaged in independent research and practice.  Like most digital natives and technology enthusiasts, much of my learning has come from independent discovery and trial and error.  This learning along with knowledge gained via class assignments and applications will greatly affect my teaching.  Prior to constructing the collaborative learning assignment and the digital storytelling lessons, I did not believe that those types of activities would lend themselves to mathematics instruction (Cennamo, et. al., 2009). 

The readings, examples, and videos showed that with a bit of creative thinking, these strategies are effective in all classrooms.  Not only do I intend to implement these teaching strategies in my class, but I am also seeking out examples of successful implementation in other classrooms.  For example, I have been incorporating mathematical music videos in my classroom on a regular basis as both a learning tool and an example of a type of digital story that we will create later in the year.  Additionally, I have attempted to use technology to make my lessons more exciting and allow for more student involvement.  Without a doubt, I have increased my students’ involvement in my lessons by making interactive elements in my SmartBoard lessons.  Finally, I have taken the notion of the multistepped GAME plan to heart and have thus used that approach on a variety of specific tasks as well as my larger technology goals.

Overall, I feel that the more I am exposed to and educated about technology for the classroom, the more opportunities I have to improve my teaching.  I am continually encouraged and excited by the programs and resources that I encounter in my classes and enthusiastic about their implementation.  Our lesson planning during this course opened my eyes to resources that I did not realize could actually work in my classroom.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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

Monday, October 18, 2010

Using the GAME Plan Process with Students

Delving into the goals established in the NETS-T has helped me to become a better teacher and a more responsible member of the online community.  I believe that the NETS-S goals can do the same for our students.  The six goal topics listed below all coexist to ensure that students are well rounded in their technology education.

·       Creativity and Innovation
·       Communication and Collaboration
·       Research and Information Fluency
·       Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
·       Digital Citizenship
·       Technology Operations and Concepts

By receiving an education in all of these arenas, students will be able to navigate their schooling in a dynamic and exciting way while preparing themselves for the workplaces that they will eventually enter.

In order to ensure that these goals will receive appropriate care and attention, I believe that the GAME plan will allow students to develop their skills while still playing a part in their education.  Though the teacher will establish the basic goals, students will be able to help shape the actions that they take within the goal.  Ideally, I, as the teacher, will be able to shape their activities so that the students can help to determine their foci and activities.  I believe that the monitoring and evaluating aspects of the plan would be shared equally between teacher and student.  Though of course the teacher needs to monitor, adapt, and evaluate the classroom procedures, the role that the students play will be even more meaningful and effective.

I believe that it will be necessary to approach one topic at a time and in conjunction with curriculum topics that offer opportunities to incorporate technology and the specific goals.  As with almost any other curriculum, these goals should be part of a spiraling curriculum so that students are regularly revisiting these topics and applying them in increasingly sophisticated manners.  The topics can also be approached as “essential questions” or “essential themes” throughout the year.  After working towards these goals over the course of the year, students would be able to answer questions like, “How can spreadsheets help you learn” or “How could you creatively use technology to share your learning?”


National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) located at:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revising my GAME plan

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)

Applications in Instructional Practice/Ongoing Goals: My learning and research has directly influenced my instructional practices.  I have implemented elements of this goal in my classroom instruction, in my online presence, and by educating colleagues.  Technology is ever-present in my classroom and I have branched away from the easy, typical elements that require little involvement.  I began a discussion group among teachers in my school that seeks to improve SmartBoard use.  Our interactions allow us to share what we have learned and troubleshoot any problems that we encounter.  I continue to work towards regular implementation of new and engaging lessons in my classroom and on my blog, but still struggle with the investment of time that this requires.

New Learning Goals:  To further implement my goals on this topic, I intend to require participation on my blog.  I will have homework assignments that require a brief narrative answers that can be shared on the blog.  I believe that this venue will be exciting for my students and hopefully inspire their best work, much as the teachers spoke of in this week’s DVD (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009).

Extending Current Goals:  To extend the goals of this topic, I would like to help students create their own lessons.  I believe that the students are capable of bringing a new perspective to our classroom activities and I would like to see what they could add to my efforts.

Learning Approaches for Next Time:   Through my navigation through this particular goal, I have come to realize that I need to define my expectations.  I was easily swept up in possibility as I explored this topic and found it difficult to narrow myself to manageable tasks.  I believe that I will be more successful if I break down my goals into mini-goals that I can readily achieve and then continue to progress.

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)

Applications in Instructional Practice/Ongoing Goals:  My ongoing goal is to continue using and modeling proper use of citations online and in my classroom.  I have more to do with actually encouraging and helping students use citations in their work.  At this point, my students have not had the opportunity to make a creative, technology rich project in math class and thus I have not had the chance to share proper citations in their work.  I hope to schedule computer time in conjunction with an upcoming class activity.

New Learning Goals:   I would like to extend my current goal to include a “cheat sheet” for my students.  Much like a citation guide, it would be a mini-version suited for a sixth grader.  Complete with examples and hints, students could use this reference guide to help with their work.  I believe that an easy “user’s guide” would allow students to meet expectations of properly citing sources while not being overwhelming for the students.

Extending Current Goals:  To extend the goal I have already established, I would like to create shareable resources.  As an amateur photographer, I would like to take mathematics/school themed photographs that will be available for free use among fellow educators.  Students can also help by creating their own artwork for sharing.  I believe that by creating the images ourselves, the lessons of citations and giving credit will truly hit home.

Learning Approaches for Next Time:  My experiences with working toward this goal reminded me that I need to establish a philosophy, not just a goal, when determining how I want procedures in my classroom to develop.  A good portion of my work towards this goal was in trying to establish a belief system for citing work.  Though I believed in the fundamental principle, I needed to determine what my expectations for my classes were.  Recognizing this need prior to starting my work would have streamlined the process and have helped me not waste effort going in the wrong direction.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 10. Spotlight on Technology: Social Networking and Online Collaboration Part 1. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

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

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Evaluating 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)

Efficacy of my Actions: My research and efforts towards creating my own lessons have been quite effective.  I have been able to incorporate a few dynamic lessons in my classroom and feel confident that I can continue to bring more technology to my lessons.  My blog has been successful in being a repository for interactive web activities and my students have become increasingly involved in the blog.  Additionally, I have used our school website to communicate with parents and students with decent success.  As soon as our parent portal is open fully, I believe that the website will be even more successful.

Applicable Learning:  I spent some time working with the different programs available to me to find what the capabilities are.  At this point I feel comfortable navigating the technology and the available resources.  Much of my learning has been achieved via practice and trial and error, thus my learning has been focused on my needs.

Still to Learn/New Questions:  I still need and want to learn how to make the processes a little bit quicker.  Any automation that I can create or work with will make my goals much easier to attain without taking such a great toll on my schedule and me.  Does anyone know of any programs that help with multitasking?  For example, I use tweetdeck to view my facebook and twitter feeds simultaneously and I use an RSS feed to read all of my favorite blogs, but I do not have a seamless process for taking classroom technology/activities and posting it to my blog and website.  The cumbersome nature slows me down more that I would like.

Adjusting my Plan:   The biggest adjustment that I have had to make is the recognition that I cannot always use technology in my lessons.  Though I love to bring technology into my classroom, not every topic needs or benefits from the introduction of technology.  Additionally, I realize that time does not allow for technology integration in every lesson.  I do what I can to bring supplemental technology to my students via my blog, but I need to step back and accept that it is okay if I focus on some topics and leave some to be developed later.

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)

Efficacy of my Actions:  I believe that my actions to date have been effective.  My research has yielded tremendous information, but I am still somewhat stagnated at my philosophy.  I have incorporated the beginnings of citations on my blog and I am pleased about that progress.  I have not yet formally taught the concept of documenting to my students, but look forward to finding a time where the lesson supports that discussion.  I was very pleased with the short discussions I had with my classes when I sent home a photograph permission slip for my blog.  As I saw in the previous suggestions of my classmates, taking the approach of being the subject or creator of the intellectual property has piqued my students’ interest in this topic more than the opposite side of the coin might have.

Applicable Learning:   Much of my learning has been through formal sources with a dash of common sense.  Using accepted documenting formulas, e.g. APA, I have attempted to create a simplified version that makes sense in a blog format and for students in 6th grade.  I have also sought out a variety of exemplars from online sources to help me determine what I think will work for my needs.

Still to Learn/New Questions:  I still need to determine what my philosophy will be in respect to my expectations of my students and my own work.  I would greatly appreciate any commentary that others could provide.  Should my students fully document any images that they use or would a shortened version suffice?  I tend to think that they should, especially since this will not occur too often.  Should I include full documentation when I use a picture on my blog?  Due to the frequency with which I blog, this could be prohibitive.  Additionally, most blogs that I see usually just include brief credits such as, “Photo from Reuters.”  It could clutter the blog format if I include an extensive credit, but is it wrong to require more of my students than I require of myself?  I would really appreciate any and all feedback that you can provide!

Adjusting my Plan:  The focus of my work seems to be centering on my usage of images and other creative elements that I would like to include on my blog.  I want to model ethical usage of the intellectual property of others, but do not want it to overwhelm my lessons, webpage or blog.  I have not yet decided how I will modify this aspect of my plan, but I am very open to the thoughts of my classmates and look forward to your input.


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