Provost English & Technology Blog

My P.E.T Project

Learning Profile Inventory

Posted by mprovost on March 7, 2011

iMAP myMAP

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Week 8: Final Blog Post

Posted by mprovost on December 26, 2010

Final Blog Post: Reflection

Throughout this course, I dedicated myself to a GAME plan supporting the development of technology goals within my classroom.  The focus of my GAME plan goals related to the NETS-T standards which target technology utilization and applications.  For my classroom, I undertook the goal of finding an online communication platform I could use with parents to replace my class NING.  Additionally, I chose to pursue learning Moodle as a communication site for students within my class.  As recommended by technology integrator Vicki Davis, I made sure to specifically allot time towards researching and taking action on these goals (Laureate Education, 2010). Each week I spent at least thirty to forty-five minutes either scheduling training, watching online tutorials, reading educator blogs, or simply just playing around; this type of self-directed learning keeps me on track making progress with my GAME plan goals.   What I found just as important as taking action on my goals was, much like I encourage my students to do during the writing process, make revisions based on new learning.

Interestingly, what I found to be the most valuable learning component of my GAME plan was better understanding the GAME plan process itself.  For example, as I revised my goals, I began to realize that it would be best to unify them into one and direct my efforts into finding one platform that would support both parent communication and serve as a student resource.  Regarding my goal itself, I am not actually close to launching a communication site. In fact, it is not for lack of finding viable options, but instead because I have come to realize that I need to make changes that are slow, but steady – I do not want to jump into creating an educational network unless I am positive it is the best choice as a support for my classroom teaching.   Although my students can revise their writing many times, I don’t have the same luxury when establishing an online presence; I want it to be a solid site with longevity, depth and value to my students, their parents, and myself.  I have learned to make progress on a GAME plan, while constantly being mindful of revisions, enhancements and embracing new directions; this mindset is valuable to all facets of my instructional practice.

Regarding technology integration in my classroom, there are some immediate changes that will take place.  For one, as I focus on my goals, I want to include my students and their parents in the process.  I now see the importance of including students in my goals; not only are they interested and likely to offer assistance, but they are a wealth of knowledge and ideas when it comes to technology and thinking outside of the box.  Involving students in creative thinking inspires high levels of engagement in the content and promotes deep learning (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). Secondly, I am now more aware that technology integration in my classroom must be anchored by content, and not just used for the sake of being used; putting an intentional focus on goals, the process, and the product helps to ensure that I stay on track and won’t fall easy prey to the exponential amount of technology options out there. Being focused first on my curriculum, and secondly on the technology that would support instruction, allows me allows me to align my teaching goals while managing my priorities correctly.

Integrating technology within my content area is a necessity for 21st century learning. Additionally, being mindful of the process involved with establishing content-related goals and developing creative thinking skills will not only help me become a better language arts educator, but will provide a solid foundation for the learning within my classroom.

 

 

 

References

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.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program 1: Promoting self directed           learning with technology. [DVD]. Integrating technology across the content areas.           Baltimore, MD.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Week 7 – Using the GAME Plan Process with Students

Posted by mprovost on December 12, 2010

While reviewing the NETS-S , I am both relieved and a bit confounded.  Specifically, I am feeling very confident that through the integration of technology into my lessons, I am exposing my students to many of the components; however, I worry that  I am not being as intentional as I need to be in order for my students to recognize the value of their learning and the associated standards.  That being noted, I feel that the GAME plan model we have learned about and followed throughout this course may hold the key to bridging the gap between exposure and explicit instruction.

There are many reasons that implementing the GAME plan model in my curriculum will benefit student learning.  For one, having students formulate a GAME plan based on the NETS-S means exposing them to the standards that exist and drive technology instruction.  It is important for my students to realize there is a foundation for all the teaching and learning that goes into each lesson.  Having students review these goals, as they create their GAME plan, may help them to recognize some of the implicit lessons built into our daily activities.  For example, if I am discussing digital citizenship, it is not simply because I want to ensure they cite their research, but because I am looking for them to “understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior” (International Society for Technology Education, 2007).

Another way that using the GAME plan process would help develop proficiency in the NETS-S is by increasing their metacognitive functions; I want my students to learn how to be self-directed learners who are aware of how they “think about thinking” (Cennamo, Ertmer & Ross, 2009, p 3).  According to our text, self-directed learners engage in planning, monitoring and evaluation of their learning activities (2009); having students review the NETS-S and create select goals for a GAME plan will help them to develop the critical thinking skills associated with this learning strategy.  As they develop and track goals, they will be able to both make progress on their NETS-S, but also strengthen their overall skills as learners.

Using the GAME plan process and having my students review standards, select goals and track monitor their learning will solidify a major component of my language arts classroom – the idea of learning as a process.  Students are constantly reminded of the processes involved in learning – from reading goals and using strategies to the writing process, I want my students to be both aware and reflective.  Throughout this course I have been increasingly impressed with how the GAME plan model simplifies the process of goal setting, taking action, monitoring, and evaluating (Cennamo et al, 2009).  By implementing  GAME plans in all areas of learning, my students will be able to track their accomplishments and the challenges they will carry forward into grade eight.

Overall, utilizing GAME plans will allow my students to track their progress on NETS-S while also developing stronger skills as reflective learners.  Knowing my students are tracking and following goals will remind me to be intentional when bridging the gap between exposure and explicit instruction of technology standards.

References:

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.

ISTE. (2007). The ISTE NETS and performance indicators for students (NETS-S). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-students/nets-student-standards-2007.aspx

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Week 6 – Revising my GAME plan (Synthesized goals & A look ahead)

Posted by mprovost on December 5, 2010

During the first part of my GAME plan, I reviewed the NETS-T and began the first step toward increasing my skills as a reflective practitioner who integrates technology.  My first goal, to model digital age work and learning by improving parent communications, has been at the top of my list for the last couple of years.  Ironically, the more I aim to integrate technology into my communication, the more I fall behind in actually keeping up that communication.  In the “old days” when I relied on emails, I somehow managed to get out weekly, or at least biweekly, communications.  In my effort the last couple of years to keep up with innovations, I have wanted to commit myself to a more 21st century platform.  I wish I could say that I am at the point of implementing a new system into my teaching practice, but in fact, I am not.  Incidentally, I do not actually consider this a fail, but a success.  Often I am too quick to jump on board with the latest technology craze, and then I find it does not actually suit my needs; I abandon the technology and move on to searching for more.   I have come to realize, this practice lacks the consistency I want to provide for my students and parents.  Although I have made progress on my GAME plan by investigating new platforms, I will take my time and pursue options via pilots, surveys and collegial discourse.  I will extend my learning of these new communication platforms and invite others in my school and district to test, investigate and flush out the pros and cons.  In the end, even if my parent communication platform is not yet ready to launch, I have accomplished self-directed learning and the valued discussions with my peers.  This process, especially the evaluation of my GAME plan progress, has helped me to reflect on both the product and process of my learning (Laureate Education, 2010a).

My second NETS-T  goal was to model digital-age work by learning how to set up a Moodle site for my classroom.  I am somewhat disappointed to say that I have fallen down on this goal; rather, this goal morphed into another along the way.  Though I made appointments to meet with the Technology Coordinator at the high school, our meeting did not take place.  Additionally, the more I found out via my investigations and inquiry on goal #1, the more I realized that the ultimate communication site would actually serve the needs I was looking to fulfill with Moodle.  That being discovered, I found myself working more on goal #1 and slowly synthesizing in the particulars of goal #2.   Watching these goals merge, has given me great insight into future goal-setting; I must be mindful if my goals are so closely related that one relies on the other’s success.  Monitoring the progress of this goal consists of taking a “look back on what [I] did and think about what happened, why it happened…and how it should influence future behaviors” ( Cennamo, Ross & Etmer, 2009, p 11).

Scholar practitioners must stay focused on self-directed learning and reflective practice (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009); if I am to constantly pursue best practices and innovative teaching strategies, I must continually be addressing a GAME plan directing me towards my personal learning goals while also reflecting on my progress on those goals.  Beyond this course, the new learning goals I will set for myself will be, first, to devote the necessary time towards goals in general. That being said,  I feel that my personal strength lies in facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity by promoting, supporting and modeling “creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness” (ISTE, 2008).  I think that until I accomplish the goal I created in this course, mainly, a strong parent communication platform, that any subsequent goals I make should stay within the limits of my own personal strengths, interests, and resources.   When I do finally create my virtual classroom platform, perhaps it will be even easier to hone my focus on goals such as promoting and modeling digital citizenship and responsibility (2008) and really branching out into new territory.

References:

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.

ISTE. (2008). The ISTE NETS and performance indicators for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers.aspx

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010a). Cennamo, K. (Speaker). Program 2: Promoting self directed learning with technology. [DVD]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Cool Technology!

Posted by mprovost on December 1, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Evaluating my GAME Plan Progress – Week 5

Posted by mprovost on November 29, 2010

Admittedly, this past week did not amount to any progress on my GAME plan. Last week I had two obstacles in my way – the Thanksgiving break and a family emergency on Monday that took me out of school and knocked me off track for more than a few days. That being said, what I have come to realize about technology goals is that at any point in your passing day, you can spend time making even a small amount of progress. For example, while in the hospital with my dad last week, I had the opportunity to read more than enough news and mindlessly surf the internet. Though my mind was not quite focused on coursework, it was inevitable that one click on a news link set in motion an avalanche of inquiry and investigation. Technology is a part of our daily lives and even on the worst of days, my email gets checked, the headlines get read off my RSS feed, and chances are I’ll update my Facebook and Twitter from my phone. In fact, as I went through my week, my primary form of communication was a constant flurry of text blasts to multiple users; every update was immediately sent to family all over the country. And, as my father recovered from his surgery, I set my laptop in his hospital room so he could Skype with my uncle in Florida who wanted to see, chat with, and rest assured his brother was healing.
This past week solidified my appreciation of technology and served as a reminder that the integration of technology goals and skills is a vital part of not only our 21st century classrooms, but our normal, daily existence; as true as this is for us, this is even more a truth for our students. In my opinion, as educators, we must operate in a constant state of technology investigation and integration.

Regarding my GAME plan, I now realize that it centers around one focal point – communication. Just as my family appreciated my text blasts, so might my parents and students. As I get back on track looking at online platforms for assignments, blogging and communication, I need to identify my main purpose. If a quick update on homework or classwork is what parents want/need, what is the option for text blasts as a primary communication tool? I know there are still many families without computers, but I’m guessing there is a greater percentage of parents with texting capabilities. This week, I will use last week’s experiences to push my investigation into this new direction.


In closing, I’m including these photos from over the weekend…note that while in the hospital, my very iPad-addicted 4-year old had a chance to introduce the technology to his 92-year old great grandfather. Needless to say, my grandfather was overwhelmed, amazed, impressed and mystified at the iPad’s capabilities. Though I wasn’t actually focused on my studies, for me, these photos captured the constant state of technology exposure and learning that exists in my everyday world…progress made? , yes indeed.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Monitoring My GAME Plan Progress – Week 4

Posted by mprovost on November 23, 2010

Since my last posting, I have made some progress toward my goal of establishing a parent communication network. Both of the options I am currently investigating and practicing with are exciting and engaging for both my students and me. The first platform is called Schoology; you can set up an entire school network and within that network your classroom, your courses, your contacts, etc. This site claims it combines “social networking with learning management” (Schoology, Inc., 2010). The platform itself is modeled after Facebook with the look, feel, updates, etc. Additionally, Schoology incorporates calendar options for setting assignments, grading assignments, sending/posting messages and even a dropbox for students to pass in work. I love the concept! That being said, the drawback is getting parents to join the network, use the site, AND let their children sign on as well. As I’m still in the investigation stage and do not want to overwhelm my parents, I have yet to send any information out to them.
Another platform that I came across during my research was Greenboard. What I find purposeful with this site is that it’s being marketed toward the iPad/iTouch community; as I make more use of my iPad for teaching, investigating viable apps is a large part of the learning. Unfortunately, after further research, Greenboard appears to be a relatively new platform with very few schools involved. In fact, in order to sign up, I have to sign my school up and I’m not comfortable putting my classroom online with very little evidence to support the site’s authenticity. I will, however, keep an eye on the growth of Greenboard.
After my continued learning, it occurs to me that learning Moodle and finding a appropriate platform for parent communication might result in the same “answer”. Though the paths to get there might be different, perhaps what is best is one interface that works well for both parents AND students. In the end, I am trying to create ease and efficiency for my parents, students and me; I want for everyone involved to find our online presence enriching and informative, not frustrating and cumbersome. Overall, this is going to take more focused research and testing on my part before I jump in and roll out a site to my parents.

I have a few new questions; If my colleagues could take a look at Schoology and give me their initial feedback/impressions, it would be of great value in my decision making. I worry it is so Facebook-ish that parents might actually shy away from it; maybe it’s too narrow-focused in its target audience? Conversely, maybe it’s a comfortable way to introduce people to social networking if they are inexperienced. What are you thoughts!?

Thanks in advance,
Melissa

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Week 3 Blog – GAME Plan Progress

Posted by mprovost on November 18, 2010


As part of last week’s blog, I introduced my goals related to my GAME plan; each goal was directly related to increasing my effectiveness as an educator, and both related to the further integration of technology into my teaching practice and instruction. My first goal was to investigate options for increasing parent communication via Web 2.0 tools; my second to integrate a Moodle into my classroom instruction. Following goal setting, it is necessary to take action towards those goals and then monitor any progress made toward those goals (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009).

Regarding setting up parent communication, I made progress by reviewing past attempts I’ve made towards integrating a useful blog prior to finding Ning. My investigation led to edublogs and my attempt a few years ago; what led me to abandon the platform was speed and availability of widget options. I spent time last week poking around and trying to assess the present speed…after, of course, figuring out my password!

On my Moodle goal, I set up an appointment with the technology integrator who offers instruction, but limitations of time and space make this a bit of a challenge; the integrator works at the high school, I at the middle school. Since I’m more of an immediate gratification type of personality, I decided to also find my own way around Moodle; unfortunately, until the integrator sets me up a “class”, I cannot actually play. I began to research www.livebinders.com (Live Binders, 2010) to uncover teacher and expert offerings related to using and integrating Moodle into the classroom. I’ve selected quite a few binders and now need to invest time in reviewing them. I must be mindful of evaluating web resources and assessing factors such as the authors’ credentials, organizational affiliations and if the information “adequately” meets my needs (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009, p 79).

As educator Vicki Davis suggests, using fifteen minutes 2-3 times per week towards exploring and accomplishing technology goals is a valuable professional development activity (Laureate Education, 2010). In my case, it is the time dedicated to creatively thinking about how to tackle my goals; like students, self-direction in regard to making choices and self-monitoring is a valuable part of the problem solving process (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). This week, I realized that in order to find success, I not only need to commit to my goals, but I need to reach out to others for support; I am, at times, at the mercy of their schedules and commitments. The most valuable resource I have going for me is the ability to be a creative thinker; it is necessary to be at ease with unpredictable obstacles, outcomes and uncertainty (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009).

References:

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.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010a). Cennamo, K. (Speaker). Program 2: Promoting self directed learning with technology. [DVD]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD.

Live Binders, Inc. (2010). http://www.livebinders.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

EDUC 6713-D-2 Application 2

Posted by mprovost on November 7, 2010

Application Two: Developing Your Personal GAME Plan

As a reflective practitioner committed to continually developing my professional skills based on best practices, creating a GAME plan for my goals is an integral part of success (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009).  According to our course text, a GAME plan consists of setting goals, creating an action plan, monitoring progress and then evaluating the outcome for the purpose of extending the learning (2009).  For this week’s application, I reflected on the ISTE NETS-T standards (ISTE, 2008) as direction for personal goals that will enhance my professional skills and align with my pedagogy.  Below are two goals I will actively pursue:

 

Goal #1 : Model digital-age work and learning by improving parent communication.

From NETS-T (ISTE, 2008)
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers:
c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats

GAME PLAN

Set Goals
Learn about the most effective and efficient way to maintain communication with parents while representing myself as an “innovative professional in a global and digital society” (ISTE, 2008). My goal is to keep parents updated on important events and dates while also showcasing some of the work we accomplish in class. Additionally, this site should serve to keep students updated on what happens in class so they can follow up on missing work and homework.

Take Action

Research and identify a new platform to replace my class NING. The new platform will preferably include options for calendars, blogging, photos, and contact information. Additional content may include widgets like surveys, Twitter live feeds from the classroom and links to other useful classroom sites (see Goal #2). After identifying the best platform, I need to set up the site and inform parents of the site’s location. The final step is to stay committed to timely updates and following through with emailing parents a quick notice via our messenger software each time new posts are made.

Monitor
As suggested by Vicki Davis, two to three times each week I will spend at least 15 minutes dedicated to this goal (Laureate Education, 2010b); reflectively consider if I am committing myself to the process of tracking what happens in class each day and recording it digitally on my iPad for use on the parent communication site. If I am not committing to the daily requirement of recapping class or the weekly requirement of updating parents, then I will need to rethink a more manageable approach.

Evaluate and Extend
Compare the goal of raising my confidence and proficiency with parent communications; these communications should reflect I am an innovative professional as proven with my follow through on creating a site, keeping updated information and maintaining communication with parents. As I want this type of global presence and parent communication to continue on, any progress made in this goal must endure; I will need to frequently monitor and evaluate both the product and process (Laureate Education, 2010a).

Goal #2: Model digital-age work and learning by leading how to set up a Moodle site for my classroom.

From NETS-T (ISTE, 2008).
3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers:
a. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations

GAME PLAN

Set Goals
Learn about setting up a Moodle for student use. The Moodle will contain copies of reference sheets from class as well as homework handouts and instructions. The Moodle will contain links relevant to curriculum studies.

Take Action
I need to set up a meeting with our IT department at the High School so she can create the classroom Moodle; I can also have a personal training session with her to learn more about how to maximize use of Moodle in the classroom. Additionally, I will research Moodle instructions and usage ideas online.

Monitor
Reflect on if I am using the Moodle technology to its full potential; technology is a tool to “represent information in a variety of ways” (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009, p 32); additionally, technology provides “access to people, resources, or locations” (2009, p 32). Both of these goals should be met as I progress with learning about and integrating Moodle.

Evaluate and Extend
Compare my goal to my product and reflect on if I accomplished my task of providing a Moodle site that students can use engage in learning and communication while outside the classroom walls.

References:

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.

ISTE. (2008). The ISTE NETS and performance indicators for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers.aspx

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010a). Cennamo, K. (Speaker). Program 2: Promoting self directed learning with technology. [DVD]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010b). Cennamo, K. (Speaker). Program 2: Promoting Creative Thinking with Technology. [DVD]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Course 8 – EDUC-6713D-2 Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas

Posted by mprovost on October 28, 2010

Hello colleagues,

How exciting to be in course 8 of our Master’s program at Walden. I’m a bit nervous to be working straight through until Christmas though! Hope you all are well-

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »