Sunday, August 14, 2011

GAME Plan Reflection

When I first sat down to develop a GAME plan, I was unsure as to how it would impact my teaching. I developed some personal goals aimed at student learning and professional growth. I learned how important it is to take those goals and put them into action. I also realized that there are many intricate details that may be missed when turning a goal into an action, so monitoring and evaluating is essential for a complete plan.
The GAME plan is a great tool to use to organize my ideas as a teacher, but also the goals of my students in class. I am working to design a way that students can develop GAME plans for each of my classes. I want them to establish goals aimed at their learning in class, whether it is related to specific content or grades.
One of the areas that I will make adjustments to in my practice is where and when I implement technology. I need to carefully look at the lessons that I am teaching and use the tools available to me when they will benefit the learning of the content. With that being said, there are not many lessons that I teach that would not benefit from the use of technology. This is where I need to be careful and not over do it. I want my lessons to be able to teach content to my students, as well as teach them additional skills that will benefit them in the future.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monitoring My GAME Plan

After the development of goals and actions, it is time to monitor the progress of my GAME plan. This allows me to evaluate resources that I have found to determine if they will provide the necessary information that I need. The results will assist me in modifying my action plan if necessary.
Finding real-world issues related to science has been fairly easy because some aspect of science is all around us. I have created a folder that includes information found from newspapers, magazines, or ideas that I write down from the news. My classmates have provided me with multiple websites that have enabled me to not only locate ideas, but link to other websites that provide more information. I have created a blog for my classroom, yet it is a blank slate at this point with nothing more than a title. As far as the progress on my technology committee, it is at a standstill due to summer vacation. I do have one colleague that said he would be on the committee as long as there are detailed expectations for the members. Creating this sort of list is something that I need to add to my action plan. I also need to develop a presentation for the administration for approval of this committee. I have not yet created a survey for the students on survey monkey. One of the questions that I would have for this action is how exactly does this work? This is something that I will have to create with the technology personnel at the school. I will need to develop a plan of action as to how each student will take the survey.  I do not teach every student in the school so I will need the assistance of other teachers to complete this task.
As I continue to progress with my action plan, I realize that it is definitely a living document. As I created my goals and developed my action plan, there were key details that I did not even consider until reaching the stage of monitoring. I have learned that communication and collaboration is key in order for me to successfully achieve all of my goals. The questions that arise as I monitor my plans relate to the unknown. Will the students be engaged in the classroom blog? Will they provide input related to technology use in the school on their survey? Will the teachers jump on board and become a part of our technological world? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carrying Out My GAME Plan

An integral part of the GAME plan is the actions taken to achieve goals that have been developed.  In order to put my plans in action, I must evaluate resources that would be necessary to make that possible.  As I continue to strengthen my skills, I must take a look at the progress that is being made toward achieving my goal. My GAME plans are developed from indicators in the NETS-T. 

Facilitating and Inspiring Student Learning and Creativity
One action plan is to find real world issues in the area of science. In order to do this, I will use the internet to research various issues within the state or around the world. There are experts on specific topics that can be found through this research that I can communicate with to find more information. Communication with colleagues, or classmates, will open the door for sharing resources and ideas. Through communication in the previous blogs, I have been introduced to some strong resources that I can further explore. Another piece of this action plan is enabling students to make personal connections to their learning.  Speaking to the students, and members of the community, will provide a basis for what students want to know and the background of the community they live in. I will be exploring different ways for students to collaborate and communicate online. I currently have a personal website that lists assignments for the week and any upcoming projects. I have an e-mail address that is accessible for all students and their parents. I have created wikis in the past, but I am currently working to create a classroom blog that can be used for each class that I teach.

Engaging in Professional Growth and Leadership
My action plan is to develop a technology committee in my school that not only includes teachers that share ideas, but students who share what and how they would like to learn using technology. The main resource for this action is teachers. I must find a way to get teachers more involved when it comes to sharing their ideas with each other. Vicki Davis said that if a teacher teaches a technology skill in one classroom, then another teacher should not have to teach that skill again (Laureate Education, 2010). Although I do somewhat believe this to be true, I also think that teachers should be more willing to try to implement programs that others have taught into their own curriculum. This would not only benefit the students in perfecting their skills, but improve the instructional strategies and technology implementation in the classroom. Information from students may be a little more difficult to obtain, but I could get a large amount of input by creating a survey for students using survey monkey online.  I was previously a member of a tech committee in our school, but there was not a detailed list of objectives for the group and it fizzled. I have already been in contact with a colleague to brainstorm ideas on how we can make this type of committee useful for the school.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program six: Meeting Students’ Needs With Technology, Part 2 [Webcast]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It is important to have confidence as a teacher when implementing technology into your instruction. One way to strengthen this is to outline goals, determine what actions will be taken to achieve those goals, monitor progress and evaluate the achievement of the goals.  I will be creating a GAME plan for two indicators in the NETS-T.

GAME plan for facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity.
Develop lesson plans that engage students to explore and solve real-world issues using digital tools. Promote student reflection using collaborative tools. Document lesson plans in digital format so they can be easily reviewed and revised.
One action that must be taken is research to find real-world issues in the area of science. It is important to narrow topics down so that they are manageable for my high school students. They must also be problems that students can make personal connections to. I will be exploring different ways for students to collaborate, such as creating a blog, wiki, or other communication tools. I will create a template for my lessons to be used in planning.
I will monitor my progress by establishing timelines. The goal will be to evaluate lessons a month prior to it being taught. This will allow me time to develop a project, if it corresponds to the particular objectives of the lesson. After completion of the lesson, I will reflect on the pros and cons and make changed where needed.
The way to evaluate how well I have achieved my goals is to take a look at student achievement obtained from these new lessons. Technology must be implemented as a way to enrich the content. If it engages students to solve the real-world problems that I have incorporated into each lesson, as well as promoting their collaborative skills, them my goal will be achieved.

GAME plan for engaging in professional growth and leadership.
Participate in local communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.
Develop a technology committee in my school that not only includes teachers that share ideas, but students who share what and how they would like to learn using technology. I would like to be able to develop resources that can be shared by all teachers as a way to implement new technology tools.
One way to monitor the actions is to have teachers share their new instructional ideas with the technology committee. This can easily be done through e-mail, pointing out the pros and cons of the tool. This can be evaluated by the committee and published for all teachers.
One way to evaluate this committee is to look at how students are performing in the classroom due to the new instructional strategies. To get an accurate outlook on achievement, all teachers must be willing to implement the resources put together by students and the technology committee

By implementing a GAME plan in areas that I feel I have weakness, I can build confidence implementing technology in the classroom. As I work to achieve these goals, it is important to consult with others for input. This can be students or other teachers. The ultimate achievement is improving my effectiveness so that I can provide students with skills that will benefit them in the future.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from

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

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program three: Enriching Content Area Learning Experiences With Technology, Part 1 [Webcast]. Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reflecting on Technology in Instruction

From day one of this course, my personal theory of learning has revolved around the idea of incorporating a combination of various instructional strategies and learning theories in order to accommodate all students. I do not see that theory changing in the near future. The importance of differentiated instruction in the classroom becomes evident as teachers are challenged with multiple learning styles daily.
There are specific portions of my learning theory that I have modified as a result of learning in this course. One involves appropriate reaction as a result of actions by the students. Developing an understanding of the student as an individual has helped in many of these instances.  Many of my students come from a difficult home life and having to endure an adult yelling at them for something they have done wrong is not out of the ordinary in many circumstances.  Students will become defensive in this situation and many times argumentative.  I have focused on maintaining a calm position when dealing with students that do not always follow the rules or expectations of the classroom. When a student excels in the classroom, I make a point to give them specific praise in regards to their job well done. Another area that I have been faced with is giving students the opportunity to make their own personal connections to learning. I attempted to have students create pneumonic devices to help them remember more difficult concepts.  I was irritated when they just wanted to use the one that I had created rather than their own.  I felt this was a sign of laziness in the classroom.  I have since taken the position that as long as they are using something to help connect their learning, whether personal or borrowed, they are using techniques that will help them retain information more effectively.
This course has allowed me to deepen my knowledge in relation to learning theories and educational technologies. Educational technology is the use of resources or processes that facilitate learning (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008). The key to technology use is determining how it can help accomplish our educational goals (Weiss, 2000). The use of technology can incorporate multiple intelligences in one well developed lesson. Visual learning strategies are enhanced with the use of technology, assisting students to make sense of complex information (O'Bannon, Puckett, & Rakes, 2006).
One important thing that I take away from this class is the difference between using technology for instruction compared to using it for learning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). As educators, we must determine how we can use different tools to benefit the student. An immediate adjustment I can make in my classroom is how I present my lecture notes.  Creating a PowerPoint with strictly images and then talking about those images will add a new experience to the boring method of lecture. I am also going to incorporate more interactive experiences for my students that allow them to use the SmartBoard the way it was intended. This will create a more student centered classroom.
            Throughout this course I have implemented new technology tools in my classroom.  We have created wikis, PowerPoints, concept maps, and experienced virtual environments.  I would like to go a step further and use a movie maker and publisher program for projects that I have planned in class.  Students in my freshmen transition class research individuals that have been affected by hate crimes.  I am going to have them create a short movie that displays the trials and tribulations that their person has faced in life.  Another tool that I will use with the same students is a publisher program that will enable them to create brochures for a multicultural awareness campaign that they will be creating.  I would also like to see them create their own commercials for their campaign.  These experiences will enable them to create artifacts that can be viewed by their classmates. This will also support skills that they may need later in life, whether it is empathy for people of diversity or tools for the workplace.
            One of my long term goals regarding technology integration is focused on making sure that my classroom is student centered.  Although I do not feel that I can completely go away from a lecture style, I am going to work on more images and less text. I would like to implement more project based learning that will allow students to be more engaged in their learning. This will also give them the opportunity to create their own meaning of the content being discussed. Another goal I have is to not get caught up in the fascination of technology.  When using new tools, I have to be sure that I am still focused on the content being taught. Creating a lesson that incorporates technology is beneficial to students when it assists them in understanding their learning experience.  According to Kevin Jarrett, the topic is the key and not the tool that is being used (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).  There is a wide variety of tools that can be used in the classroom, but the choice should be made with an objective in mind.  As educators, it is imperative that we become facilitators in the classroom and engage our students in their learning.  They are building connections and personal experiences that will expand their level of knowledge for the future.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program thirteen. Technology: Instructional tool vs. learning tool [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.).
Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
O'Bannon, B., Puckett, K., & Rakes, G. (2006). Using technology to support visual learning strategies. Computers in the Schools, 23(1/2), 125–137.
Weiss, R. (2000). Howard Gardner talks about technology. Training & Development, 54(9), 52.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cooperative Learning

According to Dr. Michael Orey, social constructivism involves students constructing artifacts as a result of communication with others (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). An important component of the social learning theory is cooperative learning. Through cooperative learning, students are able to share their ideas with classmates and construct meaning to the material presented in the classroom. The meaning to the content is affected by the social interpretation of the topic (Orey, 2001). Students will create meaning based on their backgrounds, personal connections, and personal experiences. These differences will have a strong impact on the development of knowledge and can lead to a deeper understanding of the content that has been presented (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).
In order for collaboration strategies to be successful, it is important that teachers take the time to group students using a variety of criteria. This will be directly related to the task that the students must complete. Groups must be kept at a manageable size so that each student has a responsibility for a particular task (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). As well as efficient grouping, teachers must focus on detailed expectations and assessment. Tasks should be focused toward a particular learning standard. Students should be assessed for individual contributions as well as the overall group presentation. Collaborative learning also creates an opportunity for peer teaching.
Technology can provide another aspect to cooperative learning. Through the use of multimedia, such as creating a video, there are many roles that must be filled.  Proper grouping can fill those roles with students that are strong in a particular area.  The strengths are then shared among peers for further understanding, improving a weakness that a different student may have. Technology allows students to create artifacts that can be shared on the web. This allows students to not only communicate in the classroom, but from their home. They can collaborate online with classmates, or venture out to collaborate with students and experts worldwide. Technology opens the door for teachers to quickly be able to share information with their students. This type of course management provides students with access to shared resources and facilitates online discussions (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). Discussions can take place in a chat room or through more advanced communication software such as Skype.
Cooperative learning is a component of social learning that is necessary for this strategy to be successful. As students work socially with peers, they develop meanings that they may not have created by thinking on their own.  This expands the knowledge base of the student, and creates new connections and experiences that can be used in future learning.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program eight. Social learning theories [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.