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Passion and curiosity are two things that we all have in us.  It is what drives us to find out more, to research, to learn.  Individuals find something that becomes of interest to them and they continue their learning about it because of their curiosity.  So with this idea, why can’t we transfer student learning to be driven by their passions and curiosity?

In Friedman’s (2013) article, he stated that PQ+CQ=IQ.  This means that passion quotient plus curiosity quotient equals intelligence quotient.  What drove Friedman’s equation is that fact that we have an ever changing world with the advancement in technology.  In order to help the students we have in front of us each day prepare to make it in the world; we need to help them find their passions and allow their curiosity to take over.  Curiosity alone, will drive a student to find out more if they are passionate about the material presented.

As Friedman (2013) stated, “The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.”  In order to help our students succeed, we need to teach them to be lifelong learners.  This can occur through opening up a personal learning network to them, allowing them affinity spaces to associate with, providing chances for creativity in the classroom, trial and error.

What better way to start this implementation than right in your own classroom?  So, I ask you, how will you instill passion and curiosity in your students?


Rethink Teaching

Over the last few weeks, I have worked closely with some other students in CEP 812 dissecting the wicked problem of ‘Rethink Teaching’.  There are so many problems that it starts to create a snowball effect.

This wicked problem can be looked at through many different lenses, yet, it still remains a problem.  When reading through articles and researching myself, I came up with a handful of problems with rethinking teaching myself.  These included but were not limited to the following:

  • Uniform Learning vs. Customization – Our society has this idea that all students should learn the same thing at the same time.  Technology challenges this idea in that it customizes learning to one’s specific needs and interests. (Collins and Halverson, 2009).
  • Rethinking How Schools Work – Students follow a daily schedule where a bell starts and ends class.  This doesn’t allow for interdisciplinary learning to take place or  collaboration, critical thinking, and knowledge retention to go on amongst students. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.8)
  • Access to Technologies – Teachers are limited in the amount of access they have during the school day to technology (computers, iPads, etc.).  “It is important to get the technology part right to enable the desired transformations in teaching and learning” (Light, 2015).
  • Standardized Assessments – Students are given standardized tests to see how much they have “learned”.  In moving forward, more project-based learning needs to take place, thus weening out standardized assessments. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.10)

As part of the assignment, I created an infographic using piktochart.  This infographic includes some visual aides in referencing the wicked problem of ‘rethink teaching’.


In addition to the infographic, I was assigned a group.  Throughout the course of the few weeks we had to complete the assignment, my group and I met several times using Google Hangout as well as communicating through a group text message and google docs.  We used these types of technology to help our means of communication.  Our first task was to  pick and choose only a couple of problems that helped create the wicked problem of rethink teaching and propose solutions to it.  We each did a lot of research and came up with four main problems.  They are as follows:

  1. Professional Development for teachers
  2. Student-centered Learning
  3. Flexible spaces and Available Technology
  4. Teacher Evaluations

With these four problems, we created solutions in order to help rethink teaching.  Please feel free to read the whole document here.  Please feel free to leave comments and feedback, I would love to know your thoughts on this wicked problem.



Information Diet

Beep! Bing! Brrrrinnnnggg! These are the noises we here as a text, email, or phone call come in.  Add the alerts to a Facebook notifications, a tweet getting retweeted, somebody “liking” a picture on your instagram, or the Fox2News app alerting you about the weather and road conditions.  Each day we are consumed with thesephone rings and beeps that keep throwing new information at us.  Think about how you engage in technology each day.  Most people own a smartphone which includes the internet, apps, etc. on it.  These are ways we indulge ourselves in information.  This is our information diet.

This week in CEP 812, I got thinking about my own information diet, what I am seeing, reading, and intaking on a daily basis and how it has and could further effect my thinking.   I thought about the different technologies that I specifically use day to day.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Remind, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are to name a few.  Others that I refer to on more of a weekly basis include BuzzFeed, Fox2News, and Flipboard.  I use FaceBook and Twitter to keep up with friends and engage in mindless entertainment activities, whereas I use Remind and YouTube more for my classroom use, engaging, communicating, and enhancing lessons.  I look to Fox2News and Flipboard to provide me information on what is happening in the world.  I use YouTube to learn something new from how to use a new technology to how to knit a scarf.  As Henry Jenkins described it, media is produced by people to share it with each other in hopes of learning from each other (Jenkins, 2011).

As we gain more knowledge through these networked affinity spaces we use, we are left to filter and determine if what we just learned to be true or false.  In Eli Praiser’s TedTalk he states that search engines, such as google provide filters that use 57 signals to personally tailor the results to the individual (Praiser, 2011).  The internet is therefore, providing me information on what it thinks I want to see, not necessarily showing me what I need to be seeing (Praiser, 2011).  This poses a limitation on my information diet and directs me to having a confirmation bias.  So the question is how do we see information that challenges our thinking?

This week, I added three new RSS Feeds to my Flipboard.  Integrating Technology, Rethinking Education, and Standardized Testing have already proven to push my thinking to a new level.  For example, the article titled “How to Cheat on State Standardized Tests and Not Get Caught” definitely had be in an uproar until I read the article completely.  I was already formulating a response to the writer in my head while reading the article.  Basically the thoughts going through my head were that yes, teachers are teaching to the test because their evaluations are based on it.  No! Don’t give them the answers, that’s just wrong and CHEATING!  It wasn’t until the final paragraph, where I took a deep breath.    This article got my heart racing and anger stirring because it was against everything I had believed in.  It got me to then stop and think, this really has happened, teachers have made this progression and turned to cheating; now what are we going to do about it?

As I reflect upon my work this week, I keep going back to what Gee  states, “We are exceedingly good at believing what we want and need to believe even in the face of counterevidence” (Gee, 2015, Chapter 1, para. 3). In allowing myself to indulge in information that is out of my comfort zone I am opened to new ideas challenging my previous thoughts and perceptions.  This will only help me in teaching my own students to plug into these affinity spaces where minds become Minds.


Gee, J.  (2013).  The Anti-Education Era.  [Kindle DX Version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Jenkins, H.  (2011, August 4).  Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement.  Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY&feature=youtu.be

Pariser, E.  (2011, March).  Beware online “filter bubbles”.  Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en

Rush, D. (2015, May 8). Essay: Drowning in Social Media. [Image] Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from: http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/essay-drowning-social-media


What is stopping us from moving forward?

Reimagining teaching or rethinking the way we teach to 21st century learners is a prominent discussion point among educators today.  In CEP 812 this week, we looked at this problem and identified various factors of what is making this problem so wicked.

There are three main areas where change needs to happen in order to get us moving in the right direction.  They include policy, leadership, and practice (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.6).  Listed below are just four different problems that add to making our problem of rethinking teaching, WICKED.

  1. Uniform Learning vs. Customization – Our society has this idea that all students should learn the same thing at the same time.  Technology challenges this idea in that it customizes learning to one’s specific needs and interests. (Collins and Halverson, 2009).
  2. Rethinking How Schools Work – Students follow a daily schedule where a bell starts and ends class.  This doesn’t allow for interdisciplinary learning to take place or  collaboration, critical thinking, and knowledge retention to go on amongst students. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.8)
  3. Access to Technologies – Teachers are limited in the amount of access they have during the school day to technology (computers, iPads, etc.).  “It is important to get the technology part right to enable the desired transformations in teaching and learning” (Light, 2015).
  4. Standardized Assessments – Students are given standardized tests to see how much they have “learned”.  In moving forward, more project-based learning needs to take place, thus weening out standardized assessments. (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, pg.10)


Lastly, check out this YouTube video on ‘Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner’ by the MacArthur Foundation.

What are your thoughts about rethinking teaching?  What do you think makes this problem so wicked?


Collins, A. & Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and the Schools. Retrieved from: https://llk.media.mit.edu/courses/readings/Collins-Rethinking-Education.pdf

Light, D. (2015). Technology, Teaching, and Learning. Retrieved from: http://sowc2015.unicef.org/stories/a-technology-ecosystem-to-support-learning/

MacArthur Foundation. (1, December, 2010). Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner. [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0xa98cy-Rw

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from: http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

Technology Integration

This week in my CEP 812 course, we were asked to conduct a survey to our colleagues about technological integration.  I administered a survey through SurveyMonkey to the 23 elementary certified teachers at the school where I currently teach.  The questions I created pertained to what technologies are currently used in the classroom, when they are being used the most, the comfort level of teachers use of technology, and what professional development teachers would like to gain a better understanding of technology.

An example of the survey that was conducted can be found here.

The subject areas in which teachers incorporated technology the most were Math, Science, and Literacy.  It should be noted that subscriptions to technologies for each of these subject areas have been purchased through the school.  The graph below shows the percentages of each subject area.

image copy.png

In continuing with the research among my colleagues, I discovered that although teachers are using technologies in the classroom such as Reflex Math, Raz-Kids, Microsoft Office, iPads, computers, Elmo, and the SmartBoard they are still interested in learning about newer technologies.  The graph below represents the technologies that teachers are wanting to learn more about, with Google Drive/Google Classroom being the highest at 47.4%.image copy 3.png

Please check out the full analysis of the survey.  With the idea of technology integration, there comes a lot of wicked problems.  Money, compensation, way of teaching, professional development, and technology are only a few of the problems that comes with this movement.  It’s not a deciding factor of whether it needs to happen or not.  I think we can all agree that this shift in thinking and way of teaching is going to happen.  The question now is, when?

Human Stupidity

This week in CEP 812, we read several chapters from James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.  geeThroughout Part 1 of the book, Gee argues that humans are stupid.

I often find the word stupid to be a strong and bold word.  I can’t say I’m a fan of it very much.  However, Gee backs up his claim in identifying that we are “stupid” because we do not use our brain, especially our memory for what it was originally meant to be used for.  Instead, we have relied heavily on our memories.  Gee explains that our memory is not accurate in that it is manipulated and changed each time we try to recall an event.  The time and place at which you are recalling a memory can change it, along with your beliefs, or bias of what you want to recall.

He explains his justifications about memory in comparing it with a computer.  Gee states that computer’s have accurate memories because they were made to store information and save it.  The only way the information can be changed on a  computer is by an individual updating it, deleting it, or writing over it.  When he made this comparison it really made me think that he’s on to something.

In conclusion, I wrote a short essay focusing on the human memory as a limitation in preventing us to solve, big, complex problems smartly.

The question I have that still remains for me and I hope to find out while reading Part 2 of Gee’s book is; How can we as a whole start this movement of change to smarter thinking with the use of technology?  Where do we start and how can we make this change in society?


Gee. J., (2013).  The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.       [Kindle Version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Signorelli, P. & Associates. (2013). James Paul Gee, The Anti-Education Era, and Personal Learning Networks. [Online Image]. Retrieved from https://buildingcreativebridges.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/james-paul-gee-the-anti-education-era-and-personal-learning-networks/

Communication is Key



Communication is a much needed skill  in everything we do.  From simple tasks like washing our hands, playing with friends, and completing work, we exchange words between one another in order to communicate our needs, wants, and ideas.  People with autism have a much harder time communicating these same every day things.

Advancements in technology have made communication with people with autism a little bit easier.  The amount of technology available is in abundance.  I searched several different websites to come up with the most common, effective, and helpful technologies.  Unfortunately, several of those were a bit pricey and on a teacher budget, I was looking for something FREE.

What I kept in mind when searching for a technology was the three key diagnostic features of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which are speech, language, and communication(Low & Lee, 2011, p.18).  I stumbled upon a couple different apps made for iPads or iPhones.  These could be key in the fact that either device can be readily available, easily accessible, and can follow the student wherever they may go (classroom to the resource room to the lunch room).

As Low and Lee (2011) stated, autistics show a”lack of interest in communicating with others, lack of intentionality in communication, and a lack of abilities to initiate, maintain, and end a reciprocal interaction (p.19).  Engaging the student in the classroom through visuals would potentially help their social interactions with others and participation in the classroom along with increasing their verbal skills using a handheld device.  Devices that can be moved with the child could prove to be more successful in the student’s learning, communication, and socialization.

Pogo Boards is an app available for iPad, iPod, and iPhones.  The app contains social stories, step-by-step directions, as well as words/phrases.  The app is free and you can download an unlimited amount of boards from the internet.  The best feature of the app is that you can create your own board to best fit the needs of your student with autism.

IMG_0141This is an example of a social story on taking turns.

IMG_0140Step-By-step directions on what to do during arrival at school.

IMG_0138Basic words/phrases a student may use throughout the day.

Communication through pictures has proven to be effective with students who have autism in communicating and gradually developing verbal language (Low & Lee, 2011, p.23).  Some examples of communication with pictures includes but is not limited to, visual schedules, visual pictures at desk to request for things, and visual prompts on worksheets (Low & Lee, 2011, p.25).  With the use of the Pogo Boards app, it allows the child to communicate their needs, wants, and ideas.  They can refer back to the device when needed in order to get their thoughts and ideas across to another individual.  With the use of the speaker on the app as well, it allows for the student with autism to hear how to communicate or say these things verbally.  With continuous use and repetition, this app helps a student with autism really excel in the classroom and feel a part of the class, having the means to communicate and interact socially and academically.

It is astonishing what the impact technology can have on people with needs.  Now it’s time to get teachers acquainted with this technology to better meet the needs of ALL students.


LEARN NC. (2015, March 10). Using picture cues to communicate. [Video]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C8LEQxSOUY

Low, Hui Min; Lee, Lay Wah. (2011, December).  Teaching of Speech, Language and Communication Skills for Young Children with Severe Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Do Educators Need to Know? [Journal Article]. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/fulltext/EJ955538.pdf

MSR Online. (2015, April 2). April is National Autism Awareness Month. [Image]. Retrieved from: http://spokesman-recorder.com/2015/04/02/april-national-autism-awareness-month/





Reflecting on CEP811

As I am typing this, I feel a little bit of sadness in that this class is coming to a close.  I had the opportunity to learn so many new and exciting technologies that I spent countless hours learning and making.  It was a trial and error process that tested my patience, perseverance, and overall willingness to complete and grasp new ideas and concepts.  I have learned so much over the last seven weeks and have made a file in Evernote to refer back to when needed.

To sum up all of the things I learned in CEP 811, I went back through my notes from all seven weeks and picked out the  main ideas, repeated words, etc. and created a Word Cloud (something I have not done in YEARS).  I ended up using the website wordclouds.com to create the word cloud for free.  After exploring some of the other websites, I found this one to be the most simple and user-friendly website.  Here are the main ideas I took from CEP 811.

Created on word clouds.com

As you can see, including maker education into the classroom using new technologies helps to extend one’s creativity.  This is a movement that is going to continue excelling and we, as teachers need to convert these 19th century classrooms to the 21st century.  Better late than never…

CEP 811 has taught me to get out of my comfort zone and CREATE.  I now have new thinking when it comes to technology and have been trying to let my students explore more with technology in the classroom.  I am learning to let go of the reins per say and allow for my students creativity to come out in their projects.  It is difficult to do at first, but I must say I am so pleased with their work when it is completed, that I get a wonderful sense of satisfaction as do they, with the finished product.

This new way of thinking will only help me to continue letting go and become more of a coach when it comes to technology integration rather than the teacher.

The assignments in CEP 811 have all taught me to struggle, pursue, and push myself beyond limits in order to be successful and creative while using new technologies.  I don’t anticipate introducing all of these technologies to my class this year, however, it is somewhere for me to start.  I believe by creating a project that will allow for my students to experience the same things that I did throughout this class will help them to be better problem solvers, work collaboratively, and build confidence in their own learning.  I am so excited to get started and having gone through the experiences myself, I know what is acceptable or not to ask of my students.

Two classes in to my Masters of Educational Technology, and I am still thrilled to be learning all these new technologies that I can take back in the classroom.  I have made a great choice and am excited to continue taking classes towards my degree!




Assessing Creativity


This week in CEP 811, we were given a few different articles to read pertaining to the assessment and evaluation of creativity as well as project based learning.  I think a lot of different important points were brought up and it definitely made me reflect on my own assessments I use with my students.  Something Grant Wiggins stated in his blog post was that, “…we recognize creative thinking immediately when we see it – much more so, then, say “organization” in writing or “effective collaboration”(2012).  I found this to be very true, and so began my questioning of why don’t we assess on creativity?  It is something that we can easily see, understand, and determine quickly.

For example in James Gee’s Video on Evaluation and Creativity, he relates video games to assessments.  This is a wonderful comparison and makes complete sense in that kids are drawn to video games because they are given immediate feedback.  Playing video games is constant assessment; you fail and you try again (Gee, 2008).  Gee then goes into describing video games as language that is needed just in time (2008).  He explains that reading the manual before playing the game doesn’t do you any good; you don’t understand it.  Once playing the game and having experience with the language and then going back to the manual, you are able to have a better understanding of the material because you have had experience with the language (Gee, 2008).

Relating this back to maker-inspired lessons, students need to play with the materials, get immediate feedback and work through trial and error in order to understand the materials they are working with.  Once their is an understanding, the language starts flowing and making sense.  The learner has produced more knowledge and in today’s time this is done collaboratively (Gee, 2008).  Prompting your students to then be creative with the maker-inspired lesson, your students are going to produce more creative work because they have had practice learning from trial and error, self-evaluation, and self-assessment of using the tool at hand.

A few questions that I had for myself after reading the blogs and articles were:

  1. Do my activities allow for students to show their creativity?
  2. How would I assess their creativity?
  3. What guidelines (if any) do I need to set for the activities?

In thinking about these questions, I decided that as an educator charged with assessment of students learning, I would assess creative problem solving during maker-inspired lessons in the following way:

  1. Is it engaging? (color, content, creativity)
  2. Did it meet the criteria of GRASPS?
Example retrieved from here

My Kindergarten Example using GRASPS:


The design of these assessments is justified by the following connections to learning theories, and/or to the ideas presented by Wiggins in that he states, “The idea of focusing on impact is actually key to student autonomy, reflected in self-assessment and self-adjustment” (Wiggins, 2013).  I find this to be very true, in that students take on more responsibility for their learning when they are given the opportunity to let their creative sides show.  Grading on creativity (is it engaging?), pushes students to think “outside the box”, self-reflect and self-evaluate their work.  In the end, the work they produce is something that reflects them as a student, learner, and teacher.  It also helps the student to create more engaging and creative work!

As for my reasoning of using GRASPS, Wiggins states that”…when the student has clarity about the Goal of the task, their Role, the specific Audience, the specific Setting, the Performance particulars, and the Standards and criteria against which they will be judged, they can be far more effective – and creative!” (2012).  Guidelines are given, yet still allow for the student to show their creative side, work through trial and error, as well as collaborate with others in order to create an engaging piece of work.  I believe that this will not only produce creative work, but quality work that engages the learner and the reader.

Let’s allow our students to be CREATIVE, learn through collaboration, and be responsible for their own learning through self-assessment and self-evaluation.  Engage students in the work and more engaging and creative work will be produced!


Dios, A. (2014, February 22). Philippine Basic Education: Philippines DepEd Failed to GRASP k-12 Grading System. [Images]. Retrieved from: http://www.philippinesbasiceducation.us/2014/02/grasps.html

Gee, J.P. (2010, July 20). James Paul Gee on Grading with Games. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU3pwCD-ey0

Lacey, C. (2014). Quotes that Will Inspire Your Creativity as a Student. [Image] Retrieved from http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/2547/20140917/quotes-will-inspire-creativity.htm

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/