Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review of Partnership for 21st Century Skills

This was a great site. I think all teachers want their kids to know the new technology. This site offers them a chance for people to be a part of a movement to really do just that.

The guides were very detailed and supportive in nature. It is a great resource in helping our students achieve their technology goals. The reports also give data to support the use of tech by students in their educational goals.

The one thing I was disappointed to see was limited number of states, including my own state of California, that were involved. I truly hope to see more state get involved in this initiative to help kids in this way.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Using Blogs in the Classroom

Using a blog in a classroom can be an effective tool in engaging students. They can use it as a reference too as well as a guidance tool. It can become an integral part to the learning process. There are many ways to use a blog in a classroom and finding the most effective way is something of a debate.

This blog will have many functions. Mainly is will serve as a place for my students to be able to receive any and all information related to the class. I will include test reviews, assignment dates, attachments, reading guides, and many other tools that will allow for my students to access tools for their success.

Students will be able to interact by adding comments to certain sections. This will allow me to see the effectiveness of the blog by determining how many people are visiting it. In regards to sharing, there will be discussion posts where students can ask each other questions and peer tutor by answering those questions. It will give them a forum to interact with each other and have virtual study groups.

There will also be a chance for students to post captions that they feel were integral parts to assignments. Students will then be able to get feedback from other students, which will help them to develop their own thoughts and ideas.

The biggest challenge is the access to my blog. I currently work in South Los Angeles, teaching Anatomy and Physiology at the tenth grade level, and there is a very low socioeconomic situation here. Many of the kids do not have internet access at home. This is why it will be a supplementary situation for them, not a required one. I will also have computers out during study hall once a week so that they can access information that way.

Monday, June 20, 2011


During the time I was in this course, many of my previous thoughts on learning were solidified and a few were modified. I have always felt that group work was my best chance of getting a student to be engaged. This was how I enjoyed school the most and it seemed to be the way my students enjoyed it as well. This class also gave me a better sense of myself and also gave me a deeper understanding of why I chose the assignments that I did. With evidences shown in many of the readings and their writers, such as Orey, I was able to conceptualize the impact of my choices of instruction. I also was able to define the differences between true instruction and learning. I never thought of it in this way, but when I began to my lesson planning process was much easier. It helped me to focus the goals of my learning outcomes.

I did make some small modifications on how I implemented some of my assignments throughout the course. This was mainly due to ideas and encouraging comments from my classmates. One in particular is the presentation of a mind map or concept map. I never had a presentation process, mainly because I could not find one that I liked. One student mentioned a process including an interactive white board. I plan on implementing this next year when I gain access to an interactive white board.

In the long run I am going to focus on two main things. First is to convert all of my concept mapping activities into a virtual format. I like the flow of the lesson much more and the students are able to give me more in depth and higher Bloom's responses. Secondly is to add the presentation component to the concept maps using the interactive white board. My goal in this sense is to go completely interactive with the students. I want to shy away from as much pencil and paper projects as possible. I want to make them all virtual.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Social Learning in Practice

Developing systems i a classroom is essential to effective instruction. In my classes these systems have always included a social aspect to them. Student's love to work together. They thrive on that social interaction. It can present problems at times with behavior and work ethic, but the benefits completely outweigh the downfalls.

In creating group activities, I have recently been able to incorporate technology to increase the effectiveness of the student output, both during class and after. During class time, I have the nicety of having laptop carts at my current school. On any given day each student can have a laptop with internet access to help them along with their daily activities. I can also incorporate group work with multiple or single computers within a group. These can be adjusted to determine the level of participation among group members.

Outside of the class is also an area in which I am able to use social lessons along with technology. I have ranged from creating blogs, having an online thread or email chain that discusses the assignment, or even videos with the abilities of the students to peer review and comment. All of these tools give the student a higher sense of interaction that they would not receive otherwise. Having that social aspect is not required of a classroom, but it sure does help.


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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Constructivism in Practice

In teaching science I have an added advantage over other subjects. We are not only learning and recalling new information, but we are often delving deeper into a subject in a way that many other subjects either do not offer or have trouble working in that fashion. Generating a hypothesis and taking an experiment to a logical conclusion, and then comparing your personal thoughts to the results, is a daily occurrence.

When students are able to construct their own vision within an assignment they become a part of it. I have seen some students who hate school (or at least they put that off as their defense mechanism) give me their absolute best effort in research and the carrying out of an experiment, when they have a say in parts of it. I will often allow the students to deviate from the norm of an experiment and let them roam free. This is when they truly get excited. Now I have planned for 90% of the possible directions that they can go, but there are some original ideas that come out if this that I have not heard. As long as the student can justify the reasoning of their venture, I am game.

Constructivism within the classroom is essential to a true measure of growth of an individual student. Not only can they develop a new appreciation for the content, but they learn life skills as well along the way. It is a higher level of cognitive ability as well as a higher level of maturity that we are teaching our students. They need to have the structure, but also need to perceive they have the freedom to incorporate their own ideas and ideology into the lesson. Only then will we get the greatest outcome.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program seven. Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

There are sometimes that teachers often attempt to reinvent the wheel. Some of the basic practices that have been used over the years still work. Now often we see our pedagogy as outdated but some of the basic strategies that we use everyday are tried and true strategies.

Recall is an important stage of one's learning, and is often overlooked for a higher cognitive level of thinking. Basic recall can help to establish long term memory and create good habit. These questions and cues given to the student at the appropriate times can create instances in which the student can then build upon the knowledge with higher level cognitive abilities. The first strategy works towards these goals and uses additional types of organizers to achieve these goals.

The second strategy, note taking and summarizing, allows students to create the skills necessary to compact and organize information. This will lead to increased cognitive ability in ways such as a more effective system of studying and recall. All of these steps are additional tools that will give a student a more complete focus on a subject and will allow them to be able to access a more stable amount of long-term memory. This is the most important goal of any cognitive strategy.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program five. Cognitive learning theory [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Behaviorist Theory

Student motivation is often at the forefront of what we are trying to accomplish as educators. Behaviorist theory can help us achieve that by directing a student's behavior in such a manner that they are able to channel themselves into a routine that will encourage and foster academic success. This can be seen in two different ways, at least from the perspective of the teacher, reinforcement and punishment. Old school thought might lean itself towards the punishment ranks to redirect behavior, but over the years educators have become more and more adopting of the reinforcement ideals. It is just another way to foster encouraged behavior in an effective way.
DC Physics allows for a constant flow of information and tutorial simulations. Both of these supplements will allow students to achieve a higher level of comprehension. The fact that these are on the web might actually help as well. In addition to placing them in a forum that many students conduct much of their free time, it also has an ease of access. Students will be able to freely come and go as they please. This sense of accomplishment and freedom gives them a level of instant gratification, whcih can be considered a reinforcement of behavior. A teacher can also place additional activities that correlate with this website to get them initially engaged in the process of online tutorials.
This goes along the lines of giving a certain level of homework and practice for a student, whcih can also increase desired behavior (Pitler, et al., 2007). By allowing for the continuation of the skill, students will have the opportunity to increase their level of performance. They will also be able to achieve a level of immediate feedback in such online forums. This will allow for the reinforcement that a student feeds on and will ultimately lead to a higher level of work completion and continuation of the skill. These two achievements will then lead to a deeper understanding of the material, which is what educators are ultimately trying to do.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program four. Behaviorist learning theory [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.