To learn, unlearn, and relearn that is the question

Our educational system in the United States is out of date and not preparing students to enter the world as adults ready to succeed. A need to transform our system to not only shift what needs to be learned to meet today’s needs, but also how students are allowed to learn is necessary. David Edwards points out. “Our kids learn within a system of education devised for a world that increasingly does not exist. We “learn,” and after this we “do.” We go to school and then we go to work.This approach does not map very well to personal and professional success in America today.” (Edwards, 2014). Technology has changed our world at an amazing pace over the past few years, and holding on to traditions within education will ultimately leave our students unprepared thereby taxing our country’s economy.

Alvin Toffler once said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” To obtain this goal, ““we need to shift our instructional approach to a 21st-century learning environment that will provide our students with the most in-demand skills; those that can’t be easily outsourced, automated, or turned into software: creativity, lateral thinking, and problem solving dealing with nonroutine cognitive tasks.” (Crockett, p.32, 2011) Instead of the four R’s, though important, our new focus must change to the four C’s, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. These will help propel our students into a successful entry into our ever changing world.

Prior to beginning the technology integration program at Walden University, I had begun to begin the process of changing some of my own pedagogical thinking about the role of the teacher. Now beginning my third course, I am eager to continue to learn how such a transformation will look like within my classroom. In considering the ideas within the readings cited, one of the first hurdles is going to be teaching students how to unlearn what they have been led to believe is how they are to learn. Their understanding of what school looks like and how they should act to be successful, may be a challenge that must be unlearned in order for them to be able to relearn new ideas on how they can learn independently. Then it will be important to follow what J. Voogt’s thoughts, “It is important to stress that technology literacy and fluency are embedded, that is, the use of technology should be seen within specific real-life contexts (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006). To understand such processes we have to look at different contexts where literacy is practiced and given meaning, and how new technologies are changing the nature and processes of meaning-making.” (Voogt, p. 408, 2013)

To be able to help students reshape their thinking about what school and learning looks like in a 21st century classroom, there will be some challenges. Allowing students to learn on their own, without giving them instructions will confuse them and have them disoriented at first. I have changed my science lessons into a project based approach already. Students have been given the freedom to choose the topics that they find most interesting to study on their own or in groups. As they have started the process, it is very hard not to step in and give them direction. They are only scratching the surface of knowledge in their topics of interest. I have been working to provide them with real experiences, such as rock identification kits, or magnets and electricity kits, to explore with on their own. As they work throughout the year, to change their mindset, I will have to celebrate their failures. This will help them to understand that not everything they set out to learn will have a positive outcome. Then I can guide them towards relearning how to research topics with more success.

“Our long-term education goals for the 21st-century learner are: problem solving, creativity, analytic thinking, collaboration, communication, and ethics, action, and accountability.” (Crockett, p.85, 2011) Teaching the skill of learning, unlearning, and relearning, will help meet these long-term goals with our students. As I have pointed out, it will not be an easy task. Not only must students mindsets be changed, but those of their parents, colleagues, administration, and on up to the political arena. I firmly believe, that by making the transformation, students will be able to achieve at a much higher level on the outdated assessments they will have to continue to take, because they will have problem solving and critical thinking skills which will propel them to a deeper understanding. In time, others will see the value of making the change and there may come a time in which new measures of success may be considered that align with these new skills.


Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st–century fluencies for the digital age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. IBooks.

Edwards, D. (2014, October 17). American Schools are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist. Wired Magazine. Retrieved October 25, 2016, from

Voogt, J., Erstad, O., Dede, C., & Mishra, P. (2013). Challenges to learning and schooling in the digital networked world of the 21st century. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(5), 403–413. Retrieved from Walden University Library. October 24, 2016.

Technology, the Powerful Learning Tool


The use of technology in the classroom can take two paths that make it either a simple tool, or a powerful learning device.  Each has a direct correlation as to the style of teacher that embraces technology.  The teacher that uses the model of teacher led direct instruction, uses technology as a means to help them deliver standards to their students.  They may utilize a computer connected to a projector and interactive white board, to highlight points with a PowerPoint they want their students to master.  Some may consider technology as a way to make their jobs easier, by using technology to administer and score student assessments, or simply as a way to obtain lessons from others that have shared their work.  Dr. Michael Orey points out that teacher centered strategies such as lectures are the worst for student learning, and that technology can make it even worse.  (Laureate, 2015I) Over the years of sitting in on professional development classes, I have sat on many lectures on various topics that I never learned a thing from.  Presenters many times use PowerPoints with screens full of writing that they have memorized, or simply read to you. These lead to the brain shutting down and your attention is drawn to other thoughts.  Since brain research has given us a more information about how we learn, we now understand that what has been debated for centuries is true.

Confucius and Socrates, powerfully influential sages, insisted that their students must work out what they learn by themselves, with some guidance. (Snyder, 2015) Throughout this course we have read about a variety of learning styles, and considered how we can transform our own teaching to become facilitators of learning.  Students will learn more if they play an active role in their learning and create an artifact demonstrating it. Technology has given students a variety of methods to not only learn about topics, but also create the very artifacts that demonstrate their knowledge.  With guidance and careful questioning, a teacher can use constructivist methods which lead to more student engagement and a greater understanding of topics.

Technology has been considered as a possible replacement of the teacher in the classroom.  Ninety-three years ago, Thomas Edison wrote: “I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that, in a few years, it will supplant, largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks. I should say that on the average we get only about two percent efficiency out of textbooks as they are written today.” (Snyder, 2015)  Critics today claim that as new technologies develop, teachers will no longer be necessary in the future.  However, there will always be a need to have the personal connection between the student and the teacher in order to bring out the best in each individual.  Students learn with a variety of modalities and a skilled teacher can adapt learning opportunities for each of those differences.

So, how do you utilize technologies powerful learning capabilities for your students?  First and foremost, you have to create an atmosphere in your class that creates, teaches, and instills a love of learning within each of your students.  This can be challenging in today’s climate of producing results from our students through standardized testing.  However, in experiencing my own success in taking students who have averages in the lowest levels, to averages higher than state levels, the key is in working to not just focus on the “Three R’s” of learning, reading, writing, and arithmetic.    It comes from moving into teaching the 21st century skills, as well. the “Four C’s” of learning, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.  Transforming and becoming a facilitator of learning becomes the challenge that teachers must strive to accomplish in their classes.- Technology becomes the means in which, as a teacher, you can make that transformation.  There are many examples one could implement to turn learning over to the students.

  1. Interactive Collaboration – Google Docs or Hangouts, Skype, and others offer students platforms to collaborate with not only students in the class, but around the globe.
  2. Gathering Feedback – Whether formative or summative assessing, teachers can utilize technologies such as Google Forms, Kahoot, Plickers or Socrative to collect data. Students could also use these and others to collect data from surveys for projects they are working on.
  3. Embedding Questions in Videos – Services such as Playposit or can help teachers and students present new topics with videos, while checking for understanding.
  4. Active Learning – Teachers can move towards student-centered learning by shifting teaching theories and introducing Project Based Learning or Inquiry Learning which can utilize technology in both the research and demonstration of learning by students.
  5. Social Learning –  Powerful learning can take place when we interact and learn from others around us.  Many times teachers rely on one another to find lessons that others have used to borrow and bring into our own class. We fail to allow students to do the same, even though they are extremely social in nature.  Allowing students the opportunities to learn how to use sites such as Twitter or Facebook, along with a multitude of others, for learning can enhance their learning experience.
  6. Student-Created Presentations – One of the easiest to begin with is having students create their own presentations of that which they have learned.  Using programs such as Google Slides, PowerPoint, Keynote, and others, are great tools that use many skills such as critical thinking.  Taking time to teach what makes effective presentations is essential to student success.

The skills students will learn while completing either their own learning guided by their interests, or those that the teacher has initiated but given students control of learning the topic, will enable them to utilize those skills in many other aspects of their lives.  Student learning will be far greater, and prepare them for real life skills that will carry them throughout their adult lives.


Ferriter, B. (2013, July 11). Technology is a Tool, NOT a Learning Outcome. Retrieved October 11, 2016, from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015l). Technology: Instructional tool vs. learning tool [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Snyder, A. (2015, May 8). Technology as a Learning Tool. Retrieved October 11, 20116, from

Peer Editing Student Writing – Voicethread

My plan is to use this Voicethread this week to help teach how to Peer Edit other’s writing, and assess their understanding of what is covered in the brief lesson.


Opening Peer Edit Picture:

Frame 1 Peer Editing Steps Picture:

Frame 3 Suggestion Box Picture:

Frame 4 Red Correction Paper Picture:

Frame 5 Peanuts Be Kind to Others Picture:

Frame 6 Anais Nin Quote Picture:

Constructionism Theory of Learning in Today’s Classroom

The Constructionism Theory of learning lends itself to the move to integrate technology into the classroom, as well as, the thinking behind new Common Core Standards.  These theories of Jean Piaget, points out, “Knowledge is not simply transmitted from teacher to student, but actively constructed in the mind of the learner.  Learners don’t get ideas; they create ideas. Moreover, constructionism suggests that new ideas are most likely to be created when learners are actively engaged in building some type of external artifact that they can reflect upon and share with others.” (Orey, 2001)  Seymour Papert, who worked with Piaget, said there were four mechanisms for learning, assimilation, accommodation, equilibration, and the primary storer of information, is schemas. (Laureate,  2016c) The main goal of Constructionism is the creation of an artifact by students based on their learning. Another proponent of the theory Vygotsky, believed, “consciousness is not the ability of an individual to know all the ontological answers to the universe, rather, it is the ability to perceive meaningfully.” (Lui & Matthews, 2005) Therefore, realizing that our roles must change from a “transfer engineer of information”, to a facilitator of learning, the use of technology can enhance student learning through constructionist strategies.

Probably some of the most recalled instances in my own learning throughout my life are the times that I was involved in experiential learning.  Visiting many of our nations key sites in its history, has given me a love of learning about how our nation was born.  That type of learning can be recreated within the classroom, by transforming the classroom into an environment in which learning by students is created through interactive relationships between the student and the task.  Many activities that great teachers incorporate into their classrooms already fit this type of structure.  Role playing, real-life simulations, hands-on creative activities, writing and even peer-editing are all types of activities that utilize higher Bloom’s skills such as evaluation, synthesis, and analysis.  Technology is a great tool to allow students to be able to work on researching and creating artifacts for their own learning.  As technology advances, many new possibilities exist that can be used, such as Wiki sites, Podcasts, Videos, Blogs, to name a few allow the creation of artifacts that require higher level thinking.

In my own class, I have been shifting towards allowing my students more abilities to work to learn on their own.  While creating curriculum for out district with units of study that focus on key Common Core Standards, I worked to create performance tasks that were meant to work towards a finished product that demonstrated their learning.  Since I focus on Writing for our grade level, I decided to add a real-world application, by utilizing Blogs for my students.  With my homeroom class, I decided to set up a Genius Hour style approach to Science.  Students are working to learn about those areas of interest within the required standards, with the goal of creating an artifact that will be featured on the classroom webpage.  As I facilitate their learning, I have asked them higher level questions to help guide their learning.  I also introduce and encourage creative thinking in the choices they are making to create models of their learning.  One group studying plants, recently asked me if they could cook a cake and decorate it to model the parts of a plant cell.  They were excited to have the opportunity to show their learning in this way.  Strategies like these help both students and teachers master the ISTE standards that help shape our 21st Century students.  Constructionism projects such as these, help students meet five of the six standards.  They certainly encourage research using technology, which requires critical thinking and decision making skills, along with collaboration with others, and creativity in creating the final artifact.  (ISTEs 2016) Teachers become the facilitator that inspires students to be creative by designing learning experiences that allow this type of project based learning. (ISTEt 2016)

While researching this week and synthesizing the information that I found, I realized that the project in Science that I have asked my students to work on this year, crosses a variety of learning theories.  While a Genius Hour style adaptation, my students are working through the process of learning about their chosen topic to create a final artifact that demonstrates their learning.  Constructionism is the main learning theory that my students are using to learn.  Technology plays a key role in helping my students learn as they navigate many sources during their research.  As final projects begin to be created, there will also be a creative use of a variety of tools that can be used by students to complete them.  Students are always excited when I tell them it is time for Science, and in the short time they have been working, I see that there is a great deal of learning that has already taken place.  While it can be challenging to change one’s thinking about the role of a teacher, it is also very rewarding to see student want to find answers to their questions.  Since humans have the innate need to search out truths, students want to find answers to what interests them. It is through times like I am providing my students that they can develop the skills to learn how to utilize technology to help them learn.



International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE standards for students. Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE standards for teachers. Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015e). Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Lui, C. H., & Matthews, R. (2005). Vygotsky’s philosophy: Constructivism and its criticisms examined. International Education Journal, 6(3), 386-399. Retrieved September 27, 2016, from

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

Yellowstone Virtual Reality Field Trip Update


On day two I had the opportunity to watch a twenty minute video with my students about Yellowstone.  This was after we successfully were able to watch Old Faithful erupt live.  As we finished the video, we were able to hold a discussion about what they had learned from the video.  I worked with them making the suggestions as seen on my Mind Map on how to complete it.  With questioning and their input, we were able to complete a good portion of the map.  With several other planned activities, students will be able to complete more of the map on their own.

One interesting development that I uncovered when I was grading this weeks Blog posts by my students, was one student was so intrigued by what she learned that she wrote what she learned on her Blog page. To check out the short post on Carly’s Blog Post . As I started the second day, there was more engagement with everyone working to complete their own Mind Map.  I will give them one more period of working on their map individually, after I show an additional video about the park.

Yellowstone Virtual Reality Field Trip and Cognitive Learning

Connecting students to the real world by giving them experiences that they may not be able to encounter, helps to prepare them for their lives in the future.  Technology allows the teacher the opportunity to bring the world into the classroom.  In my school, the majority of students come from Hispanic and lower income families.  Many have not had the opportunity to travel to locations outside our own city.  There are some that may have gone to Mexico, but not to other locations.

To prepare for this lesson, I chose to utilize Google’s Expedition program of bringing the world into the classroom.  I decided to take my students to Yellowstone National Park, and introduce them to a variety of science concepts.  My plan was to not only incorporate the 360 degree photographs that Expedition offered, but to utilize live webcams of Old Faithful, as well as the extensive library of videos that the National Park Service has on their website.

Having researched and read about the benefits of cognitive tools on learning, I chose to ask students to create a mind map as we visited Yellowstone virtually. Mindomo Press points out that, “A mind mapping tool creates the right context where students can develop their critical thinking, creativity, independent though process and teamwork skills.” (Mindomo Press, p2, 2013) I took time to introduce mind maps to my students, by discussing the reason why they help students better understand materials they are learning.  Then I had them watch a video on how to create mind maps, and showed them several examples I had found with a Google search.

I created my graphic organizer using the parameters of a mind map, by placing the main question in the center of the page.  Radiating from the center are the arms of the graphic organizer, which contain the central ideas I want students to focus on as we visit the park.  My central question is, What scientific principles are found in Yellowstone Park? From that point, students will continue with smaller branches containing details they learn as we learn about water, rock, plants and animal components within the park.


I began the process of visiting Yellowstone via Google’s Expeditions, by projecting it onto my board.  I had wanted to work as a guide with all students being able to see each of the places we would be visiting on their individual Ipads, however, my Site Tech was unable to download the apps on all their Ipads.  This created some disengagement by some of the students, as they were not focused.  I was able to successfully view the live webcam, but due to the limited time frame in which to complete the project, Old Faithful was not scheduled to erupt until after school was over.  To further complicate matters, their website was having troubles making their videos unavailable.  We were able to successfully look through the five different areas of the park that Expeditions offered.  With help from me, we were able to complete some of the mind map.  I plan to continue working with my students to learn more about each of the areas to help them learn more about our first National Park. I will update the process, this weekend.

The cognitive tools that I have chosen to use in this process, Expeditions, Videos, Webcams, and Mind Maps, all help support the constructivist theory and utilize higher order thinking skills by my students.  Orey’s study by several authors, points out several of the issues that I encountered. However, overall I believe that the overall plan does, in fact, set clear learning goals, utilizes a graphic organizer that allows for student to show their own expression of knowledge, and can be scaffolded if needed. ( Robertson, 2007) As I work through technical issues, I will continue to reflect on the process and work to seek full engagement by all my students.


Mindomo Press. (2013, May 15). How mind maps can inspire collaborative learning. Retrieved    from . 19 Sept. 2016.

Robertson, B., Elliot, L., & Robinson, D. (2007). Cognitive tools. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 19 Sept. 2016, from


Behaviorism in Today’s Technology Enhanced Classroom

While the behaviorist theory has been practiced for centuries with students, it wasn’t until John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner identified the approaches to learning.  “Watson believed that human behavior resulted from specific stimuli that elicit certain responses.” (Orey, p2., 2001) “Expanding on Watson’s basic stimulus-response model, Skinner developed a more comprehensive view of conditioning, known as operant conditioning. His model was based on the premise that satisfying responses are conditioned, while unsatisfying ones are not.” (Orey, p 2, 2001)  In a very recent staff meeting on working with autistic children, it was pointed out that a strategy to handle students that challenge the teacher was to give the student two choices with one having a positive consequence and one negative.  Teachers reward and punish students to strive to achieve desired behaviors every day.

Using technology in the classroom can follow the behaviorist theory, depending on the particular program, and way, in which it is utilized.  There are many programs that provide enrichment and practice for students that could be said to reward them for positive responses.  Programs such as Scootpad, provide teachers the opportunity to allow students to work in a variety of subject areas to show mastery of standards.  Students earn coins for each correct answer, which can be used to purchase backgrounds or extra games that can be played.  Students get instant feedback and strive to get more correct answers than incorrect ones to earn the positive rewards.  These types of programs reinforce behaviorism while doing the same for standards that students have been taught.  “Well-made software programs allow teachers to choose which learning objectives students need to practice, offer sophisticated and seamless multimedia to keep the learner engaged, and provide immediate feedback and scaffolding in order to help students understand and practice a concept.” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, p174, 2012) This is just one of the programs that are utilized in my classroom to enhance learning.

Many of the technologies I have already implemented into my daily routines are intended to capitalize on enhancing the learning goals based on the required standards. Students are using Google products to create examples of their learning, such as reports and stories that are written on a Google Doc and even peer edited. The student use of the Ipad is determined by their willingness to complete assignments, use it appropriately, and follow simple rules.  Their choices determine whether they receive negative or positive consequences, which is an age old behaviorist practice.  Other programs, such as Spellingcity and Edcite, are practice and testing sites that allow students practice time and then the ability to take assessments.  Students are given immediate feedback that shares how successful they have been.   Recently, I introduced the concept of using blog sites to post student work, to provide them with more incentive to work harder on their writing skills, as their work is for more than just the teacher to read.  As I choose technologies, such as these and others, an overall determining factor becomes how they meet the technology standards as outlined in ISTE and my state’s standards.

Those standards are for both the teacher and the student to master with the use of technologies.  Sites like Spellingcity and Edcite help teachers assess and collect data on student mastery of content standards.  While the immediate feedback is behaviorist in nature, sites such as these do little to meet the ISTE standards for students.  Lessons in my class involve student research, collaboration, and the use of technology to create a demonstration of the knowledge they have gained.  The new ISTE standards state that students need to be empowered learners, who are good digital citizens that construct using technology evidence of knowledge through innovative design, all while being a global communicator that communicates creatively and develops into a computational thinker. (ISTE for Students, 2016)

As I move into the future, my main concern is to continue to guide my students into critical thinkers that can solve problems and demonstrate their mastery of the expectations they are faced with required content standards.  As Laura Moorhead points out in her blog titled, There’s no app for good teaching, when quoting Punya Mishra, “At the start and end of each school day, ask: What’s the pedagogical goal? ‘What we’re doing in schooling and in teaching is trying to convey content knowledge, whether it’s music, art or math.’” (Moorhead, p3, 2014) Whether I incorporate methods of Genius Hour, or Hour of Code, all technology use is determined on good teaching practices that will help my students move towards mastery of the content standards.  Technology will not replace the teacher in the classroom. Early research by individuals such as, “Peterson (1931) conducted early research on Pressey’s self-scoring testing devices. His experimental groups were given the chemically treated scoring cards used for self- checking while studying a reading assignment.” (Burton, Moore, Magliaro, p14, 19xx) What they and other have shown, is that immediate feedback improves overall performance of students.  Moving into the future, I will use the ideas of behaviorist theories, along with the knowledge of research results, in guiding my thoughts as I plan lessons, while incorporating technology. As always my goal is to help students in helping them become critical thinkers, which will help them move towards mastery of those content standards. Ultimately, this is the task we are asked to perform in our positions.




Burton, J. K., Moore, D. M., & Magliaro, S. G. (2016, February 18). Behaviorism and Instructional Technology       [Scholarly project]. In Edtech. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). Standards for students. Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). Standards for teachers. Retrieved from

Moorhead, L. (2014, September 3). There’s no app for good teaching. Retrieved from      . 12 Sept. 2016.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from . p2. 11 Sept. 2016.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.).      Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Defining My Personal Theory of Learning

When reflecting on my own ideas regarding how students learn, I believe that it stems from a blend of some of the leading theorists throughout history.  This belief explains how I approach lessons within the classroom, and is claimed to be, “Or perhaps you believe that all of these perspectives together describe the range of possible explanations of how learning occurs. If that is the case, as an eclectic instructor, you will choose to implement those parts of the theories that best match the teaching and learning needs of the moment.” (Lever and McDonald, p29, 2015) Over the years, I have worked to understand how I can better engage students and increase their learning.  Therefore, I have a variety of examples that support my blended theory.

Jean Piaget formulated the Developmental Theory, which stated that key developmental stages may affect learning.  Having taught several grade levels throughout my career, I have witnessed the need to change how you teach to reach the different levels of development that students bring to your classroom.  Lev Vygotsky, a social learning theorist, recognized the desire of students to bond within a community.  In the past several years, not only have I worked in small tutoring groups, but also, rearranged my classroom to incorporate cooperative learning, where students bond with each other and communicate together to improve learning.  This past week in class, I was discussing with my class how they must utilize the models that are provided for student success, which is a social learning theory that Albert Bandura developed.  He believed that the prediction of the outcome was directly tied to the motivation given through the modeling process.  While I utilize other ideas, the most interesting that I have been moving towards, of late, is the thoughts by Howard Gardner on Multiple-Intelligences.  Originally having identified eight innate capabilities, then adding an additional one, with another under study, he felt that every child used a dominate capability or combinations to learn.  These ideas included; linguistic, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and existential.  I have been striving to incorporate multiple strategies within lessons, to use various capabilities that reach more students.  While some of these ideas were taught during my program of studies for my credential, it wasn’t until, I had worked and tested my own ideas within the class setting, that I have come to develop my thoughts of learning.  The ideas presented by Lever and McDonald, not only reminded me of that training, but have helped me better understand how my teaching style has evolved. (Lever and McDonald, p28, 2015)

Over the two classes that I have worked on here at Walden University, my understanding of the importance of transforming my teaching practices and integrating technology to new levels has grown.  Having studied carefully the California Common Core Standards, it is clear that technology can play an important role in developing the critical thinking of students.  Through research and creative uses of technology to demonstrate learning, students can broaden those skills with challenging lessons that teachers create.  Ben Johnson, administrator, educator and author, in his blog post, “Great Teachers Don’t Teach,” states:

“Returning to my original premise: great teachers do not teach. They stack the deck so that students have a reason to learn and in the process can’t help but learn mainly by teaching themselves. This knowledge then becomes permanent and cherished rather than illusory and irrelevant.” (Johnson, 2013)

This is the path that I chose to begin last year, as I revamped my teaching style and began this course of studies.  As I move forward, it is my desire to become the “learning engineer,” as Ben Johnson retitled the role of the teacher.  To accomplish this goal, it will require that I am willing to look to others for help in developing the lessons and strategies that have proven effective in other classrooms.

Currently in my own classroom, I incorporate small project-based learning goals that require students to research, collaborate, and create various methods of delivery of learning that has taken place.  This year, I am integrating more options for students to use technology to demonstrate their learning.  In Writing, I will be introducing students to Blogging to give them real-world experiences to demonstrate and improve their writing abilities.  I am hoping that their blogs will be visited by other students, and that an interaction will begin to occur that will inspire my class to work hard to improve their writing skills.  In Science, I have created a Wiki page for students to create projects that demonstrate their understanding of the ten basic topics they are responsible to learn.  They have chosen the topic they wish to research first, and will now begin to learn about the standards I have outlined for them.  My overall goal for the future is to continue to work towards helping my students find a love of learning that translates into a deeper understanding and mastery of the standards they must know, but also to prepare them for their future lives.

As I work to accomplish this goal for myself, I will be working to uphold the Mission and Vision of Walden University.  Through the transformation from teacher to facilitator, I will be making the social changes in both a scholarly and applied sense.  Students in my classes will, “apply new skills, expand their networks, gain deeper knowledge, and consider a variety of perspectives in order to better address practical problems,” (Social Change, n.d-b, Walden University) they may face in school, and the world they live in.  The efforts that I make will help to change the lives of my students for the better to help them secure a successful future.  As I continue to allow my students greater freedom of their own learning, the guidance in the direction they will take will be guided by the ISTE Standards.  Students will develop skills that cross all six of the standards, 1) Creativity and innovation, 2) Communication and collaboration, 3) Research and information fluency, 4) Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making, 5) Digital citizenship, and 6) Technology operations and concepts.  (ISTE, 2016) As the “learning engineer,” I will also work to follow the three teacher ISTE standards that deal with students, 1) Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity, 2) Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments, and 3) Model digital age work and learning. (ISTE, 2008)  The final two standards for teachers will be met through my efforts as our site technology coach.  With everything I have learned and experienced in the transformation I began last year, I know that my students will benefit immensely.  While the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, focused mainly on college students, this type of brain-based learning I am shifting to have benefits as they conclude.

“The combination of information from brain research, the brain-based literature, and our experience implementing brain-based strategies in our courses, and the student evaluation data makes for an argument that teaching with the ‘brain’ in mind is a win-win situation and may increase the academic performance, sharpen the thought processes, and improve the attitudes toward learning of college students.” (Freeman and Wash, p116, 2013)

In my experience in the first year of my shift, students excelled as a result of their engagement.  As I move forward, I will continue to work to make positive social changes with both my students and my colleagues.








Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2015). Teaching and learning with technology, Enhanced Pearson eText (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Johnson, B. (2013, June 28). Great Teachers Don’t Teach. Retrieved September 03, 2016, from

Walden University. (n.d.-b). Social change. Retrieved September 01, 2016, from

Walden University. (n.d.-a). Mission and vision. Retrieved September 01, 2016, from

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). Standards for students. Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). Standards for teachers. Retrieved from

Freeman, G. G., & Wash, P. D. (2013). You can lead students to the classroom, and you can make them think: Ten brain-based strategies for college teaching and learning success. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 24(3), 99–120. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Synthesis of Personal Learning on Technology Integration

As I began my first course with Walden University, Impact of Technology on Education, Workplace, and Society, I was looking to expand my knowledge in ways which I could better incorporate it into my own classroom.  What I had not expected, was the direction we would be taken to think outside the box, through the inspiration of Will Richardson and his new book, From Master Teacher to Master Learner. (Richardson, 2015) We were all challenged to think about what constitutes powerful learning in our personal lives.  He states that, “Lack of student engagement isn’t a technology problem; it’s a curriculum and pedagogy problem. It’s also a culture problem.” (Richardson, 2015, Pg.31)  If we are to prepare our students for what they will face in their later lives, then we must consider how we can transform our teaching to instill a love of learning in them.  Technology is not the answer, but it is an important factor that can enhance the speed at which student learning can take place.

In making a transformation into a 21st Century classroom, the roles of  teacher and learner must change.  Effective teachers are always self reflecting on their teaching practices, looking at what is working and what is not. In doing so for myself, I was beginning to realize that in order to accomplish the goals that the new Common Core Standards were designed to do, then my own teaching style was going to have to change.  One of the changes that I had instituted last year was an increased use of collaboration.  Dr. Shelia Tucker stated in her journal article, “Transforming Pedagogies: Integrating 21st Century Skills and Web 2.0 Technology,” the following,

 “Collaborative Learning theory is the opposite of traditional learning whereby students are seen as being passive, isolated learners. Collaborative learning, which is in line with the new conceptions of learning, involves the mutual engagement of learners working together to solve a problem or working together on learning tasks.” (Tucker, 2014, Pg.169)

The teacher becomes more of the facilitator of learning, guiding the students to become active learners, charting their own paths to meet the goals the teacher provides them.  This change of thought in teaching practices means that teachers are no longer the center of knowledge, but become learners themselves.  Because technology changes at incredible rates, they must learn alongside, and sometimes from, their students, how technology can enhance the learning process.

The focus of this course has been on several different Web 2.0 technologies and how they could be integrated into the classroom.  Working with Blogs and Wikis, students can use them to collaborate and demonstrate their learning with both their fellow classmates, and people from around the world.  In his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Will Richardson point out the power of using the Read/Write Web,

“That potential audience is one of the most important aspects of the Read/Write Web. The idea that the relevance of student work no longer ends at the classroom door can not only be a powerful motivator but can also create a significant shift in the way we think about the assignments and work we ask of our students in the first place.” (Richardson, 2010, Pg. 50)

By writing in Blogs, students can hold meaningful communications with others interested in the same ideas, thereby extending learning.  Collaboration can occur within the creation of a Wiki, which can promote student research, creativity, communication, and critical thinking.  Through the integration of these technologies teachers can meet the needs of today’s learners.

As I was working on this course, I was also considering what I would work on changing, in my teaching practices for the upcoming year.  The materials that we read within this course gave me a renewed sense of excitement about the possibilities that I could work on changing.  Two areas became the focus of a transformation that I plan on making.  The first is with the ninety-nine students that I teach Writing to. My plan is to utilize Blogs for them to demonstrate their writing abilities for others to read and collaborate together, to improve their writing abilities.  In my Homeroom classroom, I plan for students to create a Wiki site on Science standards they are required to learn for their testing.  One potential problem that I will have to work to overcome will be the fact that my young students will be hesitant and unsure about the freedoms they have to learn.  Due to their prior experiences in the classroom, I will have to work hard to teach them new habits of learning and responsibility.  By changing the attitudes about learning within my students as the year progresses they will begin to become more self-reliant.  These activities will help in the mastery students must make with the six ISTE standards. 1) Creativity and innovation, 2) Communication and collaboration, 3) Research and information fluency, 4) Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making, 5) Digital citizenship, 6) Technology operations and concepts will each be mastered as students work in both of my planned uses of technology. (ISTE n.d.-a) Mastering four of the five ISTE Standards standards for teachers, will also be accomplished for myself. This will be a step towards the continuation of a transformation of teaching practices, headed for a total redefinition, I began a couple of years ago.

As I move forward, the S.M.A.R.T Goals that I would like to accomplish over the next two years, will lead me towards a full transformation in all aspects of teaching and prepare my students with skills that will prepare them for their futures.  The first, would be that by the end of the next two years, each of my students in each year, will be actively posting within their Blog page, with 80% of them writing content that engages others in conversation about some of their topics. The remaining students will have shown growth in their ability to clearly state their thoughts.  My second goal will concern student design within a Wiki page.  Over the next two years, all students in both classes will demonstrate they can research a given topic in Science, synthesize information, and make at least two contributions to each of the ten subject areas on the class Wiki page by March of each year. Growth will be measured, by the completion of Wiki page contributions, as well as 80% of all students will use the knowledge gained to score proficient on their state CST assessment, with the remaining scoring at least Near Proficiency.  To accomplish these goals, I will continuously reflect and evaluate on the progress of each student throughout the year.  I will help motivate and facilitate student learning, to help them reach goals I set for them, as well as these goals for myself.

All I have learned throughout this course can be summed up in six simple steps that David Cutler outlines in his Blog post, How to Become and Remain a Tranformational Teacher. 1) Constantly share best practices, 2) Find a trusted mentor teacher, 3) Commit to classroom observations, 4) Change things up, 5) Model the usefulness of what you teach, and 6) Caring beyond what you teach. (Cutler, 2016)  I will commit to each of these, and continue to learn from those who have blazed this trail before me, but also mentor and help those who wish to follow me down the path of becoming a transformational teacher.


Richardson, W. (2015). From Master Teacher to Master Learner. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Pgs. 31,50.

Tucker, S. Y. (2014). TRANSFORMING PEDAGOGIES: Integrating 21ST Century Skills and Web 2.0 Technology. Turkish Online Journal Of Distance Education (TOJDE), 15 (1), 169.

ISTE. (n.d.-a). ISTE Standards for students. Retrieved November 5, 2015, from .

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015h). The changing role of the classroom teacher: Part 1 [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015). Are your goals S.M.A.R.T.? [Multimedia file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher. (2016, July 26). Retrieved August 14, 2016, from

Educational Implications of Changes in Technology

Changes in technology have made a major impact in the business world, while leaving the slow-to-change educational field to catch up.  Consumerism and the desire of the public to be able to have more for less, has propelled businesses to turn to technology to make that happen.  Mr. Kirnan Datar, VP of Moxtra, points out, “Business technology such as video conferencing, social networks and virtual technology has removed workplace boundaries that previously limited business expansion. By adopting these new technologies, businesses can now target a wider customer base and grow to higher levels.”  (Datar, 2014) These changes in technology are continuing to change at a fast pace and if our educational system is to remain relevant, it will need to adapt and change as well.

I have witnessed many changes in technology throughout my life.  During my own path through school, it was not until I was in college that computers were beginning to become smaller and affordable to use.  I remember taking a computer programming class, which involved learning the binary system and then punching a stack of cards in order to make the computer run the program you designed.  Today, however, writing the code to create programs is easier than ever.  For me, this transformation is amazing and always fascinated me.  In the classroom, over the past fifteen years, there has been a shift towards technology as well.

Many schools have been introducing the use of technology into the classroom, with many debates as to whether it is a benefit to learning or not.  Tania Lombrozo asks the question, “Is it Time to Ban Computers from Classrooms?” in her blog post. (Lombrozo, 2016) She believes that computers simply are a distraction, that in her studies, leads to decrease in test scores. Others believe that there is great benefit to the use of technology to learn. Gail Leicht and Don Goble argued that we should be using the same social media that students already use in the classroom in their blog post, “Should Teachers be using Social Media in the Classroom?” (Leicht, Goble, 2014) These types of discussions will continue as our world continues to adapt and advance the use of technology.  It will be important for teachers to change their own learning habits in order to help improve our teaching abilities and stay relevant in todays world.

In my own school, which I have worked for thirteen years, there has been a move to make technology assessable to every student.  Through the learning process for myself, I now see that the reasoning for this change is more of the looking for a “cure all” to low test scores, than for the ability to extend learning by our students and prepare them for what they encounter when they enter the business world.  Initially, Promethean boards were placed in almost every classroom in the district.  The software that came with them allowed teachers to create lessons that were interactive and could engage students.  The only problem was that teachers were never adequately trained on how to use the software, and they became either an unused product, or a digital whiteboard.  Our former superintendent, made it an initiative of his to lead the district into the 21st Century with a one-to-one device campaign.  There was not much thought, however, on how the devices should be used, and the direction continues to be one of uncertainty.  There has been an attempt to train teachers on different apps and programs that can be used, but no discussion about he pedagogy of their use.  Without that, those that have no interest in learning about its use, will not embrace their use.  Will Richardson discussed student engagement with a Superintendent once and stated, “Lack of student engagement is not a technology problem; it’s a curriculum and pedagogy problem.” (Richardson, 2015, p.31) This shows the need for districts to work to help teachers understand the reason why they need to become 21st Century learners first, then transfer that into their classrooms.

In my own classroom, I have tried to use technology when it has been given to me, however, with limited effectiveness.  I have used a variety of apps as simply tools to assist me in easing some of the demands of teaching today.  Students would use programs like Google Docs to write their papers, and then turn them in through a learning management system.  Over the past year, I tried to give students more freedoms to research topics based on curriculum our district has been designing.  By allowing my students the ability to collaborate and spend more time writing, I saw the power that this could have in their learning.  As I begin to prepare for the upcoming year, I want to build on this shift and use the ideas that we have been learning in this class to engage my students with more technology.  I now understand that creating engaging writing opportunities will not only engage my students, but allow them to become more successful lifelong learners.

As educators move forward, they must embrace the changes digital technology has made in the classroom and look for new ways to keep pace with the ever changing field.  Matthew Lynch points out that there are four ways technology has already made changes over the past decade.  He points out, there are four examples: “Collaboration, Information Gathering, Remote Learning and Teacher Prep.” (Lynch, 2015) I agree that we must help our students embrace the learning and collaboration that businesses have already embraced, so that they will be able to compete in the job market.  It is important for them to develop their own digital identity, and it is up to us to make sure that they do so in a positive and beneficial way.  By learning how business is using technology ourselves, and embracing its use, we can implement it into our method of teaching to model that use with our students.  It is of utmost importance that we help be the change, that helps our students embrace the destiny of their own lives and learn how to use technology to learn what interests them the most.  By doing so, we will prepare them for their futures.


Datar, K. (2014). How Technology has changed the Workplace and Education. Retrieved from . July 11, 2016.


Lombrozo, T. (2016, July 11). Is it Time to Ban Computers from the Classroom?. Retrieved from . July 12, 2016.


Leicht, G. and Goble, D. (2014, October 1). Should Teachers be using Social Media in the Classroom?. Retrieved from . July 12, 2016.

Richardson, W. (2015). From Master Teacher to Master Learner. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Lynch, M. (2015, May 20). 4 ways digital tech has changed K-12 learning. Retrieved from