Archive for January, 2013

EDTC6433: ISTE1 Creative Connections—Linking students through blogging~

In my initial introduction post for this class I stated, “I feel comfortable with technology”, yet  I am reminded that “comfortable” is a relative term. The truth is, I have grown comfortable with certain technologies–(and at times over the years have been the “go to” person for helping other staff members), however, I realize that my “range” is rather narrow. I am hoping that this course will help me to gain needed skills and confidence.
As a high school special education teacher, I am especially interested in discovering new ways to motivate my students to express their thoughts in writing. Currently, in my Learning Strategies classes, we have limited access to computers, so I have been looking for a method to allow students to easily write from home. I anticipate that  at home, with ample time and a comfortable location, they might be more relaxed and perhaps more creative and reflective. I see this as being a way to promote ISTE Standard 1: Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

My question is: What resources are available to address individual student needs and draw out student strengths, while also encouraging reflective writing? In the midst of the readings this week and discussions with colleagues at school, I learned of a resource called Schoology. This is a free online tool that allows teachers to create an online, interactive classroom in which connections with students (and even other educators) can be easily facilitated. Most exciting to me is the feature which allows you to customize and differentiate instruction for students within the same course.

Another reason I selected this resource to share is because three of the most “techie” teachers at my school (one teaches history and the other science) have begun to use this tool with their students. My thinking is that I might be more likely to use it with the added support of others—especially when it comes to any potential “glitches”. Additionally, some of my students also have these other teachers—so using the tool with multiple teachers might increase familiarity all around.

In Digital Storytelling: A Powerful Technology Tool for the 21st Century, one of our readings for this week, author Bernard Robin conveys the important role that digital stories can increase student comprehension through “integrating visual images with written text” (p. 222). In another article , Learning, Teaching & Scholarship in the Digital Age, the author noted that  for high school students in particular, opportunities to exchange thoughts in written form via social networks can assist students in working out emotional and interpersonal issues (Greenhow, 2009).

Several colleagues shared wonderful resources promoting digital storytelling, and student blogging, however, one of the most helpful resources for me right now, was shared by one of my “blog buddies” encouraging us to be role models in learning to be creative with technology. The site is:

“Learn it in 5”, and offers short tutorials made for teachers to learn new tools in a very short time.

As I end one module and begin the next, I am anticipating that increased familiarity with new tools will lower my level of stress and bring forth new creativity as I endeavor to do the same for my students. The attached photo of Mount Rainier, I am choosing to share because it creates a sense of calm for me as well as inspires creativity to reflect, write and paint.

Mount Rainier

#ISTE1    #differentiation   #individualized   #writing


Greenhow, C. & Robelia, B. (2009). Learning, Teaching & Scholarship in the Digital Age.Educational Researcher  Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 246–259. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X09336671

Robin, B. R. (2008). Digital storytelling: A powerful technology tool for the 21st century classroom. Theory into Practice, 47(3), 220-­‐228.


Google+…Ready, set, begin~

As I consider the question of how I might demonstrate competency on the ISTE standards and how this process will enhance my instruction, assessment, and professional productivity, I am immediately inspired and eager to begin. Not only do I see multifaceted benefits and practical application as I participate in my district’s pilot for the new teacher evaluation system, but I see tremendous opportunities for creatively relating with other colleagues and sharing “best practices” with my students. I am particularly drawn to the visual nature of Google+ and am pleased to learn of so many options for communicating ideas, thoughts, and information in such creative ways.