Friday, December 21, 2012

Final Reflection

          As my current course “Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology” closes that I am taking through Walden University it is time to reflect on my “Personal Theory of Learning” that I developed during week one of the class.   This class has brought forward the theories that I had learned in my undergraduate classes in a new light letting us explore them and gain understanding of how they might be used in today’s classrooms. When I am teaching during the week I do not go through each learning theory and apply them to my student’s education in my classroom.  Because I have continually educating myself I feel that in my teachings I use bits and pieces of each learning theories such as the Behaviorist, Cognitive, Constructionist, Constructivist and Social learning theories that we explored in this class.  This class has made my understandings of each of these theories more clear and expanded my world of the educational technologies available to my students and me. 

           In my school there are limited resources when it comes to technology tools in my classroom.  I do have access to the computer lab so when thinking about technology tools that I would like to use with my students concept mapping and virtual field trips come to mind.  Both of these tools can be used together or separate to enhance and help students organize ideas, understand concepts, visualize and they support dual coding so that students will remember ideas taught down the road in life.               

          Two long term goals or changes that I would like to make to my instructional practice are to implement more technology in my classroom and to use that technology so that it is effective for students as a learning tool.  When it comes to implementing technology in my classroom I need to approach my administration and let them know that my art students need this to further their education in visual arts and how these resources could advance their knowledge in the content area.  I also need to put research into writing grants for this purpose so that I know I am doing all I can do for what is best for my students.  The second goal of effectively using technology as a learning tool would come into play when I get things such as whiteboards, printers, scanners or digital cameras for my classroom.  A lot of times teachers have these things and it is the teacher who is using them and not the students.  I want my students to be hands on in their learning and they need to learn how to operate and use these types of resources. After all, our students are our students and eventually we have to release them and give them the tools so when they leave our classroom they can fly on their own. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

          According to Orey, Social Learning Theories actively engage students in constructing artifacts and conversing with others. In turn Cooperative Learning is an instructional strategy that has students interacting with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Pitler, 2007). Both of these can work together in the classroom so that students gain what is needed for and enriching learning environment.
            Students normally interact with each other socially.  Doesn’t it make sense to use that to our advantage as teachers? There are many opportunities as teachers that we can use such sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Webquest, Google Docs, Edublogs and so on to our advantage when getting our students to have an urge to learn.  I know that I use some of these resources everyday and I gain insights and knowledge from them.  They use these sites anyway, so why not use them in a way that it is benefiting us as teachers also? It makes sense! We can take our content and have students work together on projects through online tools and collectively and cooperatively learn.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Social learning theories. Baltimore, MD: Dr. Michael Orey.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Constructivism in Practice

              In week four in the learning resources theories and ideas that were discussed were Constructionist, Constructivist, Project-based and generating and testing hypotheses in the classroom. According to Dr.Orey Constructivism is a theory of knowledge stating that each individual actively constructs his or her own meaning and Constructionism is a theory of learning that people learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can share with others (Laureate, 2010).   Project-based learning is according to Orey a teaching and learning strategy that engages learners in complex activities. It usually requires multiple stages and an extended duration and more than a few class periods and up to a full semester. Projects focus on the creation of a product or performance, and generally call upon learners to choose and organize their activities, conduct research, and synthesize information (Orey, 2012).  Project-based learning occurs often in my art classroom, but because of the thirty day rotation that occurs in the classroom there are limits on how long my students have to complete an art project although they are given the limit to the last day of the rotation.  Project-based learning and Constructionism work together where students create an artifact where they have to organize, research, and synthesize information to show they have retained information and created a project out of what they have learned. 

            When it comes to generating and testing hypotheses Howard Pitler suggests that this instructional strategy engages students in complex mental processes, applies content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhances student’s overall understanding of the content (Pitler, 2007).  The chapter suggests three different technologies that generate and test hypotheses: spreadsheet software, data collection tools, and Web resources (Pitler, 2007). All of these sources can be used in such a ways that the Constructionist theory of sharing knowledge and artifacts with others can be used and expressed.  



Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore, MD: Dr.Michael Orey.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2012). 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.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cognitivism in Practice

          Two chapters were explored this week from my class at Walden University from the book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works “Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers” and “Summarizing and Note Taking” both use cognitive learning theories.  These instructional strategies not only help students become better at being organized, but also help students retain what is being learned in the classroom and understand new content that is being learned. Also, we were to explore Concept Mapping and Virtual Field Trip tools.  These tools correlate with the instructional strategies and cognitive learning theories by having students discover new ways of learning ideas and information by using technology.
            The first instructional strategies “Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers” offer teachers information to teach students ways of understanding content being learned with embedding technology.  The authors suggest that “Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers” “focuses on enhancing students’ abilities to retrieve, use, and organize information about a topic” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski, 2007). By using these types of strategies and technology can help students retain information being learned such as word processing applications, spreadsheet software, organizing and brainstorming software, and multimedia programs they can help students retain the information by evoking multiple senses and help store information in a students memory because images are being used, developed and seen. 
            When it comes to “Summarizing and Note Taking” the authors suggests that “summarizing and note taking focus on enhancing students’ ability to synthesize information and distill it into concise new form.  Teachers can help students separate important information from extraneous information and state the information in their own words” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski, 2007).  Although in my middle school art class students do not usually have to note take they do have to summarize information that is being learned and use that information to create artworks of their own.  The ideas that this chapter has offered like wikis and blogs are great ways for students to take ideas that have been learned and summarize them by using these types of technology.  These types of technologies can help students to have reciprocal teaching where others can share, clarify, and question each other.
            Concept Mapping and Virtual Field Trip tools are great ways for students to explore new ideas and old.  These tools help students make mental pictures of information without leaving the classroom.  These tools connect with the principles of cognitive learning theory by having students replicate memory of ideas learned, become organized, supports Paivio’s dual coding hypothesis, information that is stored as images and text, and visualize tools (Laureate Education, 2010).  All of these technologies help students keep new information that is being given to them and allows it to be stored in their memory.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Cognitive learning theories. Baltimore, MD: Dr. Michael Orey.

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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Behaviorism in Practice

            Two of the instructional strategies that were discussed this week in the class that we are partaking in, “Reinforcing Effort” and “Homework and Practice” from the book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, relate to Behaviorism by reinforcing what is learned in a classroom setting.  The strategies use technology as a means to make learning more interesting and hands on for students.  Examples could include online tutorials, charts, spreadsheet software, word processing applications, iPads or iPods, etc.  All of these tools are excellent resources in technology that can reinforce ideas in the classroom outside the classroom.
            The first strategy “Reinforcing Effort” uses graphs, charts, and other programs on the computer for teachers, students, and parents to use to track the effort that students make in order to measure their effort and achievement. By using these types of strategies it can develop an attitude seeing the progress that they are making in a class.  This way of showing progress can reinforce a student’s effort much in the ways that behaviorist ideas suggest.
            The second strategy is also a reinforcing Behaviorist idea “Homework and Practice”.  When a student practices and does homework they are in turn reinforcing what has been taught in the classroom.  Dr. Orey suggests that reinforcement is much more powerful then punishment and when something is reinforced it can show that a student is learning something.  In particular in my classroom I do not particularly have homework assignments, but often when students come to me and show me that they practice drawing skills outside of school I will reward them with a sketchbook of their own so that I will reinforce the effort of practice.  I have students tell me daily “I can’t draw” and my response is “do you practice” and I am still waiting for a student to tell me yes. It is because when you want to get great at something you have to practice, practice, practice and practice.  Practice is what makes the ideas of a the Behaviorist Theory of believing that desirable behaviors need to be reinforced. 
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Behaviorist learning theory. Baltimore, MD: Dr. Michael Orey. 
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

REFLECTION: Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work and Society at Walden University

            This was the last assignment for my forth course at Walden University. Below are questions that I had to answer for the assignment in week seven.
In what ways has this course helped you to develop your own technology skills as a professional teacher?
            This course Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work and Society at Walden University has helped me develop my own technology skills in many ways such as introducing me to RSS feeds, blogs, wiki’s, and podcasting.  If it had not had been for this class I would have never have developed the skills that will lead me into becoming a 21st century teacher.  Yes, maybe I would have eventually learning theses various resources, but not a way to implement them into my classroom.  Hopefully in the future I will be able to gain technology resources for my classroom so that my students can be driven into the 21st century.    
In what ways have you deepened your knowledge of the teaching and learning process?
            I have deepened my knowledge of the teaching and learning process by learning about what I do on a daily basis, which is student-centered learning.  In my classroom I can give students ideas in which to create their art projects and then in turn they can develop them in a way that is meaningful to the student.  Technology can be another means in which students can develop ways in which they can express ideas and show growth.  Students can collaborate together using technology that can help prepare them for the 21st century skills that will be required when entering college and the workforce.
In what ways have you changed your perspective from being teacher-centered to learner-centered?
            As a former student in middle school and high school I was not very focused or would just zone out in class when a teacher was lecturing and teaching.  It was not until I went to college and found that things could be different when I took my visual art and art education classes.  I feel that my teaching has always been somewhat student-centered.  The time that my teaching is teacher-centered is when I have to give directions and demonstrations or verbally discipline my middle school art students when they get out of hand or too loud. This class has shown me to focus on my students in a way so that they have control of what is being created in my art class.
In what ways can you continue to expand your knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement?
            Some ways that I can expand my knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology is to spread the word about technology within my district, learn all that I can about up and coming 21st century technologies, and educate myself continually through my experiences through Walden University and beyond.  These examples will help my students achieve success.  If I can obtain these goals they will make me become a better teacher and in turn make my students more successful in what I am responsible for them learning.
Set two long-term goals (within two years) for transforming your classroom environment by which you may have to overcome institutional or systemic obstacles in order to achieve them. How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
Goal #1
            My first long term goal would be to obtain ipads or laptops for my classroom.  I have an art room that is in dire need of technology.  We could do so much more if we just had the opportunity to have these tools for the classroom.
Goal #2
            My second long term goal would be to find a grant to help obtain goal #1 so that my students can experience what all other students across the county have and that is a 21st century art classroom.  I am hoping my experiences through Walden University will help guide me to accomplish both of these goals because I know that my students would benefit most from these ideas and goals.
Refer to your checklist from Week 1. Have any of your answers changed after completing this course?
            Developing Technology Skills for the School and Workplace Environments section of the checklist is where I had the most “rarely” answers, but through this course it have given me ways that I can inform myself and my coworkers on technology use in and out of the classroom.  I now feel more confident then ever entering my classroom in the morning knowing that I can prepare my students for their future.

Profiling the Students of Today

        For week 5 of my Graduate course work at Walden University my class Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work and Society we had to develop a podcast that incorporates "Profiling Students of  Today" and their use of technology. Here you will find the link to the podcast. It was an enjoyable experience and shined light onto what my students know about technology and what they have yet to learn. (My voice sounds a bit deep.....was not sure why! lol) Enjoy!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Evaluating 21st Century Skills/ P21

          In week four in my fourth class at Walden University:  Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work & Society we are to post to our blog about evaluating and exploring the website of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website or abbreviated P21. This website discusses the advancement of 21st century skills that are and will be needed for students while and once they finish school and are entering the workforce.  When exploring this website there were a lot of things that excited me because I teach art and as an art educator in the state of Ohio look to things outside of the state standardized test.  A lot of what they focus on is information literacy, critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills, teamwork, information technology, leadership, creativity and innovative thinking, lifelong learning, self-direction, professionalism, ethics, and social responsibility.  Most and hopefully one day all of these ideas I would love to think that I do everyday in my classroom. 
           When searching through the website there was tons of information, but of course as an art teacher my eyes go directly to anything that correlates to the arts, creativity and innovation. The P21 website embraces creativity in schools and I saw a link under “The Creative Act”-Marcel Duchamp that made mention of the Readymade artist Marcel Duchamp.  Known for his innovative ideas in art one of his most well known or controversial artworks is that of a urinal called Fountain from 1917.  He with other artists from the time made the public think differently or more creatively when thinking about ideas in art.  Today his name is being discussed on the P21 website not because of a urinal, but because of his new ideas of those days back then.     
          Other ideas that caught my attention are that of the 4 C’s: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity, that P21 bases their ideas around along with the 3 R’s.  I feel that because I have not yet had the opportunity to have technology in my classroom that I am still able to capture the 4 C’s into my daily teachings and my students are continually learning them.   I feel that technology in my classroom is not a necessity, but could heighten the use of the 4 C’s in my art room. It would make all of the C’s more compatible with the 21st century skills that my students future employers would be looking for when hiring them in their future.   There was a video on the website from you tube by Peter H. Reynold called Above & Beyond: The Story of the 4 C’s that made me think back to when I taught art at the elementary level.  He wrote and illustrated a book called The Dot and Ish that I would read to my students.  Those books along with the video tell a story of using creativity to create the unimaginable, and to think outside the box.  As a teacher I feel that we need to push our students to do so everyday we are in the classroom.
          If there were one thing from the website that I would have to criticize would be the state initiatives that were listed.  My state was on the list, but it looks as though since our previous governor Ted Strickland left office and the new governor (dare I write his name) Kasich has not done anything to update the website.  I feel things that P21 are doing is to improve the education system in the United States.  I am hoping when I go back to the website down the road that I will see that my state will be more on board with the ideas behind P21.    
          The implications for my students and myself as a contemporary educator are that I   need to keep myself updated on new trends and to get my students on track for their future.  It is important for not only my students, but for myself as an educator to be aware of what is going on in education and to always continue to be a life long learner no matter what I do in my life.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Art Room....Let's Blog!

One idea that I have to use this blog for is to showcase student artwork and the art room itself for my middle school students in grades 5-8.  Many things go on in the art room.  Yes, we make art and NO, we do not just COLOR!! We CREATE and INNOVATE!!  We EXPRESS our FEELINGS and our IDEAS.  This can be a place for my students, their parents/guardians and my community to come to when they want to write, see and read about what is happening in the H.M.S art room. This is a great place to advocate my program, especially because too often the ARTS get overlooked.  I can, as the H.M.S. art teacher, keep students, teachers, administrators, parents/guardians and the community updated when it comes to lessons and information that happens in the art room. The students can even communicate and discuss topics assigned in various lessons through the 30 day rotations that they have art class. Come back soon to see what is going on with the blog and the H.M.S. art students work.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This is the first time I have ever Blogged......definitely something new. Hopefully I can use this as a means to make art even more important in the district and school that I teach, especially for my students because that is the whole reason I teach! Here is to new challenges and using technology! Salute!