Saturday, August 16, 2014

Final Blog Post for IT&DML with Ignite Talk

It is hard to believe that I am coming to the end of my journey through the Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy program.  It was such as amazing experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the first year of the program.  Not only did I learn more than I ever thought I would about instructional technology and digital media literacy, but I met a group of amazing individuals who I respect both as educators and individuals.

I would like to thank my professors and classmates.  Their support, expertise and guidance allowed me to not only further my education, but also pursue a career in the field of instructional technology.  I look forward to continuing my relationship with the University of New Haven and the members of the IT&DML programs in the future.

Due to my new position, I will be unable to attend the final class on August 19th.  I gave my ignite talk yesterday at EdCamp as an introduction to the discussion session I held.  Unfortunately I did not record myself presenting it, so I recorded the narrative over the slide show for everyone to view.  For those who attended the session yesterday, it may not sound exactly the same since it was not a scripted speech.

Please never hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.  I hope to stay in touch with everyone from the program.  Good luck with this school year and thank you again for everything!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Video Ethnography COMM 7728 - Elizabeth Ferry

I was assigned to complete a video ethnography for one of my final projects of my IT&DML classes.  It was a very interesting process for me to complete this assignment.  I had a chance to reflect back on my entire life and figure out a way to use technology to allow others to see who I am as an individual and as a professional.

Although there a good number of programs that I could have used to create my ethnography, I decided to try a program recommended by our professor called Sound Slides.  I had never worked with the program before, but it did not take me long to figure out how to import photos and order them for the presentation.  The only difficult part I had was figuring out which photos to use and scanning the photos that were taken before digital photographs existed.  It was fun to look through old photos and reminisce on my life!

I wanted to include both music and a narrative with my ethnography.  One of the examples our professor provided us with had this feature and I liked how the presentation flowed.  There were a few bumps along the way for me though when completing this part of the project.  First, I needed to make sure that the music I selected could be used by others under the Creative Commons License.  I used the website Free Music Archive to find instrumental music for my ethnography.  There were a variety of genres and options to choose from, but I finally decided on a piece created by Josh Woodward titled "Once Tomorrow".

After I selected the music it was very easy to import it into my slide show.  The biggest bump I faced was when I attempted to put my narrative in the presentation while the music was playing.  I used Screencast-o-matic to record my screen while the presentation was playing so I could narrate for each picture.  Initially I had awful feedback when I attempted to use only my laptop microphone to complete the narration.  Since I wanted this to include this project in my digital portfolio, I wanted to make sure the sound was as good as it could possibly be therefore, I decided to invest in an external microphone for my computer.  Once I purchased the microphone I was then able to complete the narration of the presentation.  Unfortunately it did take me a few attempts to complete the narration, due to my barking dog and laughing son!  In the end though it was a great learning experience and I am very pleased with the final product.

The following is my video ethnography for COMM 7728, I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

COMM 7728 Remix Project - Math Rap

When our professor informed us that we had to create a remix project with a partner for our content area, I knew exactly what I wanted to and who I wanted to work with.  +Amy Paskov and I have worked together on previous projects.  As math teachers, we love our subject area and we know what our students would like to use in class to help them with math.

Our professor referenced School House Rock as an example of what she wanted us to create.  My 8th graders actually love School House Rock, but they also like the YouTube videos created by Westerville High School in Ohio that feature math raps.  I knew Amy would go along with my idea and help me create a math rap animated video.

We both attempted to download apps that took our voices or text and converted them to a rap.  I even attempted to do the rap myself, but boy was it awful!  Thankfully we found that Go Animate provided a text to voice feature and although it wasn't Tupac or JayZ sounding, it didn't turn out so bad in the end.

Honestly one of the best parts of completing the project was collaborating with Amy through a Google Doc on the lyrics.  We should consider copyrighting the lyrics to ensure no one else tries to use it as their own creation!  This was another example of how we can use the tools and resources that we learned about during our IT&DML courses to create online material that our students can use.

The following is a link to the Go Animate video we created together:  Solving Two Step Equations Go Animate Rap Video.  Thank you +Amy Paskov for purchasing an account which allowed us to make a video over 30 seconds.  If we were to ever incorporate this type of activity in class, a free 30 second video would be perfect for our students!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

COMM 7728 - Teaching Online Content Tools: Poll Everywhere

When I saw that we were assigned to complete a lesson for teachers on an online content tool, I wanted to focus mine on a free resource available for teachers that they could use for assessment purposes.  I recently interviewed for a position as a digital instruction specialist for a school district.  During the interview they talked about data collection and what resources I could introduce to the teachers that they could use to collect data.  Poll Everywhere is a free resource that teachers can use to create assessments and have their students text or submit their results using their mobile devices.  The data is displayed on the screen to provide immediate feedback to the students and the teacher.

Many school districts are beginning to implement bring your own device (BYOD) policies.  This would allow teachers to engage their students with classroom activities by using their devices.  The following is a link to my video tutorial on Poll Everywhere:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Creating my E-Portfolio ED 7730

This week I used a site map to layout my E-Portfolio.  As I was thinking about what I wanted to include in my portfolio, I thought about what I would want to learn about a person who would be instructing either myself or my child with the integration of technology in their classroom.  I plan to refer people to my portfolio when they ask what I have completed in my IT&DML coursework.  In addition, I want to make sure there is a place in my portfolio where others can use to access resources for them to use in their classroom.  This will be used to sell myself as a digital instruction specialist or media/technology integration specialist to potential school districts.

Here is the image that I created on MindMeister to help me organize my thoughts on my E-Portfolio:

I know that I will be expanding on this site map to help me when I construct and update my E-Portfolio.  I also plan on purchasing a domain for my E-Portfolio.  This will allow me to have a professional looking site that others can access and see me as a professional in the field of Instruction Technology and Digital Media Literacy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Technology in Education Philosophy ED 7730

Throughout my teaching career I have written my educational philosophy multiple times.  The most recent was last summer when I began my 6th year program in Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy (IT&DML).  As I looked back on my previous philosophies, I realized that I never addressed the use of technology in classrooms.  The materials in my IT&DML courses have opened my eyes for the need to address the use of technology in today’s classroom.  Therefore, I am again rewriting my philosophy with a primary focus of technology in education.
Elizabeth Ferry’s Technology in Education Philosophy
According to John Dewey, education is acquired through the experience of the learner and the teacher.  If the teacher has experiences that can enhance the students' learning, they should use those experiences in their classroom.  In addition, teachers should provide students with tools that are available for them to have new experiences.
Technology allows teachers to introduce students to experiences otherwise not possible in a traditional classroom.  There are skills which students should master in order to be competitive in the 21st Century workforce, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.  These skills can be introduced by teachers with the use of technology in and outside of the classroom.  
Advances in technology allow students today to receive information quicker than ever before.  Technology can be used to differentiate instruction, conduct assessments, and provide feedback to students and teachers almost immediately.  With the use of technology, teachers can give their students a learning experience which will prepare them for the 21st Century while giving them skills that they can use in the real world.
Teachers are responsible for preparing their students for the future.  Technology is one aspect of society that continually changes and improves.  Teachers need to be on the forefront of these changes in order to effectively prepare their students to be successful citizens and contributors to the 21st Century.

The following video was created by Daniel Nemroff for the 2014 White House Film Festival. It provides a glimpse into what a future classroom might look like with the use of technology. The video demonstrates the need for teachers to begin thinking about what role technology will play in their classrooms.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

ED 7730 E-Portfolios Part II: My Own E-Portfolio

I was asked to write a blog post about what I think my e-portfolio should include for my IT&DML course.  As I read through the materials provided that gave me an overview on e-portfolios, I began thinking about the purpose of my e-portfolio.  Would I want the e-portfolio to demonstrate growth over the course or would I want to demonstrate my mastery on a variety of topics?

The coordinator of the IT&DML program, Ian O'Byrne has constantly stated that we are the experts now in the field by completing these courses.  With that in mind, I think it would be more beneficial for me to demonstrate how I am an expert in the field by creating an e-portfolio that provides examples of my projects and work I completed in the area of instructional technology and digital media literacy.  It would allow me to demonstrate what I can do, while promoting the IT&DML course at UNH.

To take it a step further, I can look at the different 21st century learning skills that I want my students to be proficient in prior to graduating high school.  I could create an e-portfolio that has artifacts from each of the learning skills that I completed.  In addition, I could use my e-portfolio as a example that my students could reference when they create their own e-portfolios.  Modeling is an instructional strategy that many students benefit from and my e-portfolio could be used as a model.

As I begin to apply for position as digital integration and instructional technology specialist positions, I realize how beneficial it would be for me to have an e-portfolio to present to an interview board.  I have answered many questions on application forms about projects and work I have completed in the field.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I wish there was one link I could send out that would provide all the information.  My e-portfolio could be just that, a reference for future employers to see what I can do and what I can bring to their school district to teach the staff and the students. 

ED 7730 E-Portfolios Part I: Fundamental Elements

For our new course in the IT&DML program, ED 7730, we were assigned to review materials associated with e-portfolios. We then were asked to complete two blog entries on e-portfolios.  The first entry is what we believe the fundamental elements of an e-portfolio should include based on the material provided by our professors.

Initially I thought e-portfolios were strictly used for students.  An article written by George Lorenzo and John Ittleson titled, An Overview of E-Portfolios, discuss that there can be a variety of e-portfolios for students, but also teachers and institutions.  I found that there were many similarities between the different groups who use e-portfolios and the fundamental elements were very similar.

The following are what I believe are the fundamental elements of an e-portfolio based on the readings:

  • Design and Ease of Navigation
    • The e-portfolio should be visibly appealing and able to be used as a presentation.  
    • Someone accessing the e-portfolio should be able to do so with ease with little to no direction on how to navigate to find artifacts.
    • The e-portfolio should be organized with a variety of audio/video, documents, slide show, and digital images.
  • Artifacts
    • Artifacts should demonstrate either a growth in an area or a collection of items that demonstrate mastery in a certain content area.
    • Artifacts should include a variety of audio/video items, digital images, and other work that is both visually appealing and easy to understand for anyone viewing the items.
    • The work should be related to the purpose of the e-portfolio.
  • Reflection
    • Individual should provide a reflection for the different items of the e-portfolio.
    • Reflections should demonstrate growth over time or the mastery of a certain topic.
In the research article, Web-based assessment: Validation of Electronic Portfolios  I found it very interesting that the electronic versions of portfolios received higher scores than the paper version.  In addition, the portfolios with audio/video components received less negative comments than those that did not have them.  It is important to remember when creating e-portfolios to not over enhance the portfolios with audio/video components, but rather use an appropriate amount that would not overwhelm or distract the viewer.

The materials that we were asked to review provided me with a lot of information that I want to share with my school.  Each of our students have access to folders that they can store their digital work on throughout their K-12 education.  We tell the students that they should use their folders to create their e-portfolio, but we have never taught the students what an e-portfolio is or what it should contain.  If done properly, our students could have a wonderful resource that they can take with them after they graduate from high school.  In addition, it would be a great way for teachers to assess students' abilities and see their growth from kindergarten all the way to their high school graduation.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

EDUC 7726 - Putting it all Together Final Assignment

For my final assignment for EDUC 7726 we were asked to either summarize what we have learned or make a plan for how we would use the information from the course in the future.  At our last face-to-face class, I mentioned to a few of my classmates that I am beginning to apply for positions in other school districts.  My husband received an amazing job opportunity in Avon, CT and we will be moving to the area within the year.  In order to prepare for our move, I began applying for teaching positions both as a middle school math teacher and as a technology/digital integration specialist.  I have a passion for both areas and with my new 6th year certification in Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy, I feel that I have the ability to make a difference with either position.

In order to prepare myself for the possibility of receiving a position as a technology/digital integration specialist, I created a mind map using Mind Meister to organize my vision for what my role would be in a school or district.  The following is an image of my mind map:

As a technology/digital integration specialist, I have five groups of individuals that I will impact with my position.  The first group, in my opinion, will be where I spend most of my time and effort with integrating technology.  This group consists of the teachers.  I plan on assisting the teachers with whatever information and training they may need to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms.  This would include providing professional development, finding grant opportunities for teachers that focus on technology integration, and bringing experts to the district to teach the teachers.

Ensuring that teachers are aware of 21st Century skills and how to implement them into their lessons will be another primary focus of my job.  Along with creating assessments, project based learning opportunities, and fostering Personal Learning Networks within the school, I will provide the teachers with the skills they need to integrate technology to benefit themselves and their students.

The second group consists of the students.  I do not plan on initially working one-on-one with students with integrating technology, because most of that will be done with their teachers.  Although the information they receive from teachers will be in part due to what I am able to provide them with training and resources.  It is my goal to create online tools and resources that students can access outside of the classroom that will allow them to continue to integrate technology within their academic studies and professional lives.

My third focus group, the administration within the school, will need to be one of the front runners in the effort to integrate technology.  Once the teachers see that the administration is on board and embracing the digital integration move, they will follow their leaders and be more receptive to the changes.  My role as a technology/digital integration specialist will be to get the administration on the "technology bandwagon" and provide them with the tools they need to use technology in their everyday lives as administrators.

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from teachers after staff meetings is that they do not remember the material that was presented or that they lose the handouts that were provided.  My goal is to encourage the administration to integrate technology as much as possible with the professional development and staff meeting opportunities in the school.  If videos or presentations were created of the meetings, teachers could refer back to them to refresh their memory of the information.  In addition, if teachers are absent they can access the information they missed.  The administration could also implement online assessment or surveys using a variety of programs to determine if the teachers understood the information that was presented.  A few online assessment resources available are SocrativePoll Everywhere, and Survey Monkey.  This would provide feedback to the administration on what areas were understood and where more training and PD was necessary.

My fourth group is made up of the parents and community members.  It is important for the parents and community members to be involved with the integration of technology within a school or district.  If we want our students to be proficient with 21st Century skills, then we must ensure that all individuals who work with them are also prepared and informed of what skills they need.  The teachers and administrators in the schools can provide instruction and assistance during school hours, but once the students leave they will need the other adults in their lives to assist them with these skills.  Getting the parents and the community educated and involved with the process will be another focus of my job position.  This will ensure that the learning by the students does not stop at the end of the school day.

Finally, I have personal goals for myself as a technology/digital integration specialist.  Although I spent a year in my 6th Year certification program and feel as if I have a good amount of expertise in the area of technology integration, I can always be more educated and informed of the resources and tools that are available.  I have said it before and I will say it again, I am a lifelong learner.  I want to continue to learn about the latest and greatest tools and resources that are available for teachers to use when integrating technology into their classrooms.  This learning will not only benefit myself, but I want to share what I learn with others and help them professionally and personally integrate technology into their lives.  As an educator I think it is important for students to see that those who are teaching them also enjoy to learn and seek out opportunities to learn new things.

I will admit that I know my goals and plans as a technology/digital integration specialist are extensive.  Time, money, and patience will be needed to reach my goals.  I will need to rely on others, ask for help, and be willing and eager to learn in order to be successful.  As Benjamin Franklin once said, "You can do anything you set your mind to."

Saturday, June 7, 2014

ED7726 - Soapbox Presentation Reflection

Throughout my IT&DML courses I have had a lot of firsts when it comes to taking part in new and creative ways to share information.  This week I participated in a Google Hangout where we each got on our own soapbox and presented information on a topic for 8 minutes.  Besides a few technology glitches, I was very impressed with the format of the Hangout and the information that was shared by my fellow colleagues.  The time limit on the presentations was perfect for us to disseminate our information without others getting bored with the presentation. In addition, it required me as the presenter to find and present only the key points of my topic that I felt the others needed to hear rather than drag on about the subject for 30-60 minutes.

The soapbox format is something that I want to take with me when I work with my PLN at my school and within my district.  I wish we all had time to research and find information on every topic available.  In reality though, we need to strategically determine what we have time for and what can wait until a later date.  If a group of colleagues has a common interest, such as those with me in the IT&DML courses, topics can be split between everyone and 8 minute presentations can be created.  This is a great way to get everyone involved with a learning opportunity and provide as much information as possible during a short amount of time.  I think about the number of staff meetings where we sit for hours and listen to one or two speakers present.  Most of the staff is tuned out within fifteen minutes.  If staff members knew they had a role in the meeting and would be presenting information, they might be more interested in hearing others' presentations as well.

This format could also be implemented into a middle school and high school classroom.  The students could use it when reviewing for a final exam or upcoming assessment.  Students could work in pairs to discuss a topic and present the information to their classmates.  Teachers could then post the presentations online and allow for students to view them when they are outside the classroom.  Teachers could also use an online assessment program such as Socrative to create an assessment that students would complete after viewing their classmates presentations.

In addition to the format of the Hangout, I was very impressed with the information presented by my classmates.  The topics that were discussed were very relevant to everything that we are doing in our courses and within our classrooms.  I look forward to sharing the information presented with my fellow teachers and staff members at my school.

The following link will take you to my Google slide presentation on the shift of schools from STEM to STEAM focused curriculum.

STEM to STEAM - Elizabeth Ferry

Sunday, June 1, 2014

EDUC 7724 Assessing 21st Century Skills Reflection

Each week I find more and more useful and applicable information as I continue on my journey through my IT&DML courses.  For my EDUC 7724 course this week, we looked at assessing 21st century skills.  Since we as teacher are teaching 21st century learners, we should have a good idea as to what and how we should be assessing the skills they need in order to succeed in today's society.

The 21st century skills that were discussed this week included critical thinking, leadership, creativity, work ethic, problem solving, meta cognition, technology skills, collaboration, global understanding, and digital literacy.  The materials that our instructor provided to us included infographics, cartoons, and videos which focused on some of these areas of skill.  We were then asked to compare the importance of learning to the ease of assessment of each of these skills.  The following screenshot was taken of my rankings for the different skills:

I have to admit I had a hard time completing this activity.  I wanted to put everything on the more and harder end of the graph.  There were a few areas that I thought may not be as difficult to assess such as technology skills, but I think I have this thought because of the amount of information I have received from the IT&DML courses.  I see some of the others ares as harder skills to assess because we as educators are just being to implement project based learning and curriculum that require our students to demonstrate critical thinking to a level that they have never been asked to do before.

My classmates completed the same activity and it was interesting to see where they placed the different skills compared to my graph.  We all seem to be under the same impression that there are no 21st century skills that are least important to learning and easy to assess.  Critical thinking was ranked pretty high on the importance of learning and ease of assessment on most of our graphs.  This week's activities and materials had me rethinking not only my own class lessons and how I incorporate the 21st century skills into the lessons, but also how assess those skills.  There is much work to be done on my part to make sure I am doing everything I can to prepare my 21st century learners and to make sure I am correctly assessing the skills that they need.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

ED 7724 Week 9 Prompt 1: MindTwister Math

For this week's initial prompt for ED 7724, we were asked to read a chapter on integrating assistive technology into the normal education classroom.  The authors, Bryant and Bryant's, primary focus throughout the chapter is the student.  They stress the importance for teachers to keep the students' academic abilities in mind when implementing ATs into the classroom.  I was very impressed with the number of resources that were listed and described in the chapter.  We were asked to pick one and investigate it a little more to provide a description, pros and cons of the system and anything else that would allow my fellow classmates to have a better understanding of the product.

Since I am a math teacher, I wanted to look into one of the math resources that were listed in the chapter.  I chose the math program designed to assist students with computation.  The program's name is MindTwister Math and it is created by Edmark, Inc.  The program is intended to be used by students in elementary grade.  Through my research, I found different reviews stating the projected age range of the participants.  The lowest grade that was recommended was 1st, while the highest grade was 4th grade.  Although most of the reviews have found that even 5th grade students enjoy using the software.

Photo courtesy of:

The software itself tests students math computation abilities.  It offers assistance to those students who struggle with math skills, but also challenges though who are proficient.  In addition to single player use, the program is designed to allow users to cooperatively play with their peers all while taking part in a competitive academic program.

The following are reviews that I have read through and found both pros and cons of the program:
Discovery Education Review
The Journal Review
SuperKids Review
AllGame Review

Instead of asking you to read through each of the reviews, I have compiled the pros and cons into bullet form to detail how others view the product and its success as an AT device.

-  User-friendly from both the students and teacher/parent standpoint
-  Age-appropriate
-  Problems reflect real world math examples
-  Multiple kids can participate at once
-  4 skill levels are available for participants
-  Students do not need to use a mouse with the program.  A keyboard will suffice with completing the tasks that are presented.
-  Can be used both at home and at school.
-  Price point is very good: $69.95 for two disks used for a school or a lab pack for 6 devices is $179.95.
-  School program offers teachers reproducible items to use in the classroom.
-  In addition to teaching and reinforcing math skills, it also teaches test taking strategies such as eliminating answers and using reasoning to find the correct solution.

-  There is one portion of the program that requires fast-twitch muscle reaction.  Some students with disabilities may find it difficult to complete this program due to the requirements of the user.
-  Student data is not available for teachers to analyze.
-  Competitive nature of the game can be difficult for young students to understand.
-  Students who cannot respond quickly may become frustrated with the fast response requirements of the program.
-  Can be used on desktops or laptops, but could not find anywhere that it states that it could be used on tablets or personal devices.

Overall I was impressed with what I saw from the program.  We are looking at different Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention strategies and programs to use at our school for math.  MindTwister Math seems to be a good resource that could be implemented into an elementary classroom.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

EDUC 7726 Formative Assessment Middle School Math Class

This week we took a deeper look at formative assessments in my EDUC 7726 course.  Formative assessments are widely used throughout education to determine where our students are with a particular topic or content strand.  Teachers use these assessments to modify their lessons to help the students better understand information.

For this week's assignment, we were asked to select 3 different types of formative assessments that teachers could use technology with in their classrooms.  I have used technology in my classroom often, but not as often as I would like with formative assessments.  Since I was on a class field trip this past week as well, I decided to ask my students what type of technology they would be interested using with formative assessments.  They gave me a lot of ideas of things they used in classes before and also some that they have heard about from friends at other schools.  The 3 different types of formative assessments that I have chosen to discuss this week cannot all be applied into my own personal classroom, since my school district does not allow bring your own device (BYOD), but I wanted to investigate some of the ideas that my students have heard about that they would like to eventually use for formative assessments.

For a formative pre assessment, the teacher will create a presentation using PowerPoint that utilizes the TurningPoint system that allows students to use clicker devices to submit answers to questions on the screen.  The teacher will receive immediate feedback of each student's answers.  In addition, the students will see the results after the polling is complete.  The teacher will have the chance to address each question and explain the correct solution.  Once the pre assessment is complete, the teacher can use the data to determine what content areas need to be covered and what prior knowledge the students have and what they might need more background information in prior to the unit.

Throughout the unit, students will use the InteractMath website to complete lesson checks at the end of each lesson.  In addition to being able to print out their results, the students can also check their answers as they go through each lesson and the site provides feedback if the answer is incorrect.  This is great tool for students because of the feedback portion and for teachers since it is already created and aligns with the content material.  There are a variety of courses that are available on the website, which allows for teachers to differentiate if needed when providing instruction.  Although this site is run by Pearson publishing, the interactive lesson checks can be used with any middle school or high school math class.  The chapters might not align perfectly with other textbooks, but the content is the same across math courses.  A teacher might need to do a little front work finding the lesson that correlates with the lesson they want the students to complete.

As a formative post assessment, the teacher will create an assessment using Socrative.  If a school offers BYOD, the students can use their own personal devices to complete the assessment.  The system also provides the teacher the opportunity to open an assessment after school hours and allows students to complete the assessment at home or outside of school not during school hours.  There is a tutorial that can be found on the Digital Texts and Tools website.  This tutorial will walk teachers through the process of setting up an account and creating assessments.

It was important for me to find formative assessments that would not only engage students, but that would also provide immediate feedback to the students and the teacher.  Since most classrooms may not be equipped with enough devices for all students to use at once, it is important for teachers to keep in mind access and availability to technology.  It was also important for me to find programs that offer immediate data that is collected and displayed for teachers to analyze and use for their instruction.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

EDUC 7726 Assessing Technology and Digital Competency

It is always a great opportunity to work with my fellow classmates on group projects.  This week for our EDUC 7726 course, I had the opportunity to work with Amy, Gail and Tim to create a Prezi on assessing technology and digital competencies.  Throughout our IT&DML courses, we have constantly read and researched the multitude of requirements and standards that our students will be asked to complete during their schooling.  These skills are not only necessary for our students, but also for the teachers to become proficient in, so that they can teach the students how to be successful digital citizens.

The first area that our group looked at was the definition of technology skills and digital competencies.  For this portion of our presentation we focused on two areas.  The first area focused on the ORMS Model which identifies that students should be successful in completing Online Reading Comprehension, Online Collaborative Inquiry, and Online Content Creation.  For the second focus of defining the terms we looked at the Common Core standards that were related to technology.  We looked at what our students would be asked in reference to technology in order to meet the standards of the Common Core.  I was especially interested in this portion of the research because everyday I am learning something new about the Common Core that I can implement into my classroom.

For the second part of our presentation, our group looked at describing and evaluating strategies that teachers would use to assess students' digital proficiencies.  It is one thing for us as teachers to instruct our students on technology skills and digital competencies, but in order to ensure they meet the standards that are set we need to make sure we are using adequate assessments to determine if they are meeting the objectives.  The following is a link to our Prezi: Assessment of Digital Literacy and Technology Skills.  You will see on the last few slides that there are a variety of items that teachers should look at when assessing their students' technology and digital competencies.  I found the checklist particularly interesting because students could use it when completing a project to make sure they are meeting all of the requirements for when they conduct online research.

One thing that I think we all have to keep in mind when we are addressing the issue of defining and assessing our students' technology skills, is that we will need to keep updated with changes and additional skills that our students will be required to know.  These changes will be a result of the continuous advancement of technology that our students, who are 21st century learners, will experience throughout their education.

I would like to thank my fellow classmates who worked with me on this presentation.  It is such a rewarding experience to work with different individuals on group projects.  The expertise and knowledge that they demonstrated assisted with the successful completion of the assignment.  Thank you again!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

EDUC 7726 Best Practice and Assessment

This week for EDUC 7726, we were asked to select a section from best practice in assessment and add ideas of how technology could support the assessment.  I decided to select section 1.A. Purposeful: Used to inform and guide teaching.  I feel as if this is crucial topic for any teacher to make sure that their assessments are purposeful and are used to guide the instruction in the class.

It seems as if our students in our school are always being assessed.  There are times in my class that I have to take a step back from my instruction to make sure that the data I am gathering from the assessments are used to help me determine what and how I am teaching a specific topic.  It is vital for teachers to use the assessments to gather data and provide instruction based on the data.

One of the resources that I found helpful and full of information and additional resource links was Edutopia's Ten Tips for Project Based Learning.  Tip #5 discussed how to gather feedback fast to assess your students’ understanding of a topic.  This reminded me of the daily check ins or Do Nows that we perform in our classrooms to identify where the students are with a topic and what additional information or instruction might need to be done in class that day to ensure the students are fully understanding the topic.  

My recommendation to other teachers is to continue the assessment strategy of collecting and gathering data fast by having their students complete quick check ins, do nows, or exit slips.  Once their students have completed the work though, the teachers need to use it to drive their instruction and ensure that the students are where they need to be in order to meet the desired outcome of the lesson/class.  Sometime there does not seem to be enough time in the day to look at all the papers and results from the quick assessments, but I truly believe they offer valuable data that could make a huge difference in a child’s education.

One way to use technology to assist with purposeful assessments is to have teachers have their students use a Google form or an online site that offers the students an opportunity to complete quick assessments such as Socrative or Engrade. These sites can provide immediate data for the teachers to use to drive their instruction. The teacher can use the immediate data then to provide feedback to the students on their understanding of the topic and can make changes to the upcoming lessons to address any issues that might exist.

There are other online resources that can be used for assessment. Scholastic - Read 180 is an online resource that provide purposeful assessment that allows students to take part in instruction that is based on their abilities and understanding. This program is designed for literacy. In addition there is Scholastic - Math 180 that is designed for math.

According to Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, it is important for teachers to provide timely feedback to their students. Technology can provide timely feedback to students on their assessment results. It can also provide teachers with information on what their students know and they then can select strategies that will address the weaknesses in a content area.

ED 7724 - Discussion Director Reflection

I had the wonderful opportunity to lead the discussion in my ED 7724 Adaptive Technology course.  When we had the chance to sign up for the week we wanted to lead the discussion, I purposely selected this week because of the topic of adaptive technology to assist those with a mobility disability.  Both my father-in-law and grandmother-in-law both rely on a wheelchair for their mobility.  Recently my mother-in-law had an accident as well and had to rely on wheelchair for a few months until she was able to walk again.  With that being said, I felt as if I knew everything there was to know about mobility adaptive technology.  Boy was I wrong!

After I finished the assigned readings I immediately went to my in-law's house to investigate the type of wheelchairs that they use.  I never realized the variety of wheelchairs that were available and the different specifications of each wheelchair.  The technical portion of the readings this week was definitely a learning experience.

At first I was a little stumped on what I should have my fellow colleagues reflect on in regard to the readings.  I wanted the prompt to not be as technical as having them list different type of mobility devices.  My intention was for them to look at their own lives and the lives of students who have mobility disabilities.  Although we are all fortunate enough to not have mobility disabilities, we do never know what tomorrow may bring and should always be prepared for anything.  Semper Paratus!  (Coast Guard motto meaning always prepared)

For the first prompt I asked my colleagues to look at their daily lives and see what challenges they would face if they had a mobility disability and required the use of a wheelchair.  I cannot being to express how impressed I was with the responses.  The amount of reflection from each of my peers was amazing!  The details that they provided and the challenges that they addressed were fascinating.  What I particularly liked as well was the fact that when a challenge was discussed there was always a possible solution to address the challenge.  By them addressing the challenges, I could see that they understood the complexity of the issue and how it could impact their own lives.

For the second prompt I wanted them to take it a step further and put on their teacher hats by having them address challenges that they might see in their own classrooms or schools.  I knew that there are individuals without classrooms and I hoped that they would adopt a room for this assignment.  Again I was truly impressed by the extensive responses and the detail that went into their reflections.  Our cohort is a very smart group of educators, but it was after this week's reflections that I could clearly see that I work with some of the best teachers and educators.  The attention to detail that was addressed in each posts about the challenges that would exist and the recommendations and changes that would need to made provided me with the evidence to see that we are ready to address these issues if we were faced with them tomorrow in our classrooms.

I would like to thank my fellow classmates for sharing their personal insights and stories this week.  I agree with our professor when he stated that this week's discussion generated emotional introspection.  Although it was not my intention, I appreciate every one's willingness to address an issue that required us to answer a what if type of scenario and how it would change what we are all used to in our lives now.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

EDUC 7726 - Infograph Creation

Throughout the last two weeks, I was assigned the task to create an infograph.  Prior to completing the infograph I wanted to make sure I had a clear understanding of what an infograph was and the different online tools that were available to create one.  I quickly realized that an infograph was a visually appealing way to display information in a condensed form.  It is designed to be easy for a reader to understand and gather as much information on a topic that will fit on the infograph.

My first task was to figure out what topic I wanted to use for my infograph.  After trying to decide between two topics with a little help from my course instructor, I decided on looking how much time youth spend with media and what is actually recommended by specialist as to the "healthy" amount of time a child should spend.  This topic is very near and dear to my heart since my three year old has fallen in love with Disney Junior and wants to eat, sleep, and breathe Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if I would allow it.  Of course as a parent who has done a little research on the topic already, I know what is recommended for his age group.  It is the age group of my students that I was most interested in gathering data for since I already see them attached to their devices in school, I wondered what the research would say about the topic.

Finding the sources was pretty straight forward, since there was a good amount of data already collected on the issue.  The hardest part of the assignment was working with the sites to create the infograph.  Initially I did not want to use Glogster since I had used it in the past for other assignments and I wanted to learn something new.  I experimented with two sites at first, and piktochart.  Both sites offered free templates to use to create the infograph.  I actually found both sites a bit confusing to figure out the font sizes and positioning of the text.  In addition, I was not fond of the backgrounds and templates that they offered for my topic.  I decided to use my old reliable Glogster program to create my infograph.

The only downfall of using Glogster was that it limited the amount of information that I could display on the page.  Since I had to include at least 6 accurate facts, I wanted to incorporate facts that would provide a decent amount of information for the viewer.  In addition I wanted to make sure I was using at least 3 different sources for the information.  This part was actually a little more difficult because the CommonSenseMedia website had completed a good number of research on the topic and I tried hard not to use their source multiple times.  I also wanted to make sure the layout of the information was easy for readers to see and understand.  I felt that a video was a good addition to the infograph because it provided more information that an user could gather by viewing the video and not just looking at a graph or statistic.

I enjoyed working with Glogster and creating my infograph.  I hope to incorporate infographs into a lesson or two in the near future for my students.  The creating part of the process would not only allow students to express themselves creatively with their product, but they will also be able to complete research on a topic as well.

The following link will take you to my final infograph on Children's Media Use: Glogster: Children Media Use

Saturday, April 26, 2014

EDUC 7726 - Socratic Seminar Reflection

This past week I had the opportunity to take part in my first ever Socratic Seminar.  Initially I was a little hesitant about the assignment, since I had never taken part in such an exercise.  Prior to class I read through information about the seminar provided by our instructor and watched a few videos examples as well.  What I noticed initially as I observed the first group taking part in the discussion, no two seminars are the same.

As an observer during the first seminar, it was very hard for me not to join in on the discussion.  There were many topics that were discussed that I so desperately wanted to express my opinions and findings from the data, but I knew I could not talk.  I especially wanted to comment on a point that my classmate Tim made about having technology specialist in the schools to help teachers better use technology in their classrooms.  I firmly believe that the data we looked at prior to the seminar demonstrated that teachers truly like to use technology in their classrooms, but some do not feel that they have enough professional knowledge to implement new technologies.  A technology specialist is something I feel is definitely needed in a school or district, but this individual needs to be different than the technology person who works with purchasing and installing software and updating the equipment.  I wonder what the results of survey would look like if schools had technology specialists that provide professional development and instruction to the teachers on the latest and greatest technology uses in the classrooms.

When I had the opportunity to be an active participant in the Socratic Seminar, I found myself multitasking a great deal.  In addition to responding to the opening question, I was listening to my fellow classmates discuss their points and findings while trying to find my own data and findings to contribute to the discussion.  I sort of felt like a member of debate team while watching the opposing side discuss their argument and trying to find information to continue the conversation, but not necessarily contradicting what was said since it was not a debate, but rather a discussion.

The one question that was discussed during my Socratic Seminar session was how teachers could assess students' learning with the use of technology.  I was very interested in this topic because our school uses digital portfolios to gather data on our students and we use it to see the progression they make from year to year with the use of technology.  One of my comments that I made and I still am thinking about the answer to the issue is how to determine the baseline data that we would use for each student to determine if they have learned anything through the use of technology.  It would be important for schools to create a pre and post test that they would use for the students to gather data.  The biggest issue I foresee is that each student could potentially be at different level of competence when it comes to technological abilities.  Schools would need to be prepared to differentiate the instruction for each child depending on their baseline data.

Overall I was very pleased with the Socratic Seminar.  On my drive home from class I was trying to think of different ways I could introduce it into my classroom.  We just recently did a project in my class where the students collected data on different questions pertaining to pizza.  I thought it would be interesting to have students take part in a Socratic Seminar on the findings of their data and even have them research other topics about pizza online.  I could create opening questions about pizza and have them use their findings to validate their responses.  I am sure there are many other ways to integrate the Socratic Seminar into my class and I look forward to exploring many more!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

ED 7726 - Week 2 Technology Lesson

This week through my ED 7726 I had the opportunity to pretend I was a technology leader for a school.  As the technology leader, I was responsible for making recommendations on a lesson and helping a teacher embed technology into their lesson.  As I was making my recommendations I was keeping in mind the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) model designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.

If you are not familiar with SAMR, it is a model that offers educators a way to see how they can embed technology into their lessons.  The substitution portion of the model provides teachers with ideas where they can substitute technology in for common practices used in the classroom.  Instead of note taking in a notebook, teachers can have students take notes using a resource such as Simplenote or another online note taking resource.  The important part of the substitution portion is that the teaching and learning does not change due to the implementation of the technology.

The augmentation portion of the model is very similar to substitution.  Prior to cloud computing, many teachers used Microsoft word to create worksheets and handouts for class.  Now teachers are able to create the same resources but using Google Docs.  They can choose the print out the worksheets or they can share the item with their students online if they too have Google accounts.  The sharing of the worksheet is not changing how the teaching or learning is occurring, rather it is providing an alternative way for the students to receive the activity while using technology.

When teachers venture into using the modification portion of the model that is where they will begin to see the teaching and learning change slightly.  With modification, students are able to use technology to have a personal stake in what is produced and learned in the classroom.  While providing recommendations to the lesson I chose to look at for my task this week, I realized that the teacher was initially using the modification stage in the model when she created her lesson.  She was having students work in groups to create a multimedia presentation on the topic of operations with integers.  The students were to choose a topic about integers and create a slide show demonstrating how to solve a problem of that specific topic.  Having the students use a slide show presentation was a way for the teacher to modify the lesson using technology.  She could have simply had the students stand in front of the class and give a lesson, but instead she chose to use technology.

The final portion of the model is redefinition.  In this portion, teachers embed technology to take their students' learning to a level that would not be possible without technology.  A great example of redefinition can be seen again in the lesson I reviewed this week.  After the presentations were complete, students could share their presentation with other students not only in their own classroom and school, but also with students in other schools in other states and countries.  There are a variety of online resources available that can match schools and students up with one another to connect students and allow them to collaborate using the Internet.  

Prior to conducting my review this week, I spent some time researching the SAMR model.  There are many websites that provide excellent ideas for teachers on how to embed technology into their classrooms by using the SAMR model.  The following is a list of only a few that I found that I believe would be very beneficial to any teacher:
Educators Technology Website: SAMR Model resources (This resource also has a variety of images that outline the SAMR model)  

The following pictograph is one of many images that can be found on the site listed above.  This graphic was created by Jackie Gerstein.  The following link will take you to her article: SAMR as a Framework for Moving Towards Education 3.0.  It is in this article that she uses the graphic that she created below to to discuss the SAMR model.

After I spent time researching the SAMR model and reading a study written by Barbara Means that focused on the use of technology and the effects it has on student learning:  Technology and Education Change: Focus on Student Learning, I chose to review a lesson from a Pre-Algebra teacher.  Instead of rewriting the lesson in a different format, I decided to annotate the original lesson.  I did this because if I ever were to become a technology leader in a school, I would not want to rewrite teachers' lessons, rather I would want to make notes and annotate on their original lesson where they could make changes or improvements.

I reached out to three of my fellow colleagues in my ED 7726 course to support me with my review.  Thanks to them, I feel I made very good suggestions and recommendations on how to better utilize technology with the lesson.  In addition, I particularly chose the lesson because I teach Pre-Algebra and could see myself teaching the exact same lesson in my class.  The following link will direct to the annotated version of the lesson with the comments provided by myself and my support system: ED 7726 Annotated Technology Lesson - Elizabeth Ferry  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

EDUC 7726 Week 1 - Aligning Technology With Classroom Standards

Each time I begin a new class through the IT&DML program, I often wonder what new information I will learn.  The first assignment for the EDUC 7726 class has provided me with an opportunity to take my prior knowledge of classroom strategies and standards and align them with technology that will enhance the learning experience for my students.

My fellow classmates provided exceptional examples of how they use technology to support high yield teaching and learning in their classes.  The following is a link to the examples:  Using Technology EDUC 7726 Examples.  I wanted to include these examples in my post because they could be used by a variety of teachers.  In addition, they also demonstrate high yield teaching strategies created by Robert Marzano and John Hattie.

As a teacher, I have sat in plenty of professional developments where the names Marzano and Hattie were  mentioned multiple times as people to reference when providing better instructional strategies in classrooms.  I was familiar with both Marzano and Hattie, but I never actually spent a lot of time aligning their strategies with the use of technology.  In case you are not familiar with both of their strategies, let me give you an overview of what both of these gentlemen use to educate teachers on high yield instructional strategies.

Robert Marzano has nine strategies for high yield instruction strategies.  These nine strategies include:
-  Similarities and Differences
-  Summarizing and Note Taking
-  Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
-  Homework and Practice
-  Non linguistic Representation
-  Cooperative Learning
-  Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
-  Generating and Testing Hypothesis
-  Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers

John Hattie tested a variety of strategies to determine the effectiveness of each one.  As part of my class, I was asked to view the following presentation about Hattie's findings:  Hattie - Visible Learning Presentation.  In order to better understand the slide show, I decided to view one of Hattie's presentations from a TEDx Talks:

With the slide show and presentation, Hattie describes 130 different factors that could contribute to high yield learning in schools.  I was surprised of the ranking of a few of the influences, but did notice a trend in the top 20 that align very well with Marzano's nine strategies.  Student feedback and providing formative evaluation are two in particular that coincide with Marzano's setting objectives and providing feedback.  We see in today's schools a lot of this type of strategy with the use of online grading systems that allow students to view their current grades, assessment scores and missing homework assignments.  Teachers can even put in comments for students and parents to view.

To further my own education on the topic, I found the following link for a website created by the Manatee County Public Schools in Bradenton, Florida: Manatee School District - Marzano Information.  What I particularly like about this site is that there are links for five of the strategies that direct teachers to online resources.  These resources can be used in a variety of grade and content level classes to help with high yield instruction.

While researching Marzano more, I also found the following wikispace dedicated to the instructional strategies and aligning with the Common Core:  Marzano Strategies - Common Core.  These are more excellent resources that teachers can use to not only provide high-yield instruction, but also align their instruction with Common Core standards.  I do believe that the more technologically advanced are students are becoming, the more creative we as teachers need to be with our instruction.  These resources could help teachers tap into what 21st century learners need in order to succeed.

Friday, April 4, 2014

ED 7724 Introduction - Week 1

Hello everyone!  My name is Elizabeth Ferry and I am currently an 8th grade math teacher at Mauro-Sheridan Interdistrict Magnet School in New Haven, CT.  This is my sixth year teaching.  Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a military officer in the United States Coast Guard.

My husband and I both attended a service academy and after our five year military commitment we decided to leave the military to work in education.  We have an amazing son named Vincent who will be three in less than two weeks and an active puggle named Brady.  Our lives have and always will be dedicated to serving others.

My first experience with integrating Assistive Technology actually occurred before I was a teacher in my sister's classroom.  When I was still serving in the Coast Guard, I would visit her students when I was home on leave.  During my visits I would read to them a book and help co-teach a lesson.  One time, my sister had a student who required the use of a classroom microphone.  Although I felt like I was on Star Search, (for those who remember that show), I really enjoyed using it with a large group of class.  Although I have not had much experience since that time with a classroom microphone, there have been days when I wished I had it in my classroom.

My experience is very limited with other uses of Assistive Technology.  We have utilized the use of tablets, laptops, and Ipad Apps for certain students, but these uses were more for differentiation and not for an accommodation requirement in accordance with an IEP.  I have found that any student can benefit from the use of Assistive Technology as long as it is integrated properly and with purpose.  Money of course is always an issue and after looking at the syllabus I am very excited to research grant opportunities!  I am looking forward to another great course!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Love at First MOOC - My Case Study for ED 722

The title of my post describes my overall feeling of the work I completed the past few months through my ED 722 course and the DLMOOC.  I believe that I am much better equipped now than before to explore the possibilities of becoming an online or blended educator.  Prior to this course I never thought I could use an online learning environment for my class, but I am positive now I could structure an effective course.

Initially I was hesitant to even think about the possibility of online learning for my students.  I admit I am a bit of control freak and I could not have imagined not having control of the pace of a course or the constant monitoring of my students’ progress.  As I read through Richard Ferdig’s article:  What Massive Online Open Courses Have to Offer K-12 Teachers and Students I soon learned that there were different types of MOOCs that could be used for different courses. The following is a link to my blog post about this topic which I go into further detail with what I learned: MOOCs - An Obsession for This Lifelong Learner!. In my opinion, the week I wrote the blog post about MOOCs was when I began daydreaming constantly about the different MOOCs I could use in my classroom for my students. Literally I would daydream about the possibilities of how I could incorporate MOOCs into the 8th grade curriculum. It was kind of scary.

Then I was introduced to Tony Gates’ article:  A New Pedagogy is Emerging...And Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor and I realized that is not so much about the control of the course as it is the design of the course that teachers need to be aware of when creating online learning opportunities.  Student mindsets also play into this equation of creating an online learning course that will engage students, but also challenge them to succeed.  The design of the course and the focus on student mindset were two areas that I paid particular attention to when I worked with Amy Paskov on our high school math transition course.  We did not want to strictly provide the students with lecture after lecture to learn the material, but instead we dispersed games and online assessments throughout the modules which students would use to reinforce the material covered.  The following link will take you to the unit and allow you to see how we designed the modules to allow for learning and entertainment at the same time:  High School Math Transition Course.

There were other online tools that I was asked to use throughout ED 722 and DLMOOC.  Twitter and Storify were the two major resources that I used on a weekly basis to document and curate my learning process through the course.  At the start of the course, I followed 22 individuals and 18 followed me on Twitter.  As of today, 3/24/14, I am following 38 individuals and I have 32 who follow me.  As for Storify, I had 1 Storify follower when the course began and now I have 9 followers.  While I was working with both of these tools I would often talk to my own students about what they had to offer and how I could incorporate them into our classroom.  The majority of students felt that Storify could be interesting to use in class, but they did not really see the use of Twitter, especially if you could pull tweets to use in the Storify.  To quote one of my students, “Twitter is so old and boring.”  After I heard my student state the comment, I realized that Twitter may not be the best tool to incorporate in my middle school classroom due to students’ perception of the resource.  Storify on the other hand is something that my students really want me to use and they asked me to convince the social studies and science teachers to use it with their classes as well.  Both they and I love the ability to compile information from a variety of sources into a single page that is easy to view.

The following are links to my Storifies for each week of the course:

Storify Week 4 - Deeper Learning and Magnet Schools
Storify Week 5 - 21st Century Learning
Storify Week 6 - Cloud Computing
Storify Week 7 - Internships: Real Learning for Real Life
Storify Week 7 - Creative Teachers Engage Their Students
Storify Week 8 - Differentiating Instruction - Technology Focused
Storify Week 9 - Mindsets in Education
Storify Week 10 - Assessing Deeper Learning with Badges and Reflection
Storify Week 11 - Creative Ways to Display Student Work In and Outside the Classroom

On a personal note, I absolutely loved taking part in the DLMOOC.  I cannot wait to have more time to get involved with other MOOCs in the future.  With time constraints in my personal schedule, it was difficult for me to spend as much time as I would have liked with the DLMOOC.  I learned so much from the readings, activities, tweets, and Hangouts that were part of the course, but I am almost positive there were so many other things I could have learned if I had more time.

Once I complete my 6th year certification program, I plan to make it a goal of mine to participate in at least one or two MOOCs a year.  I am a lifelong learner and it excites me to know that there are many opportunities available and they are mostly free!  In addition, if I truly want to incorporate MOOCs into my classroom I should use my own participation as research for how to provide the best online learning experience for my students.  If I get a chance to participate in a variety of MOOCs, I can use my experiences to tailor what best fits the needs of my particular group of students.  I can honestly say that there has never been a course which has prepared me more for what I want to be doing with my future than this course.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Final Reflection Collaborative Unit Plan - ED 722

One of the best parts of going through a graduate program is the opportunity to work with other teachers.  A fellow math teacher, Amy Paskov, and I worked together to create an online math course for students to complete prior to coming to entering high school.  Since I am an eighth grade math teacher and Amy is a ninth grade teacher, we thought working together would be a great partnership.  We both had the interest of our students in mind when we created our unit.   Too many times incoming freshman struggle with basic math skills that they need in order to complete high level math courses in high school.

Prior to completing our unit we wanted to make sure we chose topics that students needed to master prior to attending high school.  The first two modules of our unit covers fractions, decimals, and percents.  These are areas that are vital to higher level math in high school.  Since we know that students have covered these topics numerous times before completing our unit, we wanted to find entertaining and engaging ways to get the students to become proficient in the topics.

One of the readings in the ED 722 course was by Tony Gates.  His article A New Pedagogy is Emerging... and Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor, identifies using online resources to create a course.  I referenced this article frequently when determining how to construct and create our unit.  With a combination of multimedia, open education resources and education games our unit is designed to help students better understand the topics of fractions, decimals and percents.  The layout of each module takes into consideration that students might not want to listen to lecture after lecture of a topic.  Instead we designed the module to allow students to learn the material, practice it using either a game or online quiz, then watch a few more tutorials and then interact with more games or quizzes.  This will help with keeping the students engaged with the material and not get bored too quickly with the modules.

After the students complete a module, they are asked to complete an assessment using a Google Form.  The results of the Google Form will be sent to both Amy and I or whichever math teachers use the course.  They will use the data to determine what information their students are proficient in prior to coming to high school.  It will also help high school teachers to plan out the first few weeks of classes that are usually set aside for basic math review.

In addition to the Google Form assessment, students will be asked to contribute a blog post for each module about what resource they found most helpful.  This will give the students the ability to discuss their learning process with one another.  It might also provide additional resources that we could use in the unit to help students learn better.  This unit is designed to be used for years and it will constantly be refined and updated to provide the best online learning course for incoming high school freshman.

Amy and I have already discussed how we would like to present this unit to our school district department heads.  Although before we roll it out to be used by two large school districts, I think we need to add a few more modules to the unit to really encompass all of the pertinent information that students need to succeed with high school math.

The following link will take you to the homepage of our unit:  High School Math Transition Course
Feel free to explore the first two modules.  We hope you like what we have created and possibly see a place for it within your school district.