EDLD 5364 - Teaching with Technology- SP2 11 - ET8026
Week 5 Reflection


Week 5 brought a chance to let everything that was presented and studied and collaborated on by our team come together into a complete unit of instruction. Great satisfaction was gained from looking at the finished product with the student learning activities and samples. Knowing that the unit of study was implemented, in part, by one of our team members gave validity to the practices that were proposed. Week 5 also revealed the amount of collaboration which occurred in constructing the lesson and activities and making sure that every type of student in the scenario classroom had their needs met. “By nature, both multimedia projects and cooperative learning groups require attention to detail in the planning process” (Pitler et al, 2007, p. 141). Was it a lot of work? Yes! Did it make me conscious of what teachers need to do to plan effectively to use technology for learning? Of course!

I promote online collaboration tools in many of the professional development sessions which I deliver. According to Solomon and Schrum (2007) “using collaboration and communication tools with educational methods that also promote these skills – such as project-based learning – will help students acquire the abilities they need for the future” (21st Century Skills, para. 11). Therefore, I teach teachers about these skills using webinars, Google Docs, email, chat, texting, surveys and several other methods to create collaboration between teachers and myself and among groups of teachers. The difference between this type of collaboration and the type used during the course is that I always have face to face access to the teachers if I so desire. This course connected a tech specialist from the southern tip of Texas to a test coordinator in Dallas, Texas and a classroom teacher in Tennessee. We did not have the luxury of meeting face to face during these five weeks. We were “forced” to use the tools that we should be promoting and it gave me a new perspective and respect for those that utilize the tools for their students.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, pp. 141.
Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, Chapter 7, 21st Century Skills, para. 11.

Until the next time,
Barbara Sue Grayson
Cohort 16



EDLD 5364 - Teaching with Technology- SP2 11 - ET8026
Week 4 Reflection

This week began with a meeting at work centered around rigor in the classroom. Interestingly, the main focus centered around accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. As I sat there listening to the speaker, much of what we have studied during this course was reiterated and gave credence to what I have learned.

Creating the learning activities has been an enlightening experience. I had the unique challenge of looking through the eyes of three sixth grade students as they created a plan in a collaborative online environment. While changing from one role to another was in itself challenging, I found myself thinking about how the students would have reacted to working in this type of digital venue. According to Solomon and Schrum, "The new way is collaborative, with information shared, discussed, refined with others, and understood deeply" (Solomon &Schrum, "Schools and Change", Location 515 of 5268). Furthermore, the authors contend that "communication is the key motivator for students and drives their use of technology for learning and for personal use (Solomon &Schrum, "Schools and Change", Location 618 of 5268). Knowing that our digital natives thrive on these tools gave relevance to my student samples.

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, Chapter 1, "Schools and Change", Location 515 of 5368.
Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, Chapter 1, "21st Century Students", Location 618 of 5368.

Until next week,
Barbara Sue Grayson
Cohort 16

EDLD 5364 - Teaching with Technology- SP2 11 - ET8026
Week 3 Reflection


Week 3 has been quite busy as we were told it would be. Our team has melded and we are functioning as a unit. In spite of my time restraints, I have managed to collaborate with them quite a bit through phone and email communications. The action plan has proven to be a sticky situation at times and we have had to be diligent to make sure all areas have been addressed. Developing the UDL provided practice in addressing the three networks. Chapter 6 in the first reading was interesting and explained the UDL process in depth for meeting the needs of multiple types of learners. The examples proved to be helpful in incorporating the networks into my own UDL. The different approaches including how imporant formative assessment is in the learning process was illustrated in the discussion on strategic learning. The author made the point that "delivering ongoing, relevant feedback is critical when teaching skills" (Rose & Meyer, 2002, Ch. 6). I feel that strategic learning is how students learn concepts and make the connections to other concepts at a later point in time. "Using a variety of media (video, speech, text, diagram, animation)" (Ch. 6) brings the emphasis to technology tools that every teacher can find and use. The prevalence of Web 2.0 tools is such that a teacher can use several of them and not pay a penny. Our team has been successful in incorporating several online tools and sites into our unit of study.

Time management has become so important during this week. Although I had reasons for losing time, I still have managed to complete most of my assignment pieces in a timely manner. Thank you for the support of all of the staff.

Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal Design for
Learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Chapter
6. Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/.

Until next week,
Barbara Sue Grayson
Cohort 16

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EDLD 5364 - Teaching with Technology- SP2 11 - ET8026
Week 2 Reflection

With Week 2 coming to an end quite rapidly, I want to take the time to thank my team mates. We have become a team of many talents who can throw ideas on the table and gain focus through conversation, email, examining models, talking to experts, reviewing readings and being willing to change. Some ideas we thought were good were replaced by others that are much better. It is the planning phase that makes or breaks a PLC, and that is what we have become, a mini-PLC. We have gained a narrower view of our content, instructional focus, and are planning lessons that will probably fuse together into our scenario solution. Each of us brings something to the table that makes us a collaborative team together. One is the organizer, one is the content master, another has skills to pull everything together and make it make sense. We have recognized our strengths and weaknesses and have chosen to focus on the former and move forward to finish.

The webinar this week was, again, very informative. Dr. Mason has the amazing ability to answer the dozens of questions that are fired at her from all of us. The UDL and the eBook are the two main assignments this week. I know I will have a few more questions and she and Dawn will be the supporters when I ask them. I appreciate the friendly rapport that occurs between all of us during the webinar. Maybe we are merging into a larger PLC. Everyone is comfortable asking questions, helping each other, and sharing ideas. It turned into a live and lively discussion board right before our eyes. That was pretty cool.

I am enjoying the videos that are part of each week. The CAST Diversity of Learners and Brain Research videos were interesting. I used to share brain research with my middle school students to help them think about how they think. The videos reinforeced the readings about how research has shown positive impact with technology. Schacter positively states, "Computer-based instruction individualizes the educational process to accomodate the needs, interests, proclivities, current knowledge, and learning styles of the student" (p. 4). Hopefully we are moving into the 21st century learning environments more and more.
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Lessonbuilder.cast.org. (nd). Diversity of Learners. [online video] Retrieved from http://lessonbuildler.cast.org/window.php?src=videos
Lessonbuilder.cast.org. (nd). The Brain Research. [online video] Retrieved from http://lessonbuillder.cast.org/window.php?src=videos
Schacter, J. (1999). The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say. Milken Exchange on Education Technology. Retrieved from http://www.mff.org/pubs/ME161.pdf

Until next week,
Barbara Sue Grayson
Cohort 16


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EDLD 5364 - Teaching with Technology- SP2 11 - ET8026
Week 1 Reflection

Through the whirlwind of activities in this first week, I can see that this course has much to offer. Teaming up with two other educators, one of whom is a classroom teacher and the other is a testing coordinator for an ISD, and then throwing myself into the mix as a tech integration specialist has give us a team of various backgrounds, knowledge levels, and expertise. Our talents complement each other and communication has been rich via email, Skype, and phone calls. We all felt a bit disorganized, but now we are gaining our focus for the upcoming week and long term for the final project..

The first weekly webinar proved to be quite valuable and gave us the venue to investigate the group project more deeply. I have a much better understanding of the expectations for myself and my team, previously referred to as "gaining our focus". The meeting of so many students provided a full FAQ resource for the first week and beyond. Gratitude is extended to Dr. Mason for handling a plentiful variety of questions with a calm professionalism.

In addressing the readings, I appreciate the use of the book, Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Although it was published several years ago, it still has tried and true instructional practices for technology. The other articles brought emerging technologies into view. The administrators of today's schools need to embrace these tools for their students. I find it interesting that the administrators are usually the one to get the new tablet, iPad, laptop to "try out" before putting in the hands of their teachers and, my goodness, perhaps the students. I hope to see a reexamination of this "backwards" process in the near future. Finally, the view of social media tools as teaching tools reinforces a concept that I have been supporting for several years. McPheeters (2009) reinforces the global aspect of learning that education is moving to embrace. "The exhilaration of participating live with anyone and everyone around the globe is incomparable to the limiting asynchronous social network custom of sharing information via email and text chat" (para. 3). If only our students could show our teachers what live, continuous connections could do for knowledge building instead of powering down when they walk in the doors.


McPheeters, D. (2009). Social networking technologies in education. Tech and Learning. Retrieved from www.learningtech.com/article/16250
Until next week,
Barbara Sue Grayson
Cohort 16