INDT 501 – Copyright and Fair Use

My original thought was to find an image of an amusing cat. I thought the image would provide my blog readers with a giggle or a laugh. People love taking pictures of their animals so surely I would not have an issue finding an image that would be amusing without a copyright license attached to it. I was sadly mistaken. The website “Pics4Learning” gave me nothing of importance. The website, “Morgue File” was similar, but contained more extraneous images then “Pics4Learning”. “Flickr” was the only website that had a somewhat funny looking cat. My search results were so limited because I was looking for an image that was free to use or had a Creative Commons license. The image I found on “Google” has a creative commons license.

There were some other experiences about my search that are of note. On “Google”, I searched for an image of an amusing cat under a plain search. The results I got were fantastic from the grumpy cat that is all over “Pinterest” to people taking funny pictures of their cats and adding captions to the pictures. Then, I searched the same term, but corrected the license section under advanced search to free to use with commercial purposes. These results were even more limited and quite frankly boring.

Here is my oh so funny image of a cat:

This image is free to use because I discovered it by doing an advanced image search for images of amusing cats that are free to use and share. The original source of the image is from the “Flickr” site and in particular it was under the “Flickr Creative Commons” website which means the owner of the image allowed it to be shared.

With an undergraduate degree in history, my history professors always told me to cite, cite, cite everything I possibly could. While I enjoy the fact that Creative Commons exist, from my experience finding the image, the material that is free to share and use is much more limited. As a teacher, you must be constantly aware of what materials you’re using, how you want to use them, and how they are allowed to be used. The pdf “Copyright and Fair Use Guide for Teachers”, provides an excellent guide for usage of materials that are commonly used in the classroom. I think the most important skills I can teach as a social studies teacher is that everything belongs to someone. I think the younger generations of digital natives struggle with this concept because information is readily available on the internet with the click of a button. In my classroom, I would have students extensvely practice citing all information that comes from any source that isn’t their own thought. As a teacher, I would cite everything I use from images in PowerPoints to worksheets for homework. For information that has the Creative Commons License or is “free to use and share”, I would make not of it.

Even more important than citing is stressing to younger generations that they have a digital footprint. Students need to understand the reprecussions of forgetting to sign out of their accounts especially on public computers. They also need to understand that every time they visit a site various web sites and search engines catalog that information and build a digital profile of the IP address you are working from (Childnet International, 2009). We need to educate children on how the internet works and not just how to use it.

Fun Tid-bit:

The picture of the cat wouldn’t think that it looks amusing because that is how it actually looks in real life. It is a specific breed of car in China that goes for 220,000 yen (A.K.,G., 2007).


A.K., G. (Photographer). (2007). Exotic and permanently scared. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

Childnet International. (2009). Digital footprints. Retrieved from

Hall Davidson. (n.d.). Copyright and fair use guide for teachers. Retrieved from

Nielsio. (2011, March 22). “Against Owning Information (“Intellectual Property”)” . Retrieved from:

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INDT 501 Common Core vs 21st century

Some what like a commercial, but this video gives a tour of the creation of the Common Core Curriculum

When I first looked through all the websites dedicated to the Common Core Curriculum and the 21st cenutry pedagogy I had an opened mind. Last semester, I worked on a project that created an idea of a 21st century elementary school and what it would look like and how it would teach students. Looking back on it, I think my group and I scratched the surface of 21st learning.

Now that I am more literate on both topics after reading through the three websites listed for this blog I have one camp that I am in and I don’t think I am going to change from that.

I agree most with the description of the Common Core Curriculum. The Common Core Foundation makes solid points about the benefits of its curriculum. It also helps that many states have adopted it curriculum. One point it makes is that it focuses on “walking around knowledge” and that it is easier to learn new things with prior knowledge (Common Core Foundation, 2013). One quote I partciularly liked from its site was “the richer the knowledge base, the more smoothly and effectively cognitive processes” (Common COre Foundation, 2013). Perhaps I like Common Core because it more closely resembles what education looks likes now, but I think it is more coherent and marketable to parents, teachers, and administrators. Also, I like that Common Core builds on prior knowledge each year and allows teachers to plan how to teach the high standards set by the Core (Common Core Foundation, 2013).

I was not impressed by the 21st Cenutry pedagogy devoted to developing 21st century skills in the classroom. The P21 website seemed hastily constructed and only demonstrated the overview of the 21st Century Pedagogy. What I gained in knowledge about 21st Century Pedagogy from P21 was that it would help students compete in a global economy, it would blend skills with content knowledge, and it was funded by a variety of profit and non-profit sources (P21, 2011). Most of this tells me nothing. I had a better understanding of 21st Pedagogy from the site that bears its name. However, I was confused and dismayed at what the site and the Pedagogy call for. What I gathered was that under 21st Century Pedagogy, content knowledge was second to skills (Tangient LLC, 2013). I don’t like this at all. There are so many things in the world that cannot rely on skill like history. I can’t apply skills to understand the deep-rooted conflict between Israel and much of the Middle East. Also, I didn’t like the site’s focus on fluency as a better measurement of literacy (Tangient LLC, 2013). The site defines literacy as being consciously competent, while fluency is being unconsciously competent (Tangient LLC, 2013). The site makes it seem as if this is an easy goal to achieve. However, I discovered in my Literacy class this week that mot adolescents are not literate so how can we expect them to by fluent. Greg Toppo from USA Today points out good facts about P21. He related that students only learn the skills P21 advocates for on a shallow level (Toppo, 2009). The best point he makes is that students from lower incomes will be disadvantaged becasue they will not receive as much background information at home about content and skills as a student from a higher income level (Toppo, 2009). P21 may have thought they had found the cure for a failing economy, but they haven’t dealt with the discrepancies of their own plan yet.

Overall, the Common Core Curriculum seems like a contiuation of many of educational practices used today. For some of us born and raised Virginians it seems that the Common Core is low-reaching in its goals. However, it does set high goals for states that have been falling behind. P21 offers a solution to the distressed American economy, but it does not offer a suitable plan of action. It jumps too far and too fast for 21t century skills in the classroom to truly compensate for content knowledge.

In reference to the readings for this week, I liked the chapter on blogs from Web 2.0: How to for Educators the most. I thought the chapter provided copious amounts of insight about how to use blogs as tools for professional development as well as in the classroom and with different types of students. For instance, the chapter relaed all the aspects of teaching that blogs enhance such as critical thinking because blogs require that you think, then write and communication because blogs can require that you communicate effectively to your peers which reinforces the experience of blogging (Soloman & Schrum, 2011). Also, I liked how the chapter provided real classroom examples for blogging in different content areas.


Common Core Foundation. (2013). Why knowledge matters. Retrieved from

P21. (2011). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from

Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2011). Web 2.0 how-to for educators. Eugene, OR: Intl Society for Technology in educ.

Tangient LLC. (2013). 21st century pedagogy. Retrieved from Century Pedagogy.

TheHuntInstitute. (2011, August 19). Common Core Standards: A New Foundation for Student Success. . Retrieved from:

Toppo, G. (2009, March 05). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st-century skills’?. USA Today. Retrieved from

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INDT 501 – The Technology Matrix

The History of Technology in Education

The Technology Matrix provides many examples for uses of technology in the classroom as well as simplified lesson plans for educators to re-work in their favor. The Matrix encompasses many ideas, however it is a meeting ground for those ideas and not a plan book for a teacher. The reason I say this is because I was searching for a high school social studies example to view and found difficulty in finding one. There were a couple of high school related activities, but many of them were geography which is a class that I like, but not what I want to teach. The example I picked dealt with international relations.

In this lesson plan on the Matrix, the objectives were to learn about a current event, create a concept web of it, and compare and contrast political ideologies involved. The lesson relys on inspiration software to have students organize their ideas and create the concept webs. I was slightly skeptical of this lesson plan because I felt that it too heavily on one kind of software and one kind of use of technology. Also, the lesson plan required students to create concept maps from readings in their textbooks. Either the teacher had planned to spend a lot of time on this project to ensure that every student would have access to the Inspiration software or she expected them to somehow use the software at home. This is a critical aspect. If a teacher is going to incorporate technology into a lesson and assignments, then they must make sure students can access the technology outside of the classroom in the capacity they will need it in. I felt that the teacher could have the same lesson, but directed the students to a website that would allow them to create concept maps.

A second lesson I looked at (which was the only other high school history oriented one) dealt with creating an online World History textbook. Students were asked to read the online  textbook, complete online activities associated with the text, and click on links that would take them online articles about the text. I am not sure how this is a collaboratice assignment, but I understnad the entry level aspect of it. However, I find this assignment boring and not innovative. I question teacher ability to ensure the students have completed this lesson, but I have heard that online textbooks allow teachers to monitor the activity of each of their students. In some respects, I think this is a good inductory lesson, but maybe for a lower grade level and not for a tenth or eleventh grader and certainly not for a twelfth grader.

One use of technology that became popular when I was in high school was the interactive white board. With proper use of the white boards, I feel you could rank it as Active-Adpatation. Teachers who allow students to explore its fuctions and become familiar with them make the interactive white board an extremely useful and engaging tool. Teachers who use the interactive white board on a limited basis and let students use it seldomly reduce the white board to Active-Entry.


College of Education, University of South Florida. (2011). Technology integration matrix. Retrieved from

SMARTdeEMEA. (2011, October). The History of Technology in Education. Retrieved January 2013 from

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EDCI 506 Group Project

This video sums up the issues teachers face in preaparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet. (It is slightly outdated)

What key ideas were stressed that we talked about this semester in the presentations?

The key ideas that were stressed in the presentations and throughout the semester were:

-how do we fund schools?

  • Our group relied on public-private partnerships as well as taxes from sales and real estate. While the public-private partnetship aspect presented problems in our presentation I think we could gain considerable donations and grants because of the eco aspect of our school
  • The other group relied on grant money to fund their schools which could provide issues of repeatedly getting the grants.

-what should our school teach?

  • Schools should all teach the same basic concepts, but there are differences that can extend from them. Our school had a focus on 21st century skills that would prepare students for the workplace even though our school was elementary. One of the major issues with curriculum is whether or not schools should focus on math and science to be more competitive in the international measure or should schools cultivate well-rounded individuals.

-how do we help make teaching a profession?

  • In our school, we wanted to have all teachers in our school obtain an M. Ed. within 5 years of being hired. Also, we wanted to have teachers attend at least one professional development course a month. We had some expectation that teachers would continue their education by taking classes that were provided by the school or a university because most professions require ongoing education.

Identify main themes and potential discussion topics from the presentations?

-Main themes

  • Magnet schools or public schools that specialize in some part of the curriculum
  • Less dependence on the government for funding

-Discussion topics

  • How do public-private partnerships work in the real-world?
  • How do we assess our teachers are effective?
  • How do you assess students are ready to graduate from school?

How might you redefine or modify your teaching philosophy after your classmates presentations?

– I do not think I would redefine my teaching philisophy much. I would examine my statements about teacher autonomy because I particularly like the thought of the teacher being able to decide the pacing of a unit or lesson based on the  needs of his/her class. Aspects like funding and professional development are not able to be managed by individual teachers.

Think back in your own school. How was it similar to each groups 21st century school? How was it different?

-I thought it was interesting that our schools differed in that my group focused on the environment while the other group focused on humanities. Also, our school was public while theirs was chartered which created differences in funding and the allowances of deviation from the curriculum.

-Both schools were similar in that they desired to prepare students for the 21st century. They were also similar in their limitations of summative assessment with more reliance on formative assessment. Both schools had a strong desire to create professional development for teachers and provide them with whatever resources they needed to be better teachers.

What did you learn?

– I learned that there are man facets to creating a school. Once you think you have finished dealing with a facet, you have either forgotten something or additions to a different facet make one not work. I think funding is the largest issue schools face whenever they try to deviate from the normal school plan and it was very hard to come up with a proper answer for how our school was going to fund things like solar panels. We did not even bring up the maintainence solar panels would require or the groundskeeping a functioning farm would need. I think the most important think I learned from this activity is that there is no perfect 21st century and every school will be different in its pursuit to meet the needs of an ever-evolving society.


Phelan, Russell. (2008, July 11). “Shift Happens: Bringing Education into the 21st Century.” Youtube. Retrieved from:



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EDCI 500 Formative and Summative Assessment

Assessment is a hot topic in today’s discussion about what is wrong with American education. Many people see the summative assessment (standardized tests) is an ineffective way to gage student achievement. These people often voice their like for formative assessment which provides assessment in a classroom throughout the year. So in the classroom, how should a teacher use assessment? Is there one camp or the other? I am writing to find out what to do about this situation.

It is a common fact preached in pre-service curriculum that summative assessment forces teachers to “teach to the test” and limit the amount of critical thinking in the classroom. Even more so, content is limited to test and teachers feel that they have accomplished their work without needing to go on to further content at the end of the year. When I was in school in Prince William County, these were the infamous “movie days”. So are there any benefits to summative assessment? The answer is “yes”. The largest reason to use summative assessment is to make teachers accountable for their teaching (Garrison C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007). One reason may be that summative assessment can be used as benchmarks through the year to gage where student achievement is at (Garrison, C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007). Another reason summative assessment is helpful is because as an educator you can look at variables and demographics of test as well as ability level. However, many people see negatives to this kind of assessment. For instance, summative assessment only gages learning at a certain point in time and these kind of assessments do not provide effective information for what is happening in the classroom at the current moment (Garrison C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007).

The other kind of assessment in the classroom battle is formative assessment. This kind of assessment can be thought of as “practice” (Garrison C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007). Formative assessment involves the student in their own learning and gives the teacher descriptive feedback (Garrison C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007). Not only does this help to ensure achievement, but it helps the teacher gage in real-time where their students are at in terms of mastery and achievement (Garrison C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007). So what exactly is formative assessment? Formative assessment involves multiple kinds of activities geared towards an underlying goal. Students can be observed, questioned in a casual manner, asked to keep records of grade, or perform self and peer assessments (Garrison C. & Ehringhaus M., 2007).

Let’s address two specific kinds of formative assessment called “think time” and “wait time”. “Think time” is when a teacher waits between three and five seconds for students to respond a question that has been asked (Stahl, 2012). In the three to five seconds before a student response not only do student responses increase, but the quality of the responses increase (Stahl, 2012). Furthermore, “think time” allows a teacher to develop quality varied questions geared towards critical thinking (Stahl, 2012).

Going back to the concept of formative assessment, it allows for a deeper integration of education in the classroom. Technology is abundant in the world and computers can hold vast amounts of information. There is no need for people to memorize facts when you can “google” whatever you want on your phone. In response, businesses are looking for people manage information, see patterns, identify needs, and solve problems (Badger, 2012).  This criteria falls under critical thinking skills which are developed through formative assessment. Critical thinking is developed because student performance is measured through real-world applications and in less traditional contexts (Badger, 2012).

Okay, now that everything has been laid out it may seem that formative assessment may be the best choice for assessment in the classroom because it was expanded upon more than summative. However, there are many more variations to formative assessment than summative assessment. The best answer is that there is no best answer, but based on what I have seen is there needs to be a balance of both kinds of assessment. Summative assessment is useful for teachers to see if they are effective and the breakdown of tests in helpful for schools to understand weaknesses. Also, they can address if students have mastered enough material to move on to the next grade. Formative assessment is the better for the classroom in terms of day-to-day learning because it allows for teachers to modify their lesson plans and have students active and engaged in learning. Whatever the real answer might be, Badger explains perfectly that the meaning of what it means “to know” a discipline is changing and with that our methods of assessment must change as well.


Awslutsky. (2012, February 8). “Formative vs. Summative Assessment.” Youtube.Retrieved from:

Badger, Elizabeth. “Open Ended Questions in Reading.” ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies, 1992. Web. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <>.

Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (2007). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom. Retrieved from

Stahl, Robert J. “Using “Think-Time” and “Wait-Time” Skillfully in the Classroom.” ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies, 1994. Web. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <>.

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EDCI 506 Curriculum and Instruction

This week in class we had a debate on the Common Core curriculum and whether or not it would beneficial for the whole country to adapt to one educational standard. It was obvious in the debate that there are benefits and harms to a wide spread standard curriculum. However, like most educational reforms in order for the reform to work it must be tested, the kinks worked out, and rinse, wash, and repeat. In order to begin to understand how a wide spread curriculum would affect children we must first analyze the commonalities of curriculum and instruction across the nation.

What Do Students Learn?

Let’s focus on high school. When I graduated high school in 2009, I had successfully complete courses in math, science, history, language arts, Spanish, and weight-lifting. So what do much of that have to do with the real world? The question is difficult because society is finding it more and more difficult to educate students for an ever-changing market place. Scott Mcleod understands the un-relatedness of curriculum and real world skills in his blog, “High School Students Know that their Leaning Isn’t Relevant” (Mcleod, 2012). Mcleod points out that high school students know they will probably never need to write out long papers on a piece of loose leaf paper of that they will never have to give a presentation with a piece of poster board and with facts glued to it (Mcleod, 2012). In the real world, people don’t solve math problems on a piece of paper for simple math and most research is done on a computer and less and less dependency is placed on books for information (Mcleod, 2012). So why are high school students being taught these irrelevant skills that will not help them in the job marketplace? Some say we need stepping stones or we have to start somewhere, but if we eliminate poster board presentations and do all our work on a calculator we should be okay as long as we know how to get to the answer, but not the answer itself right?

Current Trends in Curriculum Development

The most talked about current trend in curriculum development in the Common Core. The Common Core curricula has identified the skills students will need in order to be competitive in the workplace and the processes and learning strategies students need to develop in order to retain what has been taught to them (Rust, 2012). The Common focuses standards in the same way 21st learning has asked schools to incorporate into their instruction. For instance, one standard asks that students be able to apply math to real world situations (Rust, 2012). Unlike many standards today, the Common Core places emphasis on informational reading to help students navigate information on the Internet (Rust, 2012).

How Do Teachers Plan and Deliver Instruction?

In EDCI 511 this semester, our class has been taught how to create a lesson plan using the “Understanding by Design” model or UbD. This backwards approach asks teachers to create a lesson by discovering the standards, then planning assessment to meet the standards, and lastly creating the lesson itself. I have run into one large problem with creating a lesson plan in this matter. What exactly should I have for content and if I leave something out, will it be detrimental to my students’ success? I have looked many times at the Virginia Department of Education’s website to guide, but most of the time all the website has to offer me is a few blurbs. So how do people like I better plan instruction in a subject that is as vast as history? I am not entirely sure, but I think planning happens more on the Internet then it ever has before. These days, there are whole websites devoted to lesson planning (free and not free), I can” Google” “Interwar period lesson plan” and I get actual teachers’ lessons plan. It is difficult to say whether the Internet has made teachers’ lives easier, but it has definitely created collaboration.

On the matter of delivering instruction, Michael Wesch has an important opinion about instruction that carries over from his classes taught in a college atmosphere. In his blog, “A Vision of Students Today (& What Teachers Must Do)” he related that the classroom is designed to place all focus on the teacher and allow no one else to speak by the way the seats are arranged, the speak system installed, and the sound absorbing walls that have been put in place (Wesch, 2008). Furthermore, he explained that the room is designed to be an information dump where students simply acquire knowledge, but do not apply it and this is largely because of the projector in the front of the room (Wesch, 2008). Like a television screen, students sit in front of the projector absorbing information and not thinking about it. All these aspects apply to the classroom as well. Although, in the public school system I believe teachers have more flexibility to control how information is delivered. The test for teachers is to not fall into the trap of presenting information in the manner Michael Wesch has described.

Models for Direct Instruction

Direct instruction is highly scripted, fast-paced, and provides constant interaction between teacher and student. I will focus on one model I found that has five stages. The first stage in orientation where the teacher draws out the students prior knowledge to familiarize them with the lesson (Moore). The second stage is presentation where the teacher models where, how, and why a strategy is used (Moore). The third stage is structured practice where the students are involved in the strategy in a way in which they cannot fail (Moore). The fourth stage is guided practice where the teacher withdraws support once the students demonstrate understanding through answers to questions (Moore). The last  stage is independent practice where students apply strategies to unfamiliar situations monitored by the teacher (Moore).

Authentic Assessment for the History Classroom

-Primary source analysis (what makes it good or bad?)

-Document based questions and create a Doucment based question


-Concept Maps

-Situational role play (ex: pretend you’re a country at the Treaty of Versailles)

-Mock trials

-Create propaganda

-Make a children’s book





Balancedliteracydiet. (2011, 25 November). “What are we Learning Today: Setting Goals to Improve Student Learning” [Youtube].Retrieved from:

Mcleod, S. (2012, January 05). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Moore, David W. “Direct Instruction: Targeted Strategies for Student Success”. National Geographic. (p. 1-4). Hampton-Brown.

Rust, T. (2012). Common Core standards. Technology & Engineering Teacher, 72(3), 32-36.

Wesch, M. (2008, October 21). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

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EDCI 506 Week 12 21st century learning

I like this video because it offers a unique, matter-of-fact perspective

The DNA of current pedagogy

The 21st century has been dubbed the information age. At first glance, one might think “schools convey information, so they must be prepared for the information age”. However, the information age refers to a new era devoted to technology in an increasingly educated society. As we discussed in class, critical reports have been given to help prepare schools for the 21st century by pointing out the issues within schools and the education system.

Are schools remaining relevant in the 21st century?

Although the following information is from a blog, I think this information is alarming when compared to a time without so much technology. Sam Gliksman stated in his blog that, “The average teen looks at a screen for more hours annually than the time they spend in class” (Gliksman, 2011). This statistic makes sense in terms of teachers requiring more research and homework done online. However, another statistic Gliksman found was that “More children aged 7-16 years old own a mobile phone than own a book – 85% own phones versus 72% that own a book at home” (Gliksman, 2011). What gives? Books are less expensive than phones by far, so what is changing in society and how is that effecting education. One of the main points of Gliksman’s blog is that because technology is changing and our dependence on technology is greater, the way people learn, absorb information, and access information is changing as well (Gliksman, 2011).

In terms of technology, schools are trying to stay relevant, but it is hard for them to create rules for technology in the classroom. In Prince William County, some schools are testing how technology can function in the classroom when so many students have their own smartphones and tablets. At Saunders Middle School in Prince William County, my 8th grade sister was given to wifi passcode for the school’s internet and specific guidelines for the use of personal technology devices in the classroom. Her school is the guinea pig for the new use of technology in the classroom. If the teacher allows them to use their devices in the classroom for a class activity, they may use their cell phones and tablets or personal computers. Furthermore, my sister said that she is allowed to use her cell phone freely in the cafeteria during lunch time. I think this is one small step for schools trying to remain technologically relevant in the 21st century. The underlying issue is that not every student will have access to personal technology and how do teachers and schools control the use of personal technology in their classroom when it is not permitted for use. Even more complicated is how can teachers and schools control what the students are accessing on the Internet when they are permitted to use it. There is much more schools need to do to remain relevant in the 21st century including changing curriculum, how students learn, and how learning is measured.

Should pedagogy change?

If the world is changing, shouldn’t the way we teach change with it? If pedagogy is going to change, it has to be a coherent, planned, collaborative change. Willard Daggett addresses this change by relating that after change is agreed upon by the community, then a consensus must found on what needs to be changed and how to change it (Daggett, 2008). Furthermore, pedagogy should include teachers who are teachers first, but experts in their field and instructional practices should be based on how students will learn best (Daggett, 2008).  Daggett invokes the idea the each school has its own “DNA” (Daggett, 2008). I think it is necessary for teachers to draw from that school DNA or school identity to teach in a way that works best for their students and the community and school. Other important aspects of pedagogy are teachers working collaboratively, encouraging problem solving, and having a curriculum that is interdisciplinary. I think one of the more innovative aspects of assessment that will make pedagogy more relevant to the 21st century is transparency between teachers and students. Often times, students don’t understand what they are supposed to accomplish in a class or on an activity. I think teachers and students should collectively create rubrics and classroom standards for academics which is something that is not really done currently.

What are your thoughts about allowing students to take control of the content and helping them to make meaning and create knowledge from it in multiple forms, styles, and media?

Interest drives learning. By making content relevant to students and drawing their interest they are bound to learn more. By allowing students to choose their content, a teacher can ensure student interest. The teacher is the person in the classroom with the tools to create knowledge and the student is the one who needs knowledge, but the teacher shouldn’t be the only using the tools to create knowledge. Students often poke around on the internet more than adults. The result is that they know more about technology than teachers do so I do not see the harm in letting students create their own projects that will be graded by the teachers as long as it is sound and has a clear focus/goal. By allowing students to create knowledge through multiple forms and styles, teachers are allowing students to hone in on their learning styles and learn the way that works best for them. This point is related to the 21st century idea that teachers should differentiate their learning and teach to multiple learning styles.

How can schools engage students in meaningful projects that focus on creativity and apply the content students are learning?

Daggett relates that student engagement is not tied to student quality (smart vs. not smart) (Daggett, 2008). Daggett outlines a series of elements that encourage student engagement beginning with a one-on-one teacher and student relationship (Dagget, 2008). Students need to feel cared about and that some one believes in their success. Teachers should learn new skills to help motivate students and should use strategies and approaches to encourage student engagement (Daggett, 2008). Also, it is important to have students involved in school activities whether it is after school or during school (Daggett, 2008). Involvement creates a sense of community within the school and a feeling that not only do teachers care about the students, but students care about each other. Student engagement focuses on the first part of this question.

The second half of this question is easier to answer. If students have a supportive environment, then they will be more willing to participate in projects. For example, students in an encouraging environment that feel safe and respected will feel able to be creative. Teacher reinforcement is necessary to have students apply content to projects. The act of using projects and not standardized tests allows students to be creative and apply content in ways that are meaningful to the student.


Daggett, W. R. (2008). Preparing u.s. schools for the 21st century. Informally published manuscript, International Center for Leadership in Education, Retrieved from U.S. Schools for the 21st Century.pdf

Gbwhitby. (2007, Sept 29). “21st century pedagogy” . Retrieved from:

Gliksman, S. (2011, February 04). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Macfound. (2010, Dec. 1). “Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner | MacArthur Foundation” . Retrieved from:

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EDCI 500 Maslow and Constructivism

Summary of Maslow’s Hierarchy

A traditional classroom vs. a constructivist approach


1) Examine your motivation to learn. Using Maslow’s hierarchy, match each statement of a positive experience to a Maslow level, then decide whether it represents an internal or external locus of control. Then rank the experiences in order of importance according to Maslow’s theory.

I do not know what really motivates me to learn. My mother usually teases me by calling me an overachiever because I am driven in school. I know where I want to be in ten years and I know my goals, but that only somewhat describes my motivation to learn. A lot of people get an education to get a good job after college. I kind of agree that I have been getting an education to get a good job, but more so a stable job so I can secure my future. However, I have only talked about education. I have noticed that I have a motivation to learn about multiple things in multiple areas. So what motivates me to learn period…?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs begins with physiological needs such as basic survival needs (food, water, sleep) (Cohen, 2009). Then, safety needs followed by love/belonging needs. Most complex needs are esteem and self-actualization which involves creativity and problem solving amongst other critical thought process (Cohen, 2009). My experience of understanding that it takes an education to get a good job ties into survival needs because jobs equal money, money equals food, water, shelter, and a future. Although it may seem like a complex need, I think it is pretty simple because a job satisfies those basic needs. I think survival or Maslow’s lowest needs on his hierarchy represents external and internal loci of control. A person’s ability to obtain a job is an external locus of control because job availability is not controlled by one person, but a flux of the economy. It can also be an internal locus of control because a person must have the courage and will power to obtain a job. In terms of basic survival needs, external locus depends on what is available to the individual and internal locus is dependent of and individual’s ability to obtain a job. More focus is placed on employment in the safety needs hierarchy. This is because employment can help secure your future. Also, safety needs relate to morality, family, health, and property. My motivation to learn pertains the least to this category because I do not learn to feel the safety of family or morality. In some ways one could say that I am motivated to learn because I want to understand politics so that I can protect my family and the morals I believe in.

The two more complex levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs apply more specifically to my motivation to learn. For instance, my motivation to learn balances on my self-esteem that I can learn and be intelligent. If I did not learn or score high on tests, then I would not have high self-esteem and probably would not continue to be motivated to learn. Esteem is tied in with achievement so when I learn and excel, then I achieve which makes me feel good about myself and want to continue to learn. Also, I like to learn because I gain the respect of others when I am competent on a particular subject or issue.

The highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs looks to self-actualization. In terms of motivation to learn, I feel like self-actualization is a result learning rather than a motivation to learn. Concepts like creativity and spontaneity are things that are often inherent in a person as well as morality. Problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of the facts are things that I think you learn within your education. Only by being educated does a person gain these concepts and only by further education does a person become more educated in these areas. I think this last point is why I like to learn and why I am motivated to learn.

2) I would like for you to think about ambiguity and constructivism. Classrooms that are organized and conducted from a constructivist perspective will most likely include some ambiguous tasks. Discuss the appropriateness of presenting such tasks to students who have a high fear of failure, cannot cope with ambiguity, and are poor risk-takers. How can a constructivist classroom serve the needs of these children?

Educational Psychology related that in a constructivist classroom  the teacher and the students make “decisions together about content, activities, and approaches” (Woolfolk, 2010, p. 518). Under a constructivist approach, a teacher will have more big goals and less small goals (Woolfolk, 2010). The focus for constructivist teachers is to develop multiple abilities at one time so that the abilities learned are not disconnected. I am one of those students who does not like any ambiguity in a task. I am not a poor risk-taker nor do I have a high fear of failure, but I know this is an issue for many students who are focused and goal-oriented. I think constructivist approaches can work in the classroom with these kinds of students as long as the goals are rigid. The question posed here reminds me of the case study assigned last module where the teacher have an excellent assignment, but did convey to the students what and how they should be learning. As long as these students have big over-arching structured goals, then the students will feel comfortable to pursue ambiguous tasks. I think it is alright if they do not understand how the task or activity fits into the aver-arching goal immediately so long as they understand eventually. I think key to this kind of approach is communication between the teacher and the students. Also, I think it is key that students work in groups in a constructivist classrooms because collaboration encourages students who are unwilling to take risks or deal with ambiguity to work with their classmates who can give them support. The other students act as reinforcers to help the “scared” students have a stable foundation to build on.


Cohen, S., & Dennick, R. (2009). Applying learning theory in the consultation. Clinical Teacher, 6(2), 117-121. doi:10.1111/j.1743-498X.2009.00283.x

Mmarchhistory. (2010, Febuary 28). “Constructivist vs. Traditional Classroom “. Youtube. Retrieved from

Unorthodoxpoppycock. (2011, August 21). “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”. Youtube. Retrieved from

Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational psychology. (12 ed.). Boston: Ohio State University.

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EDCI 506 Week 11 Blog

I like this video because it addresses that some teacher may have been taught to teach down the middle, but that is not necessarily right.


1. How is curriculum and instruction in a class for gifted students different from that in other classes? How might you teach a student who is gifted and talented in your inclusive classroom?

Gifted students are different than regular students and it is necessary to have high expectations for all students. Often, these students are not challenged in the classroom. In the discussion this week, the idea came up that gifted students become tutors or “second teachers” because they already know what is being taught or grasp it more quickly. “The Multi-Dimensional Curriculum Model (MdCM)” characterizes gifted students as having “percocity, intensity, and complexity… with cognitive and affective dimensions” (Vidergor, 2010, p. 155). I think some other characteristics of gifted students are being able to communicate and collaborate with peers who are at their level or average ability students, experience information in new and challenging ways, and think out of the box. In class, it was mentioned that gifted students are diagnosed with ADHD because they are not being challenged in the classroom so I think it would be beneficial for them to have multiple tasks going on at the same time or involved tasks.

The article related that curricula for gifted students should involve advanced content dimension, issue-themed dimension, and process-product dimension (Vidergor, 2010).  I like the article because it addresses how you should teach gifted students. For instance, instruction should have advanced content, focus on higher order thinking and critical thinking, and have learning experiences that involve major issues (Vidergor, 2010). I think it is helpful to have gifted students express opinions and research from different point of views because it helps develop deep understanding. In terms of teaching gifted students in an inclusive classroom, the MdCM is an ideal model because it is useful for ability grouping. I think the key to teaching students at different levels in your classroom is differentiated learning. I watched a video for either this class or EDCI 511 where the teacher gave the students cubes and each cube had a different color. The colors represented the ability level of the students and each side of the cube had activities that demonstrated the multiple intelligences. I think this is an excellent first step for ability grouping in an elementary school. I think in high school, it would be helpful to offer extra credit, questions for further thought, and options for activities. You cannot force students with higher abilities to do harder activities, but you can give them the tools to challenge themselves.

2. Collect resources that will help you teach effectively in your inclusive classroom. For example, include a list of resources that you found to differentiate instruction or manage a classroom environment.

– The Tic-Tac-Toe assignment. I did this in a class and loved it because I could focus on my strengths. You are given a tic-tac-toe board with activities and each box has a different intelligence represented in it. The student must choose three activities in a tic-tac-toe style, but the intelligences are arranged in such a way that there is a balance of intelligences.

– Literature Circles/ Socratic Seminars – Students are given something to read ahead of time and are encouraged to come up with questions and ideas to contribute to a discussion in the class. I like this idea because gifted students will add new perspectives and speak out and you can require all the other students to contribute at least once. – this website provides a slew of resources for purchase offers free assignment pdfs of differentiated learning offers conceptual and theoretical understanding of differentiated learning for all grades and all students Delaware Department of Education’s site for differentiated learning and provides lots and lots of resources.

3. How can professional collaboration enhance education in an inclusive classroom?

Teachers have to collaborate in order to manage their classroom successfully. Students with disabilities may have teachers with them. It would not be smart to not communicate with those teachers who are in your classroom and in your zone. The idea of inclusion is similar to the idea of integration. Inclusive students should not be treated as a separate group or ignored in a classroom, they should be included (Carter, 2009). When educators “voluntarily co-planning to achieve common goals” they share resources which can benefit inclusive students when shared (Carter, 2009). Although collaboration requires planning time, effort, and administrative support it can eliminate the stress teachers face (Carter, 2009). For instance, in my practicum my teacher created worksheets that modeled the SOL objectives and another teacher created Power Points to use for instruction. By doing this, they eliminated the burden of planning on your own.

4. What steps should you take to help prepare you to teach students with disabilities?

I think step one is to absolutely ask for help when you need it and even if you don’t need it. By always asking for help you can ensure you are on the right path and are constantly getting feedback about your teaching. Step two – reach out to another teacher who is in your situation or has experience with teaching students with disabilities. Step three – always use differentiated learning to reach all learning types and all learning levels. Step four – don’t over-rely on special education teachers in your classroom and make sure you make personal contact with your students with disabilities. They are still your students and the same rules about developing trust and caring apply to them as well. Step five – be a teacher.




Carter, N., Prater, M., Jackson, A., & Marchant, M. (2009). Educators’ Perceptions of Collaborative Planning Processes for Students With Disabilities. Preventing School Failure, 54(1), 60-70.

Edutopia. (2010, May 5). Differentiated Instruction Ignites Elementary School Learning. Retrieved from:

Vidergor, H. (2010). The Multidimensional Curriculum Model (MdCM). Gifted & Talented International, 25(2), 153-165.


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EDCI 506 Week 10 (look here Dr. Coffman) Tracking and other thoughts

Multiple Intelligences

The video from Cengage Learning was very interesting because it got me thinking about how I could use multiple intelligences in a high school classroom. The video focused on a fourth grade classroom so the teacher is allowed to be a little more “goofy” because his students still see him as an authority figure (Won Park). However, in a high school classroom, I think teachers have to be clever to make sure that students don’t feel like an activity is goofy, unrelated, or beneath their level. Speaking from experience, I have had teachers assign work in high school that I did not want to do because it was silly or not directly academic. For high school teachers, I think the challenge becomes integrating multiple intelligences into a lesson plan is a “covert” way. I think one way that would be really effective is using the period music like the teacher did in the video for the Mayflower activity (Won Park). A teacher could have music related to the lesson for almost any time period as long as it is not distracting. Also, although visualizing a time period might seem “goofy” to teenagers, I think teenagers would have a lot to gain from visualization because they are older and can form more complex concepts than a younger student (Woolfolk, 2010). I think teachers use the multiple intelligences in high school, but not very often. As a student, I remember that multiple intelligences were often used in projects and special assignments. However, teachers should use multiple intelligence strategies as much as possible to give every student an equal chance.


I could go on and on about tracking. I was a product of tracking in the public school system and I am very grateful I was tracked the way I was (pre-AP, AP, and advanced classes). After researching tracking for a paper my academic consensus is that tracking is neither harmful, nor beneficial. My personal opinion is that lower income students often don’t have the parental support needed to advocate for their success in a tracking environment (Archibald, 2009). Not many studies have been done or have turned up conclusive evidence because tracking occurs over the entire period of a student’s education. What has been shown is that the students themselves are not the ones who are not as smart as other students. Teachers play a large role in creating stereotypes for students placed in specific tracks (Oaks, 2005). If you can remember back to Freedom Writers, Mrs. Gruwell kept peering into the advanced class with a smile on her face because that is what she wanted to teach one day.

I think one of the larger issues with tracking is that is creates unequal opportunities in the classroom (Oaks, 2005). Mrs. Gruwell’s was far less as nice as the advanced classroom. A real-life example stared me in the face at my practicum. I have been in an Honors class and when I observed co-teaching in a regular class I saw a lack of technology, a lack of resources, and a lack of information.

So does tracking perpetuate inequality? It may in some situations, but I think when looking at tracking as a valuable system we have to look at all the players involved (the parents, students, community, school, and counselors). A poll instituted by the Public Agenda Foundation found that most members of the community support tracking (Loveless, 1999). In terms of the school, tracking has been an educational stronghold dating back to the Industrial Revolution and integrated deeply into the organizational structure of each school (Loveless, 1999). Students and parents are the best advocates for student education. When a student is placed in their courses for the next year, a document is almost always sent home for the approval of the parent and student (Archibald, 2009). There was some evidence in a study performed by Patrick Akos that demonstrated the students from lower income families and minorities experience less advocacy from their parents (Akos, 2007). However, Akos claimed that student aspirations was the largest determining factor in a student’s education (Akos, 2007). Even though Akos pointed out that minorities and low income students experience less parental advocacy, there was no conclusive evidence to show that disadvantages in socio-economic status effected education after high school (Akos, 2007). In fact, 96% of the students in his study went to either a technical college or four year institution (Akos, 2007). I think it would be more beneficial to stop pointing out the flaws with tracking and increase student and parent awareness about courses offered at a school. Ultimately, tracking depends on the social climate of the school such as where it is located, the opinions and ideas of those in charge of the school, and diversity within the school.

If tracking is so bad, then why don’t schools start detracking. One reason is integration of tracking in the organizational structure of schools mentioned earlier. Another reason is that if a school takes away advanced classes, how will students be competitive with other students applying for college and jobs. The proponents of detracking advocate for extra help in regular classes coupled with opportunities beyond the classroom, multidimensional instruction, and cross-age tutoring to support heterogeneous classes (Wheelock, 1994). In my opinion, if schools are struggling to make ends meet, then how are they going to be able to afford these extra services and how are students going to be able to add opportunities beyond the classroom to a full school day and increasing pressure to consume free time with extra-curricular activities?

 Food for thought



Akos, P. (2007). Early adolescents aspirations and academic tracking: An exploratory investigation. Professional School Counseling11(1), 57-64. Retrieved from

Archibald, D. (2009). Getting into honors or not: An analysis of the relative influence of grades, test scores, and race on track placement in a comprehensive high school. American Secondary Education37(2), 65-81. Retrieved from

Loveless, T. (1999). The tracking wars: State reform meets school policy. Washington D.C.: The Brooking’s Institution. Retrieved from tracking wars&source=bl&ots=uDbXQ2wdPq&sig=H-wNo9iYEXY-evrz5EZ0kO1ubSM&hl=en&src=bmrr&sa=X&ei=N4FgUNHjC8630QGr4YGAAQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA

Missouri education watchdog. (2012, 02 08). Retrieved from

Oaks, J. (2005). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality. (2nd ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Retrieved from

Wheelock, A. (1994). Alternatives to tracking and ability grouping. Arlington, VA.: American Association of School Administration. Retrieved from to tracking&source=bl&ots=t16PtxH9x5&sig=UfYK52_9daIf0NZGGsnaIjA-aiM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7oFgULqxNKyN0QGOyYDoCg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA

Won Park, F. (Performer) (n.d.). Multiple intelligences: Elementary school instruction. Available from


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