My Response to the Reading:
This chapter was filled with incredible examples of how tech-savvy educators are using web 2.0 tools to enhance learning in and out of their classrooms. Between desktop tools and web 2.0 tools there has been a virtual explosion of creative tools that can be used to “promote an environment that supports, sustains, and even requires a pedagogical approach that includes inquiry, creativity and full integration of technology.”  Reading about these tools and the people who are using them well was quite inspiring. At the same time, the whole subject is pretty overwhelming. First there is just dealing with the amount of new information technologies there are out there.  Then there are the cultural/philosophical implications of the new paradigm. I have to say that as a parent and an educator I have many conflicting thoughts about the idea that our children are digital natives in a world where the internet is a dual reality overlaying our physical reality.

As an educator, I have been intrigued by the many new tools out there for synthesizing information and creating new ways of sharing the results of our learning. Then there is the amazing amount of information available to us, literally at our fingertips. How easy it is to model the idea of being a “life-long learner.” Yet, as a digital immigrant who is just bumbling thru the digital world speaking my own form of “digital-pidgin” I have been intimidated by the amount of new technologies there are to learn, and the idea that as soon as I master one, I discover it is obsolete. 

 As a parent I am also intensely aware of the addictive quality of the digital world. With online games coming out fast and fierce, many of them free or available for a pittance, our children have a constant source of new stimulation- they can be assured of a “cognitive orgasm” whenever they turn their screens on. Then with the development of multi-player games and social media there is now a party in their computer 24-7.

Yet I am also aware of how this digital reality has opened up new worlds of possibility for my children. They are able to use complex tools to create sophisticated products that would be totally beyond their ability to create without them. They are also able to use the internet to connect with their existing friends in new ways and develop new friendships based on common interests with people they would otherwise have no contact with.

However, these new digital opportunities create a real burden of responsibiltiy for the parents. Many of my friends refer to the social/computer game aspect of the digital world as digital crack. And I admit that for a time I felt that way too. You can certainly find numerous articles telling of people who literally game themselves to death- forgetting to sleep or eat while indulging in their obsession. Stories that are disturbingly reminiscent of the research that showed lab rats forgoing food for cocaine. However over time I have developed a more nuanced understanding of the situation, realizing that a better metaphor than "digital crack" would be “digital glucose”.

Glucose in its pure form is known as white sugar, and is the substance at the root of the concept of being a “sugar addict”. Indeed as I write this, both the World Health Organization, and the American Heart Association are working to educate the public about the health dangers of consuming too much of it. At the same time glucose is the only sugar that feeds the brain. In fact while glucose is also used as an energy source for other cells, our brain uses 60 % of the available glucose in our body. It is the one nutritional substance that is necessary for keeping our brain alive.  So while there are indeed a variety of health problems associated with the over-consumption of glucose (especially in certain forms such as processed sugar) one could never create a convincing argument that it is something that should not be consumed in any form.

I believe the same is true for the digital world. Yes, it is possible to over-consume digital experiences. And yes, there are some forms of digital experiences that are more nutritious than others. But our children ARE digital natives growing up in an increasingly digital world and asking them to “Just Say NO” digital pleasures as if they were equivalent to illegal drugs or pre-marital sex will not allow them to become the digitally-literate digitally-savvy consumers that they need to be to survive and thrive in the 21st century. What WILL help them develop into those digitally-literate tech-savvy adults that we hope they will become is for digitally-literate tech-savvy teachers to provide opportunities for them to use these new technical tools to integrate inquiry and creativity into their lives both in and out of the classroom.

image source:

The TPACK framework is a powerful image for representing the complex interplay of the three types of knowledge that are necessary for effective teaching within today's classroom. Developed by Misha and Koehler in 2006, it was an inspired leap into the 21st century for educational theory. By adding the idea of technology as a third element in Lee Schulman’s model of pedagogical knowledge vs. content knowledge, Misha and Koehler identified a crucial component of teaching in the 21st century: the idea of digitally literacy. However, the concept of TPACK was still incomplete, for without the addition of the idea of "context" as represented by the larger dotted circle, the idea of the culturally competent teacher who had a deep understanding of the students they were teaching was not represented by the TPACK framework.

One could argue that knowledge of the student and cultural aspects of the learning environment were a subset of Pedagogy- but by making the student
themselves merely a footnote in the teaching framework you risk losing sight of the most important aspect of the educational process: the student-teacher relationship.

Learning is a social-emotional act, and if we develop a model of educational theory that ignores that, then we have created an educational theory that “looks good on paper” but does not translate to the real world.  Yes, we want our teachers to be masters of Pedagogical Knowledge. We want them to be well versed in effective classroom strategies, application of learning theory, differentiation techniques, and grading practices that rely on informative feedback. At the same time we want them to be Masters of the Content Knowledge they are teaching, and Masters of the Information Technologies of the 21st century that are available to enhance classroom learning in so many ways. Yet, even when we find a teacher who is functioning at the intersection of the original TPACK model, a teacher who is focused on providing their students essential academic content by applying good learning theory supported by modern technological tools, if they are missing the essential component being able to meet their student’s where they are and form a motivational student-teacher relationship, all their TPAC Knowledge will be for naught.

Fortunately, I am not alone in thinking this, for when searching online for more information about TPACK, I came across the official TPACK site, and was happy to see that the current model used to represent TPACK does indeed include the idea of “context”. This lead me to search for the authors of this additional component, in hope that I would find some interesting articles about the recognition of the importance of context in educational theory. While I was not able to find any specific reference to when “context” was added to the TPACK, it does seem as if the addition came from further work by Misha and Koeler.

All in all, I think the original TPACK framework was an inspired leap into the 21st century, and with the addition of the understanding of the deep importance that knowledge of context contributes the development of an effective student-teacher relationship, I think the TPACK framework offers a very useful model of educational theory for today’s teachers.

For more information about TPACK:
University of Canberra- Learn On Line
My low tech device is a tinted page protector.

This will help my dyslexic students who have difficulty with the high contrast of black/white  images and will seem fun for my other students. I can also use these to hold daily schedules and organizational check lists which can be taped on the students desks.

I can purchase a pack of 12 for$ 3.79, or two packs for $7.58.
Click on the table to see it larger.
 Click on the table to see it larger.
Our assignment was to create three videos using three different online tools:

To see my videos go to the Playing with Web Tools page.

Next we were to compare and contrast the tools, for which I created the following table ( click to see it larger):
My Response to the Reading:

These chapters were about accessibility and began with a discussion of Universal Design. Reading them reminded me of a great chart about UDL I had seen once, and led me to want to learn more about Universal Design in general and Universal Design of Digital Tools in particular. This led me to do a web search, and here are the most interesting of the sites I found:

This site had was adapted from the publication Universal Design of Instruction: Definition, Principles, Guidelines, and Examples and it offers exactly that: definitions, principles, guidelines, and example of  Universal Design in Instruction

Whereas this site:
Was a slideshow about the Web Standards Project (WASP) which was concerned with integrating the ideas of Universal Design and Accessibility into website design.

Then I thought to search images, and found the chart I was looking for at this site:
CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Which led me to these sites:
The National Center for Unversal Design in Learning

The Center for Applied Special Technology

These last two sites are amazing and really tell you eveything you could ever want to know about UDL.
My Response to the Reading:
Apart from the impulse to go and spend hours playing with all the cool web tools (which I admit I had to do some of...) this chapter left me with an awareness of how much information processing our children/students are doing on the internet, and wondering whether anyone has given much thought about how to teach them efficient or even effective ways to manage the storage / digital filing of the information they want to be able to access again at a later date. I had the realization that when all the information in the world is available at the tips of your fingers,  skills for memorizing information are not as important as skills for managing information.

I know that the amount of information processing/storing that I am doing on my computer is  taxing my organization abilities. I started creating documents and files, as well as bookmarking sites, with no real over-arching plan about how I would find the information in the future. This has led to a fairly complicated and not very intuitive filing system. It also has led to many frustrated sessions of trying to figure out where exactly I have saved something and the discovery that my computers "find"  program is not very good at finding things either! I certainly would benefit from taking some time to develop an organized file system of how best to store information within each of the various places I have the ability to store information. And then take the time to apply it to the information I have already saved.  

For Web-based data I was just about to start exploring MicroSoft's OneNote- but as I am realizing the benefit of having a web-based storage system for web sites, OneNote is not looking so good. I also have begun to explore Pinterest..but am not in love with it.

My question for the class is: What tools have they used to developed their digital information filing system? And do they have any resources for teaching students how to organize information?

My Notes From the Reading: an online learning community run by Oracle's Education Foundation. turns students into multimedia authors who use websites and interactive tools to collaborate on projects a, build knowledge together and publish their ideas.

Projects are organized into topic categories that align with the ThinkQuest Library (

Accounts are free but only schools can join. Teachers assign student accounts.

Google Education
A teacher's guide to google products such as Web Search, Earth, Book Search, Maps, Video, Sketch Up, Calendar, Picasa, and more.

Open-Source Educational Software

A multi-level model of classical genetics known as "Dragon Genetics" which allows students to explore the mythical gentics of dragons as a way of discovering all the major forms of genetics.

A special kind of model-building programming language like Logo. It can be used to create interesting modles of systems in mathematics, science, and social science. These modles allinvolve giving simple rules to an "agent" and when there are lots of these agents, the sytem as a whole sometimes has some unexpected "emergent " behavior.

StarLogo TNG is The Next Generation of StarLogo modeling and simulation software. While this version holds true to the premise of StarLogo as a tool to create and understand simulations of complex systems, it also brings with it several advances - 3D graphics and sound, a blocks-based programming interface, and keyboard input - that make it a great tool for programming educational video games.

Notes from the Reading:

 21st Century Students:
*are not the student our educational system was designed     to teach
*have not just changed incrementally from those of the  past...they have changed radically
*represent the first generations to grow up with this new technology
*think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors
*are all "native speakers" of the digital language of computers, video games, and the Internet.

My Response to the Reading:

21st Century Teachers in turn need to create a sustainable community of learning by teaching their students the skills to analyze and synthesis information from divergent sources into a coherent relevant whole. They need to encourage a non-heirarchical spirit of cooperation and collaboration. They need to create classroom environments that allow students to add their strengths to the group  in order to create a whole that is greater than its parts, so that their students will be ready to work in the 21st century workplace. 

I was talking to a friend about the idea that our kids are digital natives while we are digital immigrants, and she directed me to a piece of writing with the title, "We, the Web Kids". 

I wanted to share it with the class, but it felt to important be merely added to the "Stuff to Share" page. So I decided to give it a page entirely of its own. To read it, click on the page "Manifesto for the Digital Age"

I also highly recommend the book:
Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century by Cathy N. Davidson

To me the most insightful part of the entire chapter was when they answered the question "How do children get information?" with the sentence: Students have always been social.  I think the Web Kids of the digital manifesto would totally agree, they have learned what they know about new technologies by using them to socialize in some form- creating things to share. They do not read manuals but learn by watching each other and asking questions until they are ready to  apply what they have learned. Then they  learn more and become more "accomplished" as they use the technology to accomplish their social ends.

Notes from the Reading:
Understanding Learning-
Bloom's Taxonomy was updated in 2001 by a team of cognitive psychologists:

Combining the idea of the cognitive processes used to manipulate or work with information with the idea that there are different types of knowledge Anderson and Krathwohl  developed a two-dimension taxonomy of learning. 

1- Factual Knowledge: elementary knowledge of an subject including terminology and knowledge of details and elements.
2- Conceptual (declarative) Knowledge:
an understanding of the interrelationships among the basic elements within a larger structure (concepts) that enables them to function together.
3-Procedural Knowledge: an understanding of how to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, techniques, algorithms and methods.
4-Meta-cognitive Knowledge: is an understading of cognition in general as well as awareness and knowledge of one's own cognition.

The revision Bloom's Taxonomy also changed the labels from nouns to verbs and, more importantly switched level 4 with level 5 making Creating a higher level than Evaluating:

So Bloom's Tax. version 1.0
Level 1 Knowledge
Level 2 Comprehension
Level 3  Application
Level 4 Synthesis
Level 5 Evaluation

Lead to Bloom's Tax version 2.0
Level 1  Remembering
Level 2  Understanding
Level 3   Applying
Level 4  Evaluating
Level 5 Creating

My Response to the Reading:

I love the change in Bloom's taxonomy from nouns to verbs! 

 I also wonder at the cultural bias that lead to Bloom placing Evaluation above Synthesis, and the 2.0 version to value Creating over Evaluating.

Notes on the Reading:
views learning as a process in which the learner activiely constructs new knowledge based on current and past knowledge
Project Based Learning= a constructivist approach that encourages learning in depth by allowing students to use inquiry-based methods to engage with issues that are rich, real, and relelvant to their lives.
Connectivism= an approach to learning that considers technology a key factor.

My question for the class on this chapter would be to discuss the  We, the Web Kids and then discuss the changes in Bloom's Taxonomy from  version 1.0 to version 2.0 

Note to self:
More on Bloom's Taxonomy 2.0

Share this with class!!
Notes on the Reading:

Are there any prerequisites to augmentative communication?
No, anyone who is non-speaking or unable to express themselves effectively through spoken language are candidates for augmentative communciation systems and devices.

Aided Augmentative Communciation requires a deveice such as a language board or a talking computer.

Unaided Augmentative Communciation involves only the body of the communciator and include pointing, facial expressions, and sign language.

What does the Participant Model for Collaborative Team Assessment entail?
*Assessment of a student's current communciation
* Assessment of a student's needs across daily routines
*Identification of access barriers within the natural
*Determination of future communciation needs in
     these environments
*Selection and design of an augmentative
    communciation system
*Evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of the 
     augmentative communication system (ongoing)

What are the primary considerations involved in selecting and designing a student's Augmentative Communcation System?
*Access Method

My Response to the Reading:
Again in the myths and realities section- we see the re-occuring idea that using a crutch will inhibit a persons ability to walk, formulated here as:  augmentative communication will "inhibit" the development of normal speech and must only be used as a last resort.

I was pleased to see it addressed, and de-bunked by research.

My questions for the class from this reading is:
Have they seen the YouTube Video:
In My Language by Silent Miaow?

If not, it is on my "Stuff  to Share" page. I would enjoy a class discussion around the ideas that A.M.Baggs brings up.