Posted in 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 522 Online Teaching for Adult Learners

Web Conferencing

Reflection Post Web Conferencing

I enjoy taking the opportunity to use new 2.0 tools to reflect on and expand my learning environment and experiences. I find the challenge of synthesizing new information using a new tool brings my learning experience to a whole new level. It makes me think about not only new information, but also question the best tool to help me digest and share what I’ve learned.

For this assignment, there was no question conducting a web conference would be the way to share what I learned. This is something I’m hoping to introduce as a professional development option for teachers this coming year. Though I’ve used Google Hangouts before, I was hoping to get familiar with some other tools. Unfortunately this week is my first week as a distance-learning student with extremely limited Internet connection. In my summer travels, I’ve been reduced to one hour of Internet per week. This experience has been humbling for someone who spends 95% of computer time online. Some of the challenges I’ve run into are waiting for classmates presentations to load, finding photos to use in my presentation, accessing additional research, exploring web-based web conferencing tools, copying and pasting assignment instructions, and limited awareness of peers progress.

As we get ready to introduce Chromebooks in our district next year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I would have completed these assignments if I had taken the ever so light Chromebook on my European vacation. Anyway I think it’s been a good experience to remember what it was like to operate offline and should I have some precautions I’ll be putting in place to make next week go a little smoother.

Web Conferencing


Posted in 1. Instructional Systems Design, 1.2 Message Design, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner Characteristics, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, 512 Online Course Design, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT

Web Based Instruction–Story Board and Prototype

Streamline Story Board with Sample Screen Shots

Posted in 1. Instructional Systems Design, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 512 Online Course Design, All

Project Analysis


When you ask teachers what they want more of, emphatically they answer TIME! Time to collaborate, plan, reflect, analyze data, and give feedback. These are fundamental to sound instructional processes.  Yet their time is often spent working in isolation, improvising, and using their bare hands to grade 100’s of assignments weekly. Public k-12 education has been one of the slowest industries to adopt time saving technologies and teachers are paying the price. Consider that even the auto mechanic leverages his time more effectively. Technology can automatically diagnose a car’s problem, identify needed parts, locate them, and place automatic orders. Repair shops use databased of information to preemptively market to their clients based on miles and make a BEFORE the repair is every needed.  Can you imagine such sophisticated and proactive data to educate our children?

While the similarities between cars and students are slim, what doesn’t change from the mechanic to the teacher is  one field the need to work smarter. Teachers will be the first to admit their attention and time is divided in 100 directions and rarely is the right amount spent on the design behind of the instruction. In conversations with teacher, they’ve said they need more time to:

  1. grade & give feedback
  2. get to know their students
  3. plan
  4. figure out how to engage students


Digital tools have the ability eliminate  or reduce some of symptoms I see daily working with teachers as an Instructional Technology Coach. These symptoms include

  • High stress levels
  • Sense of isolation
  • Bitterness toward professional development and other things that are not “A priorities.”
  • Make it up as you go instruction
  • Reinventing the wheel
  • Lack of communication with students & parents
  • Lack of engaged students


The root cause of this problem, is that the responsibilities of teachers huge and the number of hours in the day outside of instruction are limited. Time management is a popular training topic in corporations across the county, yet after 10 years in the education field, and after completing three education programs spanning 6 years, time management has never been addressed. Another cause is that teachers are challenged to manage their multiple daily responsibilities along with finding time to grow professionally. Taking their planning time for professional development is like robbing Paul to pay Mary.

In a recent professional development survey of 30 high school teacher 83% of staff said that an opportunity to exchange ideas with other teachers was very important.

PD ideas Exchange 2013-02-13 at 1.21.14 PM
Likewise, 87% said it was very important to be able to express concerns on school, classroom, or curriculum issues.

Express Concerns 2013-02-13 at 1.21.28 PM

When asked how important it was to have time to learn to play with new technologies, only 67% said this was very important

Learn New Tools 2013-02-13 at 1.21.40 PM

My conclusion from this is that there ins’t a strong connection between time invested to learn new tools and the long term pay off of daily efficiency.

The evidence for creating a blended learning solution is slightly less conclusive because participants could select multiple options on this survey question. However, it does show that 37% prefer an online option, and 33% said a blended solution would be preferable.

PD Time 2013-02-13 at 1.19.53 PM


That said, the rationale for creating a web-based course is two fold. The first is to differentiate professional development and to meet the needs of already overtaxed teachers at the high schools I work with. The second rationale is so the course can be offered virtually over the summer to teachers across the district to support them as they plan for the 2013-2014 school year. This solution will allow us to accommodate more users by offering more options.


Grading and feedback is widely still done by hand. Teachers are often the only ones giving feedback on student work. Class wide rapid assessment tools and data is inconstantly gathered and used to inform instructional decisions. Rapid assessment tools are regularly implemented and used to drive instructional decisions. Students take a more active role in assessing each others work before it is submitted for teachers feedback.
High school teacher have reported it’s a difficult to get to know 120+ students. Differentiated instruction cannot be implemented without prior knowledge about the students. Teachers will implement tools that allow them to hear from and learn about their students regularly.
Teacher often plan in isolation and reinvent the wheel year after year. No Virtual collaboration space is in place. Many teachers are unaware of the benefits of cloud-based storage solutions. Teachers collaborate regularly with those in and outside of their school and use a cloud based solutions to keep track of lesson plans and teaching resources.
Instructional time is not always maximized. GAPS analysis reported a lack of closings in lessons. Teacher report they often run out of time for closings. Lessons may not be fully thought out and therefore specific goals may not be met. Time indicators are rarely utilized to keep lessons on track. Daily instructions are clearly printed so students have direction and flexibility to move at their own pace. Teachers utilize tools like digital timers to ensure openings, work sessions, and closings stay within targeted timeframes.


At the end of instruction, teachers will be able to identify how technology tools can be used to streamline their duties in gathering assessment data,learning about their students, planning, maximizing instructional time, and creating authentic engagement  They will also be able to evaluate if these tools can be applied in their classroom. Further, they will have the skills needed to apply these tools if their learning environment permits.


As an Instructional Technology Coach and former teacher in the district, the course designer has personal experience with the learners. This course will also be offered as a blended solution before it is offered online. The blended version is a pilot to be revised based on evaluations and complete rates before the online version goes live. The image below outlines what is known about the learners. Below is a link to a survey that will need to be conducted to answer the unknown, namely discovering disabilities and learner technical skills. Click the image to enlarge.

Learner Anyalitics

See the Prerequisite Survey.

Posted in 1. Instructional Systems Design, 1.2 Message Design, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner Characteristics, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, 512 Online Course Design, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT

EDTECH 512: Online Course Design

Time Management Tools for Teachers Designed by Gillian Riley


Web Based Instructional Design 


Final Products

Posted in 1.4 Learner Characteristics, 2.1 Print Technologies, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization, All, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, UTILIZATION

Adaptive/Assistive Technology

Cognitive Difficulties

The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, at The University of Colorado defines cognitive disabilities as, “a substantial limitation in one’s capacity to think, including conceptualizing, planning and sequencing thoughts and actions, remembering, and interpreting the meaning of social and emotional cues, and of numbers and symbols.”

Retrieved from: (Published December 14, 2006)

Word prediction software dramatically reduces the number of keystrokes required to type text.  The predictive text helps students with sequencing of letters and offers cues to remember word spellings or suffixes.  Predictions are based on spelling, syntax, and frequent or recent use. This prompts kids who struggle with writing to use proper spelling, grammar, and word choices, with fewer keystrokes.

Keyboards for Dyslexia.  Dyslexia makes it difficult to spell words according to letters alone, therefore students may find using a keyboard to be a very tricky task.  One type of assistive keyboard uses a combination of red, green and blue lights to backlight the keys thus switching the focus from symbols to colors making it easier for the user to identify the key they are looking for.  Other options that may help students recognize letters are keyboards with white lettering on black keys or black lettering on white keys.

Physical Difficulties

The World Health Organization defines physical disabilities as “an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.  An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an acitivity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task of action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individaul in involvement of life situions.  Thus a disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.”

Retrieved from

Voice recognition software turns speech into text without needing to use a keyboard or mouse.  This allows students to dictate to the computer what they would like to say and watch their words turn to text.  Students can use this software to compose documents, letters, emails, and collaborate with others in remote locations.  This technology can help students with limited mobility and also allows them to control computer functions such as opening files and saving documents.

BookShare houses 125,000 digital books (including 6,000 textbooks), teacher recommended readings, periodicals, and assistive technology tools.  These materials are available in several formats, including HTML, text, braille and DAISY (Digital Accessible Information Systems).  This alternative offers accessible options for the blind, low vision, a physical disability like CP or a reading disability like dyslexia.  The ipad app version, Read2Go has built-in audio and visual support, allowing users to listen to text read aloud as it is highlighted on screen.

Sensory Difficulties

The Work Family and Researchers Network published this definition of sensory disability, “A person with a disability that has any of the long-lasting conditions such as blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment (Erickson & Lee, 2008).”

Retrieved from

Magnification Devices enlarge text for students who have visual impairments.  Many students struggle to read because they’ve lost their glasses or a family can’t pay for them.   Magnification devices allow students to scan text and then view them in a larger font.  Some magnification devices also allow students to take and store pictures of text, thereby acting as a tool for note taking.


Magic Touch Screens connect the student with computer screen by making the monitor a touch screen.  This makes the computer interactive via the screen and is good for students who have difficulty with fine motor skills.  Another use is for students who are learning how to use a computer and have trouble controlling the mouse, and for students who need to touch the screen or have a sensory impairment.

At-Risk Students

US Legal defines at-risk students as “students who are not experiencing success in school and are potential dropouts. Usually, they are low academic achievers who exhibit low self-esteem. Generally they are from low socioeconomic status families. At-risk students tend not to participate in school activities and have a minimal identification with the school. They have disciplinary and truancy problems that lead to credit problems. They exhibit impulsive behavior and their peer relationships are problematic. Family problems, drug addictions, pregnancies, and other problems prevent them from participating successfully in school. As they experience failure and fall behind their peers, school becomes a negative environment that reinforces their low self-esteem.”

Retrieved from

Podcasts invite students to hear stories or learn new information independently.   Podcasts can be listened to through mobile devices and allow students to “escape” with headphones.  At risk students have reported that music also offers guidance in their lives and helps control moods.  Students can also use podcasting to document their own unique personal stories.  Podcasting offers a platform for students to express themselves and process the often challenging situations they face.

Photo Story Presentations offer another way for students to express their thoughts and emotion through images.  Photo stories can offer an alternative to essay writing, or verbal presentations but still allow students to demonstrate understanding of particular concepts. Photo stories also allow students to explore ways to communicate a message through images.  Another benefit is that students can visually track their growth as they develop more complex story boards.

Gifted and Talented Students

The US Department of Education defines gifted and talented students as, Children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment.”

Retreived from

Mobile Devices allow gifted and talented students to continue to ask questions about the world around them.  A mobile device also provides students the opportunity to engage in independent learning or dig deeper into subjects of interest.  This can be used for student designed projects or to expand on a topic introduced in class.

Multimedia presentation software allows gifted and talented to practice a multitude of skills simultaneously.  Video, photo, web, and podcasting offer students an opportunity to explore working with different technology presentation formats while demonstrating what they have learned within a specific content area.  The variety of multimedia presentation including video, text, hyperlinks, images, and auto will give students a diverse foundation in using 21st century presentation skills.

Posted in 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 3.1 Media Utilization, 3.2 Diffusion of Innovations, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, UTILIZATION

Math & Science Learning Activities

Good science methodology involves conducting tests and making observations.  In the screencasts below I explore how simulations, virtual manipulative, and a virtual world can be used as learning activities.

Virtual World–Second Life

I’ve long been interested in virtual worlds, who wouldn’t want to explore without paying for gas, hotels, flights, etc., so I took this opportunity to spend a little more time getting my feet wet in Second Life.  I was impressed with resources and activities found on Genome Island; I found scavenger hunts, interactive experiments like the mixallamas gene game, links to outside resources, and really cool virtual simulations like the 3D cell.

I found Second Life exciting and genuinely had the sense of being an explorer, however I did spend as much time experimenting with my avatar’s moves as I did exploring.  Second Life seems like a neat tool for a teacher who is experienced with the Second Life landscape.  Click on the photos to come on a tour with my avatar or click here.

Interactive Science Simulations

Interactive Science Simulations are interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena from the PhET™ project at the University of Colorado.  These simulations allow students to play with variables in science and then observe different outcomes as those variables change.  These simulations can be used for all grades either as an inquiry-based exploration or as a guided exploration.  For a quick tour and to hear my thoughts on one of these simulations, click the photo, or click here.

National Library of Virtual Manipulative

The National Library of Virtual Manipulative (NLVM) contains around 100 virtual manipulative that address concepts in numbers & operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data & probability.  These manipulative virtually mimic many classroom manipulative like geoblocks, cuisnes rods, beakers, and rules.  A teacher/parent section describes how each tool supports national math standards.  These tools can be used to practice concepts, explore prior learned with new variables.  I recommend that students use of these tools are guided by critical thinking questions.

The NLVM states, “Learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires student engagement. Mathematics is not, as has been said, a spectator sport. Too much of current instruction fails to actively involve students. One way to address the problem is through the use of manipulatives, physical objects that help students visualize relationships and applications.”

Click the photo above to take a quick virtual tour, or click here.

Posted in 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner Characteristics, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization, 3.4 Policies and Regulations, All, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, UTILIZATION

Social Media in the Classroom–What’s your opinion?

Log on to this VoiceThread discussion to give your thoughts about Social Media in the classroom.  Feel free to comment on the discussion points that resonate with you.  You’ll need a VoiceThread account to comment, so sign up here if you haven’t already.

Join the conversation here.

Posted in 1. Instructional Systems Design, 1.2 Message Design, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner Characteristics, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, 3.1 Media Utilization, 3.2 Diffusion of Innovations, 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization, 4.3 Delivery System Management, 4.4 Information Management, 5.4 Long-Range Planning, All, DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, EVALUATION, MANAGEMENT, UTILIZATION

Multimedia Integration In the Classroom

The following are a collection of videos to help teachers see what technology integration looks like in the classroom and how it is transforming the learning process. Please be aware the Ted Talk videos do not have a stop play button so you will need to exit out of the site when they finished.

What Technology Integration Looks Like In Elementary School

Meet the faculty at Forest Lake Elementary in Columbia, SC. Starting as techno- novices, they now use customizable software, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, and more to tailor lessons to the individual needs of diverse students. To see more exciting reports from our Schools that Work series, please visit our website:

What Technology Integration Looks Like in High School

The DNA of Learning: Teens Tackle Animal Poaching Through Genetics

Eleventh-grade biotechnology students use DNA barcoding to help save endangered African wildlife.


Twelfth grade students use Google docs to collaborate on a group science paper. They use scholarly research searches, power point, video and sound clips, blogs, and ScyncronEyes to broadcast to other students computer screens.

Technology Integration with Google Drive

Team Teaching: Two Teachers, Three Subjects, One Project

A pair of educators are sanguine about their art, biology, and multimedia program.

Teaching Kids Real Math With Computers

Conrad Wolfram who runs the mathematical lab and research division behind cutting-edge knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha make an argument teaching real world math in school and leaving computation to computers.

What Technology Integration Looks Like In the Abroad

The Child-Driven Education

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

Technology Innovation in Slums

Charles Leadbeater, a researcher with the think tank Demos in London, looks at effective education innovation in slums around the world.

What Could A One-to-One Education Look Like?

Electronic TextBooks
Envision electronic textbooks the way Apple sees them.

Technology Integration from CaseNEX on Vimeo.

The 100-Student Classroom

In the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ — and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.

Building Bridges with Parents

A Lake Forest Elementary parent demonstrates how technology is keeping her connected with her child’s learning.

What About Games In Education?
How Games Play into Educaiton

We’re bringing gameplay into more aspects of our lives, spending countless hours — and real money — exploring virtual worlds for imaginary treasures. Why? As Tom Chatfield shows, games are perfectly tuned to dole out rewards that engage the brain and keep us questing for more.

Sasha Barab on New-Media Engagement

A professor of learning sciences at Indiana University explains how new-media literacies are creating new opportunities for student participation.

Lesson Plan

This plan is meant to accompany the Building Bridges with Parents video.