Category Archives: EDTC 6103

Global Collaborative Project – Social Emotional Experiment – EDTC 6103 & 6104

This week in my exploration of ISTE Coaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am continuing to examine ISTE Coaching Standard 3 and specifically point G, in an effort to understand how teachers can create…Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.33 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.48 PM

This standard immediately made me think of my final assignment and Global Collaborative Project from EDTC 6103 in the Spring of 2017.  In this project, I worked together with my administrator, advanced eighth-grade language arts students, and parents to create a global collaborative environment. If you scroll down you can see the whole breakdown of the project from planning to execution to feedback and reflections.  One unexpected outcome of the project was the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) that took place. And now that the state of Washington’s educational legislative body (OSPI) and similarly in other states have hooked onto the fact that social emotional learning is essential to a student’s health and future my project is even more relevant.  The unexpected part came as many students do not get to experiment with new digital tools in their classrooms very often especially not real world social media platforms due to unpredictability and fear.  I decided to push the envelope a bit so that my students got to use Twitter during national poetry month.  I got the okay from my principal and the parents were notified. This gave my students an authentic audience and an external megaphone to share their work. The flip side and surprising part were that students felt exposed and vulnerable with their writing out in the public sphere. 

Now, taking a step back I first want to use Washington States OSPI’s definition of SEL “social emotional learning is broadly understood as a process through which people build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships and making responsible decisions, leading to success in school and in life. Research shows SEL on a large scale supports better performing and more positive school communities” (2016, pg. 3).  I think in our current 21st-century digital revolution that digital citizenship fits directly into that “awareness”. Being able to build a positive self-rewarding social media presence that adds to your life instead of distracts or detracts is something that now needs to be taught in classes.  

Therefore, to implement SEL “effectively and equitably schools will need to (1) start by evaluating and building school and classroom environments that are conducive to SEL; (2) incorporate principles of universal design for learning when adapting SEL curricula to their unique climate; (3) emphasize equity in the selection and implementation of curriculum; and (4) take a holistic approach, understanding that each person (child and adult) will start at different places and progress in different ways along an SEL continuum” (2016, pg. 7).  As I began my project with my students I did not know realize how serious posting on the internet can be for some of them.  Online personas are extremely personal and some of my students struggled with posting and sharing their poetry.  Not only but some just could not handle the wide range of communication that Twitter allows for.  As the social benchmark, standard five states students should have the ability to “demonstrate a range of communication and social skills to interact effectively with others” (2016, pg. 4).  Although many teachers and adults do not want to admit it being able to communicate on social media is essential to these effective interactions with their peers.  At the end of the process, I believe that some students understood through my examples that a social media platform like Twitter does not have to be for ranting or spamming people.  It can be used for good and for a specific purpose, to make friends and connections and build a network of people for your own community.  


Click to view slideshow.


Global Collaborative Project

Poetry & Twitter


Autumn Ottenad


National “Poem in Your Pocket Day” in person shared on Twitter

#pocketpoem, #poetryhw, #poetryisd #npm17

April – May 2017


Connection Phase

ISTE Teaching Standards

In order to clearly reflect on the alignment of the ISTE Teaching Standards in the project that follows, I have used the standard number and letter to identify them accordingly.

  • ISTE Student 2 Communication & Collaboration Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
    • a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
    • b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • ISTE Student Standard 5 – Digital Citizenship Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
    • a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

Communication with Collaborating Partner

For this global collaborative project, I have chosen to utilize a vast amount of teacher professionals on Twitter during the National Poetry Month of April. Most of us teach English for middle or high school classes; there are also teachers that tweet posts for their elementary school students. Although I did reach out to a couple of other teachers specifically, it was more about working on a larger platform. Our shared intent of expanding our students’ reach regarding sharing their work is increased via Twitter (2. a. & b.).

My colleagues and I did communicate over direct messaging on Twitter.  I also reached out to other Humanities teachers in the ISD via email to inform my local colleagues and interested district employees.  Given the collective subject area expertise and subjects taught, we will focus our attention on language arts content and skills. Specifically sharing and writing our poetry.  Since I started working with PSESD and Corelaborate as a Washington Teacher Leader my ability to monitor and use Twitter has expanded.   It became apparent that this vast social media platform could be an opportunity for a wider community might provide a rich opportunity for a technology-supported collaboration project between our students (2. a. & b.).

General Overview

Project Plan

The goal of this endeavor is to expose my students to a global collaboration project, which allows students to work with peers across the Twitterverse and see how far their posts/tweets can go. It can also teach valuable skills like digital citizenship, communication and collaboration, and information fluency (5. a. & b.). I decided to work with my two-morning Advanced 8th-grade Language Arts classes; I have roughly 26 students in each class.  I chose those two sections because I thought they could handle the responsibilities that come with using Twitter and making the required deadlines of posting a lot better than my other classes (5. a. & b.). In those two classes, I have 24 boys and 26 girls which I think will play a part in participation.  Each student will be asked to create and use a Twitter account during the month of April and early May.  April is the National Poetry Month (#npm17) and April, 27th we would participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.  The project will be a sharing of creative writing to a wider more authentic audience while sustaining a professional demeanor on a social media platform.  My students will “like”– communicate and collaborate with other students via Twitter (2. a. & b.).


Technology & Communication

I have already stated the use of technology will be predominately the Twitter application on their smartphones.  I created a new account for this project and to keep the students safe from trolls and spammers.  Twitter is a free social media tool used for communicating.  You are allowed to use 140 characters to message other people; certain hashtags will allow others to connect and collaborate easily (2. a. & b.).  Students were told to either tweet their poetry as written or take or make a photo of their poetry.  Some students used Canva or iPhone image editing apps; others just took a picture right from their interactive notebooks.  


Instead of National Poetry Month and my students and I beginning our two to three weeks poetry unit.  Students will receive four different poetry writing assignments that they will need to post to Twitter.  All will use the hashtags #poetryisd, and #poetryhw for collaboration with their peers and they will Tweet at me (@ottenadpoetry), so I am notified that they have done their assignments (2. a. & b.). Students will also participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.


Additional Considerations

This project will require multiple check-ins with Twitter but will be primarily asynchronous in nature.  Students will be posting at different times and will have certain requirements to hit at various times.  They are required to interact with their fellow students’ tweets regarding “likes,” replies or retweets.  I will also keep up on the people following the account and block any trolls or spammers.  I have consulted the district’s AUP and the fact that the students are at least 14 years old and Twitter is open on all classroom computers we are not violating anything.  I have notified parents of what is going on in the classroom and opened the window to allow them to follow our classroom interactions.


Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.5 – Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.6 – Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.3.D – Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Design Phase

Global Collaborative Project Outline

Six A’s of Project-Based Learning

6 A’s of Project Design Guiding Questions
Authenticity What is the point of writing when the audience is only my teacher? How can I get my students’ creative writing heard by a larger audience?  What could push them to create better more thought out poetry?

By placing the poetry on Twitter students have a true authentic audience that feels larger and more important than just our classroom and their classmates.

How will your project require students to produce something that has personal and/or social value beyond the school setting?

Students will start to see what happens when their poetry is shared and found.  Specifically on the National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27th.  Students will have their poem they want to share with them and also share it on the web.  It can be one of their own making or one that inspires them in some way.  

Academic Rigor What disciplines, content areas, and standards will your project address?
This project hits an array of standards that only pertain to poetry and figurative language in language arts.  Specifically, it is for my 8th-grade advanced language arts classes at IMS.  It also requires the students to share their writing with people who may or may not like it.  Their bubble becomes much larger than it used to be once we put things out there on the world wide web. It also connects securely with the following speaking and listening standards. I have taught several different units for poetry and at the high school level, we used to have a poetry night that was hosted by the language arts department.  Teachers, parents, admin and of course students would attend. This event was great but I always thought that the poetry could be sent to an even wider audience.
What higher order thinking skills will students be using?Learning Targets: Students can analyze how the structure of the text can contribute to its meaning. Students can use their Twitter accounts to correctly post and tag their poems in a multimedia setting.  They will use the social media tool to connect with the outside world.  
Adult Connection How will the adults collaborate to design the project and/or assess student work?
I have reached out to my whole language arts department at my school and my TOSA for the whole district is also sharing the Poem in Your Pocket in the next newsletter.  Teachers are sending me their favorite poetry and poems they have written so I can share it on Twitter for them or they can share themselves and use the same hashtags.  
I am also collaborating with the national cohort of teachers who are participating in the same National Poetry Month.  I saw how other teachers were conducting their programs and I got ideas of how to entice students to post their tweets.  
What opportunities will students have to observe, interact, and work closely with adults?My students are posting their poetry alongside adults for National Poetry Month.  They can see using the same hashtags what it looks like to publicly disperse your materials.  We also perused Twitter together to like, retweet, or reply to certain poets and their work.
Active Exploration How will students engage in real investigations and field-based work?
What technology tools and media sources will students use?My students are predominantly using their phones or school provided laptops to post their Tweets on to Twitter.  
How will students be expected to communicate their new knowledge and skills?They are expected to post their tweets within specific calendar dates using certain hashtags and tagging my poetry Twitter account @ottenadpoetry. Hashtags include #Poetryhw, #poetryISD, #Pocketpoem, #NPM17
Applied Learning How is your project grounded in real-world learning?
Students have to create a piece of creative writing which is not always set in the real world, but then presenting it and sharing it on Twitter a social media platform is more connected to real-world.  They will have to learn as it has taken me quite some time that self-promotion is crucial for success.  It also is clear that presentation matters, students who are taking their time to make a graphic that goes along with their poems are getting more traction than those who simply take a photo of their notebooks and post it.
How will your students work in teams and problem solve with each other?
Students worked together to find poems for Poem in Your Pocket day and which ones they would post and why.
How will your project help students develop organizational and self-management skills?
Beyond the other two questions, I think students will develop organizational self-management skills.  This project counts on them remembering to write their poems, create some graphic, and post the poems in the time allotted for their due dates.  
Assessment Practice What project criteria will students use, and how will they reflect on their learning?  During the week following most of the posting, I will have students reflect on the process of writing the poetry and then having to share it on Twitter.
How will standards be assessed? See rubric below.

Steinberg, A. (1997) Real Learning, Real Work. New York: Routledge. adapted from National Academy Foundation’s Project-Based Learning: A Resource for Instructors and Program Coordinators

CCSS Poetry Rubric
Timeframe: April 16th – May 5th

Activity details:  Students will participate in our Poetry Unit by also posting on Twitter and being involved in the International Poetry Month.  We will use different hashtags to get in the correct threads of communication so they can spread their poems to larger audiences.  

Execution of Project

Parent Guardian Email/Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.  


Our goal will be to tweet several times per weeks about poetry.  At first, I will model how to tweet about our work or exciting poetry opportunities.  As the students grow in their understandings of how to use Twitter to share ideas, they will begin to tweet independently or with a partner.

Students’ safety is of utmost concern.  Last names should not be used in tweets and accounts.  We will avoid using images of students in our Tweets.  Responsible use of social media and Internet safety will be explicitly taught in our classroom to ensure all students know how to stay safe while online.  Here are our classroom norms for using Twitter:

  1. Approve your tweets with an adult before publishing especially if you feel it may be deemed inappropriate.
  2. We only connect to classes and people who add value to our learning.
  3. We use first names only on Twitter
  4. Twitter is a tool for learning.

Finally, if you do not have a Twitter account, and need assistance on creating one please come by and ask me or ask your student. We would be more than willing to help you create a Twitter account so you can start following our class.  We will probably not follow you back because it is our policy that we only follow other classrooms or educational Twitter feeds.  Using these social media tools will give you a glimpse into our classroom and your child’s learning in a new and exciting format.  I think you will love being “connected”!                                                         

“Tweet” fully yours,

                                                                                            Mrs. Autumn Ottenad



Email to Staff & Colleagues:

Good Morning,

I am working on a class for SPU that requires a Global Community Project and I have decided to combine our poetry unit, national poetry month and Twitter with my students.  I was also hoping that if you have Twitter you could potentially tweet some poetry using the #poetryhw and #poetryisd.  If you even could email me a poem I can put them on Twitter for you.  I know my students would love to see teacher input on this topic.

The other event I am trying to work into our schedule is Poem in your Pocket Day #pocketpoem (  It is on April 27th and students should carry around a poem in their pocket and share it with people throughout the day.

Here is some of the information I shared with students and parents. “Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.”

Thank you so much,

Mrs. Autumn Ottenad

8th Grade Humanities




Collection of Student Artifacts from Twitter


Feedback from Students


Positive Feedback for both Twitter & Poetry Positive for Twitter/Negative for Poetry Positive for Poetry/ Negative for Twitter Negative Feedback for both Poetry & Twitter
Risa W. – The poetry unit was not as bad as I thought it would be, I liked tweeting the poems instead of turning them in.  I don’t like the reflections though. Trevor C. – Before we just turned it in.  Poetry is bad but I like that we just post it on Twitter. Ruth S. – I liked the unit, but I feel like I was not used to posting my poetry on twitter.  I would write the poetry, but sometimes forget to post it.  The poetry was fun to write. Tommy B – It was terrible, horrible, no good we could have just turned it in during class no one even reads the poems on Twitter.
Mason B. – Tweeting the poems was really fun! Poetry was a chance to express true feelings hidden within other words, using rhymes, and making everyone more fun to read! Matthew K. – This unit was as interesting unit to do.  It was an interesting way to share poems.  It was pretty boring but it was fine. Makena L. – It was good to try to involve social media but it may be hard for students without a smartphone but it was annoying to make a twitter. Alec B. – Twitter was a mess and is not an educational platform.  Poetry is fine, just boring as ever.  Technology should be used in other, more educational ways.  Whatever.
Breana L. – I like tweeting them so everyone can see, but it is kind of confusing. Cody C. – Tweeting our poems instead of reading them out loud was way better.  More convenient and faster. The writing of the poems was the bad part.  Poetry is very boring. Madison N. – The actual unit was okay…but the Twitter part was unnecessary. C.J. G. – Last year we had more instruction, this year we were just told to write poems.
Leila R. – Tweeting my poems wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I liked tweeting my poems out rather than having to read them out loud. Daniel A. – I didn’t think it was terrible, but it was not the most fun.  Personally, I don’t enjoy poetry, but I am grateful we didn’t need to present them.  Overall, I think the unit was okay. Shoki I. – Just turning in poems would have made more sense.  Making a Twitter was completely pointless Noreen A. – This unit was not the worst and it went better than I thought.  Poetry is not my favorite, but it was fairly easy.  The twitter part was different, but it seemed pointless in my opinion because most people just made the account so they didn’t have a large following.  
Medha V. – I like tweeting our poems because more people are able to see it and I don’t feel embarrassed like I would if I was reading it to the class. Benny P. – I did not enjoy the poetry unit, but mainly because I don’t like poetry in general, but I did learn a lot about poetry. Camille P. – Compared to past poetry units using Twitter was definitely different.  I think it’s difficult to use and some people don’t take it seriously and post random stuff.  I don’t know whether it would be beneficial to use again. Chris A. – My experience was mehh…it was less boring than other poetry units.  It was kinda bad and corny.
Anonymous – I love this unit and I enjoyed the prompts we wrote about and posted.  I also liked the way we shared the poems on twitter allowing me to share my poems and get used to technology.  My only question is why we are the other units so much longer? I honestly wish I got to explore more mentor texts. Gavin B. – I don’t like the poetry.  The Song lyrics were okay. I liked using Twitter in class. Aiden L. – Tweeting poems made me self-conscience about what I write so it made me think so it was fine. Braden H. – Ever since the Twitter verification did not work I lost my LA book problems have stirred though I had to re-do some of my poems.
Mary – Poetry on Twitter is a really good tool for poetry, we get to post our poems. William W. – I do not like poetry but I kind of like writing it.  Tweeting the poems is good and an easy way to turn it in from home. Aoife B. – The poetry unit was the best all year.  I enjoyed it, but Twitter sucks.  My poems don’t fit 140 characters other than that , good. Lizzy J. – I was eh with the Twitter thing because it was a little extra and no one reads other people’s poems (at least I didn’t) and my mom got mad that i got an account without letting her know.
Katie Jo – I like how interactive it was, also I liked how I got to see other people’s poetry.  I really enjoyed it! Jeremy D. – Tweeting has been really easy to do, but poems aren’t fun.  Tweeting was fun and a good use for poems. Emme F. – Tweeting poems – it is embarrassing to show school work in a public social media place.  Where I usually don’t talk about it.  It was also a little extra work that seemed not helpful. Jack W. – This was a pain it was nearly impossible to get photos to load and my poems were too long for a Tweet.
Katie – I liked using Twitter because I felt like it was a “safe environment” to share my poetic product.  I also liked that I could explore poetry unlike I did in other units. Isaiah J. – Tweeting my poems has been okay.  I liked the poetry unit last year more, although it was interesting to share my poems with a larger audience. Lindsey C. – Posting poetry for a grade is uncomfortable.  Poetry is very personal and I don’t feel okay with sharing my feelings with everyone.  Additionally, it’s hard to find all my posts even with the hashtags which is extra work for me and you to find them.  I could be a good idea but not for middle schoolers.
Abi C. – My experience with Twitter was okay.  It gave me some examples if I was stuck on what to do.  It was okay compared to other units. Ethan V – My experience with Twitter was fine and I was able to post without any problems.  I just had small problems with the pictures.  I thought it was a creative way to share, but not private. Eva A. – Technology is a bit problematic, but I like this better than having to stand up and share.
Eli L. – This poetry unit was shorter than the one we did last year and also we didn’t have a final project this year which was nice. Sophia C. – I didn’t like tweeting my poems because I don’t like sharing my writing I think it was a good concept, but I personally didn’t like it.
Kathryn M. – Tweeting poems went well.  I thought it went better than most units, and it was fun.  It was not terrible horrible no good. Eden C – Tweeting poems was easy, but it seemed odd to force us to make an account.  The comparison was okay.
Preston J. – I think that tweeting the poems were a good idea, and I am glad that we do not have to present them to a class.  Also, this poetry unit was more unique than others I have taken before.
Ansh P. – Tweeting out poem was a pretty good experience and was relatively easy to do and better than other tests.

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Data Analysis

It is interesting to note from the qualitative and quantitative data about the male to a female breakdown of their take on the project.  Twelve of the fifteen students who liked both the poetry unit and the use of Twitter were young ladies and on the opposite end of feedback for those students who hated both parts six of the eight were male students.  When I think back on it, the students who wrote negative feedback about both elements of this unit are pretty cynical students in general and usually criticize what I put in front of them.  It is this fascinating new cultural trend of apathy, that “nothing is cool” and I know that is not a new trend for teens to think nothing is a fresh idea but I can’t imagine being negative about a teacher letting me use Twitter in a class assignment even if it was for poetry.  The last piece of data that gave me hope for this overall project was the ten boy students who do not like poetry but liked the Twitter part of the project.  Analysis of their interest is important because these are all students who I struggle with engagement and enticing them to do their best on their assignments.  In this instance, their motivator was the ability to use their phones and use Twitter, but that had to come with some poetry.  So either way, I did one of those fun teacher tricks where I got them writing what I wanted them to all under the guise of “fun.”

Self Reflection

This project was more successful and easier than I had expected it to be.  I am very lucky to have an administration team that allows for experimentation and trial and error.  He and the rest of my staff allowed for me to try something new and use an online tool that is not usually utilized at the middle school level.  But because Twitter is such a notorious application, due in part to our current political situation, I thought practicing in a more academic setting could help students learn about how to act on an expansive social media platform.  

Access to technology was the initial challenge as standardized testing ate into our planned timeline. And standardized testing uses all the laptop computers in the building.  But most students have a smartphone with the Twitter app-enabled, therefore I just had to bend the school rules a bit to allow students to access the app from their mobile devices.  Those few students who did not have their Smartphones or did not have their own devices (tablet, or laptop) at their disposal I allowed to use one of the seven desktops I have setup in my room.  While Twitter proved to be a useful tool for arranging the open and moderated communication between students, I failed to consider how some students would handle the requirement of creating an account on their own.  It again made me take stock of the fact that we call this generation “digital natives” because they were born with a tablet in their hands, but when it comes to tasks like opening a new account or application they struggle.  Establishing the hashtags in Twitter required students to sign-up, log-in and post a tweet and ensure they tagged the correct people and hashtags.  Then, I had to individually check that each student had posted and labeled their tweets appropriately. Once students joined, I had to individually like and/comment on all 55+ students to their specific tweets. And, all of this was done asynchronously between classes or from home.  I also had to monitor my new account like a hawk to ensure I did not have any trolls following me or someone who had posted within our hashtags which were gross or offensive. In the end, I had to delete one to two items per day.


As students began the formative stage of writing their poetry they needed time to make their poems before posting them.  So some time in class was spent just generating ideas and creating versions of the poems they would eventually post.  Students decided on their own how they would post their poems to Twitter.  Because they have a 140 character limit, most students took pictures of their poems and posted them that way.  While others created word art and graphics that helped desirably present the poems.

I anticipate trying this project again and potentially having a classroom Twitter account all year long.  I had parents immediately begin to follow me and it was a great way for them to have more insight into what we do in my classroom. I have not spoken with my administration about doing it again, but because he did not deal with any actual backlash or parents being upset, I figure I would have the ability to try it again. I think I would also add in some more analytics about best times to tweet and when will students get the most views.  I would also use the work I did in Module four of this class to push the digital citizenship piece about netiquette and the real feelings that come out of putting things out into the World Wide Web.  


Related Resources:

Colorful Poetry: 22 Diverse Poetry Picture Books for Kids:

KUOW Local Recorded Poetry Collection:

Washington State. (2016, October 1). Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from

The Poet Tree Project:—diamante.html

Growing your Professional Learning Networking – EDTC 6103 – Module 5

How can I participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning?

Educators must be more than info experts; we must be collaborators in learning, seeking new knowledge & constantly aquiring new skills alongside our students.(National Education Technology Plan 2010)

The word networking to me as a public school educator is such a foreign concept.  An idea meant for young entrepreneurs and marketers. Even more for those who are just graduating from college in a more mainstream industry like computer science or business administration to get their names out there and have their faces seen by the “right people” because it is all about who you know and creating connections.  But as I have learned through the Digital Educational Leadership Program at SPU teachers need to get into the mindset of networking for their own benefit. I used to ask myself why/what would I need to network for because I already have a job? Or why/how would networking help me or my classroom become a better place to learn?  Networking is not just for getting a job it is also about helping new teachers coup with challenges, finding allies outside your own school, and just having someone to talk to outside of your own business bubble.  The U.S. Department of Education stated a similar sentiment in the 2010 report “online communities of practice support teachers’ learning, enabling them to ‘collaborate with their peers and leverage world-class experts to improve student learning’ and ‘extend the reach of specialized and exceptional educators”’(p. 42 – 44).


As Getting Smart states in their post “20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network,”  Networking is essential for all professionals and  “a prime form of 21st-century learning.”  Education is becoming one massive global collaborative project where our end goal is to help the student the best way we can.  As many start their first teaching job, I was given a class roster and told to “teach” with a textbook in hand.  This was at the beginning of the Common Core movement, and SBAC was in the looming future.  Of course, we had standardized tests to guide what the students should be able to accomplish by the end of their 9th and 11th-grade year but not many more expectations other than that.  I needed help, and although my mentor was incredible, it was difficult for me to comprehend filling up 55 minutes with materials all by myself.  TeacherspayTeachers became my first ally, but that got expensive and not sustainable.  Then after a couple of years and realizing I will never know it all in teaching, I reached out to other sources. Getting Smart explains it well “as educators, we aim to be connected to advance our craft.  On another level, we hope to teach students to use networks to prepare for them for a changing job market” (2013).

timthumbI have focused mostly on Twitter for growing my Professional Learning Network (PLN), specifically working with PSESD and Corelaborate organizing and participating in Twitter chats about education for the past couple years.  I also attended the recent EdCampPSWA “Unconference” at Annie Wright to help grow my PLN, and although I have not attended a large educational conference before I feel like it would be a useful adventure.  But the reality is that since I have started growing my own PLN I have certainly felt less alone, and I know that my feelings as an educator are actually validated across the country.  Teaching can be such an isolating job because we live in our classrooms and I see 150 middle school students daily but days can go by without me interacting adults on an authentic level.  

It is important to remember all public school teachers feel isolated at some point in their careers. In Rebecca Alber’s article, she explains, “Six Ways to Avoid Feeling Isolated in the Classroom” and she specifically says “Unlike our friends and family working in the private sector, we teachers spend 98 percent of our time, not with peers, but with children and in our classrooms. So it’s easy to forget to reach out and have adult conversations during our workdays” (2012).  Her six options are all about person-to-person suggestions and I am always thinking about more online/technology ways to connect with other educators but she does mention Daniel Gilbert’s research on happiness, a Harvard psychology professor. He puts it this way: “We are by far the most social species on Earth,” explains Gilbert. “If I wanted to predict your happiness, and I could know only one thing about you, I wouldn’t want to know your gender, religion, health, or income. I’d want to know about your social network — about your friends and family and the strength of the bonds with them” (Albers, 2012)  And as the U.S. Department of Education reiterates “collaboration is an effective approach for strengthening educators’ practices and improving the systemic capacity of districts and schools—and, ultimately, improving student learning” (2010).  Without the outside collaborating I do on a daily/weekly basis online and with my SPU cohort outside of my school, I would feel lost.  One small fish in a gigantic pond with a little foothold on how to bridge these gaps and inspire my students to do better and more.



Alber, R. (2012, January 09). Six Ways to Avoid Feeling Isolated in the Classroom. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from

Clifford, M. (2013). 20 tips for creating a professional learning network. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. Connect and inspire: online communities of practice in education. Retrieved May 30, 2017 from


EDTC 6103 – ISTE Teaching Standard 4 – Meet the Digital Divide then make them Digital Citizens


ISTE Teaching Standard 4 – Meet the Digital Divide then make them Digital Citizens. In my research I was guided by Teacher Standard Four: 

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 1.42.22 PM4 b. Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources.

Moreover, Teaching Standard 4c. Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.

I am torn between these two questions because I feel like they are both important.  But I think that they do connect with each other.  The first step is to get all students access to the internet and fast accessible internet all the time to be successful.  The next step that connects with my second question has to do with once they are connected to the internet how then do we ensure that the students are using that freedom correctly.  By correctly I mean that they are treating each other with respect and kindness on and off the internet.

The question I asked myself first was with many students who could not access materials from home and how that truly debilitates them for school.  How do we stay equitable for all students no matter what they have access to at home (i.e. computer, smartphone, data, wifi, television)?

This article by The Atlantic and written by Terrance Ross in 2015 examines the data behind accessibility.  As of 2006, the US had 99% of students on the internet but as we all know connectivity is different depending on where you are and what you are trying to get finished.  A quick fast speed internet connection can allow for curiosity and creativity to fly but the slow stagnant internet will hinder exploration and accessibility.  This article includes several studies (see charts below) around different districts and how they have tried to help students get connected.  It even mentions Washington’s Kent School District and how it has tried hard to reach out to the growing refugee community to ensure they have the internet. The article goes on to state that “technology morphs from being a luxury to being a necessity, the chasm between the performance of low-income students and their more affluent peers is coming under even greater scrutiny. Advocates say the tech movement is further exacerbating the already-large achievement gap; in education circles, this phenomenon is dubbed the “connectivity gap” or the “digital divide” (Ross, 2015).  

How can we model for our student the proper way to act online with authentic and real-life situations without stepping out of the boundaries of curriculum and school related materials?


New York City School Library System. (2012, April 4). Citizenship in the Digital Age Sample Lesson Plans for Grades 1-12 [Scholarly project]. In Citizenship in the Digital Age. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from


Ribble, M. & Miller, T.N. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), pp. 137-145.
Ross, T. F. (2015, March 13). When Students Can’t Go Online. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from

Digital citizenship clicker questions in math, and Mendeley (Module 4, ISTE-TS 4 digital citizenship)

This week we are looking at ISTE-TS 4: Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – “teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.” In past blog posts I have discussed ways in which digital citizenship is or can be particularly relevant to a college math class (see my Mission StatementDigital Readiness Project, and Backwards Design Project). One of the most pertinent tie-ins is the ethical use of digital tools to help students do their math homework. Another major thought I’ve had is that if you want to teach digital culture in relevant way, integrating online spaces for collaboration into the structure of the course helps.

So for this module, I was hoping to find an example of a lesson plan or some thoughts on how to digital citizenship in a math class; an example of a teaching doing Indicator 4a – “advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources” – in the context of math. My investigation questions were:

When teaching digital citizenship in a college math class, what can implementation look like/how can you implement it? Can I find any example lesson plans?

Clicker Questions on Ethics

I didn’t find what I was looking for in the context of a math class, but I did find a great blog post by Derek Bruff (2010), Ethical or Not? Clicker Questions about Academic Integrity. In this post, Derek shares the clicker questions he asked his writing students (which were written by himself and a colleague, Maggie Bowers) and talks about the students’ responses/the discussion around these questions. The post is very insightful and offers a glimpse into the classroom during the lesson. (For day two of Derek’s lesson with more clicker questions, check out his other blog here. For a description of clicker questions, check out his guest blog post on Busynessgirl’s blog here.)

Since I didn’t find anything like this for math, and his questions did stimulate an engaged discussion around ethics, I thought I would try using his questions to inspire my own. I’m just brainstorming here and would call this a draft. But it’s a start! A few of his questions would be relevant to a math class, so I did include them below – 4, 5, and 6.

  1. You are stumped by a homework problem, so you…
    1. use Wolfram Alpha to look up the solution. Ethical or unethical?
    2. get help from someone. They write out a solution and it makes sense to you, so you rewrite the solution and turn it in. Ethical or unethical?
  2. You are working with a friend on a homework assignment. The two of you collaborate to write a solution on a white board. Both of you rewrite the same solution for your homework. Ethical or unethical?
  3. A friend of yours took this course last quarter and gives you…
    1. their homework from the class so you can check your work. Ethical or unethical?
    2. their old exams from the class so you can study for your exams. Ethical or unethical?
  4. The student next to you drops his test and you accidentally see the answers. This leads you to change one of your answers. Ethical or unethical? (Bruff and Bowers, 2009)
  5. You get a B- on an exam. You would really like a B, so you ask your professor after class for a few extra points on a particular exam question, even though you know your answer probably doesn’t deserve a higher score. Ethical or unethical? (Bruff and Bowers, 2009)
  6. You find a copy of the instructor’s solutions manual to one of your textbooks online. You use it to check your homework before turning your homework in. Ethical or unethical? (Bruff and Bowers, 2009)

Imagining that I were to use these questions, as part of this discussion I think it would be important to clearly define plagiarism in the context of a math class.

Now let’s abruptly switch gears…

Mendeley for Citation Generation and Management

On a different note, I found a free tool that is helpful for generating citations and references within Word: Mendeley. Citing our sources is important for students and teachers alike. In regards to ISTE-T4, Mendeley could aid teachers in doing Indicator 4a (i.e. modeling good citation practices) by making it a little easier to cite your sources – particularly if you are citing the same things more than once.

Mendeley is a free citation management tool. It has extensions for Word and most Internet browsers. In Word, it assists you in doing in-text citations, and will generate and update a references list. Online, it detects citation information so that you can add a citation to Mendeley while browsing, and whatever information it doesn’t detect, you can add. Here is a quick demonstration. (Looks like I need to figure out some better OBS Studio settings to make the image clearer!)

There is a WordPress plugin…but I couldn’t figure out how to use it. Nevertheless, if you’re in Word, this is a great tool and I can’t believe I only just started using it!


Bruff, D. (2010). Ethical or not? Clicker questions about academic integrity [Blog post]. Retrieved from

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for teachers (2008). Retrieved from

Mendeley. (2017). Retrieved from

Screen capturing (Module 3, ISTE-TS 3 work and learning)

This week we are looking at ISTE-TS 3: Model digital age work and learning – “teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.” Looking at TS 3 and its indicators, I asked:

What is a digital tool math teachers could use to achieve one or all of these indicators?

While pondering this, it occurred to me that a screen capture tool (aka screencasting or video capture) would be great for this standard. I actually began my investigation of screen capturing last quarter, betting that it would be relevant to the ISTE-TSs at some point. Sure enough, Indicator 3c just screams “screen capture!” to me – “communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.” Here’s why, in a semi-VLOG-like style, while screen capturing:

My Resource – OBS Studio

The screen capture tool I went with is OBS Studio. I searched around and found that OBS Studio was the most frequently and highly recommended free screen capturing program. As I understand it, OBS is is often used by gamers to stream their game-play, and there are tons of tutorials on YouTube about how to use OBS Studio.

A tutorial I found super valuable was OBS Studio Tutorial: Studio Mode by WDA_Punisher. After a few weeks of sporadic use, I had not been able to figure out how to use Studio Mode on my own, so I looked it up. Indeed, it is a valuable feature within OBS Studio to help make your videos cleaner and more professional looking as you transition between the windows that you want to capture. However, it is not a necessary feature to get started with basic screen capturing.

To give you an idea of what OBS Studio looks like, I made a demonstration video using OBS Studio. (Note: I am not adding sources from scratch, so the first time you go through this process it will look a little different. Sorry about that.)

In a Math Class

The ways I immediately see a screen capturing tool as being helpful in a math class include: demonstrating how to use the class LMS or online homework system, or answering student questions outside of class. I’m envisioning screen capturing while using the drawing tablet I recently blogged about (here) to perhaps answer some student questions outside of class.

An aside: Speaking of screen capturing and using my tablet, can I take a moment to plug my Global Collaboration Project for this quarter? I’m collecting, curating, and sharing stories of times math was useful. I’ve gotten fantastic responses and I look forward to blogging about it! (Here are more details and the form to submit a story if you’re interested.) For one of my own story submissions, I used OSB Studio, my Huion H420 tablet, and OneNote to screencast a part of my story! (Video here, full story here.)

Earlier I highlighted Indicator 3c in relation to screen capturing because it works so well to enhance communication in those situations where you need to communicate online, but wish you could show the person your computer screen too. But the situations that may come up where you want to show a colleague or student, or someone else, what you see on your computer are endless. I’m sure there are situations where you could use screen capturing to: “demonstrate…the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies” (Indicator 3a), “collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members…to support student success and innovation” (Indicator 3b), or “model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning” (Indicator 3d).

In general, screen capturing is just a good tool to have in your tool bag, ready to use when you need it. And I do recommend OBS Studio. It has been a great free program so far!


ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for teachers (2008). Retrieved from

Open Broadcaster Software. (2017) OBS Studio. Retrieved from

WDA_Punisher. (2016, March) OBS Studio tutorial: Studio Mode. Retrieved from

ISTE Teaching Standard 3: Model Effective Use of Current & Emerging Digital Tools

This week in my exploration of ISTE Teaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am examining ISTE Teaching Standard 3 to understand how teachers can…

“exhibit knowledge, skills and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.”

Embedded in this standard is the indicator for teachers to…

“Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate and use information resources to support research and learning.”


I’d like to start two years ago, at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia.  This is where Soledad O’Brien, an American broadcast journalist and executive producer, said, “I might be in the wrong room to say this, but I think technology for technology’s sake is a complete waste.”  I have heard this quote thrown around quite a bit lately in educational conversations.  It has become the go-to excuse for not using technology in the classroom, but I want to reveal a way that I can make my lessons applicable to their real-life aspirations of my students.  I want to demonstrate real world digital connections within their middle school humanities courses.  Therefore, to complete my goals for my students I will need to experiment with new technologies to become “effective” in “emerging digital tools” so I can exhibit knowledge and skills innovative enough for their future professional world.  


Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 7.57.21 AM
Click to see my Trello board


In this line of thinking I will at times need to use technology just because it is technology, and then try to implement the tech with my students.  For example, I spent the last couple weeks exploring Trello, and after a few short minutes, I saw an endless amount of options for this free tool in the classroom.  They also have this wonderful bank of inspirational ideas for uses and ways we as educators could use Trello in our jobs. I immediately thought of the old archaic way we all used to use note cards or index cards to categorize our research into subtopics to then create our outlines.  But as the second example in the bank backs me up with Trello allows for a free online tool that can totally accomplish the same task but online. Trello even calls each new idea you add to a list a card.  It can also help with a team or whole classroom projects.  Each person could be in charge of added a new resource or list and then breaking it down into subtopics.  But even though I know, this tool could help teachers and kill fewer trees I know it would be tough for me to convince some teachers to make the switch. Why?

Well because of a bunch of reasons. Therefore, how do I get teachers to buy into wanting another tool in their teaching lives?  Or even how do I get teachers to experiment with a tech or digital tool that they have looked at before but should reexamine? As I took a look at Krueger’s article, “Three Barriers to Innovation Education Leaders Must Address” I agreed that “community resistance, access, and policies” are pieces, of the puzzle but it is not the whole picture as to why teachers resist new digital tools.  Along with those pieces there also exists the time restraints, money, and fear of breaking from routine or simply breaking the tool itself.  FullSizeRenderThese barriers to try something new in public schools are so ingrained and deep seeded that I do not want to waste much time examining them. But as an example of a digital tool that can facilitate many parts of ISTE standard three and several expectations built into new teaching contracts regarding the creation and maintenance of a “web presence” is Edmodo.  Edmodo is sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for education” but because this startup is not a startup anymore it is so much more than that.  Edmodo now boasts over 78 million users and is a fully functioning Learning Management System. Teachers still can communicate with their students, parents, and other colleagues.  But Edmodo can also “be used to share assignments and grades, host discussions and post videos, schedule appointments, and create and take polls” and now boasts a strong formative tool called Snapshot that allows for instant grading and formative data collection (Wan, 2016).  All of that sounds fantastic but as the CEO stated last June ““if I can only [make] 30 cents or 40 cents per user per year, [we] would be profitable,” why is something like this happening?  believe this is due in large part to the fact that most teachers just have not had a clear demonstration of all Edmodo’s capabilities.  Teachers are doubters and will wait to experiment with new digital tools because of that fear I was referencing earlier.  Another instructor must come in and show an example of how something like Edmodo could change their lives for the better.  Moreover, teachers must see the connection between using a tool like Edmodo which looks so much like social media as a tool that helps connect their current school life to their future career.  If they learn simultaneously how to find their homework and see due dates, but also how to communicate in a digital atmosphere we are not only teaching them time management but digital citizenship strategies.  And both of these are huge parts for creating a truly future-ready student who will be not only an active member of society but a thriving member of our communities.  



Crompton, H. (2014, July 24). Know the ISTE Standards-T 3: Model digital age learning. Retrieved from

Edmodo (Product Reviews on EdSurge). (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from – It is a popular social media network for parents, teachers, admin, and students

Krueger, N. (2014, June 28). 3 barriers to innovation education leaders must address. Retrieved from

Wan, T. (2016, July 10). No Slacking Off! How Savvy Teachers Are Turning to Trello and Slack (EdSurge News). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from

Wan, T. (2016, July 10). Can Edmodo Turn Virality into Profitability? (EdSurge News). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from

Peer Instruction-like resources for math (Module 2, ISTE-TS 2 experiences and assessments)

One of my most memorable college experiences as a student involved the use of clicker questions, but used in a little bit of a non-traditional way. The class was “baby quantum” as we called it. It was a prerequisite for the intro quantum mechanics sequence.

Typically, in my experience as a student, a multiple-choice question is presented on the projector, the students talk about it for 2ish minutes, we each submit our answer by pressing a button on our own clicker device, the final results are displayed as a histogram, and then we wrap up by talking about the answer options as a class.

On this day, however, we were not allowed to consult one another. Instead, we silently answered the question, we were not shown the final histogram, and we did not follow up by talking about the question/answer. We then switched gears and worked together on related a UW Tutorial. After we completed the tutorial, we were presented with the same clicker question again, giving us the opportunity to change our answer (I don’t remember if we were allowed to talk to each other this time – I would guess not). And again, we were not yet shown the results. But we could tell by the instructor’s reaction that something interesting had happened. She then revealed the histograms…

First she showed us the histogram from round one – I don’t remember the distribution off the top of my head, but it was more or less all over the place. Then she showed us the histogram from round two. The gasp was audible and there was a mild uproar – over 90% of us now chose the same answer! The right answer.

It’s hard to describe how exciting it was, and the story is also a success story about the tutorial we were working on (see here for a journal article on the tutorial, which includes the actual clicker question stats from this day). But we were elated. There was such a stark contrast between the histograms. The use of clicker questions really showcased the power of the tutorial. From an instructor’s perspective, the tutorial is probably main point of interest, but for me, the final reveal of the clicker question results is really what that made that day so memorable. Our jaws dropped to the floor.

For Module 2 we are looking at ISTE-TS 2: Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – “teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the Standards•S.”

In particular, two indicators stood out to me as related to the use of clicker questions/classroom voting systems (CVS): Indicator 2a – “design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity,” and Indicator 2d – “provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards, and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching.”

To go through the points in those indicators: Research has shown positive results on student learning with the use of CVS (Cline and Zullo, 2011; Crouch and Mazur, 2001). You can, but don’t have to, use digital tools to implement the questions. There is room to increase relevance by choosing questions that you feel your particular class needs to discuss. Discussing their answers with each other gives them more opportunity to think and reflect, and thus develop their own way of imaging the math (i.e., being mathematically creative). One of the main ideas behind CVS is to use the activity as a formative assessment. Additionally, students report that CVS are engaging, and from experience, I would agree.

I am familiar with physics related CVS resources. Peer Instruction (PI) by Eric Mazur (1997) details a particular methodology around the use of clicker questions and provides a set of physics clicker questions. In Henderson and Dancy’s (2009) study, they found that PI was the most commonly used research-based instructional strategies in college physics. So my question was (and has been for some time):

What are some PI-like resources for the college math class? Is there a bank of PI-like clicker questions for math?

To my surprise (although maybe I shouldn’t be surprised), I found exactly what I was looking for. The links below come from a Phoenix College page, Clicker Questions and Math, or from one of the pages it links.

What Are Clicker Questions?

For a more elaborate, yet still quick, overview of the process and benefits of using clickers, I will refer you to Derek Bruff’s guest blog post (2009), Teaching Math with Clickers, on busynessgirl’s blog. On his own site, Bruff’s posts (2009), Flexible Clicker Questions, details a particular time he asked a clicker question. The way Bruff describes using student-submitted “bucket questions” as clicker questions makes his clicker questions particularly relevant to his class. He also says that this gives him a better sense for how prevalent the confusion is, rather than just answering student-submitted questions at the start of class (i.e., it works as a relevant formative assessment).

For a lot of elaboration about CVS in math, check out editors Kelly Cline and Holly Zullo’s (2011) book, Teaching Mathematics with Classroom Voting: With and Without Clickers.

“This collection includes papers from faculty at institutions across the country, teaching a broad range of courses with classroom voting, including college algebra, precalculus, calculus, statistics, linear algebra, differential equations, and beyond. These faculty share their experiences and explain how they have used classroom voting to engage students, to provoke discussions, and to improve how they teach mathematics.

This volume should be of interest to anyone who wants to begin using classroom voting as well as people who are already using it but would like to know what others are doing. While the authors are primarily college-level faculty, many of the papers could also be of interest to high school mathematics teachers.” (Mathematical Association of America, 2017)

I haven’t read all of the book, but it seems valuable and I will likely purchase it. I thought chapter 2 offered an insightful breakdown of implementation options, addressing: clickers or non-electronic voting, one- or two-cycle voting, and to grade or not to grade the responses.

This book is generally geared toward college instruction, but I want to point out chapter 8, Using Clickers in Courses for Future K–8 Teachers, for my K-8 teacher friends.

Resources for Math Clicker Questions

So what about the CVS questions themselves? These two resources offer pages and pages of ready-to-use CVS questions for a variety of college math topics/courses. (Both projects were NSF funded.)

I worked through one of the Math QUEST question sets (The Fundamental Theorem and Interpretations set in the Integral Calculus question library) and I really liked it. I felt that the questions did a good job setting the stage for subsequent questions. Multiple times the next question touched on something I had just been thinking about. For example during question 7 I thought, “Well (a) would be right if it were |v(x)| instead of v(x),” and then question 8 asked about |v(x)|. So I was happy with the progression of the questions.

Last Thoughts

These resources are really exciting to me. Clickers are something that I really want to incorporate into my future teaching and it’s nice to finally tap into that vein of research. As easy to find as these resources were, I’m not quite sure why I haven’t found them already!


Cline, K. S., & Zullo, H. (Eds.). (2011). Teaching mathematics with classroom voting: With and without clickers (No. 79). Mathematical Association of America (available here). Retrieved from

Crouch, C. H., & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69, 970-977.

Henderson, C., & Dancy, M. H. (2009). Impact of physics education research on the teaching of introductory quantitative physics in the United States. Physical Review ST Physics Education Research, 5(2), 1-9.

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for teachers (2008). Retrieved from

Mathematical Association of America. (2017). Teaching mathematics with classroom voting: With and without clickers. Retrieved from

Mazur, E. (1997). Peer instruction: A user’s manual. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Novak, G. (2006). What is Just-in-Time Teaching? Retrieved from


EDTC 6103 Module 2 – ISTE Teaching Standard 2 Design & Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences & Assessments


In my exploration of ISTE Teaching Standard 2 this week, I am looking to explore the different digital tools that are out there for formative and summative assessments.  It is important to find something that will not take more time for grading and allow for real-time feedback for the students. The article from Edutopia’s Teaching for Meaningful Learning about how assessments matter is summarized well with this one line “for assessments to serve the critical functions, they must be grounded in a conception of learning as developmental and in a belief that all students will learn from experience and feedback, rather than being constrained by innate ability. It is also important to Module_2_-_ISTE_Teaching_Standard_2_Design__Dev_Digital_Learning_Exp__Assessments.pngremember that the most effective performance assessments are part of a related set of practices that include the integration of assessment and instruction, systematic use of iterative cycles of reflection and action, and ongoing opportunity for students to improve their work” (Barron & Darling Hammond, 2007). Establishing that assessments matter is not really the argument but sometimes I require a reminder why we spend so much time on them.  Then I took a look at a recent online piece which was done by McGraw-Hill Education the giant textbook and curriculum publisher. It is one part of a series about assessment implementation and in this section “Assessment Optimization #4: Analyze Results and Use them to Inform” McGraw-Hill staff writes that the “insights gleaned from assessments can be used at three levels: by the digital assessment program itself, by the instructor, and by the administrator. With each use, the adjustments made will address the needs of a wider student population — from the individual learner to the class, to the entire school or district” (2017). Purposeful and insightful assessments can help personalize learning and adapt exams for each student’s abilities and needs.  It also informs teachers and administrators.  McGraw-Hill is pushing their assessment solution tool Engrade but I thought instead I would explore a tool that my district is pushing to its staff to use, Formative.  Formative is a digital web-based machine that allows teachers/instructors to create assessments be it formative or summative.  I think it can be a lot like Kahoot but a bit more official and useful for teachers.

Click to view slideshow.

Formative lets teachers create assessments, deliver them to students, receive results, and provide individualized feedback in real-time. Teachers can use the platform to create new assessments for their students from scratch, or they can upload pre-existing documents and transform them into paperless assignments. Accounts are free for teachers and students.  Teachers can set up new accounts through a link on the company website. Then they can enroll students in one of two ways: 1) Give students a class code and asking them to self-enroll through the company website or 2) Fill out a spreadsheet with student roster information and email the spreadsheet to a company representative. Students can use any Internet-connected device to complete their assignments, and their responses are immediately sent to the teacher. Teachers can grade assignments manually or automatically and then send students individualized feedback. The Teacher Dashboard also provides real-time analytics that teachers can use to track student growth across standards.

Lastly, my favorite tool to use for ELA summative writing assessments is  This tool use has helped me truly prepare my students for the next step in education.  I  cannot think of a legitimate higher education institution that does not implement a machine like this to help ward off plagiarism.  If we do not start the students using it early on then we are doing them a disservice.  So It prevents plagiarism and engages students with its ease of use and instant feedback.   Originality Check like everything else in today’s digital culture, plagiarism is moving online. Turnitin’s Originality Check helps instructors check students’ work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against the world’s most accurate text comparison database. GradeMark allows for paperless grading.  GradeMark saves instructors time and provides richer feedback to students by enabling editorial highlights, custom comments, and QuickMark editing marks directly on the student papers.  In the image below you can see a couple of screens that I use to grade my students work.  It also keeps all my student’s work from the past year in one place.  I do not lug around large piles of paper every break I just pack my laptop and that is all I need.  Plus, when I finish a paper I can instantly email that student and let them know that they can take a look at their grade.  This gives them real-time feedback and more time to consider redoing the assignment for a better grade.  I love the fact that I can create my own rubrics with the district’s curriculum but then use’s Rubric Manager and put it into the system.  It is saved so I can update it and then use it later.  

Click to view slideshow.


Barron, Dr. Brigid, and Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond. “Teaching for Meaningful Learning: A Review of Research on Inquiry-Based and Cooperative Learning.” TeachING for Meaningful Learning A Review of Research. Edutopia, 2007. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. Retrieved From

Education, McGraw-Hill. “[Series] Assessment Optimization #4: Analyze Results and Use Them to Inform.” Medium. Inspired Ideas, 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 14 Apr. 2017.

Imagining math (EDTC 6103 Module 1, ISTE-TS 1 learning and creativity)

This quarter, we’re exploring the 2008 ISTE Teacher Standards (which I will be abbreviating ISTE-TS), and for module 1 we’re looking at ISTE-TS 1: Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – “teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.” What really stood out to me when reading through the standard and its indicators was the idea of creativity. Along with creativity being mentioned in the standard itself, two of the indicators mention it: Indicator 1a – “promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness” and Indicator 1c – “promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative process.” This emphasis on creativity led me to ask:

What is mathematical creativity? What does the research say about how to conceptualize mathematical creativity, and how to identify and foster it in students?

A Treasure Trove of Conference Papers

I felt that I needed to know more about this before I could fully see ISTE-TS 1. While searching for answers, I immediately stumbled upon a fantastic webpage, The 11th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Discussion Group 9: Promoting Creativity for All Students in Mathematics Education. This webpage has about 40 conference papers that speak to one of the following questions:

1. What is mathematical creativity and which mathematics students can and should be creative?
2. What is the role of the teacher and others in recognizing and promoting mathematical creativity? What is the goal in doing this?
3. How might mathematical problems be used to develop mathematical creativity? How might mathematical creativity be assessed? How do we evaluate our success in developing mathematical creativity in all students?
4. How do technology, other resources, and the environment affect the mathematical creativity of the student?

I only scratched the surface of information this website has to offer, reading just two of the papers from question 1 above.

Aralas’ (2008) paper, Mathematical creativity and its connection with mathematical imagination, helped me pull the idea of imagination into the construct of mathematical creativity, and the word “imagination” struck a chord with me instantly. Being able to picture the math – or imagine the math – has always been really important to me, even if all I’m imagining is rearranging numbers with animation. But it’s a picture I strive to see. It’s a need really. I need to be able to see it. Picture it. Imagine it.

There’s a notion lurking around that goes something like, “The math that students are learning has already been discovered. It’s already done. Where’s the room for creativity and inventiveness?” I don’t exactly know why I feel like this notion is lurking around. It’s probably a collection of things I’ve heard or thought. But Mina’s (2008) paper, Promoting creativity for all students in mathematics education, helped me feel like I could settle into the idea that the math is new to the learner, and being mathematically creative isn’t necessarily about inventing new math, but also about the way we understand the math we are being taught.

Bringing Your Imagination to Life

With these two things in mind, I came to the conclusion that students can be mathematically creative in how they imagine the math they are learning. I am picturing a project where I ask students to show what they are imagining for whatever math idea they choose, through whatever way could best convey what they imagine.

To try and make it more clear what I mean, I did the activity myself. I wanted to try and show you what I imagine when I imagine the distance formula: d = x_{2} - x_{1}. I really wanted to make an animation because I imagine a moving-picture-like scene. I used PowToons to make my animation. (I’ve never used PowToons before, and I think it deserves its own investigation and blog post somewhere down the line – it was awesome, check it out!) My animation doesn’t perfectly depict how I imagine this, in the way that cartoons don’t perfectly depict 3D and real life, but it’s darn close! And it definitely represents what I really am imagining.

As a first time user of PowToons, this animation took me about 8 hours.

Of course, bringing to life what you imagine doesn’t have to be done through an animation. It could be a drawing, or a story, or something you build. It could be a demonstration. Maybe even a skit. I think one of the great things about asking students to show what they’re imagining, is that it would give students the opportunity to think about their toolbox of resources, and to search for the best way to bring their imagination to life (which is a rare in a college math class, in my experience).

Thinking in terms of my student-identity, creating this animation made me reflect on my mathematical idea and it pushed me to clarify my own thinking – there couldn’t be any fuzzy places in my mental movie. This didn’t have the collaborative element for me, but otherwise I felt like it hit strongly on ISTE-TS Indicator 1c.

With the way I’m thinking about this activity, it’s very important to focus on allowing students the space to convey their ideas, whether the ideas are canonically correct or not. I am not thinking that their imagination needs to be free of mathematical errors. However, what they create can be used to discuss any errors that emerge, or limitations to a way of thinking, but the point of the activity is not to create a “correct picture” – the point is to illustrate what they are thinking, whatever that may be.

I would love to assign this project one day and/or see what your students create if you decide to give this a try!


Aralas, D. (2008). Mathematical creativity and its connection with mathematical imagination. In Proceedings The 11th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Discussion Group 9: Promoting Creativity for All Students in Mathematics Education. Retrieved from

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for teachers (2008). Retrieved from

Ming, F. (2008). Promoting creativity for all students in mathematics education. In Proceedings The 11th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Discussion Group 9: Promoting Creativity for All Students in Mathematics Education. Retrieved from

PowToons. (2017). Retrieved from

ISTE Teaching Standard 1 – Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity


This quarter in my graduate studies in Digital Educational Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am exploring the ISTE Teaching Standards as a follow up to my study of the ISTE Student Standards last quarter. I am beginning with a look at ISTE Teaching Standard 1, which centers on facilitating and inspiring student learning and creativity.

My compelling triggering questions – How can my middle school humanities students be driven to ask the right questions that foster their curiosity, wonder, and follow-thru?  How can I promote and support their excitement while still teaching them reading/writing skills and time management?

As I am currently working from our recently acquired Schoolwide Inc. Research Report Writer’s Workshop Unit — immersion section it shows how to model the importance of well-formed questions in the research process.  One of the mentor texts we are using with the students is Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison by Marfe Ferguson Delano, a former writer for National Geographic.

“Before our mentor author generated her questions, she thought about her purposes: the reason why she wrote her book.  In this case, our mentor author, Marfe Ferguson Delano, is a writer for National Geographic and is keenly interested in sharing her research with students so that they not only get to read informative and exciting facts but are also inspired to read and learn more. She also has a theme running through her entire book — one that connects to Thomas Edison’s motivation and tenacity toward learning the “whys” and “why nots” of how things worked, as well as what he could do to ‘always learn more.’”


  • What was Thomas Alva Edison’s motivation to experiment, explore, and work toward improving dimensions o the physical world?
  • How did Edison deal with the disappointment of patents that failed?
  • Why were Edison’s early school experiences clouded by people’s misperceptions of him?
  • What caused Edison’s mother to take over as his teacher?
  • What was the impetus for Edison to have an irrepressible urge to experiment?

Along with this demonstration and a few others students are then supposed to understand how compelling questions can help lead them to better topics and research.  With my two sections of advanced 8th-grade language arts it was a seamless transition from demonstration to proficient execution of the task.  For example, one of my students chose Archimedes’ Contribution to Science as his topic (on his own), his research question was “How did Archimedes inventions help him and others around the world?” This helped lead his research in the correct direction and not get distracted by extraneous details. But as I did the same process with my general 8th-grade language arts students the jump from picking the topic and the purpose/meaning behind that choice was difficult.  And it was even more difficult for them to come up with creative questions to steer their research in the right directions.  It was hard to assist them when sometimes verbalizing why they chose their topic in general was frustrating for them.  I received answers like “because I like that topic” or “it interests me” well that is wonderful but when I would push them for deeper answers I got blank stares of confusion.  My first thoughts were that these blank stares were because they were given so little choice in their topics in the past or not enough people ask them why they find a particular topic more appealing than another.  But who knows, in the end I need all my students to create compelling questions that push them to want to find the answers through research.  After reading the required resources and keeping track of it all on Google Keep I felt like I had a good grasp of the first ISTE Teaching Standard-1 and knew what I wanted to research to help answer my compelling question. 

Click to view slideshow.

Therefore, I decided to read and watch Edutopia’s article/video about Wildwood IB World Magnet School, in Chicago, Inquiry-Based Learning: Developing Student-Driven Questions”.  This Edutopia resource regarding the idea of Inquiry-Based Learning and what happens when the whole school gets behind the same idea and methodology. Students in the video embrace the idea of a questions based school. They have become the power behind most of the lessons, and the teachers are very flexible with their lessons and the direction their student’s questions take them. One example in the video is from a teacher who was doing a unit on economics and from the students’ questions she and her PLC changed directions to concentrate on billionaires and how they got so rich. Then one of the teachers pops in to comment on how the students are dealing with the question model and she states “Inquiry-based learning is just a fancy word for curiosity, right?” (Compton, 2014). Which I believe is true, and this idea is shared with ISTE specifically when Helen Crompton wrote “Creativity appears in many1 forms, from creating physical models to creating questions.  It is the teacher’s role to make students aware that there are multiple ways to get to understanding and that they need to investigate and ask questions” (Compton, 2014).  The written post includes the overall plan and inspiration behind the inquiry-based model along with some resources that teachers and students can use to help support their shift from their current model. One of the resources goes into the four phases of inquiry-based learning, Interaction, Clarification, Questioning, and Design. Which I imagine as a funnel that is ever narrowing towards a more and more focus ending.  All of this encompasses the necessity 2of “Student-led choice will encourage them to tap their own initiative, knowledge, and interests to complete the task” (Compton, 2014).  In the classroom allowing for student directed choice is so important.  I try to allow for options and variety as much as possible.  Behind it all though it requires student’s interest and excitement.  So I suppose I will keep going with the idea I started with and I will keep encouraging them to try to figure out what is the motivation behind their thought process. 


Crompton, H. (2014, May 1). ISTE standards for teachers 1: facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. Learning & Leading Through Technology – May 2014. Retrieved from

Heick, Terry. “4 Phases of Inquiry-Based Learning: A Guide For Teachers.” TeachThought. N.p., 05 Nov. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. Retrieved from

Wildwood IB World Magnet School Staff. “Inquiry-Based Learning: Developing Student-Driven Questions.” Edutopia. George Lucas Educational Foundation, 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Apr. 2017.