Category Archives: ISTE – 2. Teaching, Learning & Assessments e.

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.

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.

ISTE – The Empowered Learner: My Hero Project

The next step in my coursework in the Seattle Pacific University, Digital Education Leadership program is to work my way through the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) 2016 student standards. First, looking at ISTE standard 1 – Empowered Learners, and specifically for my students I will focus on how “students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways” (ISTE, 1c). I look at professionals outside my academic or educational field and see how every job now integrates technology in some way. Continuing on that line, I am curious about ways to practically implement tech into the middle school language arts classroom.  Also, how can I help facilitate my students to see the connections between their desired field and necessary tech skills by implementing these practical units?

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 3.23.56 PM.pngAs Dr. Charles Kivunja explains in the International Journal of Higher Learning; in his piece entitled “Teaching students to learn and to work well with 21st century skills: Unpacking the career and life skills domain of the new learning paradigm” shifting workplace is changing things quickly, and students need to adapt to the new expectations. “In the 21st-century work environment, working conditions are changing at a very fast and increasing pace. As a result, employers actively seek out graduates that are not only resourceful and adaptable, but also able to be flexible and have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and environments and to welcome new ideas, and new ways of completing tasks” (2015, pg. 3).  I currently work in a district that has a pretty complete curriculum scope and sequence that I need to fit my idea within.  Therefore, I attempted to find ways for my students to use technology and still demonstrate their learning within the confines of the predetermined middle school language arts units.  Specifically, the reader’s workshop units with titles centered around themes in the district “Young Wonders” in 6th and “Courage to be an Individual” in 7th grade.   I took into consideration that the skills I wanted students to work on were “flexibility and adaptability (which) lead to success whereas the lack of these skills leads to stagnation and failure” (2015, pg. 3).  With these pieces in mind, I found a simple blog post on Edutopia, A Hero’s Journey for the 21st Century by Betty Ray from February 22, 2012.  Now she wrote it four years ago, but I think her message in this post and then the following links to the actual projects she references are certainly still relevant.  

Screen Shot 2017-01-14 at 4.22.51 PM.pngBetty Ray makes it clear that it might be time to put aside the Homer and the Star Wars and concentrate more on the community and who is a hero to the students.  The My Hero Project gives a chance for the students to use 21st-century skills with autonomy and the ability to deliver the project in different mediums. This project creates all kinds of new quests and outlets for expression for the young people. As we have new issues of identity and digital citizenship to combat with and educate our students about. With this project, the student’s ability to self-express becomes limitless.  For example, the 2016 Emerging Artist Award went to a young man named Trey Carlisle.  In their press release about his project and success with the My Hero project it stated —  

Since 8th grade, Carlisle has been telling important stories to fight injustice and has produced award-winning documentaries that speak out against violence and discrimination. Trey’s is a passionate voice for positive change in the world.Deeply committed to social justice, Carlisle learned about filmmaking through The Righteous Conversations Project, an organization that pairs teens with Holocaust survivors to share their important stories. When he had an opportunity to travel to Cambodia with a group called Digital Storytelling Adventures, he created the short film “Us and Us,” a documentary about dehumanization.

I also read the teacher’s guide, and I think it has a ton of great ways I could link this project to my students and the unit in the middle school classroom.  And to reference Dr. Kivunja again, “there is an increasing awareness that the skills that led to success in the 20th century are no longer sufficient to lead to success and prosperity in the 21st century. Aware of the need for change in teaching, learning, assessment and work so as to be effective participants in the 21st-century conditions” (2015, pg. 2).  I believe we need to shift mindsets to ensure we are truly created successful citizens of the next generation. 

Project Website –

My Hero Project –

Resources –

Kivunja, C. (2014). Teaching students to learn and to work well with 21st-century skills: Unpacking the career and life skills domain of the new learning paradigm. International Journal of Higher Education, 4(1), p1. Retrieved from

My Hero Educators Guide. (2012). Retrieved January 13, 2017, from

Ray, B. (2012, February 22). A Hero’s Journey for the 21st Century. Retrieved January 14, 2017, from