I. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

Using Microsoft Word, I created an interactive and informative newsletter that communicates the expectation of the class and facilitates student’s thinking in terms of collaborative learning and addresses the function of technology in the student’s education.  Using the tables feature of Microsoft Word, I was able to create a masthead and apply a visually appealing heading.  I framed the title using Word Art, which allowed me to customize the appearance of my newsletter.  With custom formatting I creating multiple columns for my content, and was also able to insert and customize an original picture of my own by scanning and using the “insert” option in Word. This newsletter promotes creativity by demonstrating the various ways to customize and individualize a Word document.  The ability to insert and utilize original or custom pictures and works of art supports innovative thinking and inventiveness.  Creating a newsletter models collaborative knowledge by incorporating student’s opinions and answering their questions in a way that involves the entire class.

Using Blogger, Google’s free blog creation tool, I created a blog (personalized website) to share information with classmates and learn how to embed different types of information/images onto my page.  The web-based, public nature of a blog allowed others to access my posted information, as well as leave comments on my work. On my blog, I posted informative and analytical weekly journals about numerous educational topics, experimented with font color and layout designs, and creatively customized the blog format in order to create a more visually pleasing web-page. I embedded examples of my work onto the blog, integrating various types of technology into one location, such as uploading scanned images, taking digital desktop pictures, copying HTML codes to show my presentations, documents, and surveys from other websites. I generated personalized tabs at the top of the page to allow people who visit the page to access my technology examples quickly or be sent to an external website to see my work directly.  This blog promotes planning, thinking, and creative processes by allowing me to try different layouts and designs to share information with those who visit my page in a more interesting and clear way. The comment sections on my blog provide visitors with an opportunity to give feedback about my work below every post, allowing me to engage in digital dialogue with classmates and therefore reflect on my work in a more collaborative way. I will develop personalized blogs in my classroom to promote collaborative knowledge construction and engage students in learning with others in a virtual environment by instructing students to create and experiment with their own blog, as well as visit and comment on each others’ blogs.

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Using Microsoft Excel, a spreadsheet software application, I was able to develop a digital-age learning activity in the form of a crossword puzzle.  Using the “format” option in Excel I customized and personalized the puzzle by editing cell sizes, background color, and font color, and using conditional formatting in Excel allowed me to set conditions in specific cells, resulting in an incorrect letter inserted turning red and a correct letter inserted turning green.  The “notes” tool in Excel allowed add notes to cells in which the first letter of a word will go, so that as the mouse rolls over that cell, a clue to that word appears.  The crossword puzzle promotes student learning and creativity by allowing students to work with a digital tool while challenging their knowledge and critical thinking as they use the clues to figure out the answers. This learning activity applies to student’s diverse learning styles, as it serves as an alternative to more traditional question and answer quizzes or lessons, allowing students to utilize working strategies.

Using the forms feature in Google Docs, a free online tool used to create various kinds of multimedia, I created an online assessment to accompany my Prezi presentation on how I will incorporate NETS-S in my lesson plans.  The assessment can be set to self-grade and therefore instantly give results to test-takers.  By choosing one of the provided themes I was able to customize the assessment, and the various types of questions provided allowed me to personalize the content.  By using multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, check boxes, and short answer questions I can assess different levels of learning and knowledge.  Assessment results can be analyzed through the spreadsheet feature of Google Forms.   My Google Form allows me assess my student’s understanding of content with varied assessments that incorporate digital-age tools and knowledge, and allows students to be active participants in their own learning.  The immediate scoring of the assessment allows students to manage their own learning and progress, and set educational goals for themselves.

3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

In order to demonstrate fluency in technology systems I utilized iMovie, a video editing program by Apple, to edit and customize a public service announcement (PSA) of the Cal State San Marcos Campus.  The video features facts and statistics about the school, and is meant to appeal to students and their families who are interested in CSUSM.  iMovie organizes video with a tool called “Library,” which i used to choose which parts of the original video to feature in my end product, as well as put various transition in place between clips of video.  By cutting out the original audio of some clips, and recording my own voice into the microphone, I added a voice cameo to specific parts of the movie.  To place titles in the beginning of my movie, my data in specific clips during the movie, and rolling credits at the end of the movie, I used the “insert text” tool, which allowed me to customize font, color and text placement.  Creating a movie that incorporates information about a local and prominent university allows me to collaborate with students, parents, and other community members about relevant information for my students.  By utilizing the many tools the iMovie application includes and sharing my movie on my blog, I am modeling and facilitating effective use of digital tools to analyze information I have gained from other electronic sources.

Using Diigo, a free online social bookmarking tool, I have created a profile, saved many online educational resources, shared these resources with other Diigo users, and followed other educators within the Diigo network.  With the free toolbar download, I have downloaded the Diigo toolbar, which allows me to search within the Diigo community and my Diigo library without having to go into Diigo, and it also gives me the tools to bookmark, highlight, save, or send any webpage I come across and saves it to my online library, allowing me to access it from any computer.  With the Diigo search engine I can search for specific topics within Diigo, bookmark what I find, and follow the user who shared it, so I can see what he or she has posted in the past or posts in the future.  By consistently finding new resources such as “Learning Styles: Multiple Intelligences Redefine ‘Smart,’” and bookmarking them so that others can benefit from them I am demonstrating fluency in technology systems and transfer of knowledge to new technologies.  By adding such bookmarks as “Freerice.com” and “stopcyberbullying.org” I am communicating relevant information and ideas to students, parents, and other educators. 

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Using Google Sites I collaborated with other educators to create and share a site dedicated to cybersafety and responsibility.  Each educator contributed to a different aspect of the subject and created individual pages for each subtopic (piracy and plaigarism, cyber-predators, cyberbullying, identity safety, inappropriate content, and social networks).  I researched the topic of cyber-predators and used several tools within Google Sites to provide various kids of media to communicate information.  I used the formatting tool to arrange the way in which information would be presented.  With the insert tool I inserted a video displaying a personal story of a victim of cyber-predators, and images to add visual aids to the content.  Our collaborative website addresses many issues related to cybersafety which advocates, models, and teaches safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology.  I am promoting digital etiquette and social responsibility by providing lists of realistic tips for students, parents, and teachers to help them engage in cybersafe behaviors.

By researching and writing a journal article about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools on my blog, I was able to learn and share relevant information to the educational community.  Through various search forums I researched different AAC tools, including low- and high-tech tools such as PECS and DynaVox, and shared in my blog how they are used in the classroom.  By using the picture and link insert tools on my blog I was able to add visuals and direct links to the information I had found online for the reader to research themselves, and shared the research I have done on Diigo.  By researching Augmentative and Alternative Communication tools and sharing my findings with other students, parents, and other educators I am modeling and developing global awareness using digital age communication tools.  I am addressing the diverse needs of learners by evaluating multiple tools for those with handicaps requiring alternative means of communication and explaining how and why they can be effective in the classroom.

5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

Using several different social networking tools such as Diigo, Twitter, and Classroom 2.0 I created my Personal Learning Network (PLN), which is a web of friends, acquaintances, professionals, and resources centered around improving oneself as an educator.  I “followed,” or networked with many users who frequently share educational resources and engage in educational discussions and explored the resources they share in their profiles.   After creating Twitter, Diigo, and Classroom 2.0  accounts I searched for other users who are educators, future educators, or those interested in education and began interacting with these users and utilizing the resources they shared.  On Twitter, I participated in a “chat” where users congregated online at a specific time and posted about a specific topic by using a hash tag such as #EdChat.  On Classroom 2.0 I found several users who I also follow on Twitter and Diigo, and I was able to explore their profiles and some articles that they had shared.  I participated in local and global learning communities by following and interacting with Diigo, Twitter, and Classroom 2.0 users from all over the world.  With the educational chats on Twitter and other communication tools on Diigo and Classroom 2.0 I can continue to interact with the other educators I have added to my PLN, which keeps me up to date on current research and professional practice on a regular basis. 

Learning & Leading With Technology (L&L) is the magazine that accompanies my membership to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  I have written several analyses of some of the articles featured in L&L and published them as journal articles in my blog, allowing them to be read by those in my PLN.  In my blog, I published analyses of articles covering topics such as Twitter, Internet safety on social networking sites, digital tools in the classroom, Google+, and transmedia books and reading.  After reading the articles, I briefly summarized them and clarified what kind of reader the article was written for (educator, student, parent).  I also asked two critical questions about the the information provided in the article and answered them based on what knowledge I gained through the article and what I have learned my own experiences and education.  By continually researching articles provided on L&L and elsewhere, and published my analyses of them, I am evaluating and reflecting on current research and professional practice.  I am sharing what I learn and how it relates to the classroom in my blog and thereby connecting to other educators in an effective way, which is an innovate use of emerging digital tools.