Posted in 4.3 Reflection on Practice, 4.4 Assessing/Evaluating, AECT Standard 4 (Professional Knowledge and Skills)

Reflection of Learning During EDTECH 504 Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology (SU17)

I chose to take this theory class during the summer session and as my only class this semester. I knew I would need extra time to read and digest the complex materials as theory isn’t my favorite subject. The course consisted of 8 assignments focused on researching different learning theories in Educational Technology. I chose to focus my research on gamification and constructivism since this is an area of education that I am currently very interested in.

I found the first learning theories paper that we were tasked with writing allowed me to explore and expand on the “why” of learning strategies more so than the “how” or “what”. As I said, I focused on Constructivism in the classroom and was able to round out my understand of what the main principles are. This will help me create student-centered projects for my classrooms that allow for learners to draw from their previous experiences.

The two main papers from this course focus on the Research (Standard 5) of the AECT standards. Both papers focused on research of the Constructivism learning theory while the final synthesis paper focused on gamificaiton in the constructivist classroom. In researching these topics, I have shown mastery of Standard 5, Research, Accessing & Evaluating, and Theoretical Foundations as well as Standard 1, Content Knowledge, Using, and Accessing & Evaluating.

Posted in 1.1 Creating, 1.2 Using, 1.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 1.4 Managing, 4.3 Reflection on Practice, 4.4 Assessing/Evaluating, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge), Uncategorized

Universal Design Example

This week we are tasked with exploring universal design and visual literacy. Universal design is defined as “a usable design of products and environment, accessible to all people” (Lohr, 2008, p. 5). The concept of universal design is broad and covers all design. For the scope of this assignment, I am discussing universal design in relation to visual literacy; or the ability to interpret a message or task based on its visual design elements.

As I reviewed the materials this week, I spent a bit of time thinking about what type of imagery I would use. My intention was to find what I thought was the most obvious imagery that tells a story. My mind always circled back to the bathroom people.


This representative visual tells the user quickly what privacy room to use. While the feminist in me cringes at the dress definition for my gender, I cannot argue the ease people have in reading these signs. The uses of these gender figures is what could be considered a standard, like the international no symbol, to visually represent gender. The example below is the most common use, a restroom sign. I chose this sign to represent the use of these symbols because of the layout used. I feel like the layout itself is another standard followed. Designing using already defined standards and practices makes it easier for the viewer to comprehend the message and therefore increases a persons visual literacy.


Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Posted in 1.1 Creating, 4.3 Reflection on Practice, AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge)

Final Game Project

This final game project started with grand ideas. I really wanted a way to have my high school shop students practice measuring. The students in our shop classes really struggle with measuring, likely due to not having practiced since they learned the skill in the 3rd grade. As a result, we have to re-teach the skill. I struggle finding material suitable for high school aged students so I figured a video game would be a great idea.

I quickly learned, as I was building this, that my ideas and my skills had a bit of a gap to overcome. I can’t put all the blame on my lack of skills, the tool GameSalad, also has it’s share of obstacles (bugs) to overcome. The game is a platform quiz game. You move through the house and “fix” broken furniture along the way by answering measuring questions. You can keep track of the required repairs on the resources screen, accessible via the shift key or the resources icon on-screen.

Currently, the broken items do not seem to show up when playing the game. The first lamp shows up but the other 8 items, do not. Neither does the door at the end, in the attic. I suspect, after quite a bit of time trying to troubleshoot, that perhaps it is a memory issue. I don’t definitively know. The good news is that all the functionality works, so when you run into the invisible broken furniture, you get the correct quiz screen. And when you answer all the quizzes correctly, the “door” in the attic sends you to the game over screen.

All in all, the game plays well and I’m fairly proud of it. Give it a go and see what you think!

Posted in 1.3 Assessing/Evaluating, 4.3 Reflection on Practice

Instructional Design Job Description

For this EDTECH 503 assignment, I am tasked with exploring the current job requirements of an Instructional Designer via actual job postings. I will then demonstrate my understanding of ID job requirements and responsibilities by creating a fictitious job posting.

Fictional Job Posting

This fictitious job posting was crafted after researching current Instructional Design job opportunities (see below) and reading Larson & Lockee’s first chapter: Mastering the Basics.” My intent was to include aspects of the jobs I found that interested me the most as well as the more obvious ID characteristics in order to demonstrate my understanding.

Click here or the thumbnail to view the PDF version.
Screenshot fictionJob


How do the roles of teachers and instructional designers differ?

Instructional designers are tasked with the development of course materials. While teachers may do similar tasks, they do not develop the curriculum/guides that make course materials universal. For example, a facilitator guide for an online course. Another big difference comes with working with subject matter experts. ID’s spend a great deal of time working directly with someone who is an expert in the field. Teachers are often left to research and learn new content themselves.

In what ways do the responsibilities of teachers and instructional designers overlap?

I believe the most notable overlaps are the intention to educate. Teachers and instructional designers both need to come up with creative ways to disseminate information to the masses. They both also need to be concerned with the effectiveness of their work and collect & analyze data in order to be accountable for it.

Connect the relationship between these two roles to your own personal experiences. 

As a teacher, I look for curriculum and materials that I can adapt and deliver in my classroom. Some of my content is developed by me and some is adapted from others. When I was a curriculum developer in a corporate environment, I spent months researching, working with SMEs & instructors to develop content for a week-long course. All lessons, instructor notes, and course materials were developed by me. In both positions, my main focus is the learner and in both roles my goal is to create engaging measurable activities to facilitate learning.

Current “Real World” Instructional Designer Job Research

The following job postings were gathered from various sites. I have noted my thinking of why the posting was picked as well as what about it attracted my interest. For your convience, I have included both a link to the actual post as well as a PDF version. As this post ages and the active links break, they will be removed.

Job Posting 1 (PDF)
This TruGreen Instructional Designer position appeals to me mostly due to the work environment I can infer from reading the Responsibilities section. Each bullet point speaks to the very important steps of analysis/discovery, research, planning, development, and delivery which makes me feel like this company is committed to quality training products. On a personal note, I’m not sure I have what it takes to be passionate about the lawn care industry and would keep that in mind when considering applying.

Job Posting 2 (PDF)
Taking in mind my desire to be passionate about the industry, my next job posting is from JetBlue. I love to travel for my job, not many people do, but I really do and this position offers 25% travel. From an ID perspective, I like that this position mentions the strong relationship developing skills needed to work with SMEs and project leads. Being a wiz at the technical aspects is great but without being able to (or wanting to) work with a wide variety of people can hurt someone in this type of position.

Job Posting 3 (PDF)
The first two jobs sound great but neither is in my region so I’ve moved my search to my home state. The insurance industry (Travelers) does nothing for my passion level but it’s close to home. I noticed this posting is written with more of a strong business model feel and it emphasizes skills one expects in a corporate environment such as project management and development lifecycle. 

Job Posting 4 (PDF)
In keeping with local jobs, I wanted to explore ID jobs within higher ed. Having spent 10 years as a web developer in higher ed, I have a particular fondness for the industry. I chose this Goodwin College posting because the job responsibilities are heavily focused on online training development. Personally, I love being in the classroom so if I’m not doing the actual teaching, I would much rather develop for the online environment. 

Posted in 4.3 Reflection on Practice

BYOD – A practical example

BYOD or BYOT stands for Bring Your Own Device/Technology. BYOD as an emerging technology is much more complex than students just being allowed to bring their devices to school. There are students who do not have devices to bring, connectivity issues within districts, privacy & legal issues, difficulties delivering content consistently across devices,  and a daunting task to give proper training to educators. While researching this project, I found that there is no shortage of information on how difficult a BYOD environment is to manage. No matter what obstacles that are in place, I feel this is an important policy to fight for. With more than 80% of teens owning cell phones there is such a great need for education inclusive of the technology. Smartphones are not going away and information is just going to keep getting easier and easier to access on the fly. School budgets are not getting larger and the expense of attaining and maintaining device libraries is expensive. It seems like a no-brainer to incorporate student owned smart devices into the classroom.

The school I work at has a BYOD policy and I have actively pursued ways to incorporate fair activities in my classroom. My biggest hurdle is usually students who either don’t have devices or have devices that won’t perform well. Depending on the lesson, I will usually solve this problem by signing out a technology cart or have students group up. I find that my (high school) students seem to feel empowered and with excitement of using their own devices right out in the openness of a classroom. Students don’t have to hide their device in the depths of their backpacks or try to camouflage their texting under their books. Which segways right into the challenges of allowing smartphone use: keeping them on task! It’s “teacher 101” that an engaging lesson is the key to successful classroom management. Unfortunately, cell phones in the classroom are another distraction for teachers to manage but with engaging lessons and applicable use of the technology, success can be had.

I recently stumbled across a tool called Kahoot that basically turns quiz type activities into a competitive game. I’ve had the chance to deliver lessons that include Kahoots and I am impressed with the tool and all that it can offer me. Check out this short presentation I created that describes how to create and deliver engaging assessments and activities.


I’ve had the opportunity to use Kahoot! for unit pre and post assessments, lesson initiations and closures, and just for fun on a Friday afternoon. No matter what I use it for, when the students hear Kahoot! they are instantly excited and almost race to log in.

Creating a fun activity is one thing, tricking students to learn is another, but so far the best use of Kahoot! for me has been using the data it produces to quickly assess where a class is in meeting their objectives. If a class does poorly in one area, I can easily adjust instruction to focus more on that area. Likewise, if a class aces a pre-assessment, I know I don’t have to spend as much time with the content.

5805548The Kahoot! tool falls between the Modification and Augmentation levels on the SAMR model. While the tool is JUST a quiz app, the actual functionality of the tool just substitutes a task that already existed before. It enhances the mechanics of the task but it doesn’t change it much. I feel that the game aspect including competition can bump Kahoot! up to Modification as this is functionality you would not get when traditionally delivering an assessment.

Without my school’s BYOD policy, I would not be able to take advantage of such great teaching aids like Kahoot! I am thankful that I work in a district that is not afraid to address the difficult issues associated with implementing such a policy. There are still bugs to work out but I will continue to seek applications such as kahoot! to keep incorporating use of personal devices in my classroom.


Sign up for your own Kahoot!

Students log in to take a Kahoot!

Learn more about Emerging Technologies by reading the Horizon Report, 2015 K-12 Edition:

Learn more about the SAMR model