Robin Nelson

CSE 624 Internet for Educators

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Week 10: Futures of Education

Digital technology use is becoming more common in the school setting.  Mobile technology users can access digital media through the  iPhone, iPad, Android Tablets, and Smart phones. Gesture learning and accessing technology through physical movement is forefront in current technology trends. Our students are experienced with using game technologies such as Nintendo, Wii, and XBox. They are ready to apply their gesture learning experiences in the classroom. Other  technologies like gesture based learning, virtualized technology and analytics are also moving to the current positions in business, education and everyday use.

Kinect and gesture based learning can be used on the PC through Microsoft technologies. This brings the possibility to apply gesture based interfaces to the classroom. Kinect has developed a program to use gesture based learning. It was developed to invite and share gesture based technology in the educational setting. The community forums provide information about using these technologies and the site is free. I appreciate the opportunity to explore gesture based learning in a community forum. For some time I have been very interested in getting a Smartboard for my classroom. It would be a great source for representing and manipulating information in a variety of subjects areas. They offer great interactive features to encourage student response and use  current technological systems and software to promote attention, in an interactive classroom, a virtual environment to  manipulate information and inspire learning.

The topic of virtualization is an upcoming technological  trend in business fields and education.  The advantages of virtualized infrastructure simplifies bringing vast technology services to expanded uses in a group setting. Virtual technology helps us do more with less. It saves time, money and reduces security issues. Resources can be provided and servers extended increasing storage and networking capabilities. The management functions can take place through automated operating systems,  reducing future expenses and the ability to maintain large systems with many users.

Recently, I had a conversation with our district technology coordinator. We discussed the topic of losing technology systems and funds to maintain them. He is now single  handedly managing technology in our district. No wonder they are removing systems.  I can visualize future virtualized systems to replace high cost, over used, unsupported problematic technology.

It appears that virtualized technology can run multiple operating systems on one piece of hardware with the costs reduced to nearly 50% of a single operating system. The advantages seem great. Many systems can operate at the same time, and files may be moved, managed, or recovered through simple memory management or copy and paste file features. These features and advantages  invite the change to the use of virtualizaton.

Another current technology topic is Learning Analytics. We can think of Google Analytics and the idea of data mining or the process of looking at data. What can we learn from the analysis of data? This is a good question, especially in the world of information technology where users are producing input and output of data that is  relevant in many levels including business and education.

I enjoyed Steve Schoettler’s presentation on Learning Analytics. He carefully explained the importance of data collection as it relates to decision making and teaching. His point of using data to drive decision making and tailoring instruction to help make performance gains is key to improving student  achievement.

At a higher level of education, The University of Phoenix describes learning analytics in the article Driving Decisions Through Analytics.  The purpose and process for using intelligent information  technologies shows how research and the analysis of data  relates to decision making, and the role of information technology in higher education.

With the current technological trends in business, education and general use, we must not overlook the options and advantages in future technologies.


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Project Based Learning Resources

 Project Based Learning
Buck Institution for Education (BIE)  Project Based Learning Blog, posts by staff, national facility and special guests. You will find great information on implementing project based learning, including the components for a proficient portfolio, steps for creating a student assessment rubric, and environmental project ideas. There are other links to the blog archives and author links.
The (BIE) tools link has a selection of free project based learning materials. You can find the essentials for project based learning, information on The Philadelphia Project,  resources: project overviews, teaching and learning guides, project calendars, checklists, rubrics, and  presentation plans. These tools and resources can help teachers and students complete project based learning activities.
This site offers many  examples to model projects or develop new project ideas. You can view projects by location, subject area and grade level. This link shows six science project ideas.  This inspiring video shows student  projects from Explorer Elementary.
National Science Foundation Classroom Resources.
This site offers classroom resources by research areas. You may find information on the Arctic and Antarctic,  astronomy and space, biology, chemistry and materials, computing, earth and environment, education, engineering, mathematics, nanoscience, people and society and physics. This is a great resource for research and building information for project based learning.
COSEE, Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence is a great source to locate current science and environmental topics for research. The site offers resources for scientists, educators and students and links for information and hands on activities.
National Science Digital Library
This site offers a variety of digital resources to teach science and math in grade levels K-12.
Digital resources on energy.
Teaching and learning resources in engineering. You may locate resources by grade or audience, key words, or resource types. Another feature is highlighted resources including 100 most popular, 100 most commented and award winning resources.
The Math Forum at Drexel University. This site offers many resources for educators and students. You can go to links for math help, problems and puzzles, resources and tools, problems of the week and advice from Dr. Math. This is a great source to locate math problems and ideas to create student projects. Students could use the 3D graph plotter to view or create graphing projects.  There are many more useful activities and resources to enhance project based learning projects.
A selection of resources are available to assist students and teachers with projects. Topic links are listed for number and operations, algebra,  geometry, measurement data analysis and probability.
This site is a great information source to explore concepts and see real world examples of science, art , history, and   examples for  research or projects. A link to the National Science Research Center is available and Scholars in School and Voices of Discovery where support is offered for classroom educational programs. We would be lucky to have access to a valuable resource in the classroom.
The National Archives.
Links to Docs teach are available where access to  information on historical events and documents can be used to bring life to teaching and student research. This is a  great  source to add information to create and enhance student projects.
In the link Contemporary United States, 1968 to the Present,  you may view 802 sources of  photographs and other historical documents. This is a great source for historical information, possibly used for comparing  or contrasting ideas to current events or topics and issues.

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Week 9 Article Review

Week 9 Article: System Wide Implementation of Project-based Leaning, The Philadelphia Approach

by, Jason Schwalm and Smuck Tylek

This article clearly illustrates the use of project based learning in an outside of school program. The authors define the concept of project based learning and  describe the Philadelphia system wide  approach, including its successes and challenges. The report is based on the completion of approximately 1,700 completed projects since 2009.

Project based learning is defined as an approach to instruction that engages learners in core curriculum and other related skills.  Learning takes place as students explore and create projects in an inquiry process. Often the problems are related to real world or community issues. The  begin with open-ended questions encouraging thinking and effective engagement. Various tasks are carried out by individual students or through small group collaboration. A successful project speaks to the interests of students in a concrete, meaningful way, encouraging students to see the real-world applicability  of the concepts they are learning (Schwalm and Tylek, 2012) .

Project based learning is also an effective tool for imparting essential 21-century skills, including collaboration, critical thinking, and communication ( Schwalm and Tylek, 2012). It meets the standards for Nets-S in each of the learning categories. Project based learning inspires creativity and innovation, and the development of communication through collaborative effort. Students research and build information fluency as they complete the inquiry process. Real world problems require higher order thinking skills and open ended questions develop critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills.  Digital citizenship and building concepts of technology operations are  established throughout each phase of a project.

The challenges of using project based learning include elements of time, planning, tracking student progress and evaluation or assessment of projects.  In a regular school program options for implementing project based learning activities are limited by the demands of the core curriculum, lack of resources and teacher training.  In an outside of school program project based learning fits in  a less restrictive environment.  An enhanced academic program occurs as subjects cross and overlap. Projects are improved by including art, music, gardening health fitness and other topics.

The Philadelphia project suggests using  a uniform implementation for project based learning to outline and oversee project plans, task lists, rubrics and implementation of programs. Professional development opportunities are useful to share best practices to successfully carry out project based learning programs. The article helps to clarify this by explaining, ” the benefits of project based learning outweigh the challenges of managing tight schedules, obtaining staff buy in, and training staff system wide”. In my opinion,  as I  examine the student’s role and perspective, project based learning provides a system for students to gain knowledge and skills  while they are engaged in meaningful learning tasks. This should outweigh any implementation challenges.

As I think of the challenges I face teaching within a rural district with limited funding and resources, I could plan a smaller version of a project based learning activity.  In science, we will study simple machines and create projects to meet the standards for engineering and design.  Students could explore complex questions, complete project tasks and work to solve real world problems.  It would be a great way for students to learn content, engage in 21st century skills and create meaningful projects.



Week 8 Article Review

Education in the New Millennium: The Case for Design-Based Learning

Hyun-Kyung Lee and Mark Breitenberg

The Authors. journal compilation, 2010

The article discusses the importance of design- based learning and the relationship  of innovative and creative thinking in the development of economic success. Today young learners are operating in the generation raised in the digital world where mulitmodal learning and communication rely on  images, language, design and music.  Project- based learning uses digital media systems to helps students engage in the process of design to create innovative projects, work collaboratively, solve problems to help improve our everyday lives and make a difference in the world.

The article explains the use of project-based learning in two educational settings.  The first setting is a project titled,A City of Neighborhoods. It is a program to help students interact with the purpose of exploring a neighborhood using a variety of community and project-based ideas. Students can research past and current events, use photographs and videos or primary sources to build their neighborhood projects.  At the conclusion of the design project the team of students presents their project to a group of community members. The idea of the neighborhood design project is to help learners use creative ideas to make improvements to their neighborhood project while building partnerships with other teachers, students and community members.  They also learn how multimedia systems are used in design projects.

As students take part in  project- based learning activities they  will develop skills to help  build creative thinking in the  development of  innovative products. They will build communication and collaboration skills within the learning environment,  as they complete research and informational  fluency. Project- based learning helps build critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills. Student can see how their work makes a difference in creating a better community.

A second setting , The Summer Design Institute (SDI), is a program to  help educators and designers share their strategies for teaching innovative design in a K-12 setting. The focus of the summer institute is to develop best practices and design education including building, the environment, technology and innovation. Lee and Breitenberg ( 2010) explain the design program and how it impacts student learning, ” Most importantly, they experience how architectural, environmental, product, graphic and media design can enhance the teaching of mathematics, science, environmental studies, language arts, history and art.”  With this emphasis I can see how project-based learning will help students to  complete creative,  innovative and meaningful projects using a variety of concepts, informational sources and media technology.

Project-based learning helps students build ideas and experiences to participate and collaborative while  improving their world.  They may examine cultural, social or physical aspects of their world and develop projects to make a difference.  Lee and Breitenberg (2010) conclude the benefits for project-based learning, ” While active involvement in the design process usually characterizes most design-based leaning, these reflective activities are also the foundation for developing discriminating consumers who make critical choices in their adult lives.”  A nice thought!

As I learn more about project-based learning, I would would like to plan  a design process in my classroom.  After we complete a science unit on energy during the second quarter,  we will the move on to a unit on engineering and design. That would be a great time to use best practices in design education. I am excited to try and establish a project-based learning environment.


Lee, H. K. & Breitenberg, M. (2010). Education in the new millennium: the case for design-based learning. The Authors. Journal compilation.

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Social Networking Resources

Weeks 6 and 7: Social Networking Resources

These social networking resources can be used by educators to help build digital literacy and collaborative communication in the elementary classroom.


Thinkquest is a site that offers project based learning. Students under age 12 to under age 19 may access the site to explore, communicate and compete with project entries. It has a library of topics that extends from  arts and entertainment to sports and recreation. It shows over 8,00 websites created by students around the world.

NETS Standards

Thinkquest is a site that helps students apply all of the NETS standards

1. Creativity and Innovation

2. Communication and Collaboration

3. Research and Information Fluency

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

5. Digital Citizenship

6. Technology operations and Concepts


Facebook is a popular extensively used social network site. You can post items to friends , family, or  associations. Messages, photos and creative projects and videos can be posted on Facebook. Teachers would have to set up a safe Facebook blog for elementary student use. This site may be appropriate for older students if they follow the NETs Standards for Digital Citizenship.  Students can practice safe and responsible interaction on the internet as they collaborate or share information.

NETs Standards

Digital Citizenship

1. Advocate and practice safe, legal and responsible use of information and technology

2. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

3. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning

5. Exhibits leadership for digital citizenship


Twitter is a site where you can post ideas stories and opinions in Tweets, or 140 characters. This site  requires a teacher for assistance to post a response for younger students . Students may respond to a particular prompt, or evaluate a reading, math or science topic and respond to the posting.

NETs Standards

Creativity and Innovation

Students will demonstrate creative thinking and create innovative products and processes using technology.

Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate collaboratively.


YouTube is an endless format for posting and viewing videos. It is available for all users and you can located videos on just about anything. Last year I utilized YouTube Music videos to supplement our existing  music program. I could pull up various music examples from a variety of genres.

NETs Standards

Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively


Google + is a great site to post images and interact with a blog

Students may upload photos and and text or responses. They may post projects and interact with each other.

NETs Standards

Communicate and Collaborate

Students will use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning o f others.



Blogster is a site where students can create blogs.   Literacy projects can be added to the blog site. An explanation for science or social studies topics can be explored.

NETs Standards

1. Creativity and Innovation

2. Communication and collaboration, Critical Thinking,  problem solving

3. Solving, and Decision Making


Wordle is an interactive site that my students would enjoy.  They can create posters to express an idea or a concept in social studies or science. Students could use the Wordle format to tell about a story or a character.

NETs Standards

Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge and develop innovative products and processes using technology.


Prezi is a site used to create videos, using, images, graphics and tests. Videos can be shared. The format  offers many steps to manipulate the text and graphics.

NETs Standards

Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.


Animoto is a site students can access to create videos in response to literature or other curriculum areas. Images and music can be added to complete creative videos.

NETs Standards

Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.


Flickr is a site to present,  access or share photographs. Students could add images to their written work or videos.

NETs Standards

Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.


Ning is a group based social network used by educators. The site is used to help facilitate conversations within interest groups and allow for presenting multimedia.



Web 2.0 in the Elementary Classroom: Portraits of Possibilities, Kist, W., Doyle, K., Hayes, J., Horwitz, J., Kuzior, J.T.

Language Arts, Volume 88 Number 1, September 2010

iste NETs Standards


Week 7: Article Review

Social Networking

Article:  Web 2.0 in the Elementary Classroom:  Portraits of Possibilities

William Kist, Kelly Doyl, Jody Hayes, Jeff Horwitz, and J.T. Kuzior

Language Arts,  Volume 88, Number 1, September 2010

The Title of the article, Portraits of Possibilities, leads us to the look at the idea of developing multiliteracies at the elementary level. Children are learning within a world of computers, and they  come to school with many digital experiences. They are developing keyboarding skills and outside of school they have used computers to interact online.  Children spend more time  interacting with media than other activities .  Many educational sites offer links for children where they can learn, interact, create and respond to information.  Sites like National Geographic for Kids,  American Museum for Natural History,  National Gallery of Art,  Nasa for Kids,  PBS Kids,  Webkinz, and Club Penguin offer creative and motivating activities for elementary age children.  As they access these sites they  may locate information, play a game, create a project, or post a response as they build technology skills.

Other social network sites are readily available to read, share or post information, but may not be appropriate for  the young learner. Sites like Facebook, MySpace and Xanga have  age access limitations and are for older users who understand the importance of safety and responsibility while interacting on social networking sites. The NETS Standards outlines computer skills to  help build digital citizenship. Students  can  practice safe, legal and responsible use of technology while  establishing collaboration and leadership for digital citizenship. Educators may safely use social networking sites to  help their students build digital literacy. Students may interact with multiliteracies   by reading, writing and creating  responses through creative formats.

Web 2.0 in the Elementary Classroom: Portraits of Possibility tells how five elementary classroom teachers, 1st through 5th grade, used technology to build multiliteracy skills with their students.  A first grade teacher established a safe blog site and taught her students how to blog, and add more categories. The blogs were used for book talks and responses to stories. They were also used for creating student made math story problems and assessments in science and social studies. Students gained confidence and literacy experiences.   Other teachers used technology to help their students build skills. A second grade teacher used Twitter for student responses and parent communication. I found this to be an interesting way to immediately and continuously communicate with parents about what the students were learning.  Another teacher, who teaches third grade  used Thinkquest to give each of her students a homepage with personalized assignments and a process to post responses.  Thinkquest has a sharing feature that allows messaging to the teacher or other students, building classroom communication and literacy skills. The site is safe and secure for student use.  A fourth and fifth grade teacher shares her experiences with establishing digital literacy experiences  in the classroom.  Students use technology tools to learn and share their ideas with other classmates.  Literacy is enhanced as students use a  classroom blog,  post photographs to Flickr, and  storytelling and videos  are posted to YouTube and Photobooth.  There appears to be unlimited potential for learning within a multiliteracy classroom.

Web 2.o in The Elementary Classroom, offers applicable resources for building literacy using technology. I would like to establish a classroom blog where students could respond and interact with one another.  We could set up a Twitter page to respond to a concept or literary project, possibly tweeting story or character responses. I am interested in looking at Thinkquest and hope to utilize the site for projects. Eventually,  the elementary student will develop multiliteracy experiences needed for operating in a digital world.

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Week 6: Article Review

Social Networking is Everywhere, Safe Practices for Life Online

Doug Fodeman and Marje Monroe

International Society for Technology in Education, 2012

Social Networking sites are growing as a multi age span of  internet users, from the young student, to teens and  adults, access the internet to communicate on a regular basis.  Social networking has moved away form the idea of occasionally accessing the internet to locate or share information, to a regular way of life. We use social network sites to make connections, build relationships, view or publish creative works or spend time exploring special interests.

Children, at an early age, can interact socially with other children, on children based sites, such as Club Penguin and Webkinz. They enjoy social networking by using fun games that have interactive features.  Older students may frequently interact on social networking sites like YouTube, Twitter or Facebook. Adults use social network sites to frequently communicate or keep in touch with a circle of friends or family members.  Some of my friends report that they regularly access Facebook to share family information, post photos and keep in touch. There are conveniently located links to social network sites in many internet sites.

With an accelerated use of social networking,  concerns for safety and privacy become a reoccurring theme.  Fodeman and Monroe ( 2012) report that Facebook hit the 500-million user mark in 201o and has grown to more than 600 million users today. It’s exponential growth,  establishes an advertising venue  and economic markets. There is also an awareness of security threats where users have reported receiving spam, phishing attacks and malware.

The growing popularity of social networking creates a need for close monitoring and teaching safe use. Users may be exposed to many unpleasant experiences: bullying, bad language, harassment and sexual content. Fodeman and Monroe (2012)  illustrate the problems of social network use as a system without boundaries. “Life of social networks for many is like the Wild West.” We can clearly see that young children or teens need to have adult support while accessing social network sites.

With the alarming concerns for children’s use of social network sites and the problems they face, I found it unsettling that Facebook began to lower the restricted use age in 2005 to age 16, and then again in  2006 to age 13. Fodeman and Monroe (2012) explain that the federal law from the No Child Left Behind Act prohibits  lowering the user access  age below 13 years. Considering all of the problems and the lack of the young child’s development, I think the restrictions are necessary. It seems students could be motivated by the social connecting factor and become unaware of the safety concerns. The NETs Standards outline safe and responsible use of the internet.  In standard five, Digital Citizenship, safe, legal and responsible use of the internet and technology help students develop a positive attitude, while demonstrating responsibility and leadership leading to digital citizenship. Educators can help students learn safe use and responsibility while using the internet and social network sites.

A general awareness of the issues surrounding social network use is very important. The article, Social Networking is Everywhere, outlines a list of exercises  for safe practices for life online. The social network basics provides a list of social networking issues to consider. The idea for site evaluation suggests listing the positive and the negative  aspects of a sites. Users should understand  the issues of fraud and become aware of safe practices.When students build an understanding of the rules and risks for social networking they  may be able to recognize abuse and know what to do. A few other safety ideas are used to communicate the problems of social networking;  how to set up a private and safe Facebook account,  otherwise known as a, “false sense of privacy”.

The idea of privacy can be misunderstood. Social network users may believe the information on the site is secure, but in reality it can be accessed by many viewers for various purposes.  Social network users can understand the consequences of their interaction and posts on sites.  For misuse some students have faced expulsion, embarrassment and rejection for programs.  I have heard that some employers even check for negative behaviors or associations before completing the hiring process.
Eventually young internet users move from children based sites to social network sites. Fodeman and Monroe (2012) state, ” Children using social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and Xanga are at high risk for exposure to inappropriate images, graphic language, strangers, abuse, and deceptive marketing ploys.” This movement makes it necessary for educating students on how to recognize and deal with problems.

The article concludes with a list of exercises to promote social network safety and awareness: 7.1 Social Network Basics, 7.2 Evaluating Social Networking Pages, 7.3 Fraud on social Networks, including a generous list of current links to illustrate real examples of fraud, 7.4 Consider the Consequences , 7.5 Social Networking Safety Guidelines, 7.6 Social Networking for Children: Rules and Risks, 7.7 What to do When …, 7.8 Creating an Internet Safety PSA (Public Service Announcement), 7.9 Modeling Facebook Settings,  how to use privacy settings,  customized settings, and editing friends, finally, 7.10 Creating a “Delete Day” Event at Your School based on Alison Trachtman Hill’s  Critical Issues for Girls, 2011. This list is presented in an informative and useful way for teachers, parents or social network users.

Finally the listing of resources is current and applicable to the issues we face with the the growth and progress of social networking.


Fodeman, D. and Monroe, M. (2012).  Safe practices for life online. Social networking is everywhere. Available from International Society for Technology in Education:

iste NETs Standards