Networked Learning Project:


Currently within my Masters program I’ve started a blog, where I get to post almost all of my (mistakes) writing assignments. I’ve created a video presentations in a half an hour, refer to tweet #yikes. Now I get to pick something new to learn by utilizing a network. The fact that our project is so broad has me pretty excited! With each of our projects being more difficult than the last, this assignment had to be easier. The two sources we could use would be YouTube and online forums. Seriously, this was getting easier by the second. I knew fairly quickly that I wanted to learn a new language, as this has always been a goal of mine. In order to keep my goal attainable I decided that learning basic French phrases in order to navigate as a tourist would be my undertaking. I actually have no concept of all the phases this might consist of, intuitively though I knew asking where to find the nearby restroom, eatery and ATM were going to be top on my priority list.

Accomplishing My Assignment

The first thing I noticed when trying to find resources on YouTube for learning basic French terms, was that I didn’t really know which video’s were going to be the best ones to use. Although I knew how to use YouTube, I haven’t really utilized it for more than listening to my favorite music or to watch a bit of comedy. I know exactly how my students and own teenagers use this resource, as I have had much schooling on “I saw it/ learned it on YouTube”. In terms of “how do you know who Kevin Hart is” to my 15 year old daughter, “I saw it on YouTube, mom”. “How did you know how to hack through our school firewall and get to Facebook Tommy”, “I learned it on YouTube”. These children would also comment that they subscribed to individuals that they learned things from or enjoyed. They were building knowledge from all types of people that shared their similar interest. So now I am not only starting to learn the phrase, I do not speak French (a top 5 phrase on my list) I am also starting to navigate and build a creditable network on YouTube and French forums. Hopefully this will help me in accomplishing my goal by the end of my four weeks. Stay “tubed” for my progress, as for now, au revoir.




How to Learn French Online for Free

by ‪freelanguageorg. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from


Lesson Plan Version 4.0: Networked Learning Revision

What is a Networked Educator/Learner?

What is a Networked Educator/Learner?

The discussion for today post will involve how I can utilize Professional Learning Networks for the revision of my Lesson Plan 1.0. Over the last few post I have revised my lesson, based on my understanding of classroom discussions and readings about educational theory and practices. So how is a PLN a theory or educational practice? Some educators my not believe that it really is, as a matter of fact I didn’t. Although I believe I have strong online PLN, I‘ve participated in a few edchats, had discussions through Schoology about lessons, and routinely reach out via Twittter to a wide variety of educators across the globe. Before our classroom discussion I had a perception that these “online” interactions were the only thing that made up a PLN. There was a disconnect between the personal interactions I had every day with my colleges, educator friends, parents and mentors. Which in fact, were the means I started connecting with others online. So how than, do these people not constitute a PLN. The fact is they do and really always have just not in the way my perception of a Professional Learning Network worked. These individuals and their own personal practice shape many of the ways I learn and teach. Why would/should this practice be any different than the ways in which my students would learn. Now here I am contemplating what connections I can make about how a PLN has helped me, and how this same concept can help my students. One very powerful way in which my PLN has helped me grow is through clarifying or leaning new concepts. Early on in my teaching career working as the buildings technology teacher, in which constraints of budget did not allow for many opportunities for Professional Development I was expected to implement and new school management system with out formal training. Whole learning the ins and outs of the new system, I received notification that the software was purchased, installed and ready to be implemented. Knowing that I had a rather large task ahead of me learning the new system and having to train staff I reached out to a former college. After hours of processing and creating modules for the staff, I still simply didn’t understand a key component to the system. I meet with my college and within about 30 minutes many key components that I was unable to learn through the software’s tutorials, became crystal clear.


What does a PLN have to do with students?

Almost each time I open up my Google+ account I have been added to one of my students circles, now keep in mind that this is not a PLN I use often, but I am surprised at how inter-connected my pupils are. I see that many of their brothers and friends are friends with other students that I have had in the past or younger students that may know one another outside the school setting. This brings me back to my realization that PLN’s have always existed; it is the format that has changed, or rather grown with the use of the Internet. I am in no way saying that my students have even developed a PLN yet, unless ninety percent of them are musicians connecting with Salina Gomez and One Direction. Although what the student have built is the beginnings of what will determine their own future PLN. As a blog I recently read relates, “ But I don’t really listen to a person until there is a relationship of trust” (Spenser 2014). What I am saying, is that what I once believed to be two separate things, is the main way in which students interact and can be one of the same. Just as in the case with how I reached out to my past college for advice and understanding with learning a new management system, so do my students to one another. What am I teaching these same students when I leave out this daily interaction that we all participate in and learn from. To make changes within my lesson that can utilize appropriate networks for the assignment can indeed help to clarify and enhance learning experiences.

In this understanding, I can now see professional Learning Networks as a practice for teaching content. One of the ways in which I can change my lesson is by utilizing my PLN in exactly what I have been doing, blogging and considering the comments to changes on my lesson. I could have my students connect with a 3rd grade classroom, from my PLN and share out their paint pictures in order to provide feedback. The other class could comment on if the they can read the “key” built into the picture. Knowing that we could work together with another classroom that had no knowledge of what the student’s room looks like can provide insight to student’s work and if they have met the objective of understanding how to build a key on a map.

So if you get a chance and are interested in helping this lesson grow, I can start the work of utilizing my PLN, by asking for your feedback and input for Lesson 1.0.





Spencer, J. (n.d.). A sustainable start : develop a PLN. Retrieved June 28, 2014, from

Lesson Plan Version 3.0: UDL Revision


What I can understand from the Universal Design of Learning, and how it applies to my lesson, is the focus of this post. My initial lesson was chosen in order to improve what I considered to be an incomplete or underdeveloped lesson. With this in mind, making my 2.0 revisions allowed me to correct some obvious gaps within my plan rather easily. Looking at my plan for a third time will allow me to use the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines in order to build a lesson that meets the learning needs and wide range of abilities found in a classroom. Thinking about my original 1.0 lesson, my initial design doesn’t align with the main UDL principles of Representation, Action and Expression and Engagement. I have not used multiple means in these three areas, which is a main component of UDL. Representation is the only situation where that may not be true; I have used a shape model as an example of the expected outcome and also written instructions for the students understanding.

To apply the Universal Design of Learning in a meaningful way I worked with two other colleagues in order to identify a learning need in which we could research in order to develop a better understanding of the learning need. We selected social economic status, which may be underlying factor of needs that students face when thinking about UDL. A few of these needs identified may be lower levels of literacy, comprehension and engagement (Considine, G., & Zappala, G. 2002).



Revisions made to my 1.0 lesson were guided by research that considered the above learning needs and guided by the UDL Guidelines-Educator Checklist.

Provide Representation:

  • One change that I can make in my lesson is to provide a context or representation of the vocabulary, to do this I can use a picture along with the definition of “birds eye” view. This allows for not just clarity but comprehensibility.
  • Another change would be to the introduction of my lesson, in the form of activating prior knowledge by giving the student an opportunity to explore an experience they have had of looking down on something. Representation works by using the recognition area of the brain, which recognizes patterns (CAST 2009).

Action and Expression:

  • Using multiple media for construction and composition, as stated on the UDL guidelines and examples, I could have several writable devices available in replace of a mouse.


  • Students that have not had ample experience with other peers in a structured setting may lack the skills needed to ask for support (tendency to demand, or not articulate their need for support). To help in this area I can provide prompts for appropriate ways to ask for peer support.
  • Provide options for recruiting interest by allowing students to participate in the design of the lesson (CAST 2011). In order to increase engagement of this lesson I can have students determine what environment they feel appropriate to create diagram of other than their bedroom. As articulated by Cochran-Smith and Dudley-Marling “Along similar lines, instead of examining the extent to which teachers implement prescribed curricula with fidelity, sociocultural researchers might ask instead, “What learning affordances are created when teachers and students co-construct curriculum using different kinds of texts and other materials?”


Using every point on the UDL checklist for every lesson may prove to be unrealistic, knowing your student population and needs will help you determine which guidelines would be most effective to use. Also keeping in mind the more principles you use the further you will activate the recognition, strategic and affective networks.





CAST (2009). Universal Design for Learning. Retrieved from


Cochran-Smith, M., & Dudley-Marling, C. (2012). Diversity in teacher education and special education: The issues that divide. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(4), 237. Retrieved from


Considine, G., & Zappala, G. (2002). The influence of social and economic disadvantage in the academic performance of school students in Australia. Journal of Sociology, 38(2), 129+. Retrieved from


Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (V.2.0).Wakefield, MA: Retrieved from

Lesson Plan: 2.0, TPACK revision

Lesson 1.0

Today we were required to submit a lesson plan from a past lesson, Lesson 1.0.  During the next several days we will be working on applying models and techniques from our reading assignments to analyzing a lesson. My original lesson takes a single technology standard, and uses it to teach a direct skill. The original skill was using a MI GLCE for 3rd grade: Use a variety of technology tools and applications to demonstrate his/her creativity by creating or modifying works of art music, movies, or presentation. Since we have started to study the TPACK framework, I will begin by reflecting on the components of TPACK.  To determine whether my lesson meets the criteria of TPACK or which areas it falls short.



As #MAETEL1 understands TPACK

As #MAETEL1 understands TPACK

Since we have moved to Common Core objectives and in order to create a lesson using a strong content foundation, I had to first examine my objective. This component is based on content knowledge, which in isolation will not mean much to a student unless we connect the knowledge with an experience or allow students to construct meaning of their own. I discovered I was missing key content, although my plan was based on a technology standard, it could be designed to meet a Social Studies content area. In order to ensure technology is not the focus, but the content.

Currently the pedagogy used in the lesson is project based.  Having students think about an experience, the layout of their own bedroom, in order to create a birdseye model.  Projects help students explore real world situations that help solve a problem, except that I am missing a compelling problem that motivates student to unravel a solution.

The technology tool I intent to use is the software application, paint.  As Mishra and Koehler explain, technology is not used as the final product but as a tool to use pedagogy and content in order to determine how we “think about teaching and learning” adding a new paradigm to the formula of what creates quality instruction (Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J, P.15). The Affordances of using paint, is that it is readily available in most schools and has a simple interface that can be easier for younger students to explore. A potential problem with using this application may be that a students experience level is too advanced and not challenging enough, as many students start using paint at an early age.

The context of my lesson, after reflection does not necessarily reflect a project based lesson, I have designed what the student will base their blueprint on (the bedroom) without reasoning into why they would need to build a model of their room.  This is not reflective of strong pedagogy knowledge.


Considerations for Plan 2.0

In order to execute this lesson I must have an understanding of the students living accommodations, if students indeed have their own room to which they can relate the task.  What do students believe to be a birdseye view. I would need to know what types of accommodations my students need to complete the project, such as modification, mouse vs. drawing pen, and if students have a clear understanding of the task. The TPACK framework, recognizes that many tools are not designed specifically for task within education. The framework gives substantial attention to the ability of educators to repurpose technology in order to give rise to more meaningful creative ways in which students can demonstrate knowledge. The authors also state that “Such repurposing is possible only when the teacher knows the rules of the game and is fluent enough to know which rules to bend, which to break, and which to leave alone.” (Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J, P.16). To effectively integrate the technology I would have to have laptops or desktops available with a paint program installed. Interactions between the content and technology I must consider, would be if paint will allow for building of shapes, use of color, and text.  Consideration is given to pedagogy and content in terms of using the right learning strategy in order to produce a piece of art.  Will it be best to use project based learning where students are given a larger context in which to think about the building of a blueprint of their room? Or would it better be suited to use an inquiry approach where students would discuss what situations they might need to create a piece of art where they can express concepts that they consider to be important? Have I used enough visuals to give students a representation of what a room would look like (are the items to scale, have a placed multiple examples of items commonly found in a room).  Would it be better to allow for an inquiry approach where students would determine which type of model would work best in order to produce a creative work that uses keys, and a birdseye perspective?  These are all considerations when looking at the TPACK framework as a whole component.

Reflection of the TPACK framework will help in my understanding of using technology as a tool, when and what types of technology will fit into my lessons and how to repurpose many tools in hopes of building lessons that are based on content knowledge and pedagogy.

Resource: Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: you can have your hot tolls and teach with them, too.Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.

Cooking with TPACK

The excitement my students feel when they walk into my classroom and something out of the ordinary is going on, is something you can feel in the air. There is always chatter, although not the same type of catch up chatter that follows a weekend. It’s a hushed chatter that has a sense of secrecy to it. As an educator, you know what is about to happen; yet you feel like the secret keeper. By the time everyone is seated, you sense some of the students are processing, others have their hands high in the air, while a few are biting their tongue as to not let you in on their anticipation. Today, much like my students, I had the joy of entering such a classroom. Mine luckily also involved food, double whammy! Our Master’s classroom consists of 11 students in a classroom setting. On four of the five tables was a beautiful array of food items. Each had a central theme, i.e. sandwiches on one table and fruit on another. With simple directions like “Make a Fruit Salad”. Upon entering the classroom we were each asked to pick form a box of kitchen tools ranging from a potato masher to a pizza cutter. Than we selected a piece of paper that stated exactly what table we would take our chosen tool to. Only one rule, we could not trade or borrow another’s tool. So began the slicing and dicing of a cantaloupe for me, only I couldn’t quite get the cutting done with just my pizza slicer. As a matter of fact my colleague who had tongs with serrated edges had to assist me in puncturing the cantaloupe in order for me to cut all the way through the skin. Noticing that we were not the only ones presented with such obstacles, the table next to us was making whip cream with just a spatula and a bowl far to small for the task, I was relieved. Relieved because I suspected this was an absolute set up, our instructor held not only a secret but also a camera!


Re-purpose without the right tools..

Re-purpose without the right tools..

Utilizing the right tools for the task.

Utilizing the right tools for the task.

Using your tools in collaboration with one another=.creative outcome

Using your tools in collaboration with one another=creative outcome.

To make the connection the context of our reading assignment over the weekend consisted of an article To Cool for School? No Way! Using the TPACK Framework: You Can Have Your Hot Tools and Teach with Them, Too. The article put into perspective the role technology has in teaching. How? By explaining what is needed when thinking about how teachers in particular, should think about using technology when teaching content. As Mishra and Koehler explain, many of today’s technologies are not created specifically for teaching or even in the school setting. So this wonderful secret our instructor kept wasn’t exactly a secret at all, only an illustration of the concepts that Mishra and Koehler were trying to present in this assigned article. Primarily a teacher must not only have a deep understanding of content, referred to as Content Knowledge (what is a fruit salad). There also has to be an understanding of the process, Pedgogy (how can I effectively put a fruit salad together). The teacher must also have in place the right tool(s) to assist in accomplishing the task.   Or else just like my partner table, whipped cream mess, just using any tool for the sake of using the tool will not produce the desired results.

Resource: Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: You can have your hot tools and teach with them, too. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.

Maker Faire Lesson Plan

Todays exciting adventure in my Master’s class started with the exploration of the differences between learning and teaching along with constructivism and inquiry. Learning is the process of acquiring information; this is a helpful link for understanding The later wasn’t as easy a concept for me to grasp, I grapple with understanding which came first. I don’t know why exactly, maybe at times in education these terms are confused or misused. A clearer explanation came later that night while discussing the concept with my PLN I understand inquiry based learning to have a few key factors that determine its eligibility. First it should be wholly around the principle of discovery. Secondly to be considered inquiry we must give students something worth discovering, a catch or real life problem to solve that engages the learner. In order to get out of the teaching process and into the learning mindset we then went into the enlightening process of inquiry, which would be the discovery. By this I mean we got to play with a whole lot of very cool techie products for education, lets call them all makers, and I will annotate the ones we used at the end of this post for your reference. The eleven students in our cohort had the opportunity to explore and create using a variety of makers, after which we were asked to design a lesson using a maker. With partners, a lesson plan was created. The lesson was then revised based on the deeper understanding of the inquiry process and feed back from our PLN. Inferencing with Maker Kits

Your name: Amanda McCarthy/Kristen Welton
Title of lesson: Inferencing with LittleBits Kit
Teaching date and time: June 19, 2014


Overview: In this lesson students will be writing a sequence for creating something with the makered kits. They will switch their instructions with two other students.  While the other students are following the text instructions they should be noticing the inferences they have to make. Lastly, they will reflect on what they followed explicitly and what they made an inference about.
Estimated time for lesson/activity: 45 minutes5 minute: Introduction 25 minute:  Create Project 10 minutes: Re-Create from text 2 minute:  Re-Think 5-8 minute: Whole Class Outcome of how details and inferences helped us create
Context of lesson: Students will be learning how to tell what the text says explicitly versus how they make inferences.
Grade level: 4th grade

Learning Goals

Learning Goals Connection to Standards Connection to Activities
– I can understand the meaning of inferencing.- I can refer to specific details in the text. – I can follow a sequence. – I can create a sequence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Attending to the Learners

Anticipating student ideas: Students will be able to easily sequence their ideas and follow the instructions.  They may have a difficult time determining the part of the sequence where they had to make an inference.
Making the content accessible to all students: –  Ability group students- Tablet available for students with fine motor problems – The sequence has to be more or less complicated depending on the individual.


Type of Assessment: Learning-Goals Connection
– Sequence- Survey/Sticky notes – Picture of original and end product They will be sequencing the building process.They will notice the difference between following explicit instructions and making inferences from those instructions.

Instructional Sequence

Materials: – Little Bits Extension Kit (5) / May use other types of Maker Kits– Surveys/Sticky Notes — What did you inference from the instructions? What specific details in the text helped you create the electronic device? – Papers to write their sequence – Camera/Phone/Tablet
Time Main components Steps Describing What the Teacherand Students Will Do: Notes and Reminders
5 min. Introduction: – Discuss as a group key vocabulary of inference, sequencing and detail.- Think pair share each vocabulary term.
25 min. Build and Write Instructions – Students explore materials for 5 minutes with people at their table.- Students independently create a sequence for building an electronic device. – Take a picture of the original build.
10 min. Recreate a partner’s electronic device – Trade with a partner and follow the partner’s instructions to create the device.- Take a picture of the recreation.
10 min. Re-think – Color coded stickys on what inferences they made and what they used from the text to help them build the electronic device.- Examine the two pictures, determine if key details or inferences were reflected in the pictures. – Class discusses the outcomes and inferences they used to create the object.

Makers used in exploration: Makey Makey, Squishy Circuits, Electric Pen, Conductive thread, LittleBits