Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reflection on Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas

Developing a GAME plan is like making a detailed “To Do List.” There is just something about writing down what you want to accomplish that keeps you focused and committed. I personally cannot throw away a “To Do List” until I have checked off all the boxes, or have reevaluated and made modifications to the original list and complied a new list. I also can’t ignore a “To Do List” because I have made a commitment to accomplishing the goals on the list by writing them on the list in the first place.

By engaging in the process of developing a GAME plan, I have made a commitment to reach my goals and set a course of action to attain those goals. I have monitored my progress and made adjustments to my plan as my learning has increased my knowledge, which in turn has helped me refine and focus my instructional goals. My GAME plan for integrating technology into the content areas will continue to be a “work in progress” process, much like my own learning, knowledge and growth as an educator.

The greatest impact on my professional development from my last course Supporting Information Literacy, was realizing the need to incorporate cooperative learning and technology within content area instruction. As my current course Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas comes to a close, I have decided to focus my GAME plan on strategies for integrating social online collaboration into content area instruction. Vicki Davis (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009) gave a very clear picture of what online collaboration should look like. The part that really made an impression for me was when she explained that the model for education now is independent work, so every student can be graded. Yet with online tools such as wikis, blogs, tags and RSS Readers, teachers can actually see each student’s work for assessment purposes. I learned some useful tips for keeping track of student projects as well as insuring safe Internet practices. Ms. Davis mentioned (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009) two useful strategies I plan to incorporate into my procedures for online collaboration. I will have students submit blogs for pre-approval at Class Blogmeister. I will also teach my students to “tag” their assignments to be picked up by my Google Reader, so I can easily review anything my students post online.

My goal is to create a 21st century model for education in my classroom by providing opportunities for my students to connect and collaborate with fellow students, experts in the professional workplace, and other teachers around the world in an authentic learning environment with real world experiences.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2009a) Spotlight on Technology: Social Networking and Online Collaboration. Part 2. Laureate Press.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting Students in the GAME

The GAME plan process is a systematic strategy for actively setting goals and following a sequence of steps for achieving those goals. As detailed by Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer (2009), the GAME plan allows you to take control of your own learning by setting goals, taking action, monitoring your learning, and evaluating your progress. I used the GAME plan process to establish goals for learning about technology and technology resources. I selected two indicators from the National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) as a focus for my GAME plan.

According to the National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T), effective teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S). By concentrating my GAME plan on NETS-T standard 2a - teachers design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity, I will provide the resources, learning environment, and support necessary for students to achieve NETS-S standard 1a - students apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes, and standard 1b- students create original works as a means of personal or group expression.

By incorporating digital tools in a variety of learning activities such as Internet research, blogging, creating Power Points, wikis, concept maps, and timelines my students have been able to successfully address several NETS-S standards. With guidance and scaffold instruction, students could employ the GAME plan process to set goals for increasing their proficiency in many NETS-S standards. For example, I am currently designing a project-based biography project involving Internet research and group collaboration creating a wiki. My students could utilize the GAME plan process to set a goal and develop an action plan for their biography project. To monitor their progress, they could assign tasks to each member and create a project timeline with scheduled completion dates. Students would complete a self-evaluation to assess their learning outcomes at the end of the project. Their GAME plan could actually become an interactive piece of the wiki where all members can track and record their progress.

Setting goals and using a systematic process for achieving those goals is a crucial skill for all life-long learners. Goal setting will play an integral part in the future success of every student sitting in our classrooms. It is not something that comes naturally for most students. It must be taught, modeled, and reinforced.


Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach (Laureate Education custom edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

ISTE | National Educational Technology Standards. International Society for Technology in Education | Home. Retrieved December 13, 2009, from

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Revising My GAME Plan

I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with my GAME plan this week. I was still very focused on my goal of employing an array of digital tools - blogs, wikis, videos, and social media to tap into my students' passion for collaborating, creating and sharing. However, I felt like I didn’t know where to begin in designing higher levels of engagement in authentic real world experiences within the content areas. Although I have developed a language arts collaborative wiki project and placed an order for biography books for resources, I still felt like I should also be creating collaborative projects using Web 2.0 tools in science, social studies and math content areas.

Thanks to the resources in our course this week, I have been able to take a breath, calm down and make some revisions to my original action plan. I plan on following the sound advise on how to get started with online networking and collaboration offered by Vicki Davis (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009). My first plan of action is to visit Web 2.0 resources sites such as Eduwiki to locate ideas and examples for student projects so that I am not reinventing the wheel for every project in several content areas. I also plan to start small by creating one project, and then expanding from there. As Vicki Davis said, “You don’t get there overnight” (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009).

The second part of my revised action plan is to search for an online grassroots project to join. According to Vicki Davis, “Teachers must develop a personal learning network of teachers and other experts. For teachers to innovate with Web 2.0 tools, it is vital to connect to their network” (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009). It has become evident that in order for me to successfully integrate Web 2.0 technology into the content areas and provide my students the opportunity to personalize their learning, engage in the discovery process and creatively express their understanding, I must connect and collaborate with educators beyond my school and district.

Now that my students understand the concept of blogging, I am trying to locate an online blogging tool where my students can interact with each other, teachers and experts around the world. Most blog sites are blocked in my district, however I heard this week that they are looking into allowing Moodle. In continuing my search for an online learning platform appropriate for younger students, I plan to check out and Wiggio.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2009a) Spotlight on Technology: Social Networking and Online Collaboration. Part 2. Laureate Press.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Evaluating My GAME Plan

This week produced some successes towards meeting my goal of seamlessly integrating technology into my daily instruction. Unfortunately I also experienced a few setbacks (as is often the case when working with technology). The actions I have taken over the past two weeks to increase my classroom technology to include five networked computers were a success. Students were searching the Scholastic News Online site for blogs they wanted to post on. Many of the blogs on this site are an extension of the Scholastic News Magazine articles we use for our reading content. Students selected blogs on current relevant topics such as movies, music, books, news, and conflict resolution. Once they decided on a blog they wanted to participate in, they used Word to write their response. Students used writing strategies, sentence structure and grammar from our language arts content to compose their blog comments. On Tuesday, half of my students used classroom computers to work with partners on their blogs while the other half of the class worked with partners on identifying main ideas in their Scholastic News Magazine. The next day, the two groups switched activities.

The lesson was going well, students were excited and engaged as they applied their reading and writing skills in authentic learning experiences. The only glitch in the plan was when students tried to post their blog and received an access denied message. This technical issue will involve some investigating and problem solving that may require me to modify my action plan. One explanation could be that when students posted blogs last week, we were in the computer lab using newer computers with a higher operating system, which may allow the blogging. Another possibility is that the district filter system has recently blocked posting blogs. I modified the lesson by having students save their blog to their network data folder, and will post it to the blog next week in the computer lab. If the computers in the classroom cannot post comments on blogs, I will have to reevaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of continuing this authentic, real-world experience in the content area of reading.

This would also be an excellent opportunity to focus on the second part of my action plan by collaborating with technology experts in the district to develop solutions to issues such as accessibility to websites for educational purposes. As part of my next steps in my action plan, I will contact our district’s Information Services requesting access to VoiceThread, Blogs and other social networking sites.