Saturday, November 27, 2010

Online Learning in K-12 Schools

As I finish out my master's program in Integrating Technology into the Classroom, it has occurred to me that my degree is only as good as it is utilized. Simly put, I don't just want my degree to be utilized by me but also my colleagues within my building. We have the tools to increase learning through online Learning Management Systems and that is why I created this media presentation to further motivate my co-workers to jump on board with how I am changing the make-up of my classroom.

Watch my prezi now at:

Resources for this media presentation include:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Final Reflection

Reflecting back on both my GAME plan and blogging about the integration of technology into my classroom, I feel the growth I experienced was substantial on numerous levels. Two indicators from The National Educational Technology Standards that I have been striving towards improving in my art room setting are

-Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

-Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

My GAME plan was to start small and work my way towards meeting larger criteria. By this I joined a committee in our building that is developing the requirements placed on our staff for integrating technology into our classrooms and teaching with 21st century skills in mind. This was important because it aligned with my goal of engaging in professional growth and leadership. By using what my masters has taught me, I feel I am implementing tools and leading my colleagues in this direction. It has been an intense process and one that I am glad I have joined.

The other goal I set for myself was to become better acquainted with the tools in our building that we received through a technology grant. This aligns more with developing digital age experiences and assessments. By doing this I am integrating one technological vehicle a week (mimio, flip video camera, classroom blog, laptop and projector) in order to enhance my classroom. This is where I believe I am starting out small and working my way towards larger endeavors. At first when all of these tools became available to me I wanted to implement them into every lesson every time and that was unrealistic. It got to the point where I was more enthralled in implementing the technology tools than getting to the crux of the lesson and making sure my students were making progress. By downsizing into using one tool a week these goals have been manageable and successful. There is evidence of this on my classroom blog at Each week I update parents on what we are learning and how technology made it possible. I especially love my current fifth grade lesson. It is a paper mache project that ties in artist Wayne Thiebaud and to kick it all off I create a multimedia presentation through to introduce my students to this type of work.

The learning that has taken place in my classroom as a result of my goals with the above indicators has been intense. Particularly blogging about my experiences held me accountable to what I was trying to implement and provided great feedback through my peers. I experienced every emotion as I authentically tried to make these goals come to life, from frustration to elation.

As I continue on, some immediate adjustments I will be making will be to find further workshops and professional development sessions based on the tools that are in my building. This will only better myself as an educator and my students overall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Using the GAME plan process with my students

All the in the all GAME plan process which stands for:


has turned out to be vital tool in my educational tool belt for striving towards better teaching especially with 21st century skills and integrating technology in mind. I developed a GAME plan nearly seven weeks ago in which I was going to be a better instructor in the world of art while simultaneously meeting two National Educational Technology Standards: Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and secondly, Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. Because of the GAME plan I was able to break my large goals and alterations to my classroom into smaller manageable steps which led to quality success and integration in my classroom.

Turning the table now I would like to challenge myself to helping my students develop their own GAME plans in becoming avid users of technology in our classroom. With a traveling Mac lab in our school, mimios, projectors, and flip videos at hand, I feel as though the sky is the limit. My students are in grades three through six and the GAME plan I believe we should work towards as a whole is using our computers for one digital art project per grade level per nine weeks. Never have I created art outside of the typical and traditional mediums and I believe now is as good as time as ever to take on this challenge and make this GAME plan with my students. Involving them would require brainstorming at each level for what our product will look like, as well as the process which is where our goals, actions, monitoring and evaluation will come into play.

What do you think? Has the GAME plan process allowed me to evolve into a teacher that centers her instruction around project based learning with student directed activities in mind? Could developing a 21st century GAME plan with individual grade levels expand the growth of my children and nurture their artistic expressions at the same time?

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom. Baltimore: Author.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revising my GAME Plan

As I have concentrated these past five weeks on integrating two technology indicators, # 2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and # 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership into my classroom, I have learned many things along the way. First of all, I have had to start small and work my way up. As a teacher in a new performing arts school with many technology tools available sometimes it is true what they say, “less is more.”

I was ready to jump right in with integrating flip videos, slide shows on the projector, blogs, and my new mimio board. Trying to do all of this at once often left me with quantity in presentations, but not quality. Taking a step backwards and just working with one tool at a time has seemed to prove more efficient for this process. These tools were not available to me last school year and so although I was eager, I was not always successful in what I was trying to accomplish.

Recently, I have been working hard on getting my class blog up and running for our art room ( I have been taking digital images and adding them to various tabs while also writing about what is going on in our classroom. I also started to really promote our blog in our school newsletter so that parents and students could start to follow what we are creating and what is happening in our art room. I would love to have students start authoring certain portions of our blog in the future. This is my next goal.

Some learning approaches that would improve my steps towards meeting my goals are having patience with my integration process. I have big ideas, but not always enough time to do everything I want to with my new tools. I have to remember that many teachers build their resources over time and this process reminds me much of starting as a first year teacher and building lesson plans and files. I now have to begin again with what I have and integrate technology a little at a time.

My second goal will help me with this process because I now have a strong support system at my school of newly hired teachers who are also eager to integrate technology. We have formed a committee to set goals for our building and their endeavors in doing this.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Evaluating my GAME plan

I am developing the end portion of my GAME plan. The two indicators that I would like to look at and strengthen in my classroom practices are: # 2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and # 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership.

This week I am looking at letter “E” of my GAME plan which stands for evaluating. The actions that I took previously to meet my goals need to be looked at objectively to see if I am making adequate progress.

Action steps that I monitored this week in accordance with goal #2 was to design digital learning experiences. This ran closely hand-in-hand with goal #5, to grow professionally. I challenged myself to start putting into practice the benchmarks my school committee has set for our building when it comes to the integration of technology. It is Tuesday, and already I have used technology for two different grade levels this week. Furthermore, I have been able to spark the interest of my colleagues by emailing them the link of a Prezi that I made for my fifth graders. I found (through another masters course) which allowed me to grow professionally in the world of technology by creating a presentation about artist Wayne Theibaud that my fifth graders are studying. I was able to include pieces of his art, biographical text about his life and even a youtube clip of him working in his studio that I found online. The interaction that took place between my students when I was able to project my Theibaud prezi was magical. Simultaneously, many teachers asked me how I created my prezi and to stop by their rooms after school and give them some pointers. If you have not tried this program, check it out!

With all this said, I believe that I can evaluate myself with high regards this week. I feel I am setting obtainable actions steps and sticking by them for the betterment of myself and my children.

Robyn Peterson

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Spotlight on Technology: Problem-Based Learning, Part 1. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Spotlight on Technology: Problem-Based Learning, Part 2. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monitoring the progress of my GAME plan

I am still working on my GAME plan in accordance with The National Educational Technology Standards. In an elementary art setting I see a variety of ways in which I can do this. The two indicators that I would like to look at and strengthen in my classroom practices are: # 2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and # 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership.

When looking at goal number two, I was challenged by this week’s learning resources and the breakdown of assessments we looked at. Through course text and reinforcement in our online video, I can see that assessment can tie in technology while being forced option, open-ended, performance-based and project-based. Maybe I have been too focused on integrating technology that I forgot also to breakdown my assessments and exactly what I am trying to assess. This knowledge helped me. For example I could take an open-ended assessment like journaling about a piece of art, but to meet my goal, I could have my students blog about it instead on our classroom blog and then turn it into a post.

For goal number five, my school received a grant to purchase some sound technological tools that I feel will really take our learning and teaching into the 21st century. In my last post, I cited a core committee as an important resource in helping me to obtain my goals. I still see this as pertinent. Recently we mapped out topics and tools to cover throughout our calendar school year during staff professional development days. I jumped on board with this committee to set reasonable goals for us as to what we would like to be implementing into every day practice and when. Along with this I have been looking at local workshops that might cater more to my needs as experts would be on hand to better train me in the models of the equipment we recently received.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Assessing Student Learning. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Carrying out my GAME plan

Looking at two indicators that I wish to improve upon in my classroom, I will also tie in Dr. Katherine Cennamo’s GAME plan:
E-Evaluate (Laureate 2009) in order to create a 21st century learning environment in my art room setting. Currently I teach at a performing arts school, grades three through six, with a freshman basic drawing class in my schedule as well. Looking at my GAME plan from last week, if I can Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and secondly, Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership, I feel I will paving the way to meeting The National Educational Technology Standards.

The resources that I feel are pertinent to carrying out the improvement of these two goals include the new technology my school is receiving through a grant, proper training of the technology and a core committee in my building that is going to share in order to help the staff develop professionally as a whole. The new items my building has purchase include new Mac notebooks, mimios, flip video cameras and projectors. By making use of these items I will definitely bring my classroom up to speed with 21st century skills as long as I simultaneously attend the training workshops and meet with my colleagues during our sharing time.
Additional information that I need to reach these goals includes further investigation of the UDL website ( Here I will take a better look at the components that go into Universal Design Learning which will allow me to meet the needs of all my learners.

The steps that I have taken thus far to carry out my GAME plan include research over the internet about terms such as UDL, integration of National Technology Standards and 21st century skills. There is a myriad of information in the digital world waiting to be utilized to help me meet my goals. But first I must siphon through it and set attainable benchmarks along the way.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas. Baltimore: Author.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Improving upon The National Educational Technology Standards in my classroom

For my current master’s course titled Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas, I am looking at The National Educational Technology Standards. Using these standards teachers “design, implement,and assess learning experiences to engage students and improve learning; enrich professional practice; and provide positive models for students, colleagues, and the community” (
Two indictators that I would like to look at and strengthen in my classroom practices are: # 2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments and # 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership.
First, I chose indicator #2 because I see this as an area of weakness in my current classroom practices. I know that this can change however because my district recently received a grant through we are receiving some highly advanced equipment to bring our classrooms to the 21st century. This equipment includes personal lap tops, mimios, flip videos and projectors. I am very excited about this! My GAME plan for this indicator is to spend time getting better acquainted with the equipment. I recently attended workshops to understand these tools better, which will benefit my students. Next, I will monitor my progress by how much I am actually using the tools. If I find myself not dedicating time to integrating them into my classroom, I will go back to the basics and start small if it seems too overwhelming. Possibly a good start would be incorporating one slideshow a week into my lessons. Finally for this indicator, I will evaluate my learning by working with a colleague. Getting feedback from someone who is well versed in this area will aide me in gaining insight.
Secondly, I chose indicator #5. Entering into a master’s program has placed me in the right direction towards accomplishing this, but often times I am still timid to reach out to others outside of my district. For my GAME plan for this I would like to team up with another art teacher in another district and create a virtual gallery that our students can share with one another. This will break down the walls of my classroom and help me to develop growth and leadership 21st century style. We could skype to one another and allow our students to share their art work virtually and discuss it. I will monitor my progress by checking in with my students and finding out if they like what we are doing. Feedback from them will be my greatest source of evaluation as well.

The National Educational Technology Standards go above and beyond the standards I try to meet each day in the realm of art. However they creatively tie in my content area with 21st century skills challenging me to be a better teacher. Improving on these two indicators will help me to get there.


Friday, August 20, 2010


At the close of my most recent course towards integrating technology into my classroom, I feel more confident about incorporating 21st century skills into my everyday teaching, especially through new literacies. My students are flooded with literacy through way of digital delivery and unlike the information that I received through traditional text as a student, they have to be able to decipher between what is a valid resource and what is not.
One tool I found invaluable throughout this course, Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom, was looking at a website using the ABC’s provided by Beth Phillips. If we teach our children to look at websites objectively looking for an Author, a Bias, correct Content, official Dates and Evaluation of facts, they will experience much more success when gathering information. Before beginning this course I believe I had a much narrower scope of what I believed to be out there on the internet and now I am much more aware. I also feel I have grown substantially in allowing my class to become more student centered with project based learning, rather than guiding them through every piece of curriculum that we tackle.
One professional development goal I have set for myself as an educator returning to my classroom this fall is to incorporate new literacies into my art room setting. Gathering information through digital literacy should not fall simply within the realm of a core classroom setting, but should be explored in my content area as well. There are many ways I plan to do this and am excited for what lies ahead!
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom. Baltimore: Author.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My personal theory of learning aligns with a cognitivist perspective in my art room setting. Jean Piaget believed in the concept that a child “continually modifies their cognitive structures, and thus knowledge is continually under construction” (Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. 2008). Because visual art is an area where children are constantly exploring and creating, it is my strong viewpoint that I am repeatedly engaging them in new activities that they are reflecting upon. As an artist myself, I witness the interaction that takes place when students are introduced to a new medium and the process they go through in manipulating it. Piaget broke his theory down even further by explaining that children…
build cognitive structures during all developmental stages. When children are exposed to something new that easily fits into prior experiences, the assimilate it.

However, when children encounter new knowledge for which they do not have a previous concept map, they accommodate it. (Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. 2008)

No matter where my children are in the learning process, and how they are processing the information at hand, I can reach them even further through the use of technology. Technology lends itself once again to the process of either being introductory to a student and reeling him or her in, or sparking a previous experience with a learner and capitalizing on what he or she already knows. For many 21st century learners like my children, technology can do just that. For example when we cannot physically go and see an actual piece of art, we can overcome this obstacle by taking a virtual tour using the internet and a projector. When we are studying a specific artist, we can step inside his studio through a YouTube video that shows how he creates what we he creates. We could also use technology in an art room setting by using a Voice Thread to express our feelings about a famous piece of art, or one created by our very own classmate. This would be an amazing way to get students to participate in an actual art critique, using 21st century tools.
Understanding that my children learn and process information in different ways makes me cognoscente of how I am approaching my personal learning theory in my classroom. Two long term goals that I have for myself as a teacher is to develop a classroom blog that would act as a three way communication source between myself, my students and the parents of my students. Another goal I have for furthering myself as a technologically savvy teacher is to connect my students with an outside source at least once a week in my classroom. By this I mean my intention is to not just teach art through physical visual aids in my classroom, but rather expand beyond our four walls into the cyberworld and make use of the many resources I have encountered. The more informed I am, the more sound my instruction will be, leading to a greater impact to my students in the realm of visual art.

Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

Different learning theories can be applied in a classroom setting to maximize learning taking place between teacher and student. Throughout this week of my master’s level coursework we looked at cooperative learning as an instructional strategy and how it relates to social learning theories. “Cooperative learning focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). Ways in which to do this while tying in technology include social and professional networks such as blogs, podcats, wikis, personal spaces, read write pages and other student friendly and appropriate forms of communication.

One specific tool I familiarized myself with this week was that of Voice Thread. Voice Thread allows students to upload images and then interact with them. (Laureate 2009) By doing this they can collaborate with students inside their classroom to create projects that are centered around any kind of curriculum. However, they are not limited to collaborating with only students in their room, but also can receive feedback information from students outside of their building and even across the world. Voice Thread can be used in both creative and logical endeavors to enhance the educational process of students of all ages. Using multimedia such as this connects students on a global level and maximizes cooperative learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2009. Spotlight on Technology.[Motion picture]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore: Author

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructivism in Practice

Constructivism is a theory of knowledge stating that each individual actively constructs his or her own meaning throughout learning, while constructionism is a theory of learning that people can learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can shape with others (Laureate 2009).

I believe constructionism is heavily reliant upon project based learning and group effort. “Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups” (Edutopia 2008). Challenging my students to face problems together, to meet their learning style needs through many different sensory inputs and incorporating technology are all significant to me as a visual arts educator in the 21st century. If students have the opportunity to collaborate with one another in a group setting, they can truly learn by shaping an external artifact along side of their peers.

“When students generate and test hypotheses, they are engaging in complex mental processes, applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). Although this sounds scientific, I believe my students recently mastered this in my art room setting with a chalk mural they created as a class. After studying artist Eric Grohe, they looked at his three-dimensional murals and learned about basic perspective including foreground, middleground and background. Objects in the background appear very tiny, like in Grohe’s work, while objects in the middleground and foreground get larger respectively. When collaborating on one large piece of art as my third graders were, they had to problem solve where there horizon line would be and how large and small to make objects to keep their scene to scale. This required discussion, cooperation, creativity and understanding by all that were involved.

Edutopia Staff. (2008). Why Teach with Project Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience. Retrieved March 22, 2010 from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore: Dr .Michael Orey.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Picasso Kids create their first installation art piece!

I am an elementary art teacher and have an afterschool art club called, Picasso's Kids. Recently my afterschool artists painted this scupltural dinosaur keeping in mind color theory and inspiration from many artist's styles. I couldn't be more excited about their creation!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cognitivism in Practice

Cognitive learning theory is based on the fact that students process information in a variety of ways. Our goal as educators is to get them to move that information past their short term memory and into their long term sector. Creating memorable experiences will help this to take place. In this week’s learning resources I found that a concept map is great technological and cognitive tool to help my students organize information in a suitable fashion. Similarly, using Paivio’s Dual Coding Hypothesis, it is important for me to link ideas with pictures and images to enhance the learning process (Laureate 2009). I found this exciting and relatable because I am a visual arts teacher and this is something I already feel very strongly about.
To see a concept map for a virtual field trip that I recently created for my students about artist Chuck Close, go

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. Baltimore: Author

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Second Grade Artists!

"I shut my eyes in order to see."
~Paul Gauguin

My second grade students are in the midst of learning about artist George Rodrigue and read the book Why is Blue Dog Blue? before beginning this unconventionally colored painting project. They loved creating art about their pets!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Strategies that Support Behaviorist Theories in Learning through Technology

Recently, I looked at two strategies that support behaviorist learning theory in my master’s coursework. I am a visual arts elementary teacher earning a degree in Integrating Technology into my Classroom. A behaviorist learning theory supports that “a stimulus is the initial action directed to the organism, and a response is the organism’s reaction to that action” (Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J., 2008). Teachers everywhere, everyday are using this approach in one form or another in their classrooms. Whether it be through reinforcing behavior to obtain classroom management or to instruct to meet certain curriculum goals, teachers are the stimuli that offer reinforcement to a learner’s reaction. Students can be stimulated through a series of steps when it comes to using technology in the classroom also.

Behaviorist theories such as reinforcing effort helps to form the student’s attitude towards his or her individual progress throughout the learning experience. Technology can be incorporated because it can “make it easier for students and teachers to track the effects of effort and facilitate more immediate feedback”(Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). This is effective because students can take more ownership over the outcome of his or her learning by seeing collective data overtime, much like a teacher would in a grade book. Once broken down into various areas, students can understand where they may be missing the mark. This idea of reinforcing effort provides a positive avenue for students to feel good about their accomplishments.

“Homework and practice” is another behaviorist notion that supports tutorial-type strategies for learning. “Having students practice a skill or concept enhances their ability to reach the expected level of proficiency” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). As Dr. Orey acknowledges, this is more than drill and practice because after the concept is comprehended, higher level thinking can take place.

These two instructional strategies correlate with the principles established in behaviorist learning theories.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2009) Behaviorist Learning Theory [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.