EdTech Definition Graphic

Teachers nowadays are expected to teach almost everything to students, from appropriate manners to completing Algebra problems and even planting gardens…and now, Technology.  Educational Technology can mean different things to different people, and for some, make no sense at all. Why is this term so mysterious?

I believe the term, Educational Technology, is a newer idea for educators and parents, that isn’t easily defined.  I believe there are many adults who believe technology is either a cell phone, tablet or desktop computer and therefore, these individuals have trouble understanding how technology can be integrated into a child’s education, other than to play online games or watch educational clips.  Also, I believe that older generations most likely have a difficult time imagining its importance when they had little technology available to them while they were in school (and walked uphill both ways to school in a blizzard; horrible Minnesota weather, my Dad tells me…).

Educational Technology, in my opinion, is using technology, either hardware or software or a combination of both, to further a child’s education.  Due to the massive amount of terminology within its definition, I chose to represent it as an Iceberg.  An iceberg looks small at first, but below the surface is the majority of its definition. Additionally, not understanding its definition or applying it to a student’s educational destination, will “sink” a student’s future, employability and overall benefit to society.

My Prezi: EdTech Definition Graphic


School Evaluation Summary

Completing the school evaluation summary was more difficult than I thought it would be, due to the subcategories being quite specific and also some seemed to crossover into another subcategory.  I didn’t want to provide similar comments for these, not only to avoid repeating myself but to provide more accurate information within my survey.

This assignment reminds me of my Intelligence Officer days where we had to go around our unit facilities on base and critique specific areas and assign values, which would provide a ranked order of physical security/ force protection needs. In the end, I believe the Commander would do what he wanted to do regardless of our assessment, but it was good practice for us to complete the process. At least that’s what we told each other.

This makes me wonder if technology needs in school systems that have scarce budgets, rural locations or limited staff would look at this survey that someone has worked so hard on to inform a school district of its technology needs and then disregard its importance. I hope that is not the case and school officials do apply these results to produce informed and well-educated students that can compete in a world run by technology.

Link to my School Evaluation Summary

Link to my Technology Maturity Benchmarks Rubric

Link to my Maturity Benchmarks Survey Sheet

EdTech 513: Course Reflection

When I started the course, I was a bit nervous. Retiring from the Army 1 year ago, I have had little experience as a classroom teacher, and a lot of experience as an Intelligence Officer. However, when I look back to the beginning of EdTech 513, 16 weeks ago, I feel that I have learned a ton of valuable information!

Multimedia Principles were most useful to me and I wish I would have been provided these many years ago. I have sat through many long powerpoint briefings with hard to read text, large pictures that had little to do with the information on the slide, along with written out and verbally read, word-for-word explanations, just because that’s the way it was always done. I am so very glad that I received this material and took this course, so I do not make the same mistakes and can help provide worthwhile presentations to coworkers of mine in the future.

I believe my best artifact would be my lesson plan, including RSS feed and earthquakes. This is a topic that is interesting, provokes deep thought and is a concern to everyone living near a fault line or who have friends or relatives that live nearby fault lines. Additionally, this is something that can provide students with knowledge of effective online research, how to use RSS feed, how to analyze data and professionally present information to others.


EdTech 541: Final Reflection & Blog Self Assesment

As EdTech 541 comes to a close, I feel that I have learned so much, that it would take me hours to explain all that I have learned in a blog post, but I will try my best.

When I started the MET program, again after 8 years, I was a little nervous about my decision. I took 2 classes in 2008 while working at an Army Reserve unit in Boise full time, along with being a new Mom and a Company Commander for drill weekends.  I tried to do well, but near the end of these 2 courses, I was called upon to attend training and could not finish. That has been bothering me for the last 8 years.

Being in the Army, from 1997 – 2015, has taught me to persevere, no matter how uncomfortable or rushed I believed I was going to be, and now that I am retired, I know that I can finally earn a Master of Educational Technology from Boise State University by Fall 2017. Happy Days!

I have learned to explore new software, apps and ways to present informative and provide in-depth lessons to students.  I have also discovered many resources that I can use when I do begin teaching, for Elementary level Mathematics or for really any other subject, due to the flexibility in lesson planning and resources available concerning technology integration.

I categorized my blog posts & related assignments with applicable AECT standards on WordPress.  The AECT standards drove what I produced for the class and I am glad that they are available for reference, not just for me but for all technology instructors.  If these standards were not available, it would be very difficult to determine what we should be doing to prepare to teach technology related material to our students.

I have grown professionally, due to the insightful course readings, assignments, resources and software I researched and used for this course.  I feel that the open forum resulted in understanding how others are applying the tools I received or learned about for this class and it helps me understand what I could do later or further research & try out ahead of time to be better prepared for technology integration.

Unfortunately, because I am not teaching currently, I have not been able to apply what I have learned in this course to a classroom environment, which means that until I do, I will lack the “Ah Ha” moments that many classmates have had during this course. However, because all of my material will be saved and presented as a portfolio later on, I will always have this material to build upon and integrate into my curriculum.

Different learning theories, multimedia principles, effective lesson planning and professional presentation has guided my projects that I completed for EdTech 541.  It is important to understand that different students have different abilities and ways of learning, therefore I should keep an open mind and be flexible.

My Blog Assessment:

  • Rich in content, full of thought, insight and synthesis with clear connections to previous or current content and/or to real life situations made with depth and detail.
    • I believe that I have completed thorough blog posts which have evoked questions by fellow students, involving material currently or previously studied. I have also applied appropriate AECT standards, effectively showing which area my class assignments belong to.
    • 70 Pts.
  • Readings (from course text) and other resource materials are used to support blog comments. APA style is used to cite references.
    • Each blog post references the class textbook. I also read and researched more than the week required. I believe that I have used correct APA citations and references.
    • 20 Pts.
  • All required postings are made early in the module to give others time to comment.
    • The majority of my posts were completed near Friday, providing 3 days to receive responses from other students and reply. I noticed that some students completed their posts within the first few days, and then responded to two other early blog posts. This impacted the amount of views and responses I received.
    • 15 Pts.
  • Two or more substantial posts with at least one detailed response made to address another students’ post.
    • I provided substantial responses for two other students’ posts each week, and I included my thoughts on their blog, in addition to my personal experiences.
    • 30 Pts.

Assisstive Technology

Accessibility features on iOS or Android Devices, including iPads, iPhones, smartphones and tablets, are used by educators to support technology integration among those with cognitive, physical and sensory disabilities. Assisstive technology can also be used with gifted and talented students, as well as at-risk students, whom according to Roblyer, have learning difficulties similar to the aforementioned groups (2016).  In addition, these devices can access and store apps that students can use during and after class, to support their education while providing them with beneficial life skills.

There are 5 categories of students with learning difficulties, which include Cognitive, Physical, Sensory, At-risk & Gifted or Talented.

Students with cognitive disabilities, such as autism, benefit from touch screens and apps, because, “These applications have the advantage of making a more direct, hands-on connection between the students’ actions and the software’s response” (pp.415, 2016).

Those with physical disabilities require their IEP team to, “Identify appropriate tools for access and control that will allow the individual to function across environments” (pp. 412-413, 2016).

Students with sensory disabilities, including those who are deaf, blind or who have losses in one or both senses, benefit from the following:

  • Tools that convert printed information to sound, such as screen readers, and canes & sensor technology for mobility, can be used to aid students who are blind, while Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) can be used with students who have partial sight. “Users place materials on the desktop below the camera, set the desired magnification level and move materials around as necessary” (pp.413-414, 2016).
  • Hard of hearing can benefit from the use of assisstive listening devices, such as a teacher wearing a small microphone near her mouth and the student hearing through a receiver that he wears. Also, American Sign language (ASL) is taught by educators to deaf students, and due to technology, there are many apps available to help interpret and teach sign language.

 At-risk students exhibit similar learning difficulties as disabled students and can benefit from similar assisstive devices.

 Gifted & Talented students benefit from assessments that are completed while completing a lesson involving technology. Roblyer lists 3 strategies to use with these students, which are enabling, enhancing and transforming. All 3, “echoe many of the best-practices findings reported by Periathiruvadi and Rinn” (2016).

In their own way, these students can benefit by using technology to access educational content, including Android tablets, iPads, smartphones & iPhones due to the following traits that these devices share:

(1) Touch screen and stylus pens for easy navigation (no mouse required):

  • Physically disabled students may have difficulty using a stylus pen or touch and instead, use a voice activated Switch.  Otherwise, these students can watch, listen and hear a math tutorial and complete online assignments with little assistance.
  • Those with cognitive disabilities will enjoy the touch screen navigation and will need assistance staying on track or from becoming distracted by possible pop ups or advertisements during math lessons on Khan Academy, for example.
  • Students with visual and hearing difficulties, along with at-risk and gifted students will be motivated to use a technological device in class.

(2) Virtual or detached keyboard (N/A smartphones) for selecting or writing:

  • Physically disabled students can access keys on their virtual keyboard to select the correct answer to a multiplication problem or write out story problems.
  • Students with vision loss can adjust the font size of their virtual keyboard to see and type answers to math quiz questions.
  • Students with cognitive and hearing difficulties, along with at-risk and gifted students will benefit from this feature.

(3) Light-weight design for mobility (use a protective case) & creating “work stations”

  • Physically disabled students can hold and move with the device, allowing them to change their own wheelchair, for example, into a computer workstation.
  • Cognitively disabled students can access online math games, away from distractions and other student’s screens.
  • Students with visual and hearing difficulties, along with at-risk and gifted students can use this feature. All students could take their work or device with them or access learning materials or sites from a capable device at home.

(4) Large display with high resolution (N/A smartphones) & headphone port:

  • Visually disabled students can create larger font or use an app that reads online text, like Natural Reader.
  • Students with hearing difficulty can use headphones with much louder sound or adjust the size and font of text.
  • Cognitive and physically disabled students, along with at-risk and gifted students will benefit from this feature.

(5) Lots of storage and quick operation (depends on bandwidth and exact device capacity):  Allows all students to get work done, faster, with storage available to save notes, narrated lessons, pdf worksheets, apps, etc.

(6) Long-lasting battery:  Allows longer use for all students during class & afterwards, without limited mobility due to a charging cord or need for an outlet. Educators and parents need to ensure the students or owner of the device, such as the school librarian, charges devices overnight, prior to checkout.

(7) Front & rear camera and microphone: All students can take pictures for assignments, including parallelogram webquests or snap a picture of worksheets for completion using a pdf app, and could also speak to someone across the planet about geometric equations, via Skype or Facetime.

One example of a newer and high rated device is the Android Pixel C Tablet, starting at $499.00. This tablet includes:

  • 10.2-inch LTPS LCD display with 2560 x 1800 resolution, 308ppi
  • 64-bit 1.9GHz octa-core NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
  • 8MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
  • Non-removable 34.2WHr battery
  • For more information, see Android Authority

Another example of a high rated device is the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro Tablet, starting at $799.00. This tablet includes more storage and a larger screen, but its other features are similar to the Android Pixel C. For more information, see iPad Compare Models.

The Apple iPhone SE is the newest iPhone and provides a small 4″ screen, but has many qualities that smartphone users and students can appreciate. For more information, see iPhone SE.

Android offers the new LG G5, which has a 5.5″ screen and 2 rear cameras, a removable battery and expandable storage. The volume buttons are located on the side of the phone, rather than the back, which is a change for this device. For more information, see LG G5.

Students, with or without disabilities, will benefit from the use of newer technological devices, such as tablets and smartphones, and for health purposes, even smart watches. Technology is always improving and with educating students as its main purpose, students with learning difficulties will soon be able to accomplish anything their peers can.


Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Teaching and learning with technology in special education. In Roblyer, M.D. and Edyburn, D. (7th ed.). Integrating educational technology into teaching (pp.400-420). Nova Southeastern University: Pearson.


Android Authority: http://www.androidauthority.com/best-android-tablets-267136/

Android Specs: http://www.androidcentral.com/lg-g5

iPad Comparison: http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/

iPhone Comparison: http://www.apple.com/iphone-se/specs/



Project #5: Worked Example Screencast

For my Worked Example Screencast, I decided to describe how to access, create, edit and share a Google Doc. This is something that was new to me at the beginning of this course, but now is second nature to me. I also think this is something that I will use later, either for peers or students, which will save them from a little grief.

While designing and narrating my screencast, I tried to be clear and relay information as simply as I could, so I wouldn’t be too fast or provide too much information that would confuse the viewer.

At first, I described what I would be doing in the screencast and its usefulness. Then, I broke up the process into 7 segments, to provide a break in between each step for the learner. I also illustrated what I was saying or pointed the listener to a specific area of the screen, with the help of callouts. I also worked to maintain specific technology verbage, such as link, button, etc.

Link to my Screencast Narration

Tech Trends: BYOD or BYOT

Image: ajleon/Flickr

Bring Your Own Device or Technology (BYOD or BYOT), provides students the option to bring their own devices to school, for use in the classroom.  This allows students to work with devices they are already familiar with, saving them, “from the effort and time needed to get accustomed to new devices” (NMC Horizon Report, 2015).  This trend also saves schools from the expense of newer technology and software products, by providing a 1:1 ratio of students to their own technology and allowing them to test new software on their devices.  Students will take ownership of their learning and remain more organized, providing them a sense of responsibility (Wainwright, 2016).  According to Saponaro, students prefer using their own devices in class, and a BYOD policy affords the following benefits, “Student participation increases, learning becomes student driven, student collaboration and communication increases, cost savings, personalized instruction and a new way of learning” (2014).  However, the most influential aspect supporting this trend is that it, “reflects the contemporary lifestyle and way of working”, preparing students for successful futures and careers, while conforming to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for technology (NMC Horizon Report, 2015).

In addition to reflecting life in the 21st century, this trend supports project-based learning and collaborative assignments, such as screencasting, content-sharing, expression, presentations, and digital note-taking, to name a few.  Therefore, it also changes the role that teachers play in the classroom, from lecturer to facilitators, as they learn to incorporate student-centered learning within their curriculum (NMC Horizon Report, 2015).

Integrating BYOD and the redefinition level of the SAMR model into a small group history assignment for 6-8th grade students, could include researching the history of horses within the United States and completing a final presentation, for example.  After discussing the assignment rubric, expectations, examples of a completed presentation and due dates with the class, which could integrate students from different schools, the teacher would periodically check in with each group by asynchronous or synchronous means.  The student groups would also share their working documents or artifacts with the teacher, where she would be provided access to view and edit their products, providing constructive comments.  The activity itself would include collaboration among group members through synchronous means, such as Skype or Facetime, face-to-face meetings, or by asynchronous means, through a shared Prezi, Voicethread or Google Doc.  Additionally, the assignment can be completed by group members outside of class, which would provide a thorough, more deliberate presentation, that family members could assist with or help by encouraging their child.  Last, the presentation itself could be presented to the class via their individual devices through a smart board, computer lab, other student devices and even posted to the class website, which would provide parents and community members access to their student’s work.  This type of project-based learning would display the pros of integrating the BYOD trend into the classroom curriculum, which would provide parents proof of its effectiveness and support from the community.  

According to Wainwright, the BYOD trend raises concerns for network security, cheating, theft, platform neutrality and the technology gap, overloading the wireless network, affordability, charging devices or forgetting them at home and students may become more easily distracted (2016).  In addition, parents are concerned about their children using their own devices in school, due to, “Distractions of games and videos, unmonitored social networking leading to bullying or predation, consumption (and creation) of inappropriate content, social status and stigma of devices” (Panagos, 2016).  

These concerns could be lessened by incorporating a collaborative and effective BYOD policy, AUP and its enforcement by school staff and parents, while ensuring a thorough understanding by students.  Additionally, one way to lessen the technology gap, platform neutrality, bullying, affordability or students forgetting devices at home, would be to apply funding saved by the BYOD 1:1 ratio, and purchase devices for students to check out for use in school or at home, just as they would a library book, with more strict requirements and fines, of course (Sessom, 2016).

The BYOD trend is progressing within the United States education system and is a reflection of life in the 21st century, where the majority communicates, works and completes educational courses, through individual or publicly shared devices.  Fortunately, as technology and network infrastructure improves, and devices, such as tablets or smartphones are sought out for use by more students, school districts or organizations, access will become more universal and ethical standards and policies will become more clear.  Implementing a BYOD or BYOT policy within the education system will improve our student’s futures by providing them with the tools they need to compete in a global market. 

BYOD Application: QR Code Generator 

QR CodeQR-Code generators like Kaywa QR-Code, provides links to educational content that students can access on their own device. This would allow teachers to “hand out” numerous project-based lessons in the form of a QR code, that would allow students to immediately access, upload and share assignment expectations among their peers. Additionally, parents could also scan and obtain lesson plan information through the same means, allowing them to assist and monitor their children’s progress. This app would include a lesson plan incorporating the redefinition level of the SAMR model as I mentioned earlier. 


Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

NMC Horizon Report. (2015).  2015 k-12 education. Austin, TX: NMC.

Panagos, Tim. (2016). Wired: The future of education in the classroom. Wired.

Saponaro, Tiziana. (2014). Elearning Industry: 6 benefits of BYOD in the classroom. Elearning Industry.

Sessoms, Darryl. (2016). SecureEdge Networks: How to plan a security policy for schools. SecureEdge Networks.

Wainwright, Allison. (2016). SecureEdge Networks: 20 pros and cons of implementing BYOD in schools. SecureEdge Networks.

For further information:


Digital Story: 2012 Afghanistan Deployment

For my digital story, I wanted to describe what it was like to be deployed in 2012, to Afghanistan.  One thing I was told and will never forget was, “Only 1% of the United States population will ever get to experience what you are going to”.  I also wanted to provide information about the country, its people and a few of the good things that we were doing for them.

With the “war” being at over 13 years now, I think that most Americans are tired of hearing about it or ignore anything they find unsettling and turn the page or channel.  Unfortunately for military personnel, they are mobilized at a minutes notice to anywhere, at anytime.  It’s not the war in Afghanistan that needs to be broadcast, but the bravery and self-sacrifice of our Soldiers that should be honored by all Americans.

The Personalization Principle is demonstrated throughout my story. I applied knowledge that I discovered while deployed, and included facts about Afghanistan and its people.  I also used conversational style, rather than formal speech for the majority of my story, and included polite speech with good voice quality to capture the audience’s attention.  I did not apply an actual avatar to promote learning, but I included photographs on each slide that corresponded with my narration, which would fall under the Modality Principle.  Included within the story are photographs of men and women in uniform and my story, which represents me, as the author.

I used Voicethread for my digital story, because after searching the Internet for good digital story software, I stumbled upon an article that discussed Afghan women taking part in a Technology Forum, called Take Back the Tech!  During this workshop, held in 2012, these women, “used various new and traditional media tools to express themselves and enhance their advocacy efforts to end gender-based discrimination” (Internews Network, 2012).  Their stories were short and very personal, to the point that it made me feel that my digital story was unimportant in comparison.


Google Doc: Narration


Clark R.C., and Mayer, R.E. (2011). E-learning and the science of Instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. (3rd ed). San Francisco, CA: Pfieffer.

Internews Network. (2012). Technical training for women: Workshop empowers women to end gender-based discrimination. Internews Network.


Obstacles & Related Solutions of Technology Integration in 3rd Grade Mathematics

     According to Roblyer, there are 3 phases of technology integration for educators, The 1st phase includes step 1 and 2. The 2nd phase includes steps 3 – 5 and the 3rd phase concludes with steps 6 and 7, Analyze Results and Make Revisions (2016).  Each step can provide educators with ideas on possible obstacles they could encounter and assist them with creating solutions to those obstacles.

     The 1st step is to determine its relative advantage or how the technology integration would provide a better outcome for the students.  If it would be appropriate and fun for the students, motivating them to learn, then it would have a positive outcome.  Even more so if students can access the lesson at home or on their own devices for more practice.  If the students have to wait a few minutes between each question, then it would not be worth it, as students would quickly lose interest and wander to different sites.

     The 2nd step is to assess the skills and resources the lesson would require to be completed by each student.  Students should be able to log in to their own account, and understand how to operate the site and the computer they are using, at a minimum, prior to beginning the lesson.  Additionally, the network administrator should be sought for assistance prior to, ensuring the network could support the technology integrated lesson and that there are enough devices available for use, such as reserving the computer lab.

     The 3rd step includes deciding on lesson objectives and assessments.  Concrete objectives and viable assessments must be available so students are held accountable for their own learning and the teacher can address any learning deficiencies to improve their education.  If a site is accessed that provides advertising pop-ups, then students could become distracted and select other content, possibly leading to virus downloads, viewing inappropriate material, therefore not completing the lesson’s objectives.

     The 4th step includes designing integration strategies.  Technology integration could include student’s working in groups, due to limited bandwidth and devices available.  Students could also complete activities afterwards to reiterate what they completed online, lessening the time spent on the network.  Webquests and research could be completed by students and compiled into one large class presentation.  Additionally, students could use Apps on their own devices to complete lessons at home or in school.

     The 5th step is preparing the instructional environment.  After the relative advantage, skills and resources, objectives and assessments, and integration strategies are prepared for the lesson, the teacher should present her technology integration lesson to her peers for feedback and any improvements.  Next, notify the student’s parents via a class newsletter or during conferences that their children will be completing lessons that include the use of technology, and that they would benefit from accessing the course at home or on their own devices. Then, students should receive an introduction about using technology, including details of the school’s AUP, so they have basic skills and understand or acknowledge appropriate technology use.

     Integrating technology into a 3rd grade Math class can be done, but there are some obstacles that could be encountered, such as wifi that is either non-existant or has little bandwidth available to support technology integration, using sites that are beneficial but could lead to inappropriate material, setting up individual accounts and taking the extra time needed to prepare students, and possibly downloading network security threats, which could shut down the school network. Yet, technology use is required and beneficial for our students to succeed in this day and age of smartphones, tablets and online education courses.


Clark R.C., Mayer, R.E. (2011). E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. (3rd ed). San Fransisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Nova Southeastern University: Pearson.


Relative Advantage of Using Technology in 3rd Grade Mathematics

     Before students progress to the fourth grade, GreatSchools states that 3rd graders should have developed basic computer skills, including keyboarding, using the Internet for research, and using a mouse (2013).  

     In regards to Mathematics in general, the  Common Core State Standards (CCSS), state that, “Mathematically proficient students at various grade levels are able to identify relevant external mathematical resources, such as digital content located on a website, and use them to pose or solve problems. They are able to use technological tools to explore and deepen their understanding of concepts” (2016).

     Additionally, for 3rd grade Mathematics, the CCSS suggests that, “instructional time focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100; (2) developing understanding of fractions, especially unit fractions (fractions with numerator 1); (3) developing understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and of area; and (4) describing and analyzing two-dimensional shapes” (2016).

     Smart boards can be used by the teacher to display solutions to problems, to explain the step-by-step process of creating a student account on a Mathematics site or to show students how to research a topic on the Internet.  There are many math-related websites that can be used during instructional time, that address these four critical areas and apply technology use.  

     Khan Academy can enhance simple drill & practice instruction, by providing motivation and immediate feedback to its user and assessment data for teachers and parents.  Also, the site can be assessed at home to provide further practice, including parents in the student’s learning process.  

     Abcya is another excellent Mathematics site where students can play games, ranging from base ten to equivalent fractions, and receive immediate feedback. The site can also be accessed at home to continue the learning process outside of the classroom. 

     These are just two examples of software that can be accessed by students to develop not only Math standards, but also technology skills.  Using these and other websites will enhance instruction in the classroom, by motivating students to learn by playing “games” and can provide quick assessments for the teacher to keep her students on track for success.  


Software Answers, Inc. (2013). Technology can enhance third graders’ classroom experience. Brecksville, OH: Software Answers, Inc.

Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2016). Preparing america’s students for college and career. Common Core State Standards Initiative

Clark R.C., Mayer, R.E. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. (3rd ed). San Francisco, CA: Pfieffer. 

Roblyer, M.D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Nova Southeastern University: Pearson.