Scaffolding in PBL

According to John Larmer, editor in chief of BIE, scaffolding was defined as “a process in which teachers model or demonstrate the problem-solving process, then step back and offer support as needed”(2016).  This is essentially a differentiated learning process where teachers provide the students with “lessons, modeling, coaching, workshops, tools, or any other resources they might need” (2016).

In addition, McKenzie states that, There are 8 characteristics of scaffolding, including, (1) Clear directions (2) Clarity of purpose (3) Students staying on task (4) Assessments clarify expectations (5) Students pointed to good sources (6) Reduces uncertainty, surprise & disappointment (7) Efficient and (8) Creates momentum (1999).

Scaffolding in PBL is essential, because it allows the students to first learn about the problem/project or why it matters, and create questions like, “What can we do to fix it and how?”, supplemented with teacher insight or materials, and finally, leading to original and creative solution(s) by the students.

I plan to address scaffolding throughout my PBL, by:

  • ensuring students understand appropriate core skills & standards prior to the PBL, ensuring they are prepared
  • providing clear guidelines & an entry event that sparks motivation among the students
  • establishing a realistic timeline with the class & “checkpoints”
  • discussing & providing rubrics with the class, allowing for feedback and/or alterations
  • discussing & providing access to project examples, concept maps, applicable websites, writing, presentation & organization tools
  • regularly reviewing group work and individual student writing journals, providing constructive criticism
  • allowing feedback from each group to address questions or issues
  • providing a safe environment where students can collaborate w/o fear of reprisal or embarrassment



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.

Relative Advantage of Gaming in School

When I think of gaming, I think about setting up my old Nintendo to play the original Mario Brothers or using the old Microsoft computer in school to play Number Munchers during a break in keyboarding.  However, technology has grown quite a bit since 1997.

Thanks to the Internet, technological advances and the creativity of software engineers, students can play games either single or multiplayer with children throughout the world, both at home and at school.  Sites such as Khan Academy or Cool Math Games  could be incorporated into the class curriculum to enhance 3rd Grade Mathematics.

According to Rutherford, “Games give students opportunities to explore fundamental number concepts, such as the counting sequence, one-to-one correspondence, and computation strategies. Engaging mathematical games can also encourage students to explore number combinations, place value, patterns, and other important mathematical concepts. Further, they afford opportunities for students to deepen their mathematical understanding and reasoning” (2015).

Additionally, gaming in school motivates students to learn.  It encourages strategic mathematical thinking and supports computational fluency. It enhances drill & practice, while making assessment and curriculum adjustment more precise for the teacher.  Last, parents can partake in their children’s Math education at home, encouraging extra practice.


Rutherofrd, k. (2015). Why play math games?. VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

Good Day Educators!

For EdTech 513 this week, I created an introductory podcast.  I introduced myself, the topic of my podcast and I also discussed 3 recent news articles, concerning Educational Technology.  All 3 articles are from The Journal and were posted yesterday, on March 10, 2016.

The first article is entitled, NWEA Launches MAP Assesment iPad App, witten by Leila Meyer. This article discusses why the app was created and how it can help teachers.  In addition, students can complete the MAP or MPG assessments on touchscreen media, sending results to their teachers, immediately.  This information is then used to adapt the student’s learning to promote growth.  Further information can be found at the NWEA site.

In the second article, Report: Detachables to Drive Tablet Growth Through 2020, written by Joshua Bolkan, the International Data Corp (IDC) forecasts increased use and creation of detachable tablets.  Tablets below 9″ screen size will decline, while 9″ – 13″ are expected to experience growth.  In addition, unless Android and chrome are more closely aligned, Windows may be the best option. This information is useful for school districts, looking to purchase computers or tablets, because they need to understand upcoming technology and options available, based on the media’s longevity, usability and price.

The last article provides insight to the US Education Department’s $1.1 billion career technical education (CTE) makeover, in U.S. Education Department Makes Push for $1.1 Billion in CTE Funding, by David Nagel.  Priorities for the re-authorization include: (1) Alignment with the needs of the current labor market, (2) Greater collaboration between schools, Post Secondary institutions and employers, (3) Improved academic – employment outcomes and (4) Increased state and local involvement. The full article can be viewed at


Good Day Educators! Podcast                                                             Podcast: Google Doc

Annotated Bibliography

For my annotated bibliography for EDTECH 501, I chose to research how technology integration in the classroom and teacher professional development effect each other.  Also, what does this mean for the future of Educational Technology and mine as a graduate of such a program?

Although I only had to choose five articles, I found there are many studies that correlate teacher beliefs with self-efficacy, in using and understanding technology, and therefore effectively integrating technology into lessons within public school classrooms or collaboratively in massive online learning environments.  Additionally, I read many times over that teacher education and professional development will continue to change based on emerging trends in technology and therefore require continued education and budget flexibility.

Thank You for reading, and I hope you find my assignment helpful!  Feel free to provide feedback.

My Annotated Bibliography