WK 6 Reflection

Despite feeling slightly under the weather due to a head cold, I woke up feeling productive and proud of my educational achievements this week as an educator. I really enjoy learning about how to become a better teacher and ED637 is rightfully doing so. In the past, I have taken workshops but  because of the short time investment and lack of a grade, it is just as motivating as a longer credited class.


This week I started the week out by hosting the Twitter session with Kendra. I enjoyed creating the questions for the class–because I felt like I took more responsibility for learning the content due to the fact I would be leading a discussion. It was this realization that had me thinking I should think about giving my students the same opportunity. In all reality it might take less prep for me as an educator and allow students to take ownership of their learning. Dr. Mary Lee Graham you are a brilliant woman!


I’m thinking I will start with the next section in my Geography unit with journal responses to the essential questions. However, I do believe some of the buy in factor in an accredited Master’s degree program is the financial and time investments of students so I am a bit leary of the outcome in a middle school setting. Nonetheless, I believe it is worth a try and the same principals here could be adjusted to fit the needs of my student population. I would likely bet I will need to have some buy in factor. That will be the lingering question on my mind this week as I prepare to try this method of learning on my students.


After finishing the twitter session on Monday, I realized how important it is as a student that I have all the materials read before we tweet. In order to have a worthwhile meeting with rich discussion, we all must read.  With that being said I am thankful we have class later on Monday. It gives me enough time, if I haven’t gotten my reading done for the week. The best part about hosting a Twitter session for myself other than learning new content was being extra prepared to write my blog.


Wednesday afternoon came and I was not rushing to post my blog, a huge feat! Periodically I would check others blogs so that I could learn from their research. As prepared as I thought I was, I overlooked the video. In rush to get a video posted I googled how to do it. The internet is an amazing resource. In a matter of minutes, I was able to watch a few video and get started on creating one. Posting the video was a bit challenging because the wordpress account I have does not allow for video without paying a fee. Hopefully, my idea to create a google classroom to post my video worked. What I realized from the video task, is I am a bit outdated. It is apparent my video creating skills are infantile and I need to work on them. I watched Heather’s and Kendra’s video and was motivated to continue adding more technology into my classroom. More importantly, I learned from watching others that I am not as tech savvy as I believed myself to be.


In another break though I had this week was in thinking about my unit. I spent some time reviewing the Understanding by Design (UbD) method. Although, I should be more versed in this method, because it is the adopted approach to my district’s classroom maps, I had limited knowledge on this concept. I realized that UbD will require some practice and time to create these units, but well worth the outcome. I know for myself, this is where I would like to see myself in a few years with well designed UbD units. Most of the time, I have the good intentions to have transfers skills the goal but fail to do so. Right now I am struggling with what concept I would like to teach in my UbD unit. I have done some initial assessment testing in math using NWEA’s skills navigator. Currently, I am leaning towards a geometry math lesson. However, I am having an issue with the transfer part. I really wanted to do a unit on coordinate geometry since it was an area of weakness shown in the pre-assessment. I might take on the challenge because it is a weakness of mine. So in the meantime, I will be pondering journal prompts about the coordinate geometry ithat show my students know the skill being taught.   


Oh yes! I must not forget to say that this past week, I was a tad bit envious of those educators at ASTE. In the past, I was lucky enough to attend more than once but it has been years. I always request to go, but the district I work at tends to send newbies. Every year I have a desire to go, however, this year was magnified after broadening my perspective with technology in the classroom from enrolling in ED 637.


Week 6 Blog


How are games providing new opportunities for differentiation in the classroom?


Forbes (2017) quote of the day by David Copperfield, “Passion will keep you going when the going gets tough”, is, in my opinion, very suiting for the topic of Serious Games in the classroom.

It is important to note that there is a difference between a game and a serious game. For the purpose of this content serious games will be at the heart of the discussion. A serious game is one in which specific learning targets can be achieved following the the format of a game. A serious game is both: (1) to be fun and entertaining, and (2) to be educational (Bellotti, Kapralos, Lee, Morena-Ger, & Berta, 2013). There are studies reported by Bellotti et.al (2013) that suggest properly designed learning games do produce learning while engaging players. It is my belief that with the right mix of serious games and other methods of delivering education we, as educators, can best meet our students’ needs.

Serious games were an unlikely source of curriculum material found in the classroom of the past, however, because of innovations and the educational benefits of serious games they are likely to be seen in the present and continue into the future. Daniel Tack (2013) in his Forbes article about Serious Games reports that it is not a matter of how serious games will become part of the education system, but rather when. He further stresses that demands for ALL student success will ensure that serious games will become a part of our classrooms. Serious games allow, more easily, for differentiated instruction within the classroom–a goal of the modern teacher. Technology advancements in serious games further support this as Bushnell, the founder of Atari, states, “The computer allows you to adapt to each student’s particular skills and speed (Tack, 2013).” He also claims the field of education is going through one of the biggest changes it has seen in the last three thousand years due to educational software (Tack, 2013). Our education system is changing and it is likely serious games will be a part of this change.

Although serious games are unfamiliar territory to myself, according to Mary Ulicask (2010) the number of games with a research basis and designed to address an educational need is increasing. With the database of serious games growing and their effectiveness to help differentiate learning, I find it is worthwhile to include serious games in the educational setting.

A newer term, I have added to my vocabulary more recently is Gamification. Gamificiation is defined by Opresco, Jones, & Katsikitis (2014) as, “as the adaptation and application of game design principles and game interaction elements to workplace processes and behaviors”. We all know from personal experience that games are self-motivating, with that being said it makes sense to try and gamify your classroom. By adding the principles of gamification to our classroom we might engage more students while allowing for learning to take place. According to Kristen Dicerbo (2015), Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Learning Science and Technology at Pearson claims serious games not only hold potential for engagement of students but that they also align themselves well with other theories of learning. Furthermore, an analysis of the research conducted by Opresco, Jones, & Katsikitis (2014) suggests gamification is a promising strategy for encouraging loyalty , productivity, and well being in the workplace. It is important to note that although this study was done for the workplace, that school in itself is a workplace for young adults.

I would like to end with closing thoughts, “I play at work”. I couldn’t agree more that we should all have fun, even at work. Needless to say, I am a strong supporter of adding serious games to the curriculum in order to help students achieve because they, “embody the principles of deeper learning” (Dicerbo, 2010) while allowing the student to enjoy their learning experience. I look forward to what the future has to offer with serious games in the classroom thanks to technology.

Technology is forever changing the way education is approached. This week I spent a moment dabbling in how to present videos. Guess how I learned? The internet tutorials available on youtube coached me through it. I made a tutorial on a possible topic I might base my unit on. I posted it on my google classroom since this WordPress subscription is free and does not support video upload. The link to this is: https://classroom.google.com/c/NDY4MDkxNTgzMVpa


Okay I added a video to my group Wikispace. I hope the following link wors: http://ed637wk4group1.wikispaces.com/Wk6+Video




Bellotti, Francesco & Kapralos, Bill & Lee, Kiju & Moreno-Ger, Pablo & Berta, Riccardo. (2013). Assessment in and of serious games: An overview . Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, 20, 11. doi:doi:10.1155/2013/136864


Clark, Douglas & Tanner-Smith, Emily & Killingworth, Stephan. (2016).

Digital games, design, and learning: A systematic review and meta-analysis Review of Educational Research, (Research-Article), February 22, 2017


Dicerbo, K. (2015). Taking serious games seriously in education. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/7/taking-serious-games-seriously-in-education


Oprescu, F., Jones, C., & Katsikitis, M. (2014). I PLAY AT WORK—ten principles for transforming work processes through gamification. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 14. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00014


Tack, D. (2013). Forbes:  Serious games and the future of education. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/danieltack/2013/09/12/serious-games-and-the-future-of-education/&refURL=https://www.google.com/&referrer=https://www.google.com/


Ulicask, M. (2010). Games in education: Serious games. Future Labs: Innovation in Education, June, February 22, 2017.


Week 5 Reflection

This week was a much smoother week in terms of both my outcomes as an individual student and as a student in a group.  Last week, I frantically had joined the class and chose a group to participate in. Instead of pacing myself and believing I was on the right track–I panicked. I found that I had a hard time working independently as well as in a group. My mode of panic could have been because I was unfamiliar with the lingo that was taught the weeks prior to joining the class.  However with due diligence to get up to par with educational requirements, I feel that I am on track and ready to learn what this course has to offer.


To ensure that I got on track, I knew I needed to start this week of with a new game plan.  So I made sure to start reading and working on this week’s project as soon as Monday started. I sent out a group email Monday morning trying to set up a group meeting time, or if nothing else to remind all my group members of the upcoming project, which might have been too soon for some. I also sent out an email specifically to Kendra in regards to the upcoming twitter session. Both her and I will be hosting the Monday, February 20th, 2017 session. In fact, she let me know it was just a bit too soon for her. Understandingly, I could relate to needing more time to get things accomplished so I backed off.  I was happy I was persistent about getting the Twitter session questions started, because it turns out I was on the wrong track. My questions were not geared towards Week 5 questions. I was pleased with the quick response from Lee letting me know I was a bit off with my questions.


While waiting for a response from my group members, I created the Wikispace pages for the 10 assistive technologies. I sent an email out to everyone that I would be starting on Speech to Text just to get a running start on the project. I knew I would have to get a running head start because I had a busy weekend ahead of me.  


Eventually we met as a group in Ghangouts where we divided the roles. I was pleased with the collaboration and team efforts. The members of my group were fantastic and very cooperative.  Ray stayed on our group meeting longer so that he could catch Kenda up who was a bit late due to traffic. Our short meeting was nicely loaded with information on assistive technologies from all of us. I am pleased to be working in a group with others who are just as eager about learning.


Even with taking precautionary measures to make sure I had enough time in the week to stay on task, life gets to you at times. I was dealing with an unforeseen virus that hit my family as well as experiencing a layover at the wrestling tournament. I figure I will be taking this Monday off of work in order to get my Twitter session questions done for hosting and more importantly to nurse myself back to health.


In the end, even with road bumps, my new game plan proved fruitful in that I felt satisfied with my efforts and learning outcomes as an educator pursuing higher education. Our group project can be found at the following link:http://ed637wk4group1.wikispaces.com/


Week 1 ED 637

What is Differentiated Instruction?


Differentiated Instruction (DI) is, a classroom initially set up for success for all students through a complex instructional approach that is differentiated based on students’ needs while managing to address the curricular requirements.  According to Tomlinson (2001),  “In a differentiated classroom, the teacher proactively plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process and product in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness, interest, and learning needs” (p.7). The complex idea of DI can be a bit fascinating and overwhelming, because it challenges educators to rely on research based strategies for learning among a diverse group of students.


There is an increasing need for DI as current educational trends indicate the homogeneity of the past has been replaced with widespread diversity in the student population (Subban, 2006). Because of the diversity within the classroom, it calls into recognition that what is fair does not always mean the same for each student, a concept within itself, that is hard to get across to young adolescents’ minds. In order to successfully incorporate DI into the classroom a teacher has to acknowledge and accommodate the different learning speeds and styles assuming that all students have different learning needs.


In the past, the traditional method of teaching had been to apply a single approach to the homogenous group and reactively responding when the lesson failed. It is important to note, that DI is the exact opposite, it is proactive, a classroom set up for success from the start!


One way, to help with daunting task of meeting curricular goals is to realize that DI emphasizes qualitative over quantity.  With that being said, more time can be carefully planned so that instructional time is better spent. In order to accomplish this, the educator must be avid about assessments. By using the assessments to guide their curricular instruction, the curriculum is now designed with the students’ needs and curricular goals in mind. DI also requires the educator to have multiple approaches to content, process, product, and learning environment. According to Tomlinson (2001) by differentiating what students learn, how they learn it, and how they demonstrate what they have learned encourages substantial growth in all students.  Weselby (2017) reports that research has been conducted and reported that the DI approach benefits a wide range of students, from the advance learners to those with disabilities. Weselby (2017) further states a pro of using DI is that when, “Students are given more options on how they can learn material, they take on more responsibility for their own learning.” Therefore, DI allows for multiple approaches in learning while accommodating a range of students in order to get the greatest individual gains in education.

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 (Tomlinson, 2001, p.6)

In order to meet this complexity of instructional methods, the student-centered instruction is a blend of whole-class, group, and individual instruction that is carefully monitored by the teacher so that adjustments can me made when necessary. In this sense, a teacher is never fully prepared for the next lesson as the instructional methods change with each lesson.  It’s is always about making the classroom a better match for its learners with the greatest educational achievement in mind from the starting line.




Subban, P. (2006). International education journal. [Differentiated instruction: A research basis] Issn 1443-1475, 7(7), 935-947.


Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms.


Alexandria, VA: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Weselby, C. (2017). What is differentiated instruction? examples of how to differentiate instruction in the classroom. Retrieved 2017, February/02, 2017, from http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/teaching-strategies/examples-of-differentiated-instruction/

Week 4-Reflection: Group Project

This week was a challenging week to take on the class. In the midst of trying to get everyday stuff done, I had a vast amount of personal challenges along the way. I’m happy to say it is almost midnight on this Sunday and I just got my youngest one to sleep, which means I can write my reflection.


After a long weekend, I find the reflection part of this class to be almost therapeutic. It is a time to reflect upon the discoveries and learning experiences I have so diligently made this week. I was late at joining the class so I was playing catch-up. To do so, I started with creating a blog space for myself at WordPress. I wrestled with getting my name and blog address on the correct blog-roll. In a panic to make sure I joined a group, I joined group one for the group projects hoping they would be okay with the newbie.


Not wanting to appear like I was slacker. I decided to tackle the group project as soon as I could with correspondence with Dr. Lee Graham. I was feeling a bit unsure about what I was doing, but I planned to take her advice and trust I was on the right track. My next step in the group project was to create a Wikispace, which I later shared with the group.


The first correspondence I had with my group was through emails. Jules was very proactive about contacting all of us. She had us all join Slack, a program that is still fairly new to me. Because of her enthusiasm for the program, I look forward to using it in the future. This time around our group decided to meet in Ghangouts. Although before this meeting I thought I had a game plan, I ended it with a whole new game plan. This game plan was to not be broad and be very specific with the disability. We decided, as a group, not to break up the question by disabilities and instead tried to break up the question by specific aspects of a specific disability. Although, I was not certain we were on the right track, I found this meeting to be very educational. Kendra was more than willing to share her wealth of knowledge and Ray was a great leader.


After a day passed, I decided to work on the group project before checking my email. I went to the school to research. I printed off some work to read at home. Then after spending hours reading and getting ready to add to my group project, I find out that I am on the wrong path. Jules decided to double check with Dr. Graham if we were on the right track with the group project. It turns out we weren’t. Although at the time I was not happy to hear what Jules had to say, I do appreciate her making sure we were doing it correctly. Just about an hour later, we met again on Saturday afternoon for a brief period just to make sure we were all on the right path. Yahoo! We were! Go team!


Today I finished up on last minute research and reviewing the deadlines. One thing I almost overlooked was inviting Dr. Graham to our Wikispace. I believe that was one of my final steps for the day other than tweeting about this blog after I am done.


My final thoughts for the night are that I am impressed with technology and my fellow classmates wealth of knowledge; because of both we were able to collaborate and learn a tremendous amount despite our busy lifestyles.