CEP 810 Reflection

The past 8 weeks have gone by so fast–yet, I feel like I’ve already learned so much about technology and learning. This course has showed me plethora of tools available online that can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. I’ve learned it is possible to research how to do something using only YouTube and help forums. This Network Learning Project proves that really the world is at our fingertips, and we can use these tools to research and learn a totally new skill. I learned the various digital tools out there to keep people (especially educators) organized, especially when we’re GTD (getting things done!). Likewise, this course has exposed me to some amazing websites out there for educational purposed. Yet, we also learned about repurposing digital tools to meet the needs our our students, our curriculum, our school, etc. Above all, I’ve learned about the vast ways to be connected to educators from ALL over (through Twitter, RSS feeds, blogs, etc.) so I can continue to grow as a digital teacher and digital learner. My teaching has been (and will continue to) improve because of these ideas. I’m excited to have already made connections with many educators via Twitter, and hope to continue learning and implementing new ideas into my classroom.

A question that still comes to mind is: “Where do we go from here?” I want to know how I can move this idea of integrating technology into just my classroom, into implementing digital curriculum into schools and districts. There are so many innovating things happening in terms of educational technologies, yet there seems to be road blocks when it comes to funding, mandates, laws, etc. How do we truly turn education into student centered? I’m very much looking forward to the remaining courses in MSU’s Educational Technology program.


Network Learning Project–Ballroom Dancing Final Video

For the past five weeks I’ve been working on a Network Learning Project for CEP 810. This project required us to learn something new by only watching YouTube videos and reading online forums. At first I thought this was quite the daunting task, as I chose to learn how to ballroom dance with my husband. In hindsight, I was brave in learning something that required a partner, as I was the one who did a majority of the research and then had to teach him!

We started out watching some professional videos, which we quickly learned, were way over our heads! Also, at first, I wanted to learn several ballroom dances (and still do!) but quickly learned that it would be better to just pick one style, the waltz. Once we decided on the style of dance, we used YouTube videos and Dance-Forums.com to learn some of the basics. We quickly saw how important posture was, and also learned our first move, the box step (which took time practicing just that one simple step!). The good news was that the box step is the main step in the waltz, as well as several other styles of dance! So you really cannot ballroom dance until you’ve learned this step. We then learned to enhance this step by “traveling” with the box step, as well as adding turns and even a dip at the end!

The idea of learning how to do something through these online networks was really amazing. I have to admit, I’ve mainly used YouTube in the past as a site for entertainment. Once I saw that you could get very detailed instructions on something like ballroom dancing, I quickly learned that YouTube could be used for more than just entertainment. Likewise, the dance forum, while it was a bit over our heads, did have many helpful posts and people were very eager to offer suggestions—all the way from posture to which types of shoes you should wear!

In the future, I would definitely see using this type of networked learning in my classroom. I am lucky enough to be in a school where every student has been issued a laptop. I think it would be great for them to use online resources to learn how to do something as opposed to me teaching them, or me even instructing which sites they have to use. I could foresee a challenge, because like me, my students primarily use YouTube as a source of entertainment, but I think when they see what is out there with regards to learning something new, and of course setting clear expectations, my students would definitely find value in it.

While my husband and I did come a far way from where we started, we still have a ways to go with our dance skills! I think we may continue to watch some “how-to”s and refer back to the dance-forum website to learn even more—maybe even venture into another style of ballroom dance!

Remix Video: Individualized Learning

In this first week of CEP 811, we’ve learned about how deep down we are all makers. Watching Dale Daughtry’s TED@ Motor City video, set the stage for this course and this week’s assignment: Making a Mozilla Popcorn Maker remix video on an educational buzzword!

First, we learned about remixing from Kirby Ferguson’s videos “Everything is a Remix” where he showed the intersecting ideas of various artists and where or whom they inspired from. Interestingly, Ferguson explains how everyone’s ideas are influenced from something else and therefore, everything is a remix of something already created. He goes into the legality of copyright and patents and the history of these came to be. This makes sense as teachers are constantly having to re-purpose and therefore remix how to teach content with the integration of technology. This is also evident in Lawrence Lessig’s definition of remix where one takes snippets and clips of various things (videos, audio, images, etc.) and puts them together in a way to inspire others. Thus, I have created a remix video to inspire others on the buzzword: Individualized learning.

My remix video can be found here: https://mrsbirbal.makes.org/popcorn/1idb

To remix, I had to find various images, video clips, and audio. I took clips from a McGraw-Hill 1945 video on Teacher Education taken from https://archive.org/details/Maintain1947, as well as photos from google images using Creative Commons search tools. The audio is from Clint Mansell’s “Memories Someone Will Never Know” (http://soundcloud.com/clint-mansell/memories-someone-well-never-know) and “The Exciting Music Time” by Melih Duman (http://soundcloud.com/melihduman/the-exciting-music-time). All of this was remixed together to demonstrate the value of individualized learning in the classroom.

I found the Mozilla Popcorn Maker somewhat frustrating to use. While it is nice that it is cloud based, and allows you to search right within the program to find video, images, and sound clips, I felt like the video editing options were a bit too simple. I would not consider myself anywhere near a master at editing videos, but this program’s options of deleting partial clips was difficult. I feel like the pop-up options were a neat way to remix words into the video, but again were structured and simple which sometimes took away from the message of the video. Although, it did bring me back to my VH1 days when I would watch “Pop-Up Video”!


Lessig, L. (2008). Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy. Penguin Press.

Ferguson, K. (2011). Everything is a Remix. http://everythingisaremix.info/about/

TPACK Cooking Activity

This week we learned about the TPACK Framework by Dr. Mishra which essentially shows how technology knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge intertwine together showing how to teach with technology. One main aspect of the TPACK framework Dr. Mishra mentions is that technology isn’t always designed to be a tool used in the classroom. Therefore, Dr. Mishra describes that teachers have to re-purpose the device to use as an effective teaching tool. Examples may include the XBOX Kinect used to demonstrate graphing lines on a plane, or the use of Excel spreadsheets in a math class. The teacher must use the TPACK framework to make the most of these technological devices to meet the needs of learners in the classroom.

Our activity this week required us to gather three supplies from the kitchen to complete a simple cooking task. The catch was, we didn’t know what utensils we would receive–and had to make due with what was given. I was given a typical cereal bowl, small plate, and a whisk to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Since a whisk is not normally used to make PB&Js, I had to re-purpose the tool to make it work for my task. What a unique way to demonstrate an idea, and truly gets to the idea of having to find other purposes for tools that we may use in our everyday lives! Lastly, the tools in the kitchen may be used for several different things (cutting, spreading, mixing, etc.) and similarly we can integrate technology devices into our teaching showing that these devices may have several uses.

Update on Ballroom Dancing (NLP)

So far, I am really enjoying everything I’ve learned about ballroom dancing. I really can’t believe all that goes into ballroom dance specifically all the different styles of dance, techniques, even types of shoes! Since we’re beginners, my husband and I have stuck to just learning the waltz, and I must say we’re getting better and better (it’s definitely a slow process though!)

One of the challenges I have faced as a learner since beginning this project is learning the steps, posture, and motions myself and then in turn teaching them to my husband. My husband knows he’s supposed to “lead” me, and I’ve shown him how he can do that with his arms, body, and steps. However, when it comes time to dance–he seems to always be off beat, and leading me in the “wrong” direction! I’ve shown him videos and posts by people–and he seems to think he’s got it right away, however, when we practice it seems as though I have to lead him (with him still trying to lead me…) and well, quite frankly it can be a mess!

The good news is, we’re getting better—within the next couple weeks we should have one complete dance ready to perform! In the mean time, if only we could both wear steel toed shoes, we could also save our feet the agony of being stepped on repeatedly! 😉

Week 5: Create a Lesson Plan

Lesson Title:
Experiment Design

Students will use the experimental design process to create their own experiment.
Students will post their experiment on Edmodo and will then carry out an experiment designed by one of their classmates.

SC.6.N.1.1–Define a problem from the sixth grade curriculum, use appropriate reference materials to support scientific understanding, plan and carry out scientific investigation of various types, such as systematic observations or experiments, identify variables, collect and organize data, interpret data in charts, tables, and graphics, analyze information, make predictions, and defend conclusions.

Materials Needed:


  • Send each student the Experiment Plan Google Doc.
  • Students will spend several days designing an experiment. Teacher should scaffold during this process, making sure the experiments being designed are safe, make sense, and are manageable.
  • Once students complete their plan, they will share their Experiment Plan Google Doc with a classmate to look at and review.
  • Student will take any comments and suggestions and revise their plan.
  • Once revised (and approved by the teacher), student will post the final plan on Edmodo.
  • Students will then be assigned another students plan to carry out the investigation.
  • While carrying out the investigation–students are expected to record data, and write a final lab report about the experiment they conducted using the Experiment Lab Report Google Doc.
  • Student may discuss with the original author about the experiment, if needed.
  • Student will then share the Experiment Lab Report Google Doc with original author and with the teacher to be graded.

Students will be assessed according to how the experiment they designed was carried out as well as to their final lab report of the experiment they carried out.

Lesson Reflection:
I will reflect upon the lesson and make any necessary changes for the future.


RationaleThis nature of science benchmark is a rather hefty benchmark to teach. In fact, it is the one benchmark that is found throughout the entire year in sixth grade science in the State of Florida–not to mention it’s also found in seventh and eighth grade as well. It also happens to be my favorite benchmark, because you cannot simply teach this benchmark by reading in a textbook or filling out a worksheet.

I have the privilege of working at a school that is a pilot school for digital curriculum. This means that every single student has been issued a laptop and in my class we have been paperless all school year! The integration of Google Drive (Google Docs) and Edmodo are integral parts of this lesson. It allows students a space to create and organize their experiment (Google Drive) and also a place for students to share and receive feedback on their experiment (Edmodo). By having students design their own experiments, students are really able to see all the necessary parts of science investigations. Throwing this lesson at them may seem quite lofty–however, we spend a majority of the first quarter learning about science investigations and my students have already gone through the designing an experiment process once as a group.

The combination of designing their own experiment (and then running the experiment of another student) and using tools like Google Drive and Edmodo creates this unique “21st Century” learning experience.  My students will be able to research their experiment (available right inside Google Docs), write up their lab report, use Edmodo to share and ask questions and to receive instant feedback. Also, knowing their work will be available for their peers to read gives meaning to their work.

As Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (2011) indicate, the use of digital technologies such as Google Drive and Edmodo change the classroom model into learning environments that embrace change as students are able to learn, research, and play using digital tools. This means, lessons like this one can take place in the classroom, and students can be learning, researching, carrying out experiments at their own pace because not every student needs to be reading textbook page 82 while filling out a worksheet to satisfy the benchmark. Likewise, Renee Hobbs (2011) writes about the five core competencies as fundamental literacy practices that support all learning through digital means. This lesson supports these five competencies by allowing students access to information through research using their laptops, analyze by editing experiments written by other students, creating through designing their own experiment, reflecting on their own experiment and their peer’s experiment, and acting to hopefully enhance the learning community through the outcomes of their investigations.

Through lessons like this one, students are able to enhance their learning to fit the 21st century. Instead of leaving technologies to the privileged, or the students who finish early, or the one-day-a-week session, we can integrate these tools into our lessons to meet the needs of this new culture of learning.


Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

Network Learning Project Update!

I decided I would try to learn how to ballroom dance as my Network Learning Project. We’re two weeks in, and my husband and I have made some slight gains from our dancing skills at a wedding a few weeks ago. I very quickly learned that there are many different types of ballroom dancing, so one of the first things I had to decide was which type of dance we would learn. After watching some videos on YouTube, I think we’re going to stick with the basic waltz (which isn’t so basic for us!). I took a video of one of our practices, and soon realized it was actually very helpful to watch a video of us dancing. One of the important steps of learning how to properly ballroom dance, is to have good posture and form. While we’re practicing, I always feel like we’re doing a great job–then I watch the video and can slowly see our hands begin to fall and our posture start to slouch! Here is a video of how our ballroom dancing is going so far.