ET541 Vision Statement

Here is a link to my vision statement on my Final Project Page.

Vision Statement for High School Science Physics, Earth Science: Active Engagement and Responsibility                                                 Caroline Cooney, ET Tech 541-4202, Boise State University, summer 2015

Hands-on, Minds-on, Messy, Collaborating, Learning, Active, Questioning, Responsibility

What do these words all have in common? These are the words that come to
mind when I picture a science classroom that seamlessly integrates technology into the fabric of the class. The goal of integrating educational technology into my high school science classroom is to have students actively engaging with CHCC2008curriculum and taking ownership for their learning by exploring content, designing investigations to reinforce concepts, solving problems (& making mistakes), learning from those mistakes, and sharing knowledge with peers and instructors, all while utilizing technology as part of the process. “When technology integration in the classroom is seamless and thoughtful, students not only become more engaged, they begin to take more control over their own learning, too.” (Edutopia, 2007a). In my opinion, learning can be messy and difficult at times, but when students take responsibility and integrate all of the aforementioned pieces together, that is when true learning occurs!

The “big idea” for the vision of my science classroom is one of active engagement


2015, My Class using the Media Center to solve Physics Problems. Courtesy of D. Redding (2015).

and responsibility with science content, technology, each other, teachers, and the school community. In part, the big idea comes from the Mansfield High School’s core values and expectations, which are the Mansfield High School student

  • communicates effectively,
  • analyzes information from text and other media sources,
  • accesses information from text and other media sources,
  • solves problems and creates solutions using curiosity, imagination, and critical thinking skills,
  • uses technology effectively,
  • collaborates with others to a productive end,
  • leads by influence and example, and
  • demonstrates personal and global responsibility.

As a high school teacher, my job is not only to help my students learn about Earth Science and Physics concepts/problem solving, but also to ignite a journey of lifelong learning. “Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.” ( Edutopia, 2007b). The jobs of tomorrow do not exist today, but as a teacher it is my duty to ensure that my students have the ability to think, solve problems, work and collaborate with others, and utilize technology to develop answers. These skills will be required of the next generation of workers.

Some potential hurdles that I face as I integrate technology into the classroom include: access to appropriate technology tools, access to internet, evolving teacher ideas of education, and student resistance to constructivist learning. Currently my classroom has a set of eight laptops ( I have access to additional laptops on a cart to make a complete class set), and the school media center has desktops, and a set of Chromebooks available. The laptops sometimes have issues with batteries and connecting to the internet; however the laptops are necessary as the Physics software from Pasco called Capstone runs only on laptops (or desktops). In terms of evolving teacher ideas, in order to integrate technology, the teacher must be willing to make changes to classroom structure and assessments. According to Edutopia, “The first step in successful tech integration is recognizing the change that may need to happen inside of yourself and in your approach to teaching. When any teacher brings technology into the classroom, he or she will no longer be the center of attention…However, this does not mean that the teacher is no longer essential to the learning process… Most students still need a guide to help them use digital tools effectively for learning and collaboration” (Edutopia, 2007a). Lastly, students also need to have evolving expectations of learning . So many times I hear my students say “just tell me what I need to know!” Learning can be challenging for students especially when we ask the students to create their own meaning. I have heard from both students and parents that “the teacher doesn’t teach anymore”, and “I/my child has to figure it out”, but the student and parent eventually see the real learning. My students comment at the end of the trimester that “sometimes the work we do is hard, but really helps us to learn”.  The idea is for teachers to guide students as they make meaningful connections with content and technology, so that the student ultimately has a deep understanding of both content and 21st century skills, as well as a sense of responsibility for their own learning.

Technology integration in the science classroom stems from both the  Directed Integration Model and the Constructivist Integration Model. The Directed model is based on the objectivist viewpoint that knowledge exists outside of the mind and learning occurs when the knowledge is transmitted to the mind and is able to be retrieved. Conversely, the Constructivist Integration model relies on the view that humans construct knowledge through experience. (Roblyer, p 35). Both models, the Directed Integration and the Constructivist Integration have a place in the technology-integrated science classroom.  Some information, such as the basic skills may be best learned using Directed Integration, while higher order thinking skills may best be learned using the Constructivist Integration. I see the classroom as a continuum of these models. I currently am somewhere in the middle, and am probably closer to the Directed Integration model, but as my teaching skills and ideas evolve, I hope to employ more Constructivist Integration model ideas and activities as I progress.


Edutopia. (2007a). How to Integrate Technology. In Technology Integration Professional Development Guide. Retrieved from

Edutopia. (2007b). Why do we need technology integration?. In Technology Integration Professional Development Guide. Retrieved from

Mansfield High School, (n.d.). Retrieved from

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating technology into education. (7th ed.). New York, NY, Pearson.

2012 AECT Standard 5 Research: Theoretical Foundations

Below is a Google Presentation of my vision statement.


8 responses to “ET541 Vision Statement

  1. Great vision, Caroline! I like your focus on active engagement and ownership over learning processes. I share these commitments in my classes. You did a great job summarizing the directed and inquiry-based strategies.

    I know that in my field–philosophy–the norms for teaching are adopting the stale, transmission-based model, which fits with directed learning strategies. The onus has been on me as a TEACHER (which, I think is the last thing most philosophers think of themselves as) to develop effective learning strategies for my classes. Is there something about the content of high school science that lends itself to more directed approaches or do you think your reliance on directed strategies are inherited?

    Great job. I enjoyed reading your vision statement.

  2. Thanks, Mindi~ I appreciate the feedback. Great question you pose. I think that my reliance on directed strategies is a combination of “inherited” and some content works well w/ directed approaches. My schooling (HS 1981, College 1985) was very much a directed experience, and so that is what I know. I do try to do more inquiry activities, but feel like I am in control still…in terms of websites or how students will demonstrate their knowledge. Science is a terrific class for an inquiry model as the more hands on the better; however, I find my students aren’t quite ready for that either. My first year teaching physics, I would give my students a question and have them devise an investigation to test it. It was so very challenging for them without direct teacher instruction. So, now I find myself somewhere between the two, with a vision for a class where students are owning their learning and using me as a resource. Slowly, but surely I am moving along the continuum between all directed learning and all inquiry learning.

    It must be challenging in Philosophy trying to implement a more inquiry based curriculum. Interesting because when I think “philosophy”. I think of critical thinking and analysis, so how then do you teach these very constructivist ideas in a directed instruction environment?
    Thanks again for your feedback.

  3. Great job, Caroline! I think it is awesome that you have “stuck to your guns” on the issue of letting students figure things out. Physics is such a great subject to let students discover things on their own, but it does require a lot of work, collaboration, and patience on their part! I have also received a little push back with allowing students to work through tough labs and activities to figure things out on their own, but I totally agree that this gives them skills that will be so vital for the future. I also like your quote about when teachers bring technology into the classroom, “he or she will no longer be the center of attention…” I think this is really difficult for a lot of teachers who are so very comfortable with traditional lectures and micro-managing delivery of information to students. It really does take a shift in our minds to be ready to incorporate technology effectively!

    • Becky-
      Thanks. I agree that changing the teacher mindset is definitely a challenge. I can see how my own approach has changed in the 8 years that I have been teaching. I am definitely somewhere in the middle. On occasion I will slide back to a very teacher-centric environment or go to the other extreme where the students are driving the lesson completely…both make me feel uncomfortable. There is a fine line of balancing between the two, and figuring out what/how it works in the classroom. Of course, continuing to practice the skills, and help my students practice the skills goes a long way to making constructivist learning work more smoothly! I keep trying though because I believe that when students take ownership they can learn much more!

  4. Caroline, learning is definitely a messy process for adults – should we let it be any less so for our students? I appreciate the way you describe your belief in student inquiry, as well as describe the challenges that arise in moving that direction. Much as we’d like to believe that inquiry learning is a natural state for kids, the reality is that it is a skill like any other, and one that has not been fostered over the past decade and a half of high-stakes testing and NCLB. It’s a transition for students and teachers, as you note.
    I look forward to reading more about how your passion for your content and for student exploration of that content manifests itself in integrated technology lessons!

    • Molly-
      Absolutely, time comes down to a big part. It takes a lot longer to do inquiry based learning, and when there is a finite amount of time, and oh so much content to cover, it is easy and quicker to revert to teacher-centric models.
      Thanks for your feedback.

  5. We are heavily vested in Vernier Technology. I will be interested to read along with your progress to see what challenges and advantages Pasco has compared to Vernier.
    I agree with your discussion about students needing a guide to help them know how to use the tools that are available to them. Even though they often are very comfortable with technology, they do not know how to use it for the specific task of engaging in inquiry.

    • I have only used the Vernier once in a class I took a few summers ago. Very similar to Pasco. We just updated to the new Capstone from Pasco, so I am still figuring it out. It is amazing to me the comfort range of students with technology. Some feel very comfortable with new technology, jumping in feet first. Some are much more reluctant. Another example is using Google or Excel for graphs. I spend a large amount of time teaching that skill as well.

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