Tag Archives: 541

Ed Tech 541 Week 3 Post Relative Advantage of Using the Basic Suite for Learning

The Basic Suite~ Word Processing,Spreadsheets, and Presentations~

I cannot begin to imagine teaching without these tools; however I can imagine being a student without these tools as I graduated from high school in 1981 and college in 1985, well before these tools were commonplace! According to Roblyer (2014), the “suite” of tools have “improved productivity, improved appearance, improved accuracy, and support interaction and collaboration” (p. 109).

Using the suite (whether from Microsoft, Google, or some other source) empowers both teachers and students.

Teacher Perspective

Using word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software allows teachers to create lesson plans, worksheets, and lets the teacher revise them and share with peers and students. Spreadsheets can be used to analyze grades and visually display data. Presentation software allows teachers to easily create presentations to help students learn about topics. Unfortunately, for some teachers “the presentation becomes a crutch, and they begin to rely on the slides to tell their story, rather than to help them tell the story”. I know that this week’s assignments and readings have made me realize that I need to update my presentations to include more images, links, videos, and far fewer words! I find that I am guilty of using the slide to communicate information rather than as a tool to help me communicate the big idea to the class.

Student Perspective

For me, as a student at BSU, the software suite has revolutionized the way I work. Rather than hand writing everything (like I did in high school and college), I now take notes using word processing. When I write a paper, I begin by typing ideas in word processing, and creating links to my references. Typing notes and ideas is ideal for someone like me with messy handwriting. For me, it has made being a student much easier in terms of organization.

How I use in the classroom

As a teacher, I try to have my students utilize all three types of software.

Wordprocessing~I have them type up their big ideas,and summarize their learning using word processing. Students like being able to quickly get their ideas down, and change them. As a teacher, I appreciate being able to read their work (sometimes, the handwriting is hard to decipher)

Spreadsheets~I ask students to set up data tables in spreadsheets, and use the spreadsheets to calculate the equations, and create graphs. Most students need to learn how to use spreadsheets, but once they learn, they see the value in terms of saving time, and creating ‘professional’ graphs. I like to show them both Excel and Google Sheets, and let them choose the one they prefer.

Presentations~I ask students to share their learning with their classmates (and me) using presentation software. Sometimes the students work in groups and collaborate. Other times, students will peer evaluate each others’ work before passing in for grading. This year, I want to introduce students to other presentation mediums such as Prezi, Emaze, and Piktochart, and allow them to choose the medium that best suits the presentation.

All in all, using word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations greatly enhance the classroom for teacher and student alike.


Cranford_Teague, J. (2013). Eight tips to power up your classroom. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-classroom-presentation-jason-cranford-teague  

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


ET 541 Week 2 Software Support Tools

We needed to create a chart detailing software support tools. Extra Credit for using Symbaloo or Pearltrees. I chose to use Pearltrees as it was easy to navigate and very intuitive. I think it is a great tool for organizing information, and it could probably go on the software support tools chart under “planning and organizing tools”.  Here is a link to my software support tools on my Weebly page.

ET 541 Week 2 Lesson Plan utilizing two types of Instructional Software

My prior post discusses and gives examples of the different types of instructional software. As part of the week’s assignments we created a lesson plan that utilizes two types of instructional software. I chose a tutorial from Annenberg on Plate Tectonics,  and a drill and practice  using Quizlet. I plan to create approximately 25-30 flashcards for the lesson plan.

Here is my lesson plan on my Weebly Site.

Here is my lesson plan embedded from Google Docs.

ET541 Week 2 Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

I liked how in the audio introduction of chapter three, Roblyer (2016)  refers to the different types of software as “teaching functions to meet certain learning needs rather than ways to classify software products” (p. 74 ).  I like thinking of the different types of software in terms of “how can they function in the class “ or “how I can use the software to achieve the goals of a lesson?” I found that a very good thought to keep in mind as I explore instructional software.

Software Types

The learning functions or instructional software are: Drill and Practice, Tutorials, Simulations, Instructional Games, and Problem Solving. It is important to note that there is overlap in the different software that is available, as one might find drill and practice software that also has games, etc. I currently employ lots of tutorials in my classes, and some use of other software such as simulations, drill & practice, and problem solving.

Drill and Practice gives students practice doing a specific activity such as vocabulary or math facts, and gives feedback to student on their answer. Flashcards are a classic example. Other examples include fill in charts (think multiplication tables), and branching drills where questions increase or decrease in difficulty based on student responses. An easy to use flashcard maker is Quizlet.  In my earth science classroom, I can see using Quizlet to help my students master the basic terms. The earth science classes are mixed abilities classes and I think all students would benefit from the quizlet flashcards, the high achieving students like the reinforcement, and the lower achieving students will benefit from reviewing the information in a quick, interactive manner. Quizlet allows teachers and students to create their own flashcards that can include some stock photos, and also allows users to browse and use flashcards created by other Quizlet members. For a $25 fee, teachers can upgrade to an annual teacher account which is ad-free, allows teachers to track student progress, add images to flashcards, and gives the option to record audio. Although the focus of my final project is on Earth and Space Science, I wanted to include one of my favorite drill and practice websites for Physics: The Physics Classroom . This website has different sections, but drill and practice questions can be found in the Tutorial,  the Review Session , Minds on Physics (MOPs) , and the Calculator Pad.

Tutorials as the name implies, help students  learn about a specific topic. According to Roblyer (2016), a tutorial is a  “self-contained instructional unit rather than a supplement to other instruction. Students should be able to learn the topic without any other help or materials”(p. 83). A good tutorial is interactive, and gives the student an opportunity to practice the skill by giving feedback. One frustration is that some tutorials are “page turners” meaning they are basically online books without opportunity to practice skills/knowledge learned.

Some good tutorials for Earth and Space Science can be found at The Universtiy of Utah’s Astrophysics Science Project Integrating Research and Education (ASPIRE) page. Some of these are true tutorials, meaning they are stand alone lessons with opportunity to drill and practice, while others are simulations or games. Some of my favorites “true” tutorials from ASPIRE are: Star Lifecycle, and  Seismic Waves .  Another good source of interactive Tutorials is from Annenberg Learner Interactives. Again, some are stand alone, fully functional tutorials, while others are simulations, or do not offer feedback. Some of my favorite tutorials form Annenberg Learner for Earth and Space Science are: Interactives Rock CycleInteractives Dynamic Earth. Both have interactive check points with a “game like” feel along the the way, and assessments at the end. Annenberg Learner also has an excellent tutorial  periodic table. The National Oceangraphic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a good tutorial which is somewhat interactive, NOAA Jetstream School. This site acts as text book, and offers short quizzes (about ten questions) at the end of each unit. Another tutorial that has simulation and problem solving overlap is Science Courseware. This site offers free sign up for tutorials, simulations and assessments in a variety of science topics. There are some other good sites; however, these tutorials really are just on line texts as they are not interactive in terms of giving feedback to students. For Earth and Space Science these include the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS),  National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),  and Window to the Universe.  When I use these sites, I will give my students specific questions to answer, and then we either review as a class, collect as an assignment, or quiz on the material (using their notes).

Some specific sites from both NASA and the USGS that I have used include: NASA Univese 101 : a great resourse to learn about Big Bang Theory, evidence to support the Bigh Bang, and more. Our Star the Sun which gives the reader a good introduction to the anatomy of our sun. USGS Geology in the Parks Rocks and Minerals Site to learn about rock types and rock cycles. I use this as a follow up to the Annenberg Interactives Rock Cycle activity. What on Earth is Plate Tectonics  or This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics. I use either of these as a follow up with the Annenberg Interactives Dynamic Earth tutorial.

Again, my focus is on Earth and Space Science, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include my all time favorite tutorial, The Physics Classroom Tutorial. I use it as my textbook in Physics. This tutorial has animations, questions to check for understanding, and links to other topics to reinforce prior ideas. All in all, I measure all other tutorials against this one!

Simulations are interactive programs that allow users to learn about a topic or learn how to do something. Simulations are a natural in the science classroom especially for labs that could be dangerous, too costly, or take place very short or very long time scales. They are a good way to either introduce a topic or to follow-up a hands-on lab activity to check for understanding. Lastly, simulations can take the place of demonstrations. Some good Simulations for Earth & Space Science include ASPIRE . Specific Simulations for Earth Science include In Search of Cosmic Rays, and Cosmic ZoomPhet from the University of Colorado is another well trusted simulation source for all the science disciplines.  Specifically for Earth Science,  I have used the Greenhouse Effect, and next year I hope to introduce Plate Tectonics which allows students to see the progression of plates by compressing the time scale. Another source of Interactives can be found at the Glencoe Earth Science textbook site by searching the virtual labs.  Specifically, the following virtual labs work well: How are rocks classified?  allows students the opportunity to look at a variety of rocks and classify them, How do seismographs help determine an earthquake’s epicenter? allows students to quickly see the process used to locate epicenters of earthquakes,  What is the structure of Earth’s Atmosphere? allows students to “see” what occurs in each layer of our atmosphere, How do meteorologist predict the weather?, and How does the chemical composition of stars determine their classification?. For Physics, the Physics Classroom has a great assortment of interactives to help students solidify their understanding of concepts. Some of my favorites are Name that Motion, Graph that Motion, and Projectile Simulator.

Instructional Games have many similarities to drill and practice software, as well as simulations; however they are”often overlaid with game rules” (Roblyer, p. 96). Games also have  a competitive feel. Some  game software that I think I can use in my Earth Science class are: Quizlet which allows students to create games and keep score by clicking on the “Play” icon.  ReviewGame Zone is a site that allows teachers to create games that are content specific. Tried and true, students love to play Jeopardy in class. It makes a good review for assessments, but I find that studentssometimes get more caught up in the score rather than the content! A good Jeopardy maker can be found at Super Teacher Tools and Jeopardy Labs. Students also like to do crosswords as review, I have students complete in pairs or individually and will give a prize (a bonus point on test) to first team done. An easy crossword puzzle maker can be found at The Teachers Corner  and A to Z Teacher Stuff. Here is a link to some fun Earth Science hangman review games created by Charles Burrows from Spring Valley High School.

Problem Solving software does just that, it helps students solve problems. There are two types content specific problems, and general problem solving skills. Science Courseware has several sites to simulate and assess students knowledge in a problem solving environment. The site is free, and teachers must register their classes and students log on to site to take part in the tutorial/simulatiojn/problem solving activity, and then take a quiz. The teacher can log on and see all the student scores. I can definitely see myself using this in my earth science class next year, although the students will need practice navigating the website. Some other earth science specific problem solving sites can be found at Annenberg Learner Interactives. These combine tutorials with problem solving in such activities as Where Should you build? which gives students the opportunity to learn about volcanoes, and problem solve as to the best location for locating a building based on geologic evidence and Storm Chaser  where students determine the chance of a tornado occurrence.

Relative Advantage of using some of these in my earth science class include using tutorials in place of textbooks and lectureclass notes saving both money and time. The district will not need to buy expensive new textbooks to replace the dated books from 1999, and the tutorials save class time by allowing the teacher to work with students as questions arise as opposed to spending class time lecturing from powerpoint or SmartBoard notes. The use of these tutorials will also engage the students more than a traditional textbook. Another relative advantage of using the software is that students can pace themselves and go back to review if necessary. Also, the students will get a feel for what real seismologist, volcanologists, and meteorologists actually do by participating in simulations and problem solving activities. Overall, adding some of these software types can enhance the Earth Science Environment.


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

ET541 Relative Advantage Chart

Here is a link to my Relative Advantage Chart on my 541 Weebly site. This assignment really made me think about what I want my students doing, and what problems arise. I don’t go through this process as I plan lessons, but I think this is a valuable thought process to use as I go forward to help me decide if technology solution fits the problem.

I chose the 2012 AECT Standard 1 Content Knowledge: Using, Assessing/Evaluating; Standard 2 Content Pedgogy: Creating , Using; and Standard 5 Research:Theoretical Foundations

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 http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-implementation

Edutopia. (2007b). Why do we need technology integration?. In Technology Integration Professional Development Guide. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-importance.

Mansfield High School, (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mansfieldschools.com/MHS/index.htm

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.