Year 2 Is Going To Be GREAT!

With week 1 and most of week 2 behind me, I find myself thinking more about how my time here in Ireland is meaningful to me. Not only have I grown as an educator because of my experiences in MAET, but I have grown significantly as a person.

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Research 101

How can I get my students motivated to learn? This is a question that I have asked myself time and time again. When the opportunity arose through MAET to research something that interests us I sprang at the opportunity. My research 101 group looked at if student choice impacts motivation. Long story short, our findings hint that it does. Continue reading

Instructional Design – TPACK Style

TPACK. Technology, content, and pedagogical knowledge. These are the aspects that are required to create a thoroughly “TPACK approved” lesson.  Going through the design thinking process to help a colleague solve a “problem of practice” through the TPACK framework has helped me reflect even more on my own teaching process. From asking open ended questions to clarify where the problem was stemming from, to reaching out to our PLN for assistance, this project was a huge learning experience for me.

I am a hard worker and very stubborn when it comes to trying to figure things out for myself. It was humbling for me to reach out for help and to change my approach as I went along. As a consultant for one of my colleagues, I wanted to appear as if I was confident, but in reality, I needed more guidance from her. Higher level math is not my strong suit, so once my instructor persuaded me to talk to my colleague about her problem, things became a lot clearer about what I needed to accomplish.

Please look at the prototype lesson that I created for my colleague. This lesson will hopefully help her with her “problem of practice” of students struggling to understand the concept of instantaneous and average rate of change in her algebra 2 class.

**Conclusion based on feedback from Bethany

GREAT Experiences

As part of the Year 2 experience, we as a class; plan, run, and present at an international educational technology conference at NUI Galway. I had 2 roles in this process. The first, as part of the communications team I organized a makerspace type “playground” at the end of the conference. This was where attendees could interact with both some high tech maker tools that they could incorporate into their classroom. Year 2 students ran the tables with various robots, apps, programs, and games showcased the fun that incorporating technology into the classroom can bring! My second role was as a group member in running one of the sessions for the day.

Image uploaded from iOS (3)

Photo Credit: Jana Labib

In my first role, I coordinated with MAET instructors to make sure that the maker “toys” were available for the day of the conference. My year 2 colleagues helped out and manned the tables that all of the toys were on. The Wednesday before the conference Sean and Candace brought the “magic box of toys” to class and everyone spent some time familiarizing themselves with their assigned maker tool. On the day of the conference, set up went smoothly and participants were engaged with the year 2 students running the tables. For over 30 minutes there were robots racing around showing how you can teach programming via robots and people learning how to build circuits! Karl Reinhardt from Corrib Village and Coder Dojo brought his son, Marcus, and one other ninja to show off Raspberry Pi and Arduino hardware. I would say that the mini maker faire was a success!

word cloud Blended

Word Cloud Attendees Created

In my second role, we started planning our session and researching different types of blended learning environments in the classroom. From here, I thought that it might be best to present our information through creating a blended learning experience for our attendees. Katie and I have both used different resources in our classrooms to create some blended lessons, we wanted to introduce our attendees to these resources and give them time to explore how to use them.

From here, I did some more research to make sure I was up to date and up to speed on the different aspects of blended learning and how students can use their own devices in the classroom effectively. I put together a symbaloo webmix with various digital tools that teachers at different grade levels could use to create blended lessons in their classrooms. As well as resources teachers can have their students use to create digital products. I also created a tutorial video for attendees to watch to show them how to use symbaloo. Katie created an Educreations video outlining our research on blended learning and then imported it into Edpuzzle to offer attendees a reflective “check point” along the way.

Welcome to Blended Learning

Next, we put all of the “pieces of the puzzle” together in Nearpod. I found Nearpod as a platform to compile resources for blended lessons and thought that it would be a good way to immerse attendees in a blended learning experience. I settled on Nearpod after struggling with Symbaloo lesson plans for a little while. I had used Symbaloo lessons before and was eager to use it in this setting, but an update that they did made it difficult to work with. Nearpod offers interactive student activities within the site, but also the ability to embed other resources in it.

The biggest learning piece of this experience for me, was taking the feedback we got and tweaking our presentation accordingly. Constantly looking to improve. I know I am not perfect and welcome constructive criticism. I am typically fairly critical of myself and often am glad to get outside opinions to make sure I am doing the best work that I can.

On the “big day” we ran into some technical difficulties with Nearpod and had to import all of our resources into Google Slides. We had to roll with the punches and were honest with our participants about what we were up against. I felt comfortable with my parts in the session and was happy with how smoothly they ran. I would change how awkward I was with my hand gestures and that I played with my rings and bracelets when my partners were speaking. Some of the parts that I had to say due to some of the technical difficulties were not delivered well on my part. I repeated myself a lot and stumbled a few times. Overall, however, I was happy with how our session flowed.

The discussions that happened among the attendees were meaningful and helpful to the goal of the session. Katie, Amanda, and I were able to walk around and facilitate discussions. Ideally, we would have had more time to have even more group sharing as this seemed to have just as much of an impact as the interactive online lessons we created.

My Passion Quotient

For as long as human beings have been around, we have had passion and curiosity to learn and discover new things. The earliest men would not have invented the wheel if it weren’t for the curious mind wondering about if there was a better way to move heavy objects. We would not have the advanced technology that we have today if it weren’t for great inventors passionately pursing their curious questions. Continue reading

Reflections and Connections

Throughout my teacher preparation courses, we were taught how to question, how to write lesson plans, and how to set up a classroom. At the time, this all seemed great. It wasn’t until I had a classroom of my own and could put the theories that I had been learning about into practice that I truly started learning how to REALLY do all of these things. The book “How People Learn”(2000) talks about how we learn best through experience and actually going through the motions ourselves. Continue reading



Photo Credit: Brianna English

Our special interest group (SIG) further researched the Maker Education
Movement in order to produce an academic poster and present at the GREAT16 conference in Galway, Ireland. As part of this process, I created the Google Doc for our group to brainstorm. Then, we all talked about what our focus questions would be for this specific project and all searched for articles related to the Maker Movement. Through this research and discussion, we became the experts or more accomplished novices who then had more knowledge and understanding of the content than the audience to whom we were presenting. Continue reading

The Internet…

Wait…What?!?! The internet is changing the way we think? In 2010, posed the question, “How Is The Internet Changing The Way You Think?.” Over 120 authors contributed to answering this question. From how the internet is replacing experience with facsimile, to using the internet as a crutch, to attention now being as fundamental a skill as reading, the responses to the question, how is the internet changing the way you think, are surprising, yet obviously true. Continue reading

Halfway There!

Now that my MAET year 1 experience is half way over, I can’t believe how much I have learned already. And to think, this is only half of what I will gain from this summer in Ireland! From robots to readings to class discussion, it has all inspired me to go home and use what I have learned this summer to engage my students in their learning through technology! Continue reading