Sunday, October 23, 2011

Final Blog Post

During week one of this course, we were asked to describe our own personal learning theory. Now that we are at the end of this course, we have been asked to review our personal learning theory and decide if we feel that our learning theory needs modified or changed as a result of our learning through this course. After rereading my original personal learning theory, I don't feel that I have really changed my view about it, except for the fact that I would like to focus more of my attention on the constructivist/constructionist theory and try to incorporate more activities based on this theory, into my classroom. The reason being is that, as we have learned through these past seven weeks, and as Dr. Michael Orey would put it, "Students learn best when they are engaged and active in creating a product" (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011b). This theory also supports Paivio's Dual coding hypothesis, which is one of the four fundamental components of the Cognitive Learning Theory (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011a). Also, when students are able make or build things (artifacts) it is fun and exciting for them and provides a positive learning experience. Not to mention, it increases motivation and they are more engaged and willing to take more control over their own learning. When you add the use of educational technology, the interest level, motivation, and engagement of the students increase as well. It is for these reasons, that I have decided to focus my attention on the Constructivist/Constructionist theory, while continuing the use of pieces of the other three learning theories.

With the knowledge of the educational technologies that I have gained throughout this course, I feel that I am ready to implement some of them right away. I have used some technology in the classroom, but now, I can do so more often with the confidence that it will make a dramatic difference in my instructional practices. Two of the tools that we have talked about, that I am most excited about incorporating into my classroom is, Powerpoint and Voicethread. Both of these programs are user friendly and will provide the appropriate level of difficulty for my fourth grade students. With these two programs the students will be creating an artifact that they are proud of and can share with others and because they are creating something using text and visual imagery, they are both very powerful tools to use in the classroom. Having used and practiced with both of these programs myself, along with some of the other programs we have learned about, I have added these educational experiences to my own personal repertoire of instructional skills and broadened my knowledge level of the various types technological tools available, which I can share with my students and help to prepare them with the 21st Century Skills they will need to succeed in the world today.

I have decided to create a couple of long term goals, to create some changes in my instructional practice regarding technology integration. One of those goals is to make sure that I am incorporating some sort of technology into my lessons every week. This could be anything from a simple video clip, to an interactive whiteboard activity, to a Powerpoint presentation or the creation of a class wiki. It doesn't really matter what technology tool I am using as long as it is engaging and enriching experience. The other goal of mine is, to try a new technology tool that I haven't used, that I have learned about through this class, at least once this year with my students. Then, my hope is that next year, I can add a couple more tools that I have found or will learn about through the rest of this Masters program, until I have built a large collection of tools that I can use to meet the needs of all of my diverse learners.

In order to work on achieving these goals, I will need a strategy to help me achieve them. The first thing I will need to do is, make sure that the technology is available for us to use every week. I only have a few computers in my room, so I will need to set aside one day a week to schedule the computer lab. I prefer to have it be the same day everyweek, in order to develop a routine for the students and myself, however, this may not always be possible. The other thing that I need to do is be very strategic in planning my lessons for the week, to ensure that I have integrated some type of technology into them. Every week,the Intervention Specialist and my fourth grade team meet to share our plans and ideas for the upcoming week. So I will share with them, my ideas for implementing a technology tool or lesson for that next week and ask for feedback, comments, or suggestions. Doing this every week, helps keep me accountable for making sure that I am striving for achieving my goals. Meeting every week helps create a great support system for each other and helps us to encourage one another throughout the year, especially when times get tough!!

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011a). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Crystal Moyer  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Social Learning Theories in Practice

Our classrooms are evolving and 21st Century Skills are becoming a must in the classroom. One of the ways to meet the demands of the 21st Century is to provide our students with more opportunities to use Web 2.0 or the Read/Write Web. With Web 2.0 the students are able to collaborate and share information online (Pitler et al, 2007). This is a perfect resource for supporting the "Cooperative Learning" instructional strategy. Cooperative learning focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Pitler et al, 2007). Our students need to be able to learn and work cooperatively with their peers. With the use of many different Web 2.0 programs collaboration and cooperative learning amongst students is made simple and will help prepare our students for the ever increasing, fast-paced, virtual world.

Some great programs that can be used to encourage cooperative learning are blogs, wikis, keypals, webquests, web site creation, shared calendars, shared bookmarking, simulation games, skype, and voicethread, just to name a few (Pitler et al, 2007). As you can see, it is easy to incorporate technology into this instructional strategy. With these programs, the students are able to build artifacts that can be shared with others and that is the basis of all Social Learning Theories. In cooperative learning, the students are able to work together with More Knowledgeable Others (MKO) to achieve goals that might otherwise be unattainable if working independently. This is also a characteristic of Social Learning Theories.

The Social Learning Theory is another one of the learning theories that teachers should embrace and apply in their classroom, along with all of the other learning theories. I feel that as educators, it is important that we use all of the different theories and instructional strategies in our teaching practices to help our students develop balanced and well-rounded learning experiences.    

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Crystal Moyer

My Voicethread

I have decided to focus on a problem that we are working on improving within our school district and classrooms. Every year our students take the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) and for the past few years, we have not met AYP in one subgroup which has put us in School Improvement. So I have uploaded our School Report Card and discussed it on my Voicethread. Feel free to check it out at

Crystal Moyer

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Constructivism in Practice

Being able to construct, create, or build something based on your learning is an extremely powerful skill. This is what the Constructionist/Constructivist Theory is all about. There are certain instructional strategies that correlate very well with this theory. For example, the "Generating and Testing Hypotheses" strategy. When we are able to make a prediction on something and then test whether our prediction is correct, we are "DOING" something to prove whether our hypotheses is correct or not.

I have always thought that this strategy could only be used in Science class, but after reading more about this strategy in our textbook, I learned that it can be used in any subject area. The book listed six tasks that help students generate and test hypotheses: systems analysis, problem solving, historical investigations, inventions, experimental inquiry, and decision making (Pitler et al, 2007). I was very interested in learning more about the historical investigations and the web resources that have to do with Social Studies, since this is the subject I teach. Then it talked about technology programs that support this strategy (Spreadsheet software, Data collection tools, and Web resources), all which help students focus on "interpreting the data, rather than gathering the data" (Pitler et al, 2007). All of these ideas are great ways to interact with their information that they have found and since they are able to manipulate the information, they are actually able to understand the process, make decisions, decide whether their hypotheses are correct or not, and revise it if necessary.

Because the students are using these different technology programs to create an artifact that they can use or share with others, they are following the Constructionist Theory. The fact that they are actively constructing their own meaning from the activity, means they are followign the Constructivist Theory (Laureate Education, Inc, 2011). Either way you look at it, using these technology programs with this instructional strategy (Generating and testing hypotheses) directly correlates with the Constructionist/Constructivist Theory and promotes higher level thinking skills and transfer to long term memory!

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Crystal Moyer

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

According to Dr. Michael Orey, Cognitive Learning Theories focus on the mental processes and are made up of four components: Limited short term/working memory, Elaboration, Dual coding, and the Network model of memory (Laureate Education, Inc, 2011). There are many different cognitive tools and instructional strategies that we can use to activate these components, that are necessary for storing information into the long term memory. Two of the instructional strategies that I want to focus on are, "Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers" and “Summarizing and Note Taking " (Pitler et al , 2007). Both of these strategies relate to the Cognitive Learning Theory because they are strategies that are used for teaching for understanding or comprehension of material, which we know is a mental process and can be linked to the four components of the Cognitive Learning Theory.

When using the cues, questions, and advance organizers strategy, you are helping the students make connections through the use of verbal cues and questions, visual images, and interactive experiences, which in turn will help them to be able to store that information into their long term memory. An excellent tool to use is concept mapping. This is a great visual for the students to organize information. They are interacting with the information, sythesizing it, and creating those meaningful connections. There are many other technological programs that can be used for this strategy, concept mapping is just one example.

Summarizing and Note taking is another very powerful strategy that can be used to aid comprehension and understanding. In one of Dr. Orey's articles (Orey, 2001), he describes a scenario where a student takes a virtual field trip and records his thoughts and experiences using a multimedia journal. This is an example of how he can summarize and take notes on his field trip. He could have also blogged about his thoughts and experiences. Higher level thinking skills are evident in this type of activity because the student had to understand and apply his knowledge in analyzing, evaluating, and creating his journal entry. Being able to use these higher level thinking skills directly correlates with Cognitive Learning Theories. There are many other great ways to summarize and take notes, all of which can deepen understanding. In fact, both of the strategies I have discussed, are excellent ways to deepen understanding and isn't that, as teachers, our goal for our students?

 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Crystal Moyer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Behaviorist Theory in the Classroom

This week, in our resources, we read about "Reinforcing Effort” and “Homework and Practice" (Pitler et al , 2007) and how these two strategies can embed technology and can relate to the Behaviorist Theory . First of all, being able to use technology in school is a very positive and motivating learning experience for most children. Using behaviorist-based technology resources for learning can definitely reinforce effort and encourage children to do their homework and practice their skills without dread or trepidation. It is because of this reason, that these instructional strategies correlate very well with the Behaviorist Learning Theory and the use of technology. Today's children are exposed to numerous types of technology at home and are aquiring many of the 21st Century Skills. So it is essential that we offer them these same types of opportunities in the classroom. However, due to many inhibiting factors, this isn't always possible. We are not always able to provide them with the technological experiences that they need and will be required for the "real world" and their future work environments, that we are supposed to be educating them for. So as effective educators, we have to find ways to overcome these obstacles and do our best at providing them with the technological knowledge and skills needed to be successful individuals in our diverse and competitive society. Even if this means, giving them lists of useful websites to use at home or at the public library, sharing computers among small groups, using our teacher stations to have students practice, incorporating videos or images into lessons, or even letting students use our own personal equipment (laptops, camcorders, cameras, etc.), it is important to provide these opportunities to students, no matter what!!

Reinforcing Effort and Homework and Practice are two of the easiest instructional strategies for incorporating technology and creating positive learning experiences, and creating positive learning experiences are what effective educators strive for!!!!

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Crystal Moyer

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Course Reflection

Over this past course, "Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society", we have learned a great deal about how technology has not only impacted society and the workplace, but also how it can impact our students education. So for our last assignment, we have been asked to answer the following question.

1)In what ways has this course helped you to develop your own technology skills as a professional teacher?
Well, before this class I didn't really know what Wikis, Blogs, or Podcasts were, let alone, how they could be used in the classroom. Being able to learn about these types of technologies and practice creating them, definitely helped me develop more technology skills. Also, just learning about and gaining knowledge of the many different websites, programs, and other technologies, I have become more aware of what is out there and what can be integrated into my classroom instruction and lessons. This class has opened a new door for me regarding my current teaching pedagogy and has given me the opportunity to learn about 21st Century classrooms and how to transform my classroom into one. All of these things have shifted my thinking and I truly feel that I have begun to evolve as an educator!

2)In what ways have you deepened your knowledge of the teaching and learning process?
We have been given many great articles to read and videos of experts to watch. This alone, has deepened my knowledge on how children today are learning and how they need to be taught. Also, we have been asked to evaluate our own teaching practices and sharet them with each other and decide whether they match what research suggests are the best ways to teach. Our class discussions have also given me the opportunity to interact with colleagues and gain valuable information from them. I am able to read how other teachers are doing things and use some of their ideas and suggestions. They have also given me enormous amounts of resources to use in my classroom. With all of these things I now have a much deeper understanding of the teaching and learning process.

3)In what ways have you changed your perspective from being teacher-centered to learner-centered?
Obviously, in this course we have been told that the educational world is changing to a more learner-centered environment. However, I have also had numerous inservices on how to create a more learner-centered classroom and project-based lessons. Last year, when I started teaching fourth grade Social Studies (I had taught the previous 7 years in third grade Language Arts), I made it a goal of mine to plan more project-based lessons, where I am more of a facilitator than a lecturer. I wanted the kids to do more discovering on their own. So my perspectives had started to change last summer, but with all of the great knowledge and support I have had through this class, I am even more determined to create that 21st Century, learner-centered, inquiry, project-based classroom. In fact, I have set a goal for myself so that I can strive everyday to prepare my students for the 21st Century.

4)In what ways can you continue to expand your knowledge of learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement?
I will continue to expand my knowledge through a variety of ways. Since I started this program, I have joined various educational organizations that revolve around teaching today's students and 21st Century Skills. Also, I am sure that my knowledge will increase throughout my next six classes of this Masters program. I plan on subscribing to various educational magazines and reading as much as I can about  learning, teaching, and leading with technology with the aim of increasing student achievement. I also know that our school district is planning on scheduling many inservices related to technology and student achievement, not to mention, the Ohio Department of Education is restructuring their academic standards to include 21st Century skills. So as you can see, with all of these things, I will be able to expand my knowledge and hopefully become a more effective, 21st Century Educator!

5)What are two long term goals for transforming your classroom environment by which you may have to overcome institutional or systemic obstacles in order to achieve them?
Goal #1: I want to have a student-centered, inquiry, project-based classroom where the students are discovery things on their own and guiding their own learning. 

Goal #2: I want to be able to incorporate some sort of technology and 21st Century Skills into my weekly lessons (I would say daily, but right now, the technology part doesn't seem quite possible, due to lack of resources).

6)How do you plan on accomplishing these goals?
Goal #1: I will have my students working in groups where they can collaborate with one another, on different projects that I have assigned them or that they have chosen themselves. In order to do their research, I will either schedule time in the computer lab, check out the laptop cart, allow them to use the six computers in the back of my classroom in rotation, or assign them to do parts of the research at home or in the library.

Goal #2: I will put more time and effort into the planning of my lessons to ensure that at least one 21st Century skill and one technology skill is being incorporated into my weekly lessons. Therefore, I will also have to make accomodations if certain pieces of technology equipment are needed, in order to have them available for when they are needed

7)After referring to your checklist from Week 1, have any of your answers changed after completing this course?
Due to the fact that I have been on summer vacation since the beginning of this course, I don't feel that any of my answers have changed yet after completing this course. However, when school gets back underway, I plan on making some changes and hopefully will have all checkmarks in the "often" column, for "Practices to support 21st Century Skills" heading and at least all checkmarks in the "sometimes" column, for "Developing Technology Skills for the School and Workplace Environments" heading- working towards having all checkmarks in the "often" column. I seem to be a little hesitant to lead my colleagues when I don't feel 100% secure about something but hopefully by the end of this program I will be an expert and can step up and be a leader for my school!!

All in all, this class was GREAT and definitely opened my eyes to a lot of new things. I am excited to head back to school to implement some of the great things I have learned and I can't wait to see what else is in store throughout the rest of this Masters program.

Crystal Moyer  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Student Technology Interview Podcast

This week I interviewed three eighth graders about their use of technology at home and in the classroom. I did not have the ability to record their voices in the podcast so I recorded their answers and read the information myself on the podcast. I ended up doing three different podcasts, one for each interview, because it was easiest for me, since I didn't have any experience. I used Podomatic to record and post my podcasts and I must say that this site was VERY easy and user friendly. In fact, I really enjoyed doing this assignment because it was really fun and I actually might even start podcasting for fun. The URL for my Podomatic site is and here are the three URL's for my podcast interviews,,, and From these interviews, you will see that they all have different amounts of access to technology but they do have many similar experiences using technology. I would definitely say that they are all Digital Natives, but with varying amounts of experience.
So check them out and you should try to create your own podcast. It is INTERESTING AND FUN!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills website ( is a great site to explore. However, I did feel that it was a bit overwhelming at first. So I looked at some things and then revisited it a couple more times, just because there was so much useful and interesting information. I didn't realize just how important and big these Skills have become, but it definitely makes sense. We need to be preparing out students for their future in the 21st Century. P21 has created a great framework and their mission is to be a catalyst for putting 21st Century Skills at the center of the US education system by teaming up with businesses, communities, and government officials. They want to fuse together the 3R's (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and the 4C's (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation). This site offers many great publications, on-line tools, and resources, along with events, news, and state initiatives. Also, for educators, they have a P21 MILE Guide Self-Assessment Tool, an interactive resource library called Route 21, and a video site where you can see teachers using these skills in the classroom. So as you can see, there are many great things to check out when you visit the P21 website.   


One of the things I really liked the most was that there was a 21st Century Skills Map for Social Studies, which is what I teach, that gives you the 21st Century Skill, the Skill definition, an outcome for the skill, and examples of activities that students can do that go along with that skill. The site also offered an ICT Literacy Map for Social Studies, which are 21st Century Tools for Learning and Thinking. I also really liked the fact that Ohio is committed to being one of the P21 Leadership States. Actually, there wasn't really anything, so far, that I didn't like about this website. In fact, I added it to my Favorites (bookmarked it) and will be following them on Twitter. P21 is a great resource for information regarding 21st Century Skills and will aid me in, creating and maintaining a 21st Century Skills classroom and preparing my students for their future!

P.S. I will continue to explore this website and discover more great things it has to offer.

Crystal Moyer

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Here are some questions about blogging that I would like to answer.

1. How might you use a blog in your classroom?
I actually read another colleague's post about how she plans on using a blog in her classroom and I really liked her idea. I would like to set up a classroom blog with information about my classroom. Here parents, students, and community members would be able to view my blog and see what is going on in my classroom. They will also be able to write comments on it as well. I would put up different types of information such as homework, pictures, school calendars and events, useful websites, and general information about my classroom. I think it is an excellent way for parents to stay up to date with what is going on in their child's life in my classroom.

2. What purpose would the blog serve?
Like I mentioned above, it would be used to display various types of information about my classroom and things that we are doing. Parents, students, and community members can view my blog and respond if they would like. It will help everyone keep up to date on what the students are learning in the classroom and it is an excellent way to communicate things to and with the parents of my students.

3. Is it a place for students to interact about content? Is it a showcase for their work? Or?
I would love to be able to set up my blog in order to both, allow the students to provide comments, ask questions, or interact with one another and to display their work. Along with providing tons of information to the students and parents. Along with providing numerous websites where students can practice their content skills or study for tests or just extend their learning of the content material.

4. How does using a blog enhance the lesson?
Well, the way I would be setting up my blog, it would enhance the lesson by creating more interest to the students and allow them to interact, practice, study, or extend the lesson. As we know, technology, when used correctly, really seems to spark students' interest and motivate them to learn. The become more engaged and are more willing to participate in the lesson.

5. What is your grade level and content area?
I teach fourth grade Social Studies

6. Why do you think that a blog is a good tool for the instructional context?
I think that blogging definitely is exciting to the students and engages them in the lesson. With a blog, they are able to participate and discuss how they feel about the lesson or content they are learning about. They interact with their peers, offer different ideas, and can just be creative writers. Sometimes students are nervous about speaking in front of their peers so blogging allows them to share their views without having to be uncomfortable about speaking in front of the class. However, I do feel very strongly about the fact that our students also need time to verbally communicate with one another as well. With some of these types of technologies, I am afraid our students are going to forget how to interact with one another face to face. That is why it is important to find a balance between the two.