Category Archives: AECT Standard 3 (Learning Environments)

Candidates facilitate learning by creating, using, evaluating, and managing effective learning environments.

School Evaluation Summary

Over the past 3 weeks I have had the opportunity to analyze my school’s technology plan. This was a difficult assignment because I have always been frustrated by my school’s lack of technology, or a real plan to acquire and use it, but the other teachers and administrators at my school, have been proud of how much technology we have. When I moved here from Idaho 10 years ago. the school I had been student teaching at had the same number of students at my current school. It also had 5 or 6 open computer labs and 5 or 6 classroom labs. Teacher computers were replaced every three years. I couldn’t understand why the situation was so different in my new district in California until I understood the demographics. 70% of the students at my school are on free or reduced lunch. That’s much larger than the school I was at in Idaho.

Regardless of income, a school can and should have a plan. I was embarrassed to look at my school’s plan, especially because I’m on the technology team, because there isn’t really a plan. California now ties funding to LCAP plans. Those plans include a technology plan and the state department of education has requirements about what a technology plan has to look like. My school’s plan looks nothing like that. It is really truly a list, with items crossed out and in different colored ink. We have a lot of work to do. I plan to mention our lack of a real plan at our technology team meeting this week. I’m not sure I’ll be very popular when I point out that we need to create a formal plan and invite parents and students to give input. If we don’t do those things, we can’t move forward.

Here is the link to my School Evaluation.

Here is my School Evaluation Survey.


Tech Trends

The NMC Horizon Report is an annual report that looks at emerging technologies and their potential impact on teaching, learning, and creativity in schools. After reading the 2014 K-12 report, I initially wanted to look further into hybrid learning because, in the report, it sounded like it involved a blend of regular classroom activities and online components. However, as I began reading the related articles and looking at resources, I realized that hybrid learning was more systemic than classroom-based. Since I am looking for ways to flip my classroom, not implement a blended online/brick-and-mortar learning system, I decided to explore other options. Rereading the report, I realized that Open Educational Resources was really where I wanted to place my focus.

Open Educational Resources, or OERs, are free, usually in both economic and ownership (copyright) terms. OERs are a trend that, according to the Horizon report, will be drive “educational technology adoption in schools within three to five years” (Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. 2014. p. 10-11). One reason I chose to explore this trend is because I need resources for my own classes and do not want to spend the time to create them all myself. I was happy to find several quality interactive products for my students to use both for instruction and for product creation.

After looking at the examples and at what other students had created for this assignment’s artifact, I had a hard time deciding what to do with the information I had gathered. I knew that I wanted to do some sort of presentation, but I haven’t practiced with any screen capture software yet and I knew I didn’t have time to play with those. As I continued to look at open educational resources, I came across a discussion of Explain Everything, an iOS app. It costs $2.99, but even after just using it once I think it is absolutely worth paying for. Click here for to visit and see a video demonstrating Explain Everything’s capabilities. I used screen shots that I took of the OERs with my iPad, so the resolution isn’t great, but it was really simple to import them into Explain Everything as I created slides. You can add items to a slide, then narrate, and then add more and continue your narration on the same slide. When your presentation is completely finished, you can upload it to pretty much anything. I chose YouTube, because I had included animation and narration. There were other video-hosting sites available for the upload, but I would have had to create accounts for them. It took about 15 minutes to render the presentation as an mp4 and upload it to YouTube.

Here is the link to my video

After an hour of re-recording, I decided to stop playing back my narration fixing it, so you will notice that around 7:30, on and off for about a minute, my voice is muffled. I think I covered the microphone on my iPad. I also realize that I forgot to revisit my informal student survey about the problems they had trying to use Google Classroom and Google Docs. Here is the link to the Google Doc where I wrote my questions and the number of students who had problems which problems.

*My final note – I enjoyed the suggestions on this post about hosting a BYOOER Party. It talks about working with your colleagues to collect Open Educational Resources that they, and you, have found or created. Why reinvent the wheel?




Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A.

(2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The

New Media Consortium.

The Digital Divide and Digital Inequality

The Digital Divide and Digital Inequality Voice Thread

For this assignment, I learned about the digital divide and digital inequality. Although I had thought about the issue of “haves” and “have-nots” as it relates to my classroom, school, and district, I had never considered the global issues. It was interesting to see how quickly internet access has spread, especially in developing countries, since the development of mobile technology. Even as a classroom teacher, I had not considered the issues of digital inequality. I had a vague notion in my mind that since my students were using social media and researching online, they were “haves” when it came to access and skill. However, after reading about digital inequality, I recognized that my students really don’t have any technological skills. They know how to play with technology, but not how to utilize it to move ahead in life.

In the future, I plan to incorporate technology use more heavily into my instruction. For a few years, I have had a fuzzy plan rolling around in my mind to use student blogs in my classroom. Although I still have not figured out how to maintain security for my students, they are 12 and 13 years-old, I plan to have them blog about their experiences at school, both academic experiences and extra-curricular experiences.

To complete this assignment, I used Google Docs, Google Slides, and Voice Thread. Although I don’t love Google Slides, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to use it. At home, many of my students do not have access to PowerPoint, so it is useful to know how to use Google Slides. I can have my students use Slides at school and then convert to PowerPoint at home if they wish to embellish their presentations further. I enjoyed using Voice Thread. I have never used anything like it before. I liked that I could record more than one comment for each slide and that Voice Thread would stitch them together for me. It allowed me to catch my breath and advance my presentation notes to keep up.

If I had more time, I would solicit suggestions from my coworkers for how to deal with the digital inequality issues at our school. As a part of my school’s tech team, I would like to find workable solutions to our school access issues as well as encourage teachers to incorporate more technology use into their curriculum. When people are part of creating the solution, they are more likely to buy into changes, like incorporating student technology use into their lessons.

One difficulty I had completing this assignment was the sheer volume of reading material. The reading wasn’t the problem, but finding facts I had marked was. Several articles were only available as html pages, so I could not download them to my computer or iPad and highlight as I read. I tried importing them into Diigo, but that didn’t help either. Normally I don’t have a problem finding information I am looking for because I remember where it was located on a page and how far through a document or book that page was located. However, without the visual clues to rely on, it was very difficult to find statistics and quotes I thought I remembered. Interestingly, as I was working on this assignment, a friend shared an article on Facebook that addresses this very issue: Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books. Unfortunately, the author of the article did not include a link to, or citation of, the original study.