Monthly Archives: March 2014

Reflecting and Considering the Future Direction of Technology in the Classroom: Flipping the Classroom and Making Connections Through Blogging

Aleta May

Week 10 Reflection

March 30, 2014

With Dr. Lee Graham


Link to my Week 10 Initial Post:

Link to my Week 10 Reflection post: 

Reflecting and Considering the Future Direction of Technology in the Classroom:  Flipping the Classroom and Making Connections Through Blogging

As I reflect about our topic this week, the future direction of education and technology, I think about how I, personally, need to just get in the habit of trying new things. Perfect or not—I just need to get beyond fear, the self-talk in my mind that permits me to procrastinate, set aside, and saunter into the next day, the next week, the next month; the dreams in my head for using technology in the classroom.  Otherwise, it will be done for me, and “it” is never as good as what I perceive my own students to need. 

This Friday and Saturday, I attended training for a reading program that incorporates best teaching practices, has the teacher varying instruction from whole to small group, walking from group to group, and guiding students to use technology within a preset program.  Yes, it is excellent in that it gives students routine and the benefit of increasing their reading comprehension through technological data tracking that provides immediate feedback and keeps them on track.  The program does utilize research based reading strategies, but what is glaringly missing is the incorporation of a socio-cognitive routine.   Increasing comprehension is not solely a mechanical process. 

While teachers learn to teach students to write and use sentence frames to aid English Language Learners (ELLs) in speaking with complete sentences, and how different content areas use a variety of text structures; such as, sequence, chronology, etc.; the students also need to engage in discussion.  Technology can help with this!    First, though.  I’ll provide an example for a fundamental requirement of student reading engagement, or lack thereof, from this program.  The first three weeks (training) uses a book about some famous baseball player from another cultural background that our students have no connection to! Mainly, this program is teaching teachers across the content areas to teach reading skills that help students decipher science, social studies, and other text types.  It teaches them to USE those sentences frames, and when to use them.  Awesome! However, to make a computer program relevant, the local teacher will need to learn to see the video clips all around them that teach the same vocabulary and concepts, that build background knowledge, and that make what they are reading meaningful.  The next provide examples.

            In the book, Flip Your Classroom:  Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, the authors describe a typical class:  “At the beginning of class we organize our students.  We check to see who might need to conduct a lab, who needs to take an exam, and who needs remediation on a particular objective” (Bergmann & Sams, p. 53, 2012). They go on to describe getting around to each student or group of students to discuss with them issues like experiment safety, the main point of the experiment, and more. How do they have time to do all of this? They produce locally relevant videos that students can watch for missed lessons, or to review. Even at our training, the teachers asked “what do we do when students miss a day or more?” Okay, the presenter described what she saw other teachers do.  But I wonder how this program is so dependent on everyone being at the same pace? They did have built-in features for differentiation—boosting slow students and stretching advanced students. Yet, so far I have identified in this writing two program weaknesses, that teachers deal with daily: Is the material (premade video-clips included) relevant to the students?  How does it adjust for attendance issues?  The teachers in this class address these with their own videos.

When teachers provide students with access to videos that help them learn or review concepts needed for class project application, they also need to teach students how to use this strategy.  Students learn to pause the video so they may write questions they still have after a second view. Here is a framework called wisk—WSQ that stands for Watch, Summarize and Question (Raths, 2014). Students watch videos using Google Forms, and utilize rewind buttons to review and take notes. First, students watch the video; second, students use the Google Form that is below the video to complete a summary of the lesson; third, students write a question (similar to the strategy used in the reading program described above for stretching/challenging students who need this).  The question will be used later to discuss in whole or small group discussion.

            How do I get kids to talk about what they read and really get into it? I free up my time with both self-created, and local teacher created   Locally, we need to utilize blogs to engage students in talking with peers within our own school district about real issues to solve real problems that affect them. For example, they may discuss new subsistence fishing laws to be imposed upon their lives, and how they will present alternative solutions as they study Biology salmon cycles in a science class. The real purpose for them is to affect legislation, and involve adults to write new proposals with them. Students need to use higher order thinking; research skills, discussion, further research, and written blogs’ to solve real problems—all the while reading, researching and writing.  “After all, blogging is ultimately about reading, writing, and communicating” (Parisi & Crosby, 2012, p. 81).

Participating in a collaborative blog discussion through an external blog such as WordPress, or via thread discussion in Blackboard are examples.  Also, using Google Hangout for students to discuss what they read is a way students can engage each other.  I can encourage students to do this when I teach locally. Through the course we are designing for Alaska Learning Network (AKLN), there may be staggered student participation as one moves from module to module.  Here is insight from Jonathan Crocker’s Week 10 blog that comes to mind as I plan for AKLN:  “to make sure that all aspects of the course can and will be available and functional on different operating systems (and different versions of those systems), different browsers, with different web restrictions (woe to us if a school blocks YouTube…).”  But I think one of our roles in course design is to let the local school know ahead of time that they will need to unblock certain access for this course, thereby indirectly teaching educators the need to grab control of these wonderful resources, rather than ban them.  Back to the AKLN blog issue:  So the blog may develop over time.  The best way though is for students to move through lessons together within the same weeks. Following are three ideas that I can use in lesson design for our American Literature course design that can be embedded into the assignment.

            “~~Have your students write a summary and review of a book they are reading. Have them make written plot predictions halfway through books.  ~~Direct them to write stories in the style of a picture book you just read to them” (Parisi & Crosby, 2012, p. 81). The list goes on.

            An important way I contributed to the learning of class blog participants this way was by sharing insights I learn through researching mobile learning. As we think about those handheld devices students bring to school, let’s think about how they may increase their skills in ways to utilize those tools of leisure for capturing learning moments in the field.  Students and teachers need to expand their thinking on authentic learning tasks, and I believe I contribute to my class peers thinking on the importance of this in my initial blog.




Bergmann, J. and Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom:  Reach every student in every class every day.  Eugene, Oregon:  International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).


Parisi, L. and Crosby, B. (2012). Making connections with blogging:  Authentic learning for today’s classrooms. Eugene, Oregon:  International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 


Raths, D. (2014).  Nine video tips for a better flipped classroom. The Education Digest. T.H.E. Journal,

Future Direction of Technology


Aleta May

Week 10 Initial Post

EDET674 with Dr. Lee Graham


Future Direction of Technology

The convergence of economic-, demographic- and pedagogic-trends combine to build an accelerated change in recent years in how technology is used in classrooms. This blog is primarily focused on the pedagogic trends education is taking toward a new day of online training.

“Education is no longer a process of acquiring knowledge in preparation for life and work, but a process of first preparing and then repairing knowledge throughout the life span” (Moore & Kearsley, p. 276).   This has been true for me.  In many ways, I have grown with technology, and it has been, and still is, continuous throughout my lifespan.  For example, I recall overhearing a conversation between students in an on site traditional graduate school class whereby the particular students agreed among themselves that distance education is of lower quality that what we were receiving. Personally, I had already been thinking about how limited I felt by program selection that was provided within a time-frame where I could leave my children (knowing an adult would be available to them) and make the average 1 hour drive to site.  Also, after needing to get home during dark winter drives after class before conditions were less than safe, forced me to return on a Saturday to go to the college just for library research.  I had been asking around as to when we could begin to access research online!  Looking back, we did have some collaborative discussions in class, and there were certainly benefits to meeting in person, but that same college has taken a somewhat balanced approach to face-to-face learning and online learning.  As I observe my daughter learning through this model, I have noticed what is to her a standard process of learning.  Even with very bad weather this winter, she was not limited to that geographic institution on one Saturday per month. They were able to continue on via internet and make up the face-to-face time when weather conditions improved. This is to me slowing down to the pace of real life, when normally technology is considered to speed things along only.  My daughter has less time on the road, and more time to read, research, and be available to her two children—all within the same college and travel distance.  Mobile technologies will take distance learning to the next level—creating quality in pedagogical design unsurpassed by traditional means.

Mobile technologies are at the center of change in delivery and reception of educational pedagogy. When course designers and educators create a platform for teaching and learning, they use pedagogy that is fashioned in ways of learning and categories that are strongly grounded in research as described by Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler (2013):  1)  behaviorist learning with quick reinforcement and feedback (from instructors and course peers); 2) constructivist learning with the building of new concepts through social connections within and questioning, analyzing, and surveying their own physical environment; 3) situated learning where a mobile device is used in a germane environment; 4)  collaborative learning within and without the group the student is participating in; 5)informal learning where a mobile device can be used to keep records and communicate quickly something that contributes to group research 6)  supported learning like quick and ready access to research, monitoring progress within sites the group is collecting information through.

Students learn through apprenticeship.  This style of learning is situated in contexts that are meaningful and context-specific. It is a gradual release of responsibility via scaffolded learning.  “Mobile learning can be designed to support this context-specific and immediate situated learning . . . situation-relevant content, situated support, and planning how learners will capture and share their experience either in situ or afterwards (Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler, 2013, p. 247).  Authentic learning tasks with technology on hand allows learners to take pictures and record data, quickly communicate to peers their findings to compare, while using social discourse on the topic. Learning is on the move, spontaneously communicated through micro-blogging like Twitter, and simultaneously it is personalized.  So with mobile devices becoming more and more accessible, students now and futuristically benefit from learning design that guides students to in how to use these tools to research than ever before.

Educational theory of social constructivism has been used in recent synchronous online courses within graduate programs.  Students and instructors co-construct the experience in the online ‘classroom’ (Branch & Groot, p. 4).  Instructors are present to facilitate and guide discussions and learning experiences, with a “high-touch and high-structure” (Branch & Groot, p. 4) program philosophy.  From needing to know HTML code to post content online for their students and highly structured with a heavy emphasis on textbook-based learning, to creating Web 2.0 tools like podcasts, building wikis, blogging, and using Flicker photo media. During an interim, there has been (and still is) an adjustment time for students to adapt from using only PowerPoints and Webquests.  Both instructors and students had to just step out of their comfort zones and begin to use these tools. This paragraph describes my experiences from the time I began my online learning experience to present as I learn to access learning through multiple vehicles of Web 2.0.  Further, I must say I have now experienced (and still am experiencing) truths of Connectivism as a new learning theory, such as; “learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions. . . ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill”  (Branch & Groot, p. 9).



Branch, J., & de Groot, J. (2013). From face-to-face to distance education: the story of two canadian school library educators. School Libraries Worldwide, 19(1), 1-12.

Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Traxler, J. (2013). Design principles for mobile learning. In H. Beetham & R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing for 21st century learning (2nd ed., pp. 244-257). New York, NY: Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: a systems view of online learning. (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Reflections on Global Distance Education Considerations

Aleta May

Reflection Blog Post Week 9

EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

Reflection for the Essential Question:  What lessons can we take from Global Distance Learning Efforts?

Initial Post:

Reflection Post:

Reflections on Global Distance Education Considerations

Jonathan’s reply to my post this week emphasized that our group being learner-centered was our greatest strength.  It is true that we have sought in every discussion ways to make learning engaging for our potential students, and we have considered a wide range of students our course will reach.  Revising and modifying distance education that potentially reaches students across our vast state is so vital.

Naomi’s post was organized by country.  It was so easy for me to learn from her because of the way she organized her findings.  She defined student-friendly throughout each section of her post.  The course design should speak to the student.  Keep the course site fresh by revising, updating, and cleaning out old posts.  I found myself exploring the way University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) organized their site.  When she wrote about Norway’s study centers being a great on-site meeting place for small communities being a good idea for Alaska, I think she is on to something.  Even here in a village, having an on-site teacher/paraprofessional available to monitor course learning would be a great way to help people get out of their homes and come to a place where there is internet service for the community, quiet places to study, and with shared computers a way to explore the world throughout long winters.

A common theme permeates universities and high schools, it is difficult to re-conceptualize education.  At the Athabasca University (UA) in Canada this means beginning to add in social needs as a major aspect to learning to the point of changing the way distance learning will take place.  Dynamic or reciprocal learning environments that are interactive between students and between the students and the teacher is a change from an individualistic system that uses print and tutoring (Ives & Pringle, 2013).  At AU, they have added in Elgg-based social learning dimension to their courses.  It is a dynamic virtual meeting place.  In our American Literature design class, we have added in Trello as a place for all its group members to post lists of what needs to be done, and be able to move it to a finished list.  Since today’s students will need to navigate new media literacies in the new job world, there “is a set of cultural competencies and social skills young people will need in the new media landscape” (Kimmons, 2014, p. 93).  As I think about this, I think about communicating through writing and images.

As global use of internet learning environments continue to grow, I am seeking to learn more about how pairing images with words is an effective way to write.  According to an article by (506) Hundley and Holbrook, print and digital technologies are “fruitfully taught side-by-side, rather than the ‘old’ being a precursor to the new or being replaced by it” (2013).  As teaching and learning occurs more and more on the internet, teachers and learners alike need to be moved to embrace changes in how communication through written language is pedagogically different—not less superior just because it may use fewer words, but in some cases requires deeper level thinking to convey ideas in a much more condensed way.

When Tammy Posted, I believe I contributed to her learning this week by providing a substantial and meaningful response to her writing.  In turn, she taught me again simply by returning each worldwide digital learning example to how we can learn from them and begin applying this learning to Alaska, as soon as possible.  I shared with her what it is like in our village to see positive changes in broadband width:  I noticed that we have similar access issues as many rural areas of other countries.  However, I have noticed the amount of change that has occurred in the few years Dan and I have taught here.  I believe we got cellphones about 3 years ago.  Our broadband width has increased much in the last year—I can speak to the improvement in much fewer glitches as I give the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test online.  MAP uses about 10 times the bandwidth of what a normal computer use online would use.  I had continually remarked before this year, that I was very concerned that the testing was valid when we kept having crashes!  Does it really measure reading/writing/math skills when kids want to answer a question before the next crash and wait scenario?  We validated each other on the need to reach out more and more to the village and rural students of Alaska:  I am visualizing making online learning more successful in the village during high school years so students will see their opportunities to learn through distance education.

In summary, I learned from the text, research, and peers in this class who represent every type of community in the state about how distance education will continue, and that teachers need to grasp this and begin to apply distance education pedagogy to their teaching situations.


Kimmons, R. (2014).  Social networking sites, literacy, and the authentic identity problem.  TechTrends 58(2), pp. 93-98.

Ives, C. and Pringle, M. M. (2013).  Moving to open educational resources at Athabasca university:  A case study. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 

Set in stone or set in motion?  multimodal and digital writing with preservice English teachers (2013).  Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 56(6), pp. 500-509.

Quality Design and Global Networking: The Convergent Crisscross of Common Needs and Efforts

Aleta May

Initial Blog Post Week 9

EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham


Quality Design and Global Networking:  The Convergent Crisscross of Common Needs and Efforts

Essential Question:  What lessons can we take from Global Distance Learning Efforts?

A really great quote to start out with regarding quality in distance education, in this case in reference to Professor Manuel Moreno at the University de Guadalajara’s Sistema de Universidad Virtual or the Virtual University System (VUS) is as follows:  “it is within these educational processes that the quality resides which we seek to preserve, not so much the circumstances in which they take place” (Becerra, Almendra, and Flores, 2012, p. 209).  In other words, it is not modality that determines quality, rather “living educational processes” (Becerra & Almendra, p. 209) the academic staff brings.  With a network of 15 university centers, developing innovative ways to create, share and apply knowledge, with a constructivist learning perspective, VUS has found ways to strengthen their distance programs while reaching communities that had been underserved by college opportunities.  This reminds me of the way the Open University of China (OUC) is structured.  The headquarters is in Beijing, Provincial Open Universities meet local needs and at the community level municipalities set up surpervision at learning centers (Moore, M. & Kearsley, G., 2011). 

With Professor Moreno at the helm, the VUS has grown.  Moreno is a leader in educational innovation in both Mexico and Latin America.  His fundamental belief is that he sees the importance of being both a teacher and a learner.  Another emphasis that Moreno makes is through Project Portfolio.  In this program, students may take a practicum or complete their internship through real world learning environment connections; such as, “business, community or government settings” (Becerra & Almendra, p. 207). 

Brazil has “a highly sophisticated technology and economic underdevelopment” (Moore, M. & Kearsley, G., p. 250).  Much of the country Brazil wants to make education and training available to is primitive both economically and communication wise.  PROFORMACAO provided training for rural teachers of elementary schools.  Meanwhile in Iowa, a private online company began to expand its network of online tutors.  As I think about Brazil, I think about how a company like Tutor Universe can be interlaced in to support rural learners, and in my case I would be teaching teachers.

To ensure quality in coursework design, the nonprofit Concord Consortium developed the eLearning Model.  Included are:  asynchoronous collaboration, explicit schedules, expert facilitation, inquiry pedagogy, community building, limited enrollment, high-quality materials, purposeful virtual spaces, and ongoing assessment” (Becerra & Almendra, p. 207).  Every online course I have taken throughout my Master’s of Arts program through University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) has included each of these.  I have had the opportunity to watch 3 other people take online courses (watching a few of their sessions), and found that these qualities were not all there; particularly community building, and facilitation that embraces the learning philosophy of student-centered learning.  I watched as students walked around the room as the professor went on and on the entire session (about 1 ½ hours) of “lecturing” with a PowerPoint.  According to Meaza Stewart (2014), “. . . the online tutoring environment must be focused on the learner, be flexible, be dynamic, promote interaction, and allow students to be able to share knowledge with the peer or tutor.”  Students were to come up with expected answers, not create answers through discussion groups.  One of these programs was preparation of principals!  Much of what I have learned about how to teach taking a student-centered approach is from participating in high quality on line classes (Stewart, M., 2014).  What the tutoring organization provides is an excellent platform from which students and tutors can effectively meet through a variety of online tools.  This creates an opportunity for real distance learning pedagogies to take place.  Usually colleges do not have the budget to provide as extensive of a learning platform as would a group of private organizations coming together.  

Thus far, I have learned an enormous amount through this class about two separate course design strategies.  These “themes were identified:  overall design process strategy and instructional strategy for the design relevant to digital environments” (Ashbaugh, 2013, p. 104).  Leaders need to be “competent in developing strategic, proactive plans for the future . . . collaborate for best possible solutions to current and unforeseen problems and challenges” (Ashbaugh, p. 105).  Our American Literature course design group has definitely proactively solved many potential issues.  We have people in our group who have already taught online before.  I have learned so much from them, as they each have reached out to a variety of learner types.  Also, I have contributed to consideration as to how to reach learners who may be limited English proficient, and/or have problems comprehending text. 

            Components involved in structural design cycle down from objectives, assessments, strategy, and activities.  Components of an online course instructional strategy that is well-designed are:  Theory- and values-based, authentic tasks that include interaction for problem-solving, thereby centering the learner(s) as in control of tasks (Ashbaugh, 2013).  This is where our group members are in the design process of our course.  As I design instructional strategies for the narrative unit, I bring a unique vision.  However, I completely expect to learn from others and hopefully receive feedback from this course at a later date, what will or did work and how the module can be updated and kept alive as far as relevance to high school students goes.  These course design competencies are universally critical in every nation as our efforts intersect to build a stronger and stronger web of educational opportunities across the globe.




Ashbaugh, M. L. (2013).  Expert instructional designer voices:  Leadership competencies critical to global practice and quality online learning designs.  The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(2), pp. 97-118.

Becerra, B. L. G.,  Almedra, M. P. R. and Flores, J. D. C. (2012).   Postsecondary distance education in mexico and worldwide:  Issues and considerations.  The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 13(4), pp. 205-212.

Stewart, Meaza (2014).  Distance learning with tutor universe.  Distance Learning 10(4), pp. 23-29.

Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2011).  Distance education:  A systems view of online learning.  


Images retrieved from Google internet images on 3-13-14:


Reflecting: One Foggy Winter Afternoon . . .


Aleta May

Blog Post Week 8  Reflection

March 8, 2014

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

Initial Blog Post:  Title:  Supporting Students and Their Teachers for Online Pedagogy

Reflection Blog Post:  Title:  Reflecting–One Foggy Winter Afternoon . . .

Week 8 Reflection for Essential Question:  Essential Question: How can we support students in being successful in our online course? Why?

When I come up with ideas for our Literature class, I don’t know exactly whether it is a good plan or not.  I wrote about setting up a place for students to read and edit each others’ work and Jon replied that he thought it would work and that he uses Google Docs for his students lately:  “I’ve been using Google Docs with my students lately as a way for them to help each other revise. It’s been pretty effective so far. I think that if middle school kids can handle it, we could use that as a tool as well” (Jonathan, reply to Aleta’s Blog 8, 3-14).  We may require google accounts for the students taking the course for uploading videos.

Jon mentioned using vlogs, video blogs.  Since Lee Graham, our course design instructor, mentioned providing students with alternative ways to express themselves, such as presenting using a screen-cast-omatic; vlogs seems to be another way to present.  Some students may not mind using the webcam on their computers to record their blogs, so the vlog would be a great option.  The screencast-o-matic is a way to present using a visual from the desktop while speaking to a group about the presented piece, such as a graph or other word document.  I did find a place at where it appears that video blogs may be stored.  Jon said, “I’m going to really recommend that students use vlogs in discussion portions of the course, especially if schedules don’t line up well enough to have much synchronous activity. I don’t want to rely heavily on synchronous communication, but I think that to see faces and hear voices really makes a course enjoyable and builds camaraderie. I think that for our course, it will even improve engagement for social reasons (at least among high schoolers…). Even if it is just a text chat, real-time conversations (in general) help in all of those ways” (Jonathan responding to Tammy and I on Tammy’s  blog).  There are group-paced courses in virtual high schools that “focus on supportive academic interaction . . . in group synchronous (real-time communication, such as chat or videoconference) and asynchronous (communication occurring over time, such as email or discussion forum) settings” (Repetto, Wayer, & Spitler, 2013).  In our course design, we need to provide for both.  If we focus on an asynchronous model, it will be easier to change to synchronous when this option is available.  For example, a video blog (vblog) may be used for students to view each other and discuss in a written blog later, or in a response vblog.

One question that is persistent in my mind is are districts ready for providing the supports necessary to make an online delivery course succeed in villages where there may not be a certified teacher available to guide summer credit recovery, and are students ready to be available and present to be there if a teacher is available?  Maybe this program needs to be set up in the hub of the district where students are housed and fed in Bethel, for example, with staff on hand daily.   The textbook, on page 157, makes it clear that access is important to people in rural and remote areas (Moore & Kearsley, 2011).  Maybe this needs to start with more support in a less rural location that is still known and familiar to them.

As I consider how I will support students (and their teachers) in the narrative writing module, research has made specific contributions to what is best practice for students who struggle with writing.  One recommended practice is to instruct students in the writing process.  By the 11th grade, students are already familiar with the 6 traits of writing and the writing process:  organize, edit and revise).  Hopefully they have experience writing collaboratively.  And they will have learned that organizing their writing often begins with graphic organizers or other methods such as outlining (Butler,Monda-Amaya, & Yoon, 2013).  Since students normally write using digital media (e-mail, social media, etc.), they will benefit from using a variety of strategies to write, called multimodal strategies.  Print is necessary to communicate in most cases, yet photographs (sometimes paired with music) communicate a thousand words.  Emotions are expressed through drawings that may be scanned in or uploaded with a tablet program.  Creative expression through graphics, and digital narrative stories are ways to draw on the student’s affective stance for writing.  They need to know how to inform in expository writing, but they also need to communicate their message by reaching through their feelings to the audience to draw them into the story.  Some students will thrive by producing a Digital Media Project (DMP).

A DMP is much more difficult to produce for a portfolio than may be thought by many.  There is a lot to consider.  I will quote from the Butler, Monda-Amaya & Yoon, 2003 just what is involved:  “In applying digital media to narrative writing, consider the core story elements:  (a) telling a story from a particular point of view, (b) emotionally engaging the audience,  (c) overall tone of the story (i.e., humorous, say, mysterious, or exciting), (d)  using spoken narrative, (e)  incorporating soundtrack music to enhance the story,  (f)  the role of pictures or video in telling the story, (g)  use of creativity and originality, and  (h) awareness of time and story length.” (Butler, Monda-Amaya & Yoon).   These principles are based on presenting a story that uses literary elements, and were summarized from a digital storytelling book by Ohler (2008).  As I reflect back on the reading from the text, it is important that students learn deeply so that they will be engaged enough to want to continue learning widely.  To be motivated intrinsically, students need to be challenged to communicate in ways that their audience will be drawn in (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).  Most students are familiar with reading from digital literacy.  They will more likely want to present in a way that is for changing the way their peers think about a topic or situation.  This will often be through multi-modal sources.  Though this seems so challenging to me as a teacher, students will work harder at applying narrative writing concepts when they have an opportunity to use the tools that are most meaningful to them.


Butler, A. M., Monda-Amaya, L. E., and Yoon, H. (2013).  The digital media writing project:  Connecting to the common core.  Teaching Exceptional Children  44(1), pp. 6-14.

Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A systems view of online learning.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth-Cengage Learning.

Ohler, J. (2008).  Digital storytelling in the classroom:  New media pathways to literacy, learning, and creativity.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Corwin.

Repetto, J.,  Wayer, N.  and Spitler (2013).  Online learning for students with disabilities:  A framework for success.  Journal of Special Education Technology, 28(1).

Jonathan responding to Tammy and I on Tammy’s  blog site:

Supporting Students and Their Teachers for Online Pedagogy

Aleta May

Initial Blog Post Week 8

EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham


Essential Question: How can we support students in being successful in our online course? Why?

One way for learners and facilitators at the sites for our online American Literature course to be successful using a tool that may not be familiar to them is to create a design pattern throughout the modules that is consistent.  Each module will have a wide range of variety as far as activities, but the structure of these modules will be consistent.  We also have a plan to create a write up for each module that will make it easier for facilitators to guide students.  This will be a simple format, such as an outline.  An additional study guide may include things like the links for each section of the module that are already embedded within the activities, and perhaps a glossary section for vocabulary that has links and/or a definition that applies to the word read. 


Students will need to be supported, but problem based learning (PBL) will be the goal as much as possible.  PBL is learner-centered pedagogy that can be individualized learning or paired/group learning.  The design of our course will include some Web 2.0 tools; such as, forum discussion, using the Blackboard as a way to meet and discuss with others in class, Skype, and Google hangout.  The benefit of the blackboard option is that only students signed up for the class may enter into the discussion.  The benefit of Google hangout is free discussion group time, for up to 10 people, where students can see each other.  If a problem is presented from a reading, students may first write out or talk out in a recording how they interpret the problem in the story to be.  then students could be divided into pairs or groups to write about or discuss their view of a problem from a reading.  The idea is to shift the power of learning and decision-making away from the teacher to the student (Tambouris, Panopoulou, et al., 2011).  One way to organize tasks like this is to create a group desk, an individual desk, and class desk to organize who is in the whole class, who is in a small group that is sharing resources like bookmarks and imported resources, and an individual space for each student to store resources (Tambouris, Panopoulou, et al., 2011).  This may need to be set up in a Wiki separately from Blackboard.


Wikis promote collaboration on assignments.  After the Wiki is set up through a web page, students can open up their group reports and resources, and teachers can check progress. and, and others are options, but I am thinking the Alaska Learning Network (AKLN) may provide a space for Wikis for our class.  As stated in an article I read, our Blackboard platform is limited in tools that can be very engaging for high school students (Revere and Kovach, 2011).


Another important way to support students is to keep them engaged.  “Students with disabilities exit school prior to graduation for many reasons. . . factors compounding the issue include high absenteeism, course failure, discipline problems, grade retention, poor mentoring, low self-esteem, and poor academic support”  (Repetto, Wayer, & Spitler, 2013, p. 2).  We need to remember that the purpose of raising the standards is primarily to encourage students to take charge of their learning and therefore their lives.  This is difficult even for college students.  There is evidence that five themes/factors increase student engagement, and if considered and applied within course design, can improve outcomes of students whether they struggle with disabilities, are English Language Learners, or are in the general education group.  These were grouped into the 5 Cs in the paper I read:  1) Learner Control  needs to be taught.  2)  Engaging Curriculum 3)  Safe and Supportive Climate 4)  Caring Community  5)  Connection to real purposes and to the real world (Cavanaugh, 2013, p. 2).  The article further explains the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework that points to learning differences and the need to learn through “ multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement” (Repetto, Wayer, & Spitler, p. 4).  In our recent group meeting, we discussed how writing in a discussion forum is not the only way to express learning for some students. 


In our text (p. 166), it states that students are often surprised at the amount of work it takes to complete an online course (Moore and Kearsley, 2012).  Our job will be to provide enough scaffolding to make new learning an adventure.  Social networking between students will be key to making this happen.


Repetto, J.,  Wayer, N.  and Spitler (2013).  Online learning for students with disabilities:  A framework for success.  Journal of Special Education Technology, 28(1).

Revere, L. and Kovach, J. V. (2011).  Online technologies for engaged learning:  A meaningful synthesis for educators.  12(2). 

Tambouris, E., Panopoulou, E. Tarabanis, K., Ryberg, T., Buus, L., Peristeras, V., Lee, D., & Porwol, L. (2012).  Enabling problem based learning through web 2.0 technologies:  PBL 2.0.  Educational Technology & Society, 15(4), 238-251.

Moore, M. G. and Kearsley, G. (2012).  Distance education:  A systems view of online learning.  Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth-Cengage Learning

Reflections on The role of the On-Site Teacher/Facilitator

Aleta May

Blog Post Week 7  Reflection

March 3, 2014

for EDTE674 with Dr. Lee Graham

Initial Blog Post:

(Week 7 Reflection for Essential Question:  What will you require of the instructors who teach the course you design?  Why?)

When I wrote and posted my initial post, I thought about my contribution to the learning of Jonathan and Naomi, who are two of my team members for designing our credit recovery literature course.  During one of our group discussions, I brought up the fact that we are not guaranteed that students will be in the class at the same time as other students, much less the same module.  Neither are we guaranteed that the facilitator will be certified in the subject area of our course, nor even be a certified teacher.  First, our goal in education is to be student-centered (not teacher-centered) when designing online coursework.  The online course we are creating allows instruction to deliver learning that is individualized.  One way it is individualized is through student self-pacing.  The flex model of blended learning “involves students working independently for the majority of the day with the teacher using individual and small group instruction to meet specific student needs” (Werth, Werth, & Keller, 2013, p. 11).

The literature credit recovery online delivered course could be used as part of a blended learning course.  According to a quote in the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) article, “Blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, and at least in part at a supervised location away from home” (Horn & Staker, 2011 in Werth, Werth, & Keller, 2013, p. 6).  If students were to rotate between independent computer learning modules and working with a facilitator, they are participating in a form of blended learning.  But what I learned from Jonathan’s previous online teaching experience was that he “was always getting phone calls from facilitators whose students were having a hard time logging into the class or any number of other things” (Blog 3-2-14).  He went on to say that “we need to create a technology troubleshooting guide for the facilitators, or even two of them–one for mac, one for windows” (Blog 3-2-14).  When I responded, I mentioned that this is another need for our class design.  Then Naomi mentioned how she has depended on the UAA technology department for her own learning needs.  Her musing directed my thinking to wondering if some of the questions for technology for our class design could be handled by requesting Blackboard brochures from the UAS technology department that could be modified to answer the most frequently asked questions, from Jon’s experience, into our class.  Also, I wonder if our UAS technology department help desk could be a source for the course facilitator.  Advice from our readings urges us to manage our time as designer/instructors by referring students to the technology department.

Naomi brought up another interesting thought about how students need quick (sometimes immediate) feedback.  To me this means grading needs to be kept simple for the facilitator.  It also means that a certified teacher needs to be involved for this portion.  Maybe the role of an assistant would primarily focus on helping students with the practical daily needs—keeping up with supplies, making sure students are on task with the coursework, managing paper work that is to be turned in to the teacher.

The physical presence of a facilitator (and assumably a certified teacher as well) is reassuring to students.  The non-certified facilitator needs to have a clear sense of their responsibilities so that they don’t simply fall into a helplessness role or a self perception that he/she is only their to “be a presence.”  One way to accomplish this is to provide simple guidelines.  A certified facilitator may require that some of the course writing assignments go through a process of being shared in a blog where peers can comment on each others’ work.  This form of blended learning is may be termed the “Online Lab:  Courses or training are completed entirely online.  Labs rely heavily on software modules, but online instructors or trainers are also available” (Thoeming, 2013).  Our class will have the feeling of presence of the online instructor.  On, I found a presentation that included definitions for social presence.  A paraphrase of one that will remain in the back of my mind as I guide students to write narratives regards the extent that students are encouraged to immerse themselves affectively within the medium of writing.  In addition, they need to feel confident in writing with an efferent stance.  If we as online teachers (not real time) communicate through our lessons that we are real teachers, and that we are speaking to our students with care, there will be more of a feeling of teacher social presence.  In a video where one of us is using a think-aloud strategy, or reading to the student, I am “there” when I talk as if the student is there.  But the role of the onsite facilitator is to be the one who is there to reduce anxiety, encourage, watch some lessons with, and help to interpret.  The facilitator is the between computer and student tie.

I stepped outside of my group some and contributed to Thomas’ thinking.  I went to the digital citizenship link he had provided and found that digital etiquette is definitely a factor that should be taught to our students in an introduction to the course.  Since blogging will be used by some students in some modules, I researched further on this topic specifically and found ten essentials.  The first one I quoted and will quote here as it is foundational to an internet class in general:  “1) A blog is like a diary, but public. Once posted is for the world to read it. Write accordingly. Keep in mind that is not for your eyes only. Be especially careful when you write on a corporate or school blog” (

For Michael, I responded to him with options for the math group where a highly qualified math teacher may not be available to be on site for this summer credit recovery course,  He talked about ways to humanize the course by knowing students by name.  I responded with ways to teach online that will leave an impression that the teacher is there through video tapped lessons.  In my research for more answers regarding making the class more student friendly (humanize), I found an article that will help me as I write lessons for the American Literature course.

To conclude, throughout this week, I referred back to the essential question about what I expect from a teacher or facilitator of the American Literature course.  Reading the blogs of students in this class brought to mind the need to show teacher presence in course design, create a study guide for students for each module to assist both the student and the facilitator (talked about in last week’s reflection), and to create a troubleshooting guide for predictable situations that will arise and contacts for those that are not predictable.  When I researched so that I could respond to blogs meaningfully, I learned more.  I also learned that it is so true—I am researching for peers in this class because we are creating group products.  We are writing in these blogs for real purposes.  This led me to dig deeper as it would our students.


 Crocker, J. (2014) responding to Aleta’s Blog:

Horn, M.B., & Staker, H. (2011).  The rise of k-12 blended learning.  Retrieved from http://www.innosight/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/The-Rise-of-K-12-Blended-Learning.pdf (Reference cited from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL))

Blogging etiquette:

Social Presence:

Thoeming, B. (2013).  Blended learning:  Where teaching meets technology.  Retrieved from: on 3-2-14.

Werth, E., Werth, L., & Kellerer, E. (2013).  Transforming k-12 rural education through blended learning:  Barriers and promising practices.  Northwest Nazarene University Doceo Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.  Retrieved from:  International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)