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Week 11 Blog Post EDET679: What is the game you are thinking of writing up for your classroom?

Essential Question: What is the game you are thinking of writing up for your classroom?

My game will be interrelated activities that guide students through a book and use Classcraft as a platform for collecting and using points throughout.

The book read in class blends well with the avatars in Classcraft: Spirit Animals Wild Born, by Brandon Mull 680L ages 8 to 10. In our dual language program, this book would not be used until 5th grade; they and can begin to understand the plot and characters of a novel too. Within an engaging learning context, students create their avatars (also earning clothes and powers for the avatars), earn points, level up, and help each other by working in learning groups and sharing points or powers.

As a teacher, my primary goal is increased reading, writing and vocabulary skills. I have added outside activities that tie in with these goals; such as writing a letter to the character, and gaming with vocabulary words from the text to build their comprehension, chapter by chapter, within the book.

First, students will need to learn about how earning powers work, learn about leaderboards, different types of points. This is a natural Segway for working in groups helping and sharing). A great introduction for the students will be to go to the gaming site already build for Spirit Animals Wild Born.

At this site, students learn about the ceremony that all 11 year olds participate in find out whether they have a spirit animal; they drink Nectar as part of the process. After reading two chapters, they can put points from this game into the Classcraft platform.

Some activities will include Character Bingo, and a Wild Born Story Map Discussion Game. The game uses sets of cards; for each of the main characters and guides students to notice character differences. Meanwhile, they will be earning points to put into the Classcraft platform. Here is the scale:

The Scale will be:

HP (Health Points) 20

XP (Experience Points) 0

AP (Action Points) 30

GP (Gold Pieces) 90

PP (Power Points)

After using index cards to quiz each other, students will have reviewed chapters to answer questions. Students will use to ask a question that goes with the answer posed. :

There are two ways where vocabulary will be studied by repeated use of the words, as opposed to only learning words in context. The point of extra vocabulary practice is acknowledging that our English Language Learners need multiple opportunities to practice using words from the context to learn them.

I will connect to the reading of the book and collecting Experience Points for vocabulary activities.

Students will join the class by using this URL:

Students will also participate in a spirit animal quest that will help them focus on why the author may have chosen certain animals for the novel. They will become familiar with how a Ram, Arax, would be able to creep along the rocky heights of mountains and why the author might add in that Arax had the power to stir up the wind. Snow Leopard Quest 1 BBC Planet Earth—(April 10, 2011) 15’

When Abeke wrote to the Greencloaks at:

Students were provided with an example for how to write to a character with or without their spirit animal.

My next focus is to apply specific 5th grade Alaska Standards for the reading, writing, and vocabulary standards. An overall technology and English Language Learner (ELL) standard will tie to these activities as well.


Bruder, P. (March 2015). The Education Digest, pp. 56-60.


Classcraft article. Understanding points (HP,XP, AP, GP, PP):

Crawley, D. (May 31, 2014). Classcraft makes the classroom a giant role-playing game—with fermium pricing

DeVere Wolsey, T., Smetana, L, & Grisham, D. L. (2015). The Reading Teacher, 68(6), pp. 449-458.

Dolasia, M. (March 30, 2014). Classcraft makes learning fun by ‘gamifying’ the classroom

Education Central (2015) by way of Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT).

Snow Leopard Conservancy in Ladakh, India:

Spirit Animals Website:

Wolsey, T., Simetana, L. & Grisham, D. L. (2015). Vocabulary plus technology. The Reading Teacher, 68(6).

EDET679 Essential Question: Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?

Week 8 Reflections.97

by Aleta May for Gamification and Open Learning, EDET 679

This week I focused on the essential question from the perspective of my variety of roles at my school. I am a special education teacher, site test coordinator, and will soon be setting up and possibly helping with a System 44 Rotation Station style reading program. Also, my principal wants me to tap into technology in a way that motivates dedicated students at school. He recently shared with me that if we focus on the students who want to learn, our scores will go up significantly. I add to this thought that by hooking some students, others will want to cooperate in their classes so they can try out a variety of ways of learning through technology. Now ideally, I could coach teachers to gamify classrooms, but if I follow the principal’s plan, I believe I can add in more incentives through the many Learning and Game Mechanics available.

I learned so much from my own research, and replicated a chart that guides serious gaming—defined as gamification of a classroom for the purpose of student-centered learning. In my overview of Matera’s “Theme, Setting, Characters, and Action,” I applied two books to each of these. This helped me think through how using the narrative approach is a way to outline a constructivist approach to student learning and teacher facilitation.

After reading Gerald’s post, I opened and bookmarked the links he had found from an article. I may use any of these for my final project, and I am ready to explore more in depth for a project now.

These are responses I made to blog posts:


I agree that there are so many possible game mechanics! On my WordPress, I published a link where I retyped the chart they had, since it would not allow me to drag it over to upload. The left column is Learning Mechanics and the right column is Game Mechanics. This visual helped me see a division for designing serious games (games created for learning). The chart is only a guide as direct connections from one side to another are not well researched out. I think your ideas are great–and the best way to find out is to test them out. It will be engaging, and their feedback will help them think about what they have learned while also helping you know the students you serve for the next design.

Hi Genevieve,

I just read a book with a struggling reader about living underwater. I think gaming scenes for this would be fun.   Here is a website for using gaming, video clips, and quizzes for underwater settings:

Maybe students need to try to picture setting ideas in their minds before going to premade sites. I wonder what gaming platform we could use to help students build a setting. I know about MineCraft, but there must be others. I wonder if using pictures taken from books, or places around town, or sent to students from family could be incorporated into a storify app:


The first thing that came to my mind after I watched your video clip, was continental drift, then ‘cause and effect,’ That is one mighty acorn! A whole science these could be built around Scrat.

I really like the way you brought out our human need for a focus that allows us to “orient information and make dynamic connections.” As a multilevel teacher in the recent past, it has always made sense to me that thematically teaching is the best way to set up a student-centered environment, because we can easily adjust levels. For example, within a thematic orientation, poetry is available all levels of reading and thought.

I visited the Legacy Project site you posted:

Having a school-wide theme brings a sense of community too.

Next, I watched a video that was embedded within this site:

Some topics that she addressed, are metaphors and asking the question, “what are dreams made of or what is in a dream?”


Life has IF in it. What is the metaphor for your life?

A quest; a mission; a mystery; a maze; a game; . . . or a Dream.

Dreams have. . .

Goals, purpose, direction, meaning, choices, future, control, hope, pleasure and the self. – Susan V. Bosak.

I like the form I found too called the “Dream Reading List” because it provides space for students to thin about the extensive choices for reading: My favorite topic, historical hero, interesting places, exciting adventures, how it works, careers, sports, nature/animals, other cultures/countries, making a difference, just for fun, and not my usual reading—but I’ll try it. (

The reason this thought provoking form list strikes me as something great, is that students have a choice. The one thing I have wondered when we set up a gamification class is how to set up a theme that is for everyone—we really cannot. For older students, we can mainly set up what they need to learn according to the standards for that content, then make it as fun and interesting as possible.


What a great way to teach Interviewing skills! “Quest for Knowledge of Another” through Classcraft is such a fun way to make an interesting topic even more creative! Are the conversation blogs set up within Classcraft? If not, where are they set up?

I would really like to see your major quest! Also, I’d like to see your optional side quests for your next unit when you set them up. This is so much more than what has traditionally been termed “extra credit assignments!” Students want more, you saw that during this first unit, and you are providing this.

If I could have a view-only access to your Classcraft units, I would really learn more specifically how this looks.


Google sheets for setting up a leaderboard is something I read in Matera, but since the different facets of using Google for the classroom are new to me, I am glad you wrote that in your experience with using this—it would help you have a leaderboard “platform.” How would components like badges and points be displayed in Google Sheets? Also, it seems like group badges and points for public view would be best, so students are not exposed for having fewer badges (punished by rewards).

I went to the pdf link you posted:

Thank you for sharing this, because it really clears up for me what you were describing.

I visited the link you placed in your references The Ultimate Guide to amifying Your Classroom.


You wrote:

Liz Kolb suggests that I use gamification software such as GradeCraft, 3DGameLab, Classcraft, and The Virtual Locker.

So I went through and did a quick view of each of the software systems and bookmarked them. With a Quick overview of each I found very valuable links. This answers a lot of my questions about how do I set up a gamified classroom without a specific platform? It is a combination of ways; and I am beginning to think it is just a way to get around the teacher-centered classroom and limited textbook only method.


I briefly visited this site and it asks “What is Gameful?” Then Earn Up; Increased Autonomy; Freedom to Fail; and Tangible Progress.

3D Game Lab: took me to “over 20,000 quests” (showing a Coastal Manager: Saving the Coho Salmon. Great use of iPads!

Our group Classcraft presentation from class was excellent; so I want to try this out now too!

The Virtual Locker: looks like a class management system for gaming.

Week 8 Initial Blog for EDET 697

Week Eight by Aleta May

Essential Question: Which aspects of story and game mechanics will be useful in your class and how might you use them?

I am hoping that you can double click on the Word or PDF version below it to download the chart I made from Arnab et al., 2015.



Above is a Learning Mechanics and Game Mechanics (LM-GM) Map that I read and charted from the article’s chart. Since “one of the biggest issues with educational games to date is the inadequate integration of educational and game design principles” (Arnab, Lim, Carvalho, et al., 2015, p. 392); it is vital that we look at the relationship between the two areas. The map is an. tool that helps teachers and others who design games to see how various mechanics relate to each other. There is no one certain method to mapping the two sides of the map, but the divided picture helps us to see what mechanics we may need to consider connecting when we develop serious games that are meant for instructional design.

As a reminder of what gamifying the classroom is, I have added in a definition that is cumulative:


“Gamification is the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage users.

In order to be classified as gamification an entire unit or classroom must use gaming techniques” Bruder, P., (2015).

“Serious games” is a term that has the goal of teaching something to students. “Gaming principles” apply some game elements to that which may not be a game. However, “serious games” has a goal to teach something to players / students. “Gamification” joins the principles together.

To me, this quest to learn at is the principle of Gamification:

I begin with the idea for my own gamifying for students, that I enrich their reading experiences as much as possible, in order to gain their attention, and deep engagement into the novel. I have used the framework from Matera’s book to help me think through how I could use two different “sailboat” novels in a gamified classroom setting.

Setting the Course from Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich and Elevate Your learners by Michael Matera—

Can be Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson or Voyage of the Frog by Gary Paulsen

Theme, Setting, Characters, and Action

Theme—“Theme is the frame of your story . . . around an existing unit or provide an alternative environment” (Matera, p. 70, 2015).

Once the theme is in place, the other components of the gamified class experience are set in place.

Setting—“. . .   a big picture view as vast as the ocean” (Matera, p. 71). The specific tangible elements and details outfit the setting .

Characters—“Characters drive the game. They are what your students become—the heroes they cheer on and the villains from which they run” (Matera, p. 72).

Action—“. . . challenges, conflicts, action, “two different timelines” beginning with “quick challenges that help our adventures feel successful” (Matera, p. 73).

Setting The Course

After being asked to take his uncle’s ashes to the sea, inexperienced David faces an unexpected and very bad storm.

 Route One: Theme

Survival on the open sea in a sailboat.

 Route Two: Setting

 th       th-1

Route Three: Character

Sailboat captain / Uncle who had died. Then Fourteen-year-old David Alspeth grew up a lot during the situation he found himself in.

Route Four: Action vocabulary practice for The Voyage of the Frog and

Treasure Island to build an understanding of sailboat and sailing terms.

Game–Master of the Secret Sea

In the game narrative, the new sailor does not know where Sunda is (the place they landed) or how to get a job; townhall. Quests could be added in to look these up.

Then the player can set sail. There is a description of how to use the arrow keys to control the ship.

Master of the Secret Sea – Play Master of the Secret Sea Game – Free Online Games, master of the secret sea online game, ship-boat games, online games, flash games, free games

On the Level Up Tech Quest wikispace, I really like some of the ideas (quoted directly below) put forth for how games are useful in teaching our students:

  • Authoring Platforms: Game is used to produce an artifact, be it another game, a model, visual text, or written text.
  • Simulations: Students use games to test theories about systems and tinker with variables.
  • Trigger Systems: Games are used as a jumping point for discussion.
  • Technology Gateways: Students use games to familiarize themselves with technology.
  • Exemplars of Point of View: Games allow students to take on different identities.
  • Documentary: Students use games to document their learning process and reflect on it.
  • Research Assignments: Students design games themselves and in doing so, research the subject matter of the game.

Farber, M. (2016), makes a good point that to me relates to first, sixth and seventh points above: “Similar to project-based learning, game-based learning puts students in authentic situations that require them to think critically about problems” (p. 37). Also, writing is tied into play when students take “field journal notes, written from the point of view of the roles they chose” (Farber, p. 41).

Another link I found in Bruder’s article (2015), is by Liz Dwyer. One link leads to how a teacher from Atlanta uses Angry Birds for physics lessons. Another link shows how using World of Warcraft can be used for Beowolf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

(Dec. 7, 2011 by Liz Dwyer).

Tutorial instructions include buttons and leads to how the game is played—

Controlling Ship — Trading Tutorial (ship dock, market, tavern, townhall, ship yard, status, game menu: Trading is difficult and you have to know what to buy and where to sell some goods)

Battle Tutorial

Find Treasure

This game could easily be tied to side quests and writing assignments. Since the students I work with change according to student needs, the vision of principals new to our school, and district needs, I do not always teach the same topic, age level, or student with different needs. As of this new quarter, however, it looks like I will be teaching using a novel and within a month be organizing, setting up and possibly teaching a station rotation reading model. My principal also envisions my motivating middle students to desire to learn technology skills, specifically tied someway to the STEM program. My writing in this week’s blog reflects that.


Arnab, S., Lim, T., Carvalho, M. B., Bellotti, F., Freitas, S. (de), Louchart, S., Suttie, N., Berta, R., & De Gloria, A. (2015). Mapping learning and game mechanics for serious games analysis. British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(2), 391-411.

Bruder, P., (2015). Game on: Gamification in the Classroom, p. 56-60).

Game–Master of the Secret Sea

Garber, Matthew (2016). Gamify your classroom: How a middle school unit on the Columbian Exchange has led a social studies teacher to design and use cooperative tabletop games to deliver instruction and engage students. NJEA Review.     

Links referred to in this article:

Matera, M. (2015). Setting the Course from Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich and Elevate Your learners. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Paulsen, G. (1989). Voyage of the Frog. New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

 Image of Sailboat in the Open Sea:

 Compass Rose–Bing Image



EDET 679 Week 7: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

Initial Post Week 7

EDET679 with Dr. Graham

by Aleta May

Essential Question: Week Seven: The Language of Learning 

Essential Question: How do you or might you use language to change the way that your students think about learning in the classroom?

In order to set the tone for a student-centered classroom, is important to spend the first week of a semester focusing on relationship building. In contrast to relationship building, teachers usually focus on routines and clear expectations (Tucker, 2016). Although routines and clear expectations are important, relationship building should at least be the primary focus. Tucker (2016) referred to this link that is not designed for the high school classroom, but were 36 questions that gave her a great place for students to get to know each other: . Tucker used these with index cards, one question per card, then had students pair up for “four minutes to ask and answer its question; then students rotated to different partners” (p. 87). These questions could be put in an online space where they choose two or three to answer—in writing or in an audio recording.

Another example for beginning with a student-centered classroom is using Socrative’s Space Race for group quizzes that have 20 questions common to the interest of high school students. “. . . students work to answer in groups of four. Groups compete against each other. . .” (p. 88). I found a pdf guide for socrative:


Image by; found at Bing—Classroom Space Race (socrative)

Next—I explored student-centered teaching (facilitating)/learning and words related to this (in contrast to tradition teaching/learning) by reading about and exploring is an example of using an online tool to gamify the classroom (older students because of adds) in a manner that students can join the class by visiting a pre-approved invitation URL (they will need to create a account as well as the teacher):  Like this–

Independent and flexible learning opportunities were effectively added to vocabulary learning that has not only an integrated dictionary, but can be developed into challenges, use a visual context (I didn’t explore that far—but maybe it can be added in by the teacher if it is purchased), repetition, context, “immediate feedback, feeling of accomplishment, and success of striving against a challenge and overcoming it” (Abrams & Walsh, 2014, p. 50). Non-examples would include look up the word in a dictionary section only or “shooting-based and time-based games [that] distract[ed] students from focusing on the vocabulary at hand” (Abrams & Walsh, p. 50). Repetition is also in this game in that a word bank of missed words is built up for practice.

I went to this site to use the trial version. First, I read the word within an example sentence. Next, I read the word and chose one from four answers, an example phrase came up. A more in depth and in this case, a more historical example for how the word could be used was included.

When I started building up points in Word in the Wild, I collected 100 points for each correct word. When I got one wrong, I did simply did not receive any points. By clicking on Word in the Wild (the word was used in a sentence) I received 50 points after getting the answer correct.

“Gamification is rooted in problem solving” . . . in contrast “edutainment feeds the player information, rather than encouraging curiosity and exploration” (Abrams & Walsh, 49). Other rewards students can earn are: “badges, like the green crown (signifying a perfect round), numbered medallions that indicate correct consecutive answers. Learning by doing is much more effective than just memorizing—Gee, 2007 was quoted in this article; Gee has conducted a lot a research about the social aspects of gaming. Students are motivated when there is interactivity and engagement. Sara is a teacher who created custom word lists, developed from class readings and used this method for all of her new ligerature units. She found that bringing her vocabulary into the game context, was “engaging her students in collaborative play for 40 minutes of the 50-minute class period” (Abrams & Walsh, p. 53).

In summary of the above article, I have compiled a list of student-centered facilitating and teaching above by making words from my reading of this article bold: independent, flexible, repetition, feeling of accomplishment, challenge, curiosity, exploration, interactivity, and engagement.

Though 15 minutes, this You Tube describes the Student-Centered learning classroom:

A student-driven learner needs to be creative, have curiosity, put in effort and willing to share in self-discovery (Matera, 2015, pp. 38-39). Even from the beginning, students need to address and overtime ask their own questions, learn how to research for answers and interpret their findings. When students take responsibility for their own learning, it becomes engaging—especially when they are allowed the freedom to take off into a direction of personal interest within site of the big goal or idea. Learning is for real-life problems. This inquiry based learning style builds or constructs from their personal previous learning. Students build learning, knowing that they can apply what they learn to their own lives—motivational and a growth mindset (Dole, et al., 2016).

Students who have not experienced this style of learning may have a fixed mindset (this is as far as I am able to learn). Therefore, “their learning must be highly relevant . . . If I try at this, will I succeed? Or will I fail again? (Nolan, et al., p. 43). Extremely important skills that go with student-centered learning include these words as well: time management, organization, self-monitoring, and persistence during independent work” (Nolan, et al., p. 44). The authors of who wrote this article suggest a blended learning environment. I believe a gamified classroom brings out the best of all of these. Matera discusses the S.A.L.L. (Second Attempt In Learning) to avoid the pitfalls of the fixed mindset. Students can redo or try another way to learn a project or answer a question in order to reach mastery according to their instructional flow range.


Abrams, S. and Walsh, S. (2014). Gamified vocabulary online resources and enriched language learning. IJournal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(1). International Reading Association, (pp. 49-58).

Andersen, Paul at TEDxBozeman, April 24, 2012. Retrieved 10-21-16.

Dole, S., Bloom, L., & Lowalske, K. (2016). Transforming pedagogy: Changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning.

Image by; found at Bing—Classroom Space Race

Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Nolan, J., Preston, M., & Finkelstein, J. (2012). Can you dig/it? Kappan. User Guide retrieved 10/20/16 at:

Tucker, C. (2016). Don’t waste the first week: Establish relationships, not just routines. The Techy Teacher. ASCD/222.ASCD.ORG.

This link was embedded in the article written by Catlin Tucker. Retrieved on 9/20/16 from:

Wright, Shelley at TEDxWestVancouverED:  The power of student-driven learning: June, 2013.

EDET678 Funding Proposal Screencast-O-Matic Parts I and II Links

Aleta May


Part I of the Emerging includes a proposal that serves to define why it is important for schools and other stakeholders to invest in our technologies that challenge our students and go beyond computer programs designed only to instruct without much interaction:

Screencast-O-Matic Link for this presentation:

Part II of the Screencast-O-Matic presentation demonstrates how an Understanding by Design two week unit can serve to connect what students are learning when they use Arduino Electrical Circuitry (as one example) to the Alaska State Technology goals and standards, as well as to endless examples of content area standards that may be met by using Arduino.  In the unit I have written–students are studying middle school or older electric circuitry in physics as they learn to use coding in technology for future career goals.

Screencast-O-Matic URL for UbD unit lesson:

Link embed for Screencast-O-Matic UbD unit lesson:

EDET 677 Final Project Club Planning Document Rubric

Aleta May

EDET 677 Mechanics of Technology

August 2016 Final Project for Dr. Lee Graham

Club Planning Document Rubric

“The mission of the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) is to ensure bilingual, culturally appropriate and effective education for all students, thereby providing them with the opportunity to be responsible, productive citizens.”

Technology has a 2016-2019 Technology Plan Timeline:

The section that draws my attention the most is B. Technology Integration. We need broadband width / speed, etc, but it is vital that we begin integrating technology into students’ everyday curriculum by learning, and bravely “jumping in” as teachers. The School district mission points out the words opportunity, responsible, and productive citizens. Technology Integration for self confidence in our 21st Century goals for careers and in our students’ confidence to make their place well in this world.

2016-2019 Technology Plan Timeline
A. Goals. Standards, and Strategies
Plan Element Task Responsible Party Funding Source Completion Date
Internet Access Evaluation of Network District Technology Needs (Bandwidth) Technology Coordinator TAI Department TAI Budget October 30, 2016
Continue E-rate Process (Contract Expires June 30, 2017) Technology Coordinator TAI Budget Pending E-rate Deadlines
VTC Evaluation of VTC Infrastructure VTC Equipment, Bandwidth Technology Coordinator TAI VTC Team TAI Budget August 28, 2015
Evaluation of VTC Instructor’s Needs Instructor Comments/Concerns Technology Coordinator TAI VTC Team
VTC Instructors
TAI Budget General Fund August 1, 2015- December 15, 2015
PD Technology Coordinator District PD Coordinator TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
B. Technology Integration
Readiness Ensure Completion of Above Task Technology Coordinator TAI Budget January 15, 2016
Collaboration Creation of the Technology Advisory Committee Technology Coordinator TAI Budget January 15, 2016
Needs Assessment Survey Technology Coordinator TAI Budget December 15, 2015
Collaboration With Content Experts Technology Coordinator DAPS Department TAI Budget General Fund December 15, 2015
Timeline Technology Plan Timeline Technology Coordinator TAI Budget January 15, 2016
Technology Integration Technology Coordinator TAI Budget January 15, 2016
Technology Standards Tied to Core Technology Coordinator TAI Budget January 15, 2016
C. Access
Fund Use E-rate/NSLP Survey Data Collection Technology Coordinator
Site Administrators/ Site Staff
TAI Budget Site Budget October 1, 2015
E-rate/NSLP Survey Data Compilation Technology Coordinator TAI Budget October 31, 2015
Budget Inventory Analysis Technology Coordinator Assistant Superintendent Business Manager TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
Parental/Community Communication and Involvement Stakeholder Surveys Technology Coordinator TAI Budget January 15, 2016
Community VTC Technology Coordinator TAI VTC Team TAI Budget January 15, 2016
Social Networking Tools Technology Coordinator Technology Integration Specialist TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
Expenditures E-rate Funds BIA Analysis Technology Coordinator TAI Budget October 31, 2015
D. Professional Development
PD Plan Core Curriculum PD District PD Coordinator General Fund January 15, 2016
Technology PD Technology Coordinator Technology Integration Specialist TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
Technology Integration Across Content Areas Core Content/ Technology Integration Technology Coordinator Core Content Experts Technology Integration Specialist TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
E. Assessment
District Assessment District Report Card
Previous 3-years to Reflect Changes
Technology Coordinator Testing Coordinator TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
Maintenance of Evaluation of Network Technology Coordinator TAI Budget October 30, 2016
Equipment and Hardware District Technology Needs (Bandwidth), VTC Needs, Etc… TAI Department
E-Rate Compliance Social Networking Presence LKSD Website Presence Classroom Presence Technology Coordinator Technology Integration Specialist
TAI Department
TAI Budget General Fund Site Budget January 15, 2016
Internet Safety Policy Internet Safety Policy Review Meeting #1 Technology Coordinator Technology Integration Specialist
Technology Advisory Committee
TAI Budget General Fund September 30, 2015
Internet Safety Policy Review Meeting #2 Technology Coordinator Technology Integration Specialist
Technology Advisory Committee
TAI Budget General Fund November 30, 2015
Internet Safety Policy Final Review Technology Coordinator Technology Integration Specialist
Technology Advisory Committee
TAI Budget General Fund January 15, 2016
Public Notice and Hearing Internet Safety Policy Public Hearing LKSD School Board LKSD Board Funds TAI Budget General Fund January Board Meeting
Submission to EED 2016-2019 Technology Plan Technology Coordinator TAI Budget Pending State Deadline

Evaluating the innovation of Technology Purchase, Equity and Integration

 One way to know some of these goals have been met is not by using a check off list, rather embedding the use of technology into instruction. Serena Pariser “wanted her middle school students to have deeper dialogues about literature. She tested two different tools to support small-group conversations: TodaysMeet and Padlet” (Pollock, p. 43). With TodaysMeet, students typed contributions about the novel they were reading rather than talking face to face. In Padlet, students brainstormed and typed their responses simultaneously onto the screen. This in particular encouraged students to talk about the comments in their small groups immediately. Students could also use iPads to see each other’s thinking. “Tech use supports what students are learning rather than usage being the end goal itself (2016, Pollock, p. 43). Equity does not mean an equivalent device in every student’s hand, it means smart use of technology.

“ 1. What’s your equity vision for students in your classroom?

2. What tech did you experiment with to see if it could help achieve that visio?

3.  What did you do with your students to test that use of technology and how did it go?     (Show the pros and cons for students.)

4.  What’s your conclusion about how ‘smart’ that tech use was for achieving your equity vision?” (Pollock, 2016, p. 42).

Asking myself and other educators, these questions is a quality template for evaluating our innovations.

To organize the beginning of our makerspace at Lewis Angapak Memorial School (LAMS), I am using questions from Jennifer Cooper, Sept. 30, 2013.

When will the space be used? and Where in the school would be ideal? What considerations are important?

The Makerspace will be during school, in the library, my small room, and in classrooms. More questions proposed by Cooper (2013) are questions I ask as I plan a during school club for our school:

What range of “subjects’ will be taught in the space? What types of activities and projects could be done there?

This needs to be left up to teachers’ imagination as to what is needed to make connections between making and the standards they are making in class.

Which tools are most needed? Will digital fabrication tools such as CNC routers, laser cutters or 3D printers be included? Which materials will be used?

I believe the priority is 3D printers and electronic kits. Woodworking routers sound great as well; we will need newer models to assure safety guards are in place.

Who are the kids that will be using the space? Will others use the space as well? Who is staffing and managing the space?—This question speaks volumes to me about keeping the makerspace student-centered:

Eight Big Ideas Behind the Constructionist Learning Lab

Statements extracted, from Dr. Seymour Papert’s big ideas that support the atmosphere in the design of my makerspace:

  1. “We learn best of all when we use what we learn to make something we really want.”
  2. If you can use technology to make things, you can make a lot more interesting things.
  3. “…fun and enjoying doesn’t mean ‘easy.’ The best fun is hard fun.”
  4. “Many students get the idea that ‘the only way to learn is by being taught.’ . . . You have to take charge of your own learning.”
  5. “To do anything important you have to learn to manage time for yourself. This is the hardest lesson for many of our students.”
  6. “The only way to get it right is to look carefully at what happened when it went wrong.”
  7. “The best lesson we can give our students is to let them see us struggle to learn.”
  8. “. . . learning about computers is essential . . . BUT the most important purpose is using them NOW to learn about everything else” (Stager, 2006 in Martinez & Stager, 2013).

How will it be built? Is a new or separate structure needed, and if so what type? What is the budget? Will the design and construction team be a combination of contractor and volunteers, all-volunteer or fully contracted?

This will happen by work order with our maintenance staff. Although this is embedded in the school budget, they have many tasks to complete.

More items to budget for are based on these facts: In Spencer & Juliani, (2016), a great way of reasoning as to why students will not stay on the same projects; particularily as they get older and more diverse in interests, skills, abilities, mindset, etc.; was to ask, “Why have the same training when everyone is on different levels?” (p. 29). The Industrial Arts teacher who was quoted started developing a new class titled “Creative Design and Engineering” (p. 29). Because of this, I can visualize many tools and materials, organized into areas like electronics, but with a sewing machine (with heavy duty needles for metallic conductive threads) nearby for designing fabrication with LED lights.

Accessible to the fabric and sewing area, there would be a 3D copier corner that may require “borrowing” certain types of metal thread, from the electronics section, for binding together clothing pieces created on the 3D machine that used a plastic type of filament. Overlapping these areas will be materials used to create classy curtains, and a fabric steamer to watch the effects of steam as wrinkles are released—then ask, “Why does this work?” Next to this area is a “LilyPad Arduino, an electronic textile construction it” (Telhan, Kafai, & Litts, 2016, p. 232) that activates through sensors and human touch and can be used on felt fabric. Students could experiment by connecting circuits “by incorporating conductive patches into the sleeve’s end” (p.228) for a fun way to study how electricity conducts through different types of metal threads/tapes.

Another section would be set up with a variety of regular school supplies that are in easy reach. Items include scissors, a variety of tapes, markers of different types, colored and drawing pencils and sketch paper; brass fasteners, clips, clamps, staplers, and glue. Paints that include oils, watercolors, tempra, and a small spray-paint compressor for larger temporary displays. The point here is to include sections that inspire the artistic senses as students use their imaginations to represent their thinking that is usually tied to a classroom project, standard, or other goal.

Another area, likely upstairs, would be set up for repairing or remixing old bicycles around the village. There would be a water area for finding air leaks and figuring out why certain tire patch adhesives work better than others. Wood materials for building replicas of the boardwalk in tundra that depicts, shifting from the effects of temperature.

A science section would include an area for making models of the earth (including electronic population LED light representations), water samples from the river, clay for showing layers, and items for creating astronomy representations. With Arduino boards and computers, the options are endless.

Presently, we just found out this week that the Material Request Funds (MRFs) that were placed for this fall were not filled. The situation that was described to us was very unfortunate. I am sure this will slow down the original idea of starting out with 3D printers, since classroom books and supplies will have to be reordered now. But our Site Administrator still wants to clear space(s) for electronic makerspace activities and robotics. This is high on his budget list for this year.

Other funding strategies are to go to the school board and ask for Corporation money to purchase big ticket items like a 3D printer, or a set of electronic kits for middle school science. There are grants for technology and student populations who have a low income. Also, there are stores who will donate some funding or supplies at cost for the maker space. These avenues are all certainly worth looking into.

I did look up the Leapfrog Creatr 3D Printer, 200X270 X230 mm Maximum Build Dimensions 0.05-mm Maximum Resolution; ABS, Laybrick Nylon, PLA, and PVA Filament. What I noted is that this is a name brand, but also that the price range for a 3D printer that can last serve the elementary is wide: $813.79-$2,870.04. I not a range of comparable 3D printers on a chart in class, but not knowing what is best for our students living out in rural areas for long term maintenance, I would defer to discussion with out District Technology Director, Kevin McCalla.

Some Items beginning from youngest to older students; mostly taken from

Makey Makey – Invention Kit $49.95

LightUp Tesla Kit (Bluetooth Edition $70. to $100.)

Wearable electronics would have to include the purchase and or donation of fabrics if combined with the sewing projects of Kuspuks:

LilyPad Arduino 320 Main Board  21.95

Adafruit Gemma—Miniature Wearable Arduino-like Electronic Platform $10.34

Squishy Circuits Kit—25.00 + 5.49 shipping

The Official Arduino Starter Kit Deluxe Bundle with Make: Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping…by Arduino  $149.95

One good point about location is that it needs to be spaced properly to avoid being overcrowded, and it needs to be focused on visibility of students to facilitators.

I especially appreciate the word cross-pollination and that the activities might include:

  • Cardboard construction
  • Prototyping
  • Electronics
  • Robotics (like Arduino and Lego Robotics)
  • Digital fabrication
  • Building bicycles and kinec sensor machines (that may include Kinect for XBOX 360)
  • Textiles and sewing

Supplies and rules for safety:

Of course, no makerspace is complete without a well-marked and accessible first-aid kit. I believe one for smaller cuts or scrapes needs to be additional to one that is geared to more serious injuries. Thin gloves need to be available for prevention of the spread of blood borne pathogens. Kits like this need to be in makerspaces, and should be close by to each classroom. This is a point that cannot just be assumed. Also, a fire extinguisher needs to be within quick reach.

Clean up procedures posted and frequently referred to keeps the makerspace area organized and safe. In the Hublinka (2013) article, I see the chant on page 1; “Protect. Double-check. Aim away. Clamp it. Focus. Never play.” This is a good idea for avoiding accidents for younger students, but I think it needs to be accompanied by a chart with changeable pictorial examples.

Sustainability and Updating

 The initial investment will be to spend time and effort cleaning areas out; such as getting rid of encyclopedias and other reference books that have not been used in at least 10 years. Then I believe we need pegboard and tool cabinets with drawers to organize our space. Student ownership will include leaving time for students to put away tools, sweep, and clean up the space daily before the next group uses the makerspace.

Another way to sustain a space is to invite community participation; such as a maker day where parents / community are invited to attend (Martinex & Stager, 2013) and just keep them informed about what is going own at school. Here is a piktochart infographic I made as an example:

My own question is how to start organizing the strategies for getting our makerspace off to a great start?

The strategy below reminds me of a jigsaw strategy, but I am thinking it is more like a Reciprocal Teaching program that, while developed for reading can be applied to students in a Makerspace working in pairs or small groups and actually asks themselves “what does this mean?” Metacognition is thinking about what you are thinking—

Metacognition informs you when you encounter something interesting

or substantive; . . . when you reread a passage [in the case of a makerspace,

rethink a failed attempt] with frustration because meaning did not flow to

you at first (Carter, 1997).

Metacognition in reading reminds me of Fadel’s Curriculum Redesign that is named Meta-Learning. At the center is 21st Century Education (which really is student-centered), with knowledge, skills, and character overlapping to “Imagine deeper learning. . .”

Novice makers like novice readers, interact with items and books and experience these according to how “their prior experience is activated” (Carter, 1997). Flexibility in using a variety of strategies derived from the facilitator, peers, or other sources help students add to what they know with the current situation they are presently in.

Here is a strategy model that can create a framework for organizing my teaching which Dr. Pravin Bhatia (I added brackets) I have provided an analogy from Reciprocal Reading from Palenscar to Bhatia’s model provided in a YouTube link in references below:

  • Step 1 Divide students into groups of 6 (or fewer).
  • Step-2 Dividing the subject matter within those groups [or divide students according to their interests and perhaps get them going into different tasks toward a cause].
  • Step-3 Each group reads [discusses] the portion allotted to it (silently read [research online, interview others, draw]; better to read [watch video clips together with audio] than to listen so they get the ideas even when they cant get the words [which gives them visual ideas to go with the words].
  • Step-4 Each group discusses the topic (this discussion is the most important part). [Students bring together what they found out and get started together.] This is peer learning. The teacher goes from table to table group. The teacher clarifies difficulties.
  • Step –5 Each group then in turn, presents it’s portion to the whole class. (communication and analyze skills are learned by doing this)
  • Step-6 All students ask questions from the group. This is where the most analyzing come from..

I believe this model can be a framework for weaving in Makerspace activities, electronics, coding, explaining what worked and what did not work. Teachers and students reflect at the end of the day.

Student ownership of learning is major. Grant Lichtman at TEDxDenverTeachers noted this as well. “He also said schools need to be creative, dynamic, permeable, adaptive, relevant, and self-correcting.”

Environmental Atmosphere

Intellectual design space—a growth mindset that promotes a belief that, students can make and create; with both computer and resources around them; individually and together. The growth mindset simply means that students are encouraged to try, not to be concerned with perfection, yet to develop a mentality of trying again, a different way, and being willing to consult peers or experts for ideas and ways of trying a new direction. “Creation is the heart of creativity and is only meaningful when grounded in action – it’s not a feeling, a mindset, or an outcome (Martinez & Stager, p. 80)”

When students walk into my ideal Makerspace area, the room will be organized, inviting, and have areas that invite from a variety of interests. Seymour Paper strikes the balance well: “The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, p. 157).

The areas will be set up to invite both young students and older students. A major area of focus will be incorporating technology into each project at some level. For younger students, they may use MaKey Makey Kickstarter There will be Arduino-based projects for middle school students and up. Some middle school students may start with other types of circuitry projects if they are overly frustrated with Arduino projects (Martinez & Stager).
I will need to model for my students, as well as, help students develop a “Growth Mindset: Positing that talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence” (Fadel, p. 4).

To maintain a strong growth mindset, where students believe in themselves that they can do something new, we as teachers need to take on what it is like for beginners:

This same PDF from Stanford explains that it is important to take on a beginner’s mindset during the activities.

  • Don’t judge.  Observing makers does not include adding one’s own value judgments regarding “their actions, circumstances, decisions, or ‘issues’”
  • Question everything.  A four year old might repeatedly ask “why,” so one way to handle this is to ask “why” back. Look at things from the perspective of the maker.
  • Be truly curious.  Also be filled with wonder, even if the circumstance presents as uncomfortable or familiar.
  • Find patterns.  What are some themes or threads that seamless crossover in interactions between participants or their project making.
  • Really.  As leaders, we plan for events. This may become a deep-rooted and fixed mindset. Be open to what partcipants say—avoid jumping to advise. site

Additionally, I the students need to understand that teachers can be open about how they are learning along with the students on many projects. This is teaching by example. Hlubinka, et al. (2013), reminds us that we are all makers. It may be difficult to stay ahead of students, but it will get easier over time—with experience. The advice given on p. 22 is “Let it go. . . . “just be reassured that nobody expects you to be an expert in everything.”

The teaching learning process in the classroom is dynamic; “. . . it flows back and forth from students to teachers” (Barseghian, 2011). Teaching students is dynamic in that while we teach, we also learn.

An important role of the Makerspace Coordinator is that he/she “knows about the usage and safety of the tools in the shop” (Hlubinka, Dougherty, Thomas, Chang, et al., 2013, p. 19). This will need to be learned and practiced prior to running “safety training for all who use the Makerspace” (p. 19).

Learner-Centered Instruction

As far back as Jean Piaget (1896-1980), he reminded teachers to ground teaching in action, not rote memorization; and to begin “with real and material action” (Libow-Martinez & Stager, book, p. 14); and Piaget’s collegue, Seymour Papert, would later frame the educational establishment’s favoring of the former approach over the latter as a battle between instructionism and constructionism” (Libow-Martinez & Stager, book, p. 14).

John Dewey (1859-1952) promoted the interdisciplinary learning based in authentic projects; thus preparing children to observe, problem solve and create methodical procedures for expressing their reasoning. Dewey was concerned with viewing the process of learning from the point of view that children are more than intellectual beings! They are social, emotional, and physical. Modern making can be expressed in the words of John Dewey: “First, that the problem grows out of the conditions of the experience being had in the present, . . . the new facts and new ideas thus obtained become the ground for further experiences in which new problems are presented. The process is a continuous spiral” (Libow-Martinez & Stager, book, p. 14).

Is today’s maker movement based in such theories? In my view, yes! We have so much constructive technology available to us now. We can socially communicate our understanding and build our knowledge just from discussing our reasoning, ideas, and thoughts by way of hands-on technology. Considering this list alone, children and adults alike can communicate to create by using “3D printers, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computers, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and new programming languages” (Libow-Martinez & Stager, article, p. 13). Both formally and informally, any person can use sharing tools and find ideas with instructions online.

Born in 1928, in South Africa, Seymour Papert may inadvertently be the originator of the modern day term, metacognition. He was an advocate of “coercion-free learning environments that inspire children to construct powerful ideas through firsthand experience” (Martinez & Stager, book, p. 18).

The purpose of project-based learning, that includes constructionism as well as constructivism, is to develop learning within context. In one way, this is not new thinking. As the chapter opens up on page 11, it states: “Making things and then making those things better is at the core of humanity” (Martinez & Stager, book). The difference now can be that with the computer age and multi-devices, “New open source microcontrollers, sensors, and interfaces connect the physical world to the digital world” (Martinez & Stager, article, p. 13). We can program computer devices to use as controllers to make connections between the digital and physical worlds.

Constructionism definitely brings old ideas back into the schools in an age that has more opportunity than ever to bridge technology to making and creating for real purposes.

Constructive technology has received its heritage from tinkering! It is constructionism versus Instructionism; and the framework of making, creating, is built upon an interdisciplinary point of view (Martinez & Stager, book, 2013).

Instructionism has the teacher imparting knowledge to students with little consideration for how one subject (discipline) is related to another. The students are receivers of knowledge in this theory of teaching. What is often not considered is that the learner has an internal set of schemata (preformed ways of understanding based on what they already know from prior experiences).


We need to involve students in real making, real technology projects and problem solving for real needs in our world to bring them to an outside view of the world. As educators, Instructionism has ruled for so long, many of us have decided we cannot integrate creativity into our teaching. We can. Perhaps what we are learning from all of this now is that it is purposeful and we are already almost 17 years into the 21st Century. It is time to step off the instructionism ship, and take the necessary risks on the constructive technology and constructionism yacht and launch off into the new horizon with fearless optimism.


Barseghian, T. (5 Feb., 2011). Mind/Shift How we will learn. Three trends that define the future of teaching and learning, (pp. 1-8). KQED News, Retrieved on July 5, 2016.

Bhatia, P., Dr. (November 20, 2014). A teaching technique for the 21st Century. TEDxNagpur:

Carter, C. J. (1997). How children learn, 54(6), pp. 64-68¢.aspx

Cooper, J. (September 30, 2013). Designing a school makerspace. edutopia. J. Cooper, Designer, maker and gardening teacher in Oakland, CA. Cooper picture of construction makerspace retrieved on 7-4-16 at:

Fadel, C. (2016). 21ST century competencies. Independent School, 75(2), pp. 20-26. Here is a YouTube link to a 1 hour 18 minute webinar by

Charles Fadel, published on March 8, 2016:

Makerspace team: including Hlubinka, M., Dougherty, D., Thomas, P., Chang, S., Hoefer, S., Alexander, I., McGuire, D. Vanderwerff, A., Scott, B. and pilot school teachers (Spring 2013). Makerspace Playbook School Edition. Retrieved 7-5-16: Maker Media—Creative Commons license (pp. 17-31).

Martinez., S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. (Chapter 11) Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Pollock, M. (2016). Smart tech use for equity. Teaching Tolerance.

EDET 678: Funding Proposal–Part II UbD

Aleta May

Understanding by Design Template 2.0

Emerging Technologies 678, with Dr. Lee Graham

August 2016

Funding Proposal to go with detailed report description is attached. This is an example of how using Arduino electronic can lead students to deeper understanding of science, which will transfer to coding that crosses content areas.

Stage 1 Desired Results

Technology:   Alaska Standards with Content Standards B. A student should be able to use technology to explore ideas, solve problems, and derive meaning.

1)     identify and locate information sources using technology;

2)     choose sourses of information from a variety of media; and

Technology:   Alaska Standards with Content Standards C. A student should be able to use technology to explore ideas, solve problems, and derive meaning.


A student who meets the content standard should:

1)     use technology to observe, analyze, interpret, and draw conclusions;

2)     solve problems both individually and with others; and

3)     create new knowledge by evaluating, combining, or extending information using multiple technologies.

Alaska Standards *Content and Performance Standards for Alaska Students Revised March 2006

The information the students learn will transfer to other content areas and more advanced coding skills.


Students will be able to independently use their learning to…move on to the next project in Arduino Electronics with less teacher facilitation

1.     Students will understand voltage as compared with the analogy of water pressure; and two sides pushing electrons through a circuit.

2.     Students will understand that when resistors are each the same, then the voltage between A & C will be the same.

3.     Students will understand that current is measured by how many circuits flow per second—voltage pulls electrons; current is measured in amps.

4.     Students will understand that Ohm’s Law is what is used to calculate current that is needed to run through the circuit.

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1. Why does it matter what volts (the difference in pressure between 2 points in a circuit) are between two points?


2.   Amps measure current—or electron flow.What happens when resistance is added?



3.   When resistance is measured my ohm resistors, what keeps the flow of the current even? Give an example

4.   What does it mean to have volts push electrons through ohms of resistance? Why does this matter?

Students will know basic circuitry, and understand resistance. This will allow them to move on to deeper understandings and more meaningful/engaging projects like parallel circuits.                                                                


Students will be skilled at understanding basic circuitry and be ready to change preset computer code; eventually changing coding a lot to create project ideas for the real world.
Stage 2 – Evidence
Evaluative Criteria Assessment Evidence
Students will be evaluated based on participation with a partner or small group, with the use of a rubric. PERFORMANCE TASK(S):

Using an Arduino breadboard, students will demonstrate their understanding of Volts, Amps, and Ohms. They will talk about what they are doing with peers, ask appropriate questions, use research to look up video demonstrations of how to do a project and be able to analyze errors to correct problems with a group/

The breadboard project will judge electrical circuitry success through the use of LED lights and coding that shows the middle volt (B) is 5.0 while A and C volts are equal to A and C OTHER EVIDENCE:

Students will be provided sentence stems to use for explaining what they learned about simple circuits the first week. Each student will be given a different color of pen to show their contribution to the explanation—which may include a drawing.


The second week, students will write use the words Volts, Amps and Ohms to explain in writing and or drawings what they learned about resistance.


Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Students will work on this project over a two week timeframe

With 1 1/2 hours per week:

The first week students will create a   simple circuit

The second week they will to create a more complex circuit using a battery box, where they will be given time to understand the circuit and resistance in two different ways.   Students will watch a non polarized resistor that allows flow in the current to go either way, and light up an LED when electrons lose energy.

Volts, Amps, and Ohms, students will watch video clips together in small groups that explain




EDET 678 Week 12 Funding Proposal Final Project–Part I (see UbD for Part II)

Aleta May

EDED 678 Emerging Technologies

Shared District and School visToday I wrote an email requesting that I be allowed to attend the following District Wide In Service (DWIS) trainings. Usually there are many required special education trainings at these DWIS, I received special latitude as a half time special education teacher to attend technology trainings. To me, this states our school’s vision:


For the DWIS I am interested in taking Robotics training, ALEKS (math) and STEM.  I believe Ashley Crace (Sped director) will be flexible with us on my receiving alternative trainings, since Dan is the primary sped teacher at our site.  She sounded flexible as well.


Robert’s reply was:

Since your electives keep our school vision in mind, I’d say you picked some great classes.

Sent from my iPhone

For the Lower Kuskokwim School district, there is now a 2016-2019 Technology Plan Timeline at that has been added to the recently expired Technology Plan:

This has been embedded within the LKSD Educational Technology Plan dated July 2013-June 2016. The categories are outlined below:

  • Goals, Standards, and Strategies;
  1. Internet Access–evaluation of Network District Technology needs (Bandwidth). TAI Budget
  2. Continue E-rate Process (contract Expires June 30, 2017)
  3. VTC details. (TAI Budget—General Fund)
  4. PD (TAI Budget—General Fund)
  • Technology Integration
  • Access (TAI / Site Budgets)
  • Professional Development
  • Assessment
  • skipped F
  • CIPA

Evaluating Innovation

Under each heading, there are details that have been addressed, and will continue to develop over time. I believe each and every category listed above affects buy-in to my proposed emerging technologies ideas for our schools. More specifically, we need the most improved internet access possible, technology needs to be integrated within interdisciplinary content areas, and I noticed that several areas listed above specify which categories funding is likely to come from for our school in particular.

The kits and equipment, kits, and supplies for each of electronic sewing, Tesla Bluetooth Circuitry, and Discover Circuits + Arduino each range in cost between $70. to $100. The products may be shared by students and items may be gradually added to and replaced

Connecting this Vision with My Vision for Embedding Emerging Technologies into the Primary through Middle School Classes:

I searched through our District Technology Curriculum and found several matches to emerging technologies I am interested in.

In Phase 2 of the Technology Curriculum,

Under Ethics E3 it is stated that students should “Work cooperatively to share resources & networked information. This is under performance Indicator SS-Social Studies and Tech Standard C.2.” The connection I find for my proposed Arduino project (middle school and up) and Tesla Circuitry Kit for younger students, as well as, using Aruino Flora LED lights for sewing/art, is that students will work together grouped by interest. Phase 8 includes Continuing to learn basics of Internet:

    Identify different types of hyperlinks, anchors and URLs A.1. & A.2.
    Use search engines (e.g. Alta Vista) using appropriate syntax A.2., B.1. & B.2.
    Use Sherlock (Mac) or browser (Netscape/Microsoft) search tool to locate information on a specific web site A.2., B.1. & B.2.
    Use Boolean search strategies to narrow Internet searches A.1 & A.2. A.2., B.1. & B.2.
    Print specific web pages with teacher guidance A.2., B.1. & B.2.
Participate in at least one telecommunications project (either Apple Mail or an approved email system or web) W A.2., B.1. & B.2.

In Phase 8 of our Technology Curriculum Plan, I view using Arduino Flora sewing projects as part of teaching students to add Arts to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Students can learn how basic circuitry works by using conductive tread to sew into fabrics and add LED light designs. This is student centered in that some students are much more likely to have a desire to engage in learning where art and fashion are involved.

Meanwhile, there are so many tools already available to educators online, what is really needed are models that “connect curriculum to life outside the classroom . . . real-world application that is experimentation . . . and opportunities for vision and leadership” (Johnson, et. al., p. 6). My favorite is STEAM. The A in STEAM stands for arts+. Of course, teachers need support in “leveraging technology to connect teachers and students inside and outside of the classroom” (Johnson, et. al., p. 7).

There are some students who may be attracted to programming and electronics by using it for art and clothing, who would otherwise never be interested in electrical circuitry or computer programming. Mellis, (2014) Leah Buechley created the LilyPad Arduino.

This quote really stood out to me: “We aimed to design projects that are fun and whimsical but also complex and challenging. We assume that our readers have no previous experience, but limitless ability.” The projects listed for children in this article sound exactly like what I would like to try with our students.

As I looked over a FLORA Ardino Compatable Wearable platform, then read down to where it suggested a mico-lipo charger to reduce fire risks (especially with fabric), my first reaction is that they should just raise the price and put this into the set. When compared to the Lilypad, the FLORA is lighter, has bigger pads and the with larger holes that are easy to use with alligator clips (which many prefer to use). It is a Field Transmitter that now works with Arduino devices (and others) that have alligator clips. (7/13/2016).

The light up and flash skirt (with LEDs) is activated by the FLORA motion sensor. It is connected to with pixels through conductive thread that is all connected to the FLORA mainboard. The code can be adjusted for sensitivity to motion by changing one number. The battery is removed to hand-wash clothing. Air-dry all the way before adding the battery back in. This looks very popular for prom night:

However, incorporating emerging technologies (ET) and an instructional design approach with a constructivism paradigm is disruptive to traditional education. Therefore, stronger research support for validating change in educational practices is needed (Veletsianos, 2010). Further, we need to consider what innovations are sustainable. Contextual factors need to determine what works for the students. In order to promote reform, there needs to be change that is deep enough to alter how teachers view their roles, change needs to be sustainable over time, cross over to other classrooms (especially other subject areas) and teachers need to assume ownership of their innovative teaching pedagogy (Herro, 2016).

How does the electronic circuitry and more advanced Arduino projects will further the vision of the school?

For students 8+ years, there are kits listed at $99.99. I purchased mine on sale for 69.99. These kits are durable and reusable. Students could work in rotating groups to use kits, so that it is more cost effective. This is a LightUp Tesla Kit (Bluetooth Edition) that gradually increases the difficulty of students understanding basic circuits, all the way to beginning to write code for the microcontroller. This kit uses magnets to connect pieces for a variety of projects and includes a learning app for guidance. The magnetic circuit blocks snap together and with an iPad app (LightUp Tesla Kit Bluetooth Edition that is included, students may hover over the connections to see the visual flow of circuitry (like x-ray vision) to not how it works. An Arduino Kit, alternatively, uses a breadboard with positive / negative wires and LED lights with wire legs that would be difficult for younger students to use. Here is a site where a starter kit called Discover Arduino Bundle may be purchased for 81.99. There are smaller kits available. The kits are well organized with pieces in packets and there are online resources with an electronics group you can join.

Lessons include 3 to 4 minute video clips that explain the concepts that build background knowledge—For example: As electrons and protons transfer through a conductor, they can shake electrons around as they move from high pressure through the conductor. This can make light; electrical waves; magnetic waves as it moves through the conductor. Then there are tutorials students may watch and review for how to make the electrical connections with the computer connected by USB cord, where students begin to learn how to use computer coding. Here is an example of a tutorial:

As I teach using Arduino and other circuitry materials, according to the updated policies listed below, I will have permission to have students looking up information on their personally owned devices, such as video clips about how to complete the coding within an Arduino project:

Meanwhile, it will be important that stakeholders be convinced that middle school to high school students are based on five qualities and behaviors “for fostering a constructionist learning environment:

~~Keep it brief, relevant, and open;

~~Model the maker mindset;

~~Act like a scientist;

~~Reward curiosity and passion with rigor; and

~~Keep it safe   (welcoming, friendly space that is as free as possible from the pressures of time . . . students participate in their own assessment, allowing them to see its value and to gain literacy and autonomy through it” (Flores, 2016, pp. 17-18).

The cost of the Discover Electronics + Arduino Kit that can be obtained from and is connected to sparklabs.

Students need to learn basic electronic skills; such as coding, electrical circuitry as it relates to content areas while using the computer in ways other than blended learning programs and test taking. To compete in the 21st Century, our students need to see how, for example, using an Arduino kit with sensors they connect, then touch affects a baseline and comparison body temperature reading on the computer screen; as well as how to solve the problem of adjusting the code in the program to match the ambient air temperature in the room to be able to see LED lights light up when the touch or not touch sensors.

This technology will further this goal by doing the following for students: Presently, coding is a part of the many apps we use daily, and the uses include “thermostats, cars and just about every device we own” (Sehringer, M., 2016, p. 2). . Coding coursework prepares students for college-level courses and jobs (Shueh, 2014). Shueh, J. (2014, 25 June). Advocacy groups push coding as a core curriculum: Students must learn how to create technology to prepare for a computer-driven workforce.

Since a student’s day can be so filled with required curriculum standards and coursework, (Guest Author, 2015), the answer is to hybrid courses—“replace your math class with a math/CS hybrid class” (p. 2). We are already going this route when we declare that every teacher is a reading/writing teacher in every subject area. I agree. I am opposed to not adding coding into the curriculum after reading all the literature as to how much a part of our students’ lives computer science really is. Therefore, the cons are impossible for me to find.

I am proposing starting a low-key makerspace to bring in emerging technologies across primary through at least middle school grade levels

Flores (2016) noted that Vygotsky (1978), “introduced the concept of allowing learners to step beyond themselves” and to use each other as a resource to find this ceiling by letting students bump into the wall and then figure out how to get unstuck. The key would be to balance frustration that is productive with asking students leading questions that may get them to think about what to try next instead.

These are taken directly from the LKSD Policy:

Personally Owned Devices

Students may use personally owned devices (including laptops, tablets, smartphones, and cell phones) at any time during school hours—unless such use interferes with the delivery of instruction by a teacher or staff or creates a disturbance in the educational environment. Any misuse of personally owned devices may result in disciplinary action. Therefore, proper netiquette and adherence to the acceptable use policy should always be used. In some cases, a separate network may be provided for personally owned devices.

  1. Examples of Acceptable Use

I will:

    • Use school technologies for school-related activities and research.
    • Follow the same guidelines for respectful, responsible behavior online that I am expected to follow offline.
    • Treat school resources carefully, and alert staff if there is any problem with their operation.
    • Encourage positive, constructive discussion if allowed to use communicative or collaborative technologies.
    • Alert a teacher or other staff member if I see threatening/bullying, inappropriate, or harmful content (images, messages, posts) online.
    • Use school technologies at appropriate times, in approved places, for educational pursuits only.
    • Cite sources when using online sites and resources for research; ensure there is no copyright infringement.
    • Recognize that use of school technologies is a privilege and treat it as such.
    • Be cautious to protect the safety of others and myself. (p. 13)

Students need to have this digital citizenship taught to them. If they do not have an opportunity to be involved in using a variety of technologies, whether from school or brought from home, they may find out the hard way in the workplace.


 As a school district, we need to change “the culture of instruction” . . . “Technology does not change the cognitive rules for learning, but offers ways to better deliver the learning experience” (Hess, et. al., p.9). Our district (as well as many others across Alaska) needs to use technology in ways other than testing and pre-made programs. For example, I do use Lexia for reading, Dreambox for math, and we have Read 180 that is set up to be a blended learning environment with built in rotations. What we need to do district-wide (and perhaps beginning at our school) is strongly emphasized integrating technology into every subject area and use an interdisciplinary approach. I could be teaching science and use a breadboard not only to teach electronic circuitry, but to also calculate the difference between my body temperature in Celsius with other students, and we could discuss ambient room temperature and how that affects what we are seeing on the computer screen from the code that was copy and pasted in and then adjusted. Further, our students need to learn how to use coding—this may include gaming, which may in turn involve math or story telling.

The outlook for available funding for interdisciplinary uses of technology are very positive, since schools have been recognized as having students who are engaged in purposeful learning will be students who are prepared for the job force and be motivated to graduate. The E-Rate program was developed by federal policymakers; this program is called the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and “is a discount on telecommunications services for schools and libraries “ and it is “overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)” (Hess, Hochleitner & Saxberg, 2013). This program is up for expansion of provisions for high-speed Internet to 99 percent of America’s students by 2017” (Hess, et. al., p. 2). President Obama and his education team calls this “ConnectED.” This is major for our school district!! The higher speed of internet we have, the more the equipment we already has can be effectively used to make available courses and/or tutoring they need.


 Adafruit—FLORA – Wearable electronic platform: Arduino-compatible – v3. Flora arduino microcircuits (projects at the bottom):

Qi, J (2012). Interactive light painting: Pu gong ying tu (dandelion painting). Retrieved 7-17-2016 at: Sparkle skirt with flora motion sensor:

Buechley, L. (November 15, 2012). Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics (Sketching Electronics)  Retrieved 7-17-2016 at: Talks 

Flores, C. (2016). Fostering a constructionist learning environment: The qualities of a maker educator. In P. Blikstein, S. L. Martinez, & H. A. Pang. Meaningful making: Projects and inspirations for fab labs and makerspaces.

 Hess, F., Hochleitner, T., Saxberg, B. (2013). E-Rate, education technology, and

 3 Reasons coding should be a core subject by Guest Author, September, 29, 2015 From Getting Smart. Retrieved 6-20-16

Herro, D. (2015). Sustainable innovations: Bringing digital media and emerging technologies to the classroom. Theory into Practice, 54:2, 117-127.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

LKSD Educational Technology Plan dated July 2013-June 2016:

Arduino kits:

Sehringer, Mendix WIRED Retrieved 6-20-16:– LightUp Tesla Kit Bluetooth Edition:

Veletsianos, G. E-learning, Ideas open sharing work. Posted November 18th, 2015. In G. Velesianos (Ed), (2010). A definition of emerging technologies for education (pp. 3-22). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (14th ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Reference found in Malpica article)