EdTech 543-PLN Diagram

Although I created by first image of my PLN in a very different way, relating the relationship of these networks as a Venn-diagram seemed to make the most sense to me. I do try to compartmentalize the different areas of my life; as I tried to illustrate in this image. And within those different areas, I do tend to use different tools. For example, in my work life I use Yammer, Edmodo, Google +, and LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Of those networks, I only use Facebook and Twitter in other areas of both my personal and educational life. I know that many people choose to overlap these networks more than I have, choosing to integrate the use of a single Facebook or Twitter profile. But in my life, I appreciate the ability to separate the use of some of these networks for different purposes. I realize that this graphic representation is simplistic compared to some of the other PLE diagrams that my peers have created, with interactivity and beautifully integrated graphics, but in this circumstance I chose to keep it simple!

Non-linguistic model of Connectivism, Commuties of Practice, and Personal Learning Environments

This was, by far, one of the most challenging assignments I have completed. All of the creative ideas that I have had this week have relied too much upon words to convey the messages of connectivism, CoPs, and PLEs. So, I decided to go to the source of our knowledge, so to speak, as my model for non-linguistic representation. As a biology teacher, I believe the brain is a perfect model for conveying the interconnected relationships of our behaviors, learning, communities, and environments in which we share our knowledge. Branching neural pathways are routinely reinforced to encourage further neural advancement, much in the same way that social interactions branch and grow when used to share, communicate, and learn within a social network.


A challenge to connectivism. (Kerr, B 2007). Retrieved September 8, 2012 from the Learning Evolves Wiki: http://learningevolves.wikispaces.com/kerr

Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism.  (Ireland, T. 2007). Retrieved September  8, 2012 from the CI 484 Learning Technologies Wiki: http://ci484-learning-technologies.wikispaces.com/Behaviorism,+Cognitivism,+Constructivism+%26+Connectivism

Brown, J.S. (2002). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. United States Distance Learning Association Journal, Volume 16.  Retrieved September 8, 2012 from http://www.usdla.org/html/journal/FEB02_Issue/article01.html.

Brown, T. (March 2006). Beyond constructivism: navigationism in the knowledge era. Retrieved from

Gonzales, C. (2004). The role of blended learning in the world of technology. Retrieved on September 8, 2012 from http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/2004/september04/eis.htm

Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. San Francisco: Pearson.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Volume 2.  Retrieved on September 8, 2012 from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Thorsen, C (2009). Tech tactics: Technology for teachers. San Francisco: Pearson.

Wasko, M.M.,  & Faraj, S. (2000). “It is what one does”: Why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Volume 9, 155-173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0963-8687(00)00045-7

Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of practice and social learning systems. Organization, Volume 7, 225-246. doi: 10.1177/135050840072002

Vision Statement

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick

When I stand at the front of my classroom at a community college, I am struck by the picture of a modern classroom. While the classroom is fundamentally a teacher with his/her students, now my students have computers at their desks, mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet PCs or iPads, and I am lecturing with an interactive presentation software as projected on a large overhead screen. Technology use is, and will continue to be, commonplace among modern students as the demands of the new digital working world rely upon the efficient use and integration of computers and mobile devices. The potential for increased student achievement is an essential consideration for our students, and with skillful integration, technology can motivate and engage students  while supporting their learning needs.

Why integrate technology in the classroom?

Simply put, because technology use has the potential to increase positive student outcomes. As evidenced by meta-analysis of more than 500 studies on computer-mediated instruction, students are able to learn more than their traditional cohorts when using computers while learning (Kulik, 1994). For example, using computers in the classroom can decrease the time invested skill development in areas such as math, science, and reading by allowing students to access interactive skill drills (Wenglinsky 1998). In over 200 reviewed studies related to the effect of technology use on student learning and achievement (Sivin-Kachala, 1998), students demonstrated positive levels of achievement when in technology-rich learning environments.

A vision of the future

“It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well-trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement.” – Keith Krueger

The use and integration of technology in the classroom is to the teacher as the brush is to the artist. As a master craftsman utilizes tools to effectively and efficiently to accomplish their goals, a teacher has the ability to increase their effectiveness and classroom efficiency by utilizing emerging technology to engage, motivate, and shape student learning. Preparing students to use  technology to achieve their educational, professional, and personal goals should be among our objective as educators.

Sivin-Kachala, J. (1998) Report on the effectiveness of technology in schools, 1990-1997. Software Publisher’s Association.

Kulik, J.A. (1994) Meta-analytic studies of findings on computer-based instruction. In Schacter, J. (1999) The Impact of Educational Technology on Student Achievement: What the most current research has to say. Retrieved on September 9, 2012 from http://www.mff.org/pubs/ME161.pdf

Wenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it compute? The relationship between educational technology and student achievement  in mathematics. Educational Testing Service Policy Information Center.

Final Countdown!

In the final stretch of this evaluation, I find myself having a hard time figuring out how to tell the story. I feel like I am constantly thinking, “I don’t know what I am doing.” I am accustomed to simple, concise, numerical data that is easily analyzed using mathematics and statistics. And in the beginning, my initial perception was that qualitative data would be easier to communicate. Alas, I find that stepping outside of my comfort zone is…uncomfortable. I am trying to piece together the most effective way to communicate the results of the evaluation, using methods I am unfamiliar with, low response rates, and unresponsive participants; all of which feed my sense of anxiety about finishing this project. While the end result of this process is shaping up to be less robust than I had hoped, the journey through this project has changed how I will approach evaluation in the future.