541 – Spreadsheets and Data Bases in Education

“Software tools are increasingly popular, in part because they address both productivity and instructional needs and in part because they can support both directed or constructivist learning activities.” (Roblyer, Doring, 2008) It is the versatility and simplicity of  spreadsheet and data base software that makes it particularly useful in an educational setting.

Spreadsheets and Databases have been around almost since the beginning of the personal computer and have been two thirds of the big three in terms of productivity applications on computers the third being word processing. These three applications were developed to make the creation of documents and storage and retrieval of data more efficient. The relative advantage to the use of these applications in educations starts with their ability to save time, contain and display a large amount of information and continues to their ability to quickly see the results of  variables to a result. Spreadsheets and databases can contain information that can be used by students to analyze a problem or issue and instantly see the results of a change to that data. Data bases and spreadsheets  can reveal answers to students through the study of data and their differences. This inquiry based approach to spreadsheets and databases encourages the hypothesis, investigation, conclusion approach to learning.


Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.


541 – Inside Power Point – More than a fireworks show!

Since the mass deployment of Power Point for education in the nineties it has replaced the overhead projector in most classrooms, but how effective is it really for learning? Using multimedia to address learning styles would seem to increase retention and understanding, however research has shown that the violation of some basic principles in designing a presentation can actually decrease learning. Patti Shank, a widely recognized information and instructional designer suggests in an excerpted from PowerPoint and Online Learning, Part 1. Online Classroom, April 2010, a concise use of text while exploiting the inherently visual medium of the presentation by using relevant images to convey meaning. Her advise to avoid “Dumping” words onto slides coincides with the multimedia theory that too much textual information on any given slide will cause cognitive overload for the viewer, resulting in disengagement.

When designing the presentation one should adhere to the “less is more” rule and consider the CARP design principles (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity). Include only the media elements and limited text needed while supplementing instruction with comprehensive speaker notes, unseen by the viewer. Animations and transitions tend to distract attention from the true intent of the instruction. When a presentation is meant to be viewed online by a student it is advantageous to include an interactive element. Requiring active participation by the learner within a presentation such as hyperlinks inside, and outside of the slides will increase engagement.

So the question remains: How can well designed presentations increase learning in the classroom? Combining the visual elements of a presentation with interactive elements which include links to resources outside the presentation can increase engagement and relevance for learners. An article on the website Teachnology.com states that, “It can add a new dimension to learning allowing teachers to explain abstract concepts, while accommodating all learning styles.”

The following presentation is meant to supplement instruction for students in my Photography classes. It is very rare to find a student who has developed film and enlarged prints, therefore their frame of reference coming into this process is very limited. I demonstrate the process to students, but through the following presentation students will be able to access a complete step by step visual presentation of the entire process on our class website, view two external videos, visit external sites that give tips for setting up home darkrooms, and take a short quiz to check for understanding. I created this presentation using photographs I have taken of the equipment, supplies and process, and assembled the presentation using Powerpoint. The original intent was to upload the presentation to Google Presentations, however, even after reducing the file size, I was unable to upload. In order to make it accessible online I also tried to upload to Skydive, but again was unsuccessful due to file size. In the end I was finally able to upload the presentation and all associated media files to Sliderocket. I was able to embed the presentation on my Edtech 541 website but the code does not seem to work in WordPress.



Shank, P. (2011) Using Power Point Effectively in your Courses. Faculty Focus. Retrieved 02 18, 2012 from:http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/using-powerpoint-effectively-in-your-courses/

Powerpoint in the Classroom. Teachnology. Retreived 02 18, 2012 from: http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/

513- Multimedia Instruction

For several semesters in my Photography class I have included a unit which features the use of photo sensitive paper, photo enlargers and simple objects to create images. This process was pioneered my an American artist/photographer named Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitsky) in the 1920’s. The process allows photo students to create some very interesting pieces while learning some of the basic dark room procedures needed for subsequent photo enlargement projects. The process requires careful attention to detail in the design and creation of the images and I have always used a combination of text and demonstration delivery to teach the procedure. Through the use of this multimedia presentation students will be able to review each step of the process at any time to solidify concepts before embarking on each phase of the unit, as well as link to an external website on the life of the artist.

The presentation uses multimedia and contiguity principals in many ways such as its consistent colour and structure design and the sparing use of text on each slide. The opening slide for this assignment was to have been a list of instructional objectives, however I found that the list created a text dominated slide which would be overloading to the learner, therefore I broke it up into three separate slides. I used consistent spacing and alignment for images and text and highlighted key elements of the images with arrows and numbers.I first created this presentation using Power Point and then uploaded the slides to Google Presentation. It is a good way to use some of the flexibility of PPT, however there were some textual elements I had to adjust after the PPT document was uploaded.After several attempts to embed the Google Presentation into this wordpress blog, I chose to upload the presentation to Slideshare which embedded without difficulty.
I used a combination of images labeled for reuse, drawings, and photographs I took to illustrate the process from rough design to mounting and labeling.

View more from bjanzen-mtdouglas

Here is the link to the Google presentation that includes the speaker notes to this presentation.

541-instructional software in the classroom.

Relative Advantage

The relative advantage of using instructional software in the classroom ranges from simple increased engagement to fostering deep understanding of complex issues and concepts. Software that is carefully designed with sound educational theory as the basis for construction can help teachers deliver curricular content while promoting digital literacy. Drill and Practice software is sometimes considered ineffective for long term retention of material however, as a tool for mastering basic concepts before progressing deeper into content this approach can be effective. Tutorial software can be used by teachers for instruction and practice and is making a resurgence today with the growing popularity of the “Flipped” classroom. Students can learn the material at their own pace, in many cases on their own time, and apply that knowledge in more complex classroom activities with the teacher as facilitator. Problem solving software can be used to teach concepts, or stand alone as an approach to building the skills involved with the process of problem solving. This type of software allows students to explore through a process of trial and error. Simulation software can immerse students in any environment or time period, similar to a role playing experience, and allow learners to discover knowledge from within that experience. Simulations can allow students to do the impossible within the safe, cost effective platform of the computer and can compress or expand time. Simulations allow learners to learn from “virtual” experience. Educational game software can be an engaging and entertaining strategy for learning that utilizes game play rules, competition, and reward.

All of the above categories of educational software can be effectively applied in a Language Arts classroom. There are many good examples of software that utilizes drill and practice, tutorial, and game play software in Language Arts to establish basic and advanced grammatical concepts. With the proliferation of tablet hardware and applications has come an explosion of apps designed specifically for Language Arts concepts from spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure, to creative and essay writing.

The following presentation contains examples of instructional software, with a Language Arts emphasis, for five genre’s:

  • Drill and Practice
  • Tutorial
  • Simulation
  • Problem Solving
  • Games

The presentation contains links to an outline of the genre and examples of instructional software in each of the genre’s for both the PC and Tablet (OSX) platforms. Following this link  to view the presentation in full screen and navigate through the various links to tour the presentation.


Dr. Dave Perry – Associate Professor of Education – College of Education and Organizational Leadership – University of La Verne – La Verne, CA

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Creating My Learning Log – 513

Create a new post, calling it “Creating My Learning Log,” discussing how you used a blogging platform to create a website. Include information on how this activity aligns with the AECT Standard(s) you included on the post label.

This learning log was created in my first semester of study at Boise State University as a way to keeping track of, and reflect on the learning activities within the course work. I have posted comments and displayed work here from each course I have taken over the past year. The use of the wordpress blogging platform is an easily accessible strategy for students to create content, generate discussion, gather feedback and display their work to the world. Through the use of tags and categories students can keep track of posts and access material quickly. By using an RSS feeds students can also keep track of posts from classmates and access those posts to reply. WordPress offers many free templates for users to customize the look and feel of their site, with new templates developed by users being offered continually. Of course, the biggest advantage to the use of a blogging platform to set up a website is that there is no cost and students do not need coding knowledge or a subscription to a web hosting service. Students can use the many widgets available to customize their site and embed images, audio, and video material directly on their site.

With the ease and convenience of a blog platform to develop a website students and teachers will address many of the AECT standards in learning. Teachers and students can use the the website to design and develop engaging, interactive instruction and multimedia responses that demonstrate learning. The management standard is addressed as students and teachers organize and manage information that is used on their web page to organize project material and deliver content in an easily accessible manner.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies
Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

AECT Standards

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.

Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.