542 – PBL Brainstorming

At this point early in the course we are to be considering a topic and approach for PBL unit development. As with all the other classes I have taken at BSU, I have tried to create projects that are applicable to my teaching areas with the intention of implementation. I have use the PBL approach with my Language Arts classes, although without many of the details evident in the examples I have seen over the past few days. In Language Arts I have used this approach to try and make real life connections to thematic study in literature with some success and would like to further explore this concept.

Some general ideas I am considering in the Language Arts 9 area are a deep examination of thematic elements relating to humanity and human nature as explored in the short story Dr Heidegger’s Experiment. My idea is to have students formulate a driving question based on a theme analysis of the story then work toward the creation of a documentary video.

In Language Arts 10 a connection between heroism and the main character Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird could lead into an investigation of the true qualities of a hero culminating in a documentary biography on a local hero, perhaps incorporating the MyHero website as a resource and presentation forum.

All of the above ideas culminate in the creation of documentaries. I teach a unit on documentary film making in Media Arts 11/12 and perhaps a PBL unit in this area could focus in on a topic of choice as well as the genre. Using the National Film Board of Canada’s web resource, Beyond The Lens as a opening resource in exploring techniques, history and documentary forms can lead into interest driven groupings and development of a film.

The final area I am considering right now is in Photography. Exploring the power of photojournalism to evoke change through a PBL unit may be effective. Using the James Natchway TED talk as an entry event maybe a useful strategy.



513 – Worked Example Screencast

The following is a demonstration of a sequential approach to poetry analysis. The video was created using Camtasia.

541 – Obstacles to Technology Integration

The main challenge with integrating technology into any content area starts with access. I am fortunate enough to teach all my courses in a lab of computers and laptops which have enabled me to plan and implement technology based strategies in my content areas for several years. One of my main challenges has been ensuring that my instruction is content driven and not technology driven. Too often teachers fall into the trap of overusing technology to the point where it becomes distracting to students and actually hampers learning. However, for teachers who do not have consistent access to computers, integration in content areas becomes difficult to implement. Portable tablet labs and BYOD programs are beginning to alleviate some of the strain of access for all students in school, but it still remains a barrier to integration.

One challenge facing Language Arts teachers is the issue of plagiarism. Whether the written material is produced with the aid of technology or not, teachers must always be vigilant for work that is copied from another source. Plagiarism has become easier to accomplish using the internet by a simple process of copy and pasting, however the internet can also be a resource for teachers who suspect plagiarism. There are many web applications available for teachers to input phrases which then search the internet for a match. Related to this is an issue where students in classes where e-portfolios or notebooks are used could potentially access work done by other students on assignments given in previous semesters. This requires the teacher to carefully customize material and assignments on a regular basis.

It is easy for teachers to find reasons not to integrate technology in their classes by citing issues of access or security, however the benefit for students is potentially too great to find reasons not to integrate technology. Instead of find excuses not to adopt 21st century strategies teachers must find ways to make it happen. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology in the Classroom, “ The Internet and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) such as word processor, Web editors, presentation software, and email are regularly redefining the nature of literacy. To become fully literate in today’s world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of ICT. Therefore, literacy educators have a responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve.” (Robelyer and Doering, 2010)

Below is a link to a video I produced with Camtasia that addresses technology integration strategies and solutions for English Language Learners content area.

513 – Digital Story

The following is a digital story/documentary produced for Edtech 513 Mulitmedia. I have two sons, one 4 years old and the other 20. In this story I question what goes on in the mind of a child and how the events and images of childhood influence who they are in adulthood.

513 – Podcast

My podcast series will provide adult learners with weekly lessons on how to play the saxophone. The concept I have in mind would be targeting adults who always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, but don’t have time to take private lessons. The series start with an historical introduction to the instrument and the basics of putting it together, where to place the fingers and how to form the embouchure. With the podcast learners would be able to listen, pause, and playback segments with the goal of familiarizing the student and allowing them to produce a sound after the first episode. The podcast format will allow me to provide examples of what it should sound like for the learner to use as reference.

Subsequent episodes of the podcast would teach and demonstrate specific techniques of how to play the instrument, how and what to practice, and provide suggestions for artists and recordings to go to that demonstrate great technique and sound.

I have worked with music files and recording a great deal in the past, but had no idea you could create a podcast, host it in dropbox and have it subscribe-able in itunes. This technique has some real potential for my classroom instruction. Currently I have students create podcasts on a variety of topics but we were uploading them to their student website; this way we can collect and maintain a class set of podcasts hosted on itunes that we can all subscribe to…awesome!

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.

541 – Integration of Technology into Teaching – Vision Statement

Why Integrate Technology into our Schools?

The easy answer to this question is that technology is ubiquitous and therefore a necessary element of public education. It is true that digital literacy is an important factor in the integration of technology, however the real power of technology in our schools is when integration strategies “… address specific instructional needs identified by educational theorists and practitioners.”(Roblyer, Doering 2010). The Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) supports the notion held by teachers that, “…simply having students use technology does not raise achievement. The impact depends on the ways technology is used and the conditions under which applications are implemented.”(Roblyer, Doering 2010).

In justifying technology in the classroom teachers must ask themselves what are the ways in which technology integration can address instructional needs that support learning in a more efficient, impact-full way than non-technology driven strategies, and whether or not the planning and resources necessary are worth the projected outcomes. How, then can technology support student learning? According to Roblyer and Doering, there are four main categories that are the basis for an argument for technology inclusion in classroom instruction:

  1. To Motivate Students
  2. To Enhance Instruction
  3. To Make Student and Teacher work more Productively
  4. To Help Students Learn and Sharpen Their Information Age Skills

Student engagement or motivation is a key argument for technology inclusion. Students must find relevance and connection to their individual needs in order to fully engage in an academic pursuit. The use of technology to make curriculum meaningful through inquiry based learning encourages cross curricular connections which inherently reflects real world applications of acquired  knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Students using the Internet for exploration, collaboration, development and presentation are engaged in a meaningful process which results in deep understanding as well as the formation of important twenty-first century skills. This approach directly supports educational theorist that subscribe to the constructivist theory which emphasises that people learn through participation; it is the process itself that unravels understanding. Direct instruction through the use of technology can also be a motivating factor for students.

Objectivist educational theorists propound technology integration to identify weaknesses in students and promote fluency of skills. Computer software for direct instruction, which provides customizable instruction and immediate feedback, allows scaffolding for the individual pace and needs of student learning. This process is proven to increase motivation and achievement especially in the attainment of government mandated standards.

Enhanced learning through classroom integration of technology can promote higher level thinking skills such as analysis and synthesis of information. Students can use technology to “bring down the walls” of traditional classroom by accessing global resources and connecting with people around the world. Teachers are no longer the sole source of knowledge and information in the classroom. Educators can call on experts in any field to become guests in her class leading to the acquisition of high levels of complex information which can result in in-depth analysis and deep understanding or impact.

Technological solutions are regularly being discovered to solve learning problems associated with students with disabilities. Assistive technologies are currently in use, and are being developed to enhance learning for students with physical impairments and cognitive challenges.

The use of technology in schools can increase productivity and efficiencies of administrative activities on the part of teachers and administrators as well as reducing the use of consumable materials. Through the use of various applications students can submit digital assignments and teachers can assess student work and provide digital feedback in a timely manner. Teachers are then able to input and track progress quickly, providing academic intervention as necessary.

Technology integration as a vehicle for sharpening information age skill allows students to learn how to synthesis the volumes of information and media resources available in our age and make informed decisions about what to believe and how to respond.

Enhanced learning through technology integration requires careful planning, implementation, and assessment of strategies. Teachers must consider their own ability, access to equipment, and curricular objectives when formulating an integration plan. The Technology Integration Matrix produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, goes beyond simple statements of how to include technology in classrooms by publishing a matrix that delineates levels of integration and its result from simple adaptation of technological strategies to transformational activities that would not be possible without the inclusion of technology. This matrix allows teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of technology based educational strategies.

The education system is evolving away from a teacher centered system of information delivery to a differentiated student centered approach that allows flexibility in terms of when, where, and how students learn. Integrating technology into student learning will enable this approach, resulting in generations of forward thinking individuals who are capable, creative, informed, versatile, capable of working in groups, and globally aware.

1. Roblyer, M.D., and Aaron Doering Herbert. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2012. Print.
2. http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description
3. http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/