“Unconferencing” with CEP 811 EdCamp

25 Jun

Reflecting upon the EdCamp “unconference” experience, I am filled with some mixed feelings. There were a few aspects of the experience I thoroughly enjoyed, and others I did not. However, it is necessary to consider that this experience not only was a first for me to present using Prezi, but also “successfully” using Google+ Hangouts. My first experience using Google+ Hangouts during this course was not part of the coursework, but a way for us to meet each other “face to face”. I am extremely satisfied I attempted that informal hangout session because from a mechanical standpoint, it did not go so well. Given that problem, I was able to make the necessary preparations and adjustments to my computer to assure that the next time would go more smoothly. If I had not accidentally joined a separate hangout for the first ten minutes, I would say overall the hangout went extremely well, mostly becauseI had enough to make the adjustments. Time, unfortunately, wasn’t on my side when it came to my presentation. There were two nights of EdCamping, and I was on the second. Not a big problem, but when it came to light that there were some technical issues having Google Drive and other Google windows/tabs open during the first night’s hangout, I decided my Google Presentation (window/tab) was not going to add fuel to the fire the following night! Thus, Prezi became the fallback option I needed.

As I stated earlier, I had never used Prezi before and had less than 24 hours to teach myself how to use it. Thankfully, tutorial videos are widely available both within the Prezi subscription and YouTube.Furthermore, simply ‘playing’ with Prezi taught me enough along with the tutorials to feel ready (and bringing back memories of the Networked Learning Project in CEP 810) for the EdCamp. Feeling good for my turn to present, I had no idea of what happened next. It is easy enough to share your screen during a Hangout, but what I did not realize was that when I had clicked “present” in my Prezi, it automatically went to full screen and few people in the hangout could actually see my presentation! Fortunately, one person caught on and tried to share their screen with the other members, but part of the presentation was lost for most of them. That said, the experiences I did not like the most were the technical problems that surfaced and the need for late adjustments. However, the Hangout added a few positive experiences as well. What I liked most about the EdCamp was that a group of professionals, from different regions, could share and discuss with one another a variety of current educational topics in depth. By no other means would something like that be possible. We as professionals have had similar opportunities to discuss topics, but mostly contained and limited to the physical space. Google+ Hangouts certainly allows for global perspective for any topic at any time, something incredible when one takes into consideration the variety of perspectives accessible in the world. I also enjoyed how in one hour, I felt like I had learned what I would have learned in multiple traditional conferences. I was astounded by how we were able to discuss in depth a variety of topics and the tremendous value that put on our growth as professionals. Undoubtedly, this was a unique transparent experience for what collaborative learning should look and feel like, at least virtually. Below you can see how the collaboration works in a live setting.

Finally, other than technical difficulties, I enjoyed, yet again in this course, trying something new. If faced with the opportunity to EdCamp like this again, I wouldn’t change anything other than being able to test a separate Hangout to make sure things go smoothly before going to a recorded session.

The potential I see for this type of professional development could very well be boundless. It is actually possible connect people from all corners of the globe, and I can only imagine what teachers can learn from each other across nations and continents. In a sense, professional development, has been (borrowing a term from this course) “reimagined” and is no longer necessary to just sit and get what a speaker presenting. We have the power to work with one another, both in the physical and virtual settings. I feel that my school could benefit from an EdCamp experience even in a live setting because you never can predict what one might learn from people within the region, let alone one’s own staff. There may not be as much variety in perspective as a global “unconference”, but the pure value of working collaboratively makes it all worthwhile.

If I were to organize an EdCamp for others, I most definitely would take part in a live session first! I checked out EdCamp’s calendar and I will have a local opportunity coming up later this year. Once I get a “feel” for how a live session works (the virtual one already under my belt) and all of its structural components, then I would feel more comfortable being able start one up. Having looked at a separate in-state EdCamp website, it seems that logistically a set of sponsors is necessary, and of course, a facility to house the event. By itself, that would take a lot of orchestrating. Therefore, having a buddy to aid with that would be a tremendous asset. Another important piece would be how to supply materials for the teachers to work with. Hopefully the facility would come with those materials, otherwise they may need to be provided by the district or some other means. One thing is for certain, whether virtually or live, EdCamp “unconferencing” is a great way for teachers to collaborate with one another, and I hope to take part in (another) one very soon.


EdCampUSA. (2014, February 1). Edcamp STEAM as featured on Classroom Close-up, NJ (December 2013). Retrieved June 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZPzoHli8Gw

Lesson Design and Revision Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

23 Jun

No two learners learn in the same way. Traditional curriculum teaches to a few different types of learners, but rarely, if at all encompasses an entire classroom of learners. This week we learned about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) or an approach to lesson design to reach all of our uniquely gifted learners in our classrooms. I found it interesting that many technologies that have existed for many years can be applied to the UDL approach and be used to aid not only the people they were created for, but others as well. One of those technologies is the microphone, (sound transmitted via radio frequency) and I even now use a few to accommodate people in my classroom. Without it, I would end up having to use a louder voice, which in turn, ends up distracting a different learner in my environment. It amazes me that such a simple device can cater not only to the person with a hearing impairment, but also the learner that is easily distracted by loud noises. In this post, you will see how I have transformed an existing lesson plan (from Week 2) to meet the principles of UDL and fulfill all the learning styles and needs that appear in my classroom. Below is a link to the revised lesson plan:

Maker-kit Lesson Plan (with UDL)

Looking back on this experience applying concepts of UDL to my Maker-kit lesson plan, I feel that above all I have addressed the need to accommodate all of my unique learners. That, in and of itself, is a challenge. To put this into perspective, the Center for Applied Special Technologies, or CAST, stated that “the way people learn is as unique as their fingerprints” (2010). As much as I would love to, I don’t think that creating 200+ individual lesson plans to meet all the different “fingerprints” would be a practical use of my time. Enter UDL, and a more workable solution presents itself. Something I noticed in the redesign of my lesson plan was the greater amount of time necessary to complete it, compared to a more traditional lesson plan. One thing is for sure, a complete UDL plan takes far less time than 200 plans! After we were given a template from CAST to organize our lessons, I noticed that I had supported UDL ideas in many ways. For one, my lesson included manipulation of materials in various ways (multiple color centers). Another way my lesson followed UDL principles was that it mixed and “hands-on” activity with other avenues such as text. Further, the lesson in its original form contained ample opportunity for active participation, experimentation, and exploration. Finally, each color center provided a varying level of challenge to figure out the color in the target language (TL). The lesson was not without its improvements though. I learned that all components of an activity need to include a variety of ways to meet a learners needs. For example, some learners need more prompting than to just “play with the center and figure it out”. Therefore, I added a video (with audio) to show how to use the center to accommodate that specific learner. Language barriers are possible challenges for teachers as well. In addressing that particular challenge, I added the ability to perceive the prompt in the students’ native languages as via text and audio. A fairly pivotal barrier I had failed to address in the original lesson was to accommodate students with learning difficulties. Though my text sign was large and visible, it lacked emphasis on keywords, something students with learning difficulties need most. As you can see from the photos below, my sign originally read “¿Qué color es?”, but according to UDL, highlighting keywords may be critical for comprehension for certain learners. Now the sign reads: “¿Qué COLOR es?”.



One other vital addition I made to my lesson plan was the means of data collection. In my original lesson plan I had only included one avenue to organize the color names in the TL. UDL helped me understand the needs of others and that not every student can collect data with only a pencil and paper. Therefore, I included two other options: 1. An audio/video recording device with speech-to-text, and 2. An iPad equipped with speech-to-text, recording capabilities, among other possibilities to accommodate students who may not be able to grasp a pencil. UDL has opened my eyes to how technology has, and continues to meet, the needs of all the “fingerprints” of learners teachers face each day. I have found that combining the repurposing skills practiced throughout this course with the principles of UDL, one will receive, in return, much more effective lessons and teaching skills necessary for 21st century learning.


CAST. (2006, January 6). UDL at a Glance. Retrieved June 22, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDvKnY0g6e4

Redesigning the Learning Atmosphere with Experience Design

16 Jun

The create activity this week was a long anticipated one in the sense that, for the first time I would have complete control over my learning space. Teaching off of a cart and going from classroom to classroom, I have my hands tied behind my back, so to speak, when it comes to something as simple as a seating arrangement. Maximizing my twenty-minute classes, I arrive to what I am given and flow from there. This time I have the opportunity to be in charge of how to create a 21st century learning space that will enable my students to learn more effectively.

Upon my arrival, all classrooms that I visit are set up according to how the regular classroom teacher envisions it best. Sometimes this works well for me, and other times it does not. Now that I have control over a single room (assuming the over 200 students I teach will be coming to me!) I have a reimagined space I believe will bode well for all of my different aged learners. One positive aspect the building structure I currently work in has is its natural lighting. An entire wall contains large windows that run from about three feet above the ground all the way to the ceiling. This allows for a tremendous amount of natural light to come in, a huge bonus for student learning. Needless to say, the “wall of windows” was something I felt necessary to keep for my redesign.

My Remade Classroom4

Teaching from Kindergarten through 5th grade, visual stimuli is very important for these learners, specifically colors. According to Barrett, Zhang, Moffat and Kobbacy, cooler colors lend themselves better to the younger learners, but the warmer colors are more suitable for older learners. In my redesigned classroom I have entire walls painted in vibrant cool colors, but also accommodate the older learners with warm colored beanbag chairs.

My Remade Classroom3

Another important detail Barret et al. suggested was a quiet environment. Although the chairs in my redesign do not emulate exactly what I had envisioned, they do slide across the floor and do not bang like four-legged chairs do. Some teachers counter this with tennis balls, I’d rather have tiny rubber swivel tires fitted to mine! There is little clanging noise to be made when small tires strike the floor, or, for that matter, bean bags (2013).

My Remade Classroom

From the aerial view (2nd photo above) the student whiteboard covered tables (not desks!) are situated so that students are able to collaborate with one another. As Tedde Van Gelderen puts it, “they will mostly interact with other people during the experience” (2010). Yes there will be websites, products to use, and the beautiful colorful environment to take in, but it is the participation in sharing the experience that impacts learning the most. Similar to the video Remake Your Class, there is no true “front of the room” as a large whiteboard rests above the bean bag chairs, a SMART Board with projector facing the “window wall” (no glare) and a “genius bar” in the opposite corner of the teacher’s “DJ Dashboard” area.  This open concept not only increases the “flow” of the experience for the students, but also accommodates their unique learning styles (2013). The last feature of the redesigned classroom is the ample space for a class of twenty-four students. The teacher does not have to be “center stage” as in many traditional classrooms and can roam about facilitating student learning and not demanding it.

A redesign like this, in my opinion, would have to be done all at once. The earlier students can learn in a more favorable environment, the better. However, material cost does become an issue. Through various avenues, like sourcing community members (or staff!) for painting and other odd jobs (retro-fitting tires to chairs), costs can come down. For the machines themselves, laptops for the genius bar, projector, and SMART Board, either create a line-item in the budget or seek grants from within the community as well. Another great asset my school brings to the table is the support of the parents. Parents are more than willing to lend a hand when a need becomes clear, especially in the ever-changing scene of 21st century learning.


Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Moffat, J., & Kobbacy, K. (2013). A holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning. Building and Environment. 59. 678-689. Retrieved June 15, from http://dx.doi.org/j.buildenv.2012.9.016

ChangSchool. (2010, February 9). Tedde van Gelderen on Experience Design. Retrieved June 15, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB4VFKn7MA4

Edutopia. (2013, August 6). Remake your Class. Retrieved June 15, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_837707945&feature=iv&src_vid=lxHVX7gbk6s&v=Ml17ynz8FG4

Ultra Micro MOOC

9 Jun

This week’s focus in CEP811 was on how massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are changing the learning landscape for people around the world. In our exploration, we discovered that learning no longer has to take place within four walls, but through MOOCs anyone can learn just about anything from anywhere! Our task for creation this week was to make an outline for an ultra micro MOOC and experience firsthand what it is like to build such a course. I have included my outline below:

In my “How Tweet It Is! Backyard Birding for ALL” course my peers will master bringing a variety of colorful songbirds to their own backyard by creating a bird-friendly environment and consulting/sharing ideas with peers in their personal learning network (PLN).


Course topic: Celebrating the artistic nature of birds. This course is designed specifically for people seeking to spruce up their backyards with natural color and song. Anyone can download a track of bird songs to sit back and relax to, but nothing compares to the visual and audio aesthetics of real birds in one’s own backyard sipping a cup of hot coffee. In this course, my peers will master the skill of attracting colorful songbirds to one’s backyard, creating a pleasurable and relaxing living environment for all.


1. Build a PLN within one’s region to better understand the nature of the birds in one’s particular area.

2. Create objects from repurposed items that will attract songbirds and add aesthetic appeal to one’s backyard.

3. Identify which bird species will be the easiest and most challenging to attract to one’s area.

4. Identify various websites and apps that will aid in creating a favorable environment for target birds.

5. Master the art of attracting both migratory and year-round songbirds to one’s backyard.

Course modules:

WEEK 1: What Is the Potential of My Backyard?

Learn: Students will research what types of birds are found in their area via a Google Search, app, or even a trip to the local Audubon Society (highly recommended) expanding their PLN outside the peers in the course.

Explore: Is my backyard fit to attract colorful songbirds? Students will tap into the knowledge of their PLN by exploring what makes a bird-friendly environment.

Create: A personalized heat map (statewide at the biggest) of the species of birds one would expect to see for each season (persons living in areas without distinct seasons need only create maps for the seasons that occur).

Share: Embed the heat map into a blog post reflecting on the learning experience and stating what challenges one may face when the time comes to create a bird-friendly backyard and all the while practicing digital citizenship. Comment/leave feedback on a peer’s blog giving suggestions where appropriate.

WEEK 2: How Do I Get the Birds to Come Where I Want Them To? (The backyard!)

Learn: Now that species of birds are known, it is time to once again consult with peers in the PLN  to find out what their behaviors are and what attracts each bird individually.

Explore: What makes a bird feel at home? Food/Water, Shelter, Flora/Fauna, Color preference, etc. Utilize Wikipedia and Cornell Lab of Ornithology app for information on specific birds. Familiarize oneself with PopcornMaker to be used later.

Create: A PopcornMaker video (2 minutes) highlighting each target bird’s attractions essentially developing a “game plan” for attracting those specific birds.

Share: In a blog post, link the PopcornMaker video created and share ideas for how to best attract the target birds.  Back up the plan with the research completed and exercise good digital citizenship.

WEEK 3: Setting Up Your Backyard for Success

Learn: Is it always necessary to purchase supplies needed to make an outstanding bird-friendly backyard? No. Some of the most ornate designs not only attract birds, but houseguests as well. The best part is that these “second-hand” materials can be found just about anywhere.

Explore: Existing items to be repurposed to attract birds just as well as the store-bought items.

Create: A bird house/feeder/bath with scavenged materials that, according to what was learned in weeks 1 and 2, will be expected to attract one specific target bird to one’s backyard. Take pictures of the creation to share in a blog post highlighting the step-by-step process and why it is expected to work. Set up the creation for the upcoming weeks.

Share: The step-by-step procedure with pictures along with a reflection on the repurposing experience in a blog post.

WEEK 4: Techy Tools to Enhance the Birding Experience

Learn: Wild animals do not appear overnight, nor do they run on a specific schedule. Take this time to explore Evernote and how it can be used to create an album.

Explore: Play with Evernote, Google Calendar (part of Google Apps), or any other resource that allows to electronically document sightings of the target bird(s).

Create: Using a video camera, GoPro camera, or camera phone, snap videos and photographs to upload to Evernote. Essentially making a birding scrapbook.

Share: In a blog post, share an update on what has gone well and what has not gone so well in the backyard birding adventure. Also reflect on how using the documentary tools is going sharing joys and frustrations with that as well.

WEEK 5: The Colorful Songbird Scrapbook

Create: Using the tools from Week 4, organize the video clips and photographs stored in Evernote to create a jazzy songbird scrapbook.

Share: 1: Post the scrapbook on the course website and celebrate a job well done! 2. In a final blog post, reflect on the overall experience and what was learned as well as what questions may have come up or yet remain to be addressed.

This course was designed to help those wishing to liven up their backyard by adding colors and songs sung by songbirds. By the end of the course they will have mastered how to bring those songs to their backyard for a peaceful and musical environment. The course was designed in modules to build skills that would allow students to achieve mastery in backyard birding. The design was constructed taking into consideration the instructional design theory posited by Grant P. Wiggins and Jay McTighe stating that, “We can best decide, as guides, what ‘sites’ to have our student ‘tourists’ visit and what specific ‘culture’ they should experience in their brief time there if only we are clear about the particular understandings about the culture we want them to take home.” (pg. 15). In the case of this course, the ‘culture’ to take home is a natural songbird experience, this course achieves that by taking the ‘tourists’ to ‘sites’ that allow them to understand bird behavior better or “think like the enemy” and outsmart the birds to come to their backyard. By integrating technology, the team of tourists becomes that much stronger, effective, and immediate by collaborating with one another and assisting each other in achieving mastery of backyard birding.


Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design, Expanded 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall, pg. 15. Retrieved June 8, 2014 from http://books.google.com/books?id=N2EfKlyUN4QC&printsec=frontcover&dq=backward+design&source=bl&ots=gmcDp7VO1v&sig=buNdUrqOhtK8k3Y3fWEtOq9H6JM&hl=en&ei=TPqhTOSPNcP2nAe-kNmIBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CEgQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=backward%20design&f=false

WikimediaCommons. (2012). Indigobunting. Wikipedia. Retrieved June 8, 2014, from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indigo_Bunting,_male.jpg

Foundations of Learning

1 Jun

Last week’s challenge truly stretched my creative ability. Making a lesson to teach content (Spanish) using technology (Squishy Circuits maker kit)  was about as Thomas Edison as I thought I could get in my teaching career. That learning experience, coupled with the lesson for this week, has me re-evaluating my lesson plan I had created along with my “thrifting” project. Did my lesson plan in fact facilitate authentic learning in my students? Was the activity fitting for how students learn? Would I be validated in teaching my lesson to a group of novice kindergarten aged students tomorrow? These were the types of questions I needed answered because “making” is a time-consuming and creativity-stretching activity and it would be a shame if I could not use what I had created to fulfill those purposes. And so I set off in search of the foundations of learning and if, at all, they would justify my approach to teaching (Spanish) with technology.

I designed my maker lesson with pedagogical practices learned in CEP 810 and the beginnings of CEP811 in mind. One of those intentional ideas came from the important role play has in student learning. When we create, we need to play with ideas, tools, and new technologies to “reimagine learning” as opposed to simply using technology “to digitize traditional learning practices.” (Culatta, 2013) Playing allows us to invent new ideas and materials, not construct simple digital carbon copies of old traditional tools. This playing, essentially, gives us the power to bridge the “digital divide” as defined by Richard Culatta. I cannot imagine very many kindergarten students wanting to learn Spanish using flashcards, let alone digital flash cards. Therefore, to learn the color blue in Spanish, the students need to play with the kit and discover the answer for themselves. A couple of factors come to light in this instance to support this: motivation and problem solving. Especially for younger learners, flashcards will and do get boring rather quickly. When a kindergartener is told that playing with play-doh is going to help them learn colors in a different language, motivation on the child’s part increases, and when motivation is high, learning is greater as well. Problem solving is the other reason to support play in learning. When content is only spoken to children, it is like a child being told what to do. Not even adults like being told what to do! But when children face a problem, (in this case four choices to arrive the correct color name in Spanish, as indicated by the four columns of blue play-doh)


they want to discover the answer for themselves, internalizing the concept or content that much more effectively. Jason Hendryx (2008) puts it this way, “Language play can enhance the learning environment, reduce stress, motivate, clarify content, and aid in the retention process.” (p. 174) My lesson focused on play to spike student motivation, add in problem solving to aid in internalizing the content and it looks pretty good. However, in my approach to assessing the lesson, there was no feedback available to the learner. Effective TPACK teaching always includes feedback for students to gain an understanding of their own learning track. Therefore, I needed to find an answer to this missing piece so that I would be validated to teach this lesson tomorrow to novice kindergarten students.

Grades, for the most part, come to late for them to do any good for the learner. It’s almost necessary for feedback to be immediate to be effective. In my lesson I could have collected their color sheets and wrote notes showing mistakes they may have made at each color discovery center, but how soon could I get those back to each of my almost fifty kindergarten students? More than likely not soon enough, especially for children of that age. In my research, I discovered that there are many software programs available that offer a what is known as a personal learning environment (PLE) within a virtual learning environment (VLE). Some of these VLE platforms include Blackboard and Desire2Learn. A popular open-sourced VLE is Moodle, all of which Panagiotis Panagiotidis says “offer significant services concerning access to resources/courses in a structured way, authentication and course registration of users, as well as monitoring learners’ activities and results.” (p. 422) With real-time monitoring of learner results, real-time offering of feedback is possible, a solution to my conundrum. If I had a VLE already set up in my classroom, I could have a digital version of the lesson activity where students could record their “results” right into it. As soon as the students discover all the colors from the centers, I would have immediate access to their learning and give them immediate feedback. Thus, finishing off the essentials to validate teaching my lesson to future kindergarten students.



Culatta, D. (2013, January 10). Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeaconStreet. YouTube. Retrieved May 31, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg#t=63

Hendryx, Jason D. (2008). Experienced foreign and second language instructors’ pedagogical content knowledge and language play. ProQuest Information and Learning, 174. Retrieved May 31, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/docview/621758284/B5670B79298D498EPQ/16?accountid=12598#

Panagiotidis, Panagiotis. (2012) Personal Learning Environments for Language Learning. Socialines Technologijos, 422. Retrieved May 31, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/docview/1426562511/B5670B79298D498EPQ/13?accountid=12598#





Thrifting + Repurposing = Making

26 May

In this post, I am going to show you how to use Squishy Circuits to help teach color names in Spanish. The challenge this week was to not only use the prefabricated kit, but to also include other items from a thrift experience that communicates well with the kit. I will admit, for me, this was the most challenging, outside-the-box thinking that I have had to do yet. First of all, how do you integrate circuits with teaching Spanish! As Punya Mishra and Matt Koehler stated, ” 1. Teaching with technology is a WICKED problem, 2. Wicked problems require CREATIVE solutions, and 3. Teachers are designers of the Total PACKage.” (Mishra, Koehler, 2008) I knew this “making” project would be messy (not only because I needed to make my own play-doh) trying to integrate something as foreign as Spanish with technology, but it gave me courage that the solution to my “wicked” problem was simply a bit of creativity, along with my knowledge of TPACK from CEP 810. Through a series of photos and a video, I will show my creativity for how to integrate technology with Spanish, and what became my solution to the very wicked problem: teaching with technology.

Stated earlier, the foundation for my project was the Squishy Circuits maker kit. This kit comes with a variety of components ranging from yellow, green, white, red and blue LED light bulbs, to a motor and two different frequency sounding buzzers. Be forewarned that not only are batteries not included, but the play-doh isn’t either!





Fortunately, the kit comes with directions for making the insulating (white) and conducting (whichever color you choose) play-doh and if you’re really in a bind, Squishy circuits offers great help videos on its website. Now, I will show you how I used this kit and repurposed “thrift” items to successfully integrate Spanish with maker technology.

First, I needed to play with the maker kit. Figuring out different combinations for how to make lights turn on or other components function was easy through the helpful videos found at the Squishy Circuits website. As you can see below, there is an example for a light turned on and a light turned off simply from the power supply being engaged and disengaged.

DSC01435                                                                       DSC01436

Second, was to find basement items I could use to repurpose for use with my maker kit. True, I did not find the spoon in the basement, but it definitely came in handy for the new purpose I had for it. The Christmas light strand, the wire cutting tool, the electrical tape, and decorated cardboard box all came from the basement and were certainly helpful and willing to enhance my Squishy Circuit.



Third, creativity became a necessity for constructing the kit to work with the repurposed items. From the above items I used the cutting tool to trim the Christmas light wire down to a size that could connect the LED bulb to the circuitry inside. The electrical tape held the LED leads to the Christmas light wire, which was arranged “hotwire” to “hotwire” for completing that particular part of the circuit within the decorated cardboard box. A peek inside the box looks a little like this:


Here is a clearer view for how the circuitry works:


Keep in mind that electric current can only flow through the blue play-doh. Having each switch be the blue color gives the illusion that all four connections would result in the LED turning on, but only one can have that honor. Finally, to find out which connections shines bright, watch the video below.

Corresponding Lesson Plan

This project helped bring out my inner Kindergartener by allowing me to play with what I was learning. Through this play, I learned how to document my work using Evernote, and create multiple sources to help others recreate what I have made. Pictures and video helped me build foundational use of the Squishy Circuit, thus opening the door for creativity to seep in and integrate my teaching content into a pre-existing technology. Likewise, the pictures and video I have included here are purposed for repurposing and enhancing others’ teaching content, bringing to light the value creativity placed in the building of this project. Happy making!




Mishra, P. & Koehler, M.J.(2008). Teaching Creatively: Teachers as Designers of Technology, Content and Pedagogy. Vimeo. Retrieved May 25, 2014, from http://vimeo.com/39539571



Remixing in CEP 811

19 May

In this week’s assignment, the requirement was to make a remix using PopcornMaker, a product of Mozilla. As with every project that is new, a certain level of play is necessary to get acquainted with the tools available to complete the task at hand. Similarly to CEP 810, the opportunity to experience what student learning should look like by taking the role of the learner was clear. My journey began with learning that we as a human race are all capable of making things. Even as young people we have an innate desire to grasp things with our hands and work with them. As Dale Dougherty puts it, “All of us are makers….we don’t just live, but we create”. (Dougherty, 2011)  At this point, I came under the assumption that I was going to have to invent something new. I agree that I thoroughly enjoy using my hands and carrying out small “do it yourself” jobs, but to create something new?! That is something I have never done.

Later in my learning, I realized that much of the material we see today came from ideas of the past. For example, Kirby Ferguson highlighted in his Vimeo video series, “Everything is a Remix” that select instrumentation found in Led Zeppelin’s music were borrowed and repurposed to create the music that gained the band notoriety. Unfortunately, this type of borrowing sometimes comes at a price via copyright law infringement. It astounded me that copyright law was actually intended to enhance creativity instead of impede it. It saddened me to picture how far copyright law has strayed from its original purpose, but fortunately there is still hope for creativity to flourish once again. “Nobody starts out original, we need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding. And after that things can get interesting”. (Ferguson, n.d.) Creative Commons may be the platform to get creativity flowing once again, and that is what became my springboard into the world of remixing.

Working with PopcornMaker, one borrows from sources that are “open” (Creative Commons, for example) for repurposing and remaking, exactly what is needed to explore one’s own creativity. I chose to present Instructional Technology for my remix, simply because if I did not have the instructional technology available to me, I would not even be able to remix anything with PopcornMaker! After watching a few “how to” videos, I took on the challenge of recreating an existing product to present an Educational Technology buzzword. Once I got the feel for how the tools worked, I truly felt like a “maker” trying to get sounds, pop-ups, and Wikipedia articles all to come on cue. I was once again experiencing the importance for what it means to have fun with what one learns, creating and sharing what one makes, and that students in the 21st century deserve to “make” their learning their own. Enjoy the remix below!


PopcornMaker Remix Project



Caballero, E. (2013, May 7). A video comparing traditional classrooms with classrooms containing instructional technology in Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez. 2013. YouTube. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En5Rd53rKug

Dougherty, D. (2011, January). Dale Dougherty: We are makers. TED: Ideas worth spreading. Retrieved May 18, 2014, form http://www.ted.com/talks/dale_dougherty_we_are_makers.html

Ferguson, K (n.d.). Everything is a Remix. Everything is a Remix. Retrieved May 18, 2014, from http://vimeo.com/25380454

Instructional Technology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 18, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructional_technology

Instrumentalrockin. (2012). Nature. SoundCloud. Retrieved May 18, 2014, https://soundcloud.com/instrumentalrockin/nature