Daily Archives: July 29, 2013

Learning Philosophy 2.0

Over the course of this summer, we’ve all collaborated about ways to use tech tools to motivate, teach, and inspire our students. Although my philosophy about how students learn and what my responsibilities as a teacher are have not changed drastically, I feel that I have built a more firm understanding of why using collaborative, web-based tools is beneficial for students. This course has furthered my understanding of the importance of using technology as a means of motivating students in addition making it easier to challenge, nurture, and inspire students every day.

It is my responsibility as a teacher to create a safe environment to nurture the diverse needs and great variety of students. This also involves using collaborative tools to introduce students to different people and cultures.

Students must be motivated to have a passion for education and should be instilled with curiosity and wonderment about the world around them and beyond. Connecting students to resources which will provide them with equal opportunities as other students.

As a teacher, I am to help students become aware of their abilities and to push them to surpass their expected potential by providing them with challenges in the classroom. In a discovery learning environment, students are challenged to think creatively and work with provided tools and resources.

Thanks to all of my classmates for providing wonderful, concrete examples of ways to use the tech tools we’ve discussed throughout the duration of this course. Best of luck to you all in your future endeavors! 🙂


Learning Philosophy Video

Guest Blogger: Mary Manion


Hello to Dr. Phil Tietjen and the EdTec 467 Class! I hope you are enjoying this course as much as I did last summer. Thank you for asking me to write as a guest here on your class blog. I am a 5-8 instrumental music, general music and computer technology teacher for Kershaw Middle School in Mt. Ephraim, NJ. In addition to my music ed and music tech background, I recently completed the “Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Educational Technology Integration” from Penn State World Campus.  I’d like to tell you about some of the Web 2.0 tools I am currently using in my classes, my recent professional development and plans for the future.

Background of My School

Mt. Ephraim Schools is a small K-8 public school district in Camden County, NJ.  We have two buildings, divided into K-4 and 5-8. Like many area schools, we’ve had many recent staff and program changes. The K-4 teachers do a good job integrating some computer technology, but there is not a technology teacher there at this time. The 5-8 staff varies in the amount of technology that is used. The technology curriculum that I teach was recently reinstated to a once-a-week class. This fall, a new flex-schedule will begin with quarterly cycles for music, art, phys ed and technology. I anticipate this allowing me to go more in-depth with grade-level projects.  Last year, I taught basic keyboarding and traditional MS Office software such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel.  I introduced quite a few Web 2.0 ideas.  This year, our district will phase in Google Apps For Education.

Tip-Toeing Into Web 2.0 Tools

I can’t say I “launched” into Web 2.0, although I wanted to! I had to be careful about what tools I started with, as this is new to our school and we do not have proper permissions in place for some situations.  Many things I used as a teacher tool or demo.  I decided to craft projects that were enhanced by only the very safest of tools. Although I thought I would just get our feet wet, I was surprised at how much I could do for free (or almost free) and really transform my classes!

Class Web Page & Blog– My classes have operated from a web page for a long time. I use it as a portal to the world and the kids are used to going there for both music and technology. Their parents and the staff also utilize my page. I keep a class blog that currently does not allow for commenting, but I plan to change that. I project from my laptop to the wall for the class to see. I’m in a computer lab and there is a laptop cart in the school.

Screencast-O-Matic PSU taught me how to use this tool and it’s awesome! I used for all my video tutorials on my webpage. These were things I had gleaned from the Internet, but also those I created myself.  This made my program visible to the world and gave my administrators and parents a better understanding of some of the things happening in my class. These were great to develop consistency between classes and year-to-year. The kids like hearing my voice! It gave them the idea they could do this, too. We experimented in grade 6 with making videos from PowerPoint presentations that the kids narrated. The only issue I had was not enough class time. Our new cycle courses should solve that. I also want a plan in place with permissions to exhibit student work.

Titan Pad- We used Titan Pad in much the way we will eventually use Google Docs. I created a web page portal to Titan Pad. I would post a link to a live “pad” for that class in the morning. It was password-protected and I would remove the link at the end of class, so that they could not access it from home. Students would work on a variety of assignments in small groups. For a class of 30, I would have 6 groups or 6 pads. One assignment was text that they had to correct. They can edit synchronously, chat and comment. The document is stored in the cloud. Another assignment was writing thank you notes to teachers.  They had decision-making via chat and then writing to do. They learned how to download their cloud document to Word.  They could then customize their own version on their computer. I made rules for chatting and grading.  Many went home and started using this on their own for class assignments! I was able to share this concept with some of the teachers and their jaws dropped!

Socrative- I love using this- mostly with 7th & 8th graders.  I made a portal to Socrative from our web page and the kids have instructions there about how to log on. It is great to get them going on an assignment, and then bring up Socrative, which is a live student response system. I can post a quick “Exit Ticket” that is a way for them to type-in responses which are tallied and can be viewed as they are entered. It gives me a quick pulse on what they learned that day- or what they don’t understand. I have also used it to give quizzes or to take votes.

Quizlet- This tool is online flashcards. You can choose from someone else’s set and tailor them for your own needs, or start from scratch. They can be embedded in a page. I use these for music and technology and they can be projected and used for class review. You can use a simple game feature. They can be used from home. They can be printed out. There are lots of ways to use Quizlet.  Be sure to tell your students- Quizlet was invented by a 15 year-old kid!

Recent Professional Development: Google Drive

Our school is getting a technology makeover!  One innovation is Google Apps For Education, and I could not be happier! I have used Google Docs and other Google tools in my PSU coursework.  I pushed some Google surveys and shared spreadsheets with teachers at my school on various occasions, but it was new to them. Last week, I went with three other staff members to take an NJEA in-service session by Susan Ross on Google Docs presented at NJEA Tech Con at  Stockton College of New Jersey. It was a surprisingly great session because it was much more than just Google Docs. It really was Google Drive. The teacher included information not only about sharing documents, but using forms, spreadsheets, calendars, surveys, sites, etc. Google Drive requires a Gmail account and therefore the user must be at least age 13.

We were able to ask questions about Google Apps For Education, and how to implement this for our students. It works the same as Google Drive, but it is password-protected and maintained within its own network. So younger students can use it. We agreed to start slowly- first get the staff very comfortable using this cloud software and later launch it with the kids. Right now our teachers are all creating web pages using Google Sites. I find it to be powerful; there are lots of templates to use. But I see some aspects that may confuse some of the teachers, so there will be lots of questions this fall. I have created a Google Site that is a portal to my old page that is hosted on Weebly.

We also learned about some features that can be used immediately, without emails or permissions or passwords.  This includes online quizzes and surveys using the Forms feature. This is a really useful tool! Tech Con also had many other sessions on Web 2.0 and they did lunchtime “Smackdown” session- where anyone could go up and share an idea or a site they use. It was very informative and well run.

Plans for the Future

Where do I go from here? Who knows? Everyday I get new ideas! I have decided to continue gaining “badges” as I know you have discussed in your class! At my age (57) continuing my Masters does not necessarily make sense.  But I want to continue to learn about things I can really use.  I think that I would like to become a Google Certified Teacher/Google Apps Trainer. Who would have thought that a year ago?

Best wishes to you all! Feel free to contact me anytime!


Mary Manion
Medford, NJ, USA
twitter @brassmom





Learning Philosophy 2.0

At the beginning of this course, I had developing ideas on what I thought learning meant for students. I had completed a course in technology that had already made me question my past learning philosophies and the combination of the two (old and developing) turned into my initial learning philosophy 1.0. When reading over this philosophy, I can see where a part of my thinking was already developing towards a 2.0 educator and other parts were still stuck in the 1.0. Even though I had already talked about some 2.0 ideas, I must admit that I had never practiced them as an educator in my teaching profession.

Although my initial 1.0 philosophy doesn’t truly reflect my past teaching practices, I can say for sure that I have mostly been the ‘sage on the stage’ where my students where learning through the knowledge I was passing to them. I knew that students learned best from one another and that the power of communication was important. Also, I knew that activities needed to be engaging so that the learners were interested and collaboratively working to obtain information. If you were to walk into my classroom, you would have seen students getting information from me, applying it in group situations and activities, and practicing it independently all before completing some kind of assessment whether it was a ticket-out-the-door, worksheet, quiz, etc. All of these made up good teaching and demonstrated good learning in my classroom.

After taking my first technology course, I quickly learned that these learners are 21st century learners and they need more than what is described above. Part of what is encompassed in a 2.0 philosophy was already stated in my 1.0 philosophy but I am now able to explain and promote these ideas better based on what I have learned through the readings, blog discussions, wiki collaborative work, and podcast interview done in this course. First, the picture of what the teacher should look like and be doing is completely opposite of my ‘sage on the stage’ philosophy. In a 21st century classroom, the teacher should take the role of a facilitator or coach of learning. This means that they promote an environment that encourages the learner to take control of their own learning. The educator helps to guide the path of knowledge, helps to bridge gaps, helps to make connections as the learner builds and experiences knowledge through their own first hand communications via web 2.0 tools and personal learning networks.

The second major change to my learning philosophy is the idea of communication. I stated in my 1.0 philosophy the idea that students need to have the opportunity to collaborate with others in order to help build a stronger idea of different concepts they are interested in learning about. 21st century students will build personal learning networks to help them become lifelong learners about the things that interest them. These networks will work together to discover, experiment, research, and discuss important concepts that cross multiple curriculums. Students will use tools like blogs and wikis in order to facilitate a safe environment where they can discuss and derive at their own understandings of certain topics. It is known that these types of activities can facilitate higher level thinking within our students. When students work to piece their own learning together, to tag information, to process and ask questions, they dig deeper into their own thinking then what would be developed in a teacher-led discussion. Students would also have the opportunity to discuss articles read and to work together to discuss and debate the meaning as well as make connections to related pieces or artifacts. Also, students will use the research and tools to create their own works to share with the global classroom. With all of these pieces together, students are building their own learning experiences and are becoming leaners with skills they will use throughout their lives.

Overall, the way you will know that learning is happening will be based off of the conversations you have with students and see throughout these tools. By reflecting on the conversations and posts presented on wikis and blogs, you will be able to see the growth of a student and their learning. Students can maintain portfolios of their work when doing independent research for any topic and they can document contact with people within their personal learning networks. All the evidence you will need for evaluation of learning will be documented through the different mediums students use as they take ownership of knowledge base.

Although the pressures of standards and assessments are always looming over our heads, the ideas presented within my new learning philosophy 2.0 should be the ones driving our passion for teaching and for creating lifelong learners within our classrooms!


Marie’s Learning Philosophy 2.0 Video