Author Archives: eimpagliatelli

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

Week 10 Open Education and Learning

Young’s article about earning badges online brought up several points of interest regarding the future of education. Although I was not familiar with many of the sites/organizations referred to, the Khan Academy caught my attention because I have experience with using that both as a learner myself and as a teacher with my students. These online ‘badges’ can be earned easily and immediately. It requires very little time and energy to earn basic badges just for viewing a video or for passing a skills practice session. Because earning ‘badges’ is so quick and easy, learners are constantly receiving reinforcement for studying, practicing, and completing sessions. This affirms the learner’s confidence and ability to learn which leads to a continued interest in learning through the site.

Clarence Fisher’s website “Even From Here” is one that I am going to bookmark. This man seems to be an incredible teacher with innovative, intriguing, and interesting ideas for teaching his students despite their rural location in Canada. Although I’m not clear on how up-to-date the website is, there were several valuable ideas especially for me as I begin teaching in the Rio Grande Valley, along the border of Mexico this Fall.

I was blown away by all of the competitions and programs that the DML page offered. There are so many great ways to get students involved in the improvement of the Web and in bringing to life many innovative, creative ideas for appropriately using the Internet. I am not quite sure how, but I had never heard of this organization until now. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports some truly awesome causes, and this Project:Connect is certainly one. I have bookmarked the page and plan to find an event in my area for my students to learn more about “empowering the web to empower learning and democracy”.

Week 8: Learning Networks II

Some knowledge is best presented by an expert on the topic at hand, whereas some knowledge is best attained through argumentation and discussion with various people. Web 2.0 knowledge, as described by Dede, includes not only factual information, but also non-academic topics of interest. One of the most intriguing points Dede made towards the end of this post was regarding recent significant trends in learning. He points out the fact that most learners are required, throughout their various careers over a single lifetime, to understand many different, possibly unrelated fields. I also appreciated the point he made regarding the importance of understanding where knowledge of specific topics can be found. As teachers, we must recognize the importance of teaching students how and where to find needed knowledge, regardless of the topic, and how to determine the validity of various knowledge sources.

Connectivism requires learners to recognize distinctions between different types of information, and it is based on the idea that new information is constantly being brought to light. Connectivism focuses on learning as being ever-continuous and making connections between knowledge.

Week 7: Learning Networks

The Digital Ethnography site was very interesting to me not only because the content was relatable and interesting, but due to the concept of using the site as a means for sharing students’ work and learning with an audience. “Going public” is an important final step in the learning process which is often overlooked and underrated. It is imperative that students have the opportunity to share their learning and publicly reflect on the learning process. Digital Ethnology is definitely a site that I will follow to see updates on this professor’s class as they learn about the human natures.

The students who created the videos on Digital Ethnography were motivated to learn and create compelling presentations for the information they learned in their various projects. When students have a clear end goal in mind, they will, far more often than not, achieve their goal no matter what. When students create sites such as the sites we looked at this week, outsiders can peruse the information in search of anything in which they are interested. Informally, many people learn information and skills through podcasts such as the Teaching with Technology podcasts. These types of websites sharing expert-created media allow learning to easily happen in many directions.

Continual partial attention, a term with which Linda Stone has begun using, was a very interesting concept as it was something to which I was able to easily relate. As an Apple user playing a hundred or better roles in many different facets of my life, I find it very difficult to make time to deeply pay attention to any one thing. Between my computer, iPad, and iPhone, there is always some form of information coming through these synced devices, and I am constantly caught in the middle deciding which is most important and how to prioritize all of my responsibilities.

Week 6: Wikis and Learning

Prior to checking out the Wikis provided in this week’s lesson, I had this idea that Wikis were basically blogs. As I further explored these sites, I realized that Wikis are used not only to archive entries, but more importantly to provide a means of collaborating. Wikis allow students to electronically collect information in order to complete jigsaw projects together in one place. Teachers and curriculum specialists are able to collect information, files, resources, and thoughts about lesson plans. Teachers can also connect with one another from across the world and share experiences or provide support and encouragement.

Monitoring smaller classroom Wikis begins with setting expectations and providing students with exemplary examples prior to ever even allowing students to contribute. Many larger public Wikis, such as Wikipedia, require that credentials are posted in addition to your contribution. Although not everyone who contributes is a professional in every area, each entry can easily be traced back to the author and may reveal some insight as to what they contributed to the Wiki.

As many of you all have already discussed, GoogleDocs is a new(ish) web-based storage and collaboration site. GoogleDocs allows multiple people to access a document at a single time and contribute. I am familiar and in love with GoogleDocs as I have used it for online courses and Teach For America has used it for scheduling and as a checklist for a list of students to monitoring progress. During our lengthy application process and since being accepted into the program, we have used documents on GoogleDocs on which everyone tracks there progress in databases and marks their schedules in order to schedule interviews and such. It is user-friendly, free, and allows collaboration in a similar capacity to Wikis.


Week 5: Group 2 Summary

Hannah Inzko expressed her appreciation for Bartholomew’s realistic approach and perspective regarding course blogging. She points out that the article addressed many basic concerns shared by many educators when organizing a class blog, such as the forced letting go of control in order to allow the blog to work successfully. Hannah also mentioned a fact about questioning or experimenting about classroom ideas something that I have noticed; no matter how obscure that question you have may be, someone else has usually asked it before! Typing words like “how does” or “what has” into the google search bar and waiting for autofill’s suggestions will quickly prove that! 🙂

 raised the question of defining proper usage of blogging as an educational tool. I completely agree with his point that he made about setting clear expectations and modeling appropriate behavior in order to encourage students to meet the needs of using the blog as an educational tool. I agree that showing students and talking with them about how to post publicly on the Internet, or privately within a class blog, will help them meet the expectations teachers have for using blogs.

 mentioned her appreciation for some of the features on a LMS (such as Angel, used for PSU’s online courses) such as the organization of new posts. She also pointed out that there are various formats for blogs and means of using blogs, all of which are appropriate for various groups of students or people, depending on the overarching purpose for the blog. She also mentioned that a blog may help hold people accountable for following through on goals, experiments, or ideas that they may have in their head. A blog would be an excellent middle ground between an idea in your head and actually creating or doing something, which involves the whole worldwide web audience knowing your plan and sometimes ensuring that you “stick with it”.

Thank you for the fabulous comments and ideas regarding how to use blogging in the classroom and possibly (separately) on a more personal level, as well 🙂


Week 5: Blogs and Learning

Week 5: Blogs and Learning
Blogs provide benefits for the students as well as teachers when incorporated into formal learning environments. Through student blogs, teachers can easily tap into the understanding and learning level of individual students. In my opinion, leaving a comment on a student blog is much more efficient than students passing in papers to be graded then later returned to the students for a reflection. Blogs not only allow teachers to easily communicate feedback to students, but provide students with an opportunity to respond to their teacher. Students can gather information and knowledge from while interacting with their peers.

I created a personal blog, without any real focus and without any idea of an audience, about a year ago. This informal, personal blog was simply a way for me to reflect on lessons in my classroom, gardening experiences, and my progress in training for a half-marathon: all things that I find to be of interest. In creating blogs weekly or monthly, I am able to reflect upon my teaching and the things I learn after finishing a lesson or unit. It is also a wonderful way to collect thoughts, resources, and reflections about my life, both professional and personal.

As for professional blogs from which I have found excellent information for my classroom, here are a few:
Zombie Math Teacher
Middle School Math Rules
Math = Love
{One not so professional blog, but certainly a necessity for all teachers to be aware of is heygirlteacher} 🙂

I interviewed a fellow teacher at the middle school where I work in North Carolina:



Week 4: Educational Applications of Web 2.0

Week 4: Educational Applications of Web 2.0
Tagging, collaborative writing tools, and journaling each offer a different set of benefits for students. Each requires students to organize old knowledge while constructing new knowledge and evaluating others shared knowledge.

In my own classroom, I often incorporate collaborative writing, requiring   my students to work together on a project (whether it be a research paper or a presentation) and to combine their knowledge and opinions in an organized manner. These Web 2.0 tools that students utilize, such as GoogleDocs and Wikis, allow them to access each others shared projects and provide feedback to one another. I found figure 1 in the Hsu chapter from this week’s reading to be very interesting in that the cycle of growing and improving on oneself never seems to stop in the diagram. Cognitive tools which provide information to students allow them to increase their own individual understanding. When combined with collaboration tools, students are easily able to share their new knowledge with others in order to receive feedback and further improve their new knowledge. The process of giving and receiving feedback and interacting with one another using these collaboration tools has no clear end.

Although I have not  used blogs in my own classroom, I was intrigued by the examples provided in this week’s reading. I keep portfolios of Math work in my classroom by utilizing a notebook routine with my students. I love the idea of blogging to provide students with an organized way to store their learning and growth throughout the school year. Blogs easily allow reflection as the archived posts can easily be accessed.

The final sentence that stood out to me from this week’s reading was actually buried in the recommendations at the end of this chapter. Motivating students is one of the most difficult parts of my job as a teacher. Web 2.0 tools allow students to share their learning and creations with real audiences. This alone will often motivate children to put forth effort towards completing a school assignment in order to share their work with others and received positive feedback and appraisal from someone besides their teacher.


Week 3: Changing Roles of Learner and Teacher

By definition, learning is to ‘gain or acquire knowledge’, or ‘to commit to memory’. In my middle-school-teacher opinion however, I know that my students are learning when they conduct an experiment, game, or activity in order to collaboratively recognize facts or make their own realizations. Learning often takes place through discovery, exploration, and even play in these student-directed lessons. In regards to the teacher’s participation becoming more focused on creating and shaping new learning environments, Douglas Thomas says, “You get to see students learn, discover, explore, play, and develop, which is the primary reason I think that most of us got into the job of teaching.” Although the teacher oftentimes guides the students and facilitates the learning by setting up the experiments, games, and activities to appropriately induce learning, it is always student-centered. This truly is a more rewarded, although very difficult, role that teachers must begin to practice in order for learning to take place.

As a Mathematics teacher, it is important that I recognize the many indicators of learning. I know my students have learned a concept when they are able to share their knowledge & skills with others, or when they make real-world connections between the content in our classroom and their personal lives.

In the future, I see my role as a facilitator in the classroom changing somewhat. Currently, I spend about half of my classroom time directly teaching whole or small-group lessons. The other half is spent in guided learning activities, collaborative group work, and researching Math concepts. I believe that as information continues to grow more easily accessible and understandable for middle school students, more classroom time will be spent with students directing their own learning and using the information/resources available through Web 2.0 tools. Students will be able to more actively engage with academic content and share back-and-forth with students not only in their classroom, but well beyond the walls of the school.



Week 2: Learning and Web 2.0

Week 2: Learning and Web 2.0
Within the context of Web 2.0, learning occurs in a vastly different way than it has in the past. Understanding is reached not by simply consuming knowledge, but by interacting with and participating in discussions and activities which provide knowledge. Connecting with individuals who have similar, as well as different, experiences from the learning in order to build an understanding of a concept is a key difference in learning in this day and age. It is also an incredible means of learning about less “popular” subjects as anyone can post anything about any arbitrary subject to the web with ease and without expertise.

The shift to Web 2.0 has caused a change in the role of the facilitator in many ways. Prior to the Internet, learning was all done through the facilitator, teacher, or expert. As much learning and understanding has shifted to the Internet, the facilitator is no longer the sole resource for learners to access in order to acquire information. Learners may access information from various organizations and people from across the world. Most of today’s jobs require employees to access information and problem-solve without much guidance or direction. As children progress through school and become adults, it is imperative that educators prepare them for the jobs they will have upon completing their formal education. Web 2.0 allows educators to provide students with the practice participating in the Open Knowledge Exchange Zone by allowing students to combine knowledge from multiple sources, use knowledge to learn from others’ knowledge, and to create representations of knowledge (Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 by Brown & Adler).

In designing appropriate learning environments for the 21st century learners entering our schools today, it is important that we are considerate of the shifts occurring in the way students learn as well as the shift in the jobs coming into existence. We must consider the end result we anticipate for our students, what they will be expected to do upon completion of their formal education. Flexibility, initiative, and a basic understanding of various subjects are required of most employees nowadays. Therefore, we must create learning environments using the resources Web 2.0 provides in order to fulfill the current needs of students as well as prepare them for their futures.