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One of the assignments for Session One of EDTECH 554 – Managing Technology Integration, was to create an introduction using Inspritation 9 software (free 30-day trial). As a first time user of this software I found it to be quite intuitive. Many common keyboard shortcuts (cut, paste, bold, etc.) can be used and menus are easy to navigate. The help menu and tutorials contain clear instructions and there are a number of new features for version 9. Complex maps are easily broken down by hiding branches, and notes can be added which provide additional detail viewable by clicking the notes icon next to branch text. Presentation view is quite similar in layout to PowerPoint and Keynote, with a notes viewer at the bottom of the window.

Documents created using Inspiration use an “.isf” extension and can be saved as a word document, image, presentation, PDF, or Web page. For the purposes of this assignment I saved my project three ways. In the word document you will find an image of the complete map and the outline view with live links. The PDF is a print version of the presentation which includes the notes. In lieu of viewing the presentation in Inspiration, the presentation was recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

Ferdon Introduction – Word Document
Ferdon Introduction – PDF

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Now it’s officially summer. Boise classes started before my school year ended so now my summer vacation really begins. I start setting up my classroom next week, so I will enjoy it while it lasts!

I know that a few of you are teachers of younger children – if you would like to use my Thematic Unit in any way, you are certainly welcome to. A few of the activities relate specifically to the community I teach in, but most are applicable to any community. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll create a generic version. But not today. Or tomorrow.

Kindergarten Thematic Unit: Communities

Thanks for a great class, everyone!

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Using the Blog rubric, http://edtech.mrooms.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=6395, discuss to what degree you met each of the criteria and then propose a final numerical grade. (If you are uncomfortable putting this in your blog, you can email me your personal assessment.)

Below you will find the performance descriptors from the rubric, that I believe most closely match my blog posts for this course. I have included some comments as well, with further details and number scores e-mailed to Dr. Gerstein.


  • Outstanding: “Rich in content, full of thought, insight and synthesis with clear connections to previous or current content and/or to real life situations made with depth and detail.”
  • If you’ve read every word of every post, you should probably get extra credit. I really enjoy writing and tend to go into greater detail than is required.

Reading and Resources

  • Outstanding: “Readings and other resource materials are used to support blog comments. APA style is used to cite references.”
  • I used at least two readings or resources on each blog post; usually more than two, many were outside resources, and all had APA references.

Timeliness (in the cracks here)

  • Outstanding: “All required postings are made early in the module to give others time to comment.”
  • Proficient: “All required postings are made but not in time for others to read and respond.”
  • I guess it depends on what you consider “early in the module” and “in time for others to respond.” Some of my other courses have had specific due dates for posts and replies (original post by Sunday night with comments/replies before the end of the module). That was my goal going into this class and I made it for three of the first four posts/weeks (the video blog took longer because my daughter wanted more time to practice her lines). More recently, life has complicated my homework plans and blog posts were published later. This one is more of a gray area.

Responses to Other Students

  • Outstanding: “Two or more substantial posts with at least one detailed response made to address another students’ post.”
  • Two or more replies each week; at least two were detailed.

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For the final blog posting of the semester, students were asked to answer the following questions:

What you have learned?

This is my seventh course in the MET program at Boise and each one has offered so much. Wide-ranging topics and practical applications are wonderful features of this course and they helped me to learn a lot. I think I can boil down much of what I’ve learned to three areas: tools, equipment, and applications.

I learned to use a lot of tech tools, but the focus wasn’t just on tools, it was on what can be achieved as a result of using them. Not only did I learn to use lots of tools, which will benefit my own students in the future, but I got a strong feel for how they can be used for a variety of purposes. The “Relative Advantages” assignments encourage careful consideration of classroom technologies, and counter the temptation to jump onto the next New Toy Bandwagon that comes along.

I also learned a lot about networks. Of all the topics we have covered this semester, this is the one in which I had the least prior experience. Hardware and connectivity is what provides the means for integrating integration and what I’ve learned about networks, though just a starting point, makes me feel more confident about the nuts and bolts of the equipment needed for technology integration to happen.

The most valuable thing I learned, though, is how to integrate technology into a wide range of content areas for all learners. Having the opportunity to learn about, and apply, technology integration strategies that are more widely applicable than to just my current teaching situation, really stretched me as a learner and I expect it will prove advantageous as I move forward on my career path.

How has theory guided development of the projects and assignments you created?

I found myself drawing on theories and research-based guidelines that I learned in Boise core courses: Intro to Educational Technology, Instructional Design, Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology, Evaluation for Educational Technologists, and Instructional Message Design. Though not related to theories, my experience learning Dreamweaver and Fireworks were a boon when developing materials and lessons for course assignments. What I learned in those classes helped me to envision my thematic unit and influenced my mind set as I worked on various assignments. Though it was more informal than in the core courses, the theories I found myself utilizing the most were those related to instructional design, learning theories, and evaluation:

  • Needs Assessment – I met with my kindergarten-teaching colleagues before school was out in June.
  • Goal Analysis and Instructional Objectives – I used the district kindergarten curriculum and Illinois Learning Standards to help identify goals/objectives to address and used that as the foundation for the learning activities I developed for the thematic unit.
  • Learning Theories – I included a mixture of teacher-directed instruction and guided discovery learning, both of which are appropriate for novice learners.
  • Learner Assessment – Experience teaching kindergarteners in music class helped me determine appropriateness of content and the Illinois School Report Card provided data to support impressions I had regarding demographics.
  • Evaluation – Planning for evaluation and assessment, from the start, was a key point in other Boise classes. My district promotes backwards design, so I came at the project from that perspective.
  • Best Practice – Utilizing tech tools to accomplish what would otherwise not be possible, and NETS.

How has course work demonstrated mastery of the AECT standards?

As it is to be expected, one course will not address all five domains and twenty sub-domains within AECT standards. Course work in EDTECH 541 relates primarily to the first three of the five domains:

Learning activities and the thematic unit encompass all sections, and most subsections, within Standard 1: Design. Instructional Systems Design (1.1) is a large part of assignments relating to the thematic unit. Of the subsections, only 1.1.4 (Implementing) and 1.1.5 (Evaluating) do not apply, as the newly developed instruction has not been used in the classroom. Though Message Design (1.2) is not implicitly taught, it is interwoven in the development of the thematic unit. Instructional Strategies (1.3) are part of Learning Activities assignments and are emphasized in the Module 7 assignment on accommodations. Learner Characteristics (1.4) are expressly included in the planning of the thematic unity and are also apply to the Software Budget and Relative Advantages of Technology assignments.

Of the four components of the Development Standard, course assignments demonstrate proficiency (I don’t know if I would use the word “mastery” for myself yet, as I am only part-way through my degree program) in three of them: Print Technologies (2.1), Computer-Based Technologies (2.3), and Integrated Technologies (2.4). Though housed online, some lesson materials developed are appropriate for print and print-versions of planning materials may aid teachers in using these resources with their students. Computer-Based and Integrated Technologies, however, are the foundation of all course work for EDTECH 541, particularly as it relates to high levels of interaction, hypermedia authoring and telecommunications.

Standard 3, Utilization, is best exemplified by our Blog Post Assignments, Relative Advantages, and Software Budget assignments. Media Utilization (3.1) and Policies and Regulations (3.4) related directly to the Walled Garden discussion and were intertwined throughout numerous other assignments. Further, Media Utilization is inherent is every step of the design and development of the thematic unit.

Standard 4, Management, is a component of several course assignments but is not emphasized as strongly as in other classes in the MET program. Resource Management (4.2) is part of the Software Budget assignment and Delivery System Management (4.3) and Information Management (4.4), though an introduction only, are in the heart of the Networks Project. Though not considered at great length, these domains are addressed as they relate to technology integration strategies.

While assessment is a key component of the thematic unit, Formative and Summative Evaluation (5.3) (i.e., program evaluation) is not explicitly included in coursework. However, problem analysis and informal evaluations (not systematic) are part of the development of the thematic unit and critical analysis of software and technology tools, is part of the Relative Advantages and Software Budget assignments.

How you have grown professionally?

Along with what I’ve learned about technology integration in general, developing the thematic unit provided for more professional growth than any other single assignment I have worked on. Developing materials and lesson plans for a classroom that I don’t teach in (my unit is for kindergarten classroom teachers/students) is exactly what technology specialists and managers of technology integration do on a daily basis. Effectively integrating technology in our own classrooms is exactly the foundation we need to learn how to help others to do the same. But even more valuable, in my view, is practical experience integrating technology into subject areas and grade levels we don’t teach. It is an essential proficiency for those who seek a leadership role in educational technology.

How has your own teaching practice, or your thoughts about teaching, been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course?

Even though technology use in schools is growing by leaps and bounds, there remains a need to beat the drum and spread the word in our schools, about technology can be used most effectively and efficiently in our schools, along with research to support our views. Readings and research, related to blog post topics, helped solidify my thoughts on issues that are an important part of day-to-day tech integration in schools (special education apps and filtering, for example). As educational technologists we need to know more than how to use technology to enhance instruction and learning, we need to be cheerleaders and trainers, keeping our eyes open to new ways we can integrate technology in our own classrooms and encourage others to do the same. I read a blog post by Carol Broos (2010), a local music teacher who is active in technology, and one thing she talked about is the divide – not the digital divide between those who have access to technology and those who don’t, but the divide between available technologies and “non-techies.” As Carol said, reforms “don’t start with those who ‘get it,’ it starts with those who ‘don’t.’”

When I go back to my classroom in a few short weeks, I will be bringing back a much larger technology tool kit than I brought home with me at summer break. I’m extremely excited about its positive impact on my own teaching, and being able to share those tools – particularly with my kindergarten-teaching colleagues, who will be the prime recipients of my Communities Thematic Unit!


Broos, C. (2010, July 10). Finding a balance and creating a movement [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.beatechie.com/archives/1210

Earle, R.S. & Persichitte, K.A. (Eds). (2000, rev. 2005). Standards for the accreditation of school media specialist and educational technology programs. Bloomington, IN: Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Retrieved June 5, 2010, from http://www.ncate.org/ProgramStandards/AECT/AECTstandardsREV2005.doc

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What universal design in architecture has done to improve accessibility for individuals with and without physical disabilities, universal design for learning has the potential to achieve in education. According to Ron Mace, the visionary architect who coined the term, universal design in architecture considers the needs of the broadest range of users from the beginning, as opposed to making reactive structural alterations at a later date. A polio victim himself, Mace worked throughout his career to improve accessibility and modern building codes reflect that universal design in architecture has become the industry standard (Ostroff, Limont & Hunter, Chapter 1). In education, universal design for learning has, as its primary goal, the development of curriculum and materials that “is shaped from the outset to meet the needs of the greatest number of users, making costly, time-consuming, and after-the-fact changes to the curriculum unnecessary” (UDL Guidelines). Though Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is gaining ground in the field of education, unlike its architectural counterpart, there are no standards in place that require educational content to be created in a manner that makes it accessible to a broad spectrum of learners. Defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, districts may use IDEA funds for professional development, but only Maryland has passed (May, 2010) legislation related to UDL (see link). Though Maryland has established a task force to complete a one-year study the feasibility of incorporating UDL in state educational institutions, widespread and consistent implementation of UDL Guidelines appears to be a long way off.

So, what do we do while we wait for accessible curriculum to become widely available? As educators, we have a number of options: 1) When provided the opportunity, select curriculum materials that adhere to UDL Guidelines, 2) Adapt existing materials based on best practice in UDL, and 3) Make use of technology resources to make existing content more accessible to all students.

Regardless of the tack you choose, there are two key ideas that, when taken into consideration, will ease the teaching and learning process and make it more fruitful for all involved. The first key point is flexibility. The primary characteristic of learning materials that follow UDL Guidelines is flexibility and takes the form of multiple means of representation, multiple means of action and expression, and multiple means of engagement (Rose & Meyer, 2002, Chapter 4, page 3). While UDL guidelines can be applied with or without technology, the use of technology makes it easier (see summary of UDL Unplugged). Technology may be viewed, by some, as a time-intensive add-on, but “new technologies offer us the opportunity to respond to the multifaceted individual differences in our student population by providing more varied media, tools, and methods. Because of their inherent flexibility, digital technologies can adjust to learner differences, enabling teachers to (1) differentiate problems a student may have using particular kinds of learning media from more general learning problems and (2) draw upon a student’s other strengths and interests that may be blocked by the exclusive use of printed text” (Rose & Meyer, 2002, Chapter 1, page 3).

The second key point is the use of digital media. Digital media provides the tools with which to create, transform, and access educational content. The barriers to learning that are commonplace with traditional materials and methods – textbooks and speech – are lifted when digital media is used. “New media (digital text, digital images, digital audio, digital video, digital multimedia, hypertext, and hypermedia) are notable for their malleability. While, like print, they can provide a permanent representation, they do not have print’s fixed quality—they are more like raw clay than fired pottery. The malleability of digital media (when the materials are designed well) translates to enormous flexibility for teachers and learners” (Meyer & Rose, 2005, p. 6). Separating content from context means that learning is not limited by the type container that educational content arrives in. Further, teacher time is not needed to modify materials since technology can do that for students through resources like screen readers, speed-to-text software, captioning, and myriad productivity tools available online. While technology can be used to make content more accessible to students with disabilities, there are advantages for typically-abled students as well. For example, video captioning that makes content accessible to students who are hearing impaired will also benefit those who are English Language Learners, struggling readers, or working in a noisy environment.

“Using UDL as a framework, general and special educators, related service providers, and paraprofessionals insure that all students have meaningful access to grade level curriculum; valid, accurate assessments; and opportunities for meaningful participation” (NEA, 2008, p. 2).


UDL guidelines – version 1.0: Introduction. National Center for Universal Design for Learning, at CAST: Wakefield, MA. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines/introduction

Ostroff, E., Limont, M., & Daniel G. Hunter, D. G. (2002). Building a world fit for people: Designers with disabilities at work. Adaptive Environments Center: Boston, MA. Retrieved from http://www.adaptenv.org/adp/profiles/1_mace.php

Meyer, A., & Rose, D.H. (revised, 2005). The future is in the margins: The role of technology and disability in education reform. CAST: Wakefield, MA. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/sites/udlcenter.org/files/FUTURE%20IS%20IN%20THE%20MARGINS_NCUDL_1.doc

Rose, D.H., Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD): Alexandria, VA. Retrieved from http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/index.cfm

National Education Association, (2008). Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Making learning accessible and engaging for all students. NEA Education Policy and Practice Department: Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/PB_UDL.pdf

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Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R., (eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school: Expanded edition. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Retrieved from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9853.html

Malamed, C. (2009). Dual coding theory. Retrieved from: http://theelearningcoach.com/learning/learning-theory-and-multimedia/

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (1998). A cognitive theory of multimedia learning: Implications for design principles. Retrieved from http://www.unm.edu/~moreno/PDFS/chi.pdf

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My response to the two essential questions for Module 2 can be accessed by clicking the links in the sidebar, the titles below, or simply scrolling down if you’re on the home page. The presentation that follows was made using Keynote. Slides were exported, audio was edited in GarageBand, then slides and audio were combined in iMovie and uploaded to YouTube. A slide show version of the presentation can be viewed on my EDTECH 541 Web page.

Tech Tools and Integration Concerns

Sustaining Technology Innovation

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