Alternative Artifact Option

  • Project Overview HERE
  • Website HERE
  • 11×17 printable brochure HERE
  • Google Slides Presentation HERE
  • Google Sides PDF HERE

I chose to do an alternative project due to circumstances that have not allowed me to be working in an educational setting at this time.  Having worked at elementary schools in the past however, and as a parent, I am overwhelmed by the amount of educational material there is to be found on the Internet.  This abundant source of information makes it very hard to navigate and find appropriate sites for my children to spend their time on at home.  Time is the issue, parents and teachers simply never seem to have enough of it.  Internet safety is of high concern to me and my family but how can I protect them in a world where everything is literally at their fingertips?

I chose this project as a means to tackle something I have wanted to do for a very long time, create a simple website for parents and educators that is safe, family/classroom friendly with links to educational online games.  Far too often I find my young children “Googling” something they may have heard about from friends.  As a parent who knows the dangers lurking online, I am extremely nervous about this practice.  I would much rather have ONE central location that has links to dozens of favorite educational games rather than perusing the entire Internet.  This page can easily be set as the “homepage” for a child’s Internet account.

I also felt it was important to provide a page for parents with many additional links to Common Sense Media, a website designed specifically for Internet Safety.  Children spend over 60 hours of screen time per week.  It is imperative that as parents and educators we do our very best to make this screen time matter and enrich their learning.  Because most families do not have a media-use plan in effect at home, I also included a link to a popular and simple media-use form that parents and educators can use/modify to fit their needs.

Additionally, I added a page that simply outlines the National Educational Technology Plan 2010 (NETP 2010) so that parents would be aware of the plan our schools already have in place to enhance learning through technology use.  The five areas outlined in the NETP 2010 plan have goals that are just as useful at home as they are in a classroom setting.

My alternative project was divided into 4 sections:

  1. Create  the website This website is intended for parents/teachers of preschool and elementary-aged children.  *NOTE- The domain name has not yet been purchased at this time and was created with WIX, a free HTML editor, thus the lengthy website name.  It is proposed that this domain name will be purchased at the time of official launch.
  1. Create and distribute an overview of the website (in brochure form) to:
    1. Administrators
    2. Teachers
    3. PTA or PTO organizations
    4. Local libraries (information desk and story time)
    5. Other parents
    6. Social Media
  1. Include contact information to schedule a brief (15-30 minute) presentation of the website with question and answer period as needed
  1. Present the information found on the website to and of the above interested parties (in Google Slides form)

Upon reflection of this project, I am very pleased with the outcome.  It became a much bigger beast than I ever intended but I also felt that if I was going to do what I wanted to do, it had to be 100%.  I didn’t feel like it would be fair to leave it half done or even create it and then forget about it.  Sharing it will now be the key to this website’s success.  Information is power and education is the key.  So many parents tend to bury their heads in the sand about screen time and Internet safety but this is simply unacceptable in today’s world.  Our children are being pushed to know more and perform at higher levels than ever before.  It only makes sense to find games that can enhance what they are learning in the classroom and better prepare them for the rigors ahead but to have fun in the process.  Parents and teachers deserve one central place they can trust for their children.  As I move forward to share this with teachers, administrators, and other parents, my hope is that they will come to rely on THIS website is a place they can trust.


Tech Trends in Education Research

Beginning Essential Apps for iPads in the Classroom

App Guide for Elementary Teachers in the Early Stages of iPad Classroom Integration

  • Open or Download the iPad Apps for Educators brochure HERE
  • iPad Apps for Educators Google Slide presentation HERE
  • Open or Download the iPad Apps for Educators slides HERE
  • Download the iPad Apps for Educators PowerPoint presentation HERE

In January 2014 I was placed in a sixth-grade Title I classroom for a student teaching assignment. The school was a 1:1 iPad school. While I do have an Android tablet at home, I was very unfamiliar with the iPad and the tremendous power of apps available to teachers and education. Because I love new technology, especially in the classroom, I dove right in and starting learning about the apps I would end up using almost every single day of my teaching experience.

After my student-teaching experience, I went back to my job at the elementary school I had been at previously. The vice principal asked me about my experience and to someday write up a review of my favorite apps as the school had just received one rotating classroom set of iPads. Life, work, and preparing our home to sell put that request on the back burner until now. I created this assignment in part to fulfill that promise to the vice principal.

I chose my six favorite apps to showcase in this assignment. I used them all several times a week if not every single day while I was teaching. Most were free but a few had been paid for and subscribed to by the school district. I created a tri-fold brochure with a brief synopsis of each of the apps to give to the principal, teachers, or IT specialist. I also created a PowerPoint presentation with some additional resources and website and/or video tutorials so teachers and administration could further investigate the app. The brochure is meant to be a quick overview of how the app is useful to teachers (along with the cost), and the PowerPoint is for looking deeper at the app.

As teachers begin investigating how to use an iPad in their classroom, they will find more resources than they will ever know what to do with. I created this brochure and presentation with the hope that teachers won’t be overwhelmed when they receive their new iPads and wonder what they will do with it. Teachers never have enough time in their day and spending time researching apps probably will fall off the priority list very quickly. My goal is that this simple brochure will give teachers and administrators just enough quick information that they can get set up and running as quickly as possible.

Video Links/Tutorials

EDTECH Research

I chose virtual manipulatives as the topic of my annotated bibliography.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a parenting podcast when the topic of using technology in the classroom came up as part of the podcaster’s discussion.  They commented on how wholly unbalanced our nation is when some schools have access to technology like personal Macbooks for every student and others barely have a classroom computer.  They then discussed how much “screen-time” the students with iPads, Macbooks or Chromebooks must face on a daily basis and when is enough enough?  This conversation got my mind thinking and wondering as well, when is “enough enough?”

My question isn’t easily answered as I am both a parent and a teacher.  I can see so much value to using virtual manipulatives in the classroom.  The size of our classrooms continue to grow.  With 30+ students in a classroom, how is a teacher supposed to physically have enough physical manipulatives to make learning concrete like it needs to be?  Go into any teacher supply store and see how much money those manipulatives cost and then the controversy grows.  Space, money, quantity, etc., they are all issues.  It is obvious that virtual manipulatives are a good cost-effective alternative.  However, I am drawn back to my screen time dilemma, when is enough enough?

Is using our hands to physically manipulate objects getting lost to higher technology?  This was my ultimate question as I sought to see what research was saying.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that much of the research (much more than just what appears in my annotated bibliography) shows that using a combination of physical and virtual manipulatives is optimum for learning concretely.  While I love and embrace the use of technology in our classrooms, I don’t want to see the pendulum swing so far to one side that we forget how important it is just to sit and discover with our hands.

I learned a lot through  this assignment.  Although I have had an APA class in the past few years and have written a few Literature Reviews, I had never created an annotated bibliography before.  It was a great opportunity to dissect the information into small chunks, easier to digest in a short period of time.  I like to think that an annotated bibliography is a summary of the article’s abstract and conclusion all wrapped up nice and neat along with all the information needed to find that article in the future.

I also learned that I really don’t like Google Scholar.  As another student pointed out, there is no apparent way to filter peer-reviewed articles and studies.  For this reason, I chose to stay with the BSU library, EbscoHost, and Academic Search Premier.  While I did try to research Zotero and its usefulness, I didn’t get into it much and I will have to look more into it in the future.

RSS in the Classroom Reflection

My Lesson Plan  

* NOTE:  This lesson plan was uploaded to Google doc. as a .pdf due to formatting complications during the upload process.

In 2012 I started my journey to become a licensed teacher.  My undergraduate degree, Early Childhood Education, did not provide me with a teaching license.  The graduate program I chose would guide me towards that goal.  As of April of this year, I finished my student teaching and obtained my teaching license in the State of Utah.  Because of this great accomplishment, I have now written hundreds of lesson plans and the process is still quite fresh in my mind.

I did teach 6th graders last spring.  I wrote my lesson plan for this assignment geared toward that age.  As I wrote this lesson plan, I wish I had thought to do this for my class.  We spent a minimum of 30 minutes daily writing.  How much fun would it have been for my class to have done their current event writing this way vs. the way they did it.  They would write daily in Pages on their iPads and then they would email their finished writings to me.  That meant 29 essays weekly to grade via my email (which got very clogged).  As soon as I saw this RSS assignment, I immediately had the idea of how that whole writing experience could have gone so much smoother!

As with any lesson plan, I always tend to over-plan.  However, because I know how much time my students used for daily writing, this lesson plan was organized with those thoughts in mind.  As with any planned lessons, flexibility is key because the day and week does not always go as planned.

I feel passionately that children need to be learning how to use the Internet in finding worthwhile content.  I also feel that is so important for students to be aware of what is going on in the world around them.  I felt that combining researching current events with daily writing, this plan is a win-win.  I am actually sad that I am not teaching right now because this particular lesson plan (which is written for every day of the year) would be so fun.  I would love to see it implemented with a real class and I may even send it to some of the teachers I know.

Setting up the blogs at the very beginning of the year and walking through the process with the students would be key.  I would spend the first several weeks of computer lab time to help the students practice using their blog before we actually launched into the research of current events.  We would practice copy and pasting the required elements into the post so they can write efficiently.  With practice and repetition, the students would be ready to fully execute this lesson plan within about a month.

In Idaho, the state standards say that students must have good writing skills of planning, organizing, revising, and publishing.  Standards also say that students must use technology to collaborate and publish their writings.  By peer reviewing, the students will also get in a good habit of constructively criticizing their peers, encourage suggestions, and help the peers in the proofreading process.

Digital Divide: Does it Still Exist?

THIS Is the link to my VoiceThread.

THIS is my Google Slide document in my 501 Shared folder on Google Drive.

THIS is my Google document with the script for my speaker notes.

I live in two worlds, one as an educator and another as a parent.  I find myself torn in different directions when it comes to hot-button topics.  While I may feel passionately about something on the whole, I may not agree completely for one of my children.  I also hear parents’ concerns at neighborhood gatherings and am often questioned my opinion on some of these concerns.  I chose this topic as what I felt my become the new “digital divide” since the old definition is fading quickly.  Why does there appear to be a disconnect between the parents and educators/lawmakers?  What are the parents’ genuine concerns?  Do educators and/or lawmakers care about parents’ concerns?  How can we avoid creating a further “divide”?  These are just a few items I addressed when I created a survey on SurveyMonkey.  100 people were surveyed and provided wonderful responses to my questions.

In relation to the assignment and the multimedia principles used, I learned a little more about using Google Slides.  While I am not that impressed with it, I can see how it has it’s place in sharing and viewing with a group.  As a actual presentation tool, there are clearly many more platforms that are just better.  When the slide was exported as a .pdf, it lost all ability to use transitions and other more powerful ways of emphasizing information on the slide.

I suppose I had never really considered the actual term of “digital divide” but as I studied many many many graphics, I was impressed by how small our world is truly becoming.  The “divide” is shrinking and it is amazing.  What the definition of 10 years ago is fading, there certainly are new aspects to consider.  I had never really considered the cost of the infrastructure, the maintenance of devices, or even basic connectivity to keep a school full of wi-fi enabled devices up and running.

I learned  a lot from my survey.  In the future I will likely strive to help parents embrace rather than resist the technology.  It is here to stay.  Either we can fight it, or learn with it.  There are so many wonderful aspects of technology  when kept in moderation.  As a teacher, I hope to be able to keep perspective and balance with both active play, reading real books with real paper, using pencils and paper to draw and only using the devices as necessary.  Because I AM both a parent and an educator, I know that I do have some power of persuasiveness.  I love technology, I am in this program because I believe in it.  I have  used in the classroom as a means for quick assessment purposes and I love that those assessments can help steer me in the right direction for planning, teaching and re-teaching.

I felt like I had plenty of time to accomplish this assignment.  What I did not anticipate was getting sick when it was time to put the VoiceThread together.  I had to record and re-record over and over due to coughing fits and scratchy-throat syndrome.  I am not a person to leave anything to the last minute because I like time to have my instructors evaluate and give me feedback on my work so I can improve my grade if I need to.  This assignment will be a tough one to improve delivery on because I just cannot stop coughing.  Oh well…

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology.



“Could have, would have, should have,” is not really the best way for me to analyze what happened last year in my classroom.  It was a “learning” year for everyone involved.  I know that I learned the most from this new experience of teaching with technology.  While I can berate myself and beat myself up for not being more preventative, I can say I did my best at the time.  The way I handled the situation was to take the iPads away from the entire class for a month.  All this did was create more work and copied paper for me.  Grading became more laborious as well and I lost the instant feedback I previously had collected multiple times a day in quick assessments.  As I have now spent time reading and re-reading the Professional Code of Ethics, I am embarrassed to admit that I was simply ignorant.  I would like to believe that everyone makes mistakes many times a day and that no one is perfect 100% of the time.  As a teacher in her first year of teaching with iPads, it was definitely a learning curve for all of us.

From this assignment I learned that we will always be scrambling to keep up in a world of ever-changing technology.  Just as parents struggle to stay one step ahead (or at least very closely behind) their teenagers in regards to technology, education and professional ethics in technology will always struggle to keep up as well.  I believe that while we can attempt to imagine all the possible scenarios of what “could” happen in our classrooms, we will never really know until something happens and goes wrong.  Just like I scrambled to know what to do when a few students were cheating and the end result was the entire class losing their iPad, we often really won’t know until we’ve made the mistake that it was, in fact, a mistake.  Just as technology is changing faster than we can imagine, the Code of Ethics will likely be changing just as rapidly to keep up.

Educational Technology Definition Graphic

Education Technology Definition Graphic and Reflection

            I used Photoshop Elements 12 to create my definition graphic.  As I was searching for a good short definition, I found one on Wikipedia (insert a GASP here) that summed up all the aspects I felt went into educational technology.  The definition on the graphic is a bit small to read so I will add it here:

“Educational Technology, the use of modern technology, such as computers, digital technology, networked digital devices and associated software and courseware with learning scenarios, worksheets and interactive exercises which facilitate learning. Edtech encompasses both material objects, such as machines and networking hardware, and also aspects such as instructional theory and learning theory.”

            All of the small icons I used on my graphic illustrate means of communicating and learning through technology.  My icons include: Wi-fi, emailing, uploading, g+, file sharing, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, RSS feeds, HTML5 and CSS code, Google Hangouts (or Apple Messenger), and so much more.  The most amazing piece of educational technology is that no matter where we are in the world, we are connected by a machine.  Even in this course, our classmates are from all over the globe.  We are able to come together in cyberspace and learn together.  It is truly remarkable how connected we can become with the use of all these tools, programs, software, and hardware.  We can communicate, in real-time, anywhere on the planet.

In the past 10 days of my two courses, I have learned a lot of new terms.  I am learning to  build a basic website.  I am learning to blog  more efficiently by using tags and categories.  I am learning from my peers as they aid in troubleshooting.  As I proceed through this M.E.T. program, I will become far more involved in many of these programs and practices and hopefully become even more comfortable in the process.

Jen Crook Edtech501 Graphic DefinitionFinal

Reference List

45 Latest And Free Icon Sets For Your Design | (n.d.). Retrieved from

Educational technology. (2014, April 9). Retrieved from

Iconset: Cloud Social Icons by GraphicsVibe (12 icons). (n.d.). Retrieved from