EdTech 504 Jigsaw Activity

 Chapter 9: Everyday Expertise Learning Within and Across Formal and Informal Settings Heather Toomey Zimmerman and Philip Bell

What is the everyday expertise framework?

  • People learn within and across multiple dimensions: individual, social, and cultural.  Everyday expertise is considered a social learning theory and incorporates a person’s values, emotions, and background knowledge as well as social, and cultural practices.

How did it come to be?

  • The authors and their research group developed a new framework to analyze everyday expertise in connecting learning from home to school and back again.
  • This initiative was created in response to research that found that people do not act with equal competency across all settings even if the content is the same.  Most often people who are confident and competent in informal everyday settings falter in more formal settings, such as school.

Why is it important?

  • Learners do not act with competency in all settings.

Everyday Expertise Framework in depth: Zimmerman & Bell (2012) state that “The everyday expertise framework builds from social theories of development: sociocultural, ecological models of, and distributed perspectives on thinking and doing” (p.226).  There are 3 analytical planes of the everyday expertise framework:

  1. Individual aspects.  Includes background knowledge, emotional states and personal interests.
  2. Cultural aspects.  Tools available to the individual.  Languages, technologies, dispositions, styles of talking, and physical artifacts. Worldviews, stereotypes and other conceptual elements that broadly permeate societal groups are also considered as cultural tools (p. 226).
  3. Social aspects.  Informal learning environments, interactions with people.  Any social situation whether it includes interacting with other people or not.

All three planes are linked together. One does not take precedence over the other but rather combine and complement each other. A researcher or designer using this everyday expertise perspective should consider that cultural tools, social practices within situated activity systems, and individual attributes are all linked in learning environments (Zimmerman & Bell, 2012, p. 227).

Benefits to using the everyday expertise framework:

  • Elimination of stereotypes based on cultural aspects.
  • Focus on individuals in individualized circumstances.
  • Avoid assumption that all individuals are the same.
  • Ability to build on background knowledge through relevance and scaffolding.

2 examples of how the everyday expertise framework was used for research:

  1. Science museum.  Families used ideas and materials to make meaning from the scientific content presented in exhibits.  Previous knowledge guided the family’s discussion.  The parent’s knowledge also influenced what was of interest to the rest of the family.  The family referenced experiences they had had as a family (outdoor activities and visits to other museums).  The museum signage only accounted for 5% of the information learned for this family, all signage was placed at adult height.  By using the everyday expertise framework, more complex signage was moved to a lower height.
  2. Adolescent youth in an environmental education program.  Youth were told stories about specific people or stereotypes within cultural groups to teach about environmental issues.

Why use the everyday expertise framework in instructional design?

  • Support further research of learning in informal environments
  • To connect learning from informal settings to formal settings.
  • To consider social, cultural, and physical aspects when designing instruction.

Thoughts: By giving learners tools that they are familiar with, they can learn more effectively.  For example, giving a student a typewriter isn’t going to be nearly as effective as giving them access to a PC, something they are familiar with and use daily.

Conclusion:  Who a person is does affect how they can learn.


 Zimmerman, H.T., Bell, P. (2012). Everday expertise: Learning within and across formal and informal settings. Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments [Kindle Edition] (p. 224-241). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from Amazon.com


EdTech 504 Learning Theory Paper

Jenifer Crook

Triarchic Intelligence Theory


According to Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic Intelligence Theory (1997) “successful intelligence is the use of an integrated set of abilities needed to attain success in life, however an individual defines it. People are successfully intelligent by virtue of recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and finding ways to compensate for them. Successfully intelligent people adapt to and select environments through a balanced use of their analytical, creative and practical abilities.”


Born in 1949, Robert Sternberg suffered from extreme test anxiety that resulted in being an inadequate test taker his entire life. He never felt that a test was a good measurement of true knowledge and academic abilities. Because of this, he created the Sternberg Test of Mental Agility (STOMA) in the 7th grade as a part of a science project; this was his first intelligence test. All of this sparked his interest in psychology. Robert went to Yale and did so poorly in his first Psychology class that the professor told him he should consider a different major. Dr. Sternberg has published more than 1,400 journal articles and books since 1972 and continues to be a strong leader in intelligence theories (Henshon, 2008).

Major Principles

The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence predicts that as “intelligent” people, we will know our own strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge helps us to make the most of our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses. The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence is divided into three areas. First, analytic intelligence is commonly viewed as “book smart.” This refers to the ability to complete academic, problem-solving tasks such as those used on traditional intelligence tests. Second, creative intelligence involves the ability to deal with new situations using past experiences and current skills. Third, practical intelligence may be viewed as “street smart.” This element refers to the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Practical intelligence is involved when dealing with common personal or practical problems. (Sternberg, 1997).


According to Sternberg & Spear-Sterling (1996) this theory has three major implications for educational psychology. First, teaching for all types of intelligence through differentiation is important because students need to capitalize on their strongest abilities at the same time they work to develop the abilities in which they demonstrate weaknesses. Second, students’ strongest abilities are directly connected to their most amenable learning styles. Teachers should know the learning preferences of their students and, when possible, capitalize on them. Third, because these variable abilities exist there should be many diverse assessments of school achievement, not only those that focus on traditional analytical abilities. Ability-based and personality-based styles matter, the goal of teaching should be to reach all students. Research has indicated that learning in at least partially matched conditions is significantly superior to that in mismatched conditions. People are successfully intelligent to the extent that they capitalize on their strengths in these areas and correct or compensate for their weaknesses. (Sternberg, Grigorenko, & Zhang, 2008).


Henshon, S. E. (2008). Adventurous navigator of the dimensions of high Ability: An interview with Robert J. Sternberg. Roeper Review, 30(2), 75-80. doi:10.1080/02783190801954726

 Sternberg, R. J. (1997). Successful intelligence. New York: Plume.

Sternberg, R., Grigorenko, E., & Zhang, L. (January 01, 2008). Styles of learning and thinking matter in instruction and assessment. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 6, 486-506.

Sternberg, R. J., & Spear-Swerling, L. (1996). Teaching for thinking. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

EdTech 504 Module 2 Reflection

Jenifer Crook

EdTech 504 Module 2 Reflection

 According to Webster’s Dictionary the definition of epistemology is “the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity.” As I have contemplated this definition I have come to wonder, how do I know what I know? That is an interesting question considering all the possible learning theories that exist and how I feel about them from the stance of an individual, educator, and parent.

I have a MacBook Pro with a 750 GB hard drive. All of the information stored on my hard drive had to be physically put there, by me, the owner. I only have about 75 GB of free space, which means my hard drive is filling up and will soon hit the maximum amount of data I can store. I know exactly how all of that information has gotten there, I have “saved” it, nothing more than a few keystroke commands to make it reside permanently on the hard drive until I choose to remove it. I can even free up space on my hard drive by deleting unusable information.

My brain, while similar to my computer’s hard drive, isn’t quite the same. The information I have stored, or “saved,” in my brain is limitless and has gotten there mostly through experiences. Some of my brain’s stored data is due to memorization of facts but mostly what is stored is because I have somehow connected information to my own personal experiences. I would agree with authors Jonassen & Land (2012) that “individual beliefs and experiences provide uniquely personal frameworks for new understanding” (p.12).

My teaching experiences are limited when it comes to classroom instruction. I have team-taught a large Kindergarten class, facilitated small-group reading instruction for at-risk students, and student taught in a 6th grade Title I classroom. All of my classroom experiences have occurred in the past 4 years. While I was student teaching last year, I realized that my beliefs in learning theories and reality didn’t always mesh. While I wholly believe in hands-on learning theories, discovery learning, and even differentiation as suggested by Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, when faced with the realities of the day-to-day teaching and even just the schedule of the day, time was too short to really allow for deep and meaningful discovery learning. The longest consecutive chunk of time I had with my students, on a daily basis, was one hour. The day was chopped up to accommodate small-group instruction, trips to the computer lab, art, P.E., and all of the other prep class periods they rotated through. The reality of spending hours learning through deep, meaningful conversations and observations just didn’t happen realistically. Additionally, as teachers we are forced to make tough decisions, especially when it comes to teaching what will likely be on end-of-level standardized tests. It is a sad reality, but this is where our education system is right now.

I believe that I don’t really fall neatly into any one category, or major school of thought, when it comes to learning theories. Perhaps it is because I have learned through parenting four very different children. What works for one child absolutely does not work for another. I found this experience to be true in the classroom as well, while one student might respond to operant conditioning and thrives on reinforcement and rewards, another child could care less about rewards or extrinsic motivation.

 In elementary school especially, child development is a huge factor in learning. My youngest daughter went to Kindergarten and by the end of the year she was classified as “below grade level” and would start the first grade as an “at-risk” student in reading. Interestingly enough though, she could multiply! When I approached our family doctor about this, he commented that children naturally are pulled to favor either numbers or letters, not usually both at the same time. The same is true for infants, most do not learn to talk and walk at the same age, and they usually only favor either their motor skills or their language skills. Both skills will be mastered eventually; it just isn’t typical to master both simultaneously. Sure enough, by the time my daughter hit the first grade her focus had shifted to letters and reading, she flew past all of her classmates and was above grade level at the end of the year.. Developmentally, she was just on her own path.

 I believe that teaching is very similar to parenting just with a whole lot more children. Every child learns and grows at different rates and will learn best in his/her own way. Children are unique and so is their learning style. Our minds and our abilities to store and receive information just isn’t as easy has hitting “save” on my computer. The information saved in a student’s brain is likely to come from so many different sources and no two students will learn the same way.

 Simply, the rate and method in which we receive information, is changing quickly. There are things we needed to know in order to be successful 20 years ago that really do not even exist today. Angeli & Valanides (2008) stated,

We are living in a world that is constantly impacted by rapid developments in the domains of science and information and communication technologies (ICT). Existing knowledge quickly becomes outdated and obsolete, and the acquisition of new knowledge and its innovative applications result in a continuous transformation of our cultural, social, and political environments.

 The whole psychology of education and learning is a very fascinating topic and it is hard for me to imagine that there is any one person who can solely embrace just one theory. People are different, learning is individual, and knowledge comes at different rates for everyone. Trying to find just one “right method” or theory to embrace is truly missing out on the individuality of mankind. Being different is a challenge for a teacher but it is what makes this an awesome world to be a part of.


Angeli, C., & Valanides, N. (2008). Epistemological and methodological issues for the conceptualization, development, and assessment of ICT–TPCK: Advances in technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). Computers & Education, 154-168. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.07.006

 Jonassen, D., & Land, S. (2012). Theoretical foundations of learning environments (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

 (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epistemology


EdTech 504 Module 1 Reflection

This reflection may prove to be a little vague as I am not currently in a teaching position. My experience in education involves small group reading instruction for 3 years and student teaching 6th grade a year ago. My “inclusion of educational technology in practice” doesn’t apply as much to me as it would to an active teacher.

Student teaching in a sixth grade class with full access to iPads was interesting. Many times it was a great blessing and others a great curse. The administration carefully calculated the number of copies made and was trying to trim the cost of paper, thus wanting us to use the iPad for as many activities as possible.   While I felt confident in my teaching and using the iPad to further our learning experiences, I was not prepared with how adept and sneaky the students were in finding ways to be off-task. There were definitely challenges and behaviors I had to address simply because of our use of technology in our classroom. Thanks to a re-visit to the Acceptable Use Agreement, we were able to tame the issues we had in that regard.

I loved being able to control my SmartBoard through the iPad app, collect real-time data on knowledge and understanding through quick quiz apps, and just bring a little interactive learning on all fronts through the iPads. I loved that some of my students had the ability to listen to soft music, which helped them to write better. I loved that students could collaborate and work together to solve problems with other students in the school or around the world because they had such a powerful communication tool in their hands.   I loved that we could research anything, on any topic, and learn through virtual field trips. I especially loved that I didn’t have to know everything. If I wasn’t sure of something, we could look it up together. I loved that my students knew and understood that even teachers don’t know everything.

In the future, I hope that I can take my knowledge of technology and pass the love and knowledge on to other teachers. I don’t know what my working-future looks like at this point. My family life is a too uncertain at this time to make definite career plans right now. If nothing else, I would love to volunteer more and teach teachers how much power and potential technology can have in their classrooms. Perhaps I will work with the PTA to raise funds for more devices, or maybe I will volunteer myself for simple presentations at professional development of faculty meetings. Regardless, I have knowledge and it is my duty to share it.

I have been told before that I can get a little “passionate” about the things I love when I am teaching. I have been teaching others how to digitally scrapbook for about 7 years now. I always teach voluntarily and I love my hobby and the skills I know that I have. I love teaching so combining the two elements makes me a little excited. My true excitement and passion comes when I see others embracing the things that I love and their feeling confident in themselves to do it on their own. I know that in the future I will be able to transform my passion for teaching digital scrapbooking into teaching about how to use technology in the classroom. It is a great and rewarding experience for me and I love sharing it with others.

If I am never able to work outside my home again, I know that my decision to even earn this M.E.T. degree is going to influence many of my friends and family members. I was the first in my family to ever go to college. I will be the first to receive a Master’s degree. I am raising four children, 3 of which are teenagers. I have proved time and again that whatever we put our minds to we can accomplish. I never would have imagined that I could write code for a website but I proved through EdTech 502 that I not only could do it, I could do it well. I didn’t just prove it to myself – I proved it to other 42-year-old moms that anyone could do it. I would link my newly created websites to my social media and other mothers would be amazed. I hope that even if I am never able to work outside my home, I hope that my courage and believing in myself will rub off on others and give them the hope that it is never too late for learning. It is never too late to embrace technology; it is never too late to realize the powers that lie within each and every one of us.

EDTECH 504 Defintion of Educational Technology

Definition of Education Technology

Last week I had to write a vision statement for EdTech 541 and I as ponder what my working definition of “Educational Technology” is, I keep coming back to some of the thoughts I included in that Vision Statement. I hope it is all right to quote some of those thoughts I wrote. I will include a link to my Vision Statement HERE.

Although Wikipedia is generally not an acceptable place to find information, I did appreciate the succinct definition of Educational Technology. It is defined as:

…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.

While the Wikipedia definition is adequate and probably the most stable/basic in terms of longevity, I would add that it is missing just a few key components. Educational technology is a tool. Much like the construction of a skyscraper in my vision statement, some tools make the process easier and more efficient. Without proper knowledge of those tools however, they become useless. Furthermore, “…no technology is a panacea for education” (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). “Computers and tablets are nothing more than tools that have the ability to enhance learning. When teachers use these tools students are able to explore great cities of the past and present, communicate with other children and experts across the world via video-conferencing, take field trips to far off lands, create and design engineering marvels, draft and publish their own writing, and so much more” (Crook, 2015, p. 1).

Educational technology is ever changing and evolving. When educational technology is seen as simply a tool, it puts the power into the hands of those delivering instruction. Whether training in a human resource department at a large corporation or a teacher in a classroom of first grade students, educational technology is the means by which instruction can be delivered. Teachers used to rely on pencils, paper, and encyclopedias, etc. for teaching and researching. Teachers now have the entire world of information at their fingertips if they choose to open the door and allow it to enter the classroom.


Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6th ed.). [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com.

Crook, J. (2015). Vision statement: Builders of tomorrow.   Unpublished manuscript, Boise State University.