Monday, December 17, 2012


My personal theory on how individuals learn is based off my observations of other educators during my education as a student and my six years of classroom experience as a teacher.  I believe students learning potential is obtained when you design lessons that challenge learners of all cognitive levels. Lesson design should spark student interest, fun and engaging and connect with real world application.  Successful lessons should incorporate 21st Century Technology; have a healthy balance of lecture / demonstration and engaging assignments or projects.  Lessons that apply multiple layers of learning experiences will strengthen the individual ability to retain and recall the information discussed (Laureate Education, Inc. 2010).  This course has given me opportunity to revisit theories that I learned during my undergraduate classes and learn about new technologies that can help students’ bridge the gap to the 21st Century work force.
Looking back at the technology discuss in this course compared to the technology that I currently use in my routines and lessons, I really don’t the overwhelming need to update my resources. Resources like Voicethread are great for allowing student to discuss the assignment digitally from any location around the world with internet connection. This technology can be used in a classroom room setting or in industry.  Personally, I can see the benefits of using Voicethread, but I’m not in a hurry to make the conversion from PowerPoint and an open discussion format. I believe today’s students are digitals natives and are very experienced with communicating with others via social media outlets, cell phones and emails.  I believe at this young age, students should still learn to communicate in person and
Another resource that I may incorporate in my lessons is “Virtual Field Trips”. Using the online resource to organize the information, students can develop “Virtual Field Trips” ranging from architecture to power tool safety tips and educational videos.  This gives the students the opportunity to exposure new technology and documents their findings in a presentation type format.

Long term goals: I will continue to use all to the technology that I currently have available in my classrooms. If new technology is presents, such as Voicethread, I will determine if my students can benefit from the technology or if the reward is worth the effort in converting to the new technology.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Social Learning in the Classroom

Social Learning in the Classroom
Dr. Orey stated that Social Learning Theory has students engaging in constructing artifices and conversing with others helps maximize the learning experience (Laureate Education, 2010). I would have to agree with Dr. Orey’s view after reviewing my classroom operations and teaching styles.  Majority of my classes allow from the students to learn from my lecture and demonstrations and apply them to the various assignments and physical projects.  Allowing students to engage in conversations amongst each other to solve problems is beneficial in multiple ways. While developing problem solving and communication skills, it also allows focus on more the needy students or overall flow of the classroom.

Today in my wood working class, I opened the class with today’s objectives and building procedures for the tool box project.  I provided several of the advanced students with instruction with the next stage of the assignment. At the end of the instruction, I told them that they will be expected to instruct the other students “how to” complete the next stage in the building process and demonstrate what the procedure.  The classroom slowly turns into a student driven environment and overseen by me.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Social Learning Theories. Baltimore, MD



VoiceThread is online media is an online collaboration resources that has the ability to transform traditional classroom projects into online learning experiences that can be access anywhere around the world.   The instructor or student has the ability to load a document, voice recording or video and allow from feedback or collaboration from others.  VoiceTread is a great tool if internet and computer resources are available and easily accessible.
VoiceTread can be incorporated into Career and Technical Education (CTE) but it might require some creative thinking to incorporate the technology.  The project that I feel can use the VoiceThread technology would be my Woodworking “Catapult” project.  During the course of the project, I have the student’s research different designs and sketch various versions (catapult and trebuchet).  Students could upload their images, then collaborate with their peers on which design would produce the best siege machine and why.  Once the collaborating is complete, they can produce presentation of the design they chosen and explain why their design is worthy.
During the group collaboration, the instructor and review the information being discussed and provide feedback. This virtual document can also be used as notes or a future presentation. Overall, I think VoiceThread and bring life to an exhausted lesson and provide students to 21st Century Technology skills.

Reverse Engineering the "Tool Box" project:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Using Technology to Transform the Classroom

Constructivism is the idea that individuals construct their own knowledge and apply meaning (Lever-Duffy& McDonald, 2008). Being a CTE instructor, all of my classes allows for this theory to be practiced. For example: In my wood working class, students learn everything they need to know about tools and the building process. From their prior experience / knowledge, they can the build various projects and enhancing their learning experience.
After all of the instruction and safety practices have been installed, the classroom turns into a student directed environment. As a teacher, I just monitor the class for safety concerns and provide tips. Students are encouraged to complete the project with emphasis on quality and safety.
Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Using Cognitive Tools to Enhance Learning Experiences

Using Cognitive Tools to Enhance Learning Experiences

Virtual field trips are an excellent way to provide students with a learning experience that may not be financially practical or even possible.  The use of 21st Century technology provides classrooms the opportunity to bridge the impractical to practical. For my assignment, my students are learning about the famous Architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Because of the geographic location of his designs and works, having a field trip is financially impossible. Using 21st Century technology, such as the internet and podcast; students are able to explore the mind of Frank Lloyd Wright in detail.  For the assignment, I gave student several different assignment requirements that they have to research. 
The requirements, biography, famous buildings and pictures; needed to be recorded digitally. For my assignment, I used the website to complete the requirements. My students used the Microsoft Word to create a bubble chart and text documentation.  Students found the activity fun because of the flexibility and organization of the bubble chart.  The ability to relate the information to one another using the “paths” gave students a visual road map of Wrights life and accomplishments.
Dr. Orey claims that the addition of pictures to information allows for a higher retention rate in the human mind (Laureate Education, 2010). Following the completion of the assignment, I tested the students on the name of several building that Frank Lloyd Wright designed and I had over 85% passing rate (35 students).  The general feel from the student that they enjoyed using different forms of technology to explore and document their findings.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Behaviorist Learning Theory. Baltimore, MD: Dr. Michael Orey.
My link:

American Architecture:  Frank Lloyd Wright

Monday, November 12, 2012

Behaviorism in Today’s Classroom

Behaviorism in Today’s Classroom

            I believe that drill / practice and remediation and demonstrations have a place in classroom today.  For example, in a wood shop class setting; safety practices must be practiced every second of the day or an injury could result. Repetition and structure is crucial to the learning environment.  Unwanted or negative behavior must be corrected, or the safety of all students may be jeopardized.  Some classrooms may place more emphasis on these particular techniques, but limitation should be considered to diversify the students learning experience and growth.  In classes that technology is accessible, remediation activities is most effective when limited (Laureate Inc. 2010).

For example, when I discuss safety features on a power tool, I explain everything they need to know from A – Z.  I immediately have the student perform a performance activity where I can give feedback and then discuss my observations with the entire class at a later point in time. I use examples of proper tool usage by students and also situations that could lead to potential injury. 

Orey stated that students change their behaviors to satisfy desires they place value on (Orey, 2001).  While building projects in a wood shop setting, students can place value in the hard work and quality of the project. Their confidence and excitement increase as their projects takes shape, in conjunction with positive feedback and quality improving tips. At the end of the activity, they have physical evidence (project) of their hard work that can receive positive feed back from friends and family.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction & Technology. Baltimore, MD: Orey.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieve from

Friday, October 19, 2012

        Dr. Thornburg stated that educators should challenge students educationally by incorporating technology into their lessons that maximizes student engagements and learning potential.  After the completion of this course, I took time to reflect on the information and technology discussed. I have benefited from the exposure to technology, such as Wikispaces, blogs and podcast; and the various possibilities to integrate them into my classroom setting and lessons. As a teacher that takes pride in "thinking outside of the box", I found myself being stubborn and being narrow minded.
        My views have changed on the technology discussed, and have started developing lessons that incorporate blogs and pod casts. My openness to new ideas and flexibility in utilizing new technology has allowed me to continue to practice a facilitators teaching style. I believe digital native student's knowledge of current technology allows them to explore information and apply their knowledge using various forms of media.
Integrating Technology Goals (2 years):
        As I strive to become a professional educator, I must continue to expand my technological pallet and integrate my knowledge into my classroom.  Educating myself through workshops and online tutorials, I can develop an understanding of the technology and begin to apply the knowledge into my personal and professional routines.  During my personal exploration and learning stage, I can determine if the technology can be utilized and to what extent.  If the technology is available, I must validate the purchase of the equipment by creating lessons that promote higher level thinking, maximize student engagement and develop skills used in industry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

21st Century Skills: Website Review

Partnership for the 21st Century Skills: Website Review

The Partnership for the 21st Century Skills (P21) is a nation organization aimed at creating a partnership between education, business, community and governments that prepares K-12 students for the future workforce. P21 believes that narrowing the gap of current and future workforce’s skill-set and technological needs is possible, if K-12 schools incorporate the 3Rs and 4Rs educational format. The 3Rs places emphasizes on subjects such as English, reading, math, science etc. while the 4Rs emphasizes the need for critical thinking and problem solving, communication and innovation. The P21 website offers a plethora of links to various resources, publications to further understand and incorporate their concepts.
While P21 makes a great case for the need for schools to apply to the 3Rs and 4Rs, I personally feel that placing the responsibility solely on K-12 education is misguided.  K-12 education responsibility is to education the youth the basic skills to be productive members of society and stress the importance furthering their education. The individual needs to become a “life long learner” and continue their education at colleges, trade schools or educational workshops.  Business interrogating new technology should also carry the burden of educating and financing the current workforce or provide aid to new employees.
As a Career Technical Education instructor, I incorporate concepts like P21 3Rs and 4Rs in to my courses. Students are learning and practicing techniques currently used in industry. Following graduation of high school, my students have the necessary skills to earn entry level jobs in fields of auto, drafting and woodworking. It is the responsibility of the individual to make the necessary sacrifices and iron out a path that will make them relevant in the 21st century.   

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Use of Blogs in my CTE classes

Use of Blogs in my CTE classes

CTE Instructor: Mr. Jarvinen
8th-12th grades
Courses: Auto, Computers, Drafting, Wood Working

Over the past week, I have been brainstorming ways to incorporate blogs into my classroom.  After some thought, I have decided that any blogs or website that I incorporate will be for the sole purpose of strengthening the Career and Technical Education department.  The site would recognize any student achievements, awards, current / future projects and contests.
To increase the blogs / website usage in my lessons, I could post instructional videos and blue prints for viewing and downloading.  In addition, students can upload images and blueprints of projects they created in the future. Eventually, the blog will become a nice archive of past and present projects and like-minded individuals.

Friday, September 7, 2012