Thursday, May 7, 2015

EdTech for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 28: Universal Design for Learning

In our last podcast episode for this school year, I discuss the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Here is a nicely organized list of these principles:
  • Provide multiple means of representation
    • Provide options for perception
    • Provide options for language, mathematical expressions and symbols
    • Provide options for comprehension
  • Provide multiple means of action and expression
    • Provide options for physical action
    • Provide options for expression and communication
    • Provide options for executive functions
  • Provide multiple means of engagement 
    • Provide options for recruiting interest
    • Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence
    • Provide options for self-regulation

Friday, May 1, 2015

EdTech for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 27: Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

This week, Dr. Alan Neville, an expert in Multiple Intelligences, guest stars as we discuss learning styles and Multiple Intelligences. We dispel some myths surrounding these ideas and also discuss what the research says. Here are the multiple intelligences:
  • Spatial
  • Linguistic 
  • Logical-Mathmatical
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic
  • Musical
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Naturalist
  • Existential
Here are some reference links from this episode:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning means that students create projects as part of their learning experience (Bender, 2012; Vega, 2012). As mentioned in chapter one, this type of learning fits well within constructivist and constructionist ways of thinking and is an important learning method for the Information Age. This post is an excerpt from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers.

In project-based learning, students develop a project from start to finish, making decisions on how to proceed, incorporating subject matter into the project and producing a product that represents their knowledge. This type of learning has resulted in better student attitudes toward learning and increased knowledge retention among students, along with other positive learning outcomes (Bender, 2012; Vega, 2012). Project-based learning is also linked to high 21st century skill development among students (Vega, 2012).

Educational technology and project-based learning go well together. Information technologies can help students seek out answers to project questions, and visual presentation applications can help students efficiently create products in differing formats. Project-based learning is a great way to integrate technological tools and resources into learning.

So what is it that defines project-based learning? The most important defining characteristics of project-based learning include authenticity, longer project time lengths and quality finished products that students complete.


Authenticity in project-based learning means that the projects students complete have value or relevance outside of the classroom and that the activities that students perform in order to finish a project are similar to the activities that a person may do outside of school (Herrington & Kervin, 2007). Finding an authentic project is not easy. Many teachers mistakenly suppose that learning activities like math word problems are authentic because they incorporate real-world elements. An example word problem might ask students to use their knowledge of speed and distance to determine when two trains will pass each other as they travel from neighboring cities. This type of problem is not authentic because it doesn't simulate activities that a person might actually do in real life. There is little reason to perform such a calculation in the world outside of school. In contrast, an authentic activity might involve students in using building code documents to calculate the number of exits needed in a large building as part of a building design process. This is the type of activity that might actually be completed by an architect.

Longer Project Time Lengths

Longer project time lengths means that more than just one class period is needed for students to work on projects. Projects may span several days or weeks in time length and may require many different steps or activities. Students could also use knowledge from more than just a single subject area to complete a project. It takes more than just one or two class periods to navigate the many choices, steps, subjects and activities in a project (Bender, 2012; Herrington & Kervin, 2007).

Quality Finished Products

Another important aspect of project-based learning is that students create quality finished products. These products are an excellent way to show students' knowledge of the subject areas featured in the project. Some examples of quality finished products that could be completed include:
  • A poster about how to avoid plaque and gingivitis by brushing teeth properly
  • A video that shows how to prepare and cook cholula bread
  • A recorded lesson telling how to calculate a monthly budget for food after bills have been deducted
  • A proposal document explaining the pros and cons of various purchase options for a particular business
Notice that no two of the above product examples are in the same format, but all of them include a quality finished product that students create to show their knowledge. More project-based learning ideas and the steps for a project based learning experience are included in my book, Educational Technology for Teachers. 

  • Bender, W. N. (2012). Project-based learning: differentiating instruction for the 21st century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Herrington, J., & Kervin, L. (2007). Authentic learning supported by technology: Ten suggestions and cases of integration in classrooms. Educational Media International, 44(3), 219–236. doi:10.1080/09523980701491666
  • Vega, V. (2012). Project-based learning research review. Edutopia. Retrieved January 8, 2014, from

Thursday, April 23, 2015

EdTech for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 26: What's my Motivation for Learning?

This week, I discuss a model of intrinsic motivation and how the proper use of technology can support intrinsic motivation for learning. Here are the four main elements of the taxonomy of intrinsic motivations:

  • Control
  • Challenge 
  • Curiousity
  • Contextualization

Malone, T. W., & Lepper, M. R. (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. In R. E. Snow & J. F. Marshall (Eds.), Aptitude, learning, and instruction (Vol. 3, pp. 223–253). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Make Education More Like Web 2.0 (and 3.0)

In a previous post, I discussed Web 2.0 and Learning 2.0. One way to characterize the changes that have occured in our society is by looking through the lens of the web 2.0 (and web 3.0) movement. Our society has become more:

• Content-creation oriented
• Personalized
• Connected
• Open
• Mobile

In the previous post, I asked whether education has kept up with these types of societal changes. In this post, I answer this question. This post is an excerpt from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers

The answer is that education remains behind in many of these areas even today (Mott & Wiley, 2013; Wiley, 2006). Students must meet in a classroom (tethered, not mobile) to do the learning. They are often required to work independently and quietly on individual assignments (closed, not open). Student classrooms are often closed off from and separate from other classrooms and people (isolated, not connected). Students must all learn the same subject matter at the same time and often in the same way (generic, not personalized).

Education can match Information Age trends by providing learning experiences that are open, connected, mobile, personalized and content-creation oriented. More opportunities for student communication and collaboration (connected, open) on projects (content-creation) that students find meaningful (personalization) can be provided. Students could be given some choices in what they learn, or how they go about learning (personalization). Students could also be given opportunities to connect with students from other classrooms, states and even countries using available communication technologies (connected). Teachers can find additional ways to get students to become more active participants in their own learning process (personalization). The web 2.0 (and web 3.0) values of our society in the Information Age have made it so that students expect a more student-centered learning experience.


  • Mott, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). Open for learning: The CMS and the open learning network. In Education, 15(2). Retrieved from
  • Wiley, D. (2006). Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Panel on Innovative Teaching and Learning Strategies, Seattle, WA.
  • Thursday, April 16, 2015

    EdTech for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 25: Advancing Technology for Learning using the SAMR Model

    This week, My students discuss four different technologies and how they might be used on the four different levels of the SAMR model.  Here are the four levels of the SAMR model:

    • Substitution
    • Augmentation
    • Modification
    • Redefinition

    Here are the four different tools:

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Web 2.0 and Learning 2.0

    Another way to view technology use in education comes from the world of the Internet. Tim O'Reilly first coined the term “web 2.0” as a way to describe how the web has evolved over time to become more social, personal and functional (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009; O’Reilly, 2005). Web 2.0 sites take advantage of the collective intelligence of many people by allowing users to contribute their knowledge and generate content (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009). Some exemplary web 2.0 sites include Facebook, Amazon, EBay, Wikipedia and Craigslist. Can you imagine how boring these sites would be if there were no users who generated any content? What would your Facebook news feed look like if none of your friends or family ever posted there? This post is an excerpt from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers.

    The power of web 2.0 lies in collecting and taking advantage of contributions from a wide variety of users (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009). Technological innovations change quickly, and because of this, the "web 2.0" term is already dated. The next generation of web applications and services has even been named "web 3.0," which is a term used to describe the more responsive and intelligent applications and services that continue to emerge as the collective intelligence based on contributions from multiple people is harnessed (O’Reilly & Batelle, 2009).

    Some researchers interested in education have taken advantage of the web 2.0 label to advance the parallel idea of “learning 2.0” (Alexander, 2006; Brown & Adler, 2008; Mott & Wiley, 2013; Wiley, 2006). Wiley (2006) argues that the changes that characterize web 2.0 are also occurring in society overall. For example, with the advent of digital technologies such as web 2.0 applications that allow easy access to and sharing of information, society has become more open and sharing, whether the sharing involves software, media resources, ideas, or other information (Wiley, 2006). We have also become more mobile, accessing information and communicating whenever and wherever we want to.

    Our society is also more connected (Wiley, 2006). Social networking applications have allowed us to stay connected with friends and relatives all around the world to share ideas and information. This sharing of ideas and information is one of the most important changes that has resulted from the Internet and web 2.0 technologies (Brown & Adler, 2008).

    Along with technological advances, we have come to expect a more personalized experience (Wiley, 2006). The website for our favorite news network customizes content to our preferences and features our friends in a Facebook application on the front page. Our favorite online retailers provide us with personalized suggestions based on our past purchases. When we do an Internet search we only want answers that relate to our personal question, and we get these answers very quickly.

    Our web 2.0 (and web 3.0) world allows almost anyone to participate easily in content creation activities (Wiley, 2006). Since the advent of web 2.0 technologies, those with access to the Internet have shared ideas, thoughts and information using online discussion forums, blogs, wikis, videos, podcasts and a variety of other media. The amount of information that has been produced and made freely available is greater than it has been in any other time in history (Dragland, 2013).

    In summary, our society has become more:

    • Content-creation oriented
    • Personalized
    • Connected
    • Open
    • Mobile

    But has education kept up with these societal changes?


    • Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause Review, 41(2), 32–44.
    • Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008). Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause review, 43(1), 16–20.
    • Dragland, A. (2013). Big Data, for better or worse: 90% of world’s data generated over last two years. SINTEF. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from
    • Mott, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). Open for learning: The CMS and the open learning network. In Education, 15(2). Retrieved from
    • O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is web 2.0? Retrieved November 22, 2013, from 40
    • O’Reilly, T., & Batelle, J. (2009). Web squared: Web 2.0 five years on. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from
    • Wiley, D. (2006). Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. Panel on Innovative Teaching and Learning Strategies, Seattle, WA.