Welcome to my learning log for coursework in the Boise State Master’s Program in Educational Technology. I am so excited to take these classes and learn as much as I can about educational technology and instructional design.

I currently work in higher education as a philosophy instructor in Michigan. I hope that what I learn in this program will make me a better facilitator of learning in those classes as well as open up some opportunities to work more directly in the field of educational technology.

I will be posting here a variety of archives, observations, and responses which will be categorized by the standards of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.  I welcome questions or feedback on anything you see on my learning log.

Happy learning!

Introduction to Educational Technology: Course Reflection

The introductory course to the Master’s Program in Educational Technology has been an excellent introduction to some of the important issues in educational technology. The primary challenge in this course has been having enough time to adequately research the topics each week.. Each module covered important aspects of educational technology, from professional ethics and the digital divide to planning for learning in the 21st century. The assignments opened up important avenues for research; however, I found it difficult to adequately research the broad topics in a short amount of time. To manage this challenge, I relied on the use of google scholar to filter recent literature on research topics so that I didn’t have a heap of literature to sort through. I also relied on the APA style book to learn APA style and edit my citations. I look forward to spending more time in the future researching these topics, especially blended learning, flipped classrooms, and the digital divide.

I really enjoyed researching about the flipped classroom, since I am in the process of flipping my courses for fall semester. I believe that this was my best artifact, since it included interesting research and a lesson plan that I developed for my fall critical thinking class. I enjoy doing research and I find it very rewarding to see how research is aligned with my teaching practices. This artifact allowed for me to engage with the research alongside my planning and development practices. I was able to think through the findings of some specific studies on flipped classrooms and blended learning in terms of how the findings influenced my own course planning and development. I found this to be a helpful and useful exercise.

One thing I plan to do in my classes as a result of this class is discuss digital divide issues with my colleagues and my students as part of my course development and redevelopment. As part of the digital divide assignment, I surveyed about 22 of my philosophy colleagues, and there was a wide range of understandings about the digital divide in higher education. I believe that this is an important issue, given the increase in technology use in higher education. Another thing I plan to do as  a result of this class is flip my classes beginning in the fall semester. The research in this course was useful in identifying some issues and strategies in flipped classrooms, which has helped me to begin developing my fall courses.

Integrating Technology into the Classroom Curriculum: Course Reflection

As an instructor in a higher education setting, I have had little experience reading learning theories or writing lesson plans, although I teach a heavy load of classes. This course repeatedly illustrated the need for good lesson plans, with good learning outcomes, based on good learning theories. The most important thing I learned in this class is the importance of planning class activities–with and without technology–based on good learning strategies and learning outcomes. I learned about a lot of great resources and tools for the classroom and how to effectively integrate them based on relative advantage. I also learned how to write lesson plans-something I have never done before-, and the importance of that process to developing good learning activities.

From the very first week, thinking about the aims of constructivist and objectivist approaches set the stage for implementing those approaches in planning course projects and lesson plans. The role of theory cannot be over-emphasized. A solid grounding in learning theories allows for a thoughtful plan in which directed and inquiry-based strategies can be used to develop learning objectives that are aligned with students’ educational needs and learning activities that are aligned with learning objectives.

The work in this course demonstrates mastery of three of the five AECT standards. I have met Standard 1 (Content Knowledge), which states “Candidates demonstrate the knowledge necessary to create, use, assess, and manage theoretical and practical applications of educational technologies and processes,” with nearly all of my projects and reflections. Standard 2 (Content Pedagogy states that “Candidates develop as reflective practitioners able to demonstrate effective implementation of educational technologies and processes based on contemporary content and pedagogy.” I have met standard 2 with nearly all of my projects and reflections, which have also allowed me to meet standard 5. Standard 5 (Research) states: “Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize, and apply methods of inquiry to enhance learning.” Not only do the archives on my final project page illustrate content knowledge, content pedagogy, and research, they are also lessons and projects that I will be using in the upcoming semester in my critical thinking classes.

The vision statement project meets standard 2 with a reflection on implementing educational technologies through the application of contemporary learning theories and learning strategies. This focus on constructivism and objectivism set the stage for a pedagogical focus throughout the course. The vision statement also meets AECT standard 5, since it demonstrates foundational knowledge of the contributions of research to the application of educational technologies.

Constructing a relative advantage chart illustrates knowledge on using and assessing educational technologies to achieve specific learning outcomes in my critical thinking class to meet standard 1. This archive meets standard 2 by using pedagogy to create learning activities for critical thinking through the application and use of educational technologies to enhance learning. The relative advantage chart meets standard 5 by exploring and evaluating methods of inquiry to enhance student learning.

The instructional software lesson plan illustrates knowledge on using and assessing instructional software to achieve learning outcomes aligned with both objectivist and constructivist learning strategies, which meets standard 1. This lesson plan meets standard 2 by using appropriate pedagogy to create a lesson plan that applies educational technologies to improve learning and meet learning objectives. It meets standard 5 by basing the integration of tutorial and spreadsheet technologies on theoretical foundations for enhancing student learning.

The software support tools list also demonstrates AECT standard 1:  knowledge on using and assessing educational technologies. This archive illustrates how a number of resources in the categories of materials generators, data collection and analysis, testing and grading, planning and organizing, and research and reference can be used to achieve learning outcomes, motivate students, provide immediate feedback, promote self-efficacy, and encourage engagement and collaboration. The software support tools list meets standard 2 by demonstrating the appropriate application of content pedagogy to the use of  technologies to enhance learning in critical thinking classes. This artifact meets standard 5 by exploring, synthesizing, and applying methods of inquiry to enhance learning.

The interactive presentation on fallacies of vagueness demonstrates knowledge on the effective use and evaluation of presentation software, meeting standard 1. This archive meets standard 2 by illustrating the appropriate application of pedagogy to the implementation of interactive technologies to enhance learning and meet learning objectives and it meets standard 5 by demonstrating inquiry-based guidelines for effective presentations.

The lesson plan on identifying arguments demonstrates knowledge on the use and evaluation of spreadsheet software. It meets standard 1 by demonstrating the ability to select the appropriate resources to support student learning and evaluate the effective integration of spreadsheets into a learning activity. This archive meets standard 2 since it illustrates the appropriate application of pedagogy in the implementation of spreadsheets to the identifying arguments learning activity. It meets standard 5 by incorporating research on inquiry-based learning strategies to enhance learning and improve performance in critical thinking.

The video integration project on evaluating arguments meets standard 1 by demonstrating knowledge on the use and evaluation of videos in classroom activities to support learning. This project meets standard 2 by demonstrating the application of video resources to enhance student learning of argument evaluation, and it meets standard 5, since it is based on appropriate pedagogical and theoretical foundations.

The project on using the internet for instruction meets standard 1 by demonstrating knowledge on the use and assessment of internet resources to implement both directed and inquiry-based learning on speech act theory. This project meets standard 2 by applying content pedagogy to create learning activities through the implementation of appropriate educational technologies. It meets standard 5 by exploring and applying theoretical methods to enhance learning on speech act theory.

The social networking project meets standard 1 by demonstrating knowledge on the use and assessment of interactive social networking software for deep argument analysis, intended to enhance student learning. This project meets standard 2 by demonstrating the appropriate application of content pedagogy to the use of social media technologies to enhance learning and meet learning objectives. The social networking project also meets AECT standard 5, since it demonstrates foundational knowledge of the contributions of research to the application of educational technologies for sharing and collaboration.

The content area projects in language arts and art, music, and physical education meet standard 1 by demonstrating knowledge on how to use and assess technology in specific content areas to achieve interdisciplinary learning outcomes. These projects meet standard 2 by illustrating the creation of learning activities based on the application of technological resources to enhance student learning through sound interdisciplinary pedagogy. These content area projects demonstrate standard 5 through the exploration and application of theoretical interdisciplinary methods for enhancing learning.

The assistive technology project meets AECT standard 1 by demonstrating knowledge on how to use and assess assistive technology for a diverse student body in higher education settings. This project meets standard 2 by illustrating appropriate application of assistive technologies to enhance learning among disabled, as well as able-bodied students. It meets standard 5 by exploring and applying methods of inquiry about assistive technologies to enhance student learning and performance in and out of the classroom.

The various blog entries for this course meet standard 1 by demonstrating reflection on practices such as learning theories, technology integration, internet safety, and assistive technologies. The blog entries also demonstrate standard 2 since the illustrate the proper application of educational technologies to learning activities in order to enhance learning and meet learning objectives. Reflections on the blog posts meet standard 5 by incorporating inquiry about and evaluation of educational technologies.

All of these projects have helped me to grow professionally since they have rooted my desire to integrate technology in learning theories. My ability to facilitate learning has improved tenfold due to what I have learned in this course about planning activities that are aligned with learning objectives, which are based on good learnings strategies. This will help me to continue to grow as I learn about instructional design and other aspects of educational technology, since I will always have a firm theoretical foundation. This has certainly changed my teaching methods. Previously, I have used minimal preparation for class activities and that preparation was typically just a refresher on course content. I put little thought into “learning activities” as such. Class activities were only scheduled as a means of student assessment, not as  means of achieving learning outcomes. My perspective now is that course planning and syllabi must begin with learning objectives and activities designed to meet those objectives.

Not only will my planning for classes look different, but my teaching will look different as well. I will be flipping all of my classes this semester. This will allow for the integration of both directed and inquiry-based activities developed to enhance student learning and empower diverse learners. One thing I would like to focus more on in the coming months, in conjunction with flipped classes, is universal design for learning. I would like to do more research on universal design and begin to implement UDL into my classes.

In conclusion, this class has not only given me myriad ideas for integrating technology, it has given me the opportunity to plan and develop activities for a flipped critical thinking class this fall. Further, and most importantly, it has helped me to establish a solid theoretical foundation with firm guidelines and solid strategies for planning and developing learning activities.

Self Evaluation:

I believe that my blogging efforts were good throughout this course. With more time, they could have been excellent. There was so much possible research to do for each module, and I feel like I could have spent months on each one. Here is my self-evaluation:

Blog Content:

Rich in content, thoughtful, made clear connections to my own teaching and research. In most cases, my reflections contained a good amount of detail and philosophical depth.


Readings and Resources:

For the  most part, I used a good amount of resources, including the course text to support my arguments and commentary. There was one blog post that was light on resources, since I included more personal experience. I always used APA style to cite my references.



I always posted on time, and usually by midweek or so to leave plenty of time for responses.


Responses to Other Students:

I always responded to at least two of my peers, and I enjoyed this part of the course, since it gives a good opportunity to see what others are doing and where they are at professionally.


Assistive Technology: The Budgetary Constraints Argument

The primary rationale used against implementing assistive technologies in higher education settings is budgetary constraints. I argue here that budgetary constraints notwithstanding, there are both legal and socio-political reasons why the implementation of assistive technologies ought to be a priority in colleges and universities, as well as in K-12 schools. First, I discuss legal reasons, which include the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Then, I discuss socio-political reasons, including equity, inclusion, and alternative funding options.

It is a legal imperative that persons with disabilities have access to assistive technologies in institutions of learning, including U.S. colleges and universities, despite budgetary constraints. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits the discrimination of and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. Section 12182 states as a general rule: “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation,” (United States Department of Justice). Places of public accommodation include places of lodging, movie theaters, auditoriums, retail and service establishments, museums, libraries, public transportation, recreation areas, social service establishments, and “a nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private school, or other place of education,” (United States Department of Justice).

Persons have the positive right to the access and enjoyment of public accommodations as well as the negative right to be free from discrimination. It is pretty clear, based on the ADA, that one of the positive rights that people have, legally speaking, is a right to education. Although there is little case law just yet to understand the specifics of the ADA, courts have spoken on issues such as web accessibility and assistive technologies. The Office of Civil Rights Settlement Records explains via analogy between the legal requirement to bring buildings up to code and the purchase of technologies. In both cases, upgrades ought to improve accessibility or ensure compatibility with current assistive technologies (Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, 2014). Further, The Rehabilitation Act was amended in 1978 to address postsecondary education. Since that time, institutions of education are required to provide reasonable accommodations, which includes assistive technology (Day, S. & Edwards, B., 1996).  Although there is still legal work to be done, there are federal laws in place requiring that institutions of higher education develop and implement assistive technologies.

In fact, despite the common argument that budgets are too tight to purchase, develop, implement and train faculty on assistive technologies, there are a number of funding opportunities available. Under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, states are awarded federal grants to develop and implement assistive technologies. The National Center for Technology Innovation, among others, offers a list of funding sources and funding alternatives, which include ADA Technical Assistance Programs, private funds, and loaner programs (National Center for Technology Integration, 2015). Even if we take the claim that budget constraints make it difficult for institutions of higher education to implement assistive technologies at face value, there are legal imperatives to do it anyway.

There are also sociopolitical reasons for why budget constraints should not undermine assistive technologies in educational settings. Although we have been taught to see disability as an issue of inferior embodiment, disability is not merely about bodies. It is about the way we perceive and structure the social world with respect to bodies. Disability theorist Rosemarie Garland-Thomson argues that disability is about both bodies and social justice; it is about misfitting (2011). A misfitting is a relation between particular bodies and particular environments that fail to sustain those bodies and their functionalities. Social justice requires that the shape of the world is changed to support a variety of bodies, not merely young, fit, male, able-bodies. All bodies are dependent on their environments to sustain them–we are all vulnerable; however, we have built a world that sustains able-bodied people and fails to sustain those with disabled bodies. In the same way that we have designed architecture in the past to accommodate solely the able-bodied, we have designed education and educational technology to accommodate solely the able-bodied.

As Susan Wendell argues, although it is viewed as such, disability is not a family problem; it is a social problem (1989). Further, resources for the disabled should not be seen as charity, they should be seen as resources. Viewing the disabled as inferior in embodiment, rather than identifying the ways that we construct society to accommodate young, fit, able bodies mystifies injustice done to disabled persons through inequity and exclusion. M.D. Rubblier explains: “The value and significance of assistive technology can be best understood when a person with a disability encounters a task she is unable to complete and an appropriate assistive technology device allows the person to successfully complete the same task,” (2013, 408). The misfits that disabled persons experience in education settings are not due to their bodies; rather, they are due to a failure of educational environments to sustain those bodies. If we value fairness, equality, and inclusiveness as political values, then we must make assistive technologies a priority that is not subject to arguments about budgetary constraints any more than resources for able-bodied students would be subject to arguments about budgetary constraints. It is both a legal and a socio-political imperative that we change the world to accommodate disabled bodies by prioritizing assistive technologies in institutions of learning.

It might be objected that assistive technologies remain a budgetary constraint, even if we view them to be necessary resources.  A cost-benefit analysis could be used to suggest that since few people use assistive technologies and they are very expensive, it is not an issue of social justice, but merely a matter of expense. As Sharon Lesar Judge reports, “augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, such as the Macaw by Zygo, cost up to $2,200” and “A Dynavox augmentative communication device, which, through software, provides synthesized speech via direct touch, joystick, auditory or visual scanning modes, costs $5,300,” (2000, 127). There is no doubt that assistive technologies–any technologies–are expensive. To put that in perspective, desktop computers cost approximately $1,000-$2,000 each. A good-sized university, Ohio State has about 1800 computers on their campus available for students to use (Hlebak, J., 2014). In fall of 2014, their enrollment was 64,868 (The Ohio State University). This means that there is one computer on campus for every thirty-six enrolled students. Some schools, such as Bowling Green have an even smaller ratio. Bowling Green has 1,700 computers with an enrollment of less than 15,000 students. One computer is available for every eight to nine students. This indicates that having technology available for students is important. If universities can invest–without budgetary constraint–in computers at this rate, then they should be able to make assistive technologies available at a similar rate. For every ten to thirty blind students at a university, providing an augmentative communication device should be well within the range of technology spending per student. If colleges and universities are willing to accept tuition money from–and even recruit–disabled students, then technologies that they can use to enhance their education ought to be provided for them.

In conclusion, although budgetary constraints are a fact of reality, a shift in perspective reveals that spending on assistive technologies is not only the right thing to do, it is legally required. Further, if budgetary constraints do not keep colleges and universities from providing technologies for able-bodied persons, they should not keep colleges and universities from providing them for disabled persons. Using fiscal arguments to deny accommodations to students because of disability is not in the interest of equity and inclusion.


Board of Regents University System of Georgia (February 14, 2014). Higher education, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and Section 508. Retrieved from http://www.usg.edu/siteinfo/higher_education_the_americans_with_disabilities_act_and_section_508

Day, S.L. & Edwards, B.J. (1996). Assistive technology for postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(5), 486-492.

Garland-Thomson, R. (2011). Misfits: A feminist materialist disability concept. Hypatia, 26(3), 591-609.

Hlebak, J. (February 19, 2014). University to reduce number of on-campus computers. Bowling Green News. Retrieved from  http://www.bgnews.com/campus/university-to-reduce-number-of-on-campus-computers/article_21ed613c-99ca-11e3-bc4c-0019bb2963f4.html

Judge, S.L. (2000). Accessing and funding assistive technology for children with disabilities. Early Childhood Education Journal, 28(2), 125-131.

National Center for Technology Integration. (2015). Finding alternative source of funding. Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/article/6239/

Roblyer, M.D. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston, MA:  Pearson.

The Ohio State University. Statistical summary. Retrieved at https://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php

United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. Information and technical assistance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/2010_regs.htm

Wendell, S. (1989). Toward a feminist theory of disability. Hypatia, 4(2), 104-124.

Educational Technology: A Graphic Definition

Alan Januszewski and Michael Moldenda define educational technology as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources,” (2008, p.1). I have created the graphic below to represent this definition of educational technology.

I understand educational technology to have three primary aspects. The first is structural and a bit abstract. It is a meta-level description of educational technology:  educational technology is a continued study and an ethical practice. It requires continued information gathering, as the field is constantly changing through rapid innovation. Educational technology is not merely something that one uses. Educational technology involves analysis, problem solving, collaboration, and knowledge construction. All of these activities are done as part of an ethical practice. The AECT standards are offered as a foundation for an ethical practice that is considerate of learners, learning environments, and the needs of society, all of which lead to professional success.

The second primary aspect of educational technology is concerned with its aims. Educational technology aims to improve performance and facilitate learning. It is not, in and of itself, a quick fix for education. Educational technology, in conjunction with effective teachers, learning theories, and course development, can be a means of improving the performance of diverse learners. It does not take the place of good instruction, but is integrated into instruction to facilitate and enhance learning.

The third primary aspect of educational technology concerns local activities. This part of the definition illustrates what educational technologists and educators are doing:  they are creating, using and managing technological processes and resources. The creation of educational technologies requires research, theory and practice. Educational technology involves producing instructional materials, creating effective learning environments and developing teaching systems. Using educational technology occurs when educators bring learners into contact with appropriate and effective resources and learning processes. Managing educational technologies requires a number of activities, including personnel management, information management, systems management, and project management. The effective creation, use, and management of educational technologies require continued study and ethical practice.

Januszewski and Moldenda’s definition illuminates what it is that educational technologists are about-from a macro perspective-, what their aims are, and what they do on a daily basis. I have constructed my graphic definition to represent this three-level analysis of their definition using Adobe Illustrator and Piktochart.



Januszewski, A. & Molenda, M. (2008). Educational technology:  A definition with commentary.  New York, NY:  Routledge.

Obstacles to Integrating Technology in Critical Thinking Courses

I have implemented a number of online, video, and basic suite technologies into my critical thinking classes for the upcoming year. Learning about specific resources, learning theories, and integration strategies has been invaluable for the effective integration of technology to enhance learning in this course. The distinction between objectivist and constructivist learning theories is now a guidepost in thinking through the appropriate use of technology for particular lessons in each module of the course. These learning theories help to clarify both directed and inquiry-based strategies, which focuses the integration of technology onto specific learning outcomes for a given lesson.


There are myriad resources available to integrate technology into critical thinking classes. So many, in fact, that effectively integrating technology to facilitate learning aligned with learning outcomes seems to be an overwhelming task. Developing, or  even modifying, a critical thinking course takes a great deal of time and careful thought. Integrating technology magnifies the time and care needed to produce an effective critical thinking course, since the skills learned in this course are complex and require precision. Some of the primary obstacles I have experienced in integrating technology into my critical thinking course are limited familiarity, lack of professional training, and–most of all–time.

Limited Familiarity

One of the primary obstacles I face in effectively integrating technology into my critical thinking course is a limited amount of familiarity with the diverse learning resources available.  From the basic suite to Web 2.0 tools, there are thousands of possible applications that could be integrated into my course. This is overwhelming. I have little familiarity with these applications, beyond the basic software suite.

As a philosophy instructor in a higher education setting, integrating technology has not been a structural priority. Following Bingimlas, who distinguishes between teacher-level barriers and school-level barriers, I would argue that the lack of familiarity with ICT resources is a consequence of an institution-level barrier in higher education. Bingimlas defines teacher-level barriers as those related to the individual, “such as time, lack of confidence, and resistance to change,” and school-level barriers as those related to schools, “such as lack of effective training in solving technical problems and lack of access to resources,” (2009, p. 237). My lack of familiarity with educational software may result in part from teacher and school-level barriers; however, in higher education, there is a more systematic force at play. In many fields, including philosophy, faculty are trained primarily as researchers, rather than as teachers. There is a lack of resources and a lack of training for most developing faculty since the primary focus is on doing good research and getting placed in a coveted tenure-track position–or any position at all, though avoiding the instability of a precarious position is the goal for most. For this reason, faculty have limited familiarity with the deluge of educational technology resources. We are not immersed in discussions with peers about technology integration or even learning theories and strategies. This leads directly to my second primary obstacle:  professional development.

Professional Development

In my experience, there is little opportunity for professional development as a post-secondary teacher in academia. Nearly all resources, financial and otherwise are geared toward comprehensive exams, research, and job placement. I see this as an institution-level barrier, as well. The lack of attention to training faculty to be good teachers, rather than merely researchers, is a structural issue that requires structural change. With the increase in distance learning and hybrid course offerings, there seems to be a move toward employing more educational technologists at universities; however, it’s not clear how these positions are used to help empower faculty to facilitate excellent learning by integrating technology. Most of my philosophy colleagues are completely unaware of educational technology as a field and as a practice and most are quite hesitant to even consider integrating technology into their courses. It just seems like a lot of work that we are not trained to do. So, integrating technology into my critical thinking course has been difficult, given the lack of professional development available to me as a philosophy instructor.


The institution-level obstacles discussed above amplify the teacher-level obstacle of having far too little time for effective technology integration. Even if a faculty member–like myself–has a vision of integrating technology into their classes, and even if the resources, support, and infrastructure are in place, it’s not clear where the time comes from. I have spent a majority of the past three months thinking through the integration of technology for my critical thinking course–one of six courses I will teach this fall–and I still have a great deal of work to do in developing several modules of the course. All of this work has been unpaid. As an adjunct faculty member–and there are a lot of us, see here or here–I am payed around $3,000 per course with no guarantee of work from semester to semester and no guarantee of the number of courses I will teach in a given semester. I do a lot of driving, student advising, and class preparation for which I am not paid. Time to enhance my critical thinking course by integrating technology is almost inconceivable. Almost.

Working Resolution

My working resolution to these primary obstacles to integrating technology effectively is to take ownership of my own professional development, seek out resources in the form of blogs, journal articles, and colleagues, and to use my time carefully to enhance my course. I have enrolled in the M.E.T program at Boise State for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I see a need for better instruction in higher education. I hope that this program helps me not only to improve my own course development, but to have some impact on the lack of focus on student-centered learning in colleges and universities. Since starting this program in July, I have been inundated with resources, research, and networking opportunities, all of which are helping me to enhance my ability to integrate technology into my courses. Although time is–and surely will remain–the critical obstacle, I have found that relying on a foundational knowledge of learning theories and integration strategies as well as networking with other educators, mitigates the time it takes to develop and improve courses with effective technology integration.


Bangimlas, K.A. (2009). Barriers to the successful integration of ICT in teaching and learning environments: A review of the literature. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 5(3), 235-245.

21st Century Education: Planning for the Future in Higher Education

There is a lot of work to do to bring higher education into the 21st century. The 2010 National Educational Technology Plan released  by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology offers a vision of educational transformation through the effective implementation of technology. Reading through the plan, it is evident that institutions of higher education have a lot of work to do.

I have outlined below the five goals laid out in the 2010 NETP plan. Considering these goals in planning for transformation in higher education settings is non-negotiable. Administration and faculty must plan and develop learning that engages and empowers students. We must rethink assessments by using technology to measure what matters. We must transform our teaching through collaborative efforts to offer students the best resources and excellent learning experiences. At the administration level, specifically, we must be dedicated to building an infrastructure to support learning in the 21st century. Finally, we must redesign our educational processes to be efficient and effective while providing the best possible learning experiences for our students.

Some issues that faculty and administrators can attend to as ways to plan for transformation in higher education are:  student-centered design, constructivist learning theories, quality learning outcomes, infrastructure and support, complex learning environments, blended learning, and universal design. Although many K-12 settings have begun to implement these practices, higher education remains largely unchanged. My experience with philosophy in higher education has made it clear to me that there is much work to be done. As a graduate student and new instructor, little emphasis was put on teaching and learning, let alone transforming learning. During my training in graduate school, I was told repeatedly that I was only teaching so that I could do my research. It was the dues I had to pay. I should not spend any more time on preparation or grading than I had to. There was little instruction, guidance, or concern for teaching or learning outcomes.

Teaching undergraduates should not be understood by faculty as a way to pay dues to gain access to a tenure-track position. Student learning should be the primary focus of institutions of higher education. Research into learning theories and practices can illuminate the work that needs to be done to transform learning in higher education settings. Planning for and implementing practices that follow the NETP and its vision for transformative learning in the 21st century is important work that can enhance student learning and produce good digital citizens with indispensable digital literacies. There must be a paradigm shift in higher education that takes providing excellent learning experiences to be its primary function.

Technology Use Planning-2


Altowairiki, N., Johnson, C., Liu, Y. F., da Rosa dos Santos, L., Hill, L., & Lock, J. (2015). Moving toward a universal design for learning mindset: A case study transforming a pre-service teacher field. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1880/50555

Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2013). Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing for 21st century learning. New York, NY:  Routledge.

Dede, C. (2010). Comparing frameworks for 21st century skills. In J. Bellanca (Ed.), 21st century skills: Rethinking how students learn (pp. 51-76). Bloomington, IN:  Solution Tree Press.

Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105. DOI:10.1016/j.iheduc.2004.02.001

Hannafin, M.J., Hill, J.R., Land, S., & Lee, E. (2014). Student-centered open learning environments: Research, theory, and practice. Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5_51

Miles, C.L & Wilson, C. (2004). Learning outcomes for the twenty-first century: Cultivating student success for college and the knowledge economy.  New Directions for Community Colleges, (2004)126, 87-100. DOI: 10.1002/cc.157

Ray, B. (2010). Edutopia’s six strategies for reform. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/national-day-blogging-real-ed-reform

U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). National education technology plan. Alexandria: Virgina. Retrieved from http://tech.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/netp2010.pdf

Student-Centered Internet Safety: Who Needs Walled Gardens?

This audio blog discusses internet safety in schools. I argue here that internet safety is best approached as a student-centered initiative to promote good values and behaviors. Many schools have responded to internet safety concerns by constructing walled gardens. This harm students by limiting resources, creativity, and freedoms. Further, walled gardens don’t work as a safety measure, since problematic values and behaviors remain in place.

Listen to my Voicethread on internet safety here.



Atkinson, S., Furnell, S. & Phippen, A. (2009). Securing the next generation: enhancing e-safety awareness among young people. Computer Fraud & Security, 7, 13-19.

Butler, K. (February, 2010). Tweeting your own horn. District Administration. Retreived from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/tweeting-your-own-horn

Osborne, C. (April 2, 2012). Ways to use Facebook effectively in class. iGeneration. Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com/article/ways-to-use-facebook-effectively-in-class/

Stansbury, M. (October 1, 2011). Ten ways schools are using social media effectively. eSchool News. Retrieved from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/10/21/ten-ways-schools-are-using-social-media-effectively/5/

Watkins, S. C. (January 30, 2012) What schools are really blocking when they block social media. Digital Media & Learning: The Power of Participation.  Retrieved from http://dmlcentral.net/blog/s-craig-watkins/what-schools-are-really-blocking-when-they-block-social-media