TPACK Evolutions

Before the first day of class, I was under the impression that we would be learning about “technology” that correlates with the classroom. Meaning things like: YouTube, email, what websites were most useful for our content area, how to use the projector, how to use a SMARTboard, ways to have students use Word and PowerPoint effectively, etc. (So naïve of me). Now, at the end of the semester, I am very happy to say that I was mistaken. What I gained from this class far surpassed any expectation I ever had. I now understand what integrating technology to one’s pedagogy and content knowledge really is: an effective, creative, diverse, and essential means to successfully teach.

The connections to Bloom’s Taxonomy really made a strong impact on the way I now understand technological integration for the classroom. By scaffolding this entire experience through the use of the Practical Technology Integration Framework, connecting the dots from those specific tools to those specific levels of lower and higher order thinking completely revolutionizes the way anyone in the classroom may think about technology and education, as a whole. By referring back to the Practical Technological Integration Framework through out the course of the class, one is given the opportunity to really apply the theories that were discussed in class to tangible tools that are available to teachers for classroom use.

The PBL also was very effective in putting the lessons for TPACK throughout the semester into context. In other words, I felt it really grounded the whole thing into something tangible and realistic so that pre-service teachers, such as myself, can really get a deeper understanding of what it means to effectively integrate technology into one’s content and pedagogy. The best way I can describe my understanding of the class at this point in the semester is that: TPACK is really about utilizing the best technological tool in a way that best promotes your content (and standards) that also best compliments your pedagogy, all working in a tri-harmonious unit.

As a pre-service teacher, I feel that I am at a great advantage because I can set foot into my first classroom with the tools and the know-how on ways to effectively integrate technology in what I teach and the way I teach. The way my understanding of TPACK has evolved is that I now realize that the content and pedagogy need to be seen as one, as they intersect with technology, to provide the most meaningful lessons that provide a deeper and more profound understanding of the material for the students. This new perspective will give me the confidence to not just use technology, but to intellectually grow because of it; which holds true for me and for my future students.

Creating & Editing Tools II

Engaging in a digital storytelling process using any of the tools from the Creation and Editing category (iMovie in this example) has the potential for a very impactful assignment. The creativity that is involved in storyboarding, scriptwriting, recording one’s own voice, and the video editing process allows students to produce an artifact that exemplifies their understanding and knowledge of the material that they have learned. By constructing something into existence, the students are given not only the opportunity to engage in an inquiry-based learning activity, but they also are given the opportunity for differentiation, which is always key to any teacher’s repertoire.

I believe it to be vital that any teacher not to ask of their students what they themselves are not willing, or are not able to do themselves. As such, this assignment lent itself nicely to such a philosophy. I would not categorize myself as technologically savvy. I can argue that I am familiar with a good majority of technological tools that we have discussed over the course of the semester, but as with most things in life I guess, there is always room for improvement and continued learning. This project allowed me to tap into my knowledge of technological manipulation while also probing me to further inquire about certain aspects of the digital storytelling process that were unbeknownst to me. For me, the creation portion of the project had a bit of a rocky start. It was very much trial-and-error. However, once I gained the knowhow, it became rather empowering to be able to create something from my own knowledge base. In other words, the very “thing” which I created was a direct reflection of my mind’s eye, and to able to not only experience such a process and then look upon what I created was very empowering. The editing process was a bit tedious, especially for a self-proclaimed perfectionist; however, it allowed me to implement the finishing touches on my artifact so that it would become even more than I had envisioned it to be.

The hard work, acquired knowledge, and the feeling of self-pride and satisfaction in their finished product are what I would wish upon all my students. These are the fundamental attributes that (in my opinion) provide students with a learning experience that caters to creativity, hands-on experience, and self-fulfillment that should exists as the cornerstone to all meaningful learning. Even though taking on such a project such as this can be exciting and fun, it can also be quite the challenge for some, but I believe that these obstacles are what make the process meaningful. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and that should be true even for a classroom of students who are attempting a project such as digital storytelling.

In conclusion this final assignment taught me a lot, not only about digital storytelling, but about my own capabilities as well. The implications for students to engage in such a process would seem to be positive and reassuring that the outcome, as well as the process itself, would lend itself to an impactful learning experience. Using tools from the final category of the Practical Technologies: Creating and Editing, any teacher would be successful in providing students with a inquiry-based project that leaves room for differentiation and the construction of an artifact that reflects one’s understanding of the material in a fun and engaging manner.

Creation & Editing

Creation & Editing Tool: Storybird

Teacher Use: Storybird will allow for differentiation, which will provide effective learning to all the students in the classroom. As the PBL comes to a close their Storybird assignment will be the second-to-last requirement they will need to fulfill to successfully complete their PBL. On a Wednesday, I will devote the last twenty minutes of class to showing my students Storybird and all its functions. I will have my account set up so all my students may join my class on Storybird. (I will have already had permission slips signed from when we were doing our last assignment on Edmodo). The homework for that evening will be to set up their accounts with mine and they will have the rest of the week to complete their books and be ready to turn in by Monday.

Student Use: My students will use Storybird as a way to create an artifact that will effectively and concisely demonstrate their research (and their understanding of that research) of their PBL category. In their individual groups, the students will write one story pertaining to racism in the past and present within politics, literature, movies, and the workplace for the feeder elementary school. This artifact will serve Higher Order Thinking in that they will be using the information they have learned and generating something new. Requirements: the story will need to be at least 10 pages long, appropriate language and storyline for elementary school children, and will need to support their research on their PBL.

Content Connection: Storybird connects to the content by allowing the students to “apply critical thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources” (TEKS: 29). Storybird also allows students to “use different forms of media to convey information” (TEKS: 30C).

Example Artifact: I created an example artifact on Storybird. This is something I would do as a reference for my students to look at when they create their stories for the feeder elementary school. My example story is a generic version loosely based on Martin Luther King Jr. The students will base their stories on the category their group was assigned for the PBL (workplace, politics, movies, literature) having to do with racism in the past/present.

Here is the link:



Discussion & Reflection

Discussion & Reflection Tool: Edmodo

Teacher Use: In an effort to provide a safe and student-centered learning environment, I will implement Edmodo as a tool to aid in the discussion and reflection of the research my students have conducted over the course of the PBL pertaining to the American Civil Rights Movement and “race”. I will utilize this tool as our PBL begins to come to a close. Edmodo will be discussed the last 20 minutes of class on a Friday, where I will show them where to go, how to set up an account, and explain the safety and privacy features. I will also send home a permission slip entailing what Edmodo is and all of its safety and privacy features for their parents to read over the weekend. To be accepted into the Edmodo class site, students must get their permission slips signed with their parents’ approval to use the site, which they will bring back to me on Monday. After I pick up the permission slips, later that day I will begin accepting the students into their proper Edmodo groups, also informing them of the posts that are there to read. The students will be able to explore, navigate, and interact with Edmodo for the remainder of the week. Edmodo will also be the place where they must keep themselves updated through on all things concerning their PBL, as I will be posting anything ranging from discussions, polls, assignments, and even quizzes.

Student Use: This tool will serve as a way for the students to effectively engage in meaningful and scholarly discussions and reflections concerning their findings on the American Civil Rights Movement, the issue of “race” concerning the workplace, literature, film, and politics, as well as how it affects today’s society. Edmodo will foster the students’ hypothesizing and critiquing skills concerning the issue of “race” as seen through time (mid-twentieth century to the present). Each student will be required to set up an account and join his or her assigned groups/class periods. After which, each student will be required to respond to each post made by the teacher, and make three posts of their own, in an effort to create an environment that is conducive to discussion and reflection.

Content Connection: Edmodo connects to the content by allowing the students to “apply critical thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources” (TEKS: 29). Edmodo also allows students to “identify and support, with historical evidence, a point of view on a social studies issue or event” (TEKS: 29G). Furthermore, the students will also “use different forms of media (Edmodo) to convey information” (TEKS: 30C).

Example Artifact: I created an example Edmodo site as if I were already an in-service teacher. I made one example group out of a 1st period class. I posted a few examples of what my class Edmodo would look like and what kind of posts I would be making to enhance discussions and reflections by the students about racism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the present.


Word Clouds v. Mind Maps

Comparison: Word Clouds and Mind Maps are wonderful visual tools that allow students to visually attain information, both lending to differentiation in that capacity. They both are student-centered by the way they are created BY the student, FOR the student. They require prior knowledge from the creator (student) in order to be formulated.

Contrast: Word Clouds and Mind Maps differ in that Clouds take information already formulated by someone else (speeches, essays, newspapers, etc.) Maps are created on the thoughts/knowledge of the actual student. Clouds don’t really have much room to go as far as it regurgitates the most common word used in the implemented information. Maps have the flexibility to go wherever the student wants.

Student-Centered Instructional Strategies: Word Cloud: The student will be responsible for researching the needed document that will be used in their Cloud. They will need to show knowledge of their analytic skills as they determine if that document will be a reliable source to use for their Cloud, and their PBL. Mind Map: The student will be responsible for researching the material necessary to obtain a knowledgeable background in order to Map the gathered information. With the information at hand, the student will be able to Map their findings in an effort to organize and visualize their work.



Presentation & Remixing

Presentation & Remixing Tool: Prezi


Teacher Use: This particular day, I will have my students meet in the computer lab instead of the classroom. At the start of class, I will devote the first 15 minutes to introduce Prezi with a short presentation. I will discuss the tool, how to navigate it, and it’s features. After which, I will set aside 5 minutes for any initial questions the students may have. Then, I will allow the students 20 minutes to explore and become familiar with Prezi. I will be walking around, monitoring, facilitating, and answering questions as needed. 10 minutes before the bell rings I will have the students get into their groups to discuss Prezi and how they will utilize it into their PBL.


Student Use: This tool will serve as a way for the students to demonstrate their understanding of the information they have gathered, which will be used in their PBL on the American Civil Rights Movement. The students will collaborate not only in pairs, but also in their groups. The students will be given an entire class period devoted Prezi, in an effort to familiarize them with the tool so that they will be able to use it on their own to fulfill the requirements for the assignment. Once their Prezi is complete, they will not be sharing it with the whole class, instead they will send me the link to their presentations.


Content Connection: Prezi connects to the content by allowing the students to “apply critical thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources, including electronic technology” (TEKS: 29). Through Prezi, the students will also “use different forms of media to convey information, including written to visual and statistical to written or visual, using available computer software as appropriate” (TEKS: 30C).


Example Artifact: I created an example Prezi presentation for what one of the pairs in a given group would create on their topic and time period. This is an example of how each pair within their group will demonstrate their understanding of the information they have gathered so far. This artifact is specifically for Group 2: Movies (1900-1975). This is the link to my Prezi example artifact:



Acquisition & Investigation

Acquisition & Investigation Tool: Diigo


Teacher Use: The day after I assign the PBL, I will devote 10-15 minutes of class time to discuss Diigo and how the students should utilize the tool for their research. This will help me oversee what websites my students deem “credible” to their research. The website will be displayed from my computer to the screen projector, and I will walk the students through the process and demonstrate how to create their own account, how to join the group, how to bookmark, highlight, and share their findings. I will then allow for 5-10 minutes of questions to ensure that my students understand the concepts and technical features of Diigo.


Student Use: This tool will serve as a way for the students to gather all of the websites they find that will contribute to their research for their PBL on the American Civil Rights Movement. The students will create their own accounts, join the assigned class period, and post no less than four websites that they will use in their research in an effort to collaborate sources with one another.


Content Connection: Diigo connects to the content by allowing the students to “apply critical thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources, including electronic technology” (TEKS: 29). Through Diigo, the students will also “evaluate the validity of a source based on language, corroboration with other sources, and information about the author . . .” (TEKS: 29E).


Example Artifact: I created an example group for what my classes would be doing to collect all of their research in one place where the groups will be able to post, share, comment, and much more using Diigo. This artifact specific example is for my 1st period class, “racism in the workplace” group. Each group, in each period, would have their own group on Diigo, this way no information would be given to the other groups prior to the students’ presentations. This is the link to my Diigo example artifact:

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Take a few moments to carefully examine the photo below. Here, we see an African-American man drinking from a water can that is labeled “colored”. To both sides of him there are signs that indicate two separate restrooms for men and women: one for white and one for “colored”.  The seperate-but-equal doctrine not only allowed, but justified racial segregation. A scene like this one was typical of the everyday lives of southern African-Americans. Drinking fountains and restrooms were not the only places for segregation. There were separate schools, movie theaters, restaurants, stores, and churches for African-Americans. It was also a common practice to refuse service to customers based solely on race. Buses on the other hand transported both white and “colored” passengers; however, they had a divider where the African-American passengers were required to sit in the back of the bus. After looking at this photo, what thoughts come to mind? What sort of feelings arise? What would your reaction be if you saw this kind of scene today? Is there anything else you see that is not shown in the picture? In a few sentences, briefly write your reflections below in the comments section.


Non-violence: Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

01/00/1998. File pictures of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi dedicated his life to fight British oppression over India through nonviolent protests in the first half of the twentieth century. Gandhi was deeply influenced by Henry Thoreau’s philosophies in his essay “Civil Disobedience”. Thoreau believed that if there exists a law that is unjust and evil, it is okay as well as necessary to disobey that very law. As a young man, Gandhi went to London where he attended law school. It was in London where he discovered the Sermon on the Mount. These Christian teachings profoundly shaped the strategy in which he would later execute his fight against the British. The Sermon on the Mount upheld the idea that if your enemy strikes you on your left cheek, offer that same enemy your right. It was here that Gandhi was convinced that the path of nonviolence was the way he would pursue his crusade. Gandhi would meet his untimely death when he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. Gandhi’s efforts profoundly changed India’s history. Gandhi’s work has since been renowned throughout the world, and was the basis for many future leaders in their crusade to uplift  their people from those who oppressed them.


One of the many followers of Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophies was Martin Luther King, Jr. Reminiscent of Gandhi’s nonviolent efforts, King sought to fight racial segregation in the South through peaceful marches, boycotts, strikes, and protests. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This was King’s firm belief that the way to put an end to hate and violence of racial segregation for good is to counter act  it with  love and peace. King would go on to seek equality for all African-American and put racial segregation to end, once and for all. King was an educated minister graduating with his Ph.D from Boston University. He was also an extraordinary orator. King ultimately became the vehicle that drove African-Americans to victory during the American Civil Rights Movement. Like Gandhi, King would also have a tragic end, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.  King’s work in the American Civil Rights Movement helped change the course of our nation’s history and his victories that were won over racial segregations will forever be remembered.


A Diary of Segregation

1943_Colored_Waiting_Room_SignYou are an African-American teenager living in the South during the 1950’s. Segregation is very much embedded in the American mindset. Write a diary entry that describes what is happening around you in your everyday life. Write what you are reading in the newspapers, listening to on the radio, or watching on television that pertains to segregation. Write your entry in the comments section below. Your entry is to be a minimum of  150 words. Begin your entry with the traditional “Dear Diary,” and be sure to write the date of when you are writing the entry (i.e., December 5, 1957). Keep in mind the historical accuracy of the date from which you are writing from and the chronology of the events that occurred in the 1950’s. (So for example, you would not write about Brown v. Board of Education if your entry was dated June 12, 1952). Below are a few questions to help get you started:

What are the everyday struggles you encounter?

What do you see about your daily life that differs from white teenagers?

What are your thoughts on “separate-but-equal”? How equal is it?

What are some of the major events/people/topics that are attracting media attention?

What changes would you like to see take place concerning racial segregation?