Games in Education Curated Content

new_games_for_change_logoLast week, in my EDTECH 543 Social Network Learning at Boise State University, I was asked to develop a checklist on Effective Content Curation Criteria.  From developing this checklist with my group, I learned a vast amount of valuable information about what content curation is and how to develop your own curated content on a particular topic.  This week, we were asked to create our own curated content on a professional topic of choice.  I used the techniques learned with my group to develop my own content curation on Games in Education using Pearltrees. I have been dabbling in researching games in education ever since I went to the 2015 Technology Conference at William Paterson University in NJ.  The keynote speaker was Matthew Farber who is an expert on game based learning and gamification and wrote the book, Gamify Your Classroom A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning.  The resources, methods, and tools he presented were extremely helpful within my classroom.  Matthew inspired me to further my knowledge on the subject so I can incorporate games more effectively into my daily curriculum.  My curated content is a variety of literature from various subjects that are knowledgeable in different aspects of game-based learning and gamification.  My goal is to have other educators asking themselves, from the readings and their own experience, if games have a place in their classroom and if so, how?  The curated collection has three parts: literature on the effectiveness of games in education, how to incorporate games effectively with various resources, and journal articles on the research of games in education.  I plan on updating this collection often so it is current and engaging for both myself and the reader.  Through my collecting and reading, I developed a question that I am having a hard time finding the answer to. Are there gender differences in the effectiveness of games in education.  I plan adding any literature I can find on the subject to my curated content and welcome any help I can receive. Here is the link to my Pearltrees Curated Content on Games in Education.  I hope you read through all the literature and resources and comment on your thoughts either in Pearltrees itself or on my blog.  

After creating my Games in Education Curation, I was asked to evaluate my curated content using the Effective Curation Checklist Criteria checklist created with my PLN from EDTECH 543. I believe a did a good job curating content that adheres to our criteria. Below is the link to my self evaluation.

Self Evaluation on Curated Content


Effective Content Curation Criteria

500px-echo_curation_alt-svgCuration is not simply collecting resources with a common theme, in one place, for easy access. Curation is developed by “deeper thinking through synthesis and evaluation of the collected items”  (White, 2012). Content curation was a term that I was familiar with, but not something that I completely understood until this week.  I was asked by my professor to create a checklist of effective content curation criteria with my class PLN group.  Immediately, I dived through the resources given in my online class website to study more about curation. Although I have used many curators’ resources, I didn’t really recognize to what extent the curator was required to work to house this list together.  Curation is not something completed in one day.  It takes many hours and constant research to analyze the massive amount of information available online, while compiling a thorough and educational curated list of the most important information.  I learned through my readings and classmates’ checklists that curated material should be organized, accessible, current,  valuable, cited properly, and promoted for other professionals to view and comment upon.

I had the opportunity to work with Jessica Allen and Jana Warner on our Effective Content Curation Criteria Checklist.  In order to work effectively with my PLN, I created a Google Doc and shared it in the beginning of the week so everyone could work on their efforts when convenient for them.  I started out the list and found the first 6 items that I felt were necessary for a good curation.  Jessica and Jana added their contributions and we came up with a list of 17 items for our checklist.  With reflection and edits we finalized the list to create our finished product.  I always appreciate working with a group because I learn so much about myself.  I realize I am a perfectionist, and have to let go when necessary.  Everyone works differently and at different paces. Finishing with time to revise helped me feel confident about working with my group in the future.  I know we will make deadlines and be able to critique and review each others’ work.  I realize everyone is busy, so we will have to divide and conquer and I am sure we will be successful. Below is the link to our Effective Content Curation Criteria.  I trust you will enjoy reading through it, and look forward to your comments on this topic.

Effective Content Curation Criteria

White, N. (2012, July 7). Understanding Content Curation. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from

My Digital Footprint

human-footprints-in-the-sand A digital footprint is a permanent mark you make on the Internet as you search, post, share, or collaborate.  Everything you do on the Internet can be traced back to you.  It is important that we keep this in mind at all times, whether you use the Internet for professional reasons or personal leisure.  As a professional, I need to be extremely conscious of the mark I make, and intentional about what I want it to say about me.  I must take certain steps to create the digital footprint that I want others to perceive about me by being proactive.  This seems a bit scary and overwhelming.  A person can easily make a mistake and post something they regret later, only to realize that they cannot delete this unfortunate event.  It is important that we teach this to our children so they are aware of the repercussions that could happen towards their future.  Luckily, once I began having social media platforms in my name, I always kept them private.  It wasn’t until graduate school, that I started using social media professionally, so nothing much came up in a search engine other than my username at that time.  Now, I am conscious to assure that what comes up in a search is positive for me and my professional reputation.

For my EDTECH 543 class, I was asked to complete a search of my name using various search engines.  I was intrigued by what I found.  The first item that came up in my Google search was my EDTECH 541 Integrating Technology into the Classroom website that I made for a weather unit for first grade.  I was glad to see that something of a professional nature showed up first.  Facebook showed up next, followed by most of the graduate work that I completed at Boise State University, including my EDTECH learning log on WordPress.  Next, I found my teacher’s website and LinkedIn profile.  This all proves to me that on Google I have a positive digital footprint and that I should continue on this path.  I would like to see more of my work show up; however, there is a doctor with my same name that appears often as well.  When I put the word teacher after my name, so much more of my information is revealed.  My NASA Education award and other achievements were then visible.  I would like for this Information to be more prevalent in my digital footprint in the future, without having to add the word teacher.  I was pleased to see that some of my resources are being used on other professional blogs and websites.  I felt honored to be of help to someone, and I am pleased I discovered this now. It is the concept of collaboration that keeps me working hard and sharing that information with others.

When I searched my name on, my salary comes up first.  After that, I found that I was honored to have my blog linked on Cybraryman’s Website.  This site is a website that I use often for resources and information, and I had no idea that I was one of the blogs listed as a resource. My STEM LiveBinder for iPads seems to come up repeatedly which I had forgotten about.  Again, this was a pleasant surprise and assures me that I have a positive digital footprint here as well.

When I searched Yahoo, Bing, and Duck Duck Go, I once again found all the graduate websites that I created.  I was amazed how many pages of my work I could find.   I also found the STEM award from NASA, which was one of my favorite experiences professionally.  I am thrilled that this is part of my digital footprint. I was surprised to find more websites that link to my work.  

Overall, this digital footprint assignment was a positive experience for me.  There is one picture that I wish did not show up on images simply because it is not my best hair day. Oh, vanity, I know!  I also realized that I have to keep up with my Google Plus account so all the information is current. Otherwise, I couldn’t have asked for a more positive experience.  Again, I would like to see my information show up faster without having to add the word teacher after my name, but to have a professional, well respected doctor with my name show up also isn’t an issue.  If someone confuses us at least we both have good online reputations.  I plan on being proactive and ensuring that I create a positive digital footprint by being more aware of what I post and joining additional professional online organizations.  I also plan on sharing more of my work, which seems to help grow a positive digital footprint.  This exercise is something every person should do.  I invite you to go search your own name and see what you find.  You may also be pleasantly surprised, or, you may find you must be more cautious with what you post in the future.  

Twitter for Professional Development

Participating in Twitter is not a new experience for me.  I first joined Twitter a few years ago when I started the Edtech Program at Boise State.  I heard about it through various friends and my first professor, Jackie Gerstein, who is now one of my last professors, and the one of the most valuable professors  I had at BSU.  Jackie’s passion for social learning had me curious and excited to learn something new. I wanted to dive into the Twitter world right away, but I was nervous when I had an issue with my account due to a Spam link.  I was hesitant after that for a while, but slowly I became more aware and curious about Twitter again.  I was lucky to find a great network to follow, and have quite a few followers myself, except that I was unreliable.  I would Tweet many resources that I found helpful one week, and then disappear for a while.  I always returned, but you could not rely on my presence in your PLN.  I want to change this habit, renew my love of Twitter, and keep in mind why I joined in the first place. I want to soak up as much professional knowledge as possible, while also contributing what I can to help others.  This assignment, which required us to follow 5 hashtags, was a great way to jump into social learning again.  Here is a list of the hashtags I chose to follow:

#edchat- this is a great group of people who share ideas, questions, answers, and resources within the field of education.

#STEM- I am an advocate of teaching STEM in school classrooms of all ages. This group shares resources and knowledge about how to incorporate STEM into your classroom and school district.

#edtech: This is my professional passion…edtech.  This group is perfect for me to continue learning how to infuse technology into my classroom and also share what knowledge I have gained over the years at Boise State and in my district.

#plbchat:  I love to infuse project based learning assignments within the curriculum and this hashtag gives great resources to various websites and resources that help me incorporate more pbl instruction.

#gafe:  I am a Certified Google Educator, helping my district with Google training needs.  This hashtag has many great methods of teaching using Google Apps for Education.  I learn new ways to use Google Apps and get ideas on how to incorporate Google Apps into my lessons.

#ntchat:  Although you cannot see this hashtag on my Tweetdeck photo, it is definitely there.  The new teacher chat seems odd for me to belong to after 24 years of teaching, but I feel I can learn so much from new teachers.  They are full of ideas and new training.  I also think being a seasoned teacher makes me a good person to share experiences and resources.

Some of the resources that I have gained access to from the people in these networks are:

Schoology from #edchat.  Schoology is a learning management system.  I have been looking for a place to host an online or blended classroom.  I enjoy watching my students grow and learn proper netiquette through the use of collaborative online learning . My school hosted Moodle for this purpose, but we no longer have access to this resource. Schoology seems like a great possibility for the future.

Google Classroom Tutorials was a great find for me.  I intend to utilize Google Classroom this year with my fifth grade class, and I could use a refresher on how to attach assignments to more than one class, how to schedule assignments for the future, and how to give a each student a copy of a document.  I like to refresh my skills before I actually use a resource within my classroom in order to concentrate on training the students on how to use the new technology.

Back to School with Google Chrome was another great find following the #gafe hashtag.  There are tutorials and Google Cheat Sheets to use with training students and faculty, as well as video tutorials to use in the classroom and at professional developments.

I find that using Twitter as a form of just-in-time professional development is an absolute must for me and I recommend it to all my colleagues.  I can learn so many ways to enhance my teaching and I can do this at my own convenience.  Many PD experiences given by my school district prove helpful but are not always what I need for my particular classroom experience.  It is impossible for a school district to provide PD that is a one size fits all experience.  There are limited resources and time throughout the year.  Twitter provides resource topics that I choose to participate in at any time throughout the year.  I can learn as little or as much as I choose each and every day, 24 hours a day.  This is a convenience no one should live without.  The possibilities are endless and readily available.  I expect that I convinced at least one teacher to try Twitter and see what works for them.  I am sure he/she will be pleasantly surprised by the results.  I would appreciate hearing your comments about how Twitter has enhanced your professional learning. Please feel free to leave a response to this post.



Creative Expression of my PLN, CoP, and Connectivism



This week we were asked to create a product that is representational of a Personal Learning Network (PLN), Communities of Practice (CoP), and Connectivism.  My first reaction was that I already had a solid foundation of what these terms mean, but after doing some needed research, I realized I did not have all the facts.  According to Jordan Catapan (2016), a PLN means  ”an individual has developed their own personalized “network” of fellow educators and resources who are designed to make them a better teacher.”  I personally started developing a PLN for exactly this reason.  I wanted to be sure that I was constantly learning and gaining the resources needed to become a better teacher.  My PLN consists of my fellow teachers and online communities of educators.  Communities of Practice are a group or network of individuals who share a common goal or passion and interact to improve their practice or common concern. It consists of a “domain” or shared interest, a “community” that does not necessarily physically work together but shares discussions and activities so they can grow from each other, and the “practice” where  “they develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice.” (Wenger, 2011)  This group can consist of many different people from many different backgrounds as long as they are communicating towards a common passion or concern.  Connectivism is a debated learning theory that reflects today’s changing technological world.  This theory by Stephen Downes and George Siemens states that learning occurs through an individual’s connections to a network. According to Siemens (2005), “Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired.”

The product that I created is a slideshow of different color stick figures.  Each stick figure represents a PLN that has something in common and connects to others to gain their own professional knowledge.  The color of the stick figure is an individual PLN.  The stick figures (PLNs) come together to form a brain that is questioning together. They form a thumb up as they share resources and hold discussions.  I feel this represents Connectivism where people are constantly learning through a shared network.  In the end, the stick figures form a rainbow or Community of Practice where they all work together towards a common problem or interest. In this particular case, the goal is to create a harmonious song. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow represents the professional growth gained by participating within these communities.  The music also reminds of a PLN or CoP because it starts as one person playing music and strengthens as other participants of the PLN join in adding their  instruments to create a more accomplished song.  The sound of the music also increases in intensity as the participants slowly begin playing together, which reminds of the intense process of sharing and growing as everyone contributes within your PLN.  Together they were able to solve the problem of creating a song, such as a CoP may solve a problem or concern.  I learned so much more than I expected this week, and I positively enjoyed creating this project.  The assignment required examining each term discussed in order to increase my understanding of each word before I was able to represent it artistically. I sincerely hope you enjoy my presentation as much as I enjoyed creating it.


Catapano, Jordan. “What Is a PLN? Why Do I Need One?” TeachHUB. K-12 Teachers Alliance, n.d. Web. Retrieved on August 31,2016. From

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved on August 31, 2016 from

Wenger, E. (2011). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved on September 2, 2016 from





*What are you initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

I am thrilled to be adding to my repertoire of social networks that I use for professional learning.  So far, I have had a Twitter account that I use professionally, but I use it sporadically and I do not feel I use it to its full potential.  I am at awe when I see people who join multiple conversations and I would like to be privy to the information regarding when and how to get involved with these EDTECH subject conversations.  The little bit that I use Twitter, I have had positive results and gained many resources to apply within the classroom setting.  I can only achieve better results by joining these networks and gaining professional knowledge from each platform. I feel fortunate to be in a class that will help me build a professional networking platform.

  • What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?

I have many social media accounts and I cannot keep up with which ones are the most valuable.  I tend to sign up for an account only to forget to visit it and keep up with gaining a professional network.  The one account that I have continued with is Twitter.  I can get really involved for a while and then tend to take a break from posting or reading anything that doesn’t help me gain a solid network.  I post resources that I found valuable for my own educational experience, and also like to learn what other teachers and leaders are using within their classrooms or districts.  When I first signed up for Twitter, I was overwhelmed with the experience. Since then, I found it to be a important resource that I still have not fully tapped into its potential. I would like to participate in more discussion hash tags.  I participated a few times; however, I think it is time to discover more about them.

  • What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

At this time, I have rarely used social media as an instructional strategy.  The only time I did was to “talk” to NASA Robonaut with my fifth grade class.  We had the chance to ask questions and publicly receive answers.  The class was thrilled when we received responses to our questions, so I know this is a strategy I will use in the future.  I used my own account for this experiment since I did not have a school account.  I plan on changing this for next year’s fifth grade class.  My middle school STEM class used Moodle to hold discussions with each other about social media use, which was a valuable way for them to receive lessons on Netiquette.   Our class also created web pages for the students to showcase projects and blogs, which allowed for commenting with one another.  Other than that, this is a new area for my school district and me.  I plan to incorporate Google Classroom next year and add new tech tools such as, Voicethread, Flickr, and Wikis to enhance our use of social media.

  • What are your expectations for this course?

I anticipate that I will gain a professional growth in the effectiveness of social media in the educational setting.  Although I am quick to try new tech tools, social media has been on the back burner for me due to my lack of knowledge of effective social media principles to put into place to enhance the learning experience. Discovering new tools and methods will help me gain the confidence I need to use social media as a learning tool.  I intend to start slow by taking this course, immersing myself into learning and incorporating one social media tool at a time into my classroom experience. Professionally, I am ready to dive in head first to enhance what I already have in place for learning opportunities.



EDTECH 513 Multimedia Reflection

  1. What challenges did you face in this course?
  2. What strategies or other creative resources did you use to address these challenges?
  3. Which artifact do you feel was your best and why?
  4. What is one thing you plan to do in your school or business as a result of this course?

My summer 2016 EDTECH graduate course at Boise State was EDTECH 513 Multimedia.  I found this course to be very rewarding and enjoyable.   I learned how to use different multimedia software and application sites to enhance and deliver my instruction with multimedia design principles in mind at all times.  The challenge was to be sure that my lessons adhere to these principles.  The purpose of the course was not to use these software’s for the “cool factor” but to enhance instructional delivery for learning transfer.  As an educational technologist, it is important to choose appropriate technology resources and materials that are beneficial for the specific learning task.  This can be a challenge within itself, so this class provided me with a repertoire of resources at my fingertips.  To be confident in my learning, I read the material diligently, outlined important information and took notes when necessary.  I practiced new applications often and created more than the required projects. I can now use these resources and notes in my instructional delivery in the future.

The artifact that I feel was my best was my worked example on Google Docs sharing.  This particular video can be used over and over by students year after year.  I spend countless classroom minutes reviewing the skills that I demonstrated in the video.  I can now spend that time working with students on different areas of instruction that are pressing at the time.  Anyone who forgets the steps to share a document properly can watch the video again when necessary.  My colleagues can also use this video with their students and hopefully it will help them as well.  Even though this video is geared for children, teachers new to Google can also benefit.  I am a certified Google Educator and train teachers on Google Apps.  Many questions arise after my training; hence, they can review this video. My hope is to make worked examples on Google Apps geared for teachers as well.  I plan on using all the artifacts I made in this class during my next school year.  I also plan on creating more instructional materials with the applications learned, as well as research new applications that adhere to the multimedia principles learned thus far.

I want to thank Dr. Diane Hall for delivering excellent instruction this semester. She provided excellent feedback on my assignments so I can continue creating, teaching, and learning using my acquired knowledge from this graduate level class.



Worked Example Screencast

My last project for Multimedia EDTECH 513 was to create a worked example, which is a multimedia instruction video.  As I thought about what to create, I kept in mind that I wanted a lesson that I commonly use with my fifth grade students.  Since we became a Google district, I have been encouraging collaboration using the Google Apps.  The most commonly used app is Google Docs.  My students easily get the hang of typing their information because they have had instruction with Microsoft Word in the past.  Sharing documents and saving work is a skill that they commonly have questions about.  With Google Docs it is easy to share and collaborate with partners or groups and the work always saves automatically.  My students constantly need a lesson in the beginning of the year to learn the steps to complete this process.  They usually ask me a few times to review those same steps.  A video on my website demonstrating these steps will help with time management in my classroom because I will not have to reteach the same lessons to students who need new or repetitive instruction.  The students can view a lesson on Google Docs sharing for the initial introduction to the skill with practice, as well as a refresher if any steps were forgotten.  Therefore, I created a worked example demonstrating Google Docs Sharing.

To create this worked example, I had to find screen-recording software that was easy to use for beginners.  I have QuickTime for MAC but I found editing a bit cumbersome.  I downloaded the free trial of Camtasia and was fortunate to find that there were excellent tutorials included with the software.  I watched a few and can’t wait to practice more, but for now I kept it simple.  I used their suggestion and wrote out a script outline for the lesson.  I practiced a few times to learn how to import a title slide, do a voiceover, delete video, and edit any mistakes.  Once I felt comfortable, I created the tutorial in two recordings due to an error towards the middle of my recording.  Basically, I stumbled on the wording and forgot what I was doing.  After I was done, I put the title, title audio and two recordings together to make my worked example and uploaded it to YouTube.  I was sure to keep this week’s reading about conceptually meaningful chunks in mind while recording.  It states that if a procedure has many steps to perform, the lesson should be grouped into skills that build on each other (Clark and Mayer, 2008). To do this, I grouped specific skills and had the students pause the video and practice these skills throughout the lesson to avoid cognitive overload and encourage learning transfer.  Pausing the video allows students to work at their own pace and move forward when they are comfortable completing the next set of skills.  The biggest challenge I faced with recording was finding a quiet space, away from my three sons, ringing phones, computer notifications, and a barking dog.  Aside from that, I found the experience enjoyable and creating worked example videos is something I will continue to do in the future to help my students and train teachers during professional developments that I deliver.  This way all lessons can be revisited if the need arises.  I hope this video tutorial not only helps my students but can also aid teachers of elementary school age children.

Clark, R. C.  & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Google Docs Sharing Tutorial Narration