Friday, July 29, 2016

Module 5: Tech Integration for English and Language Arts

Roblyer & Doering (2013) assert that "reading, writing, and critically analyzing written communications are considered fundamental skills for a literate person, and technologies have much to offer teachers as they help their students develop these skills." (p. 266) I couldn't have said it better myself. Throguh the use of technology in the English classroom, teachers can provide students with memorable and engaging educational experiences as long as they can avoid a few potential pitfalls.

Advantages of Integrating Technology

One of the more interesting pieces of emerging tech is the word cloud, a block of text which is based off of "the frequency of words used in a text." (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 268) While this tool might initially seem a little simplistic, it actually can be used to improve students' writing skills by showing them things like redundancies, core ideas, and dependencies on certain modifiers (looking at you, "very") 

Additionally, English classrooms allow students to improve their digital literacy through the use of blogs, which lend themselves particularly well to the English classroom setting. (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 268) By blogging their way through a text, students are able to not only practice their writing skills but also engage with their classmates with regards to sections they find compelling or confusing. Wikis offer a similar level of engagement by having "users contribute or modify content." (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 268)

Disadvantages of Integrating Technology

Of course, for every benefit to integrating tech in the English classroom, there are disadvantages to be considered. For instance, due to the technological nature of communication, many schools are wondering if cursive writing instruction is necessary in schools anymore. (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 271) Due to the prevalence of typing and word processing, as well as the infrequency of cursive use, many schools are deeming this instruction unimportant. Others, though, argue that the benefits to students' motor skills are worth the time investment. A similar argument exists for QWERTY keyboarding as many believe that "proper" typing is just a rigid way to enforce a one manner in which to type.

Specific Activities, Programs, etc

Useful activities and programs for the English classroom include:
Word Clouds
Phoenetics Software
Virtual Tours
Augmented Reality Reading
Electronic Annotation
Electronic Outlining
Concept Mapping
Grammar Checkers
Online Thesaurus
Digital Publishing


Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Module 3: The Internet and Web-Based Learning

The Internet provides today's teachers with a vast library of resources to use in the classroom. Even so, as Roblyer & Doering (2013) point out, "it is a reflection of the best and worst qualities of our society." (p. 214) Therefore, one must be discerning when using it in a classroom setting. The following is a list of tools that could be useful for a teacher utilizing a wiki in a classroom.

The top of the pile for search engines, Google is a keyword search website that allows the user to access a huge amount of data with just a simple word of phrase (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 219) Google allows teachers to access a large variety of content in an incredibly short amount of time, thus expediting the information gathering process and making more time for engagement with material.

This video describes the process of website evaluation, a key ability for any student and teacher. In answering Roblyer & Doering's (2013) question about whether or not the Internet enhances an activity (p. 238), one must always be sure to evaluate the quality of the online content with which they are engaging.

Modernism Wiki 

In keeping with the theme I've worked with throughout these assignments, I found this well-maintained wiki on modernist literature. It is well-indexed and well-structured with clear links on the right hand side of the page (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 255)

Mental Floss: Literature

One of the greatest gems of the Internet, Mental Floss is a collection of articles, games, lists, quizzes, and more, and it's literature section is among its finest parts. Mental Floss is easy to navigate, well-maintained and up to date, fun, interactive, organized, and incredibly visually appealing. (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 255)

Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Module 2: Multimedia & Hypermedia

I realize that that's a crazy long link, but it contains a download for Grammarly's grammar checker, an infinitely superior hypermedia grammar tool to Word's own built-in checker. This app's practical usefulness should be fairly apparent, but there are some features specific to this tool that put it a cut above other checkers.

First, it actually teaches the writer why certain grammar mistakes were wrong to begin with. This develops "creative and critical thinking skills" in relation to the writing process. (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 176) Additonally, the presence of a high quality and user-friendly grammar checker offers a more enjoyable writing experience. According to Roblyer & Doering (2013), "students who usually struggle to complete a project or term paper often will tackle a hypermedia project enthusiastically." (p. 176) This checker makes even the dreariest papers more hypermedia friendly.

This link mentions several applications of virtual reality in learning and describes how full-immersion systems and head-mounted displays can allow students to place themselves in scenes out of history or into the works of literature they are studying. Roblyer & Doering (2013) write that technology such as this can help students with ADD, mobility issues, or poor vision to engage material more thoroughly (p. 196) Additionally, Roblyer & Doering (2013) write that web-based VR helps to "create environments where a user interacts with the Internet through voice." (p. 194) The possibilities for Internet connectivity in the teaching of literature in VR are staggering.

This lengthy video explains how VR has already been applied in the classroom in the form of expeditions. Roblyer & Doering (2013) explain how many of virtual manipulatives this video can be used to help students learn by flipping, turning, and rotating in a digital environment. (p. 194-195)

Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Module 4: Promethean Planet Flipchart & Application

In keeping with the hypothetical lesson I put forth for my previous blog post, I decided to continue thinking about how I would teach "The Old Man and the Sea" by finding a Hemingway-related flipchart. I chose this biography:

Perhaps the thing I like best about this flipchart is how versatile it is. Roblyer & Doering (2013) say that software is often best applied when it teaches through "demonstration, examples, explanation, or problem solving." (p. 11) By including text, video, graphics, and even activities, this flipchart does a good job of engaging students in all four of those methods.

Roblyer & Doering (2013) also insist that, in order to address the problem of how to engage students, technology must illustrate "real world relevance through highly visual presentations." (p. 25) Through its use of graphics and video, as well as through a uniform design scheme, this flipchart manages to put a face on one of American literature's figureheads, thus contextualizing the man himself and leading to a broader understanding of "The Old Man and the Sea" as a social and cultural entity. This is a fulfillment of Roblyer & Doering's (2003) second problem of how to support the needs of students. Namely, it helps students "visualize underlying concepts in unfamiliar or abstract topics." (p. 25)

Additionally, Roblyer & Doering (2003) discuss how "adequate funding can determine the success or failure of even the best technology plans." (p. 66) as one of their essential conditions to well-integrated technology. By the simple virtue of being free, this flipchart already provides a low-budget alternative to many pricier pieces of software. Additonally, the tech required to run this flipchart (a basic computer and a projector) are relatively commonplace in the 21st century classroom and would not require an overwhelming amount of budget planning in order to be viable options.

Many of the activities mentioned in this flipchart can also be completed with desktop publishing software in order to utilize available software support tools. As Roblyer and Doering (2003) mention, this software is "the strategy of choice... to produce elaborate, graphic-oriented documents." (p. 144), an approach that would enhance the quality of many of the included activities by allowing students with creative expression and greater versatility. Ultimately, by understanding Hemingway's context and how it relates to the production of "The Old Man and the Sea" through the use of these technological tools, students will be better prepared to tackle the miniature behemoth that is this classic novella.


Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Module 1: The "Basic Three" Software Tools in Education

The three basic software tools used in education are word processing, spreadsheets, and presenters. These three tools allow teachers with a variety of methods by which to organize and execute classroom tasks and activities both in administrative and instructional capacities.

Word processing supports a variety of instructional and administrative techniques. Roblyer & Doering (2013) note that a "teacher can use [word processing] to support any directed instruction of constructionist activity." (pg. 116) This versatility allows word processing to be utilized across a wide variety of subjects, allowing for flexible templates that can be shared by teachers across disciplines. Additionally, word processing saves time for teachers by allowing materials to be modified instead of created from scratch which helps when it comes to correcting errors and conducting rewrites (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, pg. 116)

Spreadsheet software is more limited in its application but is no less useful. According to Roblyer & Doering (2013), "Teachers use them primarily to keep budgets and gradebooks and to help teach mathematical topics." (pg. 122) This emphasis on numerical data gives spreadsheet software a focus that word processors and presenters sometimes lack. Roblyer & Doering (2013) also note that spreadsheets are excellent tools for projecting hypothetical, or "what if," scenarios. (pg. 122) By plugging data into various cells, teachers are able to project tangible quantities like future grades or potential expenses.

Presenters, like PowerPoint, are "designed to display information, including text, images, audio, and video, in a slideshow format." (Roblyer & Doering, 2003, pg. 128) This type of software is excellent for organizing lectures and increasing the impact of oral instruction. It also offers students versatility when it comes to their own assignments, as presenters are generally fairly user-friendly and have a sizeable suite of tools available for the organization of information. However, some studies have shown that presenters may have little to no positive effect on a classroom. (Roblyer & Doering, 2003, pg. 128)

Presenters provide a unique opportunity for English teachers to center a classroom discussion around important thematic elements. For instance, if I were to teach "The Old Man and the Sea," a presenter could be used to display images of the types of rigging and fishing equipment the fisherman utilizes over the course of the story. By visualizing these often obscure items, students will be able to better comprehend the Christological imagery inherent in Santiago's character. By examining the cross-shaped mast and seeing the circular holes that the fisherman's line cut into his hands, a discussion on the sacrificial nature of Santiago's voyage is facilitated. Additionally, these images could be doled out in a specific slide order so as to allow the students to organically put the pieces together, so to speak. I could display images of less obvious items first and allow the students the opportunity to make intellectual leaps towards the Christ metaphor before introducing more clear cut images like the cross-shaped mast. Presenters could provide many other literary works with similar visual aides and could further facilitate intelligent discussion. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Additional Classroom Options for PowerPoint:


Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill Prentice Hall.