Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Objective Assessments

The question is, "are tests the only objective assessment of student learning?"  My original thought to this questions was, "no way!"  But then I keyed in on the word, "objective."  So much of what I do in assessments is subjective with performance assessments and project based learning.  Even with a rubric, when I grade the performance/project, it is still my opinion.  We see this when we go and complete and students get a different rating from three different judges for the same performance.

But, tests can we written in a way that are not objective.  Some tests are written to trick the taker or the questions are so muddled it is difficult to figure out what is being asked.  But if written in a straightforward manner, I do think that tests are the only objective assessment.  But, I don't think that they are the best type of assessment of student learning.  Personally, I feel that there needs to be a combination of assessment types, objective and subjective, to fully test student learning.  That way different learning styles are addressed through the assessment.

Picture from

Monday, February 4, 2013

Technology Infused Classroom

So, what does a technology-infused classroom look like? I see it as a place where a wide assortment of technology is easily accessible for teachers and students to incorporate into the lessons.

A few weeks ago I was actually wondering, or rather dreaming, what my classroom could look like if it was a "technology-infused classroom." First of all, I would have a portable mac lab. I do not have the space to have a hard-wired lab, so it would have to be portable. We would have programs like Vectorworks Spotlight and Rendering on it so that we can do professional lighting and set designs. We would also have sound design programs like audacity and various movie editing and graphic design software. These would mostly be used by my technical theatre students.

In addition to the portable mac-lab, I would have 16-20 i-pads for my regular theatre classes. The i-pads take up less space and are even more portable. Students would be able to easily videotape their performances, attach them to their E-Portfolios, do real-time peer evaluation blogs, write scripts on screenwriting website, search, download, and play music for performances and this is just the tip of the ice-berg. Students would be able to work on their design presentations and record process for portfolios as they went.

There would be an interactive Smartboard to incorporate into lessons for more active visuals. I would also have a portable sound system with sound board in my room for performances and for my students to learn about sound design and how to assemble a sound system. We would have a light grid installed with a LED Source Four lighting system, some moving lights, and an ION light board. Students in both my acting and technical theatre classes would benefit from being able to create lighting and sound connections to the mood of a performance.

I can only imagine what it would actually be like to have this classroom. We would not have to schedule days in the computer lab. We would be able to use the technology in conjunction with what we are immediately working on. The transitions from lesson, to activity, to reflection could be incorporated so much better. For example, right now, if we don't have enough time to complete the work in the computer lab, it is either homework or I have to schedule another day and many times, the computer labs are being used. Classes use the auditorium during the day for instruction, so we are not able to use the light board or sound board.

I can see the possibilities. The funding is the problem, but I am working on that. I am pursuing getting certified as a CTE instructor in Technical Theatre. If this happens, and the district approves the course, we will have some additional funds to begin creating my technology-infused classroom.

ION lightboard & LED Source Four from Barbizon Lighting Co.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Internet in the Classroom

Visual literacy and the Internet can impact the teaching and learning process a number of ways in the classroom.  I think that that visual literacy can be much more thought provoking than words.  There is the old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words."  Images make connections.  If we just give our students the words, they are not making the connections.  They are not thinking.  As this image below shows, visual thinking helps students in planning, comparing ideas, an image can spark ideas and are great for presentations.

I really like the idea of using the internet to help students create items such as infographics.  I would like to find ways to incorporate these into character work and research projects.  Additionally, I use the Internet regularly for research, google drive has turned into a favorite collaborative source.  Additionally, I am using cites like for my students to create e-portfolios and for reflective blogging.  

I feel that by using visual literacy and the Internet in my classroom, I am stretching my own teaching abilities and my students are making more connections.  I love hearing them be excited about a new cite that I am introducing to them.

Image from:

Here is an interesting video about using visual literacy.  What does it make you think of?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Instructional Strategies for the 21st Century Student

Students learn in many different ways.  Today's students are constantly bombarded with information.  Teachers need to use different instructional strategies to reach today's students.  We can't just stand in front of the room and present information.  We need to challenge our students to meet the demands of the world and that includes the use of technology.  If we don't do this, our students will get more and more behind with the rest of the world.  Additionally, students are using technology more and more outside of the classroom.  It makes no sense to have them shut down that part of their life while they are in the classroom.

The implementation of technology into the different instructional strategies will be more and more important in the upcoming years.  Students need to be taught the basics from typing and how to use word processing programs, but there are so many ways in which technology can be used to enhance today's learners.  For example, within my own teaching, I am finding that I need to find new ways to reach my students, to keep them engaged and to prepare them for their futures.  They are creating video presentations, e-portfolios, we are putting performances on youtube, using blogs for reflection and so much more.  Time and time again I hear my students get excited when I introduce a new use of technology to enhance a project.  As teachers, we need to start going outside our comfort zones and find ways for technology to enhance our lessons.  However, we need to make sure we are not using technology just for the sake of using technology.  As with anything we do, it needs to connect to the learning objective.

Example of Different Instructional Strategies

Saturday, December 8, 2012