Take-Home Final Exam (EDU 805)



Write and send by email, in an attached well structured Word document, a comprehensive discussion of the topic:


Impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use on educational practice (teaching, professional development or management)


You have learned in this course about several types of technologies:

          productivity and organizational computer applications (Word, Excel, PPT, image and picture processing, etc.),

          educational software (pieces of programs for more dynamic teaching and learning), and

          online technologies (Web search for teaching/learning resources, wikis and blogs).


Discuss how would the use of the above various technologies affect educational practices: 1) Contents (curricula, topics to be taught, class activities, etc.), 2) methods of teaching and learning, 3) role of teacher (or coordinator / administrator), 4) role of students (or teachers), 5) assessment and evaluation.


The report should be 5-6 pages max. (an average of one page for each section)

You may elect to focus on a specific subject area, school level, or category of educational tasks.


Start your report with a cover page including the title of the course, “Final exam”, and YOUR NAME.


Use the following code for the email subject and the name of the attachment:

EDU805 Final Family.Name




Applying Technology to a Problem of Practice in Education






Applying Technology to a Problem of Practice in Education

I.       Overview

A.    Name of reviewer:

B.    The technological & educational innovation title and address

C.    Description of the innovation

II.     Problem of Practice

A.    Need s

B.    Opportunities

III.    Setting

A.    Role of teacher

B.    Role of learners

C.    Subject matter

D.    Physical setting

IV.    Technology-Integrated Solution

A.    Brief Summary

B.    Rationale

C.    Logistics of solution

1.    Scope

2.    Sequence

3.    Resources

a.    Developmental resources

b.    Implementation resources

V.     Benefits of this Solution

A.    Claimed benefits

B.    Assessment

1.    Do you believe them?

a.    Yes

(1)    Why?

b.    No

(1)    Why?

VI.    Implications

A.    Lesson learned from the project

B.    Implementing variation of project

1.    If no

a.    Why?

2.    If yes

a.    How you vary project to own setting?


(Done using Inspiration software)

I.      Overview

A.    Reviewer: Souheir Abu-Zahr 

B.     The technological and educational innovation: Inspiration and Kidspiration version 8

C.     Description of Inspiration and Kidspiration software:

     “Innovation and kidspiration” is an instructional software product which provides the educators with a three products which are “inspiration”, “inspiredata”, and “kidspiration”. This software helps the students in visual thinking and learning through concept maps (tree form, web form, and split tree form), webs (literary web, character web, comparison web, and pre-writing), idea maps, and plots (Venn plots, bar charts, stack plots, pie plots, axis plots, and animated time series) in order to inspire the students to develop and organize their ideas, to understand concrete and complex concepts, and to make connections between ideas.

II.      The Problem of Practice: A Need or an Opportunity

     The educational need that “Innovation software” seeks to address is teaching the students visual learning techniques in order to increase the students’ short-term and long-term benefits such as to facilitate learning and comprehension, improve writing skills, and increase the probability of retention and recalling whether the students are high or low achievers. These techniques help the students to:

A. Capture ideas quickly and easily online which helps in classifying ideas and brainstorming.

B.  Organize information in order to collaborate, share, and communicate more effectively with others.

C.  Diagram processes for clear understanding of the subject under study, and visualize ideas and relationship between them.

D. Create clear, concise written documents which help structure written projects, and research in a successful way.

All of the above open the opportunities for the students to:

A. Think actively as they learn; develop a deeper and stronger meaning of what they are learning; and build bridges between what they already know and what is new and connect it to real-life situation.

B.  Master critical thinking skills such as determining cause and effect, making comparison, decoding ideas, generating questions, evaluating information, and testing one’s knowledge.

C.   Learn how to prioritize decision making.

D. Help in problem solving.   

III.      The Setting

A.    Role of Teacher

          The teachers should be knowledgeable in technology and use the project as a professional after several training sessions on the use of the program to its fullest potential. The teacher’s roles during the project are:

1.   A facilitator or a guide who:

·   Organizes the lessons with the integrated project.

·   Helps students to explore the topic under study using the different view environments, and to enrich the instructional design with symbols, hyperlink, and videos to increase students’ motivation to learn.

·   Discuss the content actively based on a structured outline, and encourage the students to structure their work.

·   Provides help until the students are ready to use the project effectively.

·   Takes the responsibility for operating the technological equipments.

2.    A researcher who collects data on the students’ performance with the integrated technology through the use of e-survey that is provided by the inspiredata and join action research conducted in their school.

3.   A professional teacher, who seeks for life-long development, could join the annual conferences  held by the National Educational Computing Conferences (NECC) and meet the inspiration team. Also the teacher could subscribe to the professional development Bulletin to receive news, up-to-date products, workshop materials, special offers from inspiration Inc.

B.     Role of Learners

     During the project, the learners are taking an active role in constructing their knowledge   (I have elaborated in the problem of practice section).

C.     Subject Matter

     Innovation software could be used in any subject area at the K-12 school level. The program provides examples in the major curriculum areas such as language arts, science, social studies, math, and technology. Each inspiration product is dedicated for specific grade level such as “inspiration” is for 6 -12 graders, “inspiredata” is for 4 -12 graders, “kidspiration” is for 5th graders.

D.    Physical Setting

      Innovation software could be used in labs in order to be used by all the students and teachers. Also it could be used in the classes if they are equipped with the proper equipments such as LCD projector, laptop for the teacher, and desktop computers or laptops for the students. Also the inspiration related technology could be used in the classroom to facilitate the integration of the inspiration software to the school curriculum.

IV.      Technology-Integrated Solution

A.    Brief Summary

     Inspiration software provides the students with the visual learning techniques to support their learning. The graphic organizers act as a kind of mental scaffolding for what is being taught, identify how the new information is ordered, interrelated, and how it is also related to previous knowledge. This makes the new material appears more familiar and meaningful to students, and easier to recall. It also helps the teachers to plan, organize, and present their subjects in structured and related forms by using diagrams, outlines, and templates which save the teachers’ time in explaining concrete and complex concepts; and makes it easier for the students to absorb. 

 In addition, innovation software incorporates: a) hyperlink to gather research easily and streamline projects; b) multimedia environment such as Quick Time movies, MP3 files; c) auto spell checker to improve spelling skills and quickly correct students’ written errors; d) word guide with innovative dictionary and treasures which help the students to write with clarity and build vocabulary; e) learn to use  section for immediate help; f)  interactive demonstration,  videos, help center, ideas, examples, and lesson plans in the major curriculum areas, in language arts, science, social studies, and math; and  g) quick tour for each product.

B.     Rationale 

I have confidence in the Inspiration and Kidspiration software because it is based on a group of research on the educational theory and cognitive psychology which proved the importance of graphic organizers on learning. Furthermore, the inspiration software is based on the 12 principles by Brophy.

Through the use of this software, the teachers are displaying concern and caring about the students understanding, comprehension, and retention level which creates a friendly and supportive classroom climate. The teachers encourage students to socialize with others through the expression of their thoughts using visual techniques which reflects the students’ patterns of thinking and encourage communication and participation. On the other hand, the inspiration software cares about the parents’ opinions and tries to convince them about the usefulness of the program by providing the numerous awards that the inspiration software Inc. received from teachers’ education magazine and computer learning labs during the past 10 years. In addition the program presents more than 30 research references  on the usefulness of graphic organizers as authentic evidence.

Through the use of graphic organizers, the teachers could be more prepared for their materials, and could start quickly the lesson by presenting the main idea, the subtopics and the linking between them even to prerequisites. The quick changes from diagrams to outline view to the smooth transition to word processor facilitate the link between visual and written modes of expressions which provide the students with reminders and cues for better retention and recalling. This motivates students to be on task during the lesson; and provide an opportunity for them to learn.  

Curricular alignment, establishing learning orientation, coherent content, and thoughtful discourse could also be achieved through the use of graphic organizers. The teacher could cover the desired topic in great depth; ask important questions in sequence form; link it to prior knowledge and pre-tests; present the links between the important contents in as structured form; and explain the important idea. Also the teacher could provide time for discussing each idea without losing the sequence of the topic; and assess with authentic learning activities.

In addition, the practice and the application activities and co-operative learning are also attainable using the graphic organizers. Presenting the required topic in a structured form helps the teacher to assign activities and assignments on each related idea. The teacher could assign each subtopic to a group of students to search about it; and to present their work in class to receive immediate feedback. Through the graphic organizers, the students’ global work could be linked together to present the whole related information of the topic which helps in the achievement of co-operative learning.

Furthermore, scaffolding students’ task engagement is another principle that could be achieved by using the inspiration software. During the class activities and co-operative learning, the teacher could monitor the students’ work and provide help, explanation, modeling, and coaching until the students are capable to work by themselves then scaffolding will be faded. Therefore, modeling, and providing explicit instructions and feedback to students within their Zones of proximal development make the teaching strategy most effective; and help the students to reflect on their work which is another achievement of Brophy’s principles. In addition, graphic organizers act as a kind of mental scaffolding for what is being taught (elaborated in the brief summary).

Before the last, the goal-oriented assessment is another principal that the inspiration software is based on. The visual learning methodologies and graphic organizers provide the teachers with the tool to fulfill a well-developed curriculum with effective assessment such as monitoring students’ progress with observational checklists, electronic portfolio which includes homework, self-reflection, essays, and projects. Definitely, conducting an effective assessment doesn’t mean setting unbearable standards. Therefore, the standards that are set by the inspiration program are realistic and attainable despite that they are highly positive which lead us to the last principle that the program is based on, the achievement expectations.  The program expects successful work from every user and provides a “help to learn” section and help center in order to assure the effective use of the program.

C.     Logistics of solution

1.   Scope of the application:

     The inspiration software could be used in school or university settings whether in class or labs or media centers. It could be used in all the curriculum areas. Each inspiration product has its own target: inspiration” is for 6 -12 graders, “inspiredata” is for 4 -12 graders, “kidspiration” is for 5th graders. In my opinion inspiration and inspiredata could be used by the university students in all the subjects’ areas.

2.   Sequence of the application:

     The inspiration software could be used on daily basis from the beginning till the end of each session. The students could use it from the beginning till the end of the school year.

3. Resources needed:

a.       The resources needed for the development of the project are:

1)         Human resources:

·   The technology expert teachers and the professional teachers of the school or university should preview the materials during the selection process in order to determine the appropriateness of the project to their students, and to the curriculum objectives. This could be achieved through the real understanding of the program contents, and the use of the materials to their fullest potential.

·    Maintenance staff should be available in order to repair troubleshooting of computers and maintenance of equipments.

·   Special mentors should be available to train the teachers on the proper use of the project; and to assure that the program is used to its fullest potential. The training could be provided by the inspiration inc. on request and the teachers could contact the inspiration training resources at any time.

·    Follow up procedures are needed to assure that teachers are using the project efficiently and effectively; and it has affected positively students’ performance.

2)          Physical resources:

·   Equipments such as LCD and overhead projectors, teacher’s laptop, desktop computers or laptops for students, printer paper and devices.

·   Physical facilities should be arranged for proper use by the students such as comfortable seating, adequate ventilation, climate control, suitable lighting, wireless connectivity, enough power facilities, white board or roller screen, and  suitable curtains or blinds.

·   Security equipments should be arranged to decrease loss equipments from vandalism and theft such as alarm systems, security cabinets, and lockdown systems.

·   Some additional software should be installed before using the project such as:

§ Safety protection software such as “filtering and firewall software” to prevent access to inconvenient specific websites addresses.

§ Viruses’ protection software is needed to prevent the attack of internet viruses to the school’s software.

§ Copying software such as “Turnitin” is needed to prevent students from plagiarism.

·   Some policies are also needed before using the project such as:

§ Acceptable use policy (AUP) is needed to be signed by the students and their parents to agree on the use of the internet and the school’s websites; and to abide by the safe behavior on the internet.

§ Equity policy is needed to ensure the equity usage of the software between the students’ levels and the different curriculum areas.  

b.      The resources needed for the implementation of the project are:

1)   The inspiration software package with its lesson plan books, the text book connections, and the related technologies that are provided by the inspiration software.

2)   Prepare the learners by providing:

·   An introduction giving a broad overview of the content of the project.

·   A rational telling the students how this project relates to their materials; and how they will benefit if they use it during the learning process.

·   Access to computers in class on daily basis for all the students.

V.            Benefits of this Solution

     The claimed benefits of the inspiration software are the following: First, the inspiration software is the leader in the visual thinking and learning which supports multiple learning styles with three environments: diagrams, outlines, and mind maps. These environments help the students think, brainstorm, organize, analyze, write, and work  individually or cooperatively in order to improve their academic productivity and professional performance. Seconds, it helps the students develop thinking skills, plan, organize, communicate clearly, analyze, and recall.

     In order to assess their claims, I have installed the 30-days free trial on my PC in order to try it. I have created many concept maps and turn it to outline and mind map view. One of them is on the EDU805 main project; and another is on the Math lesson of quadrilaterals which I am going to present in the EDU805 class. Another is on the water cycle which I will present in the social study class with a brief description of the inspiration software and its benefits on learners. I have found the inspiration software friendly and easy to use, and the whole related information was presented in a clear and structured form. 

     On the other hand, I believe their claims because they focus on instructional design which helps the teachers organize and structure their materials in order to help the students organize their understanding, make better sense of what they are learning, and retain what they have learned. In addition, innovation software provides a sample gallery that presents how others are using the Webspiration such as the business use samples, the college use samples, and the personal use samples. Furthermore, they present more than 30 research references in both educational theory and cognitive psychology to provide genuine evidences on the importance of visual thinking and learning, and the role of graphic organizers. Moreover, they presented the numerous awards during the past 10 years. Finally, they presented many successful stories about the students and teachers who used inspiration software in their classrooms.

VI.      Implications:

A.     Lessons learned from this project regarding technological innovations in education are:

1.   Choosing the right technology and providing the adequate resources could make a positive impact on the teachers, parents, and students especially the low achievers.

2.   Inspiration Software could be used under the behaviorist and constructivist approach.

3.   Flexible learning environment could be achieved.

4.   The use of laptops and desktop computers by the students increase the use of innovation technology in education.

5.   Support the people with disabilities (at-risk students and learning disabilities students).

6.   Opening the opportunity for distance learning.  

B.     Implementing variation of project to fit own setting   

     We need to make some variation in the Inspiration and Kidspiration software in order to fit our own setting such as to choose the language (English), the computer program (Window, or Macintosh) and the correspondent version to our computer system ( Win98, Win 2K, Win XP), and to choose the product that fit our students’ age from the inspiration software “inspiration”, “inspiredata”, and “kidspiration.


























The outline converted into diagram view, “Tree format” (using inspiration software)








Essential Web 2.0 Links


Edublogs http://www.edublogs.org

Google Blogger http://www.blogger.com


Wikispaces http://www.wikispaces.com

PbWiki http://www.pbwiki.com


Education Podcast Network http://epnweb.org

My Podcast http://www.mypodcast.com

iTunes http://www.apple.com/iTunes

RSS (Rich Site Summary):

iGoogle http://www.google.com/ig

Google Reader http://reader.google.com

Bloglines http://www.bloglines.com


Helpful Blogging Techniques

Differences between posts and pages + How to separate classes or pages




Differences between tags and categories




Using Blog Header




Roles that visitors can have



Educational Website Review and Evaluation Guidelines:

      Grading scale:  
      Column1 Column2
    Educational Website Review and Evaluation Guidelines: 1 Not good
Evaluating  Comment : on the site: www.allmath.com 2 Slightly good
    Documentation and credibility: 3  good
Excellent 1) Site author information is clearly stated, including name and contact information. 4 Very good
Excellent 2) Site author has provided credentials, if necessary. 5 Excellent
Excellent 3) Information sources are indicated, as necessary.    
Excellent 4) Date of the latest site revision is provided.    
Excellent 5) New information is highlighted.    
Slightly good 6) Fees or names are not requested to use site.    
Excellent 1) Site title represents content.    
Excellent 2) Purpose of goals of site are clearly stated.    
Excellent 3) Content can be used for various learning styles and inteligences.    
Excellent 4) Site has links to other relevant sites.    
Excellent 5) Information is current and accurate.    
Excellent 6) Content is free of stereotypes or bias.    
    Audience Appeal and Suitability:
Excellent 1) General appearance of site is appealing to target audience.    
Excellent 2) Language is developmentally appropriate for target audience.    
Excellent 3) Text and graphics are appropriate for target audience.    
Excellent 4) Content of linked sites is appropriate for target audience.    
    Ease of use, Navigation, and Accessibility:
Excellent 1) User can navigate through site without difficulty.    
Excellent 2) Help features and site map are available and easy to access.    
Excellent 3) Information is well organized.    
Very good 4) Links back to homepage are included on each succeeding page.    
Excellent 5) Links to other sites are relevant.    
Excellent 6) All links work.    
Excellent 7) Few large graphics increase download speed.    
Excellent 8) Directions given for downloading any needed plug-ins.    
Excellent 9) Site functions in a variety of browsers.    
Excellent 10) Site is accessible to individuals with disabilities.    
    User interface and Design:
Excellent 1) Navigation options are clearly marked and self-explanatory.    
Excellent 2) Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct.    
Excellent 3) Text is clear and in font suitable for intented audience.    
Excellent 4) Media elements (e.g., graphics, audio, video, animation, databases, JavaScript) are used to enhance content, as appropriate.    
Excellent 5) Media elements (e.g., graphics, audio, video, animation, databases, JavaScript) are of high quality.    
Slightly good 6) Design creates stimulating environment.    
Excellent 7) Design elements are consistent on all pages.    
Excellent 8) Advertising is either nonexistent or does not interfere with content.    

Lesson Plan for Teaching Geometry on Polygons

Topic:  Lesson Plan on Polygons

Grade level: 5th Elementary 

Period:    50 min session.

The Lesson Plan:

I.       Objectives:

A.    Instructional objectives:
The number of sides of polygons.

B.     Behavioral objectives:
 At the end of the session, the students should be able to:

1.   Identify the different types of polygons by their sides.

2.   Match polygons names to their sides.

3.   Find the hidden polygons on the triangle grid paper.

C.     Performance objectives
Number (1) and (2) in the behavioral objectives


II.    Prerequisites:

I assume that the students know:

1.      The quadrilaterals concepts and it related prerequisites:

A. Points, Lines, Rays, and Line Segments.

B. The concept of measuring segments / congruent segments
The concept of pairs lines as parallel, intersecting, or perpendicular.
The concept of angles and different types of angles (acute, right, obtuse, and straight angles).

2.      The different types of triangles.

3.      Open and closed shapes and qualities of polygons.

4.      Regular and irregular polygons.

     In order to confirm the levels of the students’ knowledge on the prerequisite skills, the students are asked, on a previously session, to do the prerequisites activities online by using the classroom computers or laptops with the help of the teacher to provide them immediate feedback. The alternative option is to do them on paper sheets and to correct them in class.

III. Procedures of the learning cycle:
A. Exploration cycle:
Polygons presentation (10 min)

   During the exploration cycle, the teacher uses the power point presentation from the beginning of the session to present the educational objectives, and to remind the students about the prerequisites that are related to the topic of polygons. The students will be asked to answer the prerequisite worksheets to identify the level of their previous knowledge to re-teach immediately if necessary in order to be able to jump into the new topic. By using the teacher’s laptop and LCD projector, I will start by:

1.   Presenting the educational objectives.

2.   Reminding them on the prerequisites information.

3.   Asking them about the different shapes that could have 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 sides.

B. Development cycle:  (10 min)

     The presentation will be presented as one shot during this cycle in order to open the opportunity for the students’ interference and participation during the application activities.   
I introduce formally the different types of polygons with their correspondent sides:

1.   Triangles: Equilateral, isosceles, right, and scalene.

2.   Quadrilaterals: Square, rectangle, parallelogram, rhombus, and trapezoid (isosceles, right, neither isosceles nor right).

3.   Pentagon.

4.   Hexagon.

5.   Heptagon.

6.   Octagon.

C. Application cycle:
      I ask the students to:

1.      Match the polygons names to their sides on the computer individually. (3 min)

2.      Find the hidden polygons on the triangle grid paper individually or in pairs. (7 min)

3.      Discuss with peers in group of 3 or 4 “if a circle is a polygon?” (5 min)

Each group has to present their findings to the class to open class discussion. (5 min)

IV. Materials:

     The materials needed are one overhead projector, one teacher’s laptop, and several laptops or desk-top computers for students if possible. If this is not possible, the students’ prerequisites, activity, and assessment sheets are needed. As for the assessment activity, enough quantity from geoboard is needed for all the students and a box of stretching rubber band. If there is limited number of geoboard, the students could be grouped in pairs or more for doing the assessment activity. In case the school does not provide the geoboard manipulative, pencils and doted papers are used instead.   

V.    Evaluation: (10 min)

      In the assessment activity, the students have to use the geoboard to construct polygons figures with stretching rubber bands individually or in pairs, or in groups.

Another assessment activity is the homework that the students have to solve individually either online if they have their own computers or laptops or on paper. The homework is to help the students find the relationship between the different figures of polygons.






Activity sheet 1

Activity sheet 2

Activity sheet 3












Activity Sheet 1: (Based on the presentation)

Match the polygon to its equivalent number of sides:

·         Equilateral triangle


·          Right triangle


·         Square

·         An eight-sided polygon

·         Parallelogram


·         Trapezoid

·         A six-sided polygon

·         Right trapezoid


·          Hexagon

·         A seven-sided polygon

·         Octagon


·          Isosceles triangle

·         A fifth-sided polygon

·         Scalene triangle


·         Rhombus

·         A three-sided polygon

·         Rectangle


·          Isosceles trapezoid

·         A fourth-sided polygon

·         Pentagon


·         Heptagon













Activity Sheet 2

Find the Hidden Polygons on the triangle grid paper below:

1.       Equilateral triangle

2.       Isosceles triangle (non-equilateral)

3.       Right triangle

4.      Scalene triangle

5.      Square

6.      Rhombus

7.      Parallelogram (not a rectangle or rhombus)

8.      Rectangle

9.      Trapezoid (non-isosceles or right)

10.   Isosceles trapezoid

11.  Right trapezoid

12.  Pentagon

13.   Hexagon

14.  Heptagon

15.  Octagon



Do you need a definition?






Activity Sheet 3:

Is a Circle a Polygon?

























Use the geoboard to construct polygons figures with stretching rubber bands individually or in pairs, or in groups.



Geoboard manipulative




Geoboard on Paper




Homework:                                                     Cynthia Lanius




No Matter What Shape Your Fractions are In


| No Matter What Shape | Fun Fractions| Drawing Fun Fractions | Designer Fractions |
Teachers’ Notes | Math Forum’s Fraction Tour| More Math Lessons |


Determining the Relations

Use the online pattern blocks to answer the following questions.

  1. How many  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/tri.gif  are in  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/parallel.gif?
  2. How many  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/tri.gif are in   http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/trap.gif  ?
  3. How many  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/trap.gif  are in   http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/hex.gif  ?
  4. How many  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/tri.gif are in   http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/hex.gif  ?
  5. How many  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/parallel.gif are in   http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/hex.gif  ?
  6. How many  http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/parallel.gif are in   http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/trap.gif  ?



Based on these relations,

  1. If     http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/hex.gif    = 1,       http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/tri.gif  = ___ .
  2. If    http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/trap.gif    = 1,       http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/tri.gif  = ___ .
  3. If    http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/hex.gif    = 1,    http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/trap.gif = ___ .
  4. If    http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/trap.gif    = 1,    http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/images/parallel.gif = ___ .

Check your answers.


|No Matter What Shape | Fun Fractions | Drawing Fun Fractions | Designer Fractions |
Teachers’ Notes | Math Forum’s Fraction Tour | More Math Lessons |


Copyright 1997-2007 by Cynthia Lanius












Prerequisites: http//www.edhelper.com/geometry.htm

Polygons Presentation: http://www.athens.edu/pt3/vinson/polygons.ppt

Activity sheet 1: http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/Geom/pol.html

Activity sheet 2: Math Forum – Ask Dr. Math

Assessment: http://homepage.mac.com/efithian/Geometry/Activity-03.html

Homework: http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/Patterns/

Evaluating Educational Site Using Guidelines

Evaluating Educational Site using guidelines:

The evaluated site: allmath.com

The scale of evaluation: “1” is not good; “2” is slightly good; “3” is good; “4” is very good; and “5” is excellent.

     The allmath.com is an educational site for math targeted for kids from pre-kindergarten till 5th elementary grade. It is evaluated according to the following characteristics:

       I.            The Documentation and Credibility:

     The site received an excellent evaluating grade in presenting the information needed such as the contact information to “AllSites.com” which is clearly stated at the bottom of each page. AllSites.com presents the author’s name “Ann Arbor”; the region “Michigan”; the site dual mission, and the various provided websites. In addition, the site author was excellent in providing credentials such as the author is identifiable and reliable in Michigan; the purpose of the information is stated at the top of each page; the information sources are indicated at the bottom of each page; and the date of the latest site revision is also provided at the bottom of each page which is in 2005. The site URL extension “.com” tell us that the site is commercial and it is provided by the company for profit. Furthermore, the site is excellent in presenting new information which is highlighted in purple color. Also there is a message informing that more grades are coming soon with the same breadth and depth of content as the other presented grades. Whereas, the site received a slightly good evaluation grade because it offers partial use for 20 free math problems, and charges fees for continued or in-depth use, and it requires to create an account.

    II.            The Content:

     The site receives an excellent evaluation grade in presenting the content material because the site title “allmath.com” represents that math content is presented in all its subtypes; and the purpose of site is clearly stated when the user clicks “AllSites.com” at the bottom of each page. Also, the site content can be used for various learning styles and intelligences such as math skills and practices, words dictionary, visual learning, practice learning, and educational games. In addition, the site has links to other relevant sites which is stated in the home page as “Other Math Links” and others are presented in a table form. Moreover, the information is current and accurate since math information is revised in 2009; and the content is free of stereotypes or bias.

 III.            The Audience Appeal and Suitability:

     The site receives an excellent evaluation grade in the audience appeal and suitability section because the general appearance of site is appealing to target audience with yellow background, light and dark green, and purple font, blue and red table borders. Also the language is easy and developmentally appropriate for target audience. In addition, the content, text and graphics are colored, appealing, and appropriate for target audience.

  IV.            Ease of Use, Navigation, and Accessibility:

     The site receives an excellent evaluation grade under the ease of use, navigation, and accessibility section because the user can navigate through the site without any difficulty; help features such as Math Help is available and easy to access on the home page, and Tell a friend | User guide | Help section” is provided at the top of each math practice page; and site map is also provided on each page. In addition, the information is very well organized and the math information is presented in ascending level order; the links to other sites are relevant especially on the home page; and all the links work. Moreover, few large graphics increase download speed; directions are given for downloading in a clear form and no need for plug-ins. Furthermore, the site functions in a variety of browsers such as “Internet Explorer” under the search engine google.com, and robtex.com and “Netscape Navigator” under the search engine Firefox. Also the site is accessible to all users even the individuals with disabilities. On all the above information the site receives an excellent evaluation grade despite that it receives a very good evaluation grade on the links back to homepage because they are included on each succeeding page despite the math practice pages.

     V.            User Interface and Design:

       The site received an excellent evaluation grade on the use interference and design section because the navigation options are clearly marked and self-explanatory; and spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct. In addition the site text is presented in the Calibri and Verdana fonts which are clear, suitable, and easy to read for the kids. In addition, the media elements such as graphics, audio, video, animation, databases, JavaScript are of high quality and they are used to enhance content, as appropriate. Moreover, the design elements are consistent on all pages; and the advertising by Google is always presented at the right section of each page but it does not interfere with the content; yet it is not existed in the math practice section to minimize students’ distraction which provide the site an excellent evaluating grade on all of the above section. But the site receives a slightly good evaluation grade on the design as a stimulating environment because none were integrated inside the site despite it was presented on the advertisement of the web site on the internet which create the impression that the site is fully integrated with stimulation which is not.


Reflection on Learning with Blogs and Wikis

Reflection on Learning with Blogs and Wikis

Based on the article “Learning with Blogs and Wikis” (Ferriter, 2009):

1.      The purpose of wikis in educational settings:       
     Using wikis in educational settings has dual purposes: a) to provide the educators with free digital tools in order to continue their professional development, and to help them improve their teaching practices; and b) to improve the collaboration, interaction, and communication between students in order to encourage the network learning at free cost, and helps the students master skills which help them succeed in future workplaces.

2.      The advantages of using wikis to promote collaboration in the classroom are the following:

a)      Wikis facilitate the entering of new knowledge about teaching and learning through which the user of wikis can easily publish his/her work on the Web at free cost. The groups of members (students, teachers, or others) who are sharing his/her wiki password can edit the content at any time which provides more learning interaction and collaboration.

b)      Wiki opens the opportunity for the users to master higher critical thinking such as the users can learn to create, communicate, collaborate, manage, edit, and evaluate online information.

c)      The educators use wikis as discussion boards to conduct ongoing conversations about developing classroom projects such as: project websites, group projects, and classroom discussions and debates. Others use wikis to create warehouse of materials among teachers working in the same field or as source of information for educators’ teams who are creating classroom textbooks. These conversations increase the educators’ motivation and engagement.

d)      Wikis facilitate the professional development of educators by providing continual learning with minimal time and efforts. The educators could browse and be exposed to the thoughts of other practitioners and exchange ideas on the effective characteristics of professional development such as teachers’ empowerment, schools’ accountability, schools’ improvement, and curriculum development.

e)      Wikis minimize the teachers’ role and increase the students’ participation and interaction.

3.       Issues that need to be considered when using wikis with students:

a)      Let the students master some basic word processing skills in order to use them in wikis.

b)      Select a main topic of interest in your content area and divide it into subtopics.

c)      Divide the target students into groups and assign each subtopic into a group to generate ideas.

d)       Provide time for the groups to open their accounts on wikis and share their wikis password.

e)       Let the students work with peers to create a collaborative writing wiki.

f)       Let the members of each group edit on each other work to polish the final text.

g)      Encourage the students to explore the work of each group to stretch their thinking and challenge the thoughts of each other.

h)      Let the students dedicate few minutes each day to browse the changing content in their wikis and to add few entries.



Controversial Issues “In Respecting Diversity”



Title of Lesson: Controversial issues “In Respecting Diversity”

Subject: Social Studies

Grade Level: 9th Grade

Instructor: Souheir Abu-Zahr

Contreversial Issues: “In Respecting Diversity”

These are the current controversial Issues in Lebanon that could be assigned in the Social Studies classes at the Intermediate levels especially for 9th Graders on respecting the diversity in the community.

The Purpose of this Wiki: http://interm-social-studies-saz.wikispaces.com

     The purpose of this Wiki is to enhance the students to discuss current controversial issues and to increase their contribution, collaboration, and communication beyond the classroom walls and with the use of technology. Furthermore, the students will be proud to publish their work on the internet.

Students’ Grouping

     The students could be divided into 6 groups of 4 members each.
Each group has to create their work in the required page that could be reached through “Manage Wiki” at the left side of the home page, then choose  “Pages” from the “Content” group. Each group has to deliver 4 pages on their required topics. Each member in the group has to contribute in creating one page on the Wiki.


     The students will be graded based on the level of their contribution with their group members (30%), the relevant content of information (40%), and the use of proper language (30%).
Additional points (maximum 10%) will be given for the students who edit the pages of other groups.
The students have 10 days to deliver their work on wikis. The Due date is 02/06/2009.
Good luck.





Group 1

  1. Are you with or against the Civil Marriage in Lebanon? Justify your opinion.
  2. Compare your opinion to different religious perspectives? (Islamic, Christian, others…)

Group 2

  1. Are you with or against marriage between members of different religion? Justify your opinion.
  2. Compare your opinion to different religious perspectives? (Islamic, Christian, others…)

Group 3

  1. Are you with or against marriage between members of same religion but different sects? Justify your opinion.
  2. Compare your opinion to different religious perspectives? (Islamic, Christian, others…)

Group 4

  1. Are you with or against Lebanese Identity Card free of religious information? Justify your opinion.
  2. Compare your opinion to that of your community (parents, neighbors, friends,…).

Group 5

  1. Are you with or against removing the words “14 March” and “8 March” from the Lebanese political conversation? Justify your opinion.
  2. Compare your opinion to that of your community (parents, neighbors, friends,…).

Group 6

  1. Are you with or against having certain “Quota” (limited and fixed number) for women in the Lebanese Parliament? Justify your opinion.
  2. Compare your opinion to that of your community (parents, neighbors, friends,…).


Reflection on Chapter 1 &2 in EDU805

Reflection of Chapter 1

     This chapter helped me to develop mental pictures or cognitive frameworks of the field of educational technology. It seems that educational technology as a key term is not defined the same way by everyone. This created many perspectives in defining it such as media, instructional systems, vocational training, and computer systems; whereas the textbook defines it as the combination of the processes and tools such as computers and electronic technologies that are involved in the educational needs and problems.

     In my opinion, educational technology is the combination of all of these perspectives because it reflects the development of educational technology which was shaped by the development in computer technology. According to the textbook, the history of the computer development is divided into three eras: the pre-microcomputer era, the microcomputer era, and the internet era. Whereas, in my opinion, there is a fourth era which is the laptop and wireless connections era; and the disadvantages of each era helped in the creation of the following era. In the first era, the computers were huge, and the systems were expensive to buy and complex to operate. So the educators rejected the idea that computers would create a revolution in instruction. In the second era, despite that the stand-alone desktop microcomputers were small in size but there were difficulties to get the equipments through doors and up stairs which increased the security problems. Therefore, most of these equipments were located in labs which created additional problems in supervising and maintaining resources, and in scheduling for users because the labs were available to only one class at a time. In addition, the programs were cheaper and less complicated but they were still considered time consuming for teachers to operate. Despite that many programs were created such as the Logo programs in order to replace the traditional instruction but they were useful in some contexts only; and the interest in computers faded.

In the third era, the creation of World Wide Web (WWW) had changed the picture and developed interest in educational technology. The easy access to online resources and communications facilitated the offering of distance learning in higher education, and supported more the people with disabilities. But there were needs for high speed communications, and for portable computers especially the wireless computers which helped in the development of the fourth era of laptops and wireless connections.

      The development of these technologies had a great influence on the use of technology and helped in the merging of other technologies such as the cellular phone, the availability of high-speed communication (DSLs), the visual immersion systems (virtual 3-D models on computer screen), and the intelligent applications (intelligent programs).

     These new technologies have opened the opportunity to turn the traditional educational settings into flexible computer labs in which the majority of universities’ students are equipped with their own laptops; and they are required gradually to present their technological skills. On the other hand, the teachers are more capable to assess and monitor students’ progress on continuous basis. In addition, they are not tight to paper and pencil assessment. Therefore, they are asking the students for electronic portfolios in which the students demonstrate educational and technological skills that they have learned. 

     Despite all of these advantages of recent technologies but its major disadvantages are the legal and ethical issues that the educators face such as viruses, hacking, plagiarism, and illegal downloads of software which forced schools and universities to install firewalls and virus protection software, Turnitin software to catch plagiarizers, copyright laws and policies to make fair use of published materials.  

Reflection of Chapter Two

     This chapter helped me develop a clear mental picture of the differences between the sets of learning theories Objectivism and Constructivism which follow different underlying epistemologies in the way of defining learning, and their beliefs on the acquisition and development of human knowledge. It also helped me realize my own beliefs about learning.

     The Objectivists are those people who followed the Direct Methods of learning based on the Behaviorist, Information processing, Cognitive-Behavioral, and the systems theories. Whereas, the Constructivists are those people who followed the Social Activism, Scaffolding, Child Development, Discovery Learning, and Multiple Intelligence theories.

     In my opinion, learning is a combination of three theories: the Scaffolding theory of the Constructivist, the Cognitive-Behavioral theory, and the information-processing theory of the Objectivists that could be achieved through the use and the integration of technology. Therefore, learning is a cognitive development that is shaped by the human differences in knowledge (Zone of proximal development), the influence of the culture, and the instructional conditions that are provided in order to help learning to move from the sensory registers, to the short-term memory (STM), and to the long-term memory (LTM). In the process of learning, the adults are the experts’ people who help the children that are considered the novices to construct their knowledge by building on what they already know in order to perceive the world differently. But the adults as teachers need to provide the proper instructional conditions to help the development of the children’s learning. These conditions are the nine Events of Instruction of Gagné that the teachers could use in slightly different way to foster learning the different types of the required skills; whether these skills are intellectual skills, verbal skills, physical skills, or attitudes.             

     These nine Events of Instruction include: 1) Gaining the students’ attention by asking important questions, or by using pictures, film, or virtual tours through the use of Internet and multimedia resources. 2) Informing the students of the instructional objectives. 3) Helping the students to recall the prerequisites also through the use of drill-and-practice software which could provide repetitive applications, and can give fast and accurate information on the students’ weaknesses and deficit skills without being time consuming. 4) Presenting the new material through the use of video-based scenarios in order to support students’ problem solving.              5) Providing the students with the learning guidance (scaffolding). 6) Extracting performance through cooperative learning in order to help the students collaborate with and learn from each other either by doing internet research as multimedia products or web pages, or by competing in instructional games. 7) Sending the hands-on production work electronically to the teacher in order to provide the students with immediate feedback. 8) Assessing students’ performance by using a combination of traditional assessment such as subjective and objective tests, and non-traditional assessment such as the electronic portfolios which include a collection of the students’ assignments and projects, and present the acquired technological skills. 9) Enhancing retention and recall by locating the students’ weaknesses based on the students’ portfolio.

     In the first and second instructional events, the students are in the sensory registers stage; whereas, in the third through the fifth events, the students are handling the information in the STM. From the sixth through the last events, the students’ learning moves to the LTM.

     In using the cooperative learning, the teacher has to be very careful in grouping the students heterogeneously based on their skills levels. In order to do this, the teacher collects such evidences from the survey questionnaires that could be used before the instruction.

     In addition, the merging of the new technologies such as the wireless connectivity, the high speed communication, the laptops with cameras and microphones, and the World Wide Web facilitated the planning of the implementation of technology in the educational settings.