Elaine McConnell EDIM 510 Portfolio

Unit 1:Introduction to Web 2.0 Reflection

The amount of educational Web 2.0 tools available to educators is astounding. It is essential to remember, though, that these tools need to be used effectively in order have a positive impact in the classroom. An important note made by Light (2011) is, “Most of the Web 2.0 activities that became the underpinnings of the successful learning communities we studied were not “special projects” that the teachers assigned to their students every once in awhile. They made using these tools a daily practice in their classrooms” (p. 11). Since beginning this Instructional Media Masters Program, I have been trying to make more of attempt to make technology a regular occurrence and not just for special projects. I still am not where I know I should be, but I’m working on it. I believe the tools mentioned in Schrock (2015) like Cacoo and Coggle could be especially valuable in my English classroom and help promote regular technology use. These tools would be ideal for both independent and collaborative writing assignments. I use Google docs frequently in my classroom, but it’s not exactly awe-inspiring and attention-grabbing. Cacoo and Coggle seem like great tools, especially for visual learners, that can help students map out ideas. My students could map out the plot of a story they read or create a web outline for a paper. Since so much of my class is devoted to discussing or writing about literature, these tools could be implemented frequently.

Another issue to consider is how to ensure that technology in the classroom does not end up being more of a distraction than a positive educational tool. Galagan (2010) describes evidence supporting that when permitted and encouraged to use Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, “students quickly began blogging and using Twitter to share notes and comments. Web users outside the classroom began responding to the blogs and Twitter posts” (p. 28 ). As mentioned in Schrock (2015), microblogging through Twitter could be an effective way to use cell phones to remain engaged, instead of being distracted by them. My students are very familiar with Twitter, and I believe they would be eager to use it in the classroom. Instead of fighting the battle of asking my students to put their phones away, I could encourage them to use the phones to complete an in-class activity. Another benefit from using Twitter in the classroom is that it can teach students how to write concise arguments or summaries since they have a limited number of characters per tweet.

Incorporating technology lessons that allow students to use their cell phones to remain engaged and not distracted also serves another practical purpose. My school does not have a 1:1 policy, so each student does not have his or her own laptop or tablet. If I want to use such a device in class, I must sign out one of the carts. Since we have a limited number of carts that must be shared by every teacher in the school, it can sometimes be difficult to secure a cart for class, especially on a regular basis. I have not used podcasts in my classroom, but something like Ipadio would be a great way to allow students to use their own mobile devices in class (Schrock, 2015). Since I teach English Language Arts, my students write very frequently. While I believe that possessing strong writing-skills is imperative, I also understand that writing can become tedious and boring at times. Creating a podcast could be a good way for students to demonstrate content knowledge while focusing more on oral-communication skills instead of written-communication skills.

Efficiently using Web 2.0 tools can transform a normal classroom into an engaging and inspirational learning environment. This week’s videos and readings have already inspired me to create more meaningful technology-based lessons. I look forward to learning about and experimenting with more Web 2.0 tools throughout this course.


Galagan, P. (2010, July). Burp, chatter, tweet: new sounds in the classroom. T+D. Accessed from https://live.wilkes.edu/content/enforced/227585-20148.201720/disruptive_behavior.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=5IRiynVDt7Bn5cRiq3czqxIxT&ou=227585

Light, D. (2011, February). Do web 2.0 right. Learning and Leading with Technology. Accessed from https://live.wilkes.edu/content/enforced/227585-20148.201720/web20_classroom.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=5IRiynVDt7Bn5cRiq3czqxIxT&ou=227585

Schrock, K. (2015). Creating with online tools. [Video file]. Accessed from https://vimeo.com/121203978

Unit 1:Pedagogical Model Reflection

I was already familiar with some of the pedagogical approaches listed in this week’s readings, but the one that stuck out to me the most was something new. Robinson (2013) outlines the TECH approach which appeals to me because it addresses some of the same concerns I have with the original SAMR model. The TECH model adapts the SAMR model to focus more on specific roles of teachers and students instead of on specific tasks. To me, this makes the effectiveness of integration of technology into the classroom more clear. The most important aspect of this model is that it provides clear goals that are beneficial for both teachers and students who are new to technology use. By beginning with the “traditional” step and transitioning into the “enhanced” and “choice” steps, teachers can gradually help students to feel more comfortable with technology use and eventually make it to the “handoff” step, where they take charge of knowing how to effectively use technology to create an authentic learning experience (Robinson, 2013).

I believe that this approach would be particularly beneficial to my classroom. While I have been trying to incorporate more technology into daily lessons on a regular basis, most of my colleagues have not. As a result, my students do not all feel comfortable using technology. The TECH model is a good way to ease students into using technology. This model also provides the flexibility to differentiate technology tasks based upon how comfortable and familiar students are with technology. Some of my students have taken various computer classes where they have learned how to use several digital technologies; however, many of students are barely even familiar with how applications such as Google Docs and Slides work. The TECH model provides a good outline for how to design multiple tiers of the same lesson to provide an equal amount of challenge for all students.


Roberts, J. (2013, November 30). Literacy, technology, policy, etc….a blog. Retrieved from http://www.litandtech.com/2013/11/turning-samr-into-tech-what-models-are.html

Unit 2: Personal Learning Networks

Personal learning networks, or PLN, are essential to professional growth in the education field. One of the most important areas of networking for teachers is in regards to technology. Since technology is constantly changing, it’s important to make a conscious effort to learn how to best implement these technologies in the classroom. I hope to build my PLN over time, which will help me become a more effective teacher.

I have several PLN of my own. Currently, my most valued is definitely the courses I have taken through this Instructional Media program. The amount of relevant information I have obtained in the past year is almost unimaginable. Each course provides an abundance of informative articles and videos, in addition to various posts and discussions among classmates who share ideas about how to implement specific ideas. One of the reasons I value the courses of this program is because the learning goes two ways. Tobin (n.d.) notes, “Building a personal learning network requires that you not only seek to learn from others, but also that you also help others in the network learn” (p.3). I enjoy being able to share my success stories with others, knowing that it may help others become better educators. In addition to the PLN of my graduate school community, I currently rely on Wikipedia and Youtube for finding simple information, especially in regards to teaching content, such as background information about authors or settings of novels. I also read various educational blogs, such as Edutopia, when I’m looking for help with a specific task or skill.

Utecht (2008) describes 5 stages PLN adoption which include Immersion, Evaluation, Know it All, Perspective, and Balance. I consider myself to be in the second stage, Evaluation. I have been exposed to a large amount of information, and I’m still working on narrowing down what is most important to me. I would like to do more to develop my PLN to help me progress to the next stages. This week’s task to follow my classmates on Twitter and try various ideas has opened my eyes to the value of Twitter as a PLN. Following other teachers exposes me to information I never would have thought to search on my own. My goal is to stay active on Twitter by following other educators and education sites and by sharing my own ideas. While I currently read many educational blogs, I would also like to eventually post more of my own blog articles for others to read. Writing about a topic is a great way to self-reflect and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an idea. Additionally, I would like to start implementing more of the ideas my classmates have shared through their posts in class. Following these steps will help me succeed as an educator in my classroom.


Tobin, D.R. (n.d.). Building a personal learning network. Accessed from http://www.tobincls.com/articles/

Utecht, J. (2008, April 3). Stages of PLN adoption. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/

Unit 2: Twitter Reflection

Twitter Handle: EMcConnell8115

This week I experimented with Twitter as an educational tool. Overall, I was impressed with its versatility. I created a poll, shared numerous education-related links and blogs, started a vocabulary review exercise, and reached out to colleagues for their input on specific technology in the classroom. While some of these worked better than others, I found every aspect of this week’s assignment to be a useful learning tool. Alderton, Brunsell, and Bariexca (2011) conducted a research study that found Twitter provided four professional benefits to teachers, including “Access to resources, supportive relationships, increased leadership capacity, and development of a professional vision.” While I have only used Twitter for one week, I can see the same benefits being relevant to me.

Several aspects of my Twitter use this week were very successful. The most useful experience I gained was following Edutopia and EdTech k-12 Magazine. Each tweets several articles/ blogs per day that deal with countless education-related ideas. One EdTech article provided a list of various Chrome extensions that help track the amount of time students spend reading online and provide lexile levels of various articles. While I wasn’t actively looking for such a tool, I found this to be fascinating and definitely something I can use in my classroom. I was also exposed to countless useful articles that my classmates posted. I also liked the idea of being able to conduct polls via Twitter. At the end of the school year, I have students complete a questionnaire about which novel/ unit/ project was their most and least favorite. This could easily be completed via Twitter, and I would be provided with instant feedback. I posted a sample poll asking whether individuals preferred 1984 or Lord of the Flies and the consensus was unanimously Lord of the Flies. If conducted in my classroom with my actual students, this would provide valuable input indicating that something needs to be changed in regards to the way 1984 is taught, if at all.

There were certain aspects that I found to be frustrating, but these experiences can help me ensure that Twitter use runs more smoothly when implemented in my classroom. Since everyone in this course was experimenting with various strategies, there was an overwhelming amount of #edim510 tweets. As a result, I think some of my tweets got lost among all the others. I noticed that the tweets I posted early in the week received little or no feedback. One of our classmates tweeted at all of the members of the course for a particular activity, and that was a good way to direct the tweet specifically to each member of the course. That’s a beneficial technique that I didn't think to use but will consider in the future. I also think that if I’m going to use Twitter in my classroom with my students, I will create a separate account for each course and keep the account I already have for my professional learning environment. Otherwise, I imagine the same type of chaos ensuing. I will also ensure that I’m not inundating my students with tweets, because, again, I’m afraid some of them will get overlooked.

This activity was a valuable learning experience. I had no idea Twitter could be used in so many ways. I would like to experiment a bit more before I implement Twitter in my classroom to work out a few more of the issues I found, but I look forward to adding Twitter to my toolbox of valuable educational technology tools.


Alderton, E., Brunsell, E., & Bariexca, D.(2011, September). The end of isolation. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no3/alderton_0911.htm

Unit 3: My Blog Post

Please visit my blog To use technology or not to use technology: Technology in an English Classroom to see my first post about using Google Slides to help monitor student contributions to group projects.

Unit 3: Blog Readings

I visited four different blogs this week and read various posts from each. First, I outlined a brief overview of each of the blogs I visited. After, I provided a reflection on blogs in general and how they may be used to enhance student learning.

Discovery Education Blog

This blog, which may be viewed here, displays a vast amount of information for teachers and administrators of all grades and content areas. There are more posts than could ever actually be viewed by one person. It is extremely well-organized with a search bar and multiple clickable headings for easy navigation throughout (Discovery Education Transforming Teaching and Learning, 2017). It is clear that this was not compiled by one individual teacher, but instead by countless contributors. The neat, user friendly layout and lack of outside advertisements makes this blog very appealing and easy to use in the actual classroom.

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

This blog, which may be viewed here, is geared specifically to teachers interested in implementing technology into the classroom. The posts do a good job explaining concepts and providing reasoning as to how and why technology can help with various tasks in the classroom.While it is not quite as sophisticated as the Discovery Education Blog, this blog also has an area to search the entire blog and has various clickable headings at the top to help search certain topics. There are outside advertisements on this blog (Kharbach, 2017).

Jonathan Wylie’s Blog

This blog, which may be accessed here, is also geared to educators who want to use technology in the classroom and focuses greatly on iOS products. I chose this as one of my blogs to review because Jonathan was a student in one of my other Instructional Media courses, and he brought great insight to the discussions. I do not always feel comfortable with iOS products, but reading through several of his blogs about how to use iPhones and iPads was very easy and informative. He does a good job explaining both how to complete tasks and why completing those tasks may be helpful in the classroom (Wylie, 2017). For being managed by an individual, this blog is very professional looking.

The Daring Librarian Blog

This blog, which may be accessed here, is geared primarily toward librarians or teachers at the elementary level. However, there is some content that could be directed to other areas, such as the several posts about various uses and benefits of PicMonkey (Jones, 2017). This is certainly not as professional looking as some of the other blogs that I viewed. The blog is very colorful and busy, and it’s a bit distracting. The writing style is extremely informal, even for a blog, and that sort of made me lose interest in the postings.

Blogs as a Medium

In general, blogs have a unique writing style. They are typically more informal than other writing styles. To me, blogs serve more as professional advice forums than other more formal, research studies. Reading blogs is different than other types of reading because blogs often include various multimedia and links to outside material or other blog posts. It is often necessary to stop to review these other elements while in the middle of reading the blog. At the same time, though, since they are written in a less formal tone, blogs are usually straightforward and easy to understand. In regards to writing blogs, the informal nature allows for much more anecdotal writing of personal experience. Blog writing allows for a large degree of self-reflection. It is extremely different than traditional research writing which is meant to be more objective and representative of straight facts.

Although there are certainly exceptions, comments on blogs can help provide meaning. Sometimes individuals make comments about what worked well or suggestions they have for improvement to an activity or technique described in the original post. Comments also provide the opportunity to post related or adapted ideas. The exceptions arise when individuals go on unrelated tangents or start arguments via comments.

Finally, blogs can help enhance student learning. Three benefits of blogging in the classroom are, “freedom of expression, experience they can take with them, and they become experts” (Banner, 2017). These may be accomplished through various tasks. Since I teach high school English, much of what we do in the classroom focuses on improving writing, specifically formal writing. Blog writing would provide students with the opportunity to express their ideas about a piece of literature in a more informal setting than a traditional essay. They don’t have to worry so much about stylistic and formatting issues and can focus on the content and expressing their ideas. Blogs can also serve as alternative assignments to other types of assessments. For example, instead of taking a test on grammar rules, students could write a blog post explaining the rules and providing examples in order to demonstrate their mastery of the concept. Students could then read and comment on each other’s blogs so that it is a continual learning process. Blogging is a skill that students can use in life outside the secondary classroom, so being exposed to blogs in school can provide the exposure necessary to truly understand the benefits of blogs.


Banner, M. (2017). Get started with classroom blogging. OnBlastBlog [blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.onblastblog.com/blogging-in-the-classroom/

Discovery Education Transforming Teaching and Learning (2017). [Blog]. Retrieved from http://blog.discoveryeducation.com

Jones, G. (2017). The Daring Librarian [Blog]. Retrieved from http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com

Kharbach, M. (2017). Educational Technology and Mobile Learning [Blog]. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com

Wylie, J. (2017). Jonathan Wylie: Digital Learning Consultant [Blog]. Retrieved from https://jonathanwylie.com

Unit 3: Podcast Reflection

RSS feed for my podcast

I created a podcast on the values of using VoiceThread in the classroom. I use VoiceThread fairly often, and I value its ability to make presentations more engaging for all students, especially those in the audience. I chose VoiceThread because I knew that it was compatible with a variety of devices, including iOS and Android devices, as well as Chromebooks. My school does not have a 1:1 program, so I often depend upon Web 2.0 tools which may be accessed from students’ phones or Chromebooks from a checked out cart. Since I am so familiar with the benefits of VoiceThread, I had no problems writing a two-minute script.

In regards to actually creating the podcast, the process was also very simple. I downloaded the iPadio app on my phone and recorded my podcast through the app. I had no issues easily uploading my audio recording, and the quality was impressive. This tool is definitely something my students could use in the classroom without providing extensive training to them beforehand. I look forward to creating more podcasts in the future.

Unit 4: RSS and Aggregation Reflection

Aggregating large amounts of information through a tool like Feedly is a practical way to easily view it at almost any time. Feedly can be accessed through a web browser on a computer or through an app on a phone or tablet, which makes it widely available. Subscribing to and organizing feeds is extremely simple, and the amount of information that may be aggregated is seemingly limitless.

Aggregating information has several benefits in the classroom. One of those is “organizing and streamlining the abundance of content on the web” (VTmtngrrl, 2007). Feedly allows users to create different categories to help organize feeds. Students could create different categories for each class or project at school, and other categories could be dedicated to personal interest feeds, such as sports and entertainment. Feedly also allows all of the information to be easily accessible in one place. I do a current events unit with my seniors in an attempt to expose them to real world issues that could directly relate to various themes in literature. For this unit, students could subscribe to various news feeds and have access to the latest stories from different sources all on their Feedly page.

Also, if blogging is implemented into the classroom, aggregating each student’s blog can help. Having all of the blogs available in one location will make it much simpler for students to read and comment on each other’s blogs and for teachers to read and grade each blog (VTmtngrrl, 2007). It would be extremely tedious for students to have to click a separate link to view each of their 25+ classmates’ blogs. Likewise, grading for teachers would be just as frustrating. However, if all of the blogs were aggregated through Feedly, that hassle wouldn’t arise. Additionally, students and teachers would be able to know if a new blog post has been made to an individual blog without having to visit each separate blog to see if a new post is ready to be commented on by peers or graded by the teacher.

Finally, students can subscribe to specific blogs made by teachers. For example, teachers can make homework blogs that are updated daily (Richardson, 2004). If students subscribe to the blog, they will receive any updated homework posts. Currently, I use the Remind app to send out reminders about homework. The downfall about remind is that it only allows for limited amount of characters, so specific directions cannot be included. Additionally, in a homework blog, files such as worksheets or supplemental readings may be uploaded for students who were absent or forgot their work at school.

Aggregation has many beneficial uses in the classroom. I did not have much knowledge of tools like Feedly before, but I certainly can see how it can change the classroom dynamics. I look forward to experimenting more with it in the future.


Richardson, W. (2004). Blogging and RSS — The "what's it?" and "how to" of powerful new web tools for educators. MultiMedia and Internet @ Schools, 11:1. Retrieved from http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools/jan04/richardson.shtml

VTmtngrrl. (2007, February 13). Presentation on uses of RSS in the classroom [blog post]. Retrieved from http://vtgrrlscake.blogspot.com/2007/02/presentation-on-uses-of-rss-in.html

Unit 4: Critical Evaluation Reflection

My Google Slides Presentation on Critical Evaluation

For my critical evaluation survey, I decided to ask my classmates about their views on their students’ abilities to critically evaluate source information. The results of my survey, which may be viewed here, show that teachers are only somewhat confident or not confident at all in their students’ abilities to successfully evaluate source information. I chose this survey question to see if other teachers shared the same concerns that I have about students needing more guidance with assessing sources. I used the results of this survey, combined with research performed by Stanford History Education Group, to begin my Google Slides presentation in order to emphasize to students that research indicates that they need more help in learning how to evaluate sources. The rest of my presentation outlines the steps and questions to ask when evaluating source information. Hopefully when my students see the opening statistics of my slideshow, they will be more likely to pay attention to the subsequent slides about how to assess sources.

Creative Commons licensing is also useful for students when conducting research and creating projects. When creating my own slideshow, I found three images on Discovery Education, and I used the Google search feature “label for reuse” when searching for additional images. I did not know that it was possible to filter images in such a way, and I wish I had known this for some of my other Instructional Media courses. This is definitely something worth showing my students. It’s already hard enough for students to find credible sources; asking students to find reusable images can make creating a research project seem unbearable. However, by filtering google searches or using the search tool on the Creative Commons website, students can easily find images to use in school projects without having to worry about breaking copyright laws. In order for students to truly understand how to use Creative Commons, teachers can explain the different licenses, such as Attribution, Attribution- ShareAlike, Attribution-NoDerivs, Attribution-Noncommercial, Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike, and Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs (Creative Commons, 2017). It’s important that students learn the rules about assessing and crediting both content and images of online sources.


Creative Commons. (2017). About the license: what our licenses do. Retrieved from https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Unit 5: Imagery Padlet

Image accessed from https://www.flickr.com/photos/mathias-erhart/9444677420

Follow the URL below to view my Padlet Presentation on imagery: https://padlet.com/elaine_mcconnell8115/29lyoif512lg

Unit 5: Adobe Spark Video

Adobe Spark Video URL: https://spark.adobe.com/video/U8ODr78gxQmEj

Unit 5: Digital Presentation Blog Post

In the two previous entries on this page, you can view my Imagery Padlet and Plot Adobe Spark Video. Please visit my blog post Digital Presentation Reflection to see my reflections on my digital presentations that I made this week.

Unit 6: Timeline Infographics

Please view my Google Photos Timeline on the 1930s. For my timeline, I wanted to help connect a piece of literature from my English classes to the real world. James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon is centered around the idea that the world will soon be engulfed in a second world war that will leave everything except the utopian Shangri-La ruined forever. The novel was published in 1933, six years before actual war was declared on Germany. I decided to create a timeline to demonstrate the climate of the world in which Hilton was writing and to show how, in many ways, his predictions were accurate. Since World War II was so complex and involved so many different countries, the hardest part of the timeline was choosing which events to include for each year. I had no trouble finding Creative-Commons licensed photos since these events played such a large role in history. I would like to have my students create a similar timeline for other pieces of literature. During the Animal Farm unit, we discuss the events leading up to, during, and after the Russian Revolution, which would lend itself well to creating a timeline. Students could even include the parallel events from the novel that match each real-life event on the timeline. Another option would be for students to create a timeline based upon the predictions for the world based upon the novel 1984. George Orwell published the novel in 1949, and described the futuristic, dystopian world of the year 1984. Although the year 1984 has come and gone, students could still create a timeline of events that have occurred in the world since 1949 to show similarities between the real world and that of 1984. Using Web 2.0 tools to create timelines is a great way to connect literature to the real world.

Below is an adapted version of my Google Photos Timeline made using Canva. The image attributions are on the second page of the poster.

Unit 6: Statistical Infographic

Below is a statistical infographic I created using a Creative-Commons licensed image on Google Drawings.

Unit 6: Infographic Reflection

Infographics are useful tools in the classroom. Please visit my Blog Post which reflects upon the ways infographics may be implemented.

Unit 7: PSA

This week, I viewed two PSAs from the perspective of a school administrator. To see my analysis, please visit my blog post PSA Responses.

I also created my own PSA. The premise is that I am a school administrator trying to urge the teachers in my school to incorporate more technology in their classrooms. Please view the video below.

Video URL: https://spark.adobe.com/video/Yj6TgTRS9g6jW

Created By
Elaine McConnell

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