Play test 2: Affordance

For your Play-testing 2 assignment, you will play with a variety of tools that you might use to create your own ePortoflio. Educators use many different web-based tools to house their portfolio thinking, including blogs, wikis, websites and proprietary platforms such as Foliotek. For this play-testing assignment, you will not include blogs because you play-tested that technology last week. Play around with any other technologies as you are exploring; however, you may consider how blogs could be used to create an eportfolio when you make your Reflection Post this week. You can and should explore the many free tools available as you make a decision about where you will host your own ePortfolio:

  • Wikis – A wiki is a website that many people can edit. Most have controls so that the owner of the wiki can determine who can edit the page and who can just view the page. Many free wikis can be found through a Google search. Some are free to educators and their students.
  • Websites – You can use any of a broad array of creation and hosting tools that fit into this category. Free sites, such as Weebly or Google Sites, can do both. These online tools offer point-and-click design templates and content creation. Some might have ads or unwanted content, however. Those of you with more technical proficiency might prefer to obtain your own domain and an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or code your site with HTML to create your ePortfolio.
  • Proprietary tools – ePortfolio vendors (developers and sellers of proprietary software specifically for eportfolio creation, dissemination, and collection) often provide free trials to allow for play or tutorial videos that describe that wondrous capabilities of their tools (recognize that there’s some bias in their descriptions); these can be found with a Google search.

Your Play-testing 2 assignment is to:

  • Explore a variety of ePortfolio tool options such as wikis, websites or proprietary platforms.
  • Create something. You can begin building your portfolio or just play around with the tool but you will need to post a link on your blog to something that you created this week.
  • Identify affordances. In your blog post, write about the affordances of the tools you explored. Consider how and why that tool might be the best choice for you.
  • Consider context. Would you make a different choice of tool if you were asking your students to create an ePortfolio? Why or why not? Discuss the affordances of these tools for others in different contexts.


I created accounts with Wix, Wikispace, and Weebly and explored through the tools within each. I created a Gmail account, so I can post my final eportfolio assignment to Google docs. Within the Google account, I created my profile, but I am still learning my way through it.

I have decided to choose as the home for my eportfolio, so I went back into my blog and updated a post with the correct eportfolio site. 

Before this semester, my knowledge of technology tools was working with Microsoft Word and Power-Point presentations, AOL, Facebook, Pinterest and using the apps feature on my iphone.

In doing this assignment, I first needed to understand the definition of the word “affordance” because it was an unfamiliar term. I used the following site to get my start.

The following definition came from the site above:

According to Norman (1988) an affordance is the design aspect of an object which suggests how the object should be used; a visual clue to its function and use. Norman thus defines an affordance as something of both actual and perceived properties. The affordance of a ball is both its round shape, physical material, bouncability, etc. (its actual properties) as well as the perceived suggestion as to how the ball should be used (its perceived properties). When actual and perceived properties are combined, an affordance emerges as a relationship that holds between the object and the individual that is acting on the object (Norman 1999).

With that definition in mind, I think the affordance of the tool is ……….workability.

I found the weebly web site easier to navigate through with the ability to create pages upon the first trial. This was not the case with the wikispace that I had initially created. I would suggest weebly over wikispace to use for students, but there may be others that are better and I will continue my investigations.


Information Literacy

This week we’d like you to: first give us your best guess on the percentage of adults working in the United States in the 20th Century who needed to have a range of skills represented by information literacy in order to do their jobs successfully, then give the percentage of adults working in the United States in the 21st Century. Now, think back to the definitions of educational technology and the four ages of educational technology that you read about and discussed in the first two weeks of class. The definitions changed and nature of teaching with technology changed as technology itself changed. Explain some of those changes–in educational technology and in teaching with technology. Is there any connection between educational technology and information literacy? Do you think it’s OK for teachers to teach without using technology more than a decade into the 21st Century?


The Twentieth Century (January 1, 1901-December 31, 2000) was an Era of hard felt technological transformation. During that time many of us, especially our parents, witnessed tremendous change. These consisted of going from classroom slide tape presentations, overhead projectors to 16 mm movies to tape recorders to DVDs, wireless laptop computers, smart phones, ipods, ipads and now there is new tech features that make the pages move so fast that we forget what we were looking for. Well, with all that said, I will give my first WAG to be 30 percent.

On the other hand, the 21st Century is moving with leaps and bounds, so I believe it will require 80 percent technology literacy involvement to be successful. There will always be the need for manual laborers that do not require information literacy skills; however, even those jobs began with technology involvement an example is the building of highways. As our students move through early school years to their undergraduate years and graduate programs, they need to have repeated opportunities for seeking, evaluating, and managing information gathered from multiple sources and discipline-specific research methods.

In 2004, the American Association for Higher Education endorsed the Information Literacy Competency Standards. These Standards are defined: an individual’s ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, synthesize, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.  Information Literacy is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.

Information literacy can no longer be defined without considering technology literacy which is necessary for individuals to function in an information-rich, technology-infused world. Gaining skills in information literacy multiplies the opportunities for students’ self-directed learning, as they become engaged in using a wide variety of information sources to expand their knowledge. Achieving competency in information literacy requires an understanding that this cluster of abilities is not extraneous to the curriculum but is woven into the curriculum’s content, structure, and sequence. This curricular integration also affords many possibilities for furthering the influence and impact of such student-centered teaching methods as problem-based learning, evidence-based learning, and inquiry learning. Guided by faculty and others in problem-based approaches, students reason about course content at a deeper level than is possible through the exclusive use of lectures and textbooks. To take fullest advantage of problem-based learning, students must often use thinking skills requiring them to become skilled users of information sources in many locations and formats, thereby increasing their responsibility for their own learning.

The National Higher Education Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Initiative has developed a definition of literacy for the 21st century which combines cognitive and technical skills with an ethical/legal understanding of information. ICT proficiency is the ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and/or networks to define an information need, access, manage, integrate and evaluate information, create new information or knowledge and are able to communicate this information to others. You will neither become information literate nor communication technology literate overnight. Just as with speaking skills and writing skills, your abilities will improve over time as you gain expertise in the topics you choose to investigate. This process will give you practice in searching for, selecting and evaluating the information you encounter and will allow you to create new ideas, which you communicate to others using a variety of technological tools.

As we move further into the 21st century, we are convinced that information literacy will become the standard-bearer for academic achievement, workforce productivity, competitive advantage, and national security. It is the foundation for effective, lifelong learning practice, personal, and professional empowerment. Information Literacy is a compilation of media literacy (visual and computer), research and library skills, critical literacy (reading and thinking), and informational ethics (copyright, security and privacy). An example is “Media literacy” and it represents a necessary, inevitable, and realistic response to the complex, ever-changing electronic environment and communication cornucopia that surround us. It is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information in a variety of forms and is interdisciplinary by nature.

Courses structured in such a way create student-centered learning environments where inquiry is the norm, problem solving becomes the focus, and thinking critically is part of the process. Such learning environments require information literacy competencies. As a future educator, I strongly believe that information literacy is an important aspect of learning. I would like to mention the importance of the CRAAP test that should be followed when working with students and their understanding of information literacy especially with research.


Tech Play 3 – Creativity Tools

For your Tech Play 3 Assignment, you will explore creativity tools. We are defining a creativity tool as anything that allows a student to create or produce something. These are not necessarily tools that are associated with the fine arts type of creativity, although those tools are certainly fine if you are teaching art! These are also not tools that are typically associated with productivity as we are not necessarily concerned with efficiency. These are tools that students use to create something digital and shareable. For an example and non-example:

  • Students creating a Voki that exercises, displays or helps them work through some of their knowledge is a creativity tool. (example)
  • A tutorial that walks students through content and/or questions them on their comprehension is not a creativity tool. (non-example)

Creativity tools can be web-based or can be an app for an iPad or other tablet device. Because many schools are moving to Apple products, we would like to offer you the opportunity to explore apps in a way that moves the device beyond a “digital flashcard” and allows for student creation. Please do not go out and buy an iPad for this class! If you do not own an Apple device, you can certainly explore web-based tools using your computer! We just want to open the exploration to apps that you can use on an an iPad or iTouch device if you own one or want to borrow one for your exploration.  

Let us continue to clarify creativity tools – We are not asking you to explore the use of a pencil because we assume that you already know how to use a pencil. Similarly, we are not asking you to explore the Microsoft Office Suite because we assume you already know how to use the Microsoft Office Suite. If you are very interested in a presentation tool, for example, explore something like Google Docs or Prezi. While students can create something shareable with a Microsoft Office Suite tool, we would like for you to push yourself to explore and play with other tools.

To find a creativity tool, you may certainly google “Creativity tool” and begin there. Please do not assume, however, that if a tool is list as a creativity tool on a google search or even another website, that it does actually allow for students to create or produce something shareable. You will need to think about the tool and justify whether you believe it is a creativity tool and why.

Once you have explored some creativity tools, go to your blog and post the following reflection:

  • Discuss the variety of tools you explored, what you liked or disliked about each one and which one you selected one to continue to reflect on.
  • Describe how this creativity tool that you selected might fit into the TPACK model. Specifically, describe the content, pedagogical and technological aspects of some student work that uses the creativity tool you selected.
  • Identify other ways that students could use the creativity tool you selected.
  • Why is it important to know about and use creativity tools? What do they offer that other tools (i.e., drill and practice, tutorials, instructional games, etc.) do not offer?

This week, I explored 25 sites from the following:  Education and Technology resource list from A to Z

Among the 207 tools on the list, I found numerous and varied styles with different technology uses and strategies. Below are four from the list that I would recommend for students use.

Glogster EDU is the leading global education platform for the creative expression of knowledge and skills in the classroom and beyond.  We empower educators and students with the technology to create GLOGS – online multimedia posters – with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments and more. 

Timetoast allows you to create interactive time lines, which can be shared anywhere on the web. Timetoast is a great way to share the past, or even the future. It only takes minutes to create a timeline.  Students can create zooming presentations  Students can create their own puzzles.

I found 7 tools useful to me, which I subscribed to during this course.  Create zooming presentations  National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL)  National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)    this is trustworthy information in a world of media and technology.   Grades 1-8 that is real, relevant and approachable. is a site for learning that is thorough, intuitive and fun  is a site to create lesson plans


The tool (website) I used to answer this question did not come from the above list; however, I will choose it for students to use in my science classroom. A brief description is provided.

Discovery Education offers a breadth and depth of digital media content that is immersive, engaging and brings the world into the classroom to give every student a chance to experience fascinating people, places, and events. All content is aligned to state standards, can be aligned to custom curriculum, and supports classroom instruction regardless of the technology platform.

Discovery Education will accelerate student achievement by capturing the minds and imaginations of students with the fascination of Discovery, tapping into students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn. Discovery Education offers a portfolio of opportunities for students to learn in this digital age. With award- winning digital content, interactive lessons, real time assessment, virtual experiences with some of Discovery’s greatest talent, classroom contest & challenges, professional development and more – Discovery is leading the way in transforming classrooms and inspiring learning.



Tech Play 4: Content Objects for Science

Because this is our last Tech Play assignment, we would like to offer the opportunity to explore content objects that are specific to your needs or desires. You can play with different websites, software or apps that you can use for teaching your subject area. These can be virtual manipulatives, creativity tools that you did not have the opportunity to explore last week, apps that you would like to explore, etc.

We have tried throughout this semester to offer broad tools that are not content specific and have many uses. While some of the tools you might explore this week could be content specific, we would like to challenge you to make sure the tool allows for students to approach it in many different ways. For example, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives offers mathematical manipulatives (specific content) but students can approach their thinking with those manipulatives in many different ways. Of course, the teacher is then needed to structure work around those manipulatives that allows students to play with the concepts under study and to draw conclusions. That is exactly what we would like to see! As another example, simulation software like Celestia offers students the ability to explore the solar system. But we know that the standards have specific knowledge that might or might not come about through a student’s exploration with Celestia. So, how would a teacher structure work around the simulation tool so that students can explore but also complete the work and understand the important concepts delineated in the standards? These are important questions with which to wrestle and we would like to see you wrestling with them in this Tech Play assignment!

Play with some content objects and then answer the following questions on your blog:

a. Discuss the tools you explored, what you liked or disliked about each one and which one you selected one to continue to reflect on.
b. Describe how this content object that you selected might fit into the TPACK model. Specifically, describe the content, pedagogical and technological aspects of some student work that uses the creativity tool you selected. Make sure you discuss the type of work you would design around that tool so that students would learn the information required by the standards.
c. Identify other ways that students could use the content object you selected.

   A. This is a List of Websites that I researched and would use in the future for teaching secondary science. Free Technology for Teachers Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  is a teaching resource for secondary science  teaching tips   Smithsonian Science Education Center for Middle School that has Teaching Resources   is a collection of great web sites maintained by 5th to 9th grade science teachers across the country.  (Peer-reviewed journals for middle level and junior high school science teachers)   NSTA academy to help teachers inquiry-based science projects that engage students in STEM activities NSTA’s latest ready resource: Science Objects!  National Science Foundation is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations. Learning Practice

  B. Science and engineering of the Olympic Winter Games: Engineering faster and safer bobsleds

Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Ask students to watch the following website: (

For homework, have the students identify four ways a bobsled could be modified to increase the velocity of the sled without violating any of the rules and requirements.

The rules for Olympic bobsledding can be found at

Connection to Science

The concepts described in this video include force, mass, acceleration, friction, velocity, surface area, drag, and gravity. The use of models and modeling is made explicit within the design process of the bobsled and the bobsled track. The video emphasizes design considerations related to weight distribution, the materials used to build the bobsled, and the bobsled’s contact with the track with the intent of building the fastest possible bobsled.

Connection to Technology

The video highlights technologyused to model both the bobsled design and the design of the track, which allows the scientist to predict outcomes without investing time and money in building a bobsled or bobsled track or putting a bobsled and track testers at risk. Additionally, technology is used to build the precise computer models generated through the design process and aid in the actual construction of the bobsled.

Texas common core standards can be found at the following:

Chapter 112. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science
Subchapter B. Middle School

§112.18. Science, Grade 6, Beginning with School Year 2010-2011.

(C)  Force, motion, and energy. Energy occurs in two types, potential and kinetic, and can take several forms. Thermal energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation. It can also be changed from one form to another. Students will investigate the relationship between force and motion using a variety of means, including calculations and measurements.

(8)  Force, motion, and energy. The student knows force and motion are related to potential and kinetic energy. The student is expected to:

(A)  compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy;

(B)  identify and describe the changes in position, direction, and speed of an object when acted upon by unbalanced forces;

(C)  calculate average speed using distance and time measurements;

(D)  measure and graph changes in motion; and

(E)  investigate how inclined planes and pulleys can be used to change the amount of force to move an object.

C. Integrate Video in Instruction

As Part of the Day

·         Bellringer Play the video, muted, as students are getting settled on a day when the Related Science Concepts noted earlier are a focus. Ask them to reflect on what they think are important characteristics for a competition bobsled and how the bobsled’s design features are involved.

·         Compare and Contrast Replay the video segment from 3:42 to 4:04, which shows designers using computer models to develop and test the bobsled design. Have the students evaluate the computer modeling design process from a cost/benefit perspective.

Explain Show the video in its entirety. Introduce the idea of models and modeling as a practice of science and engineering.


The above lesson came from the following site:

Stages of Technology Integration

I compared what is the same or similar among some models of technology integration: ACOT, Texas School Technology and Readiness (Texas STaR), Reiber, and SAMR.  Even though the terminology is different, these 4 models move teachers up the ladder of technology integration to reach the top, which is teacher tech knowledge and successfully integrating it in the classroom. ACOT has 5 stages of technology integration (Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Appropriation, and Innovation).  Texas STaR chart has 4 key areas (Early Tech, Developing Tech, Advanced Tech, and Target Tech). ACOT and Texas STaR contain a lot of details on what it takes to reach the next area/stage/step. ACOT’s Innovation Stage 5 catches up to Texas STaR in that teachers and students are frequently using technology online.  Models link as teachers see their level of progress according to their use of tech tools, online lessons, activities, collaborative learning, and web-based communication.

Next, I contrast models for things significantly different.  Texas STaR model is up-to-date compared to ACOT.  The ACOT model was timid about using the internet and integrating technology as teachers and students use little to no internet in stage 1, 2, and 3 (Entry, Adoption, & Adaptation).  Differing from Texas STaR, ACOT’s stage 4 (Appropriation) is the first stage that students have internet use within teacher parameters. ACOT’s stage 5 (Innovation) has students taking on innovative roles using the internet for learning and being assessed.

In conclusion, the Texas STaR is the most insightful for me to gain an understanding of successful technology integration. In analyzing the areas on the Texas STaR chart, Early Tech fits with my level of progress. As a substitute teacher, I use technology in the classrooms where technology is in place for instruction, assessment, communication, homework, and as a resource. Since I work in Texas, I spent extra time on the Texas STaR information, and in doing so, I feel comfortable that I can someday reach the Target Tech level.