Final Make & Inquiry Questions

My inquiry questions are listed below:

How can I assess for my students’ personal interests to ensure that opportunities for learning are student-interest centered?

In what ways can I incorporate connected learning practices into my 5th grade English/Writing curriculum?

What resources are available to me, i.e. technology/community outreach/literature, that will allow me to provide opportunities for my students to connect with each other, the world around them, with me, or with topics on a deeper level and reflect same in their writing?

The question listed in bold is the one that I centered my thinking around for my final make. In short, my final make ended up being something I discovered through my research on connected learning projects called a “Penny Harvest”. Basically, the students have a role in selecting local NPOs to raise money “pennies” for in order to support causes that they truly care about. It is certainly a student-driven project. 

By reviewing the PPT I created for my final make, I list all of the ways my students’ interests are collected and valued, thus establishing a shared purpose, interest driven learning experience. 

This certainly goes way beyond the bounds of Ed677 being this concept is supported by national organizations, such as the Young Philanthropists Organization. 

What Matters?: Building a Class Magazine

What matters to you? What issues or topics do you think get misrepresented or not talked about at all (in school, family, or community)?

This project that I developed for my final make begins with these questions and ends with a class magazine written and assembled completely by ESL students.

I am excited to share their final product in the upcoming weeks, but until then, please check out the write-up for the project here.  Please begin with the “What Matters?” document.


Peer Learning  – f5f


1.       This article focuses on peer collaboration in the world of STEM. I thought this was interesting because as indicated in the article, peer learning is one way help participation in the STEM field.

2.       Check this out…. What a great way to recruit students in STEM!!

3.       I also thought this article was very interesting because it discusses the influence peer learning could have on student success and retention in STEM programs.

4.       This is a really great resource if we want to truly integrate connected learning in the STEM education pipeline.

5.       I really liked this presentation as it discussed the pros and cons of peer learning.

Peer Learning  – f5f


1.       This article focuses on peer collaboration in the world of STEM. I thought this was interesting because as indicated in the article, peer learning is one way help participation in the STEM field.

2.       Check this out…. What a great way to recruit students in STEM!!

3.       I also thought this article was very interesting because it discusses the influence peer learning could have on student success and retention in STEM programs.

4.       This is a really great resource if we want to truly integrate connected learning in the STEM education pipeline.

5.       I really liked this presentation as it discussed the pros and cons of peer learning.

Reflection/Self-Assessment

Over the course of my time here at Arcadia, I have gone through a lot. Changing my degree program several times, it wasn’t until I found Instructional Technology that I really became excited about the opportunities ahead and in what I was learning. I really enjoyed all of the courses I took as I learned so much to incorporate into my classes, and to better prepare myself as a cyber education teacher. I feel as though I was able to uphold and even surpass the performance expectations as listed in our syllabus. The only area I think I could have been supported further in is engaging with others. Perhaps if there were a blackboard area where the many threads could be viewed, rather than a scrolling blog, I would better keep track of my peers work and be able to comment and reply more easily. I feel like at the start of this course, I was really unsure of what it was all about or how it would relate to myself and my teaching. I feel like now, after the many weeks of work, I have found an entirely new way to educate students, to connect them to their interests and with their communities, and to instill in them the desire to learn through exciting new opportunities I will make available thanks to this course. I think the success I had in this course, and the interest driven from this course, will allow me to take more risks in my own classroom in trying to incorporate connected learning, and further increase equity of technology and skills among students. My final make, or final creation for this course focuses on establishing new technology goals and baseline skills that will help to create techquity among our students’. I feel like this course, and this degree, has given me a renewed sense of passion for education, and has set me on an entirely new journey I would have never expected before. I look forward to progressing with the committee and hope to be able to create better technological environment and skill base for my students.

Reflection/Self-Assessment

Over the course of my time here at Arcadia, I have gone through a lot. Changing my degree program several times, it wasn’t until I found Instructional Technology that I really became excited about the opportunities ahead and in what I was learning. I really enjoyed all of the courses I took as I learned so much to incorporate into my classes, and to better prepare myself as a cyber education teacher. I feel as though I was able to uphold and even surpass the performance expectations as listed in our syllabus. The only area I think I could have been supported further in is engaging with others. Perhaps if there were a blackboard area where the many threads could be viewed, rather than a scrolling blog, I would better keep track of my peers work and be able to comment and reply more easily. I feel like at the start of this course, I was really unsure of what it was all about or how it would relate to myself and my teaching. I feel like now, after the many weeks of work, I have found an entirely new way to educate students, to connect them to their interests and with their communities, and to instill in them the desire to learn through exciting new opportunities I will make available thanks to this course. I think the success I had in this course, and the interest driven from this course, will allow me to take more risks in my own classroom in trying to incorporate connected learning, and further increase equity of technology and skills among students. My final make, or final creation for this course focuses on establishing new technology goals and baseline skills that will help to create techquity among our students’. I feel like this course, and this degree, has given me a renewed sense of passion for education, and has set me on an entirely new journey I would have never expected before. I look forward to progressing with the committee and hope to be able to create better technological environment and skill base for my students.

Reflection/Self-Assessment

Over the course of my time here at Arcadia, I have gone through a lot. Changing my degree program several times, it wasn’t until I found Instructional Technology that I really became excited about the opportunities ahead and in what I was learning. I really enjoyed all of the courses I took as I learned so much to incorporate into my classes, and to better prepare myself as a cyber education teacher. I feel as though I was able to uphold and even surpass the performance expectations as listed in our syllabus. The only area I think I could have been supported further in is engaging with others. Perhaps if there were a blackboard area where the many threads could be viewed, rather than a scrolling blog, I would better keep track of my peers work and be able to comment and reply more easily. I feel like at the start of this course, I was really unsure of what it was all about or how it would relate to myself and my teaching. I feel like now, after the many weeks of work, I have found an entirely new way to educate students, to connect them to their interests and with their communities, and to instill in them the desire to learn through exciting new opportunities I will make available thanks to this course. I think the success I had in this course, and the interest driven from this course, will allow me to take more risks in my own classroom in trying to incorporate connected learning, and further increase equity of technology and skills among students. My final make, or final creation for this course focuses on establishing new technology goals and baseline skills that will help to create techquity among our students’. I feel like this course, and this degree, has given me a renewed sense of passion for education, and has set me on an entirely new journey I would have never expected before. I look forward to progressing with the committee and hope to be able to create better technological environment and skill base for my students.

Inquiry and my Final Make

Through the semester, I’ve been thinking and inquiring about racial and financial inequity in public schools, and how connected learning could be a tool to reduce the magnitude of these inequities.  While there are many things that can be done politically to change these realities, teachers have to deal with the immediate implications of these inequities on a daily basis.  Teachers cannot wait for policy to change to help students who are currently disadvantaged.  One way forward will be using low cost resources, especially those online, the reduce the impact of financial and racial inequality within classrooms and between school districts.

Standardized, high stakes tests are another reality that teachers, especially math teachers, must deal with.  This semester, I’ve spent some time working with students who are preparing for the Algebra Keystone test.  In my mind there isn’t much more antithetical to connected learning than mandated, standardized tests.  The tests evaluate students in only one way, a test with multiple choice and open ended answers.  Preparation for the test can be tedious at times, since teachers have no control over the test questions content or formatting.  As I prepared my lesson, I was struck by how few example problems and materials exist online.  In my search, I found the same 50-60 so sample problems, which were provided by the state, reproduced in a number of different places.  Through our work with connected learning, I’ve been wondering if one way to better prepare students for this test is to go totally in the opposite direction, and get away from the drilling and repetition. Instead, I want to use some connected learning concepts to help students in their preparation for a common goal.

I have a few ideas on how to make this work.  Since there are so few practice problems, and students across Pennsylvania will be working through the same problems over and over again, I thought that students might benefit from hearing a new voice on the same topics.  Using the published sample problems from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), I want to created an online resource where students can teach other students how they worked through and solved different problems.  Students would be taking on a level of ownership for their preparation for a test, and in turn, help out their peers by providing a valuable and easy to access, networked resource.  In addition, students may respond well to hearing a peer, rather than a teacher, explain their thinking and working process.  In creating a network for sample problems, it will be possible for other students to share different methods and techniques for solving a similar problem, introducing some variety into the standardized test world.

As I mentioned, I found the Keystone test to have very few sample problems available online.  As we’ve gone through the semester, we in ED677 have spent a good deal of time “making” as a method of learning and inquiry.  In that vein, I thought that students could create their own test problems, and then share them. One thing I’ve seen as I work towards becoming a math teacher is that for many students, math problems simply exist.  They may be based on real world examples, or they may come from a math textbook, but they just exist to be solved.  Rather than solving problems, I think it might be valuable for math students to create their own problems.  This could provide an opportunity to incorporate interests, both from the math curriculum, as well as from outside the classroom.  They would have to consider the best way to categorize and format their question based on existing test questions, and provide multiple choice answers that would represent “common errors”.  Both of these steps would require students to investigate the test and consider more thoroughly how such a test is made.  I think allowing students to take part in creating a test questions may better prepare them for taking the test.  I’d like to provide a forum for students to create and share their own test question.

There is a lack of online resources for students and teachers to use in order to prepare for a test that almost every student in Pennsylvania will take.  This represents a great opportunity to create these resources in a way that is valuable for a network of students across the state.  My ‘final make’ will be an attempt to build the framework of this student created learning resource.