In my posts, I share successes and failures about working in education, technology integration, instructional design and self-reflect on my iterative learning journey as an educator.

My hope is that through sharing my experiences that I can challenge and inspire others daily work towards innovation and collaboration for positive change.

Tag Archive found at bottom of page.


“One Team, Endless Dreams” Opening Day Activity

Collaboration, creativity, Culture Building, Growth Mindset, Motivation

Inspired by Daniel Pink’s What’s Your Sentence video and activity I had completed as an MAET student, we created an activity for our opening day keynote. We asked our staff to reflect upon the unique talents that they each bring to the team that make us strong and successful.

Then we sent our staff off to create their individual sentences. Many of our staff members hung them on the walls of their classrooms and offices as a reminder of why they are here and how they want to be remembered. At the end of the year, we shared with the staff this video and asked them to reflect upon how they had lived up to that sentence or how that sentence had changed for them over the course of the past school year.




Menlo-Inspired Project Management Board

Organization, Project Management, Tech Integration


I am trying a new Menlo-inspired Project Management Board. I recently finished reading Joy, Inc. by Richard Sheridan (our autographed copy from the Ann Arbor Tech Trek last spring). I found a lot of parallels between the Menlo high tech anthropologist position and my role as a technology integration specialist. I have to remain in touch with the classroom and the needs of students and teachers (our end users/ clients) and also be able to translate their needs to our technology department to be able to design the best teaching and learning experience.

My new project management process involves carrying around index cards! Every time I get a new project, I will fill out an index card. I write down who the project is for, a title for the project, necessary steps for completion, approximate completion time estimate and the date that the project was created.

I then arrange my projects based off of my time estimates for completion and continue to move them appropriately throughout the week if needed. I note if a project takes more or less time than I anticipated. I am hoping that this will help me to more efficiently manage my time so that I can only take on the amount of projects that I am able to fit in the course of a week. It has already helped with being more realistic about the time frames of projects that I take on.


Maker Camp: Building a Maker Mindset

Collaboration, Growth Mindset, Maker Camp, Maker Mindset, Maker Movement, MakerEd, MakerSpace, Motivation

Everyone is a Maker.

At Maker Camp, we explicitly introduced something we called a “Maker Mindset”. We decided that it was important to highlight different parts of a Maker Mindset every week of Maker Camp. Maker Mindset introduced and reinforced qualities and the kind of growth mindset that our students needed to recognize in themselves while making and creating.

Our first Maker Mindset introduced the belief that everyone can be a maker. We knew many of the students came to Maker Camp because they had an interest in making, but we worked on projects that involved a wide variety of topics and skills that could easily have become overwhelming, frustrating and lead to feelings of defeat. We wanted students to understand that they all brought unique qualities with them that made them each unique makers. Creativity, problem solving, techy skills that students commonly see themselves lacking can all be practiced and developed- they are not a prerequisite to making.

Making and creating- along with the ownership and pride in that experience- is inherently part of being human. We have been doing it since the beginning.

As a result, we included our “Super Maker” project to kick off Maker Camp. This project prompted students to create a popsicle stick superhero of themselves, write their name and some of their making strengths. We posted them on the wall and asked students to use the wall for collaboration and support. If you wanted to make a movie, but you did not consider yourself a very good artist- go to the Super Maker wall and find someone who lists drawing or animation as one of their strengths. Ask that person for help or if they would like to collaborate on a project. This was a great way to connect our campers and reinforce the Maker Mindset belief that everyone is a Maker.

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Maker Camp: Diving In

creativity, Failure, innovation, Maker Camp, Maker Movement, MakerEd, MakerSpace, Motivation, STEM

So let’s begin this first post on Maker Camp with a camp tradition:

The spooky campfire ghost story.

One day, two crazy educators bravely decided to host something called Maker Camp with only two weeks notice. So they cautiously entered into the abandoned school (Ok, it was summertime. But if you’ve ever been in school after hours by yourself, you know what I mean- it’s enough to give you the goosebumps). They entered with no budget, a cry for volunteer help, over 100 students and families registered and the hopes and dreams of inspiring and encouraging creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking in students, staff and the greater community.

To see how this story ends, follow my posts about our Maker Camp experience. These posts are written reflectively quite a bit later than I would have preferred but better to reflect late than never.

Still fresh and new in my role as a Technology Integration Specialist with my district, I was looking for a way to use the summer to continue to build relationships and bring awareness to technology integration and instructional design to our staff, students and community. Cue my colleague, Beth, whose mutual interest and passion for the Maker movement and its impact on education became our initial bond. We began looking for ways to introduce making and the Maker movement to our students, staff and community. But of course this was about more than just the Maker Movement. Our district, as are many others, is working hard to shift towards more project based learning and active learning pedagogies along with technology integration. The 2016 Horizon report identifies accelerating trends in technology adoption in education and Maker Spaces, a shift to deeper learning approaches like project based learning, a shift from students as consumers to creators and a rise in STEAM learning as key trends and important developments in K-12 and higher education within the next 1-5 years.

In my
experience though, systematic change is often slow-moving and complex. Transformations in pedagogy like that don’t happen overnight. Which is frustrating for someone who is passionate about instructional design and technology. I just want to jump into classrooms and shout LET’S DO THIS!”. But it was important for me to pause and recognize that successful change is about feeling and not about thinking. I can tell teachers about the Maker Movement and get them thinking about how it could impact their classrooms, but that will never live up to them seeing that student that they have been struggling to engage all year suddenly engaged and enthusiastic and creating SOMETHING. That’s feeling and that is why we do what we do in the end. And that is what gives us the motivation to change.

“The deepest problem for us is not technology, not teaching, nor school bureaucracies, it’s the limits of our own thinking.” – Sylvia Libow Martinez


CEP 813: Portfolio Self-Assessment

Assessment, Digital Portfolios, MAET Year 3

The piece of work that I am most proud of from the CEP 813 course is my Formative Assessment Design. This assignment was submitted and given instructor feedback three separate times throughout the length of the course. I found a ton of value in having an extended time to create something, walk away and then return to it with fresh eyes and fresh ideas for making it better. Being able to create this assignment in three installments allowed me to take time to reflect on each of the key understandings that I needed to demonstrate within it. I was provided feedback in the form of comments within my document from the instructor each time that it was submitted that challenged my arguments and thinking in my design rationale. We were also asked to publish this particular assignment in our digital portfolios for each submission date despite their draft form for the initial two posts. This allowed us to have an authentic audience to view and comment on our work and was motivation to submit high quality work. The assignment itself was both applicable to real-life in my current context and to the Digital Assessment course and lesson objectives.

One take away that I have from this experience is that providing an extended period of time encourages and fosters deeper thinking. If our goal is for students to demonstrate mastery of a curricular concept, then we have to be aware that the complexities of mastery can not be displayed through just the lens of a timed multiple choice test. Another is that providing multiple opportunities for feedback and the ability to submit a continuously improved product allowed me to actually confront and begin to address any misconceptions or misunderstandings that I had about the content. True misconceptions are very difficult for learners to correct especially in a short time frame. If I had only been able to submit this assignment one time, I would not have had the chance to make many of the connections that I did within the course of the second and third revision.

CEP 813: Final Formative Assessment Design

Assessment, Google Forms, MAET Year 3

I am excited to have completed my Formative Assessment Design and am eager to begin using this assessment in my practice as a Technology Integration Specialist. Within the explanation above, you will find a clear connection between my instruction and the assessment I have designed. I also walk through how I would administer the assessment and the instructions that would be shared with the learners. I elaborate on how I would provide feedback within the context of this assessment and how that feedback will benefit the learning process. The assessment utilizes digital tools and my rationale for incorporating them is outlined. Overall, I supported my design with assessment theory and research that connects to my own personal teaching context.

Technology Integration Growth Plan Assessment

Technology Integration Growth Plan Documentation

CEP 813: Final CMS Assessment

Assessment, Google Classroom

This week I took a third and final look at an assessment I created using the content management system of Google Classroom. The assessment I designed specifically utilized Google Forms and Google Drive to create and submit digital portfolio artifacts the demonstrate mastery of different lessons within an online course. Below is the assessment.

I looked at both the constraints and affordances available through Google Classroom and the other Google tools specifically when it came to designing an effective assessment for an online course. Below I have discussed these further with a detailed description of the purpose, standards, and audience for this assessment.


CEP 813: Sandbox for Professional Growth

Assessment, Digital Portfolios, MAET Year 3

I began my digital portfolio three years ago when I entered the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program. At that time, I did not think of writing a blog as a form of assessment. Being used to culture of learning from elementary age up that did not accept failure as an option, I had a difficult time initially adjusting to feedback from a professor or peers that was not in the form of a grade or prescribed the exact necessary fixes to make the work “perfect”. However as a result of encouragement through feedback from others to begin to reflect on the quality of my own work, I have a deeper understanding of and interest in what I am learning and how I am learning it. Having the experience of this digital portfolio as a place to experiment wearing the learner hat has helped me to grow and see the value in utilizing portfolios and varied assessments as a teacher.

Looking forward, I will continue to utilize my digital portfolio as a digital representation of my professional work, a platform to create and share, and the most easily forgotten yet in my eyes the most important for personal growth- a place for self-reflection on my learning and experiences. My digital portfolio has provided a platform for the ability to share my work publicly and receive feedback to make changes and improvements especially important as a I try out new ideas or concepts. Having the ability to go back and make improvements to work that I had completed helped me to become a more self-directed learner and encouraged continuous improvement rather than the traditional one-shot assessment. This platform allows me to continue to document my experiences and learning anytime and anywhere. Right now, I have the crutch of my MAET coursework to support and remind me to self-reflect on my experiences as a learner and teacher. Moving forward I know that I will need to be more systematic about the way that I reflect on my learning so that I make self-reflection a daily habit as it does quickly slip through the cracks without a plan or intention.

Finally, in developing this portfolio, I have had to narrow in on the skills that I believe are most important for me to illustrate in a professional display of my work. This process helped me to justify what artifacts are displayed on my showcase and which are instead perhaps a part of my “learning in process” blog. It has afforded me the opportunity to walk through the digital portfolio process myself as a learner to better understand how teachers and students can utilize digital portfolios as a form of assessment.

CEP 813: Theory To Practice

Assessment, Digital Portfolios, MAET Year 3

I have been familiar with the use of digital portfolios in both my own professional context and for use with students since my pre-service teacher preparation. I have seen the use of portfolios especially digital, grow amongst teachers that I work with in part due to the affordances of digital portfolios. I think that the research that Bennett speaks of in support of multiple forms, occasions and design of assessments in order to create the fullest picture of any student has started to encourage teachers and administrators to break the mold of traditional assessment and move in the direction of standards based portfolios that document evidence of student’s progress towards mastery (2011). Breaking away from summative assessment focused instruction is necessary in order to be able to begin to piece together that complete picture of a student’s learning path.

In my own practice, I work with teachers to design lessons utilizing technology.  Sometimes we can get distracted by the shiny appeal of a new technology tool, but a key element of my work is steering the focus towards the enduring understandings first. I will usually begin working with a teacher and ask them questions until we have really gotten to the heart and purpose of the lesson or unit. Moving forward whether designing an assessment or lesson, we now have a clear goal and direction for our future work together (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). In my role, it is also important that I am familiar with the different technology tools that can be used to create and share digital portfolios. There are so many fantastic tools starting from even your basic Google Drive shared folder that can quickly enable a teacher and student to collect and curate work samples. I wish that when I was in the classroom that I would have had these tools at my disposal.

Some of the biggest concerns amongst teachers that I work with regarding the use of portfolios is how they can teach students to collect high quality samples to contribute to their portfolios that actually demonstrate mastery, how they can provide timely feedback, and their fear of portfolios being a form of assessment that is too prone to subjective critique. I know that I can help them begin to address these concerns in multiple ways. I can encourage them to begin by establishing a vision, purpose and audience for their student portfolios (Niguidula, 2005, p. 45). Once those key elements are in place, the teacher can start to decide how the students will arrange and contribute to the portfolio in a way that will help them keep the focus on the purpose of the portfolio. The teacher can then dig deeper to decide what mastery in each standard or area of study will look like so that this information can be clearly communicated to students. One huge affordance of digital assessment tools is the range of possibilities for quick and easy feedback. Part of my job is to help pair teachers with the best tools that enable them to quickly provide the meaningful feedback that they need to provide. In assessing the portfolio, teachers can use rubrics to help establish expectations and a student self reflection piece for each artifact as a key component of demonstrating growth (Niguidula, 2005, p. 47).

Works Cited


Bennett, R. E. (2011). Formative assessment: A critical review. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice18(1), 5-25. doi: 10.1080/0969594X.2010.513678


Niguidula, D. (2005). Documenting learning wtih digital portfolios. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 44-47. Retrieved from http://p2047-ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eax&AN=507839321&site=ehost-live


Wiggins, G.P. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://p2047-ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login?url=https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=133964&scope=site