Pinterest in the Classroom

Mackey, Allison

Summary: Pinterest is an easy to use, visual way of assembling and sharing information. Users create “boards” and “pin” images and links to the board. Boards can be collaborative among many users. Users can browse boards of people they are following to find fun and useful links and information. Teachers and other professionals in education can use Pinterest to share teaching-related materials with each other, or make collaborative boards to help each other keep up with the latest teaching trends. Boards can also be created for students to use collaboratively.

Evaluation: Pinterest is very aesthetically pleasing and is another great tool for collaboration online. Because of its visual nature, it can work especially well in creating colorful and imaginative boards for units on art or for younger children. It’s also a great networking tool for connecting with like-minded educators and helping each other keep up with what’s going on in education today, as well as tools and resources for the classroom.

Examples of Pinterest boards for teachers:
Fun and Free for the Classroom
Eighth Grade Free Resources
Ed Tech (Education & Technology)

Deep learning: interesting challenges to some cognitive theories

Campbell, Margaret

Ohlsson, S. (2011). Deep learning: How the mind overrides experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


The review of this book called the information in it “breathtaking in scope and intellectual range.” The review also says that the book is not mainstream, because it focuses on learning mechanisms that transcend prior knowledge and previous experience, instead of the typical learning theory approach that looks at using prior knowledge and past experience as guiding mechanisms for future action. Ohlsson’s theory is that producing new insights, adapting, and belief changes involve revisions of prior knowledge instead of building upon it. The book is divided into sections that discuss those three cognitive changes: creativity, adaptation, and conversion.


The part of the review that attracted me to wanting to read this book, is where Ohlsson argues that the way our knowledge network is structure by prior knowledge and previous experience determines the way that we will initially define problems, and that the space of solutions that we will search is limited by our prior knowledge and previous experience. Our prior knowledge and previous experience will create an exploration space that is unlikely to produce satisfactory results, because an optimal solution usually does not appear in the first space that is explored. He calls it a general principle of unhelpful prior knowledge. He calls creativity an “accumulation of multiple insights” instead of a mysterious ability (p. 141). This leads to the observation that model-based reasoning often accompanies insights and innovation because it abstracts constraints from multiple sources in order to solve problems.

In addition, Ohlsson’s theories delve into the idea of “deliberative” practice popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s discussion of the ten years of deliberative practice necessary to become an expert at anything. I also found Ohlsson’s discussion of our ability to believe in or ascribe to competing theories without knowing it fascinating… and that by bringing competing theories to light and forcing recognition of their incompatibilities with multiple strategies, we are able to experience a conversion of thought…cognitive conflict alone is not enough to have us restructure our thinking.

There are many practical recommendations for teaching. One is that learners, especially in the sciences, would profit from well-timed and sequenced creative model-building over long periods of time

Why Superman Can Wait

Why Superman Can Wait: Cognitive Self-Transformation in the Delay of Gratification Paradigm

Wentworth, Michael

Karniol, R., Galili, L., Shtilerman, D., Naim, R., Stern, K., Manjoch, H., & Silverman, R. (2011). Why Superman Can Wait: Cognitive Self-Transformation in the Delay of Gratification Paradigm. Journal Of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology40(2), 307-317. doi:10.1080/15374416.2011.546040

Summary: This article examines the ability for preschool children to delay the temptation of being rewarded with treats by taking on the roll of Superhero A (Superman) who showcases the ability to be patient by waiting with casual ease and Superhero B (Dash) who showcases reactionary tendencies by being impatient.  The study begins with a history of the, “delay of gratification paradigm,” by highlighting research by Walter Mischel (psychologist) and his collaborators over the years, Moore, Ebbesen, Zeiss, Yates, Baker, Metcalfe, Shoda, Peake & Rodriguez.  The general findings are that children who were exposed to and preformed self-regulating strategies, like Superhero A, during these experiments have the tendency to achieve higher academic success including SAT scores, have stronger social skills and emotional stability while also engaging civic responsibility with more frequency.

Evaluation:  The interesting aspect to this article is the 40 years of research that has been going on and the tracking taking place of students that participated in early experiments to discover the outcome of the initial experiments.  Another aspect that is also interesting is the pre-exam used, the Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) created by J.C. Raven in the 1930s has been used in over 1000 studies that can be used in data analysis, which richly supports the research done in this experiment.  It may not come as a surprise that children, students, who are encouraged to take on the character of a superhero that is well respected for their honor and known to be patient assists the child in being patient.  However it is information that helps reinforce teachers to use techniques that encourage respect, honor and patience when engaging overactive children.

Blended Learning

Costa, Annie

Summary: This video describes what blended learning is, the different blended models and what they do. Blended learning is a mix of online learning with face-to-face instruction.  It describes the four blended models: rotation, self-blend, flex, and enriched virtual.  Rotation allows students to move as a group from a computer lab to a classroom to learn a specific subject.  Flex allow students to use online tools to learn a specific subject supplemented with an online teacher.  Self-blend allows students to spend half of the course time with an online instructor and other half with face-to-face interaction.  Enriched virtual is where students do a combination of any of the above models; students divide their time between courses taken at home and on campus.  The video also suggests many useful tools to help with blended learning. 

Evaluation: What’s the big deal about blended learning?  Which blended models work the best?  I think they are all great blended models because their focus is on children.  All of the above models can be effective as long as teachers are able to deliver content and teach skills efficiently.


21st Century Skills

Campbell, Margaret

Trilling, B. & Fadel, C. (2009). 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

From Iris Eichenlaub, Fall 2010

This title was referenced on the official site of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and is co-authored by the chairs of the Standards, Assessment, and Professional Development Committee. The beginning chapters were especially helpful to build my understanding of what P21 is and how it was developed. The authors cite a study that asked four hundred human resources executives to answer whether they thought the average graduating high school student was ready to enter the workforce; their answer was a decided “no” (as quoted by Trilling and Fadel, “Conference Board, Partnership for 21st Century Skills,” 2006). Missing from the graduates’ toolkit of applied skills were the following: oral and written communication, critical thinking, a strong work ethic, collaboration, the ability to work in a diverse team, applied technology, and leadership and project management (Trilling and Fadel, p. 7). 
The text came with an accompanying DVD and I was curious to see 21st century skills in action, particularly since I do not work in a school. The first example of project-based learning was from the Metropolitan Arts and Technical High School in San Francisco where a high school class was taking an innovative approach to understanding local elections through an assignment called the California Propositions PSA project. Students worked in small groups to study one of the upcoming ballot propositions and then created a 30 second promotional video clip to convince the voters to support their view. There were so many interesting components of the project: the teamwork among students of diverse ideas, skills and background; the development of key ideas as the groups explored the issues in depth; the way that technology was integrated seamlessly into the project; the continuous loops of feedback that the groups received throughout their learning process, from their teacher and peers in the class. This helped to bring life to the ideas that I have been reading about this semester that look so great in print, and into a real-life situation in a classroom. The second video on the disc was a breakdown of the same assignment by the 21st century skills that were involved, which this school refers to as their “leadership skills.” It was a great review to see the actual skills broken down after seeing the overview of the assignment. I would definitely recommend this book and accompanying DVD to other students who are not currently working in a school because it helps to “see” the applications of concepts in a classroom setting.

Inquiry-based learning

Campbell, Margaret

Green, J., & Olmstead, L. (2011). Deep learning experiences within a fixed schedule. School Library Monthly, 27(6), 5-7.

From Kareen Burns, April 2011

Bell delves into project based-learning or constructivist teaching in this excellent article.  She not only explains the methodology, but provides proof of the impact of this approach on student learning in the form of test scores and more importantly, learning with real world applications.  Bell provides examples of PBL going on in schools today to give readers a visual of this increasingly popular teaching style.  She sums up the article with information about how PBL is an ideal teaching approach for 21st century learning.  Bell points out that many important skills for the 21st century cannot be measured through standardized testing, but that PBL includes real assessments.  Students learn the process of learning, self-evaluation and reflection.  These are all tools that students can take away from PBL and use in the real world.

From Katherine Halpern, May 2011

Elementary school librarians in the Birmingham Public School district developed a curriculum for their second graders based on inquiry-based learning with a research focus  This was an opportunity to focus on 21st-Century learning skills.  To improve students’ inquiry skills (reading nonfiction, notetaking, developing questions, and synthesizing knowledge), the librarians used models by Debbie Miller and Kathy Collins.  Librarians established routines for the students’ library time and created “literacy centers” designed to encourage children to read and write about the books they checked out.  At the end of each library period, students sat in a circle and discussed the reasons they had selected a specific book.    Through communicating their though process to the class, students learned how to self-select appropriate reading material.

Librarians also created a “nonfiction museum” with a variety of non-fiction texts (newspapers, recipes, food labels) and talked about the differences between reading fiction (from start to finish) and non-fiction (reading only the portion of interest).  

Librarians modeled skills such as using table of contents and indices and had students work in pairs to practice these modeled skills.  Students formed “questions for curiosity’s sake” (p. 7) and then used the non-fiction texts for find the answers, learning “to read nonfiction for authentic purposes” (p. 7).

Focusing on “non-fiction literacy” at the start of the school year lets students participate more actively in other inquiry-based learning projects throughout the year.

Using the Kolb LSI to Reach Every Student

Hurst-Wajszczuk, K. (2010). Do They Really Get It? Using the Kolb LSI to Reach Every Student. Journal Of Singing, 66(4), 421-427.

Tiscornia, Chole’

This article explores David A. Kolb’s research and its practical application for teachers of singing and voice-related subjects. The writer, Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, was involved in the Graduate Teacher Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder that uses Videotape Consultation as a tool to teach graduate students who are new teachers. The Videotape Consultation method was developed with Kolb’s learning experiences in mind, taken from Kolb and Roger Fry’s Theory of Experiential Learning (1974). Kolb and Fry assert that the heart of all learning lies in how we process experience, and that there are two learning activities at work: perceiving and processing. Accordingly, these two activities work together or in sequence several times throughout the learning experience. The four processes of Kolb’s learning theory are: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Kolb asserts that learners step into the process at either stage I (concrete experience) or stage II (reflective observation) but move in a clockwise direction through all four stages. Hurst-Wajszczuk found however, through her own observations, that learners may enter the learning cycle at any point and proceed in any order, but agrees that all four processes must be experienced for successful learning. The article continues to explain the four quadrants that Kolb calls Learning Style Inventory (LSI) also known as preferences: accommodator or pragmatist (product); diverger or reflector (heart); converger or activist (questioner); and assimilator or theorist (equation). The article finishes with examples of how to apply this knowledge to a classroom or studio.



The article helps to provide insight into the efficacy of Kolb’s learning theories, first in graduate students’ own education training; second via the author’s own experience and observations; and finally through a specific class curriculum. The class used to apply Kolb’s theory is a voice class. It provides examples of application of the learning theories in a clear, concise method; if however brief. This article helped me to further understand the applicability of learning theories in a classroom setting. It also helped further my own self-evaluation of the theories.


Additional Reference:

Kolb, D. A., & Fry, R. E. (1974). Toward an applied theory of experiential learning. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Alfred P. Sloan School of Management.



Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)

Campbell, Margaret

Quintana, M. G. B., Pujol, M. C.,  & Romani, J. R. (2012). Internet navigation and information search strategies: how children are influenced by their participation in an intensive ICT project. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 22(4), 513-529.


190 students were assessed for the ability to use computers for internet search and for organizing, assessing, analyzing, and synthesizing the search results. In contrast to the results found in previous studies that showed students could use technology, but not search and locate reliable, valid resources for their projects, this study found that students who have had structure, planning, and regular time in their information literacy projects have a “significant ability to use search engines and locate specific information on the Internet. They have clear searching aims and navigate in relevant schedules for working on the intended task” (p. 52 ).
However, web literacy levels were ranked as low because the students had difficulty articulating their information needs, using the information that they did find for a specific purpose, and analyzing the information. It has become essential for basic literacy levels for students to have daily access to computers to handle school and personal tasks. It is recommended that students receive structured education on the way information is organized, so that students begin to build a picture of information that will allow them to work with information at higher order levels of engagement.


The article presented results from a more recent study on internet searching skills that contradicts some of the more negative results obtained from students with less experience with computers. It is interesting to see the fast changes that are happening with students and instruction as a result of more tech-savvy students in classrooms. It is gratifying to read that the increased daily exposure to tech is having a good effect on search competencies. And the article makes a point that students are still missing practice in placing information within context, and in analyzing and synthesizing search results. This is one more call for structured, higher-order IL instruction.

A Blogpost Full of Web 2.0 Tools from Librarian Joyce Valenza

Campbell, Margaret

Valenza, J. K. (2011) “My perpetual pursuit of the perfect pathfinder platform.” Voya. Retrieved from

Summary and Evaluation

This is an amazing post on “pathfinders” and a resource for tools that will support searches through what the author calls “jungles of information.” The author is Joyce Kasman Valenza, a high school librarian and the author of Power Tools, Power Research Tools, and Power Tools Recharged (ALA editions). This post is so detailed and thorough in its explanation of collaborative online tools for supporting student research and information literacy studies, that it is hard to describe it. You have to see this post to believe it. I think it is like an instructional unit in itself and will probably take quite a bit of time to explore.

Joyce Valenza also publishes a blog through School Library Journal:


This is an article that I located in the archive, originally reviewed by Mary Wong (4-20-11).
Mary’s review is below:

The article stresses the importance of serving library patrons on site and off site through the use of pathfinders. The creation of pathfinders helps to organize and guide students through mass amounts of information. The author shares and reviews various pathfinders and web2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, Google sites, Glogster, LiveBinders, LibGuides, and Only2Clicks. A wealth of resources and exemplary examples of pathfinders are provided.  My exploration of these links came across Learning Commons examples, where I found our class transformations!

Emerging Trends and eSchool News

Campbell, Margaret

eSchool News: Technology news for today’s K-20 educator. Retrieved from

I was searching the archives and found the “STAR: School Technology Action Report: Emerging Trends 2011″by eSchool Media, Inc. submitted by Michelle Yamamoto (4-28-11).

The report had announcements and reviews of many emerging media tools and techniques for learning environments, and I realized that although the 2011 report might be a bit dated, the site that published it has an amazing number of articles and new reports on recent trends in education.

There is a free registration and login, and the site is set up as a collection of individual blogs covering different subjects. Some examples include Ed-tech best practices, applying for grants, success with analytics, lawsuits and government issues, empowering education through video, blended learning, and featured education sites.


Below are Michelle Yamamoto’s comments on the 2011 report from the archive:

I mistook the title of this report thinking it would be STAR test results – instead it is filled with exciting emerging trends in education related to technology. Several emerging trends were particularly intriguing to me and are things I would either like to find out more about or consider implementing.
– Blio eReader: As a Kindle owner and user, I am intrigued by a platform that is free and that can be used across devices. If the promises about it are true, this would actually give access to a very wide audience with many, many applications for education and beyond.
– Inverted Leaning: It is a reflection of how much I am a product of a traditional “sage on the stage” learning that this concept of inverted learning is so mind bending to me. The concept of students listening to lectures/instruction on their own time (homework) and then working with the teacher for guidance and practice does seem to make more sense then the “sage of the stage” learning that is so much more common.
-Mobile Tech: The idea of using mobile devises as a learning tool – ebooks, calculators, Internet access, etc. is one I have heard before. However, in the school settings I am accustomed to the norm is banning these devices and battling with students over them rather than using them for educational purposes. This is surely a controversial topic in many schools though I think it is a conversation that needs to be had and I am glad that there are those who have already stepped out ahead in this.