PBL and STEAM Education: A Natural Fit

Liu, Jacqueline


Miller, A. (2014). PBL and STEAM Education: A Natural Fit.  Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/pbl-and-steam-natural-fit-andrew-miller#comment-184731

Educational consultant and online educator Andrew Miller cites examples on how project-based learning can be integrated into STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art and math).


This articles presents practical advice classroom teachers who teach STEAM, and it accompanies a video clip showing teachers discussing the assessment and design rubric on the students’ wing design project.  The examples offered are insightful and doable.  Great piece for STEAM educators looking for PBL ideas.

The invisible iPad: It’s not about the device

Liu, Jacqueline


Cohen, M. (2014).  The invisible iPad: It’s not about the device.  Retrieved from

Cohen argues that regardless of the form of educational tools students use, whether it is an iPad or any other device, without a clear goal in mind and the assessment of skill sets students will lose sight of the purpose of project-based learning.  In order for students to create products with different technological devices, Cohen urges educators and educational technologists to focus on the foundational skills and to provide guidance for students on how these devices and applications will enhance basic skills.


While this article does not cite any evidence (i.e., statistics) from research studies, the author’s strong opinions stressing the importance of clarifying learning outcomes over the use of difference technological devices make up for the missing data from educational technology studies.

Designing Effective Library Services for African American Youth

Educational Theory

Angelique Mullen


HUGHES-HASSELL, S. (2013). Designing Effective Library Services for African American Youth. School Library Monthly, 29(6), 11-13. 

Abstract: The article discusses the role of school libraries in helping achieve the goals outlined in U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive order of improving the educational achievement and life outcomes of African American youth. It notes that effective library programs move beyond teaching isolated skills to enable African American youth to see the value of literacy skills in the real world. It cites the virtual library that provides an opportunity for them to cultivate voice and agency.

Evaluation: In 2012, President Obama signed an initiative that attempts to provide more school library services and attention toward African American youth. This article discusses the five elements involved with designing effective library programs and services for African American youth. First, it is very important to have administrators who examine library policies to ensure that they are responsive to the lives of young African Americans. Responsive principals can provide the necessary infrastructure for developing and delivering appropriate library services. Second, it is essential to have competent and culturally sensitive school librarians who interact with African American youth as individuals and not through the lens of culturally deficit human beings. School librarians cannot be half-hearted in their efforts to close the education gap for African American youth. Teachers often see African American students as the problem students, instead of embracing the beauty and challenge of each individual student. 

Next, school librarians need to move beyond the teaching of isolated reading skills to enable African American youth to see the value of literacy in the real world. By setting high expectations for them, and helping them connect literacy to the real world, they can enable African American youth to act in their own communities. Materials need to be relevant and sensitive to African American youth, with books that mirror and reflect their own lives. Too often, library materials are full of white children and have no cultural relevance to African American young people. Finally, library spaces need to be welcoming places for all young people, enabling them to increase and express their literacy.

The future is in doubt: Librarians, publishers, and networked learning in the 21st century

21st Century Skills

Julian Zamora

IL-21st Century Skills

Menchaca, F., (2012).  The future is in doubt: Librarians, publishers, and networked learning in the 21st century.  Journal of Library Administration.  Retrieved from PDF Link.

This article considers the relationship between social networking tools, such as Facebook, and learning. It examines the consequences of personalization associated with such tools on research, critical thinking, and information literacy. New roles for libraries and librarians are discussed, as are the broader social, political, and cultural implications of changes to how students are educated.

We’ve all learned in this class that 21st century skills are a critical asset to have if you want to 1. Do well in school, and 2. Be successful in your desired career.  This is true because as technology moves forward, so will our jobs that use these technologies.  For the students that were surveyed in this study at a college, they understand how to use this technology, but the library use as a resource of references are dwindling.  

So what’s interesting is that the Menchaca advises libraries to become places of “networked learning”, where 21st century skills are put to the test and maximized with instructors, librarians and students.  At the same time, Librarians should be “research sources” and be better utilized in the online marketplace.  

Construction of the foundations of the PLE and PLN for Collaborative Learning

Educational Theory and Practice

Julian Zamora

CO-Collaboration Strategies

Marin, V., Negre, F., & Perez, A., (2014).  Construction of the foundations of the PLE and PLN for Collaborative Learning (2014).  Media Education Research Journal.  Comunicar Vol.21(42).  Retrieved from PDF Link.

In the article, Marin, Negre & Perez, the authors argue that a PLE and PLN are important for collaboration within students, and discuss its importance through a Virtual Learning Environment.  Their study of Primary Teachers “show that the students construct their PLE and PLN using newly acquired knowledge and that an appropriate methodological integration takes place between these environ- ments and the institutional VLE for integrated learning”.

Much like we’ve learned through the last assignment, the Personal Learning Environment and Network, this article is great for the validity of the use of technology as a way to keep learning. At the same time, these tools are crucial for the collaboration of learning with other websites, other people.

Can Student Driven Learning Happen Under Common Core

Curriculum and Assessment

Julian Zamora

CA-Assessment Strategies
CA-Common Core Assessments

Ratzel, M., (2013). Can Student Driven Learning Happen Under Common Core.  Mindshift.  Retrieved from

The article talks about how student driven learning begins with an essential question (like our KBCs) and examines whether this type of learning is compatible with Common Core. (Included is a link to an article about Project Based Learning being “worth the trouble.”)

This article brings up good points about how teachers will be able to handle the transition ideas of Common Core, and making sure that curriculum is student-driven, and not just lecture.  This class taught me how to specifically solve this problem through a KBC and the different Transformations.  Likewise, the article also brings up the point that some teachers may be hesitant or just misinformed about ways to properly give students the reins to learn on their own.

Transforming Collaboration: Student Learning – Anytime, Anywhere


Julian Zamora

CA-Student Learning
Jones, S., & Green, L.S. (2012).  Transforming Collaboration: Student Learning – Anytime, Anywhere. Teacher Librarian. Retrieved from PDF Link.
This article discusses the importance of web 2.0 technologies to incorporate collaboration among students and teachers and teacher librarians.

Printed in 2012, the authors of this article definitely understand that to “integrate information literacy skills and instruction into the curriculum” requires collaboration between both parties.  Much like our class discussions, the authors discuss how difficult it can be for those two parties to physically get together and work on shared curriculum.  However, once they do, the results are very effective for students and student learning. 

They have some good resources for librarians and teachers to help students collaborate such as: Diido, Edmodo, Jing, Thinglink, Scribd, Voicethread and other sites that we used in this class for our collaboration lesson plans.     

Redesigning and Organizational Behavior Class Using the Understanding by Design Framework

Michael Ayala

Marshall, C.R. and Matesi, L. (2013). Redesigning and Organizational Behavior Class Using the Understanding by Design Framework. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice,    13 (3/4), 85-92.


Link: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=94485419&site=ehost-live

A research article explaining Backwards Design, it reveals to readers how educators using this concept decide what they want students to take from the lesson from the long term, figure out how that will be assessed, and design the coursework last. The article explains educators must write “Enduring Understandings” before working through the process, and gives suggestions on how to write effective understanding statements. The Understanding by Design Framework then suggests, according to the article, to take a moment and decide what parts of the lesson are absolutely critical to learning, what is important to know, and what is worth having an idea about. Doing so enables the educator to develop effective lessons that get the point across quickly and effectively.

This is a useful article to learn about backwards design, as the concept is explained early on and several examples of how it works are provided. It is also useful for readers who are familiar with the subject, but are seeking ways to evaluate it and implement it in class.

To Flip or Not to Flip?

Michael Ayala

Bergmann, J. & Waddell, D. (2012). To Flip or Not to Flip? Learning and Leading with Technology, 39 (8), 6-7.


Link: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=83178471&site=ehost-live

An opinion piece from Learning with Technology, two teachers face off and talk about the virtues and vices of flipping classrooms – leaving lectures to be reviewed at home while class time is used for projects and labs. Jonathan Bergmann, a science teacher, explains once he flipped his class he never went back to the traditional class lecture times. Eliminating lectures in the class results in a more focused curriculum, he explains, and frees up time for teachers to take a close look at their projects
and determine if they are really worthwhile. He concedes not all subjects are good flipping candidates, as math, science, and foreign language would likely benefit more from a lecture format.

Teacher Derrick Waddell argues flipped teaching isn’t an advancement in education – it’s a side-step. Students are still submitted to lectures, but the difference is they have to wait to go to class to have their questions answered rather than receiving immediate feedback. Flipped teaching also contradicts the push for greater teacher accountability, he argues, as it shifts the responsibility of teaching to students. Finally, flipped classrooms may serve to widen the digital divide, as only students and communities with the finances to support it will be the ones to benefit.


A good article focusing on the pros and cons to flipping classrooms. This shouldn’t be the first article for students new to the concept to read, however once they are familiar with the subject it is a great one to read to understand both sides of the issue. Many articles talk about the virtues of flipped teaching, so exposing oneself to the other side of the matter is highly beneficial.

A Meeting of the Minds

Michael Ayala

Bayliss, S. (2013). A Meeting of the Minds. School library Journal, 59 (12), 1-1.


Link: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=92709160&site=ehost-live

This article discusses how the private New City School in Missouri has integrated multiple intelligences into the design of its library. The library hosts weekly Multiple Intelligence Centers and engage in a variety of activities, such as performing scenes from a book, create murals, or complete puzzles. Though the library tries to incorporate activities to support all intelligences, it focuses on logical-mathematical intelligence the most with board game tournaments. It also creates a variety of group activities to help students develop their interpersonal intelligence. Other intelligences come naturally, such as linguistic, with the library’s host of literature.


Although this article doesn’t explicitly discuss the multiple intelligence concept, the article is valuable as it demonstrates how some schools have embraced it and developed unique ways to cater to students. It also suggests several methods libraries can adopt to cater to multiple intelligences, and perhaps even give ideas to public librarians on how to serve multiple intelligences through their programming.