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.