Category Archives: Edtech 541

Final Reflection

This is the place where I will be creating my project for this course:

Final Reflection

Part 1: Course Reflection

I have learned quite a lot in this course and will try to sum it up in this final reflection. At the start of the course I was quite doubtful that I will learn too much but soon after it became clear to me that there is a lot more to learn and there is still more out there to explore. I have learned new tools and apps, have become familiar with novel ways to make my teaching engaging to students.

The theory introduced in the text used in this course helped me improve my teaching practice. It made me focus on the interactivity of each lesson when planning a topic for delivery in the classroom. Seeing the ideas and projects of other participants enriched my toolbox of technology tools

The AECT standards that I was able to meet by working on assignments for this course are:

  • Standard 1.3: Instructional Strategies. The EdTech 541 assignments made me explore different types of instructional strategies and plan lessons to demonstrate the use of this type of  of instructional strategy in the classroom.
  • Standard 2.2: Audiovisual Technologies. This standard was explored in more depth through the Multimedia Integration assignment where I had to create a video blog entry,  but it was possible to integrate it through other assignments as well such as planning a lesson with video integration.
  • Standard 2.4: Integrated Technologies. The entire course was all about learning to integrate technology into the classroom, so every assignment pertained to this standard.
  • Standard 3.1: Media Utilization. The Video Integration assignment as well as using games in the classroom were aligned with this standard.
  • Standard 4.2: Resource Management. Throughout this course, we had the opportunity to collect several different types of resources that could be used in our own instruction.

I had the opportunity to get more familiar with Assistive/Adaptive technology tools, something that I have never explored before but is so important for students with special educational needs. Now I feel more confident in meeting the needs of such students in the online courses I teach. This course on technology integration taught me many usages of tools I have not encountered before and broadened my horizon on what is out there.

As a result of this course I feel that my inventory of tools to use and make my lessons more engaging and interactive has increased. This will change some aspects of my teaching practice but the most important learning outcome for me is how to meet the educational needs of learners with learning disabilities.

Part 2: Self-Assessment

I have put a lot of effort and time into each assignment and blog entry and below is my self-assessment :

Content (70/70):Outstanding

Each blog entry is rich in content and draws on some theoretical reading and real-life experience. It has the depth and detail appropriate for an academic blog and allows me to make connections between the assignment for the module.

Reading and Resources (15/20): Proficient

The course text and other readings have been used through the blog entries but not all references are APA references.

Timeliness (15/20): Proficient

Not all posts have been completed on time for others to read and respond

Responses to other students (25/30): Proficient

I have responded to other students a few times but nobody seemed to write responses on my blog entries so I also stopped as I was not getting the feedback I was supposed to by my peers. Thus I have posted some meaningful responses but not all that were required.

Total: 125/140


Accessibility Features on my computer

Accessibility Features on my computer

It is very important for people with difficulties to be able to access information as everybody else and Apple has been integrating accessibility features in all their devices.

For people with impaired vision the Mac computers have several features to make it easier for them and these are:

  • VoiceOver – for speech input and audible output, an be used as a replacement for a mouse.
  • Talking alerts and spoken items. – a user can hear the item while navigating the screen with the trackpad.
  • Zoom – for magnifying what is displayed in the screen
  • Scalable cursor – the mouse cursor’s size can be enlarged
  • Display adjustment – to adjust the colors and the color contrast

For the hearing-impaired Mac computers have the following facilities:

  • Visual alerts for all system sounds
  • Alerts for the entire screen

For physical/motor difficulties the Mac computer has the following utilities:

  • Slow keys and sticky keys: slow keys add a delay between pressing a key and the effect from it and sticky keys allow to press keys is sequence instead of pressing them together
  • Improved keyboard navigation and mouse keys so that the keyboard controls the mouse cursor
  • Speech recognition and talking alerts
  • Automator – a feature that allows a user to create and save a record of actions required for routine tasks, for Automator to implement later.

All these utilities enable people with certain difficulties to use technology.



Challenges of Integrating Technology in my Content Area

Challenges of Integrating Technology in my Content Area

There are many challenges when discussion the integration of technology in education in general and in the content area of economics in particular.

The first group of major challenges is out of the teacher’s controls and includes provision of infrastructure, suitable hardware and software, adequate technical support. These all are related to the available funds to schools and the willingness of the relevant authority to shape suitable policies and provide funds to implement those. These challenges are beyond the control of schools and educators.

The second big group of challenges are those which educators can have some control over.

One major challenge is the training in technology integration. Many teachers are so used to teaching with a textbook that they find it quite challenging to embrace new approaches to teaching. It requires that teachers are given adequate, hands-on training and provided the opportunity to create useful teaching materials during those training sessions. Also, instead of bringing in external trainers who are seldom aware of the needs of teachers a better approach is to use the internal resource available , e,g, the few teachers and IT support experts that feel comfortable and have experience with using technology in their everyday life. Thus the training can meet more closely the needs of the teachers and they will feel less frustrated and threatened by technology.

Another major challenge of integrating technology in any content area is the availability of time to prepare interactive materials and to itemize points in the syllabus where technology integration will add some value to the process of learning. It can take hours and hours to preview websites and materials, to create suitable quizzes and other interactive materials, to determine the credibility of the sources. There is huge amount of information on the Internet and it is not an easy task to select suitable materials Specifically for the content area of Economics there is a huge volume of information and materials on the Internet. The other content area I teach is Business Management and there are not so many materials available free of charge on the web. Thus it can be very demanding on the teacher’s time to meet certain objectives of technology integration into the classroom and it should be done step by step as the process of teaching and learning goes. Adequate technical support and collaboration with other content teachers is vital in making it easier and less overwhelming.

There are always challenges and resistance to change but with patience and suitable solutions and encouragement the goal of technology integration is easily achieved.



Integrating Technology into the Content Area

Integrating Technology into the Content Area

Technology has become more and more immersed with the life of young people outside of the school environment. Thus, in order to engage students in meaningful learning in their classroom educators need to make use of technology and need to stay updated on new trends and developments.

The importance of technology integration in teaching my content area of Economics can achieve several purposes:

  1. It allows students to stay updated on current economic events and developments thus enhancing their knowledge of the world around us. Through technology students can find suitable economic articles for discussion, get aware of points of contention between different economic schools of thought.
  2. Technology can be used to motivate students in their studies as it allows to create engaging learning environment.
  3. Technology allows for immediate feedback and authentic assessments such as research papers, project-based tasks.
  4. Technology allows students to collaborate with each other outside of school hours and enhances their social skills.

There are many more advantages to integrating technology into the area of the subject of Economics an only few are mentioned above. Those few already point out in the direction that technology has become inseparable part of students’ lives and should be used to enhance their learning.


Relative Advantage of Using Games for Economics Learning

Relative Advantage of Using Games for Economics Learning

Using games in the classroom is not a novel idea but with the advancement of technology and the requirements of 21st century learning using games is brought to an entire different level as digital games are now the focus of many developers. Some of the advantages of using games to facilitate learning are:

  • Games are engaging and fun for learners and help extend learning beyond the classroom
  • Games allow for meeting the needs of learners with different learning styles as they are visually appealing, usually have auditory element and require certain types of movements from the learner.
  • Games enable learners to develop skills such as: time- management, collaboration, problem-solving and research skills
  • Games allow learners to take control of the learning process and learn at their own pace

In my content area of Economics games can be used in many ways. For example, a digital game such as Farmersi can be used to introduce learners to the concepts of markets, demand and supply.

Another game, Ayiti: The Cost of Living introduces learners to the life of a family in developing countries and students need to make decisions on whether to send the kids in the family to school or to work. This game can be used to start a discussion on poverty cycle and the living standards of people in the developing world, also on factors that can improve economic development in a country. Introducing the concept of the poverty cycle and factors determining economic development will help students learn about economic development, one of the modules in our syllabus.

Another game that can be closely related to international trade is the Trading Game of the IMF where students play a role of a trader and trade goods with all parts of the world. This game can be used to introduce the topic of free trade and its advantages and disadvantages and to provoke a class discussion. Another game that can be used to start the discussion on advantages and drawbacks of free trade is the game Trade Ruler developed on the basis of the Nobel prize winning Hecksher Ohlin model, which postulates that trade can help maximize the welfare of the country’s citizens.

Thus games in my content area of Economics can be used for developing problem solving skills, introducing economic concepts, provoking class discussions and challenging economic theories. Students will be more engaged with learning the subject in a fun, active way instead of just being passive learners. For games to be successful and efficient as learning tools they have to be carefully integrated into the learning process, with careful planning of activities around the gaming experience.

Finally I would like to point out that games, simulations, role-plays and classroom experiments have been used in the Economics classroom for a long time but the digital games available online are not so many.

Image source:, available under Creative Commons license


Social Networking and Walled Gardens

Social Networking and Walled Gardens

The concept of walled gardens is nothing new to the Internet. We are always worried that our students will be harmed in some way if they have open access to the Internet and are trying to create all types of barriers in the form of rules.

There are opinions that free Internet access in schools can lead to misuse of the web,  make students expose themselves to undesirable communication or simply lead to them viewing inappropriate material. There is , indeed, potential for such misuse but there are also many benefits for learning in having an open access to Internet and collaborating with peers and experts all over the world to bring new meaning to their own learning. Students should be educated in what is a safe use of Internet, they must be made aware of the dangers. Also careful monitoring of their online behavior should be in place to prevent misuse. This will allow students to freely explore the power of Internet and will benefit their learning.

Social websites such as Facebook and Twitter are referred to often as areas of restriction due to the many media stories of situations where people have been exposed to cyber issues. But the restriction of these sites in school environment can be perceived as just another example of how education is being delivered in a “walled garden” and has little to do with the real life. Using social media to connect students “both face to face and virtually, from a variety of backgrounds to work together to solve a common problem” (Cofino, 2009) has global impact, builds empathy, and creates cultural awareness that could not be achieved any other way.

The power of information exchange through social networks is huge and not allowing students this opportunity in schools does not make much sense. Schools should reflect the real world we live in today as closely as possible in order to teach  students how to be informed citizens in the global age.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Cofino, Kim. (2009) Always Learning. How to Connect Your Students Globally. Retrieved March 6, 2012 from:


Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use Policy  

I would like to start this blog with definition of “acceptable use policy”:

According to

“An acceptable use policy (AUP) is a document stipulating constraints and practices that a user must agree to for access to a corporate network or the Internet.”

Most companies, public institution  and educational institutions nowadays have their own networks and have such a policy that stipulates the rules of using the network. It is especially important to have AUP for schools if schools are integrating technology and Web 2.0 tools in their curriculum and lessons. Education World gives detailed guidelines on the formulation of an AUP for schools.

Many AUPs make sure that students are aware of basic Internet safety rules before they are allowed to surf Internet independently and this is especially important for primary school students. The AUP document contains sections on acceptable and unacceptable uses of Internet. The “acceptable uses” section may limit the Internet use to only ‘educational purposes ” in school. The ‘unacceptable use” section defines those uses of the institution facilities that are unacceptable. The uses below are often unacceptable:

  • the use of school Internet facilities for personal or commercial use
  • the use of inappropriate language and Internet behaviour
  • the bypass of filtering (if there are any such regulations implemented by the school or the district)
  • Any modification or attempt of such of the hardware
  • the use for any illegal activity or for violation of laws and regulations.

I found that the AUP of the Greenville County School is quite extensive and also covers AUP for employees , not only for students. Here is their AUP: AUP of Greenville County School

Companies and businesses are also exposed by their employees to misuse of their Internet facilities. In an ideal world employees will use computers and Internet facilities for activities related to their job while at work but the world is not ideal. So companies also implement AUP. The focus of the AUP is that their Internet facilities should be used for only lawful activities. They also try to prevent violation of their systems, unauthorized access to their data, networks, interference with service to any user, commercial use of the email systems, etc. Here is the AUP of Verizon.

The AUP of the European University Institute  is an very detailed document stipulating the use of computer rooms and office PCs, of copyrighted material, of email and network, of personal laptops and passwords, of software and internal IT resources. It also points out the consequences of misuse.

The organization I work for does not have an AUP of its own as we provide online courses to high school students who work under the supervision of Site Based Coordinator but students commit to adhere to their school’s AUP of ICT.

Public libraries also should be equipped with AUP and the American Library Association provides guidance for what an AUP document should include: ALA Guidelines. Here is the AUP of Santa Monica Public Library and it should be noted that public libraries pay most attention to preventing reproduction of copyrighted  and electronic materials, but disclaim any liability arising from access to information obtained through their electronic systems.

In summary, Acceptable Use Policy documents outline the acceptable and unacceptable uses of ITC in schools, businesses, libraries and other institutions. This document is derived from the acceptable use policies at higher level such as district or even state level. While doing my research for this blog I found out that most Acceptable Use Policy works and documents comes from institutions in the USA. There are not so many such documents from European institutions such as schools and especially libraries. This made me wonder whether public libraries in Europe have already embraced the use of ICT or not.


Retrieved from:

Retrieved from:

Image source: Walden computer.jpg, released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Retrieved from:


Video Blog on Multimedia

Video Blog: Benefits of Multimedia in the Classroom


Using the Basic Suite

Using the Basic Suite

Technology has advanced immensely since the time I first started teaching. According to Roblyer (2016), the “basic suite” of software tools includes a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation application. In the content area of Economics all these tools are used quite frequently by both teachers and students.


The word processing tools initially were used mainly for creating documents such as worksheets, records, etc. The relative advantage of using Word processing software is that documents can be easily modified to meet learners’ needs, they can be saved for later use, can also be distributed via Internet to students. The style of the document can be changed when needed, many elements such as footers and headers can be added to give the document a formal feel, tables and boxes, graphics and images also can be inserted.

Students also use word processing for creating documents such as writing essays, completing worksheets and submitting them to the teacher. They can choose their own font and format, can insert pictures and diagrams for Economics work, can use the spelling check to ensure there are no spelling errors. A lot can be done with word processing documents.

Google docs added an additional dimension to word processing by making collaboration between peers and students and teachers very easy. The Google doc apps have a great advantage that they are free and everybody can use them. Word processing apps allow for manipulating a document very easily in so many ways.


Spreadsheets are designed to help in organizing numerical data in columns and rows. Despite this purpose they are often used for other type of information such as keeping students’ records and being able to view those in one look. In my content area spreadsheets are also used to input data and derive supple and demand diagrams.

Spreadsheets allow for conducting basic calculations, presenting data in graphical form such as charts or graphs. Students often make use of spreadsheets when they write their Extended Essay and have to process the collected primary data and present it in an attractive way.

Google Forms app also make use of spreadsheets for conducting simple surveys or for checking students’ knowledge with simple quiz.


Power Point presentations have been used mainly for lecturing in the classroom. Using presentations has the advantage that the teacher can face the class at all times, the speed can be controlled, also the presentation can be taken backward or forward to a specific slide if needed.  In my classroom (online) it is a tool that is often used for presenting students’ own research on a topic.

Presentation software allows for inserting, deleting or hiding slides. It also allows for presentations to be saved for later use, to be modified according to the learners’ needs. The formatting feature of presentations allows for choosing the background color, the template structure, the font type and size. It also has many options for inserting graphics and other interactive features. Presentations can also be printed as a document and saved in other formats.

The above relative advantages of using the basic suite in education are just a few of the many such advantages that the basic suite has. All these software products have drastically changed our teaching and has made it much more efficient.


Roblyer, M. Instructional Software for 21st Century Teaching. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed).

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x, free software; available under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation

Instructional Software Overview

Instructional Software Overview

Instructional software describes computer software that is used to assist teachers in delivery in the classroom and students in their learning. The sole purpose of instructional software is to support instruction and/or learning. (Roblyer & Doering, 2016). There is a lot of “educational” software available and the educators’ responsibility is to choose the software that best supports instruction and learning in her/his content area.

Roblyer and Doering suggest that an educator should consider the five types of instructional software when making a choice as each type has specific uses and advantages.

Types of instructional software

Drill and Practice: This type of software is time-saving for teachers. It provides an immediate feedback to the learners answer to a question. It may provide an explanation as a review if the student answers the question incorrectly. In my content area we use this as a kind of a Knowledge Check or short multiple choice quiz where students choose the answer they consider correct. Such software is

Tutorial: Students access an instructional program on a topic. It is a stand-alone instructional method rather than supplementing instruction. In my content area tutorials are used to present a topic prior to various different activities such as discussions. Tutorials also can include questions to check students’ understanding. Software that I often use to create tutorials: Google Slides

Simulation: Simulation enables students to see how a system works by using a computerized model of the system. The computer model teaches students about something or to do something. In Economics we use simulations such as “Be the Chancellor” where students choose the different macroeconomic indicators, simulating choices made by governments and thus they can see how the situation is the country is affected by their choice.

Instructional Games: These are educational games online which students use. They are fun and motivating. Some such games for Economics are: “The small business game” (for running a business), “Ayiti, The Cost of Life” (about problems in developing countries).

Problem Solving: By using this software students are taught problem solving skills such as recalling information, analyzing, organizing information, making analogies, predicting outcomes. Mind-mapping and brainstorming tools such as can be considered such software if it is accompanied by explanation, analysis.

Some advantages of using instructional software in teaching Economics is that students are more motivated and engaged. Instructional software also allows to meet students’ specific needs, e.g. drill and practice software allows students to practice on their own if they feel challenged by the content.

Instructional software also allows to achieve differentiated instruction as the teacher can choose the type that best will fit students’ needs in consideration of students’ learning styles and curricular outcomes.

The everyday life of our students is full with technology such as smartphones, tablets, laptops. The efficient integration of technology in the instruction serves to motivate students, engage them with content, develop their interest in learning.

Instructional technology and its usage is also beneficial for teachers as it can save time, allow for more personalized approach to students and thus motive their students to become life-long learners

Roblyer, M. Instructional Software for 21st Century Teaching. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed).,

Image source: Wikimedia Commons: A reflection of a man typing on a laptop computer, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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