Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Link to Wiki: John Metzler's Wiki

Brainstorm ideas for how you might use a wiki in your classroom or school (clubs / teams) to create a meaningful project for collaboration and learning.

A wiki could be used as a means of collaborating and providing each other with resources that some may know about, but others may not. It could also be a place where students provide each other with notes from class (if a student is absent), or where they collaborate on how to solve a problem. Additionally, it would be a place where they study information for their final, since they will have created a large collection of resources.


How is an LMS (Moodle) different from a standard teacher website? As you work with Moodle, what advantages do you see it affording your students? How can Moodle help you transform your classroom into a more student centered learning environment?

I have been tempted to work with Moodle many times. However, each time I work with it, I become more and more frustrated. While some parts of Moodle are well designed and student centered (opportunity for self-directed lessons, online quizzes), they are extremely time consuming and inefficient for teachers to use. Additionally, the simple upload of documents to Moodle is time consuming and takes an enormous amount of time to get done. While it is possible to just "upload a google doc," I don't find this to be a fix. I just find this to be a way out of a poorly designed system.

As far as what advantages it affords my students, I can not see many other than it is organized quite clearly. However, a teacher website can be just as organized for students. It can provide resources for students in a similar manner and it takes less time to make things happen. The only real advantage to Moodle is the opportunity for the self-directed lessons. Though, I do not believe this is necessary beneficial for ALL students and many would not benefit from it. Because of this, it is difficult to justify putting in the hours upon hours of time necessary to create an effective lesson.


Reflect on how the concept of Open Source content is compatible with educational philosophies such as the concept of the democratization of knowledge and development of an educated population.

Open source content is compatible with educational philosophies that emphasize the democratization of knowledge because no one person owns the software, and it is free and available for all to use. Since this is true, anyone can work on the code associated with the software, which leads to larger collaboration amongst the developers of the software. Since there is more collaboration, improvements are continually made as they are needed.

Those who use FOSS are generally free to make comments about the software and ask for things to be done with it, if they are not capable themselves. Some FOSS is very beneficial (such as Physlets), but some is a cheap version of a more technologically advanced software. While this is usually the case, generally the FOSS works, just not as smoothly or presentable as the more technologically advanced software. Still, everyone has access to the FOSS regardless of socioeconomic status, whereas only a certain percent have access to the most advanced software.

Cloud Learning

This post is done as part of the reflective portion of a technology course:

Link to Cloud Learning Lesson: Metzler's Google Doc

Post a reflection of your experience. List potential instructional situations where synchronous meetings would lead to innovative or improved learning experiences for your students. Post comments to two new colleagues' blog posts.

I have used Google Docs before in my class as a way for them to collaborate on specific things, like data attained from a lab. Students are then able to do a much more in depth analysis of the conclusions and implications based on this data and evidence they create. The idea to use a google doc as a way to initially address what students know and don't know about something is new for me. However, I feel it could be a powerful assessment for me, and the students are essentially "anonymous," at least to my students after the document has been closed to them. I plan to use this and, if it goes well, I think it could improve the learning experiences of my students and could increase the formative assessment the students give me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Link to my podcast: Metzler's podcast

What challenges and potential benefits can you see in utilizing podcasting technology in the classroom? Although we often use podcasts to convey information to our students, what are the benefits of having students develop their own podcasts? How can you incorporate the concept of long term student podcasting in your curriculum (students recording a series of podcasts over the course of a semester)?

Physics is an especially difficult subject to use podcasts in, due to the fact that so much of physics is explanation and creation of diagrams to accompany wording. I believe this would be more useful for students if I was, for example, creating a "book on tape" for some of my students who were struggling readers or using it as instructions for my students on something.

Students, I believe, could benefit from creating podcasts as a way of reminding themselves of specific notes within units. If students created one at the conclusion of each unit of work, they could reference them when final exam time came along. That, along with their notes, could be an excellent study guide. This long term podcasting could also be useful to the teacher in determining what the students know and don't know at the conclusion of a unit in addition to their exam.

Digital Storytelling

Link to Digital Storytelling: Metzler's Digital Storytelling Example

Discuss the benefits and challenges that you anticipate from integrating video into your classroom. How can you best leverage this content to provide your students with enhanced learning opportunities? Do you use existing sources for high quality, relevant materials for your curricular area? If so, list the top two and briefly critique each resource. How can you integrate these resources into your curriculum in a meaningful way for your students?

I currently use video in my classroom as a way of providing information to my students, instead of doing a blanket lecture during class time. I sometimes feel this lecture style is non-beneficial to my students and know that the class time could be used more wisely (group discussions, lab work, carousel problems, etc.).

I also create videos in order to discuss the problem solving process for many of the different types of math problems as I have discovered this is a difficulty for my students. Since they are able to view the videos and listen to the explanation multiple times, it assists them in solving problems for their homework.

Every once in a while, I have my students watch a video on "Brightstorm," which is a group of professors doing videos on Math and Science. They are very thorough and cover a wide range of topics. Generally, I try to steer clear of Khan Academy because I've found that he does not necessarily explain the difficult physics concepts as in depth. I do know that my students sometimes use his knowledge and video base though.

I believe I had incorporated digital storytelling into my curriculum in a meaningful way. Students have started taking the videos seriously when they realize that information presented in the video will not be presented in the class. Of course, if there is a question about the video, that is discussed, but the overall information is left to the video.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Diigo Account Experience

Describe your experience in setting up your Diigo account. How could you use this with students? Co-workers? Parents?

Setting up my Diigo account was relatively simple. The only problem that persisted was the addition of students to the group. Diigo would not let me upload the file that was downloaded from portal as a means of importing the students. It continually told me that it was not accepting the .csx file format at that time.

With students, I could use this group as a means of giving them resources which would be useful to them in their studies. If my students each had a blog, I could store the addresses to the students blogs on the Diigo so that each of the students had easy access to everyone else's blog in order to make comments or ask questions. I see no other uses for my Diigo account with students other than that.

For co-workers, this Diigo could be a wonderful place to put resources that would be useful in whatever we were talking about. We could store resources for students or resources for writing curriculum, test writing, etc.

For parents, the Diigo account could be a place where information for helping students succeed could be placed. Additionally, I could place my own personal blog with information on classroom happenings or information on resources that would assist them in helping their child understand material.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reflective Writing Into An Everyday Curriculum

The following has been stated: "Incorporating reflective writing into curriculum can help students develop an awareness of metacognition."

I have been asked to reflect upon the following questions: "What value is there in having students blog on a regular basis. How can you have students develop a blog to be used as an electronic portfolio?"

RSS Feed: John's RSS Feed

Personally, I do agree that reflection is necessary for students to develop an in depth understanding of curriculum and of learning in general. Writing about their ideas has additionally helped me have a more in depth discussion with students on what they're doing in class in order to be successful (studying techniques, homework assignments on time, etc.), as well how their confidence level lies going into or coming out of a quiz or test.

While this is extremely powerful, I do not see myself being able to use reflective writing, at least from a feedback and grading standpoint, as an efficient and effective tool. I believe the amount of time necessary to read and provide feedback on a large number of student blogs would be difficult to reach.

As far as students using a blog as an electronic portfolio, I believe there are a number of other online applications where students would be able to store portfolio information in a much more efficient manner. I believe the idea of an electronic portfolio is a good one, just not in blog format.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Answers to Questions from Prompt

This post focuses on the answers to the following educationally based questions:

1. What is your comfort level with change?
I would think that I am very comfortable with change. However, I am very uncomfortable, especially in the educational sense, with changing for the sake of change. I do not believe this is always the best policy. Also, I believe that it is sometimes necessary to change back to what had worked before instead of just "moving forward" as if nothing ever existed before. I think the past can be a wonderful tool for determining how we should change.

2. What are the three most important educational change agents (directly impacting students) since Gutenberg's press in 1436 in America?
1. The internet
2. E-mail
3. Calculators

3. How has each agent directly impacted the way you educate your students?
The internet is a useful tool that I use to engage my students in a number of resources available to them in order to assist in their learning process.

I am able to receive e-mails from my students am reply to them so they may work more effectively on their homework when I am not present.

Because of calculators, it is more realistic that I ask students to make calculations on difficult formulas. Also, because of calculators, students seem to have lost number sense and rational thought and, instead, focus more on what they have to plug into their calculators instead of what is actually happening with the numbers, the ratios, and the equations.