About me

Welcome to my new blog, for use with my learning at Boise State University.  I look forward to keeping you up to date, and showing ideas I am using in my school.

The above video I recorded for my introduction, I posted to Google + for the EdTech 501 course, but also for my current job hunt.

I recorded it using my webcam on my mac, a blue snowball microphone, and using a teleprompter web app, and a little re-touching in iMovie.  I was able to find some royalty free music from bensound.com, to add a little magic.

Here is a little more about me, and where I come from.


Blooms Taxonomy and Objective Writing

Creating clear objectives is important in creating an instructional design.  There may be many objectives, to create a coherent unit or training for more complex tasks.  Blooms taxonomy is a hierarchy of tasks and skills that can help to sequence your objectives.

Here is my presentation below.

and the PDF of my notes.


My PBL project is designed to get students moving in a task of creating and evaluating the news.  Below is my self assessment, and the link to the original rubric.

Here is how I scored my Rubric

Overall Project Idea

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When I look at my overall project idea, I believe that my concept of creating a student news program helps students to ‘gather and interpret data’, ask further questions.  If they are looking to report the news, they need to look at the events around them, and generate the news production.

Student Voice & Choice, Independence

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I have looked to create opportunities for students to discover their news, and report what they feel is important.  Students will be expected to create videos in groups, and find their news item.  Some decisions will be group decisions, and others more individual.  Students will also have to take responsibility to take care of various equipment.

Driving Question

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My Driving Question: “What makes the news… important?” attempts to create an overview of the problem of creating a news program.  There are several sub questions, that might help lead to more specific contexts, but are all interrelated to the main topic.

  • How do we report on real news that is important to our school community?
  • What skills do you need to get your ideas across in video?
  • Where does news happen that is important to students?
  • What is the difference between real and fake news?
  • How do we show multiple points of view?
  • Why is freedom of the press protected?
  • What is the role of journalism in our school community?
  • What makes a good photograph? …Video? … Audio Recording?
  • How do students become leaders in the school community?
  • How do we work as a team to create?

Content Outcomes

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My goal with the content standards was to look for standards across curriculum areas, showing as well as looking for 21st century skills that will help them adapt for the future.  I feel that the standards are essential for learning what the news is all about, as well as some standards as to creating quality in their products.

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Students will work in groups to build multiple video products.  They will need to collaborate, to make sure that the final class products have enough content.  Students will need to think critically, to learn to create better products.  Technology drives the product to show understanding, and creativity.

Entry Event

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My entry event was a club to show students some of the skills necessary to get moving.  But it did not start the enquiry.    As I will be looking to create the PBL as a course for next year, I thought it would be good to create a club this year to help generate interest. This is an area where I will be looking to improve.  This may be about generating a name for the program, and looking towards analysis of other student news programs.


Assessments are listed on my site here.

Formative Assessment

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I will look to have students create a blog to post individual work.  As some group tasks may not always fit during class time, such as filming a school event, other tasks will also be necessary to plan, produce, and show other understandings.

Small group work will also be evaluated in class, so students can look to improve their group work.

Summative Tasks

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There are rubrics, and content is explained well.  As the program runs in cycles, the opportunity for multiple summative tasks is in the nature of the course.

Overall I feel that I have learned many things during the 542 course.  It has helped me to generate my thoughts about how to approach the new course for my school for next year.  I may not have a perfect PBL unit, but I feel that I can adapt the ideas here to generate improvement as I attempt to get started with this unit with students.


Project Design Rubric

Project Design Rubric (Google Doc template)

Managing the process of PBL in the classroom.

When creating a PBL unit, we need to consider the process and look forward to how some may perceive the unit outside of the class.  It may just look fun, and some may perceive that learning is not happening.  Having some answers to common problems is important.

What are some potential criticisms that you might receive from administrators, parents, and colleagues?

Assessment in group projects: How do you keep everyone working, and doing their part? As each part of the process is a cog in the machine, each role a student takes on is important. As roles will rotate throughout the process, students will need to train each other to move forward. Students not working on an active role, may be creating other important resources that may be assessed. Class reflection is more important than the final.

How do you keep student’s privacy balanced with the final products? As the final product is in it’s nature a public performance, this is something that needs to be handled properly. When necessary, students with a known privacy issue, some of the on camera roles for that student may be diminished, and replaced with more active behind the scenes roles. Parent permission forms would be sent to ensure that proper permission has been obtained. Student journals can be set up so that only members of the class can see the results.

How do you manage the process, when students might be working with less supervision on location?

Students will need to obtain permission for locations ahead of filming on a location. Common areas of the school may be fine, but students will need to fill in a Travel log for moving and returning to class. Time would be limited, so students need to accomplish their task, and get back to class. Some additional resources may be needed, such as more adult volunteers or school assistants, when student behavior issues are a problem.

What rationale can you give for incorporating PBL into your repertoire of effective instructional strategies?

The benefit of PBL is the ability to engage in subjects/topics across the school. It provides more opportunities to learn about other parts of the project over an extended time. Thus, the learner may have deeper learning, and can connect the learning to make real world connections. They can apply their learning to make products they are interested in. They are working with other teachers, students, community members, experts, and each other to experience real world situations to create their products.


Learning Guide


Products and Performances




Designing an Integrated Curriculum

An overarching PBL unit across a school is a neat concept. Teachers working their content areas to show interconnection on an Authentic task.  It works to build upon skills that need to be taught, but gives students an opportunity to apply learning in a new context.

This is not for the faint of heart.  Not for the teacher that would rather teach from worksheets behind closed doors. Not for the teacher who would rather work in isolation.

But, if you want your students to apply their learning in a real world context, this is where you need to push your administrators for time to plan together, and build something more interesting.

Watch below.

PBL Assessment

In this part of the PBL 542 course, I was working on Assessment.  I had looked at the course I was adapting, and many concepts fit.  I love my students to blog.  I want them to develop their ideas, and these could be as simple as creating a video or written blog.

The big idea here is:  What makes an assessment authentic?

Authentic Assessment involves:

  • Real world work or opportunities.  Would this be done in the workforce?
  • Relevant or meaningful for the student.  Something that they can engage in…
  • Synthesis of ideas and critical thinking.

Start with the end goal in mind.  How will I know if learning has occurred?  And plan backwards from those concepts.

Edutopia Link on Authentic Assessment.

My assessment plan is written here.  My plan is to look for student engagement in creating the news, I want them to understand what makes the news.  Why should their audience care?  How can we grow our skills to make better quality broadcasts?

Some resources that the 542 course suggested for this task are below.

Driving Questions

In this part of the 542 course, we looked to develop driving questions.  A driving question is the overarching concept, to have the students explore throughout the unit.  It is the focus of the inquiry.

Some resources are below.

For my School News PBL Unit, I needed to develop my driving questions.

Driving question:

What makes the news… important?

My PBL unit is about School news.  But helping students to build an understanding of the concept may take other ideas of development along the way.  Why is news important? These sub questions may help deliver more ideas on the bigger concept.

Some other questions that may help to drive this question forward in discussions:

How do we report on real news that is important to our school community?

What skills do you need to get your ideas across in video?

Where does news happen that is important to students?

What is the difference between real and fake news?

How do we show multiple points of view?

Why is freedom of the press protected?

What is the role of journalism in our school community?

What makes a good photograph? …Video? … Audio Recording?

How do students become leaders in the school community?

How do we work as a team to create?