PBL: Writing a Driving Question

It all stems from a driving question

Google isn’t always the answer. Not when you want students to think critically and grapple with a challenging or thought provoking question or concept. The essential or driving question that fuels a problem-based learning experience must take students on a journey that cannot end before it begins – which is where most directed or single-answer questions go to die. If students can answer yes or no, or Google can give them all they need in one perfectly crafted search query then, the question being posed is not a driving question.

A driving question allows the learner to be challenged with an experience that will take multiple activities or experiences to discover the open-ended answers. It is important to keep students interested so it must be an engaging question. It should obvious align itself to learning goals and standards as well.

As I work to develop my PBL “Discovering Flight” for 1st-grade students, I have crafted a driving question which attempts to include the necessary components of a successful driving question and sub-questions.

Driving Question: How and why do we use flight in our community to make our lives better?


What is flight?
What items or things can fly? Living or non-living?
Why do things fly?
Where does the power of flight come from?
What causes things to fly?
How did humans get involved with flight?
What is the history of flight?
How would the world be different if there was no flight?
How has flying changed and improved over time?
What possibilities does flight have for the future?

My current driving question is open-ended and definitely cannot be answered with a simple Google search. It gets students to tackle many sub-questions in order to attempt to answer the driving questions. The driving question will interest students as it gets them to look into their own community as well as meet with a specialist (pilot) and take a field trip. Students will be interested in the unit texts and science experiences with flight.  This driving question is aligned with learning goals as it asks that student collaborate, read, write, listen, speak, experiment and explore. The sub-questions are laid out purposefully to guide students to understand all of the individual components of the driving question and all the components of flight, flight history and flight implications.  I look forward to further development of this project and look forward to feedback!



BIE Webinar – “Driving Questions: What is it?”



Social Networking & Walled Gardens

Please take some time to check out my VoiceThread on Social Networking and Walled Gardens here:




Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Empowering Digital Citizens: Embracing Social Media in Schools – edWeb. (2015, August). Retrieved from http://home.edweb.net/empowering-digital-citizens-embracing-social-media-in-schools/

Davis, Michelle R., Education Weekly: Digital Directions.  Social Networking Goes to School. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2010/06/16/03networking.h03.html

Social Networking as a Tool for Student and Teacher Learning. Retrieved from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/social-networking-tool-student-and-teacher-learning

Vision & Mission Statement

― John Dewey


Roblyer, 2016, p. 65Without technology integration, our students will lack the motivation, interest and skills to allow them the capacity to thrive at their dream university and in their dream career. All students must be afforded the opportunities to grow through direct instruction as well as construct their own learning through integration throughout their daily lives both in and outside the classroom. It is essential that schools plan their technology goals for years to come with practices in place to repurpose and reevaluate as needed.

In 2010, the US Department of Education released a National Technology Education Plan which calls for a “revolutionary transformation” in which schools purposefully “leverage” technology to improve student learning in meaningful ways (p. 7). Schools must teach students life skills and because technology is so embedded in everyday life, integration is essential. To try and separate technology from students lives would be anything but authentic and meaningful.

Addressing the Issues

Students and teachers remain the most important factors within education. Technology by itself does not solve any problems. Teachers must become well versed in integrating technology when its relative advantages outweigh the previous lesson plan results (Roblyer, 2016). Successful technology integration hinders on continuous and “just-in-time” teacher training, while understanding that blended learning should combine both face-to-face and online learning, not one or other (Roblyer, 2016).

Curriculum development needs to address technology integration in the forefront rather than as an afterthought. It is essential that schools stop asking how to apply the technology and software at hand, but rather flip this on its head and seek to address unmet educational needs with possible technology solutions (Roblyer, 2016, p. 65). Technology standards should be used to grow the curriculum and engage students in creation and product production in ways not possible without integration. This is how students will become thriving societal members.

In 2007, Edutopia explained, “When technology integration is at its best, a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a technology tool — it is second nature”. For integration to be real it needs to be used seamlessly, not only as a special occasion or a special field trip to the computer lab.

Learning Theories

Practioners Januszewski and Molenda (2013) define educational technology as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources”. It is essential that technology integration be studied to make sure its use improves performance and causes learning improvements in ways non-integration were unable to accomplish. Educational Technology
As teachers plan they should think about any and all resources that could benefit the learning, this could be technology resources or otherwise (Roblyer, 2016, p. 9). Teachers will always be more important than technology because they are the human facilitators of student learning.

Appropriate technology integration allows for increased student motivations, differentiation, increased skill practice all while preparing students to be digitally literate to set them up for future success (Roblyer, 2016, p. 22-24). Educators, that put students first, by improving their own practice are needed to ensure student success.


Edutopia. (2007). What is successful technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

Januszewski, A. & Molenda, M. (2013). Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. New York, NY: Routledge.

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010).  Transforming American education – Learning powered by technology. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010-execsumm.pdf

EdTech 502: Internet for Educators

HTML, CSS, & Servers, Oh My!

I am definitely a newbie when it comes to legit website design. I am confident that I can find my way around resources such as Google Sites or WordPress and create relatively decent looking sites. But understand the behind the scenes code and processes is something that I look forward to understand more. This will allow me to better create and manipulate sites I manage.

For our first EdTech 502 assignment we were thrust into the world of HTML by creating a simple – yet challenging – plain site. I am definitely in the place where reading every resource and watching all tutorials over and over allow me to create a step-by-step sample. I look forward to learning a ton surrounding this very relevant topic throughout this course.

Plain502 site image

Here is the link to my Plain 502 site. Check back for future changes as I grow my understanding of web development.

Reflecting on My PLE



I enjoyed the process of creating this representation of my PLE. I usually shy away from artistic projects, feeling inadequate. However, the use and exploration of digital tools gets my creative juices flowing. This assignment, rightly so, turned into an extremely self-reflective activity.

While creating my PLE, I learned that I have come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago that none of these tools was around. And now look at the learning, networking and connections that have been formed. In creating the “Guide to My PLE” I found there were a lot of connections I have made and at differing levels of success.

I decided to divide my PLE into four main categories all of which are interconnected. I questioned putting the same icons into multiple circles then decided to place them where they fit by definition and then connect each category as they really can go between all categories.

I learned that there were a few tools that I use or taught I used well. For example, Diigo has been my go to bookmarking app for a few years personally, but the social aspect was new to me for this class. While I have been on Twitter for a year professionally, Twitter chats were new to me for this Module. I learned that I can keep honing my skills in most all of my PLE tools. That is one of the reasons I am pursuing a Masters in Educational Technology, to focus really on my skills and continue to learn and research in directed areas.

I also learned that while I am getting better, I definitely continue to be a lurker more than I want in many areas. I will read online resources from a whole host of people for hours, but contribute far less. This is a pattern I need to work on. Reflecting on this is a great step to being a more active member in my personal learning network.

Comparative Analysis

Having the opportunity to explore my course PLN’s PLE posts, as well as other classmates creations, I come away feeling positive and that I am doing the right things to build my PLN. There are so many similarities that I noticed throughout our representations. Differences were mostly program specific, not different in the idea itself. We all find it important to communicate/share, organize, learn and collaborate. The tools we use may be different, but the reasons for using the tools are universal.

There were definitely tools that I utilize, however, forgot to include in my own PLE. Reviewing my classmates representations reminded me of these resources as well. A big one that I left off was Tweetdeck. I think a major reason I hadn’t been successful with Twitter in the past, was the lack of organization I had made around hashtags or ways to follow a Twitter chat. This tool should have made my diagram for example.

This might be a good process to use with teachers at my school when I work with them as a coach. We could explore their PLN and areas they want to grow.  This would be a work in progress, but this process was definitely beneficial to reflect on my PLE, what it is and what I want it to be.

Engage Students with your Interactive Whiteboard

interactive whiteboardSelf-Reflection

We recently were asked to curate a topic of our choosing. In August, I will be presenting to teachers in my district about student engagement and the interactive whiteboard, so I focused my curation around this topic. Check below for my Scoop.it curation and self-reflection. Check out my curation if you would like some engaging strategies for your interactive whiteboard.

Curation: Engage Students with your IWB

Self-Reflection: Curation Criteria


Image Attribution: “Why so high?” by teachernz is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Criteria for Effective Curation


Before creating our group’s Curation Criteria Strategy document, I wouldn’t have been able to define educational curation. In my limited understanding, to curate something had always be saved for galleries and museums. Having now explored curation, it is evident that this method of sharing organized topic-specific content that been beneficial in education as well.

The online collaboration process ran smoothly as we utilized first Google Sheets to collect our findings and then Google Docs to organize and fine-tune or final criteria. Using these collaborative products, allowed for easy contributing alongside my PLN (Carol and Ty) as we could view and discuss each others contributions. Early on in the week we broke up the work and Carol initiated by created the sheet to house our findings. We then determined we wanted to break the criteria into three categories: Find, Feature and Facilitate as a way to group our list.

I look forward to using our criteria as I review my PLNs curations. I am excited to see the topics they chose and method(s) for sharing!

Image Attribution: “Curation of Information” by G. Couros is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0