Screencasting – Short Form Educational Video

For Module 4, I explored the topic of screencasts as a short educational video. I had never used Screencast-O-Matic but quickly learned how to manipulate the free software to showcase the tutorial I was looking to teach. There are many screencast programs available some paid and others have free and pro models with differing capabilities.

Screencasts are recordings of both the audio and visual of what occurred on a computer screen throughout the recording. This can include the instructor switching between tabs as well as the possibility of recording a webcam image or possible cursor highlights or indicators

Screencasting has many powerful implications for the educational world. The major concept of the “Flipped Classroom” thrives on the ability for teachers to create and record videos teaching a particular concept or topic. Teachers can record themselves teaching with whiteboard apps or powerpoint slides as a possible way to create these videos. Flipped classroom videos allow students to “move at their own pace” (Ruffini, 2012). With videos, including screencasts, students can pause, rewind, fast forward all with the purpose of enabling students to control their understanding and increase their learning and comprehension. Michael Ruffini (2012), with EDUCAUSE Review Online, suggests also embedding Google Forms below screencast videos on classroom blogs for students to turn in answers to questions or write reflections based on the video. This reminded me of our Media Literacy lessons where we embedded videos into our Google Form itself – as this has been an upgrade since 2012.

Screencasts can also be a way for teachers to record themselves leaving feedback as they reflect on digital student work. Imagine a teacher recording a video as they score or revise a student’s paper. That student can watch the video of their own teacher editing their work for better insights into the feedback being delivered. This method will allow for much more feedback through audio rather than a teacher trying to write or type everything.

A third way that screencasts can be meaningful for students is if they themselves are creating videos. Apps like Educreations and Showme easily allow students to do this. I also encourage my teachers to use their SMART boards as a center and teach kids to create a screencast (using SMART record) to teach a concept to the class. Sometimes these videos are shared with parents, played for the whole class or shared with a small group. This is very motivation for students and allows them to practice many language skills.

These are just three of the many ways screencasts can be used in the K12 classroom. Have you tried integrating screencasts into your work? Have you had any successes you would like to share?

Student Screen Cast Sample


Ruffini, M. F. (2012). Screencasting to engage learning. EDUCAUSE Review Online. Retrieved from


ST Math – Blended Learning in California

The MIND Research Institute contracted the Evaluation Research Program at WestEd to assess their blended learning program, Spatial-Temporal Math (ST Math), in an elementary school setting in California. WestEd used data from the CST (California Standards Test) from grades 2-5 to compare CST scores of students using ST Math to those similar groups of students not using ST Math. WestEd compared first-year full implementation usage at schools to those not using ST Math. Full implementation usage was defined as 85% of students completing at least 50% of the blended learning curriculum during the course of the school year. Results showed that grades using ST Math showed higher scores than those students not provided with ST Math and that the most significant gains occurred in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades.

Interestingly enough the research group made sure to clearly define that grades were made up of all the classes within participating schools. For example, if a school had six grade 2 classes, all were included regardless of individual classroom implementation percentages. And that 212 schools were included in the full implementation groupings. It was also interesting how detailed the evaluation went by breaking down the CST data not only overall but also by growth for advanced and proficient students. I would have been interested to see results for far below basic and basic performance level as well.

It was also intriguing how clearly WestEd wrote up the limitations to the evaluation. They suggested that data may have been affected as ST Math was implemented by choice within schools and motivation, surrounding math in general, could have been high with the self-elected new program. The evaluation groups also suggested that some limitation existed as it was impossible to control that students hadn’t used the program in previous years, even though the study indicated it was a first-year usage evaluation.

Wendt, S., Rice, J., & Nakamoto J. (2014). Evaluation of the MIND Research Institute’s spatial-temporal math (ST Math) program in California. WestEd. Retrieved from

PBL: Debrief

What do you now understand best about Project Based Learning? What do you understand least?

Throughout this process, I have learned a lot about PBL. This was my first experience creating a PBL unit. Prior to this I had read and heard a lot about the concept, but I had never tested out the process by actually creating a project myself. Upon completion of a unit from start to finish, I would say I understand the development and components well. It all seems to flow nicely from one component to the next. Each aspect seemed necessary and relevant. I would venture to say creating the project assessments were the most time consuming, but also essential to do upfront or order to create and understand the focus and direction of the project more completely.

I have never implemented a project, thus I would venture to say that I understand project implementation the least. Unfortunately in my current position, as a technology instructional coach, I will not be able to implement my project with fidelity with a class of 1st graders.

What did you expect to learn in this course? What did you actually learn? More, less, and why?

When registering for this course I expected to study multiple examples of PBL and review case studies for usage. I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to take a project from start to finish. The BIE resource is so helpful and I appreciated working with their templates and materials and will definitely reference this moving forward. I learned that PBL projects do not have to be scary, but it is a mindset whereas the classroom teacher understands learning can happen even when they themselves are not in the front of the room as the center of instruction. I learned that PBL projects grow and change and can be altered within the design process and even during implementation. I learned that some of the greatest skills students will get from PBL are learning to work collaboratively within a team.

What will you do with what you have learned?

Moving forward I hope to help introduce this concept and way of teaching to other educators. As a technology instructional coach, I don’t see myself using PBL units with a group of students, but rather helping other teachers develop their own units for usage.

Final PBL Project: Discovering Flight

ID: Analyzing the Context of Instruction

1. Describe an instructional design scenario in which Gagne’s “Conditions of Learning” are applicable.
As an instructional design theorist, Robert Gagné, theorized that there were five major groups or categories of learning in his book “Conditions of Learning”. These categories are intellectual skills, cognitive skills, verbal information skills, motor skills and attitude. While Gagné developed instructional design theory for learning and planning he emphasized the need for design to be created and altered to fit particular learners needs. While there was another set of “conditions of learning” in the group’s Youtube clip, I am going to focus on Gagné’s five categories of learning for this response. I would bring up project-based learning as an example where these categories of learning may be applicable. Perhaps students are tasked with designing a toy after researching and studying what makes a good product and invention. Students would have to use motor skills and have an excellent attitude both to collaborate and sell their product.
2. Within cultural context, the text describes the impact of danger of “ethnocentric design”.  Consider a scenario where ethnocentric design has been illustrated in the design of instruction, and discuss opportunities to learn, inform, and remedy the design process.
At my school site, we have what are called Academic Parent Teacher Team meetings. They happen about four times each school year with the classroom teacher and parents coming together for about 75 minutes to focus on skills, goals and action steps as a way to support classroom learning at home. Some teachers have varied success as far as attendance and overall parent satisfaction with the approach. With feedback and thoughtful reflectiveness, we as a staff, are continuing to work hard to eliminate ethnocentric design for our APTT meetings. Teachers have had to work hard to develop their sessions in a way to support all families. We now offer all the sessions and all materials in Spanish and English. Teachers have been placing QR codes on materials so that students and parents can access the text after the session, no matter their literacy level. Icebreakers are developed to be safe and fun and not to put any one parent on the spot. Coteachers circulate during the evening to assist parents and teachers no longer expect parents to ask questions in front of the whole group. Teachers have worked hard to describe student assessments without teacher jargon so that parents can understand how to support the learning goals of the grade level. Attendance has continued to grow as teachers take into account the needs of parents in our community.
3. In what ways do the elements of KASI- Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills, and Interpersonal Skills, help you shape the way you design instruction?
In the Larson and Lockee text, I found it helpful to think of KASI as an example of a “know/do/be framework”. This can be used to help develop design to focus and streamline required skills. At times this even allows the designer to group together common elements that can be taught and linked together for students to make connections. By focusing on knowledge, attitudes, skills and interpersonal skills a designer can hone in on “need to know” vs “nice to know”. As I recently developed a training for staff on using the SMARTboard as a center, it was important to target teachers’ existing knowledge of procedures and rules and attitudes towards the helpfulness of these. This helped to get teachers in the right mindset to create their SMARTboard center procedures. And learn how to grow this into their current practice. Of course I could have taught them all things SMART software related, but this wasn’t the focus of the session. As far as interpersonal skills I try to build in time for teachers to discuss/share and reflect on current practice and new skills as they begin to use them in their own classrooms.
4. Describe a situation in your experience where cultural understanding played a positive role in designing instruction or describe a situation where cultural understanding could have avoided a failure in instructional design.
As I have shared,  I work at a bilingual school (Spanish/English). To foster and keep this dual language model alive we employee and maintain many bilingual teachers. We work closely with some programs around the world to help bring teachers from Spanish-speaking countries into our school as needed. We have teachers from Latin America, Spain and the US. This plays a major role in planning professional development for our staff. It is important to understand the role of lesson planning, assessment and feedback in other countries as we work to grow our teachers. Often times our international teachers will have a hard time with the teacher evaluation process at our site, it is so different for them. We have worked to help them understand these differences through videos of best practices, exemplars, coteaching models and scheduling observations to see other teachers. As a coach and designer, I work hard to design instruction for this group of staff that will help highlight differences in the American educational system and ways to support them as they figure it all out.


Larson, M., & Lockee, B. (2013). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design (pp.269-270). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

ID: Prepare for Success

1. Analyze a learning context where initial needs assessment might be tricky. Is the performance gap clear? Is the reason for the gap related to instruction, knowledge and/or skills. Are there other factors that might need to be addressed before determining whether or not there is an instructional need?

At my site, we have a math blended learning program that all teachers are expected to use with their students twice weekly for a total of 90 minutes. The time is scheduled into the master schedule and is protected in terms of lab/mobile lab check out. Students are expected to master 3% of the content each week to be “ready” for standards-based assessments come this Spring. However, each year consistently Kindergarten and 5th meet this goal, while all other grades fall short. As a leadership team, we have strategized a lot about this issue. We have laid out expectations for teachers to facilitate and question students during this time. We have shared research and data findings with staff as to the track-record with this program. We have required that staff complete the online training to better facilitate this program. Coaching has been offered to teachers who struggle using the program with their students. I don’t think that there is an instructional need. I know that teachers have trained in the program, they feel that with so many other things on their plate, the time students are using the blended learning program is a time teachers can do things they normally have no time for. Often times I see teachers testing students (one-on-one testing for reading levels), answering emails, or grading papers. None of these are a bad use of time as they all need to happen. I don’t think there is an instructional need for teachers to learn the program, they have done this. I think teachers know how to use and facilitate the program, however, time and time management gets in the way. I think it would be powerful for admin to speak with teachers about their belief in the program, but also open up a dialogue for less scheduled meeting time so teachers can focus on their class and help them grow even during blended learning moments.

2. Compare a situation where instructional materials seem to meet the needs of the learners with one where they do not.  Are there clues that needs analysis is/is not part of the design? Do the materials provide formative assessment?

I will use an example from the ID Casebook as an example of instructional materials not meeting learners needs. In case 28, Natalie is tasked with  with presenting solutions to a broken manufacturing training program. The current system is so entirely lacking in structure that trainers aren’t holding trainees to the same standards. While formative assessments were thought to be in place, it is evident, as Natalie interviews managers and trainers that not everyone is upholding standards or even understands their importance. It is evident that a needs analysis had not been completed as the current “program” is flawed in many ways. The most glaring lack of analysis was that non-native English speaking trainees can only advance in certain areas if they speak Vietnamese or Spanish, as these are the languages spoken by the trainers. I am confident that this, along with all of the other obvious problems, will be resolved as Natalie was brought in as a consultant to develop an instructional design.

An example of instructional goals and materials meeting the needs of the learners can be taken from a recent PD at my site. We brought in a trainer for eduCanon (PlayPosit), as our district recently purchased licenses. I was able to pre-conference with the trainer to give her background about our teachers, our students and best fits or needs for the integrative video tool. I was able to meet with teachers to understand their needs and hopes for the program if they were to attend the PD. Overwhelming and not surprisingly, ahem Adult Learning Theory, teachers wanted to walk away with usable products they could implement later that same week. I also prepped the trainer to come with supports that program had for audio and visuals for our kinder teachers so they weren’t turned off by the program. Needless to say, the pre-work paid off. Teachers came with video links they were ready to manipulate and they were trained to work with their own content in a very real and usable way.  Formative assessments were used throughout the process as checks for teacher understanding were put into place. I am happy to report, from the admin dashboard, all teachers in attendance have gone on to create and implement – with students – additional video resources.

3. Describe  an instructional situation in which there are elements of behaviorism, cognitivism or constructivism in the instructional design or delivery.

As I work in a bilingual (Spanish/English model) school, while reflecting, I realized I am able to bring all three learning theories into focus. A major goal of our dual language program is bilingualism but also biliteracy, with this lens a lot of work needs to be done for students to reach this level of proficiency.  Behaviorism practices  can be seen in flashcard work or centers activities as student work with sight words, letters, and syllables. Teachers will prepare interactive sorts for the whiteboard that give positive feedback for correct input. An example of cognitivism is witnessed as students are charting and discussing cognates and false cognates as a connection for themselves between the languages. And constructivism can be experienced as students present their final PBL projects in both English and Spanish at unit’s end.

4. Explain how the emphasis of one or more of these theoretical approaches may impact learning.

It is important that designers and teachers understand these different theoretical approaches so that they are intentional in their lesson design and implementation. There is a time and place for behaviorism, as I think to our young student who need to practice and understand letters, letters sounds, and print concepts. These reading behaviors need to be practiced and mastered so that meaning can be applied as they attempt to participate in higher level thinking activities. These foundational skills are so important, but if learning continued in this way for everything, meaning and connections for that learner would never develop. The real “meat” to knowledge and learning comes with the connection building and meaning creation through higher level processes. The teacher or designer must embed these intentionally for a student to find joy and power in their learning. Again gravitating toward younger students, while a child may still be practicing their letters and sight words, this doesn’t mean they cannot participate in a book discussion or sequencing activity. It is important designers utilize all theories to best support their learners based on the goal or objective.

Instructional Design Basics

Describe an example of a time where you encountered instructional design within your professional practice as a process, practice, or product. What role did you play?

I have encountered instructional design in my professional practice as both process and product often as my current role is one of a technology instructional coach. With this role, I deliver ongoing PD to the staff at my site usually on a 4-6 week cycle (30 minutes each 1/week session before school). I begin developing the content topics based on district goals, admin requests, teacher survey results or informal feedback. At times, PD is chosen to fit a larger technology plan but this year often it has focused on teacher needs with respect to a lot of new technology we have in our building this year due to a summer renovation. I both design and implement/facilitate the staff PD sessions.

One six-week series I created and delivered was simply on the basics interactive whiteboards. These were new to our building this summer, and most of the teachers were unaware of the basics from plugging in, to software, to online resources. During each session we focused on a basic topic around SMARTboard 101, topics were modeled by myself and teachers had time to practice and implement with each other. Some weeks were designed as a practice session to create a SMART Notebook file to use within the classroom. Teachers were asked to answer a warm-up question about something they tried in their classroom from the previous week through an online tool such as Padlet as a visual proof of our learning and growth. Following the whole series, teachers are always asked to take a survey and were asked to provide topics for future technology integration topics.

How do the duties of an instructional designer differ from your current duties at your institution? How are they similar?

While a share some similarities to an instructional designer, this isn’t the whole of my role. I spend much of my time as an instructional coach at my site. As a coach, I develop a coaching plan with an individual or small group of teachers based on a student growth goal. We plan weekly and I offer classroom instructional support weekly. While I do design PD or lessons with teachers I am coaching, this is just a portion of my job. I also create and maintain my school’s website, social media, blended learning accounts, budget and I lead our hiring committee of all things! While I am not a classroom teacher anymore, my role is not strictly instructional designer in the traditional sense either. My clients are definitely the staff in my building which is true of an instructional designer as well. My role is a hybrid of a few different positions.

Describe the top three competencies a successful instructional designer would need. Discuss how you would use these competencies in your ideal job within instructional design.

An instructional designer has to be an individual who is self-reflective and is willing to evaluate, revise and continually work to improve a product that is never going to be finished. In other words, an instructional designer must love the process of creating and designing instruction to solve educational problems that will continue to need updating.

A second skill that a successful designer needs is the ability to see the big picture. A designer must know what their key questions or end goal from the beginning. I use this in my role and would definitely as an instructional designer.

A third must-have competency of an instructional designer would be their knowledge of learning theories. This knowledge allows the designer to make informed decisions as they include instructional strategies that will be successful for their learners.

In my ideal job, I would love to continue to improve upon PD series that I create. Often times I find once I have teacher survey results, I can improve upon the next topic, but time doesn’t allow me to go back and make my series better surrounding the original product – I am always moving forward, cyclical evaluative practice can be challenging in a school setting.

What role does evaluation play in instructional design? How can the different types of evaluation benefit the process?

Evaluation is the backbone of instructional design. Evaluation occurs throughout the process, not strictly at the end. Designers use evaluation to backwards map their product. Just as a classroom teacher uses formative and summative assessment throughout their work, so does an instructional designer. Formative evaluation is used throughout the design process to improve upon the product while it is being constructed or implemented. Whereas summative evaluation benefits the process as it is feedback gathered after the instruction as been delivered to the recipients. This would be reflected in Kirkpatrick’s Four-Levels with the measures: learner reaction, learning, behavior and results. This summative evaluation helps the designer to continually improve their product.

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

Davis, Michelle R., Education Weekly: Digital Directions.  Social Networking Goes to School. Retrieved from

Social Networking as a Tool for Student and Teacher Learning. Retrieved from