Ashley Macejka's ISTC 501 Site

As exciting as a blog full of assignments can be…

Final Reflective Post July 24, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 5:03 pm

I’ll be completely honest… prior to taking this course, I had pretty much made my mind up that it would be a waste of time.  I consider myself to be a pretty tech-savvy person and my previous experiences with ISTC and COSC courses at Towson were less than useful.  Those classes consisted of teaching students how to use library resources and Microsoft Office applications which were things that I was already well versed in.

I am pleased to say that I was completely wrong about this course.  While there were a few technologies that I had heard of, most of them were things that were unknown to me or that I had never tried before.  I loved learning about the Web 2.0 tools and researching more of them myself.  I can see myself using so many of them in my classroom and also for my own personal use.  Not only are there tools for teaching, but there are also tools to help teachers manage classroom assignments, grade-books, and other essential classroom tasks.  I also loved learning how to make a digital story.  This is another technology that I can see myself using often in my classroom, especially to introduce books and literary periods.  Another idea that I loved in this class was the idea of having a classroom blog and teacher’s bookmarking pages.  Students always struggle with remembering all of their assignments and constantly have questions about homework or studying for tests.  A classroom blog is a GREAT way for students to stay connected to each other and the teacher even when they are not in the classroom.

In addition to these things that I have learned, I would love to learn more about ways to utilize technologies in my classroom.  I am especially interested in Web 2.0 tools and since there are new tools being introduced everyday, I am sure that I will have plenty of opportunities to find more of these useful tools.  Web 2.0 tools are a great way to get students interested in learning in a way that they might not otherwise be without them.  For example; would a student be more likely to complete a poster for a book report using posterboard, glue, and markers or using Glogster?  I think that most students would prefer Glogster.  Another technology that I would be really interested in learning about is the Smartboard.  I know that the chances of my classroom having a Smartboard are pretty slim to none, but it still would be nice to know how to use them since there is a chance that I might have one eventually.

In addition to introducing me to new technologies, this class has changed my perceptions about technology integration in the classroom as a whole.  Prior to taking this class, my experiences with technology in the classroom had been minimal at best.  Teachers would do PowerPoint presentations or show movies and that was pretty much it.  I have since discovered that there is so much more to technology integration.  Rather than simply showing students something, students can do things with technology to help facilitate their learning.  In a constructivist classroom, technology can play a huge part.  Students can have the world at their fingers which is something I had never really realized prior to this class.

I am so glad that I was wrong about this class and maintained an open mind.  I cannot wait to use some of the things that I have learned in this course in my own classroom and am excited to learn more in the future.


ISTC 501 Portfolio July 22, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 9:05 pm

Activities completed through ISTC 501 have helped meet to meet the Maryland Teacher Technology standards in several ways. Following are each of the technology standards and links, as well as reflection on class activities focused on that standard.

Standard I: Technology Information Access, Evaluation, Processing and Application – Access, evaluate, and process information efficiently and effectively

The bookmarking assignment helped me meet this standard effectively because it required me to search and evaluate potential technology tools that I could use in my classroom and I was extremely pleased with the resources that I discovered.  My bookmarks can be viewed here:

Standard II: Communication -A. Use technology effectively and appropriately to interact electronically. B. Use technology to communicate information in a variety of formats.

Creating the blog for this course was an excellent way for me to successfully meet Standard II.  I had numerous opportunities to communicate with members of my group and the entire class through reading and responding to their blog posts –

I also believe that the group PTE experience successfully met this standard as my partner and I had substantial communication via e-mail, text messaging, and the social networking site Facebook to bounce ideas off of one another and work together productively even when we were not in the same place:

Standard III: Legal, Social and Ethical Issues – Demonstrate an understanding of the legal, social, and ethical issues related to technology use.

I believe that the readings and my blog posts on Copyright/Fair Use and my research for the Cyberethics assignment have helped me meet Standard III for a variety of reasons.  Firstly, these assignments offered me an opportunity to review some of the things that I already knew about these issues.  Secondly, they introduced me to some rules and resources that I was unaware of.  The Cyberethics post also examined the social impact that Internet use (and specifically Internet Addiction) as well.  All of these posts can be found here –

Standard IV: Assessment for Administration and Instruction – Use technology to analyze problems and develop data-driven solutions for instructional and school improvement.

I believe that I successfully met this standard through the use of the course website as it helped me keep abreast of what was needed to successfully progress through the course:

Additionally, the use of the concept mapping software for my Chapter 1 Summary provided me with a way to chart data that will be useful when I am an educator:

Standard V: Integrating Technology into the Curriculum and Instruction – Design, implement and assess learning experiences that incorporate use of technology in the curriculum-related instructional activity to support understanding, inquiry, problem-solving, communication or collaboration.

All of my experiences in ISTC 501 helped me meet this standard.  The examination of Web 2.0 tools was especially integral in introducing me to numerous ways that I can use this standard in my classroom.  I discovered numerous tools that I was previously unaware of, such as Glogster,, and Animoto.  My review of Web 2.0 tools can be found on my blog here:

Standard VI: Assistive Technologies – Understand human, equity, and developmental issues surrounding the use of assistive technology to enhance student learning performance and apply that understanding to practice.

I believe that the development of the PTE helped me meet this standard.  During the course of planning the lesson, my partner and I had to think of ways to differentiate our lesson with both our graphic organizers and our technology assignments.  In doing so, I believe that we found the best way to optimize our students performance:

Additionally, the “Learning Theories” assignment that I did on differentiation also introduced me to ways to use this standard in my classroom:

Standard VII: Professional Growth – Develop professional practices that support continual learning and professional growth in technology

I believe that my successful progression through this course has helped me meet Standard VII as I have learned about the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards as well as ways to utilize them in the classroom.  This can be evidenced in this technology integration portfolio as well as my use of the standards in my PTE:


Cyber Ethics Assignment – Internet Addiction July 20, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 8:56 pm

Internet Addiction


According to Wikipedia, Internet addiction disorder (IAD), or, more broadly, Internet overuse, is defined as” problematic computer use or pathological computer use, is excessive computer use that interferes with daily life. These terms avoid the distracting and divisive term addiction and are not limited to any single cause.”  Internet addiction has become an increasingly serious problem worldwide and especially among teenagers.  Most teenagers have grown up with computers and technology and as a result, their dependency on these technologies is more prevalent.

What is the impact of this issue on K-12 schools, educators, and students?

The Center for Internet Addiction says that people who are addicted to the internet “are unable to control their use, and are jeopardizing employment and relationships.”  They go one to say that internet addiction is an impulse control disorder that “is most comparable to pathological gambling because of overlapping criteria.”  The symptoms of internet addiction can have a serious impact on student behavior and performance.

Internet addiction can include obsession with social networking sites (such as Facebook), pornography, online gambling, online gaming (such as World of Warcraft), and compulsive web-surfing.  Teachers should be aware of the symptoms of internet addiction so that they can be prepared to deal with this growing problem among their students.  Some of these symptoms include:

– Failed attempts to control behavior

– Failure to complete assigned work due to internet activity
– Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities
– Neglecting friends and family
– Neglecting sleep to stay online
– Being dishonest with others
– Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome

The following video shows just how serious the impact of internet addiction can be on the adolescent.  Although the video is amusing for us to watch, the seriousness of the issue that it is highlighting cannot be taken lightly.  This video shows a teenage boy’s reaction to having his World of Warcraft account canceled by his mother:

I am not against online use or even online gaming.  I have stood outside at midnight in November with millions of others around the world for releases of World of Warcraft expansions.  Additionally, I will be waiting patiently for my husband as he stands outside at midnight on July 27 for the release of StarCraft II.  The issue here is that people, particularly adolescent boys, are so susceptible to addiction and we as educators must be aware of the signs of addiction as well as tools to help prevent it before it starts.  The role of the teacher extends outside of the classroom.  You must be able to help your students see the value of the world outside of the internet so that they do not end up blurring the lines between reality and the online world.

Integrating this topic into a classroom activity:

Dr. Kimberly Young, one of the first people to research internet addiction, developed the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) to diagnose the disorder.  In my 6th – 12th grade classroom, I would consider it a useful and informative activity to give students the questionnaire.  Many people who are addicted to the internet are not aware that they have a problem until it is too late so perhaps this quiz could help make students aware of how their internet use affects them.

Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ)

Meeting five of the following symptoms were considered necessary to be diagnosed.

1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

Additional Links:



My Updated Digital Storytelling Project July 18, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 9:11 pm

I decided to do my project in a “movie-trailer” style to help get students interested in something that is traditionally a bit challenging for the average high school student.  I also believe that showing them clips of Hamlet in film will make them more likely to act out the play rather than just reading it.  Plays were not meant to be read; they were meant to be performed.

I used several programs to mix the video and audio to compile this video including: Audacity, YouTube, Windows Movie Maker, RealPlayer Converter, Microsoft PowerPoint, WinFF, and Jing.

The background music is called “Requiem for a Dream” which was downloaded from here.

The movie clips are from two film versions of Hamlet: Franco Zeffirelli’s 1990 version and Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 version.

The audio quotes are remixed from the Frank Zeffirelli version of Hamlet.

I do not own the rights to these clips.  The remixes were done by me.


Copyright and Fair Use July 17, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 6:26 pm

Based on the articles that I recently read about Copyright and Fair Use Laws, here are a few things I knew and a few things that I did not know.

Things I knew:

-That chapters from books can be copied, but whole books cannot.

-That you can use up to 10% of a work (book, media, music, etc) without it being a copyright infringement.

Things I didn’t know:

-That copyright law and trademark law are not necessarily the same thing.

-That federal government employees cannot copyright work that is part of an official responsibility CANNOT copyright their work, but federal government contractors can.  That seems a bit unfair to me?

The TEACH Act is pretty interesting as well.  To be honest, I have never considered the implications of copyright law in reference to online/distance learning, perhaps because I haven’t had much experience with online/distance learning.  After reading about it more carefully, I think it stands to reason that instructors of online courses should have the same access to materials that instructors in the classroom have.  I am curious about one particular provision,”This last exclusion results from the definition of “mediated instructional activities,” a key concept within the expanded Section 110(2) meant to limit it to the kinds of materials an instructor would actually incorporate into a class-time lecture.”  With such a focus on differentiating traditional instruction, how do they classify what a teacher would or would not incorporate into a lecture?


English Software Project July 15, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 10:30 pm

Hey!  Check out this amazing list of bookmarks for some great teacher and student friendly websites and tools!

(PS… you don’t have to be an English teacher to enjoy these!)


Universal Design For Learning Chapter 1 July 14, 2010

Filed under: ISTC 501 Blog Posts — Ashley M @ 11:49 pm

Audio Summary:

Chapter 1 Summary:

Chapter 1, “Education in the Digital Age,” begins with a description of two different classrooms and grade levels in a Concord, New Hampshire school district and how they are using the Universal Design for Learning principles for using technology to maximize learning in their classroom.  The chapter goes on to discuss how UDL principles can help with the challenges of learner diversity and high standards.

There are 3 main ideas in Chapter 1:

–          New brain research has show that students do not have one universal way in which they learn but multiple ways in which they learn.  A weakness in one area of learning can mean a strength in another.

–          UDL framework works with other educational reform by offering numerous strategies for educational change through new research about how students learn and new uses for  technology…

–          According to Donna Palley, the Special Education Coordinator/Technology Specialist for the Concord School system, “The concept of UDL is the intersection where all our initiatives integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others come together.

Personal Reflections on the Chapter

–          I grew up in a private school and my classes were very homogeneous in comparison to today’s public schools so I did not have much experience with the varied types of learning presented by the UDL.  In my experiences as a substitute teacher; however, I have had several opportunities to see differentiation and technology in the classroom in accordance with UDL ideas.  For example, I spent time in a middle school math class in Baltimore County where the teacher used a SmartBoard to help teach algebra.  She also had several different worksheets for students to complete that catered to students with different levels of ability with the content.

Discuss how technology might help to address the ideas presented.

–          UDL is tied in closely with technology as technologies are very flexible.  Technology is able to adjust to learner differences and students with special needs which makes it easier for teachers to differentiate with a variety of media sources. Chapter Summary: