Ultra Micro Mocc

This week in my CEP 811 class, Adapting Innovative Technologies for the Classroom, the assignment was to create an Ultra Micro MOCC. A MOCC is a massively open online course. MOCCs provide the opportunity for people all over the world to take classes from universities such as Stanford and University of British Columbia at no cost-which means-world class educations that were once only available to select people are being made available to people all over the world. It also means going from a class size of 50 to possibly a class size of potentially over 100,000 in some cases-what an opportunity!

I needed to think, using my area of expertise, what would be an ultra micro MOCC I could create and present to the masses. Assistive Technology is and continues to be a passion of mine, so I thought, why not create an introductory course to what is assistive technology.

In my “Have you used your AT Today?” course my peers will master assistive technology skills by creating a lesson plan that integrates assistive technology and build a network with fellow peers.

Course Topic: Assistive Technology
Questions to answer:
A. What is Assistive Technology?
B. How do I integrate it into my classroom?

Course Title & Photo: Have you used your AT today?


Who is coming to your course? What will attract them? Why would they want to participate in this experience? Special Education teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, students, administrators. Participants will want to take this course to learn how about assitive technology and how it works to level the playing field for students with disabilities. They will also learn that AT is not just the high tech items such as Ipads and other technology items, AT can be as simple as a pencil grip for a student or the use of a different type of pen.  

What do you want learners to be able to do when they are done? (Connect your thoughts here to the learning theories you explored last week and the design principles you learned this week.) How long is your course experience? Everyone sees technology in the general education classroom, but many don’t know what assistive technology is nor do they understand the difference between assistive technology and what is used in the classroom. Through scaffolding, participants will walk away with an understanding of what assistive technology is and how it can be used to help special education students be successful in the general education classroom. Show “The Case Against Technology Video.


Week 1-What is AT?

Week 2-Low Tech Tools

Week 3-Mid-Tech Tools

Week 4-High Tech Tools

Week5-Wrap up, evaluation ,review

I would envision 5 ‘class’ meetings-I’m not sure how long it would take to introduce and cover this topic. The attempt would be to have the class serve as an introduction to what assistive technology is and how could it be implemented right away in a general education classroom. It would be simple applications of assistive technology.

What will peers make?

*For each class, participants will need to complete an evaluation of an AT tool of their choice from a list of AT tools they would be able to access through either purchasing or borrowing/checking out.

*They will create a blog that will be used to post their findings and thoughts. Participants will be asked to read at least one other blog post and comment on it.

Now that you’ve identified skills and made projects for each skill, how do those activities hang together as a course? (Again, connect to learning theories, instructional design and consider how TPACK comes into play.) The course would be designed around interaction amongst participants and serve to network with others around the country and possibly the world. This course would have participants intertwining their content, pedagogy and technology knowledge together in one class. The goal would be to have participants use the content used in their classroom to address how they would bring assistive technology into the classroom. The next step would be to apply pedagogical knowledge to their content and technology knowledge-hence the intersecting circles in the TPACK framework.

How will peers help each other in your course? By using each other’s knowledge to brainstorm what their classroom would look like using assistive technology. The goal would be at the end of the course, each person would be able to expand their personal learning network.

Johnston, D. (Designer). (2013). The Case Against Assistive Technology [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.donjohnston.com/media/flash/case_against_technology/index.html


Maker Experiment #1-Learning Theories

For our 3rd week blog, our instructors wanted us to look at how my Squishy Circuit kit could be added to my classroom through a lesson plan..  I also needed to look at the connection between our kit and learning theory(ies).

I work with 11th-12th grade special education students, primarily with learning disabilities and ADHD. The more I can get lessons to connect to my student’s previous knowledge or get them to use their hands, the odds are they are going to remember what they learn. Squishy Circuits provide the opportunity for students to get their hands dirty and learn by doing. It also provides different ways for students to learn about circuits other then a lecture.

According to Gardner (2003), multiple intelligences are the different ways of learning and process information.  Basically, Gardner wants people to ask “How do you Learn Best?”  Squishy circuits can incorporate different types of intelligences-such bodily/kinesthetic, spatially, linguistic and interpersonal- and put them into simple experiments. Integrating as many of the multiple intelligences will enhance the learning process for my students. For example-kinesthetic-students are using their hands to manipulate the dough and to put their circuit together.  They are also moving around by getting out of their desk. Visually/spatially-students are using this to put together their circuit. As students work with their peers on building the circuits, interpersonal intelligence helps them to respond other students. Squishy Circuits appeal to intelligences of all students.

Here is a 4-minute video that puts Gardner’s theory into a visual and simple explanation:

Meaningful Learning is when new knowledge acquired is related to previous learning.  In order for meaningful learning to take place, the new knowledge should be connected to the existing knowledge.  The integration of technology into the classroom can support meaningful learning if it is integrated correctly into the classroom. Just having the latest software or computer isn’t getting to support meaningful learning unless the teacher is knowledge able and comfortable using the technology given.  To provide meaningful learning in classrooms, schools should provide “technology-rich classrooms utilize multimedia to increase student interactions and enhance student learning (Keengwe, Onchwari, and Wachira, 81)

In research meaningful learning theory, concept maps were an idea that was cited over and over as a way for meaningful learning to take place.  Concept maps are not a new idea, they date back to the 1970s, but they are being used to create meaningful learning. Knowledge creation requires a high level of meaningful learning, and concept maps facilitate the process of knowledge creation for individuals and for scholars in a discipline (Novak 167-193) Squishy Circuits, like concept maps, provide the opportunity for meaningful learning to take place by providing the visual and hands on opportunities that my students need to get something out of learning. One needs to remember that my students all ready struggle with learning, if not provided with meaningful opportunities, they are going to pick up on what they need to learn.

A way to visualize meaningful learning:


Technology will always be changing, the goal of teachers should be to use their knowledge of technology and integrate it with their content and pedagogical knowledge to successfully integrate technology in their classroom. The role of the teacher in this new technological age is to serve as a guide for students. Teaching needs to remain student focused and not technology focused. The role of the teacher remains important s they provide opportunities for students to learn beyond the classroom.


McKnight, Heidi. Multiple Intelligences. 2011. Video. YoutubeWeb. 16 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/cf6lqfNTmaM&gt;.

Gardner, Howard. “Multiple intelligences after twenty years.” American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Illinois 21 (2003).

Keengwe, Jared, Grace Onchwari, and Patrick Wachira. “The use of computer tools to support meaningful learning.” AACE journal 16.1 (2008): 77-92.

Novak, Joseph D. “Human constructivism: A unification of psychological and epistemological phenomena in meaning making.” International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology 6.2 (1993): 167-193.

Novak, Joseph D., and Alberto J. Cañas. “The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct them.” Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition1 (2006).

Squishy Circuit Board Lesson Plan

Time Needed:

Dough Making-approx 1 hour

Amount of time Demo takes: 3-10 min.

Building Background Knowledge

Go through pdf from  St. Thomas Squishy Circuit website



1. Squishy Circuit kit

2. Conductive and insulating dough (1 bag each-made ahead of time)

4. Battery cleaner – please regularly clean off any metal that comes in contact with the dough. This will prolong the life of the equipment.

Set up instructions:

1. Make material groupings for students to pick up and bring to their stations.

2. Emphasize safety with students. They are after all working with electricity and circuits.

Instructional Procedure

Making a simple circuit:

1.  Go through each of the materials being used in building the simple circuit.

2. Simplest Circuit (One LED)

The simplest circuit to build consists of an LED, battery pack, and  three small “snakes” of dough (two conductive and one insulating). To build this circuit, separate the two pieces of conductive dough  (purple) with a piece of insulating dough (white).

Now, insert each of the battery pack wires into the conductive dough. Do the same with the leads from the LED but be sure that the short end of the LED is inserted into the same piece of conductive dough that holds the black, or negative, battery pack wire. It is good practice to turn the battery pack off while you are connecting the components and to turn it on after you have finished setting up the circuit.

* To prolong the life of the equipment, please do not put the motors or lights directly in contact with the wires to the batteries. This will cause them to break they are not meant to hand the amount of voltage that is coming from the battery.

Clean Up

Clean up between demonstrations if needed. When completely finished gather all materials listed for this demonstration and make sure everything is accounted for. If something was used up, broken or damaged, let someone know so it can get replaced or fixed. Wipe down all metal parts that come in contact with the dough with a rag and battery cleaner.

Lesson Extensions-once students have mastered the simple circuit; the next challenge could be to have them build dough creatures. A link to how to build dough creatures with Squishy Circuits is included in references.


Dough creatures. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/teachers/includes/content/scigirls/activities/tech/doughcreatures.pdf

Thomas, A. (n.d.). Squishy circuitss. Retrieved from http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/buildingCircuits.htm

Thomas, A. M. (n.d.). Squishy circuits lesson plan. Retrieved from http://mindtrekkers.mtu.edu/docs/Lessons 2012/Squishy Circuit Board Lesson Plan.pdf

Remix, Reuse, Recycle Video

Link to Sarah Nelson’s Remix, Reuse, Recycle video:


The second class in the Educational Technology Certificate program is titled Adapting Innovative Technologies in Education. Right out of the gate The first assignment for my was a doozie. We were asked to create a ‘remix’ video centered around an educational technology buzzword using youtube videos that have a creative commons license. In this new world of technology, copyright infringement is becoming a major issue as people are taking things such as  copyrighted movies and music, placing them in the public domain for all to use. The issue with this is these are copyrighted by studios and artist and are not to be used without permission. However, the law is still catching up to technology-example-Napster.

As I looked at the list of buzzwords, there were several that could fit into what I wanted to convey in my video. The buzzword I settled on was instructional technology was the word I selected. In the video various types of technology-twitter, google, Facebook and ipads are highlighted as these are the tools that schools are beginning to integrate into classrooms to enhance learning for students.  Since it was the 4th of July holiday and I was going out of town on Wednesday, I decided it would be a good idea to work on this week’s assignment right away. I figured it was going to be a challenge and would need more than Sunday afternoon when I got back to work on. Boy, am I glad I worked on it right away. I started around 9 am central standard time and through 2 reruns of Beverly Hills, 90210, the movies, The Day After Tomorrow and Just Like Heaven, my video took shape. Frustration came early as Mozilla Popcorn was a little aggravating from the start. I googled tutorials to see if I could figure it out, but eventually settled for tinkering. Following my final movie, I thought I had created the perfect 30 second video, even tweeted about breaking out in a sweat when  I realized I may have to do a little more.  As I was taking a lunch break to get over my frustration, I read a tweet that stated, “if you’re not frustrated, you’re not learning.” Reading that tweet completely changed my attitude and reignited by enthusiasm to continue to better my video. Four hours later-mission accomplished!

Through the quirks, stoppages, freezes and other issues that arose during the making of my remix, I learned about a new tool that I feel could be used in my classroom. My goal for the 2013-2014 school year is to utilize Google and youtube in my classroom. I feel this newest tool would be something my students could use for projects as well as getting to know each other. As I continue on this journey known as the Educational Technology Certificate, I am learning so much it could be overwhelming, but as someone shared with me, stick to 2-no more.  I am excited to continue on this journey. The information I am gaining is applicable right away and I am excited to share this with my students and fellow staff members.


Ball, Dan. TWITTER EPIC RAP. 2012. Video. http://www.youtube.com. Web. 3 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/p5GU59wS1rk&gt;.

Facebook vs Google . 2013. Video. http://www.youtube.com. Web. 3 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/xqJLHxKbdh0&gt;.

Huckaby, Mike. Techno using the Circle Synthesizer. MP3. Soundcloud. 3 Feb 2013. 3 July 2013. https://soundcloud.com/mikehuckaby/techno-using-the-circle.

Lindgren-Streicher, Karl. A day in a flipped classroom. 2012. Video. http://www.youtube.comWeb. 3 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/FhvVCEjqaX8&gt;.

Inkling: moving textbooks onto the iPad. 2011. Video. http://www.youtube.com. Web. 3 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/Nq-GcXR3eXw&gt;.

Space Shuttle Launch From Multiple Views HD. 2012. Video. http://www.youtube.com. Web. 3 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/qNSnyfQcUsI&gt;.

Tyagi, Nitin. Brain_Test.mov. 2011. Video. http://www.youtube.com. Web. 3 Jul 2013. <http://youtu.be/j9L57zoFnT0&gt;.