Creativity and Evaluation

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Note: The following is a blog post. For a more complex, full-version appraisal of the topic, click here.  

When I received the final assignment for CEP 811, in all honesty, my initial reaction was, How boring: finishing a creative, innovative course with a reflection on evaluation and assessment, which James Paul Gee refers to as “the most painful, ludicrous part of learning” (On Grading with Games, 2010). As I reflect on this course, however, I wonder if perhaps creativity and assessment are not mutually exclusive. One major way I have grown is that I have come to believe there is very little in education that cannot be evaluated, including creativity. This is as it should be for two reasons, the first being that education involves evaluating student progress and providing students opportunities to do so. When we do not offer students chances to grow we rob them of opportunities, such as the Squishy Circuits experience, to try, fail, investigate, adapt, try again, and succeed. These are powerful experiences that help children cultivate curiosity and build confidence. I intend to incorporate elements of creativity, problem-solving, and perseverance in my classroom, hopefully with a grant to acquire a class set of kits. The true test evaluative tool will be asking the question, To what extent are my students incorporating these principles into their continued learning?

A second reason for the importance of creativity evaluation is that without it, there will likely be little reason to incorporate it into learning. Having learned the power of lessons informed by technological, pedagogical, and content knowledges (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) I believe all learners are exceptional and they deserve innovative learning experiences. Many teachers decry a “one size fits all” education, but with no way to evaluate creativity, how can we actually center our lessons around it?

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Educator Grant Wiggins suggests that “The point in any performance is to…achieve the purpose of the performance” (2012). I want to be clear with students about purpose behind assignments, especially those involving creative expression, teaching students how to recognize they have done well. Rubrics were one aspect of this course I felt nervous about but later came to value. I have long felt that rubrics inhibit creativity. However, I found that when I engaged deeply with a topic, the MOOC, for example, and produced by best creative effort, I easily met the rubric criteria. Bolstered by that success, I felt liberated to take greater risks. I plan to incorporate such risk into my teaching, which is not to say “I plan to write more rubrics.” I do plan to increase intentionality in communicating parameters and expectations of projects to students- and then releasing them to experiment.

More and more I become convinced that everyone is a maker, but that “creative” and “artistic” are not synonymous, and we need to recognize the multiplicity of creative types. Increasing student pride in what they have made –whether words, equations, or art-, that which is “uniquely theirs” helps to “capture students imaginations, stimulate their curiosities, and inspire their successes” (Gee, 2010). I certainly experienced this during this course- complete with all the requisite elements of unfamiliarity, panic, frustration, hope, nervousness, increased confidence, and triumph. I hope to take students to a place where, when their creation somehow fails, they can still think, No worry- I made something, I have made successful things in the past, and I will make more things in the future. This risk is what will drive us forward- teachers, students, and thinkers worldwide. How could I not want that for my students? How could I not “dramatically expand the notion of what a classroom can be” (Isslehardt, 2013).

Strong standards and concrete expectations need not be devoid of these elements. During college, I had a professor of

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Spanish who, after a particularly difficult midterm, reminded the class that the most important questions to ask, always, was Are you learning? Coming from someone a self-made immigrant with tremendous perspective, this was simple yet powerful truth, and it has stuck with me. Standardized curricular exemplars play a distant second-fiddle to where this generation of students is going next. If my students can answer the question of Are you learning? with a resounding, passionate, creative yes- that is my highest expectation and my greatest triumph.


Gee, J. (2010, July 20). On grading with games. [YouTube]. Retrieved from

Isslehardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108 (6), 1017-1054.

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from


Reflecting on EdCamp

EdCamp Words: Licensed under CC 2.0 Generic

EdCamp Words:
Licensed under CC 2.0 Generic

While largely focused on integrating new technologies into the classroom, CEP 811 also includes a component on connecting and sharing experiences with colleagues, which was the goal of our recent virtual EdCamp. EdCamp is an innovative way to impart ideas and trade best practices with other educators, and it was a helpful, informative experience. One aspect I especially appreciated about EdCamp was the flexibility it offered. I appreciated being able to select a topic I was both knowledgeable and passionate about, and share that with others. Flexibility in content was also valuable, as I knew that my colleagues were selecting topics that mattered to them and that worked for their students, too. The culture of collaboration created by EdCamp is so inspiring. Everyone was eager to learn and encouraging, patient when our technology lagged a bit behind our enthusiasm. The contributions made in the the chat bar comprised an unexpected benefit, as well! Even when the microphones were muted, there was rich conversation flowing about tools and ideas. I found myself so eager to incorporate these elements into my own classroom that I copied the whole chat bar into a Google Doc!

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Internet of Things:
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Participating in EdCamp virtually proved tricky at times. The conversation was less free-flowing than it would be in a central location, and it could be hard to read the audience or know when to chime in on during another presentation. I had some audience participation elements that would have been easier to gauge if everyone could share freely, without having to worry about sound feedback, but I didn’t feel that my presentation suffered too badly for it. If I were to participate in an experience like this again, it would be helpful to stick to the given schedule and perhaps also to have options for sessions like a live EdCamp would. It might be productive to have certain days that focused on certain topics, i.e. an elementary EdCamp and a split secondary EdCamp. Finally, a more workable platform would be desirable. Google Hangout is a great tool, but when so many people are part of the conversation and the microphones have to be muted, it can get  confusing and a little discouraging, since it limits group participation.


Overall, however, EdCamp is productive and invigorating and has great implications for future professional development at both macro- and micro-levels. So many professional days are “sit and get,” which, educators know, is fairly unhelpful. An EdCamp is interactive, provides choice, and leaves room curiosity and exploration. It also opens the door for teachers to both be filled by other experts and fill others as the expert themselves. Recently, my district did an in-house professional day in which teachers created sessions based on their own interests and specializations, offering them to other staff members. It was exciting to present to my colleagues, knowing that we know the same students. It is easy to envision an EdCamp in my own environment. The cost would be much lower than workshops of similar quality and the structure leaves room for open, personal, tailored discussion. Moreover, working together can help teachers see each other as  valuable contributors to growth, therein inspiring others to rise to that expectation, reducing competition, and increasing comraderie- all of which are extremely beneficial for students.


Organizing an EdCamp could pose some challenges, but having organized events before, it seems that most of the

Collaborate: Public Domain CC0

Public Domain CC0

challenges would be logistic in nature, as opposed to challenges in vision or content, since EdCamp is so strong in these areas. It would be crucial that the vision and purpose of EdCamp be clearly communicated to stakeholders in clear, concise ways so that all participants could develop clarity on the expectations and outcomes of such an event. To gather a core of presenters that would fuel the creative force and expert knowledge of EdCamp, I would logically begin by linking with the best teachers I know personally in my PLN nearby. I imagine it would then be beneficial to expand to the second degree, which would be great teachers those great teachers know! The variety in perspectives of some teachers who had presented before and some who had not would help lend vision to the project. It would be important to push creative thinking, to publicize on- and offline to the community, and to work hard to make peace with the unstructured structure of EdCamp so that it could be most beneficial to as many people as possible.


The detailed nature of organizing an event would dictate that all logistical factors be considered ahead of time. The time that goes into planning a first-ever event of anything is always more than one thinks, so that would be a major commitment! Cost is another factor. EdCamp has relatively low overhead, but there would need to be a small budget for materials and potential building rental. It would be important to consider the space for the actual event (if it were live), answering crucial questions like, Will this space uphold all of our technologies? Is there sufficient bandwidth? Does the space support collaboration? Is it centrally located? Even considerations such as the number of outlets and local options for purchasing lunch would be necessary. The importance of timing would also merit consideration. An EdCamp, especially a new one, would benefit from being isolated from other events on the calendar, and should not be attempted during busy times like September, the holidays, or after spring break. Some informal research -perhaps through PLN outlets like Google Forms or Twitter- might be helpful in determining the areas of interest, length of sessions, scope of focus, and tech proficiency of the community, as well.

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Working Together:
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Finally, as an organizer, it would be important to manage expectations. When holding an event for the first time, sometimes interest and turnout can be lower than one expects…or sometimes it can blow the roof! Gauging interest and securing registrations in a timely manner would be integral to coordinating the EdCamp and prepared adequately to help it run as smoothly as possible. All of these elements of would be challenging, but I am hopeful that the rewards for educators would be more than worth it.


Passion & Curiosity: Farewell to CEP 812

One of the most prolific thinkers of our time, an expert on hyperconnectedness even before such a phenomenon surfaced, The World is Flat author Thomas Friedman suggests that successful human beings will no longer simply be those with high intelligence. Indeed, “It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools…to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime” (2013).

An encouraging thought for educators. Public education of children has long centered around creating cogs in a wheel- workers who will possess basic knowledge and by whom industries will be well-served. However, our reality (thankfully) is changing. I am encouraged by the knowledge that my students will grow up in a world that values not only intellect, but also the elements that have been so prevalent in solving the problems of practice in this course: curiosity and passion- critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, collaboration, resourcefulness, ambition, tenacity, heart.

Truly these are the new textbooks, pencil holders, flashcards, and clocks. They are forces that drove me to teaching -some days against my better judgment, as inevitably the wicked problems studied in this course rear their ugly heads- but they are also what keep me there. They are gifts, really, someone gave me- in kindergarten, in second grade, in seventh, tenth, and university. And they are gifts I work to give my students each year.

It will be hard to leave these courses behind.  I am deeply thankful to have learned that educational technology is not really about technology, but about teaching and learning. It is about selecting the very best tools that will accomplish one’s purpose and teaching students to learn and to think. For the culmination of my time in the educational technology certificate program, I wanted to create something that reflected those gifts. I hope that this multimedia presentation illustrates the curiosity I desire my students to cultivate, as well as the passion I have for teaching them using the best resources available. Perhaps the way I feel about the work, time, energy, and resources that have fueled my work in this program is exactly what I would want my students to say: It was worth it.



Friedman, T. L. (2013, January 29). It’s p.q. and c.q. as much as i.q. The New York Times, p. A27. Retrieved from


Revisiting a Lesson with a UDL Lens

Apple diagram

This week’s focus centered around the Universal Design for Learning. UDL was created as an answer to one-size-fits-all curriculum. It is a plan for crafting lessons that include all students and create learning that is accessible to everyone, instead of just a majority. After all, even the majority is often poorly-served by traditional lesson plans!  I found this short video from CAST, the Center for Applied Special Technology, to be especially helpful for illustrating what UDL is and how it supports learning:

As I worked to revise my Squishy Circuits maker kit lesson plan to accommodate the goals of UDL, three themes surfaced for me: flexibility, options, and variety. Incorporating these three ideas into my lesson plan was easy as I considered the aim of UDL is to accommodate every learner, and to do that I needed to embed each of the themes.

One of the initial strengths of my plan was the open creative “play time” with Squishy Circuits. Not only did this time empower students to imagine, struggle, and adapt within a supportive team structure, but it also liberated my time to meet student needs. If a student became particularly frustrated, I could be available to help him self-monitor and refocus. If a student required additional schema building, I could work with her to construct background knowledge. Reading the guidelines (Rose & Gravel, 2011) and working through the UDL plan, especially the section on providing multiple means of engagement, helped me realize the importance of making both my time and the students’ time productive.

To increase flexibility, I provided students choices in how to document their process: with conversation, diagrams, or photographs. I added several visual cues to illustrate the points of my teaching. For example, I wrote in the following graphics as posters for the two types of learning in this lesson: science content and collaborative processing, so students would be able to identify both goals:

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Public Domain CCO

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Public Domain CCO








Additionally, I added these images, which I would use as small posters indicating the structure of the activity: individual, pairs, small group, and whole class.

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Public Domain CCO


Public Domain CC0

Public Domain CCO







Helping students transition into each new portion of the lesson became especially valuable as I worked through the UDL section on guiding processing, visualization, and manipulation .

Public Domain CC0

Public Domain CCO

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported








Variety was another strength of my initial plan that emerged as a valuable facet of UDL adaptation. As a rule, I try to keep engagement high by varying the structure, time, type of activity, and number of participants in any given lesson, and this was certainly -if not especially- true of my Squishy Circuits plan. Already, I had constructed the time to be split among whole class, small group, and partner modes of instruction, which also helped to make considerations for learners who might need extra patience or encouragement. During the UDL revision, I added opportunities for students to depict information in various forms, and  to share with both their team members and the class in whichever mode felt most natural.

Facing all of the nuanced elements of the template was overwhelming at first, but as I processed the UDL plan and

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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

modified my lesson, I thought about flexibility, options, and variety and it didn’t seem so daunting. I began to wonder, How have I been teaching for five years without ever encountering this method before? It occurred to me that UDL is the lesson plan every undergraduate pre-service teacher should learn.

Although I already had experience with several of the pedagogical ideas -learning styles, variety of structures, multiple representations- I had never seen them packaged so logically and efficiently. If I had had access to this type of structure during undergrad, I imagine I would have been better prepared to accommodate the disparate learners in my room, especially those with special needs. Still, I am thankful for the exposure to a structure that will help me process future lesson plans in an organized fashion. After all, who doesn’t benefit from flexibility, options, and variety? Now I have a new goal: centralizing those themes daily in my teaching.

Click HERE for the UDL-updated lesson plan.

To see how I utilized the UDL template click here.

And check out a (free, teacher-created!) graphic organizer students could option here.



CAST. (2010, January 6). UDL at a Glance .  Retrieved from

Fennimore, K. (2013, January 1). WEB 12 bubbles. Retrieved from

Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (V.2.0). Wakefield, MA:

Tagxedo – Word Cloud with Styles. (2006, January 1). Retrieved from


Rethinking Teaching: A Wicked Problem

Studying wicked problems -those which are multifacted and profoundly complicated in nature and as such have no clear or definitive answers- has been both a major focus and major highlight of CEP 812. Examining wicked problems in education proves especially difficult, given that almost everyone is either invested or self-interested in the future of learning. Teaching is unusual this way; because most people in the United States, a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, have or have had a school experience, many assume to be deeply familiar with it and assume subsequent “expert” status- or at the very least an opinion, often a strong one.

The reality, however, is that not even teachers are experts at teaching. This is as it should be, in that any teacher who thinks she has fully mastered the science of teaching has gravely underestimated the artistry involved. Additionally, the current system of American schooling was borne out of a need to prepare future workers for the industrialism era. Now we find ourselves inexorably linked to a system that is, in many ways, of antiquated structure and no longer supportive or effective for students of a knowledge economy. Everyone seems to have an opinion (or five) on how to “reform,” education, yet no resolution has yet fully surfaced.

For these reasons, rethinking teaching tends to warrant wicked problem status. Teaching, though, is unequivocally impossible without teachers. The reality that although they are not typically macro-level decision makers, ultimately, teachers are the ones who will enact change. It is with this empowering thought in mind that my think tank colleagues and I present our work on rethinking teaching as our wicked problem project. See our questions, frustrations, obstacles, musings, hopes, aspirations, and potential solutions in our curation, a link to which follows below.

Rethinking Teaching Curation


Flipped Learning EdCamp

Topics of Interest

–> Why Flip?

A Prezi to highlight some of the many benefits

–> Instructional Videos

Get rid of that ‘hearing yourself on a recording’ anxiety with some screencasting background knowledge and some helpful tips 

–> Managing Workflow

Pros and cons of using Google Drive and/or Dropbox

–> Community Connections

Know the pros and cons and be ready to defend your (awesome) flipping choice to your community!



Experience [Classroom] Design

Overhead View

Considering the principles of experience design this week, my task involved reinventing a learning space to accommodate 21st century students. It only made sense, then, that the learning space I’d be reconfiguring would be my own classroom. I am fortunate to have a large classroom, but I also have a large class- usually about 30 students. Having always believed in the power of an environment that supports collaboration, my primary student furniture has been arranged in groups. Additionally, the constraints of my classroom -including a bathroom, only three outlets, and fully three additional doors- limit the degree to which things can be restructured  However, challenged by David Kelley’s persuasion that people should have space to “let their ideas fly” (2012), and Scott McLeod’s reminder of Vygotsky’s suggestion that “teachers use cooperative learning exercises” (2012) my primary area of focus became creating more shared learning space.

I wanted to make this goal affordable and attainable. It is fun to dream big -and if I was looking to make major changes, SketchUp would be a helpful visualization tool- but, constantly challenging myself to connect course material to my own teaching experience, I designed changes that would be practical but also pack a punch. The redesign would be impactful for the stakeholders -students first, but also administrators, coaches, co-teachers, and myself- while still being attainable.

Since early elementary students rely heavily on routine, I would prefer that this redesign be fully executed before a new school year. My students become unsettled when we swap core subject times; I can only imagine the chaos that total remodeling would provoke! Painting, especially, would need to be completed without student presence. It would be possible, however, to complete the project over a natural restart, such as Christmas vacation. Having done some research with Ikea and Home Depot I learned that paint costs would total approximate $130. Purchasing 30 stools would be about $150. Investigating the cost of cushions reminded me why I made my first set; the expense is absurd! Instead of purchasing commercial cushions for $35+ each, I could catch regular pillows on a $5 sale and sew the cases for about $1. That adds a cost of about another $150. Additional lamps considered, this redesign could realize for about $500: two years’ worth of my PTO budget.

I have created a classroom “developed around the concept of collaboration–between student and teacher and among the students themselves” (McCrea, 2012). One specific facet includes the ability to easily restructure the space for different types of learning, a process The Third Teacher calls “shuffl[ing] the deck” (2010). It would be a challenge to implement on a management level, but as William Rottschaefer observed, Albert Bandura “characterized human agency as emergent and interactive,” (1991), so trusting that agency and choice lead to higher engagement, I created the spaces to be mobile and versatile: “A learning space that can be reconfigured on a dime,” (The Third Teacher, 2010).  I hope that in this space, my students “surprise themselves with just how innovative they and their teams really are” (Kelley, 2012). Below are images detailing specific areas of the classroom and my vision behind them.


Reading Corner

The reading corner: cozy and safe, painted a cool and relaxing blue, students who prefer a more nestled environment for their reading will thrive here. Cushions and rugs are also available to move about the classroom.



This image highlights the large windows in my classroom, now-open and released from any barriers, since, as The Third Teacher notes, “Increasing the daylight in classrooms has been shown to cut down on absenteeism and improve test scores” (2010). What an easy yet worthwhile change!

Collaborative Spaces

Here is an overhead view of three collaborative spaces. The traditional trapezoid tables push together or pull apart to form large and small groups. The rug and pillows provide a brainstorming space for students, complete with a white board on the wall to track ideas. The small round table and accompanying carpet squares, partitioned off by a shelf of art supplies -or easily moved to a new location- comprise an additional collaborative space.


Thinking Space

In this image, a large bulletin board is available for “posting student work, both current and past” (The Third Teacher, 2010). The table and squares, while portable, can also stay here, providing easy access to my teaching partner’s room next door. After all, as Bridget McCrea suggests, “Who says the 21st Century classroom has to be a single room?” (2012).


whole group space

Even our whole-group space is structured to be flexible. Students can sit on cushions in view of the SMART Board, or in view of me in my tall chair. Albeit much less often, I can also move easily to my desk -stationed here due to outlets- to integrate the ELMO and computer technology from there.



Kelley, D. (2012, May 16). “How to build your creative confidence.” [YouTube]. TED Talks. Retrieved from

McCrea, B. (2012, January 18). THE Journal. Designing the 21st Century K-12 Classroom. Retrieved from

McLeod, S. (2012, January 1). Zone of Proximal Development – Scaffolding. Retrieved from

Rottschaefer, W. A. (1991). Some philosophical implications of bandura’s social cognitive theory of human agency. American Psychologist, 46(2), 153-155. doi:

The Third Teacher. (2010). TTT Ideas Flash Cards. Retrieved from

Moving Forward with Tech in Communities of Practice

Broadening my focus this week, I shifted attention toward elements of technology integration in communities of practice, specifically my own at the elementary level. I surveyed elementary teachers in my district regarding their current classroom technologies and the directions they would like to pursue in the future through professional development. My goal for this research centered around answering the questions, “Where are we now?” and “Where are we going?” Having shared the results with those in the community, I also offer a summary and report here. Below is an infographic detailing the results of the survey created using Piktochart. Access to the full summary report can be found by clicking here.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Dyslexia and Technology

Dyslexia and Technology

Focusing on supporting students with special learning needs through the use of technology this week was especially applicable to my teaching. Over the last three years, I have been assuming increasingly more responsibility for students with special needs in my … Continue reading

Instructional Design and the Micro MOOC

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) were the area of focus this week in CEP 811, concordant with the goals of instructional design. To engage with this topic, I created an “ultra micro MOOC” on flipped instruction. It was an extensive and comprehensive process, but I believe it has resulted in a focused, effective, “flipped classroom boot camp” of sorts and as I reflect on it, I’m thinking it might be highly empowering for teachers new to flipping, as well as quite a bit of fun to teach!



In my Inside Out: Flipping the Elementary Classroom course my peers will master skills in maximizing use of student iPads by developing engaging teaching videos and presentations; learning ways to manage workflow; and communicating with all parties in the flipped classroom community. Projects will be technology based, created and enhanced with the help of collaboration and feedback from peers.


Flipping Instruction in the Elementary Classroom

Course Title

Inside Out: Flipping the Elementary Classroom

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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License


Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License

Sal Khan, the venerated (yet accidental!) father of flipped learning.

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License

Jonathon Bergmann, who (with Aaron Sams) pioneered flipped instruction in the classroom.


Innovative teachers who are proficient in iPad technology and ready to approach the Modification and Redefinition levels of Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model will receive tremendous benefits from this course (Puentedura, 2012). Elementary teachers who understand the importance of 1:1 devices in their ability to actually make an impact on student achievement and who value the one-to-one teacher and student relationship will be attracted to this course, as it will help them establish effective structures for making these ideas into realities within their own classrooms.

Course Objectives

Over five weeks (plus an introductory week), students will:

  • Explore and articulate the history and the thinking behind flipped instruction.
  • Learn and apply the principles of quality instructional video creation.
  • Investigate and enact a system for managing student workflow and feedback loops.
  • Discuss and communicate with a variety of parties invested in flipped instruction.
  • Consider and plan for the value of collaboration in continued learning.

For the design of this MOOC, I considered several elements from the Graduate Certificate courses, including individualized instruction, social constructivism, and professional networking. From personal experience and from research into the experiences of others, I know the benefits of flipping one’s instruction are many and impactful. For a Prezi I designed to illustrate some of these benefits, click here. One of the most substantial advantages to flipped instruction is the increase in individualized instruction students receive. Technologies introduced in this MOOC will be especially helpful for differentiating instruction in the elementary grade and opening space for teachers to interact one-on-one with students on a more consistent, personal level. Designing instruction this way creates more opportunities for students to engage with material at a deeper level and in similarly-equipped and mixed-ability pairs and groups within a workshop format, which in turn helps students understand that “the outcomes of individuals are affected by their own and others’ actions” (Johnson & Johnson, 2009, p. 366). Similarly, one of the major goals for this MOOC is for participants to value not only the cooperation of their students, but also of themselves in the context of their own professional learning network, which can assist them in building their knowledge of flipped instruction in the future.

Participant Projects 

During this course, peers will create:

  • An introductory video for students
  • A rationale for flipping instruction
  • A series of instructional videos, screencasts, and/or presentations
  • A platform for managing workflow
  • A community presentation explaining the flipped classroom to the greater community
  • A plan for continued professional development

Instructional Design

I have designed this course with intention, recognizing the valuable interaction of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge illustrated by Mishra and Koehler (2006). The technologies woven into the fabric of this MOOC have been tested and proven to help teachers reach students. Some have been designed specifically for instruction, and others can be “creatively repurpose[d]…to meet specific pedagogical goals (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p. 1032). Pedagogically, both the content of the modules and their chronology serve the goals of the MOOC and thoughtfully answer the essential questions included therein. I orchestrated the length of the course -five weeks, plus an introductory week- such that teachers interested in implementing these principles into their teaching could easily complete the program successfully during the first or second half of the summer. Alternatively, if finding out about the idea during the week of professional development before school begins, participants could efficiently engage with the core ideas of flipped instruction during the beginning of the school year, without sacrificing importance of content or valuable instructional time in September. Finally, the instructional design of the MOOC and its sequence uphold contextual content that is both peer-proven and classroom-applicable. It begins with an overview, continues toward the history and background of flipping, progresses to instruction, followed by workflow management and communication, and finishing with a plan for professional development.  Participants will come away from it, armed with both strong foundations of understanding in order to defend the method of instruction to parents, administrators, and other teachers, as well as a bevy of technological tools that will work toward the Modification and Redefinition levels of Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model (2012). Furthermore, participants will be able to customize the content to their own students and content areas, as the flipped instructional model is highly adaptable to individual teachers.

Peer Interactions

During this course, participants will reflect on the need to develop a community of practice as part of their journey into flipped instruction. Parts of this goal will be attainable through individual tasks, but participants will need (and want!) to take advantage of collaborative opportunities with others in the course. Many of these interactions will take place within the feedback loop among peers, especially within the projects highlighting instructional videos, community presentation, and professional development plan. Participants will watch each other’s instructional videos and provide  feedback in a “star-and-wish” format, noting what they appreciated and items about which they had questions or suggestions. Regarding the community presentation, participants will assume the role of a community member -administrator, parent, or a teacher unfamiliar with flipped instruction- and respond to the presentation from the perspective of that person. The professional development plan will be developed in tandem with peers, as it will be informed by a collaborative effort, sharing thoughts, suggestions, and reflections in a common space such as Padlet.

Course Architecture

The format of each module is designed according to Stephen Yelon’s plan for instructional design, critical components of which include a problem or need, terminal objective, content, instruction, real-world performance, and evaluation (2001). The need for this MOOC is the level of challenge teachers face in connecting with students in a one-on-one format, as well as differentiating for students of varying backgrounds and abilities. Terminal objectives can be found in the goals for the course. The content focus areas and modes of instruction are highlighted in each module. Evaluations will be conducted vis a vis the real-world performance projects, which are the creation-based outcomes featured in each module.


Intro Module

Terminal Objective: During this introductory module, participants will simply explore some background on flipping their classrooms.

 Read, Watch, Explore


Week 1: Theory

Terminal Objective: Participants will explore the history of flipped instruction and learn how flipping solves a problem of instruction. 


  • History of the flipped model
  • The void filled by flipped instruction
  • Differentiation and benefits achieved by flipping


Read: Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams’s book Flip Your Classroom

Watch: Sal Khan TED Talk 


Real-World Performance Project

Create a written rationale for flipping your instruction. Use Bergmann, Sams, and Khan to inform and support your thinking.


Week 2: Instruction

Terminal Objective: Participants will investigate principles that guide quality presentations and how to employ them.


  • Screencasting
  • Guiding design principles of quality instructional videos
  • Tools available for creating instructional presentations
  • Pros and cons for different instructional platforms


Read: Joe Hirsch’s Flipped Tips

The Screencasting Handbook (p. 16-22)

7 Things About Screencasting

Watch: Jon Bergmann’s Explain Everything Tutorial(s)

Explore: EdTeachTeachers’s Screencasting Comparisons 


Real-World Performance Project

Choose a platform you explored this week and create a mini-series of three instructional videos on a topic, subject, or content area. View the mini-series of a colleague and provide feedback using a star-and-wish format: provide both affirmation and suggestions.


Week 3: Management

Terminal Objective: Participants will learn how to productively manage workflow in the flipped classroom.

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License


  • Elements of workflow in education
  • Aspects of workflow systems
  • Google Drive and Dropbox 


Read: Jennie Magiera’s Workflow Platforms Comparison Article

Watch: Dropbox v. Google Drive

Explore: Dropbox Tour

Google Drive Getting Started


Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License


Real-World Performance Project

Choose either Dropbox or Google Drive and design a system of workflow in your own classroom. Write a brief explanation regarding why you made the choices you did and how you think this system will your support your students’ learning needs.


Week 4: Communication

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike

Terminal Objective: Participants will examine how communication is valuable with various invested parties and how to effectively communicate with them about the flipped model.


  • Groups of people involved with aspects of flipped learning
  • Public perception of the flipped model
  • Pros and cons of flipping
  • Modes of communication
  • Flipped instruction “points of pride” to present to communities


Read: HuffPost Public Article

Explore: Tech Tools for Parent Communication

Infographic: Pros and Cons


Real-World Performance Project

Using any multimedia tool of your choice, create a presentation for parents, administrators, community members, and teachers unfamiliar with flipped learning to address public concerns about flipped learning and explain how the benefits outweigh the risks. “Sell” your audience on your flipped classroom! Then, taking the role of one the aforementioned parties, comment on a colleague’s presentation from that perspective. Address what questions/concerns/fears/reservations you had as that person and how your colleague allayed them with his or her presentation.


Week 5: Continuing Education

Terminal Objective: Participants will consider the value of continued learning in this area and plan for further professional development.

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0


  • Professional learning networks
  • Collaboration as a medium for best practices development
  • Professional networking in educational technology


Read: Collaboration is Key

Getting Smart PLN Guide

Explore: PLN Made Easy


Real-World Performance Project

After exploring, post your thoughts for creating a professional flipped learning network on the collaborative Padlet page. Then, incorporating the thoughts of your peers, and using any combination of the above resources, design a plan for your own continued professional growth in the area of flipped instruction. Detail which resources you will use, why you personally selected those resources, and how you plan to use them to become a better equipped flipped teacher. Your plan can be articulated in any medium you can use to best express your ideas. When you’ve completed your plan, post a link to the group Padlet page so peers can benefit from many forms of continued professional networking. Finally…get out there and FLIP your classroom!




All photo images licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License. See photo captions for specific licensing details.



Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom reach every student in every class every day. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2009). An educational psychology success story: Social interdependence theory and cooperative learning. Educational Researcher, 38(5), 365-379. Retrieved from

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A new framework for teacher knowledgeTeachers College Record, 108 (6), 1017-1054.

Khan, S. (Speaker) (2011, March 1). Let’s use video to reinvent education. TED2011. Lecture conducted from TED Talks Retrived from

Puentedura, R. R. (2012, August 23). The SAMR model: background and exemplars. Retrieved from

Swarts, J. (2012, August 1). New modes of help: best practices for instructional video. Retrieved from

Yelon, S. L. (2001). Goal-Directed Instructional Design: A Practical Guide to Instructional Planning for Teachers and Trainers. Michigan State University: Self-published, Not in electronic format.

Zorfass, J., & Rivero, H. K. (2005). Collaboration is key: How a community of practice promotes technology integration.Journal of Special Education Technology, 20(3), 51-60. Retrieved from