Fire Away

After completing the readings/assignment about ADA, here are three questions I still have:

  1. Are there support systems in place to help students move from being covered by IDEA to being just covered by ADA in college? What are they?
  2. How is ADA or disabilities diagnosis affected by cuts to healthcare/insurance? What will happen if the Affordable Healthcare Act is dismantled?
  3. Are there specific accommodations I must make as an instructor of online classes?
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Exploring the ADA

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Technology Grant Proposal

For this assignment, I have designed a proposal for the following grant. I am applying for a whole school rather and individual classroom grant:

Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico

Here is the screencast: Technology Grant Proposal.

Project Summary

Placitas Elementary K-5 public school located in Placitas, NM. Our school is dedicated to providing an exemplary educational experience for our students. Our school follows a project-based learning model which helps to both meet national and state learning standards, and to enhance students’ learning experience by making connections across subjects.

Although our model is sound, we do not have the financial resources to fully develop it. We would like to incorporate more technology on a school-wide level as a means of further enriching our lessons and of helping to prepare our students for the challenges they will face as citizens in the 21st century. To that end, we feel it would be useful and timely to implement virtual reality (VR) technology into our lessons.

Project Description

The goal of this project is to acquire the tools and resources necessary to implement VR into our school curriculum. This project is designed to be implemented on a school-wide level. VR is more than just a growing trend in classroom design. VR is a fairly low cost way to both enhance lessons and to provide virtual field trips.

VR technology is now being incorporated by many organizations outside the realm of the traditional classroom, and a lot of those organizations offer educational resources to schools to little or no cost. For example, the National Park Service has created a 3D version of Bent’s Old Fort along the Santa Fe Trail in Colorado. Students can now take a “tour” of the fort without ever having to leave their classrooms. Early studies suggest that some of the benefits of incorporating VR into class design include encouraging students to engage intently with tasks, improving group interactions, and providing opportunities for peer teaching.

VR also has value beyond classroom enrichment. Large companies are now starting to incorporate VR into their day-to-day functions. For example, General Motors (GM) and Ford now use VR to help train their employees. They are not alone. VR is also used extensively in the tech industry, which is currently the most growing job market in the US. It makes sense then, to incorporate VR, as it has the potential to not only enrich lessons, but to also help prepare students for the job market.

The form of VR we would like to implement is Google Expeditions. We have chosen this form for a few different reasons. First, Google Expedition kits can either be purchased outright or pieced together, and doing the latter may help to reduce costs. Second, Google Expedition is compatible across a variety of devices, including many Android and Apple products. Third, as we hope to one day implement a one-to-one device program using Google Chromebooks, Google Expedition is a logical match. Finally, there are a growing number of resources available to help teachers design lessons across all subjects that will incorporate Google Expedition VR.

Proposed Budget

Item Description Cost per unit Units Total
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini These devices are reasonably priced, but still meet all the basic technological requirements to function in a VR viewer. We can use pre-paid phones at a much cheaper price because they just need to be internet compatible. They do not need to be hooked up to a data plan. $50 20 $1,000
Google Cardboard This kid-friendly product will you to use a mobile device to create a virtual reality experience. It is made of cardboard, but also includes a forehead pad and head strap. Because the viewer is made of cardboard, it is inexpensive and therefore less of a liability if it should break. $9 20 $180
Lenovo Tab2 A8 Tablet This tablet is an inexpensive option for the VR experience. A tablet is necessary to allow teachers to run the guide app so they can control how students use the viewers. $85 1 $85
Anker PowerPort 6 60W Wall Charger This rapid charger contains 6 USB ports and can sit on a desktop. A device like this is essential if Google Expedition kits are being shared between classes. $28 3 $84
High-speed Wireless Dual Band router A router is needed to connect student devices to the teacher tablet. This router also comes with a 4-year protection plan. $55 1 $55
Hard Pelican Case This wheeled, hard-sided case is waterproof. It comes with reinforced stainless steel padlock protectors and customizable interior packing foam. This sort of case is a quick and safe way to move the Google Expedition kit from class to class. $229.49 1 $229.49
Apps Although there are several free programs currently available for use in Google Expeditions, there are also some others than might need to be purchased. This money would give us the opportunity to do that. $500
Replacement Parts This amount is budgeted to cover incidental replacement parts. This is likely to be needed within the first year of use. $500
Total $2833.49

Budget Justification

The above budget is for the creation of a Google Expedition kit that can be used by up to 20 students at a time. When compared to commercially available kits, this option is much more cost effective. The following chart lists the prices of similar commercially available kits:

Company Number of Students Cost
Best Buy 20 $6999
TFE Solutions 20 AU $8532
Aquila Education 20 $6499

There are two main differences between these kits and the one we are proposing to put together for ourselves. First, some of the technology in the commercially available kits is a little fancier and more recent. For example, the VR viewers in all of these kits are made of molded plastic, while we are proposing to use the basic Google Cardboard. Secondly, some of these companies, but not all, offer tech support. Best Buy appears to have to most comprehensive support plan.

Sample Lesson Plan

Title: A Bug’s Life

Grade Level: This can be adapted for K-5th grade

Subject/topic: Scientific Method with Natural Science

Content Standards

New Mexico State Standards:

Students apply the processes of scientific investigation and design, conduct, communicate about, and evaluate such investigations.

NETS Standard(s)

  1. Research and Information Fluency – Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate,and use information.
  2. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making – Students use critical thinking skills to plan, conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be able to practice following directions.
  2. Students will be able to conduct the scientific method to create hypotheses about the insects being studied.
  3. Students will be able to collect and analyze data.
  4. Students will be able to draw conclusions based on collected data.
  5. Students will be able to collaborate with other classmates to determine the validity of their hypotheses.
  6. Students will be able to communicate findings to the entire class.

Evidence of Understanding

Students will be able to communicate the hypotheses they have developed about the insects being studied and describe the process of their investigations using a print out. The students will also be able to present their conclusions to the class and compare their answers to other groups. By completing this simulation and print out, the instructor will able to determine how well students follow directions and utilized the scientific method to draw conclusions.

Instructional Procedures

This lesson is meant to be a summative assessment to the class’ unit on insect biodiversity. Therefore, notes and other activities will be conducted beforehand. With this background knowledge from notes and other activities, the students should be able to meet each of the learning objectives listed above.

As a way to introduce this lesson, the instructor will have the students break into groups of two. This will make it easier for the students to work with the VR devices on introductory activities. Then the class will watch the introduction and go over the print out. Each group will then use the rest of class time to work on developing their hypotheses. During this time, the students must follow directions and complete the printout. Due to the length of this activity, it may take the students approximately 3 – 45 minute class session to finish. Luckily, students can go to each section as needed.

During the time the students are working, instructors will use the time to monitor and facilitate by asking some guiding questions of the group members. As a way to make sure that each group member is contributing an equal part to the assignment, the instructor will give each student the Post-Activity Quiz provided in the teacher resources. This grade will be added to the students’ completed printout grade.

Once the students have completed the hypothesis development activity and research, and drawn conclusions, each group will give a mini presentations to their findings. Then, the entire class will have a discussion. During the whole class discussion will be talk about the purpose to the use of the scientific process as well as the various components the activity investigated.

School Goal

Placitas Elementary is committed to providing an enriching educational experience for our students. To meet that goal, it is essential that students in the 21st century be exposed to the technologies that will help them to succeed in college and as members of the workforce. VR is a growing industry that is likely to have a strong impact on future practices and developments. The Google Expeditions program will give the students at Placitas Elementary vital access to this important technology.

Posted in EDET 678: Emerging Technologies | 2 Comments

Be a Rock Star Comment-a-nector 1

I made comments with links on the following posts:

  1. Bob Heath
  2. Chris Fliss
  3. Nikki Stein
  4. Sarah Liben
  5. Shania Fifarek
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Grok and Korg II

For this assignment I have chosen to compare and contrast my post for “Get Productive” with those of two of my classmates. I chose this post in particular because I am a sucker for figuring out new ways to organize things, and I wanted to see what others had done.

My Post

For my post I chose to use a “new” kind of paper and pen organization strategy called a Bullet Journal. This method appeals to me because I spend so much time “connected” already, that it seems important to take time to disconnect. I also really like the face that I can carry the journal around with me, and that it is more than just a journal. It is a way to keep track of plans, to schedule, to doodle, and to relieve stress.

Colton Anderson

For Colton’s post, he chose to review the Evernote app as a way to help with his family’s move next month. This program allows you to take different notes and compile them together in a virtual notebook. According to Colton, he has used it to make checklists, packing lists, reminders, itineraries, and reservations.

Evernote looks like it could be very useful, especially if it can be accessed from a mobile device. I particularly like the fact that you can tag posts to make searching easier, and drag and drop PDFs into the program. I may use it the next time I need to organize a big event like a move.

Misty McNellis

Misty also chose to review the Bullet Journal. I am excited to see this, because since I began using mine, I have been scrounging the internet for templates and ideas. Like me, Misty is a compulsive list maker. I like the graph paper journal that Misty chose for her Bullet Journal.

From her post it looks like she is not as far along as I am with mine. I do like the idea of developing some kind of color-coding system as Misty plans to use. I also plan to add a “Notes” section to my own.


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Grok and Korg I

For this assignment, I am comparing and contrasting blog posts made by myself and two of my classmates about Intellectual Property Rights.

My Post

In my post I approached the dilemma of considering Intellectual Property Rights from the perspective of the creator. I argue that there is a distinct difference between being influenced by the work of another and stealing it. I argue in favor of some degree of intellectual property rights because of their ability to protect and preserve the interests of artists and other creators.

I do not think that Intellectual Property Right laws are perfect, but I do think they should not be entirely abolished. I think these laws are increasingly important with the growing influence of the digital world.

Chelsey Zibell

In her post “Intellectual Property and Indigenous Art” Chelsey also argues in support of Intellectual Property Rights as a way to protect the work of artists. She likewise makes the distinction between stealing and being inspired by the work of another.

Chelsey does a very fine job of acknowledging the alternate viewpoints while also supporting her perspective. One of the big topics in the debate around Intellectual Property Rights is the question of how far these laws should extend. Many claim that it is unfair for them to extend beyond the lifetime of the creator. However, this argument is not so easily made when cultural appropriation is at issue as it is in Chelsey’s example.

After reading Chelsey’s post, my understanding of Intellectual Property Rights has shifted because i have realized that this issue is in fact more complex than my basic understanding of it.

Kevin Klott

In his post, “IP, Friend or Foe?” Kevin presents both sides of the argument about Intellectual Property Rights. Ultimately, he reaches a conclusion that is similar to my own: that IP in its current form is neither a true friend nor a true enemy.

He asserts that although we love “free” stuff, nothing is ever really free because somewhere a creator is paying the price. In this instance IP is beneficial because it can help to protect artists and their families. From the counter position he brings up the claim made by detractors that IP can stifle creativity. However, his stronger argument is when he attests that patents encourage lawsuits rather than creativity, which is a fairly valid point.

As with Chelsey’s post, Kevin’s brings up another side I hadn’t fully considered. Patents are becoming a problem because they are misused for the gain of others, who are not the original creators, and because they are the cause of many lawsuits. I do not know a great deal about this topic, but I suspect learning about it is important if I am to properly understand the debate surrounding Intellectual Property Rights.



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According the the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the CAN-SPAM Act is, “a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.”

Commercial messages are defined by law as, “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” This includes email with promotional content on commercial websites.

There are seven main requirements that must be met for a business to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. The following information is taken directly from the FTC site:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Connections to Class

The purpose of this class is to help us understand and define the term “digital citizenship.” In our increasingly commercially driven world, it makes sense that businesses should also be considered. Although they are not individuals, they do interact with multitudes, and their behavior can have a great impact.

It is important that guidelines like these exist to both help protect individuals, consumers and not, and to set a tone for appropriate behavior in our online world. Seeing these guidelines, I am hopeful that something like this might one day exist to help guide the behavior of individual digital citizens. However, I am not sure if I want it to come from a federal agency or from a more “organic” type of movement. I think the former is more likely, and might be more likely to be effective, but I worry about us having too much of a “nanny state.” I think it is more likely because I strongly believe that tracking technology will get us to that point much more quickly than anyone anticipates.

My preference would be for the latter option because I think if it were to occur, the movement would reflect a positive change in our society. However, given the track record of other de-centralized social movements, I don’t feel it is likely to occur cohesively any time soon.


5 CAN-SPAM Myths & Best Practices: From a Lawyer’s POV

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What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?


The district for which I am proposing policies is located in northern New Mexico. The district is currently comprised of a little more than 3,100 students from ten sites, including five Native American pueblos. There is some economic disparity among sites, with the community of Placitas being the most economically stable, while other sites are less so. That said, the five pueblos hold considerable sway in the district because although many residents of those sites live at or below poverty level, their schools receive a larger percentage of federal funds than others in the district.

The district states on their site that they, “believe that the use of tablet computers and access to available technology, integrated throughout our program of instruction, will help prepare students for their future.” While students are required to attend computer class and are given some access to technology, the district is generally hesitant to make any changes, particularly at individual schools. Two years ago Placitas Elementary (my home school) attempted to implement a new program of using i-Pads in a one to one scenario at the school and although they intended to raise the money themselves, the request was denied at the district level. Last year they attempted a similar program using Google Chromebooks, which are much more cost effective and user friendly than district supplied devices, but again their request was denied.

The unofficial statement from the district was that they could not allow programs such as these to occur at individual schools because others in the district would get upset. The current situation is that there are just two carts of approved devices (one of laptops and one of tablets) that have to be shared between eight different classes. All students take standardized tests on computers, yet they are not getting adequate practice.

According to the district website, they were supposedly implementing a district-wide one for one program in the 2015-2016 school year. It is unclear whether this program was implemented at any other school, but it was certainly not at Placitas Elementary. As of now it appears that those in charge in the district have a general understanding that students should be exposed to technology, but they are confused about how to implement it and have therefore found themselves frozen by indecision, much to the detriment of students.

Ideal Policies

Ideally, the district will someday implement policies that will provide adequate access to up-to-date technologies for all students. From a base level, they should strive to provide ample support and training for administrators, teachers, and students. The technology use would ideally be incorporated into all viable aspects of the curriculum.

Were the district to take a more generous and far-seeing approach, they would also grant individual schools some autonomy with a scope of reasonable expectations. This autonomy would be realized in schools being able to select their preferred devices and to implement them in the ways that best suit the needs of their individual student body. For example, one school may choose to spend their energies using the technology in only the most prescribed fashion because they might prefer to additionally focus on other social or curricular elements. Another school, by contrast, may choose to implement the technology far beyond what is required. In a far-seeing district both models would be permitted so long as the baseline of technological literacy and support for all involved are adequately met.

Preferred Outcomes

Students, teachers, administrators and other education professionals
have support for and equitable access to:

  1. appropriate training for programs and devices
  2. devices and peripherals
  3. digital learning environments
  4. curriculum designed to maximize learning with technology
  5. targeted and equitable instructional assessment strategies
  6. high-speed, reliable internet access



Posted in EDET 678: Emerging Technologies | 2 Comments

How are electronics viable additions to “crafting” for today’s young person?

In 1989, Back to the Future II was released, and the world got a glimpse of the fashion of the future. The most striking thing about the fashions shown in the movie was how much electronics were integrated into nearly everything. There were jet propelled, light up shoes, jackets that adjusted themselves to the wearers preferred fit, and A/V glasses to name a few. In 1989 these “innovations” seemed fantastical and far-fetched, but now in 2017, we are much closer to realizing them.

Not only are some of these fashions becoming a reality, creating them at home or in a classroom is increasingly within our grasp. One company, called Chibitronics offers kits for easy lessons in creating basic, intermediate, and advanced circuits, coding, and electronic infused paper crafts. Fashion designers are now infusing electronics into their designs. Their projects include things like digital eye shadow, slide dresses, and wearable, movable pets.

There are even kits now available that allow users to “sketch” electronics using magnetic electronic pieces, ferrous paper, and conductive pens.

With more emphasis being placed on teaching skills such as coding and how to use electronics, often at the detriment of more traditional arts, it is heartening to see these worlds coming together. Not only do these advances allow teachers to design projects that will work across the curriculum, they also have the potential to engage a wider variety of students.

As these technologies become less expensive, they will become more widely used and will eventually work their ways into our homes and classrooms. Let’s hope that they continue to be as creatively designed as they have been so far.

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