Monthly Archives: February 2014

Edtech 541-Relative Advantage of using Powerpoint in the classroom

Powerpoint is an universal and powerful tool.  However, like many tools that are easily accessible they are often misused. PowerPoint, if used as a tool in the classroom can prove to be very effective.  The “death by powerpoint” saying I believe refers to the teaching aspect of using PowerPoint and not necessarily the tool.  Without proper methods of using PowerPoint the presentation can become very plain and boring.  Although images and other visual tools are used in PowerPoint, if not done correctly it can lead to some “dead” lessons, leaving the students begging to leave.

PowerPoint is a very useful tool however.  In an article by Dr Patti Shank titled Using PowerPoint Effectively in Your Courses she describes the upside and downside of powerpoint.  PowerPoint is widely available, easy to use (to build slides, etc) and it’s visual. (Shank, 2011).  The downsides are not necessarily caused by PowerPoint as a tool but rather the one using the tool.  Too much text is a major mistake many users do. Shank lists things we can do to more effectively use PowerPoint for example not dumping, “a bunch of stuff  onto your slides” (Shank, 2011).

Looking at the way I use PowerPoint it’s been good for me to look at some of the tips of effective use.  I found PowerPoint to be the substitute for the whiteboard when I have quotes or other visuals to use in my lessons.  I use PowerPoint as a shortcut.  However, I have found that there is some great value in carefully constructing a powerful PowerPoint to help students engage rather than feel encaged.  One suggestion from Shank is to, “consider what you can do to make the experience more active” (Shank, 2011) by having students choose the topics to study.  One reason why PowerPoint may not be used very effectively is because of the time it takes to create an effective presentation. For me, using PowerPoint is an effective tool for quickly allowing me to make visible important quotes  and so taking extra time to create an elaborate presentation doesn’t seem reasonable for me on every lesson.  I do see the great value in understanding and avoiding the pitfalls of PowerPoint so that no matter what I am presenting it won’t lead to dead lessons.


Shank, P. (2011, May 06). Using powerpoint effectively in your courses. Retrieved from

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541-Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

There is measurable relative advantage to using instructional software for teaching in the classroom because of all the many resources available.  In the area of Release-Time Seminary in which I teach, having so many tools available has been very helpful.  Looking over the main areas of instructional software and finding examples from each of them to create my Instructional Software Presentation that charted out the relative advantages, I found that each area of emphasis had tools already for instructional software.

There are many advantages to using instructional software.  Roblyer and Doering describe 5 types of instructional software namely: Drill and Practice, Tutorials, Simulations, Instructional games, and Problem Solving. Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 77) While each of these types of instructional software are extremely useful and have many advantages in learning, one tool that is really helpful in my teaching is the Drills and Practice instructional software.

My classes are on a block A/B schedule.  At first it seemed like I had a lot of time to teach (85 minute periods) but I quickly discovered that the material I was to cover was shortened by 35 minutes per class (based off 60 minute classes each day).  The majority of class time needed to be dedicated to identifying, understanding, analyzing, discussing, and presenting material.  When can my students get time to work on the skills they needed to development in Scripture Mastery?  The solution I have found is by highlighting Scripture Mastery in class period and then encouraging the students to use instructional software apps that have been developed so they can gain the knowledge they need to master the scriptures.

In helping students master the scriptures I have found that the guideline to set time limits has been very useful in applying drills and practice in the classroom. “Teacher should limit the time devoted to drill assignments to 10 to 15 minutes per day” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013 p. 86).  Following this practice has been very helpful in integrating instructional software in the class.

As educators it is important to evaluate types of instructional software and equally important to follow proper procedure in implementing it.  One resource I have found that gives step-by-step instruction in instructional software evaluation is found here (Teaching today,  This website gives very good guidance on ways to integrate instructional software and also how to evaluate the tools.  Looking at all the advantages of using instructional software with the tools available, it is easy to see how the educational world is integrating technology more and more with effective results.



Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating education technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Pearson.

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541-Acceptable Use Policies

What are Acceptable Use policies?  

Since I teach at a different institution than public schools the term Acceptable Use policies was new to me.  After looking into it a little bit I quickly started to see that we also have AUP in our seminaries for using electronic devices.  Looking over the various resources I quickly concluded that there are many different opinions of AUP.  Overall though, Acceptable Use policies are policies put into place for the use of electronic devices in education.  These policies can be addressed as a list of rules but usually they are used as a “contract” type commitment between the user and the school. Here is a example list of the policies that seem to be comparable throughout each of the resources I looked at. 

I will:

  • Use school technologies for school-related activities and research.
  • Follow the same guidelines for respectful, responsible behavior online that I am expected to follow offline.
  • Alert a teacher or other staff member if I see threatening/bullying, inappropriate, or harmful content (images, messages, posts) online.
  • Use school technologies at appropriate times, in approved places, for educational pursuits only.
  • Cite sources when using online sites and resources for research; ensure there is no copyright infringement.
  • Recognize that use of school technologies is a privilege and treat it as such.
  • Be cautious to protect the safety of myself and others.
  • Help to protect the security of school resources.

(Lepi, 2012)

The above list of policies are listed in a way that encourages a user’s responsibility to use technology in the way it is intended to be used.  In an article by Jim Bosco and Keith Krueger they argue that the key to resolving issues with using technology devices in schools is to teach users responsibility. “Yet, as students move on to upper grades, we believe they need to become responsible, ethical Internet users” (Bosco & Krueger, 2011) I agree with this statement.  As many restrictions and policies that can be put into place, the root of the problem is in helping students become responsible with technology use.  This can be a daunting task since it is so difficult to restrict technology use without complete banning of devices. I think that having policies will help “fence” users in their technology use however, and still prove useful in helping to develop responsible users.  I looked at what a few examples from schools to see what they are doing with AUP to compare and contrast them.  These links can be found here:

My school district

My growing up school district

Concordia Seminary


What should be included in Acceptable Use policies?

Looking over the above examples and comparing each policy I believe each should have these three areas; defining authorized users, defining appropriate use, the users must list, and the users must not list.  With these four areas I think a clear concise AUP can be stated and will be easier to enforce and followed.  One great way to get started could be by following the outline made by Kate Lepi and can be used as “a jumping-off point to get your own policy started” (Lepi, 2012).  With the many changes happening in technology and the availability of devices, I think the only way to combat the misuse of devices is by educating and training responsible device use at younger ages.  In this way we can “grow” responsible users rather than expecting them to know how to be responsible with such powerful learning tools


Bosco, J., & Krueger, K. (2011, June 20). Moving from ‘acceptable’ to ‘responsible’ use in a web 2.0 world. Retrieved from

Lepi, K. (2012, June 11). Crowdsourced school social media policy now available. Retrieved from




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541-Vision Statement

Technology in the classroom means a successful learning environment.  Integrating technology into the classroom allows teachers and students to have an environment with unlimited possibilities.  For example a teacher may ask, “let’s learn geography by looking on a map or by flying there using Google Earth”?  A student may ponder, “what would happen to my ability to create if I had unlimited resources and a good solid hour in Mine craft?  The limitless possibilities that technology brings into the classroom help to create a learning environment without restrictions.  What impact does  technology integration have in the classroom to make it successful? According to the staff of Edutopia technology can provide teachers and students with:
“Access to up-to-date, primary source material,  methods of collecting/recording data, ways to collaborate with students, teachers, and experts around the world, opportunities for expressing understanding via multimedia, learning that is relevant and assessment that is authentic, training for publishing and presenting their new knowledge” (Edutopia, 2014)  The extremely useful and limitless tools of technology are what makes an integrated technological classroom successful.

Research has found integrated technological classrooms successful.  One study found that after students “used laptops for three years had significantly higher achievement that their non-laptop cohorts in nearly all measures” (Roblyer & Doering, 2013)  Other studies showed that schools that had students with their own computers had “fewer discipline problems, lower dropout rates, and higher rates of college attendance than schools with a higher ration of students to computers” (Devaney, 2010) These studies show the positive possibilities of integrating technology into the classroom.   There are so many valid reasons to use technology in the classroom.  In the book Integrating Educational Technology Into Teaching three problems are addressed for helping students and examples for each problem is solved by integrating technology.
Problem 1: How to motivate and engage students? Technology: gains learner attention, supports manual operations during high-level learning, illustrates real-world relevance through highly visual presentations, engages students through production work, connects students with audiences for their writing, engages learners through real-world situations and collaborations, provides support for working cooperatively. (Roblyer & Doering, 2013)

Problem 2: How to support students’ learning needs? Technology integration: supports effective skill practice, helps students visualize underlying concepts in unfamiliar or abstract topics, lets students study systems in unique ways, gives access to unique information sources and populations, supplies self-paced learning for accelerated students, turns disabilities into capabilities, saves time on production tasks, grades and tracks student work, provides faster access to information sources, saves money on consumable materials. (Roblyer & Doering, 2013)

Problem 3; How to prepare students for future learning? Technology fulfills: the need for technological literacy, the need for information literacy, the need for visual literacy  (Roblyer & Doering, 2013)

From the extensive examples above one can clearly conclude that technology integration in the classroom fosters positive results.  Although many factors can play into a successful learning experience, technology integrated classrooms are going to be successful because using technology in education has been proven successful.


Devaney, L. (2010, July 26). Study reveals factors in ed-tech success. eSchool News. Retrieved from

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating education technology into teaching. (6th ed., pp. 24-27). Pearson.

Staff, E. (11/5/2007). What is successful technology integration?. Retrieved from

I added the video below because it shows the positive impact technology integration has in the classroom towards its success.

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