Ultra Micro MOOC


For this week’s assignment we were asked to create our own Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) after we explored Peer to Peer University (P2PU).  These classes are free, they are interesting, and did I mention they are free.  These classes are offered online and can be accessed by numerous people (I mean thousands) at the same time.  What a cool idea huh?  I was utterly surprised at all of the classes that are offered.  Within minutes of starting my search I found a class about the Holocaust.  If I did not have two small children and I was not taking this class, I definitely would take the ten week MOOC.

These classes are unique because students can choose classes that meet their interests/passions.  This follows the theories of multiple intelligences and learning styles.  In both, students are able to focus on their strengths, which increases student achievement because there is buy in (both by the student and the teacher).  Howard Gardner’s says that with the multiple intelligence theory,  “It has helped a significant number of educators to question their work and to encourage them to look beyond the narrow confines of the dominant discourses of skilling, curriculum, and testing” (Smith, 2008).  This in turn helps students to be more successful because their teachers are thinking outside of the box. 

I cannot help but think that by allowing teachers to have the creativity to create their own classes (lets face it, most teachers do not get to teach classes they are always interested in) things in the school setting will only get better.  Below in my proposal for my MOOC. 

In my Over the Top Organization course my peers will master the skills of cleaning and organizing by completing a series of lessons and sharing their organization handbook with their peers. 

1.  Course Topic:

Household Organization

2.  Course Title & Photo:

Over the Top Organization


3.  Who is coming to your course? What will attract them? Why would they want to participate in this experience?  

This course will be open to anyone who is desperate to clean and organize their homes (and their lives).  I believe anyone who has a genuine desire to become organized will be interested in my course.  Also, the ease of the course will be attractive to people who have little extra time.  People will want to participate in this course because having a clean and organized house helps people to feel better about their overall lives.  When life is organized, things run more smoothly.

4.  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?

By the end of the course I want my learners to be able to create a handbook that helps them remain clean and organized in their everyday lives.  This may mean the students will create their organization handbook using pictures, checkoff lists, charts, or simple journal pages.  The openness if the handbook relates to the ideas of multiple intelligences and learning styles.  Students create and use their handbooks in a way that is best for them.  There is no right or wrong way to clean and organize a house.  There is no right or wrong way to keep your ideas/suggestions in a handbook.  This course experience is eight weeks in length. 

Weekly topics

*  Within each week, students will be asked to watch a video explaining their organizational task for the week.  Also, they will be expected to follow my organizational blog. 

Week 1 – Understanding the importance of organization

Week 2 – Kitchen

Week 3 – Bedroom

Week 4 – Living Room/Playroom

Week 5 – Bathroom

Week 6 – Basement/Garage

Week 7 – Household papers

Week 8 – Organization handbook creation (using all ideas from the course)

5. What will peers make?

In this course peers will be asked to reflect on their organization experience (the good and the bad) each week.  The peers will also be asked to take before and after pictures that will be placed in their organization handbooks.  Both the reflection and the pictures will be organized by room/idea in the handbook. 

6.  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.)

All of the skills and activities work together to help the individual complete the organization handbook.  These activities are done in a fashion where the student does not feel overwhelmed (one area/room per week).  Also, there is no right or wrong way to complete the organization, creativity is strongly encouraged.  Peers will be able to have open communication and complete freedom of expression in the class. 

7. How will peers help each other in your course?

Students will be expected to create a blog and follow four fellow classmates in their organization journey.  There will be an expectation that students comment on each of the four blogs they are following each week. 


immyownsyle.com.  (2013).  White Bookcase Organizing [graphic].  Retrieved July 26, 2013 from: http://inmyownstyle.com/images/2013/01/White-Bookcase-organizing-i.jpg

Massive Open Online Course.  (n.d).  In Wikipedia.  Retrieved July 26, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

P2PU.  Retrieved July 26, 2013 from https://p2pu.org/en/

Smith, M. (2008). Howard Gardner, multiple intelligence and education. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/howard-gardner-multiple-intelligences-and-education/#multiple_intelligences

Smith, M. K. (2010). David A. Kolb on experiential learning. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/david-a-kolb-on-experiential-learning/


Maker Experiment #1


My Story Sound Book

Objective:  To create a story with sound using the Makey Makey kits.

Resources: Makey Makey kits, Bare conductive paint pens, poster board, makers/colored pencils, rulers.

Unit Idea:

1.  Students will be broken into small groups (2-3 students)

2.  The teacher will introduce the activity to the students.  As a part of this introduction, it may be helpful for the teacher to have a simple sample for the students to view (this would need to be completed before the start of the project).

3.  The first activity the students would need to complete is a brainstorming.  In this brainstorming session the students will come up with the following: General story idea, illustration ideas, and sound ideas.

4.  After the brainstorming is complete, the students will need to begin writing their stories (stories should be at a minimum 10 pages).  As they are writing their stories, the group should decide what six sounds they feel will best fit in the story (they will need to create a symbol for each sound they want represented in the story).  The writing process may take 2-4 days depending on the groups.

5.  After the groups have completed the writing process, the groups will need to create their illustrations.  There should be one illustration per page.

6.  Next the students will need to create the sound board for their story.    To do this the students will need to take the Makey Makey kit and assign a sound to the keys WASDFG.

7.  Students will trade books with other groups and read the stories.

*  This plan obviously will need more detail.  Students will need more detailed step-by-step instructions.  This project will be something that will take many days to complete. 


The lesson idea above encompasses two specific learning theories; multiple intelligences and learning styles.  The multiple intelligence theory focuses on seven specific areas of intelligence (linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal).  Howard Gardner’s ideas about multiple intelligences are something that should be done in every classroom.  As teachers, we want all of our students to be as successful as possible.  One such way to do this is to focus on a student’s strengths.  “A number of schools in North America have looked to structure curricula according to the intelligences, and to design classrooms and even whole schools to reflect the understandings that Howard Gardner develops. The theory can also be found in use within pre-school, higher, vocational and adult education initiatives” (Smith, 2008).  The other theory is David A. Kolb’s learning styles.  This theory is made up of four key learning styles (Converger, Diverger, Assimilator, and Accommodator).  This theory is also something all teacher’s should strive to follow.  These four learning styles cover creativity, conceptualization, reasoning, and “doing things.”  In my ten years of teaching I have seen so many students who fit in each of these categories.  I believe I would have been able to reach more students if I truly focused on each students learning style.  “They also recognize that there are strengths and weaknesses associated with each style (and that being ‘locked into’ one style can put a learner at a serious disadvantage)” (Smith, 2010).  I have to wonder if we do not allow students to express themselves using these learning styles if we are creating an even greater disadvantage.  Are we really preparing them for the future?

My Reflection:

In an age of technology, teachers need to be completely prepared to throw new and interesting projects at students.  If we continue to do what has been done for so long, what are we doing for our students?  I think we are actually hurting ourselves more than anything else.  Our job now is to help students learn, retain and use the information we are teaching them.  This may mean that one student has to sing a song, one may need to make a video game, and one may need to use a traditional pen and pencil.  By trying to focus on the multiple intelligence and learning style theories I believe I will do a better job of meeting all of my students needs this year.


Smith, M. (2008). Howard Gardner, multiple intelligence and education. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/howard-gardner-multiple-intelligences-and-education/#multiple_intelligences

Smith, M. K. (2010). David A. Kolb on experiential learning. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/david-a-kolb-on-experiential-learning/



This week we were asked to return to what we had previously learned about TPACK and creativity when it comes to technology in the classroom. To do this we were asked to read an article and to watch a 45 minute video.  In the article Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Crayons are the Future, the author Punya Mishra says “The TPACK framework emphasizes the importance of teacher creativity in repurposing technology tools to make them fit pedagogical and disciplinary-learning goals” (Mishra, 2012, p. 14).  In today’s classroom, I think creativity and technology need to go hand in hand to create a successful learning environment.

Next, we were asked to choose a maker kit that tickled our fancy.  I decided to buy the MakeyMakey kit.  I am a creature of habit, and I always look at reviews before I buy anything.  The reviews for the Makey Makey were great, so I bit the bullet and purchased without thinking twice.  I am very pleased with my purchase.  I truly felt like this kit was the best fit for my lacking gadget expertise


Through my exploration of my Makey Makey kit I have to admit I was slightly overwhelmed.  I mean the kit itself is pretty easy to use, but my ideas were a complete jumbled mess when I was done playing.  In one instance I was excited to see what ideas I could come up with and put into place using my kit.  However, there was a great part of myself that questioned how I would really use this kit in my classes.  I will be teaching English next year (to 7th and 8th graders).  I have to wonder if something like this would be lost in an English classroom.  however, from reading the article I realized that this is not necessarily true.  Mishra writes “We need a conception of creativity that upholds disciplinary knowledge and differences, but also uses certain thinking skills that look across disciplinary boundaries for creative solutions and outcomes” (Mishra, 2012, p. 15).


To start out I decided to see what this kit was all about, so I played with a penny.  All I could say was “this is pretty cool.”  I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to get started with the kit. My next step was to have my husband hold onto to one of the clips and see if the light would also turn green.  To my surprise it did.  I’m sold. 

Then came the hard part.  I wanted to figure out how to attach sound to my kit.  I read through the MakeyMakey website’s how-to section and I found an amazing wealth of information.  One specific website that I found to be incredibly useful was SoundPlanet.  This site is so easy to use, I felt like an expert after only a few minutes.  I was able to find great sound links on the SoundPlanet home page.  Here I found a drum pad called beatpad.  I used these sounds with the WASDFG keys.  It was so cool to be able to play with the connectors to see what happened when I touched them.  Even my kids stopped what they were doing and came to see what mommy was playing with.



After beatpad, I went to the site Soungle.  Here I was able to play a little more with a variety of different sounds.  It was here that I came up with my thrifting idea.  I cannot help but say I was pretty jazzed with my new Makey Makey understanding.  My thrifting idea all stemmed from hearing the “fighter plane squadron” sound clip from SoundBible.



Then came time for me to go thrifting.  I have to admit this was incredibly hard.  I have exactly 1 thrift store in my town, and to be honest it is not a great thrift store. I was able to find a few cool ideas.  I actually got to take 2 whole pictures before the store owner asked me to stop.  What I found was a kid’s robot and a really cool silver platter.


photo(1) photo


After I realized I would get myself kicked out if I took anymore pictures, I decided to put my phone away and just browse.  To my surprise I found a really cool framed WWII propaganda poster.  I was a little disappointed at the price; they wanted $25.00 for it.  I know for a fact I could get a pretty close reprint for a fraction of the cost.  However, I had found what I was going to do for my dream big project.


In my research I found a really amazing website (http://www.instructables.com/id/Interactive-Art-With-Bare-Conductive-and-a-Makey-M/#step1) where a painting was used with a Makey Makey kit.  I was more than intrigued.  WWII is one of my favorite eras to teach.  So when I found this print, I wondered if I could adapt what I saw on the website and make it work for my classroom.  I figured the sky is the limit, so let’s go.  My idea is to have a paining with sound effects (like the fighter squadron) that can be triggered as I am reading a short story about WWII.


To do this, it is important to follow these steps:


1.   Get a WWII print.


2.  Get a Makey Makey kit.


3.  Buy a Bare conductive paint pen (http://www.adafruit.com/products/1306).


4.  After you have gathered all of your materials, you need to figure out what sound files you would like to use.


5.  First you need to download SoundPlant.


6.  Then you need to open a new keymap and click on the letters WASDFG.  I assigned a different color for each key.


7.  Next, you need to download individual sound files.  The files I found to be most useful for this project were at SoundBible.


8.  Then you need to assign individual sounds to the keys WASDFG.


9.  To make sure my Makey Makey was working properly, I followed the directions in the box and hooked it up.  I connected the connector wires and found that my sounds worked well.  Now comes the hard part.


10.  Next I will poke 6 pin size holes in the print.  pull 1 connector wire through each of the 6 holes.


11.  Next use your conductive paint pen and cover the connector wires on the front of the print (make sure the ink dries completely).


12.  Put each connector wire in the correct position on the Makey Makey.


13.  Plug the Makey Makey into your computer.


14.  Take one of the alligator clips and connect it to the earth position on the Makey Makey.


15.  Grab the other end of the alligator clip and touch one of the painted spots on the print to make sure the sounds work.


16.  Grab your short story and begin reading.  As you are reading and touch the painted spots on the print to enhance the reading experience.



I know this may seem simple to some, but I am so excited about it I may just try to do this before school starts.  Let’s hope my excitement does not lead to a project that makes me lose my mind 🙂



Mishra, P., & The Deep-Play Research Group (2012). Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Crayons are the Future.  TechTrends, 56(5), 13-16.


10bitworks. (2013). Interactive Art With Bare Conductive and a Makey Makey.  Retrieved on July 9, 2013, from http://www.instructables.com/id/Interactive-Art-With-Bare-Conductive-and-a-Makey-M/#step1.

Remix, Reuse, Recycle Project


At first I thought I liked popcorn, but man oh man I now feel like it is a dreaded word that I never want to hear again.

For this assignment we were asked to make and remix images, video and sound clips from the Internet into Mozilla Popcorn.  To be honest I felt a little apprehensive about this task.  I really seem to have trouble grasping and using new programs. In order to prepare myself for this task, I watched a TED talk by Dale Dougherty about pushing our children to become a generation of makers.  I will be honest, I am a little hesitant to be a maker, I feel that I am more of a doer.  But from watching this clip, I can see the importance of being a maker.  We want children to explore their creativity and to be able to take their creativity and do something productive with it.  What a concept huh?  So I guess the idea of lecture, worksheet and then test is going to be “tested” in this course.  Is that not exciting?  By focusing on helping children become makers, we are actually helping them find their niche in the world.

Next I read an excerpt from the book  Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy by Lawrence Lessig.  This read was truly an eye opener.  I never thought that “remixing” could be such a heated topic.  I think back to all of the times I have sent videos of my kids dancing to a song, or posted a picture from a museum to my Facebook page. Has our society become so money hungry that we can no longer enjoy a song, a painting, a picture and share it without fearing a lawsuit?  The author states that through remixing,  “we should learn something from it— about us, and about the nature of creativity. (Lessig, 2008, p.19).  What a great idea.  So with a new understanding of the idea of remixing, I dove into popcorn maker.  Little did I know this adventure would be one that would make me pretty angry.

I decided to remix “blended learning” for my project.  Blended learning has always been something that I believe will help students to become more successful in any classroom setting.  So I followed the directions and got started.  To my surprise the creation of the video was quite easy.  I was able to find videos and images that were all covered under the creative commons license.  However, I struggled greatly to get any sound to connect to my remix.  I tried and tried and I could not get anything to load (I think I spent 60 minutes just playing with SoundCloud).  It was beyond frustrating.  Eventually I had to give up before I threw my computer across the room :).

I was able to complete my remix, though I was a little disappointed in the video.  I felt it was too plain.  I wanted to wow everyone with my creativity, but instead I feel my video was mediocre at best.  I believe this tool would be great for a classroom setting.  Though I wonder if firewalls could create a headache for teachers wanting to create remixes in school?  I believe tools like this are the future.  I just wish they were a little more user friendly.

Please enjoy my first, but not last remix.

Popcorn Remix Video

References for blog post:

Lessig, L. (2008). Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy. Penguin Press.

References for Remix:

Flickinger B.  [Photographer].  Student_ipad_school – 031[Online image].  (2012). Retrieved on July 5, 2013, from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56155476@N08/6659996469/

Fryer W. [Photographer].  Wordle of Powerful Ingredients 4 Blended Learning [online image].  (2010).  Retrieved on July 5, 2013, from:http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/4896957792/

Higgin M. [Photographer].  VCCI0002.jpg [Online image].  (2009).  Retrieved on July 5, 2013 from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VCCI0002.jpg

NAUelearning (2013, February 19). Ellen Larson on Blended Learning .  Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6o6b-h9GaU

24x7learning.com. (2011).  Blended learning methodology [graphic].  Retreived July 5, 2013 from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blended-learning-methodolog.jpg