FETC: Game Based Learning and Gamification Workshop

Posted on Feb 1 ,2017

Posted in Conferences, Evaluating EduTech, FETC 2017, Integrating EduTech

On Friday January 27, 2017 I hosted a workshop at the Future of Educational Technology Conference in Orlando, Florida. The workshop surrounded  the benefits and challenges of using Game-Based Learning and Gamification in the classroom. Together we walked through The Bunz Model, explored several examples of applications I have used within the classroom, and then worked at creating our own plans of integration. I was very honoured to be given this opportunity and I look forward to hosting more workshops in the future.

Below is a link to the Powerpoint I used during the presentation. If you would like me to come and do a workshop at your school or professional learning group, please contact me through the contact form on this website!

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Gamification and Game-Based Learning: Benefits, Challenges, Solutions

Posted on Apr 29 ,2016

Posted in Conferences, Connect 2016, Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

On Thursday April 28, 2016 I presented at Connect: Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference on the benefits and challenges of using Game-Based Learning and Gamification in the classroom. Together we walked through the Rebecca’s Path of Effectively Integrating Educational Technology and then using Answerables and Prodigy, two educational technology tools, we explored examples of this path in action. I was very excited to have such a good turnout and I hope everyone that participated was able to take something back to the classroom with them. If you were unable to make it, I will be expanding this into a workshop for some conferences in the future, stay tuned for dates!

Below is a link to the Powerpoint I used during the presentation. If you would like me to come and do a workshop at your school or professional learning group, please contact me through the contact form on this website!

Gamification and Game-Based Learning: Benefits, Challenges, Solutions

The Pedagogy Wheel V4.1

Posted on Apr 4 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

Recently I have been immersed into research related to the backwards design, evaluating educational technology, integrating educational technology, student engagement, and student achievement. Today, I came across pure gold and could not wait to share it with you. Through the work of Paul Hopkin, Sharon Artley, Kathwohl and Anderson (2001) adaption of Bloom (1956), and Kathy Schrock, Allan Carrington created the Pedagogy Wheel V4.1! It incorporates Bloom’s Taxonomy and the SAMR model along with descriptors and some examples to help visually depict where Apps should be placed within the SAMR model. It even gives some criteria on the side to aid the process.

Pedagogy Wheel

Does the SAMR and TPACK Models have it backwards?

Posted on Mar 25 ,2016

Posted in Integrating EduTech

Optimized-Krista Moroder

I have been doing a lot of reading lately in my quest to start my Major Research Paper for my Master of Education program at Brock University. I came across a puzzling find. All the journal articles talked about how technology can enhance academic achievement backing up their hypotheses with Vygotsky, Dewey, 21st Century Learning, Experiential Learning, and so on, and so on. Theoretically, it makes sense; using technology in the classroom enhances motivation, engagement, and academic achievement. However, article after article yielded no significant difference between their control groups and their experimental groups. It didn’t make any sense! All of this research and pedagogically sound strategies implied that they should have found a positive correlation between the technology they were using and academic achievement.

I then came across a blog post by Krista Moroder that just blew me away. (Click here to read her post). She explained that while the TPACK and SAMR frameworks are great models, they have a technology first type approach. For example, they focus on how different types of technology can help you to implement different teaching strategies. However, the digital tool you are using can only be as effective as the teaching strategy you are using it for. Therefore, we need to focus on effective teaching strategies first and then look at how technology and digital tools can make it more efficient or effective.

So, I started to dig deeper. I gathered a bunch of articles studying the impact of technology on academic achievement in the J/I Mathematics Classroom and I am currently in the process of comparing the type of technology used and the way the technology was integrated into the classroom to whether or not the study yielded a positive result. In other words, I want to compare the articles that obtained a positive result and the ones that didn’t to create a list of effective ways that technology was integrated into classroom. This will hopefully lead to a guidebook to advise teachers on how best to use technology to enhance teaching strategies that we already know are effective.

Acquiring Educational Technology: Identifying, Evaluating, and Integrating

Posted on Feb 25 ,2016

Posted in Current Research, Evaluating EduTech, Integrating EduTech

Fostering Market Efficiency in K-12 Ed-Tech Procurement is a report from Johns Hopkins University in partnership with the education industry association (Morrison, Ross, Corcoran, & Reid, 2014). The purpose of this report was to examine how schools identify, evaluate, and acquire educational technology. In addition, the study wanted to look at how efficient this process was and what factors increase or decrease this efficiency. Through their research, Morrison et al. (2014) developed 5 Action Points that make up the typical process in acquiring educational technology.

  1. Action Point I: Budget and funding for Educational Technology.
  2. Action Point II: Assessment of needs for Educational Technology.
  3. Action Point III: Finding educational technology that address those needs.
  4. Action Point IV: Evaluation of educational technology for effectiveness.
  5. Action Point V: Acquiring the product

The study then goes through each action point with key findings and ways of improving the efficiency of the process along with other comparisons (Click here to read the full report). My research on evaluating education technology fits in mostly with Action Points III and IV.

Morrison et al. (2014) found that there was a challenge identifying products that meet educator’s instructional needs. Due to constant changes and advancements in technology, as well as the sheer number of products available, it is difficult to keep up with the latest available tools. Additionally, it is challenging for providers to promote their product, especially those who are less established in the market. Possible solutions included creating a national website with information on available products, creating a network where stakeholders can meet to share information, and connecting providers with educators (Morrison et al., 2014).

Once an educational technology product is identified, it needs to be evaluated for effectiveness in addressing the instructional need advertised, usability, cost, and other factors (Morrison et al., 2014). However, Morrison et al. (2014) found that there was no readily accessible source of evidence on the effectiveness of educational technology products from sources apart from the providers. Therefore, school districts depend on recommendations and word of mouth information from participants in pilot studies or by conducting their own field tests.

Through this report, Morrison et al. (2014) identified many areas within the process of acquiring educational technology that need to be addressed in order to make sure the most efficient products are being used within our schools. However, we should not stop here. As I have said before, it is not enough to just acquire an educational product and say go. Educators need to be assisted in integrating this product into their classroom. Even if an educator has gone through all these steps and found a tool that meets their instructional need, is cost effective, will work with the network they have available to them, and received the proper funding to acquire the product, it needs to be properly integrated within the classroom and used to its potential, or the tool will not work.

This is the basis for my research! Through this blog, my twitter, and my research projects, I want to create a handbook for teachers and school districts to help them through the process of acquiring, evaluating, and integrating educational tools to their full potential. If you have comments, information, or ideas to help me along this journey please contact me through this blog, I would be more than happy to listen to all that you have to say.

Other Posts You May Be Interested In

80,000 to 1: Where do you Start?

Evaluating Digital Tools

Evaluating Early Literacy Apps

7 Steps to Evaluate an App

5 Ways to Integrate Technology into Your Classroom


Morrison, J. R., Ross, S. M., Corcoran, R. P., & Reid, A. J. (2014). Fostering market efficiency in K-12 ed-tech procurement: A report from Johns Hopkins University to digital promise in partnership with the education industry association.