From Answers to Questions


Hello, I’m Mrs. Angela. I used to be an answer person. Now I’m a question person. Let me tell you why.


  1. Questions foster innovation.
  2. Questions say, “there is more work to do, we aren’t done yet.”
  3. Questions help to give us new and better answers.


When we are born, we have an innate curiosity. We are driven to explore the world and ask questions. What does this do? How does this taste? Why is he doing that?


Somewhere along the way, we lose this. We start jumping to answers, when we should be questioning, questioning, questioning.


Our job as educators is to keep questioning, keep them questioning. When this has all the answers, what does that mean for them?
We must be curious thinkers and passionate creators. We must keep questioning!


Reflection questions for CEP 812:

Why do I teach?

How might I change my teaching to focus on questions rather than answers?

How will technology play a role in my teaching?

How might questioning transform the way I teach?

How can I use technology meaningfully?

What role does technology have in education?

Why ask questions?



Berger, Warren. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.



Wicked Problem Project Summary

Wicked problems were the theme of CEP 812. Wicked problems are complex problems that are difficult or impossible to solve. My group focused on the problem of keeping education relevant, which brings up many questions. What is relevant? What is the purpose of education? Why do schools become irrelevant?  Our group of four people collaborated during a Zoom discussion to brainstorm questions to deeply understand our problem, because questioning is an important part of the learning process (Berger, 2014). In this process of analyzing our problem, I created this infographic to provide a visual understanding of its complexity.

wickedproblem (7) After coming to a deep understanding of our problem, we began to discuss possible solutions to the problem. We met once again via an online Zoom conversation to pinpoint one or two key solutions that would help address the problem of keeping education relevant.

We decided that in order to reimagine learning for students, we must first begin to reimagine training and professional development experiences for educators. This would be our focus for our Multimodal Presentation.  All group members collaborated together to create a Wix website that presents our research-based solutions.



Berger, Warren. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.

Expanding my PLN

This week for CEP 812, we were asked to diversify and expand our professional learning networks (PLNs). Since starting my twitter account in CEP 810, I have become a frequent user of Twitter. It connects me with other teacher professionals and organizations who inspire me to be a better educator. It also keeps me informed about current world and national events. My PLN has expanded greatly since I first started Twitter. I now follow over 70 people on Twitter. They include family members, colleagues, politicians, educators, organizations, and political activists.

The internet provides people ways to network that never existed before. We can share, comment, and react to one another instantly on networks like Twitter. It opens up worlds, but it can also create walls.

When adding people to follow on Twitter, I asked myself, “Who do I want to listen to?, “Who inspires me?”, “Who cares about what I care about?”. Like so many others, I added people who share similar ideas and filtered out opinions that differed from my own. The internet allows us all to create interest groups that reinforce our viewpoints and validate our attitudes about the world (Gee, 2013). If I only follow liberal politicians on Twitter, my worldview is limited and I only hear what I want to hear. Overtime, these tendencies divide people, create lesser understanding among people, and polarize people.

To expand my PLN, I thought about people and organizations that I wouldn’t normally subscribe to; those that hold viewpoints that may make me uncomfortable. These include homeschool and charter school advocates, Direct Instruction proponents, conservative politicians like Iowa Governor Branstad or Donald Trump, and organizations like Teach for America and it’s founder, Wendy Kopp. Adding these people to my twitter feed has diversified my infodiet and led me to articles and headlines I wouldn’t normally have come across during my daily routine.

I found some helpful educational resources shared by homeschooling advocates, information about the Every Student Succeeds Act, and Teach for America shared other ways people are reimagining education in America. Even though I do not like the way Teach for America places underprepared, unlicensed teachers in America’s most challenging teaching positions, they are a powerful organization trying to offer “bad” solutions to the wicked problem of educational inequity in America.

My feed is still largely filled with people that reinforce my own viewpoints. Regardless, I think it is important and healthy to include some voices that challenge my worldview, like Gee advocates. I do not want to make the mistake of living in a bubble (Pariser, 2011).

It may be fun to listen to people who reinforce our own beliefs and share the same perspectives…It may be uncomfortable to listen to people who challenge our beliefs and disregard our perspectives…But creating a diverse information diet is important in solving wicked problems, developing tolerance and understanding, and identifying truths.

In the end, we must be aware of the internet’s ability to limit the perspectives we are exposed to. We must consider how easy it is to filter out disagreeing viewpoints from our infodiet, and that some of this filtering is done for us, and actively seek to diversify the content we consume.

This week I also collected data from my professional community about the wicked problem of keeping education relevant. I did this by creating and sharing a Google Forms survey. This allowed me to gain an understanding of the differing perspectives within my district regarding my wicked problem. You can view a summary of my findings in the following Prezi.prezi



Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Pariser, E. (2011, March). Eli Pariser: Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” [Video file]. Retrieved from


Keeping Education Relevant: An Infographic


Keeping education relevant is a wicked problem. How do we know what skills students will need for the future? Why is it so difficult to be relevant? What does relevant even mean? We know it’s important. If students do not find their education relevant, they may drop out. If the learned skills are not relevant, students will not be able to succeed in the workforce of the future. The pace of technology innovation creates another layer of problems in keeping education relevant. How can educators keep up?

For CEP 812, we were asked to summarize this very complex problem by creating an infographic.

wickedproblem (7)



A Response to Warren Berger’s “A More Beautiful Question”


After reading the first two chapters of Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question, a key idea stood out to me: schools are failing the innovators of tomorrow because they are not teaching students to ask questions. There is a persistent idea that questioning does not need to be taught in schools. So, learners show up full of questions, and slowly find that questioning is not what we’re (the teachers) are looking for. Some teachers and schools seem to have little or no patience for student questions, especially if the questions are determined to be a distraction from the prescribed curriculum. Classes are typically planned, directed, and filled by the teacher and students are expected to follow, repeat, absorb, and recall when instructed. But is this approach producing the people our future needs? Are schools failing to provide the experiences students need to be good questioners, innovators, and problem-solvers?

Through his research, Berger has discovered that many innovators are finding their place outside of the school building. What do changers do when our schools insist on squashing creativity, risk-taking, and inquiry? Changers leave. Too often creators must find their inspiration outside of school.

This is concerning, because many of our best thinkers are finding that their real learning happens outside of school, in their garages, on their computers, or in a makerspace. The American school system is still asking students to answers questions, when we should be asking students to ask good questions.

There are many obstacles that I face in creating an environment that fosters questioning in the way that Berger advocates. In some ways my school district is trying to provide maker experiences to students with our alternative +1 schedule. Students participate in a four-day school week with longer days. On Fridays, they come to enrichment or remedial classes. Enrichment classes range from Robotics, to Imovie, to babysitting, to building catapults. Some of the enrichment classes aim to provide students with time to create and build. However, this time is extremely limited and it occurs outside of our mandated state hours. Essentially, the district is providing this in addition to the traditional instruction offered during the week.


This schedule has been in place for only a few years, and there are many people who want to return to the old schedule. Change is difficult and requires a great deal of buy-in and leadership. I understand why Nikhil Goyal has no hope that schools will change (Berger, 2014). Many teachers do not see the value in giving students this “fun” time, particularly when their state test scores are not at benchmark. This seems to be a legitimate concern, until we begin to ask our own questions. What skills will our students need to succeed in the future? What does an entrepreneurial economy look like? Are we preparing our students for the future coming or for a past long-gone? Will our students have skills and talents that allow them to rise to the top? Or will they have skills that a robot can do?

I would love to experience teaching at a school that is filled with makerspaces, bursting with innovation, and challenging its students to ask good questions. My entire idea of schooling would be reimagined. It would be difficult, but it would be beautiful.



Berger, Warren. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.

Waco Community School District. (2016). 2nd Semester +1 Sign-Up 2015-2016 3rd Quarter. Image retrieved July 11th, 2016 from

Schoology Offers Organizational Support for Learners with ADHD


Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that can adversely affect many areas of a person’s life. It is a common, yet complex disorder that can result in academic underachievement, emotional dysfunction, disruptive behavior, impaired social performance, working memory problems, and is often accompanied by Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder (Tarver, Daley, Sayal, 2014). There is no cure for ADHD, but treatment options include medication to manage symptoms and intervention strategies to teach students with ADHD skills that they may struggle with (i.e., planning and organization).  

Managing a life filled with tests, projects, and assignments is a difficult task for students, particularly those with ADHD. Research has determined that “difficulties with organization of materials and time have been shown to predict grade point average above and beyond the impact of child intelligence” (Langberg, 2013). What can schools do to teach planning and organizational skills to students who struggle in these areas? Digital tools, like Schoology, can help all learners, especially those with ADHD, manage their workflow and organize their academic responsibilities.


Due to working memory deficits, keeping track of assignments and remembering teacher directions is not an easy task for a student with ADHD. “In the school setting, problems with organization manifest as lost or misplaced homework assignments, disorganized bookbag, locker, and binder systems for managing materials, and problems in adequately planning to complete homework assignments or study for tests” (Langberg, 2013). For students with ADHD who have more than one teacher, school may very likely seem overwhelming and impossible to manage. The Schoology tool can organize a student’s class schedule, and compile important due dates into one calendar. By clicking on tabs, students can easily switch between classes to view class content.


Transferring work to and from school is particularly challenging for a person with ADHD. By organizing their class content with Schoology, teachers provide students with ADHD a way to access assignments wherever internet access is available. With Schoology, a student can pull up their entire course load on their home computer, mobile device, in their local library, and of course, at school. Schoology eliminates the need to remember to bring home a specific assignment, which has the potential to greatly support students with ADHD academically.

Parent involvement is an important element in ensuring positive academic outcomes for students with ADHD (Tarver, Daley, Sayal, 2015). Schoology can serve as a communication tool between parents and teachers. The structure of the program ensures that parents are given the opportunity to be key players in helping their child develop necessary academic and life skills to be successful. Parents of children with ADHD can become frustrated because their child loses their homework or forgets about assignments altogether. When teachers use Schoology to post assignments, with detailed written instructions and listed due dates, students do not have to worry about filing a paper away for later retrieval and parents don’t have to worry about being out-of-the-loop. Students and parents can simply login to Schoology to view assignments, important dates, and grades. Schoology encourages the parent-teacher relationship, because class content and grades are posted in one place, and available for parents to monitor. This structure naturally invites parents to become partners in building academic success for students who have ADHD.

Schoology displays assignments and grades, provides online quizzes and tests, and creates a calendar for students with important dues dates. By using Schoology, schools can offer students a way to manage academic workflow in one place. It is no longer necessary to keep track of a physical planner, a couple binders, and several homework and class assignments. Long-lost crumbled papers, will no longer be spilling out of lockers and bookbags. Class materials can be digitized, stored, and organized in Schoology. All these services offered by Schoology provide students with ADHD the organizational support they need to thrive academically.

  • Pictures are screenshots from the website.


Langberg, J. Becker, S. Epstein, J. Vaughn, A. (October 2013). Predictors of Response and Mechanisms of Change in an Organizational Skills Intervention for Students with ADHD. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(7), 1000-1012. Retrieved July 6th from


Tarver, J. Daley, D. Sayal, K. (November 2014). Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): An Updated Review of the Essential Facts. Child: Care, Health, & Development, 40(6), 762-774. Retrieved July 6th, 2016 from

Tarver, J. Daley, D. Sayal, K. (January 2015). Beyond Symptom Control for Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): What can Parents do to Improve Outcomes?. Child: Care, Health, & Development, 41(1), 1-14. Retrieved July 6th, 2016 from


CEP 810 Reflection

This summer I began the Michigan State University MAET program by taking CEP 810. This class started me thinking about technology in the classroom in new ways. I learned that technology in the classroom is not simply about digitizing old tools, it’s about revolutionizing the educational experiences we provide to students.

This class got me thinking about streamlining my workflow.  My husband and I have started using digital tools to communicate and coordinate our to-do lists and calendars.

During the course, we were given the task of learning a new skill using only YouTube and online forums. This assignment awakened me to the new reality that educators find ourselves in; online learning communities allow students to learn any skill in any location. Experts are creating video tutorials. Online forums provide communities where learners can ask questions, collaborate, and problem-solve together.

Not only did I learn my new skill (water marbling), but I learned a great deal from my experience in CEP 810 online. I connected with fellow MSU students, watched YouTube video, TED talks, read articles, and joined Twitter.

By connecting with other teachers, and sharing our ideas, we can inspire one another to try new things. Learning experiences are taking new shapes and educators must utilize all our tools when designing lessons.

CEP 811 Reflection

As a child, my brother and I were enthusiastic makers. We spent our summers making our ideas come to life. We made apple sauce, created lemonade stands, dug a pond in our backyard, and created robots using old remote control cars. These projects are memories that we still speak of fondly. When I reflect on them as learning experiences, I now realize the problem-solving, collaboration, creativity, and ingenuity each project required.


*The picture above shows a cart/vehicle my brother and I created using two skateboards and a box. The orange tube was our makeshift seat-belt.

Making requires students to develop and apply an array of complex skills. The process of making is a motivating, challenging, fun, and rewarding learning experience. I believe making comes naturally to children if we give them the materials and opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience.

CEP 811’s theme was Maker Education, which was new to me. We began the class by making a remix video using clips from other videos. This challenged me to redefine my concept of creativity. It is not that creators innovate out of thin air. We are influenced by our world and everything in our world is a remix. We learn from one another, we are inspired from one another, and no one creates in a bubble, away from the influence of others.
CEP 811 challenged me to envision how I can use Maker Education in my own classroom. The most difficult assignment was a 21st Century lesson plan that incorporated recycled items and a maker kit. For my maker kit, I chose a 3D printer. I ended up creating a volume lesson that I am extremely proud of. As educators, we must also be makers. We must challenge ourselves to create lessons that engage students with new technologies and provide them with opportunities to make their own creations.

Assessing Makers without Jeopardizing Creativity


Many people view assessment as a summative test that determines whether a student has passed or failed a class. In the twenty-first century, teachers need to be asking students to do much more than memorize facts and take tests. In developing critical thinking skills, learners should be given questions that have more than one right answer. Our goal should be that students “learn not just knowledge as facts, but knowledge as something you produce” (James Paul Gee, 2008). Computers have the facts; therefore, twenty-first century students must be able to innovate, solve problems, produce creative products, and collaborate effectively with one another. Assessment must follow the student through the creative process and provide continuous feedback to the learner, so they can correct themselves, learn, and grow. Written summative assessments that do not inform learning are not the adequate tool for this important task.


In Maker Education, largely built on Project-based Learning, students must be provided with an environment that allows them to experiment, make mistakes, correct their thinking, try new solutions, and expand their creativity. Punitive high-stakes tests and outdated rubrics can squash creativity rather quickly, producing anxiety in students and a fear of making mistakes. Educators should not make the mistake of abandoning assessment, because evaluation is a necessary part of the learning process (Wiggins, 2012).  I want to evaluate students in a way that provides regular useful feedback, is learner-centered, and assists their creative process. I also want students to continually assess themselves and the things they are producing, because they must be able to recognize when something of their own creation is not working.


Maker Classrooms are not without criterion, standards, and assigned tasks (Isslehardt, 2013). Rather, students must be given clear directions about their purpose. Wiggins relays it well:

“It is vital when asking students to perform or produce a product that you are crystal-clear on the purpose of the task, and that you state the purpose to make clear that the purpose is to cause an intrinsic effect, NOT please the teacher. That’s one value of our GRASPS acronym in UbD: when the student has clarity about the Goal of the task, their Role, the specific Audience, the specific Setting, the Performance particulars, and the Standards and criteria against which they will be judged, they can be far more effective – and creative! – than without such information.” (Wiggins, 2012)

As an educator charged with the assessment of student learning, I would assess creative problem solving during maker-inspired lessons by focusing on student process, their growth, their product, and their product’s impact. Rubrics are useful for teachers and students in providing clear guidelines for a project. I will use Creativity rubrics to help me and my students define what good work looks like without jeopardizing student risk-taking (Wiggins, 2012). I will also have the student’s audience provide them with meaningful and constructive feedback (Hernandez, 2016). I also want students to develop portfolios of their projects to display their long-term learning and celebrate their contributions.



Edutopia. (2010, Jul 20). James Paul Gee on Grading with Games.  Retrieved from

Hernandez, M. (2016, June 6). Evaluating Project-based learning. Retrieved from 
Isslehardt, E. (2013, February 11). Creating Schoolwide PBL Aligned to Common Core [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

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

Cooking with TPACK


This week for CEP 810, we were given a fun, tasty, and unconventional task: using three tools (a plate, bowl, and kitchen utensil), accomplish a cooking task. The tasks varied from making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to slicing vegetables for a veggie tray to whipping cream. Without knowing my goal, my father picked my three tools and I randomly selected “cut veggies” for my task. My main kitchen utensil was an apple slicer.

Why would we create a cooking video in a technology class? How is this task relevant to what teachers do in the classroom? How is this related to TPACK?

When teachers select technology tools for a lesson, they must consider the tools available and adapt them to fit their needs. Some tools will not work for some tasks. An apple slicer was created to slice apples, but it may also be an effective tool for slicing onions. Teachers must think outside of the box when utilizing digital tools for the classroom. Most digital tools were not created for the elementary classroom. When selecting a tool to accomplish a task, teachers must think about the tool’s capability and its limits. Are there better tools for this task? If I have a specific learning goal in mind, I need to look at the myriad of tools and decide how I can accomplish my goal using those tools. How can I teach this in a creative way and what tools will work well?
I hope you enjoy my cooking video. I think I may be the next Rachael Ray. 🙂