Thursday, February 22, 2024

Copyright & Creative Commons

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (this image is in the public domain)
These RWLDs introduce you to fundamental principles of U.S. copyright law, fair use, public domain, and creative commons. Understanding these concepts is key to making legal/ethical decisions about incorporating media into your educational projects (and guiding your students to do so in the future).

List of Terms and Concepts You Should Know:

  1. Copyright (What is it, and when is it obtained by a creator?)
  2. Fair Use (when it can be used?)
  3. Public Domain (explained in a YouTube video)
  4. Creative Commons (How do you obtain a CC license?)
  5. Jammie Thomas-Rasset's case, who illegally downloaded 24 songs. Read the follow-up to the story of Capitol v. Thomas on Wikipedia.
  6. Copyright BriefNotes for Students. this is an interesting compilation of the meaning of copyright. Review the Copyright Decision Tree on page 2. It helps you decide if you can use a work in your projects. 


If you are a reader,
familiarize yourself with pages 1—6 of Copyright Basics (PDF) from the US Copyright Office ( This introduction to copyright law describes what works are protected and defines ownership as well as the typical duration of copyright law protection.

If you would rather watch videos to learn
review the 3 videos below:

Using Copyrighted Works in Our Own Creations: Fair Use, Creative Commons, and Permissions


Copyright History and Rational in 6 minutes!

Creative Commons

This 5-minute video explains why Creative Commons was created:

Creative Commons licenses make it easy for people to share their works which are otherwise protected by copyright law. This provides terrific opportunities for teachers and students! It's what you might say is a happy middle ground between All Rights Reserved and the public domain.

Food for thought:  

You probably heard about ChatGPT and the concerns it raises among schools.  We are witnessing the rapid development of chatbots and artificial intelligence that can imitate human conversation and generate essays, poems, and even art.  

I asked ChatGPT two questions:
Q1: What do you think about students using ChatGPT to complete their assigned essays?

Here are the chat-generated answers: 

Q2: Is ChatGPT in violation of copyright laws?


What are your thoughts on using chatbots to complete your homework?  

Other Resources (As FYI, not required)

- To listen: NPR interview with an artist, Kelly McKernan, who filed the lawsuit after discovering that her artwork was used via an AI art generator to produce more work in her style.

- To read: Grappling With AI Writing Technologies in the Classroom - article but a high school social studies teache 

- Bookmark and explore these UNI sites related to copyright: UNI Copyright Policies and Rod Library Guide to Copyright.

-Take a look at the Key Moments in Social Media Law from 1984 to today.

- To bookmark for later: How to cite ChatGPT 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Visual Literacy

an eye ball
Image: Ray eye  Creative Commons license

To Read: Color matters! Read about color symbolism in different cultures and explore other parts of this website to learn more about the significance of color in our lives.

To Watch:  You are in the process of designing your teacher's website.  It should be important for you to make conscious decisions about how you present the content of the pages.  
What makes the page user-friendly? 
What are the most common design mistakes made when creating websites?  
To help you answer that, I created a short video about web design considerations

To Watch: Visual Diagramming, Concept Mapping, Mind Mapping - these phrases apply to visually brainstorming or organizing ideas. This video explains the benefits of it:

To use in the early elementary classroom (or with your kids): C.A.R.P. junior - Design Principles for kids - ideas for practicing them in an elementary classroom.

To challenge yourself: Look at these 25 of the most iconic photographs (according to CNN) - How many can you name just by looking at them?


Additional optional resources:

ISTE Standards for Educators:
2.5c Educators explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
2.6d. Educators model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

ISTE Standards for Students :
1.1b Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
1.6c Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models, or simulations.

Thursday, February 8, 2024


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a relatively new field in K-12 education. It exploded at the beginning of 2023 with the release of a free version of Large Language Model, Generative AI, ChatGPT.  As a new-era educator, you probably want to have a basic understanding of how AI works,  how it will influence teaching and learning, and how to teach about it to your students.  Since we are in a lifelong learning profession, it is on us to keep up and understand the implications of the current trends. The changes are coming, and we are living in exciting times! So, let's dive in.

cute machine learning AI from
Machine learning from

To Watch and Do (15 minutes):  Start by completing this short eight-step unit from designed to help you and your students learn about types of machine learning and training data, pattern analysis, classification models,  ethical issues such as bias, and even how AI can be used to address Global Goals! Don't skip this part! 

A human-centered approach to AI:

A human-centered approach to AI prioritizes the well-being and needs of humans in developing and implementing artificial intelligence systems.

It advocates that AI should be used to amplify human capabilities, creating collaborative interactions between humans and AI rather than replacing them.

UNESCO’s 2021 Recommendation on the Ethics of AI provides a framework for addressing controversies around generative AI in education and research. It advocates for a human-centered approach to AI 

    • AI should be used to develop human capabilities for inclusive, just, and sustainable futures
    • Human rights principles should guide the use of AI
    • Human dignity and cultural diversity should be protected
    • Proper regulation is needed for a human-centered approach to AI

To watch: (2 min.33s) Machine Learning and Human Bias - How it can perpetuate human bias, why it is important to know, how Google approaches this problem, and what you can do about it. 

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) for K-12 initiative (AI4K12): :
Organize the topics surrounding Artificial Intelligence and organize them into 5 Big Ideas. Each Idea has a progression chart similar to DOK that can help you teach about AI in a different grade level.  

To do: Go to this link: and open a progression chart for each idea. Try to make sense of what kind of AI concepts and topics should be taught in each grade. Would you be able to teach them today? 

5 Big Ideas in AI

To browse: Resources from The AI Education Project. We used some resources from there while working on Digital Citizenship activities. 

To watch: Ted Talk How AI could save (not destroy) education (15 min)
Sal Khan (founder of Khan Academy) thinks AI could spark the greatest positive transformation education has ever seen.  See what opportunities he envisions for students and educators working with Khanmigo AI. Do you like his vision? What are the positives? Are there any downsides?  Do you agree with his statement that AI can be used to enhance HI?

To read and think about Reconsidering Student Learning Outcomes in the Age of Generative AI - do you agree? What other skills, if any, will be important, and which should be revisited for their usefulness? 

Please create a free account on - we suggest using a private account. We will look at it and evaluate in labs. 

Other Resources (not required, but useful) 

To listen: Pondering AI podcast How is using artificial intelligence (AI) shaping our human experience? Kimberly Nevala talks with a diverse group of innovators, advocates, and data scientists.

To read, think, and interact: Is the modern development of "god-like technology" a new fire?  A philosophical question for the insomnia minds: Read and consider posting your response 

Approaches & Guides to Prompt Engineering in LLM like ChatGPT
To browse: Secondary Idea for English 12: An Exploration of British Classic and Contemporary Science Fiction Literature Focusing on Artificial Intelligence: 

To read: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Computer Vision.

To browse and bookmark: Applied Digital Skills with Google.

UNI resources for AI in Teaching & Learning:

To read: about the new market for low-paid workers. : Behind even the most impressive AI system are people. Huge numbers of people label data to train it and clarify data when it gets confused. As the technology becomes ubiquitous, a vast tasker underclass is emerging:

ISTE standards for Educators connection:
  • Standard 2.2 Leader: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning.
    • 2.2.c Model Digital Tool Use: Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation, and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
  • Standard 2.3 Citizen: Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.
    • 2.3.b Evaluate Resources for Credibility - Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources, and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
    • 2.3.c Teach Safe, Legal, Ethical Practices - Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.
  • Standard 2.4  Collaborator: Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.
    • 2.4.b Learn Alongside Students: Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources, and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
  • Standard 2.6 Facilitator: Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students.
    • 2.6.d Model and Nurture Creativity: Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Thinking Skills

Thinking comes in many forms . . .

Sometimes, it just requires remembering the capital of Iowa or where you put your keys.  Other times, thinking is more complex as we decide how to apply the new skills we just learned. It might also involve analyzing the differences between two approaches to solving a problem. Thinking often requires us to evaluate different opportunities to create something uniquely original.

An educator's responsibility is to build these skills in our learners. We need to develop thinking skills that range all the way from remembering a simple fact to creating a complex project. As educators, we need to be aware of these different levels of thinking and mindfully create learning opportunities for our students that will develop thinking at all levels.

The basic level of thinking is called Lower-Order Thinking (LOTS).  This is the level where you memorize facts, poems, and equations. You are rewarded by remembering them when needed. Remembering things is useless unless you understand what these things mean. Knowing what things mean is important, but applying your knowledge to the real world takes another level of responsibility.

The more complex level of thinking is called Higher-Order Thinking (HOTS).  This is the level where you really have to be engaged.  You use what you know to analyze original situations. You evaluate them for good and bad.  You even take on the responsibility to use your background and knowledge to create new and original projects and ideas.

Knowing about these levels of thinking will enable you to create learning experiences this semester that will challenge your students. Basic facts (like the names of planets) are useful, but being able to list those facts is not enough to be valuable in real life.  You will need to provide your students with challenges where they can apply these basic facts in a new and creative way.

Bloom's Taxonomy
Yes, we know that you have probably learned about Bloom's Taxonomy in other classes but please don't "turn off."  Your mastery of teaching and learning at these levels is what will enhance the meaning of your students' learning.

These levels of thinking are captured in Bloom's Taxonomy. Developed in 1954 to identify different types of questions, this taxonomy has evolved into a model that classifies the various levels of thinking that we have been discussing.  (Click CC in the video below for closed captions)

As we progress through Ed Tech and Design, you will be asked to write statements that define what you want your learners to be able to do to prove that they have learned throughout your thematic unit.  These statements (Objectives) will use observable verbs to define the behavior you want your students to exhibit. The key to success is for you to use the appropriate observable verbs so that your learners will know what to do.  Here is a list of observable verbs that you will be able to use this week and next week as you learn about instructional design. These verbs are important.  Remember that the Verb is the Word.  This will all be discussed in more detail in this week's lecture.

Depths of Knowledge (DoK)
While Bloom's Taxonomy is used to categorize and evaluate the "Thinking Processes" students use to understand and apply knowledge, it is not directly employed to evaluate the complexity of students' knowledge and assessments teachers use for student evaluation. On the other hand, Depths of Knowledge (DoK) is a system specifically designed to assess the depth and complexity of tests and projects utilized by teachers in evaluating their student's understanding and skills. It helps educators create challenging tasks and assessments that accurately measure students' understanding and skills.

DoK involves 4 Levels:
Level 1: Recall and Reproduction - involves basic recall of facts or information.
Level 2: Basic Skills and Concepts - requires more than simple recall and includes applying skills or concepts.
Level 3: Strategic Thinking - involves reasoning, planning, and using evidence to solve problems.
Level 4: Extended Thinking - requires complex and abstract thinking, often over an extended period. 

The diagram below compares how the DOK can relate to Bloom's Taxonomy.

The following video explains the role that Bloom's Taxonomy and Depths of Knowledge play in learning and assessing thinking processes and levels of complexity in assessment.  
NOTE: The following video is created by the same company that created the Bloom's Taxonomy video above.  The intro theme and narrator are the same but the content is different.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Nurturing Higher-Order thinking is the basis for developing and rewarding creativity. Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative, popular thinkers explores (in exhilarating style) one of our key questions: Where do good ideas come from? Johnson provides the story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our education, our society, and our culture forward. 

So HOW do we integrate Higher-Order Thinking Skills into our Learning and Teaching?  Here are a few ideas by Sir Ken Robinson.

Collaboration in the 21st Century: Sir Ken Robinson
Watch how Sir Robinson explores ways that education can prepare students for the collaboration they will use in their future lives. This is an inspiring video that explains how collaboration supports innovation.  (Click CC in the video for closed captions)

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Systematic Instructional Design & Universal Design for Learning

This set of Readings, Watchings, Listenings, and Doings (RWLDs) is designed to prepare you for the lecture on "Systematic Instructional Design and Universal Design for Learning." It is meant to help you plan your Thematic Unit.

Systematic Instructional Design

Identifying Your Destination
The Teaching/Learning situation is not limited to identifying a "coooool" activity and then connecting forms of instruction and assessment to it. To effectively design and develop learning activities, it is necessary to identify the desired outcome first.  This provides direction for your instructional activities.

When you are classroom teachers, your job will be to provide a supportive learning environment (your classroom) where your students can learn.  They can learn a whole rainbow of ideas and skills, but your job is to provide opportunities for them to learn ideas and skills that are appropriate to your grade level. 

The key to successful instructional design is to identify what you want your students to learn and then plan accordingly.  This posting will provide you with some strategies for accomplishing this and how to make it accessible to all. Towards the end, we will introduce some of the basics you will use to do your own designing this semester.  

Designing Your Instruction

It's just common sense to begin with the end in mind when you are designing instruction. Begin by defining what you want your students to learn and plan your instruction to that result. This is called Backward Design. 

If you don't know where you are going, 

how will you know how to get there?

Here is a video that uses the metaphor of planning a trip to describe Backward Design.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?  
If you don't know where you will be going, you won't be able to figure out how to get there.

Backward Design is the basis for an instructional design system called Understanding by Design. 

The Understanding by Design framework has 3 parts:

  1. Identify Desired Results
    1. What do you want students to know after the lessons?
    2. What do you want your students to be able to do after the lessons?
  2. Determine Acceptable Evidence 
    1. What performance will indicate that your students have reached the desired level of proficiency/
  3. Create Your Learning Plans
    1. Develop your Learning Plan (instruction)
    2. Develop your Learning Activities (experiences)
Bernajean Porter does a good job of explaining the aspects of Understanding by Design. The most significant point that she makes is that starting with the "End in Mind" is just common sense. (Pay SPECIAL ATTENTION to the B.F.O.)

Understanding by Design
is a framework that provides direction for unit lesson planning. It begins by identifying the Desired Outcomes and Results and then makes a plan to achieve that outcome.

Achieving your desired results is not always an easy task. Your students all have different skill levels and learning preferences.  It is important that we present new information and engage our students in learning using a variety of approaches.  
This strategy is called Universal Design for Learning

Measure Success through Observable Verbs

Measuring your student's success in learning is based upon a change in their behavior. 

If the goal of your lesson is for your student "recognize verbs," you must ask them to
DO SOMETHING OBSERVABLE - like "Identify verbs in a sentence." 

If you want to know if they understand the difference between stocks and bonds, you can ask them to "Compare stocks and bonds."

These are called observable verbs because you will be able to observe what they learned.
Here is a link to observable verbs that you might use to evaluate how well your students have learned a topic.

Universal Design for Learning

Effective Instructional Design can only be successful if you consider the learning needs of your learners. Your learners do not all have the same preferences for ways to learn, so you need to consider various ways that new ideas and skills are introduced and how your learners can engage in mastering this content.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a combination of pedagogy and techniques that acknowledge the different levels of needs. UDL uses brain-based research to identify the need for addressing multiple methods of representation, expression, and engagement of learners with information and knowledge. It involves instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. 

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a leading organization in the field of UDL.  Read about CAST and the UDL Guidelines.

Here is a 5-minute introductory video on UDL.  

Multiple Means of Representation: An essential part of UDL is using Multiple Means of Representation. Some learners learn better means by reading than by watching. Many prefer watching a video or live presentation. What is your preference?
You might do better if you visited this website and read about UDL.  

Consider how we use Multiple Means of Representation in our Ed Tech and Design class.  You are introduced (engaged) to new ideas through written and spoken media. The content is Represented in multiple formats. You are provided multiple ways to Act upon your new knowledge and Express your learning.

You should consider developing instruction that integrates a variety of methods of instruction including written text, speaking, listening, watching, and creating (to name a few.)  This will be discussed further in the lecture that you will watch.

Putting It All Together with TPACK

We have already introduced TPACK, but Instructional Design is a good place to consider how we can most effectively integrate TechnologyPedagogy (teaching skills), and Content Knowledge (TPACK). 

Teaching and Learning through technology is much more than just using PowerPoint and Twitter. The Venn diagram below shows how each of these areas can combine and impact the others.  Certain forms of Technology can be used to support specific teaching strategies (Pedagogy). That is the TPK intersection. Ultimately the TPACK educator is interested in teaching in the "sweet spot" in the middle where all three areas are fully integrated.
    Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by
Read more about the TPACK model (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) which we consider a framework that identifies the knowledge teachers need to teach effectively with technology. 

You can also watch this video which provides a brief introduction to TPACK in 2 minutes. 

An important point that TPACK makes is that neither Technology nor Content nor Pedagogy is more important than the other.  Each area provides a necessary "piece of the puzzle" that yields Successful Learning.

One might consider in that class that we believe that everything can be fixed with technology - this is NOT  the Case. Technology is NOT the Thing.  When you using technology to support learning, remember that

Technology is NOT the Thing, It provides Opportunities.
Technology is the Thing that gets you to the Thing.

Additional Resources: These are not required, but you may find them helpful in understanding these concepts.