Strengths and Weaknesses

Throughout this project, I stayed on task and was able to finish ahead of schedule. My main frustrations were with the limitations that Canvas has for its users. It did not have enough space to upload all of my video content, so I had to link to my Google Drive. I also did not care for the layout of the course, but once I was able to really start working in Canvas, my feelings have changed. It is still not my favorite LMS to use, but I do not hate it as much as I did at the beginning of this semester.

Since I currently teach Texas History, I had a lot of the material already created. I had to adapt it for a virtual audience, rather than a face to face class, but that has helped save me a ton of time in the creation of this course. The most time-consuming part was recording the lessons using the app Explain Everything.

I did not face too many technology challenges or “people” challenges (other than a crying newborn that demanded attention!). I could see how working with a content provider would cause delays in the design and challenges.

My strengths as a designer are creating content to put into each module. I love lesson design and being creative. To improve, I could research new technologies and implement them into my lessons rather than just using what I know and love.


Project B Reflection

This training was conducted over two days, on April 18th and 19th, 2017. I delivered the instruction to 4 Texas History classes, consisting of 113 students. The class period is 52 minutes long, and each training utilized the entire time of each class period.

I began the training by pre-teaching over the Great Depression. I felt that this was an important step in the process, because the students needed the prior knowledge of the Great Depression before completing the Digital Breakout.

The Slideshow consisted of 51 slides. There was three parts: Hoover and the Crash, Roosevelt and the New Deal, and Life in the Great Depression. The information was shown with pictures and students were able to take notes during the presentation. I decided on a Slideshow over Peardeck because of the length of the slideshow and the time. While teaching, I led a discussion about the pictures and answered questions as they arose.

The next class day, students met in the library where we had access to Macbooks. They were able to choose their own groups. The groups were made up of 3-4 students. When students received the computers, they logged in and went to Schoology, our learning management system. On Schoology they found the link to the Breakout website ( I only provided a few instructions directing them to the website. I did not help them in any other way, other than remind them to complete all of the activities. Students were able to click on the images and complete tasks to receive the codes to unlock the breakout. There were 4 tasks, and 4 distractors peppered throughout the website.

After completing the ADDIE model and Job Aid, I sent my document to my client and class peer reviewer. Unfortunately, I never heard back from my partner and did not receive feedback from him, but I did receive valuable feedback from my client. She suggested that I give the same survey after a more traditional, lecture-based activity/class and compare the data. She also suggested that I design the next breakout to be completed on iPads and evaluate how students respond.

Overall, I was very pleased with how the lesson and the Digital Breakout turned out. I thought it was interesting that I had some students complain that it was too easy, while others wanted it to be more straight forward. We are currently designing a second Breakout over Civil Rights and it will be a lot trickier. We are making the codes words that do not pertain to the lesson. I found that some students bypassed the quizzes and videos because they guessed the codes. I had to double check the Google forms to make sure they completed all of the components. I also felt that 4 students in a group made it too easy for the students to divide and conquer. Next time, I will group them in pairs. I would definitely do this activity again to increase student learning and engagement in my classroom.

What I Learned This Semester

Throughout this semester, I have a lot about instructional design! Taking this class reminded me of my time as a student of education at A&M. When I learned how to write lesson plans the process seemed to take forever. I remember my lesson plans were long, detailed, and tedious. I might have scripted the whole 50-minute class period with the amount of detail I included. Now, as a more experienced teacher, my lesson plans have gotten shorter and shorter as the years go by. I am familiar with the process, but if needed, I could type out the whole plan.

In this course, I learned how to complete the whole ADDIE model. It was time consuming and very detailed. However, if I did not learn this precious skill, I would not truly understand Instructional Design. I imagine, as I pursue a career in Instructional Design, this process will become easier and easier, just like lesson planning has become. I would not trade the learning process for the ease of planning, because that knowledge will only make me a better Instructional Designer. But I look forward to the day that this process becomes second nature.

When creating instruction for a client, the evaluation process is vital to furthering your development as an Instructional Designer. For this course, I designed two very different learning activities. The first one was a professional development session designed for educators and the second one was a Digital Breakout lesson designed for seventh grade students. The client was the same (my campus’ Digital Learning Coach), but the audiences could not have been different. So when I received feedback from the learners, it was helpful and allowed me to make changes and updates to the instruction. Since this was my first time to develop a professional development session for my coworkers, I was interested in the feedback. I designed the instruction by what I knew to be helpful. I did not want to waste their time and I wanted to make the instruction meaningful. Based on their feedback, I found out that I had accomplished my goal.

When I received feedback from my seventh grade students, their comments were all over the place. Some believed the breakout was too hard, while others asked for a more challenging breakout. Some liked the group work, while others wished they had worked alone.  I had 115 students complete the activity and respond to a survey about the instruction. However, most of them found the activity to be engaging and fun and they reported that they learned something new. So in the end, my goal was accomplished with this training as well.

Instructional Design

There are many different ways to interpret what is Instructional Design. Wikipedia defines it as “practice of creating instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing” (Wikipedia, 2017). Our textbook defines Instructional design as “a way to plan your training program from the moment you the idea for it until the moment you complete the revisions of your first effort and get ready to run the program again” (Piskurich, 2006, p. 4). But to me, instructional design is much more than just creating an effective instructional experience, but rather it is a way to creatively teach others.

Christopher Pappas (2015) wrote an article called 24 Top Tips To Become and Instructional Designer. Pappas included 24 tips from different instructional designers on what works in their industry. There were a few that stood out to me: never stop learning; see the system and see the people in the system; study how to create sequential, progressive learning that supports the students; and develop project management skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills.

These tips are encouraging and thought provoking for anyone who is learning how to design instruction. Instructional Design should be learner centered and provide authentic learning experiences. There must be some sort of order and purpose behind the training. Instructional Designers must also understand their audience. When I teach my 7th grade students, I know what works for them and what does not work. If I were to lecture every day, I know my students would suffer and be extremely bored. When I add in authentic learning experiences and activities, the class becomes much more engaging and my students are more likely to recall the content. Adult learners are no different. If the learner does not understand the purpose behind the training, then it is useless in designing instruction.

In order to be an instructional designer professionally, I think it is crucial that you learn time management skills. The client will have strict deadlines, and you must adhere to them. It is also crucial to have fantastic communication skills. As the designer, you need to understand what the client needs and expectations are and you should be able to communicate your ideas effectively as well.

Instructional design. (2017, May 01). Retrieved May 03, 2017, from

Pappas, C. (2015). 24 Top Tips To Become An Instructional Designer. Retrieved May 03, 2017, from

Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: learning ID fast and right(Second ed.). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.


I believe that self-regulation happens over time as humans grow and mature. For instance, my seventh grade students have a hard time regulating their behavior and emotions. Dr. Stosny from Psychology Today (2011) defines self-regulation as “the ability to act in your long-term best interest, consistent with your deepest values” (para. 1). In my classroom, I notice that my students have a hard time thinking about their long-term best interest. They can barely make it to lunch, let alone think how their decisions affect them in the long-run. I think back to when I was their age, and I was so emotional and had a hard time controlling my behavior. But I can see how I have grown up and become better at self-regulation as the years have gone by.

Daily, I self-regulate by managing my behavior. If a student makes me upset, instead of reacting in a way that would jeopardize my job or hurt the feelings of the student, I try to approach the situation in a way that is professional and caring. I do not just say what first comes to mind, but instead I assess the situation and react accordingly. As an educator, it is my job to teach not only Texas History, but citizenship and character values. I try to set an example for my students.

Learning how to self-regulate is important for many reasons. It helps you remain focused on what really matters, your values and goals, rather than getting caught up in the emotion. Having proper communication with yourself and others can help this process. When humans grow and mature, they are learning how to effectively communicate with others. Think of a toddler. When their mother is talking to a friend, toddlers demand attention right when they need it. They do not usually wait patiently, but instead interrupt a conversation for their own needs. As they grow, if taught manners, the child learns to wait for a moment to interrupt or to say “excuse me” before interrupting. The parent is teaching the child to self-regulate and control their behavior.

As Dr. Stosny points out in his article, “consistent self-regulation requires focus on your deepest values rather than feelings” (2011, para. 16). When you learn how to self-regulate, you are free to pursue your goals and focus on your most important values. This creates an identity that is self-motivated and goal oriented. Learning self-regulation is one of the most important values a person could have.


Stosny, S. (2011, October 28). Self-Regulation. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from

Project A Reflection

I really enjoyed creating and implementing Project A. This was my second time to present to the members of my staff, but the first time that I delivered the instruction by myself. When I presented Peardeck, I worked with another teacher and we planned the instruction together. It was also only a 10-minute presentation, so this project was the first time I planned and implemented extended instruction.

I designed a two-part training over “Using iPads to Encourage Collaboration”. The first part of the training was presented during school hours. I presented over our school’s Clarity data and explained the importance of collaboration. We also brainstormed different ways we already use technology to collaborate. Several teachers were able to share different apps and ways to collaborate. I think that was a helpful to have that conversation and brainstorm together. Each teacher was able to share new ideas. Although necessary, I felt like this training was the weakest aspect of the design. It was hard to encourage interest because teachers were required to be there. They were thrilled to support me and my endeavors, but the information was a little boring.  I think I could have redesigned it to be more interactive, or maybe I should have presented the information in a new way.

The second part of the training was an after school optional session that the teachers could attend to collect district flex hours. I had only 4 teachers show up, but we had a great time! I really liked this part better than the first. I led the teachers to a Google Form that directed them to a certain Google Slide, depending on their interest. We had a blast trying out the different apps. We were able to brainstorm different ways we could use these iPad apps in our classrooms, all while using the apps together. I would have loved it if more educators could have stopped by, but it was the Thursday before Spring Break and most teachers are ready to get out of the school by then. I think this was the strongest part of the training. It was new information, engaging, and fun!

Overall, I felt like my instruction was effective. Looking back, I would have merged these two separate trainings into one training. I think I lost the interest in the first group, and they would have benefited from the second training. The second group missed out on the first training, so they may not understand the value of collaboration.

Looking forward to my next project, I want to design something that captures the students interest fully. This time, I will be designing a lesson to be used by the Texas History teachers on our campus. This digital escape room challenges the students to think critically and problem solve. I do not think I will have any issue with keeping their interest. I am really excited to tackle this next challenge. It is completely new technology to me, and so I know I will be challenged to think creatively.

Method of Loci and Project A Reflection

Method of Loci

This was a challenging activity for me. I have such a hard time memorizing things, and I am pretty forgetful, so I’ve learned throughout the years to take notes, use calendars and make lists. I haven’t had to memorize long speeches since I was in middle or high school. I do memorize long passages of scripture, but I build it up week by week. I also use a song to help me remember each week. But it has taken me a year to memorize James 3-5. This method challenged me to take time, sit, relax and think. I could see how this method would be an effective tool for a speech that one would give in the near future.

I found it tough to totally relax beforehand, which made this method a little bit tougher for me to memorize. I will have to try again when my husband is home and able to watch the dog. I was sitting there with my eyes closed, and I could hear the dog rummaging around in the trash and in the kitchen. It definitely made it hard to completely relax. But I did my best to try.

I imagined my bedroom, since I know it so well. We do not have a lot a furniture, but that was okay for this activity. At the door, I imagined a cross for values, a report card for outcomes, a hand mixer for conventions, and a soccer ball for practices. For the second item on the list, I associated each of those words with a piece of furniture in my bedroom.

I repeated the process a few times, but I imagine if I were memorizing this for a speech or a exam, I would need to practice for a few days, possibly even a week!

Reflection on Project A

Overall, I felt like these trainings were very effective. The goals of each training were met and I appreciated the participants giving their time and their wiliness to learn. I loved having this opportunity to design something and present it to the staff. I used all of the suggestions that my client gave me accept one. He wanted me to remove my agenda slide. I felt like it was necessary to show what the training was about. I think the audience appreciated it as well. My peer reviews were helpful in clarifying what I meant. He was able to look at my project with new eyes and give me some solid advice to make my directions clearer.

I think this training could have been more effective if it was not broken into two parts. We designed it that way for the sake of time. Being the week before Spring Break, teachers are eager to wind down the week. I wish there had been at least one person who attended both parts, but unfortunately that did not happen. The trainings were meant to be experienced together for full effect. I think the second training was more effective than the first, because it gave the educators time to play with the apps and brainstorm ways they could implement them into their classroom. The first training was the more informative, data-driven training. While important, it’s hard to encourage engagement. If I were to lead this training in the future, I think I would like to do it all at one time. It could be held in the summer or during a campus professional development day.

Instructional Design… so far

Well first, this process can be very time consuming. You cannot just jump into it and create a well-organized and thoughtful presentation in a day! So much thought and understanding the fundamentals of design has to occur first before someone can begin to design instruction. I remember when I was in college, it would take me about 3 hours to design a lesson plan, but by the end of my first year teaching, I could do it in a about 30 minutes or less. I imagine that learning instructional design is about the same. Right now, it is taking time to complete the analysis and the design documents, but I imagine over time, I will become more and more proficient in this area.

I also realized that I am constantly thinking about my audience. Since I know my peers pretty well, I know how they like to learn and how to use their time efficiently. I also think about myself, would I be bored sitting through this training? If yes, then I need to make some changes. I would be nervous if I had to design something for an audience that I was not familiar with. I think an important part of instructional design is understanding who you are working for and their preferences.

Overall, I feel pretty confident in this project. I have really enjoyed working with my client and understanding what he does. I would love to consider instructional design as a career down the road, so this process has been so helpful for me to fully understand instructional design. I love the creative aspect of designing lessons. That is one aspect of my job that I currently love, so it translates well into instructional design. Essentially, I design instruction all day, but it looks a little different when the audience is adults vs. seventh graders.

Thinking about instructional design has left me with an unanswered question. When designing a lesson for my students, I adhere to the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) standards. From those standards, I am able to create objectives and learning goals for my students. Are there any sort of standardized objectives or standards in instructional design or does it vary depending on what you are designing? For this project, I created my own objectives, but I wonder if I should have seen or looked at any overarching technology objectives. This question has been floating around in my mind, but I am sure it will be answered as I continue to study instructional design.

Analysis and Design

Part 1

The analysis was a great way for me to gather all of the information from my client and understand his vision for this project. When we sat down to meet, I brought my questions with me. I was able to jot down notes and ask questions. Having these notes with me as I completed my analysis was super helpful. If there were any questions that I missed, I reached out to my client to answer them. Personally, I have a hard time sitting down and planning.  I often just jump into the project with little direction. That usually leads to me being extremely overwhelmed and trying to work without a clear understanding of what I am creating. This process has helped me slow down and really work through the details before jumping into the project.

For the first face to face meeting, during our PLC, I plan to have some sort of presentation prepared. I want it to be interactive and not just a boring lecture. My major objective for this part of the training is that learners will be able to understand the importance of collaboration between students resulting in using collaborative apps in the classroom. I plan to use Peardeck to present the information from the Clarity survey. I think it would be neat to do a small pre-assessment to see how much our educators know about collaboration in the classroom. That will help guide what needs to be reiterated and what needs to be covered. I also plan to introduce 3 collaborative apps that could be used in the classroom.

My next training will be an online Schoology component. Each app will have a short summary or overview of the app, a task to complete and a short question and answer piece. I will also conduct this training live to help those who are not as confident or may be tech challenged.

Part 2

To me, analysis and design are closely related. Taking the time to ask questions, understand the problem and the need, and create an analysis allows the design document to be detailed and concise. While reading Romiszowski (1981), I was drawn to Polya’s approach to mathematical problem-solving.

  1. Understand the problem
  2. Find the connection between the data and the unknown
  3. Carry out the plan
  4. Examine the solution (p. 22)

This concept can be used in instructional design as well. What is the problem I am trying to solve? What is the connection between what I know and what I need to know? I can figure these questions out with my analysis. Designing is carrying out the plan and evaluating the outcome.

The best thing about instructional design is that it is flexible! It no longer needs to be printed, but can be changed instantaneously. The Information R/Evolution video (2007), shows that information does not need to be stored in the same way, or created in the same way anymore. It can be changed and manipulated to meet the needs of the audience. I see this in my classroom daily when I change how I present and what I present depending on the needs of my individual class period.


Romiszowski, A. J. (1981). Designing instructional systems: Decision making in course planning and curriculum design. London: Kogan Page.

Wesch, M. (2007, October 12). Information R/evolution. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

My Philosophy of Learning

Since the writing of this paper, my philosophy of learning has not changed very much. I wrote this philosophy the summer of 2016, before my fourth year as an educator. Now that I am halfway through this year, I can see my philosophy come alive in my classroom. I have been able to implement what I have learned throughout this program. For instance, I began teaching Texas History in 2015. I taught the class using PowerPoints and note taking. I was bored and so were my students. Though I was learning the new material, my teaching style was a disservice to my students. While I had a few PBLs throughout the year, overall, students were just regurgitating the information I taught them on a test. They did not make many personal connections with the information nor did they learn how to synthesize the information and create something new. This experience helped shape my learning philosophy.

I knew that I wanted this year to be different. I wanted my students to experience Texas History in a new and engaging way. I thought back to my own educational experience, the lessons I remember most vividly were lessons that fully engaged me. I remember writing a tall tale that I had to share with the class around a “campfire”. I remember the personal connections I made with Anne Frank as we read her diary and then created my own. I remember a book character parade, where I dressed up as the main character and told my classmates the story of that novel. I remember learning about budgeting and I had the opportunity to create my own budget for my future. These lessons stood out to me because I was creating connections and synthesizing what I was learning. This was the type of classroom environment I wanted to create.

This semester I have worked to create a completely different curriculum for my students with my Constructivist theory at the center. I often spend a day teaching the material using a presentation website called Peardeck. Peardeck involves the students in the lecture rather than having my students just take notes. Because I work in a district that provides iPads for each student, I am able to use that technology to my advantage.

After one learning day, I assign a project that students complete. I become a facilitator and my students are the explores. My latest project was about Westward Expansion and students had to go on a “journey” as they learned about Manifest Destiny, the Mexican-American War, and the Compromise of 1850. They put together a short video using Explain Everything to teach these 3 topics to the class. Students take control of their learning and create something to teach others.

Using my philosophy of learning, I would argue that my teaching has improved for the better. My students are more engaged and I am enjoying watching them really dig deep into the content.

My Philosophy of Learning

In the perfect classroom, students are sitting quietly at their desks, which happen to be all in rows. The teacher is at the front of the room, writing on the board. When her back is turned, no one is disturbing the class or shooting spitballs. All of the students are taking notes on the material that is being shared with them. They are in awe of the teacher’s wisdom and knowledge. While this classroom is commonly seen in old movies or depicted in fiction novels, this is the classroom I dreamed about as a little child. I imagined myself as that educator, respected and all-knowing. I imagined my perfect students sitting quietly in smart rows. I could not wait to be a teacher with 20 little souls looking up to me. Well, my student teaching experience quickly squashed my dreams of the “perfect classroom”. I realized that learning does not take place in little rows of silence. Students need action and movement, connection to prior knowledge, and a chance to explore for learning to occur.

Learning is more than the transfer of information. Students should be involved in the learning and experience the material in an authentic way. Molenda (2009) suggests that students should be producers rather than consumers. He says, “rather than receiving a service, the learner is actually creating the product… with an instructor and sometimes without” (Molenda, 2009, p. 86). When students are allowed to explore and create, they are making their own personal connections to the content. Authentic learning experiences are best taught through Project Based Learning (PBL). Bell (2010) states that “learning responsibility, independence, and discipline are three outcomes of PBL” (Bell, 2010, p. 40). Not only are students challenged to learn and interact with content, but they also experience a deep and rich authentic learning experience. They are allowed to move about the classroom, collaborating with their group mates. Learners are forced to make real life connections and see the content in a new light. They learn how to cooperate with others and develop skills that will help them in real life. Instead of route memorization, lectures, and tests, learning is authentic and natural. They are given a freedom that they did not have before.

Educators should view themselves as designers of authentic learning experiences. It is easy to pull up a PowerPoint and talk for 40 minutes, but what are the benefits for the students? More likely than not, they are day dreaming and thinking about their next class period. A teacher should put in the work up front to create PBL experiences. During the PBL, teachers should monitor the classroom and facilitate the conversations. As Bell states, “PBL promotes social learning as children practice and become proficient with the twenty-first-century skills of communication, negotiation, and collaboration.” (Bell, 2010, p. 40-41). PBL also make it easy to integrate technology authentically into the curriculum (Kean & Kwe, 2013, p. 191). Students can look up information on the internet, and learn how to research well. Learners can incorporate computers, video cameras, iPads, apps and more into their projects while the teacher supports their learning experience. Kozma argues that the learning is influenced by the medium and the method (Kozma, 1991, p. 205). Students are able to experience new methods of teaching through the use of technology and the PBL experience.

By implementing PBL and allowing students to create in a meaningful and authentic manner, suggests that I agree with the Constructivist theory. According to Ertmer and Newby (1993), “both learner and environmental factors are critical to the constructivist, as it is the specific interaction between these two variables that creates knowledge” (Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 63). Learning should be authentic and connect to a student’s prior knowledge (Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 63). When I create an environment for my students to interact and explore the material, they process the information in a meaningful and deep way.

It is through this lens that I now imagine my classroom. I challenge myself to make my lessons engaging and meaningful. Students are able to make connections, draw deep conclusions and personally interact with the content. No longer do I long for a quiet and well-behaved classroom. I long for a classroom where real and deep learning is taking place and I strive to reach that goal daily.


Bell, S. (2010). Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future. Clearing House: A Journal Of Educational Strategies, Issues, And Ideas83(2), 39-43.

Ertmer, P., & Newby, T. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50–71.

Kean, A. C., & Kwe, N. M. (2014). Meaningful Learning in the Teaching of Culture: The Project Based Learning Approach. Journal Of Education And Training Studies2(2), 189-197.

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with Media. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179–211.

Molenda, M. (2009). Instructional technology must contribute to productivity. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 21(1), 80–94.