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I am taking an intro to statistics course and it has me thinking about quantitative vs. qualitative research. In our statistics course we are going through a lot of different examples of data sets. What I find is that with each data set I want to know why? Why is there a difference in gender, why is there a difference in adults over 30, what do the outliers suggest? I am thinking a lot about the data from the New York State public school assessment data from the years 2013 and 2014 and I am thinking about how those numbers lead me to questions. I am particularly interested in the data on students enrolled in special education services. While the mean for all students who receive a 3 or 4 on the state assessment is at 31%, the mean for students with disabilities who receive a 3 or 4 on the state assessment is at 5%. How are these scores impacting students? What do these scores tell us about students success beyond the public school system. These are just some random thoughts to post.

Wanna be startin’ somethin’

I just signed up to do an independent study with a professor who will guide me through the process of writing an empirical article about special education, common core learning standards and the relationship between the two. I will be looking at a culmination of data from a recent project to  understand and report out my findings.This involves many tasks as I toggle between data, previous research, and theoretical and conceptual frameworks. I also need to keep track of my thoughts, so this is where my blog comes back into my life. It is the recording of my thought process that will hopefully lead me on a clear path to opening up my ability to share and contribute what I know about the field of special education and how that meshes educational theory and practice. So I stand here at the threshold of my journey ready to start something that can have a profound impact on my career as a researcher.

In this early phase of my research I am asking myself a few questions. These questions are:

What will guide and inform my inquiry?

What data will I include/exclude?

Who is my target audience?

In this post I will discuss my first dive into what will guide and inform my inquiry. I begin by revisiting the Socioecological model to understand the dynamic relationships that occurs between the environmental and personal variables in education. The socioecological model has its roots in the work of Urie Bronfenbrenner‘s Ecological Framework for Human Development. Brofenbrenner theorized that to understand human development there needs to be an understanding of the dynamic relationship of humans to their environment. Brofenbrenner identified five layers of environmental factors that surround an individual as: Macro, Exo, Meso, Micro and Nano systems. These systems are dynamic meaning they are multidirectional.


The Macrosystem describes the conditions and beliefs that a society holds. This encompasses laws, social classes, ethnic groups and religious affiliations. It is the overarching determinate of how we view a topic, who makes decisions on a topic and policies that impact how we carry out our beliefs and ideas.

The Exosystem is the connection between places such as schools and neighborhoods, workplace and home. It is a removed relationship of places with  each other and not individual relationships. An example is the relationship that a neighborhood community has with their school and the impact on this has on beliefs and organizations. This shapes perceptions and understanding of relationships and the value they have over an individual.

The Mesosystem is the systems that include the individual and their relationships. The examples cited are school to home, work to home, childcare and home. These are the relationships of the systems that directly influence the individual as they are a part of the individuals direct environment.

The Microsystem is the system of activities in which the individual is involved. The activities, social roles and interpersonal relationships are all a layer of systems impact how the individual interacts with their environment.

The Nanosystem is the individual. Age, gender, genetics are all factors that influence the development of the individual within the dynamic layers of the Macro, Exo, Meso and Micro layers.

While this is a rough explanation the following video explains ecological systems in more depth.


Looking at these systems help to put into perspective the policies of No Child Left Behind, Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the implementation of Common Core Learning Standards and Annual Professional Performance Review as part of the Macrosystem, but we want to know how these policies penetrate the other systems in the Socioecological model ultimately impacting the educational development of the individual.

So here I stand with my first thought on my paper. It is a line of inquiry that I will dig into each day. I am hoping that my blog posts will make my thinking and learning transparent, and provide a record of decisions and processes that I will go through to inform and guide my writings to create a manuscript for submission by summers end.

Inhale, exhale.

01 Opus 20 Reflections of Module 1  

Module 1 is coming to a close. The advice that we have been given throughout this module is “breathe.” This has been great advice. There is a lot of information packed into the first module and I am actively learning so much! What I am learning is a lot about who I am as a learner and how I self-regulate my own learning. Self-regulated learning is described as individuals taking control of their learning differences, bridging one’s mental ability to academic skill (Zimmerman, 2000). Through conversations with Mary and Ryan I was able to dig deeper into the question of, “who am I as a learner.” Mary enlightened me to 3 components of self-regulation in online learning. The first component is meta-cognition, the second is the students management and control of learning. Finally the third component(s) are the actual strategies used. Mary citesPintrich & De Groot (1990) for this information. The interaction of these components led me to reflection on how I incorporate these components into what I do as a learner. I relate my processes of organizing physical materials, writing things down on calendars and working along side of rubrics as components of my self-regulation. Ryan and I also engaged on conversations of self-regulated learners from the perspective of teachers. We discussed scaffolding in the context of “Zone of Proximal Development.” Ryan engaged me in a discussion about how we as learners help to teach and facilitate self-regulated learning.    This information and research  has seeded my mind with many thoughts and strategies to help germinate my course. So what has been planted?

The Readings and Media


Did You Know was a great wake up call on how our nation is utilizing technologies, and where each of us fit into the technology scheme. This piece made me reflect on my fluency in technology, and realize how much there is to learn. Technology will Kill demonstrates the shift that society has made in the past decade. This piece really makes you think about where we are headed and what will be replaced next. How will society shift? Social Media Revolution demonstrates how the world is shifting in it’s ability to connect and share information. This is cool stuff, and it is becoming a vital part of our shifting landscape. Technology is not just gadgets, but it is a collection of  tools that influences all aspects of our lives. The possibilities are endless, especially in education.


It is interesting to look at the population of students who are taking online courses. this information informs the instructors of their audience. Over 40% of participants were working full-time and over 50% of the participants were full/part-time students. A majority (over 60%) of participants are females, and the age ranges vary.  Some of the students are directly out of college (20-24) and the age range continues through 70! In addition while a majority of students are from the United States, there is varied representation from around the globe. What this implies about online classes is that they  provide a rich and diverse population of students.

It is important to create an online community to shift the course from a teacher centered course to a student centered course. We want to facilitate our courses and guide content, but let the students dig deep to provide a rich and diverse experience that has meaning to the participants.

The Readings

Ten Ways Online Education Matches or Surpasses Face to Face Learning 

The one thing that I did not realize before entering online courses is how it would impact my writing. If you want to improve your writing skills, then take online courses. You need to establish a credible voice online that is articulate and unbiased. In addition it empowers you to communicate with participants and thoughtfully process and respond to opinions and research presented in the course. This helps to establish an intimate learning community. I feel that you really get to know your classmates and you share resources which enhances and enriches your course materials. While the added benefits of convenience and flexibility are important, the learning outcomes of online courses establishes habits and patterns important to the development of online learners.

Minds on Fire

The impact of social learning has connected us all. Technology has enhanced our ability to share information and have open dialogues about opinions, research and best practice in all fields. We have the ability to open the doors to our global community and foster a democratic society where all voices are heard, and validated. We learn to develop an online presence and connect with our community to grow and shift in our understanding of content and each other. Social media and technologies are shifting our participation as learners from formal students of institutions to informal students of life. Technologies can enhance or participation is societal issues and connecting us all to innovators and problem solvers to enhance and enrich our communities and society as a whole.


What I have walked away from this first module with is a better understanding of developing an online course. While it is important to know your content it is extremely important to understand the learner and to design and adjust your course accordingly. We want our students to walk away from our course with the knowledge, understanding and tools to transition the content of our course to the next level of understanding. In addition we as instructors should continue our learning process. By pulling in the diversity of our learners we should be able to explore variations on our content that are relevant to our learners and push us to unexplored places.




Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008). Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause review, 43(1), 16-20.

Kassop, M. (2003). Ten ways online education matches, or surpasses, face-to-face learning. The Technology Source, 3.

Pintrich, P. R., & De Groot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of educational psychology, 82(1), 33-40

Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview.Theory into practice, 41(2), 64-70.

Entering the blogoshpere!

I have arrived! It is the year 2013, and I am finally attacking the world of blogging. I am looking forward to expanding my abilities in the tech. realm,  in addition to steadying my confidence in discussing contemporary issues in education.

I have been a teacher in a public school where I program for students with Autism. I have been in the same district for 15 years. I love my job.

In the past five years technology has exploded and it’s implications on educational practices seem infinite. To engage in this digital native (Prensky, 2001) land I must educate myself on what is available and how to best utilize technology tools to enhance educational experiences.

I am thrilled to begin my journey, and look forward to sharing it with you!


  • Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon,9(5), 1-6.