CEP 812 – Failure is an Opportunity to Learn

In my last post I shared the rough draft of a project I have been working on for CEP 812. In this project, I worked with one of my MAET colleagues to approach the wicked problem of failure as an opportunity to learn.  In this project, we discuss this problem, and give a suggestion for how we can move towards solving this problem.  Check out our blendspace to see our final product, and how we suggest using google docs and peer feedback to learn from failures.


CEP 812 – Wicked Problems

Throughout CEP 812, I have been working with a colleague to approach a Wicked Problem in education today.  The problem we selected is based on the idea that failure should be seen as a powerful opportunity to learn.  The New Media Consortium titled this problem “Allow failure to be as powerful a learning mode as success” (2013, p.2).  My colleague and I have set out to approach this problem by adapting the education system so that it encourages learning from mistakes and collaboration.  We also propose that google docs is a technology tool that is well known, accessible, and a sustainable tool for both teachers and students to use for this collaboration.

You can find a rough draft of our proposal here.  I would love to hear what you think of this wicked problem and our proposed solution.


The New Media Consortium. (2013). The Future of Education The 2013 NMC Horizon Project Summit Communiqué. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-Horizon-Project-Summit-Communique.pdf .

CEP 812 – Trends in Teaching with Technology

This week for CEP 812 I was asked to create and give a technology survey to my teaching colleagues. I hoped to learn how frequently my colleagues use technology and how they implement technology into their teaching.  I also wanted to know what types of professional development and learning groups my colleagues found most useful in learning about technology.  The infographic below gives a sneak peak into the results of my survey.  For all of my data, and the trends I see within that data, read my summary post here!

Infographic created by Claudia Molter using easel.ly 



Molter, Claudia.  (2014, February 22). Teachers and Technology Infographic. Retrieved from http://www.easel.ly.

CEP 812 – Expanding my InfoDiet to include TPRS



Word cloud pictured above created by Claudia Molter using tagxedo.com and text from this blog post.  

This week in CEP 812 we were challenged to expand our ‘InfoDiet’, meaning we were asked to step out of our comfort zones and seek out viewpoints that we do not agree with.  The idea behind expanding our ‘InfoDiet’ is the same as expanding your nutritional diet; having a wide variety of educational ‘nutrition’ will make us ‘healthier’ teachers.   For this blog post, I chose to seek out new sources on an educational issue that is very important to me, teaching a language.  

I teach German using a traditional, communicative approach.  This means that I teach with a focus on real-world, communication-based situations. This approach teaches grammar rules and structures explicitly.  I chose to seek out a different approach for teaching languages, one that I previously did not agree with.  This approach is called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS).  This method teaches languages through stories, and focuses on ‘comprehensible input’, not explicit grammar.  TPRS teachers argue that this method of teaching a language is based on how individuals learn their native language, and is more successful in having students produce a second language quickly and correctly.  

To start off my new ‘diet’ I went to twitter.  Every Thursday, I follow a twitter discussion for language teachers using the hashtag #langchat.  Many teachers who participate in this discussion are TPRS teachers, so I found three new TPRS teacher blogs to expand my thoughts on this teaching method.  

The first blog I discovered is written by a high school Spanish teacher.  The most recent entry, titled ‘What I love about TPRS’ was the perfect beginning to shift my view of this approach.  Author Sara Cottrell explains that since beginning to teach using the TPRS method, her students were much more engaged and motivated to use the target language (TL).  Language teachers are encouraged to use the TL for 90% of the class period, which is challenging.  I can agree that telling stories in the TL would make this goal much easier to reach.

Carrie Toth’s blog ‘Somewhere to Share’, also includes an entry about why shes uses TPRS.  She describes how students who used to fail when she taught using the ‘traditional’ method thrive with TPRS.  I can see how students who usually do not do well with traditional teaching methods would enjoy and do well in TPRS.  Reading this entry made me think of a few of my level one students who would benefit from this method.

Lastly, I explored a blog titled “Teaching Spanish with Comprehensible Input”.  One of my main concerns with TPRS was that there is not room to teach culture in a classroom that is story-based.  This blog has several entries devoted to the importance of culture in the classroom. These lessons were not all TPRS based.  After reading this blog I realized that TPRS teachers do not necessarily use stories every day.  Just like traditional approach teachers, they vary their instruction.

After exploring these blogs, I find that I am no longer so opposed to the TPRS method.  While I don’t think I will switch over to using this method every day, I see now that there are many benefits to this approach.  I can see that my students would get a lot out of trying TPRS occasionally.  Experimenting with TPRS will make me a better teacher, because it will push me out of my comfort zone and encourage me to speak more German.  Expanding my “InfoDiet’ will benefit both me and my students.  


Cottrell, Sara-Elizabeth. (2014, February 14). What I love about TPRS. Retrieved from http://musicuentos.com/.  

Hitz, Cynthia. (2014, December 15). 20 Ideas for Navidad Activities for Spanish Class. Retrieved from http://palmyraspanish1.blogspot.com/.

Toth, Carrie. (2013, March 2). 5 Reasons I Chose Acquisition. Retrieved from http://somewheretoshare.com/.

Ray, Blaine. (2012). What is TPRS?. Retrieved from http://www.blaineraytprs.com/.



CEP 812 – Using Technology to Support Autism

ImageThis week in CEP 812 we researched a learning need and how technology can assist students with that specific need.  I chose to research how technology can help students with Autism communicate with others anxiety-free in my German classes.  This assignment helped me expand my view of what it means to communicate and discover a new tool, Voki.  I created my own Voki avatar (featured in the picture on the left) and made a sample recording to show how I would use this in my classroom to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Read my white paper to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder and Voki.  I hope this speaks to you and is something new you can try in your classroom.

CEP 812 Response to Gee

This week for my CEP 812 class, we were asked to respond to the following question:  What limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?

Our food for thought in answering this question was James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.  In this text, Gee writes about what prevents us from solving problems well.  Two of his hypotheses are that either we do not have a large enough stake in the problem, or that we are too impatient to put in the work involved for the best possible solution (Gee, 2013, 16).  In my response, I agree with Gee, and add in my own theory.  I would love to know what you think about Gee’s ideas and mine.  

What do you think limits us from solving big problems smartly?  

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning.


CEP 812 Screencast

Another semester has begun in my MAET program at MSU. This time, I am in CEP 812 where we are learning about solving problems using technology. This week I created a screencast to show how I would solve a well-structured problem. My problem of practice is the German irregular verb ‘sein’ which means ‘to be’. Want to know how I solve this problem? Watch my screencast to find out!