Aims Community College
Teaching / Learning / Technology
EDU 261-G11

Instructor: James Hutchinson, Ph.D.

Email: james.hutchinson AT (I have too many accounts and do not check Aims email as often so please use the UNC address)

Course Dates and Times: August 22 – Dec 5, 2013 (TH)

Required Textbooks/Materials:
All reading materials will be provided either via an online database (e.g. EBSCO), via download from this website, or on reserve in the library (rare). There are no required textbooks. In the case of database articles you will be given the title and author and expected to search the database and find it on your own.

With respect to software, it is my belief that everything we need in education can be obtained for free or, as is increasingly the case, online. It is expected that projects and papers be word-processed but you are encouraged to use Google Drive to create and share work. Do not purchase MS Office for this class as the free alternatives are very good (see for a free suite similar to MS Office). In fact, I discourage papers in MS formats and most assignments will be turned in by “sharing” via Google Drive (formally Google Docs) or via your personal website that you will set up as part of the class. As an online class you will obviously need access to a computer with Internet access. Have a backup plan in the event you have computer problems. There are computers on campus for you to us. Problems with your computer do not excuse you from assignments. Be prepared. During the first week of class we will also set up Google and WordPress accounts that you will use for some assignments.

Course Description:
Prepares students to integrate technology into their teaching curriculum.  Enables the student to design educational and training materials incorporating instructional technology.  Explores a variety of technologies, including the computer, Internet, multimedia, graphics, audio, and text with an emphasis on increasing learning through their use.  Examines combining technology with a variety of instructional methodologies. (from catalog)

This course covers the concepts of teaching and learning and the role of technology in education. It is appropriate for both pre and in-service teachers in K-12 education. The course is built around the concept of teaching and integrating 21st century skills into regular classroom instruction. The focus is on using new tools (whatever they may be now or in the future) to enhance instruction and allow for learning experiences that would not otherwise be possible. The primary goal of this course is to provide an introduction/overview of appropriate uses of technology in education and how to integrate technology into our teaching while at the same time considering what constitutes good instruction – which means also understanding when technology is not appropriate. The course is aligned with CDE expectations for teaching 21st century skills in all content areas and grade levels.

Although heavily focused on the role of technology in education, the goal of this course is not to teach students how to use specific software applications, but rather to develop an understanding of what it means to use technology in education, to integrate 21st century skills, and how to develop integrated activities that truly enhance learning. While developing tech literacy is not a specific objective of the class, students are expected to explore new ideas and new technology in order to become more competent users and develop the ability to adapt to an ever-changing tech world. While some class time will be devoted to introducing some tools, students are expected to make use of online tutorials or just “play around” and develop familiarity with a variety of tools including those not directly mentioned in class (i.e. you will select some tools yourself). Students are expected to have an open mind and to spend sufficient spend time developing an understanding of these new tools. Some of these tools may include blogs, wikis, online production and collaboration tools, video editing, GIS and more. Opportunities exist for students to explore areas of personal interest.

Course Goals:

  • The student will know the difference between the three uses of technology: literacy, adaptive, and transforming.
  • The student will know how to determine when each use is appropriate and how to critically evaluate tech integration and ensure that its use is consistent with any given learning objective.
  • The student will become familiar with various voices in the educational technology debate.
  • The student will become familiar with key organizations such as the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, ISTE and ALA and how they help to shape (or hinder) the use of technology in education.
  • The student will understand how to effectively apply the use of technology to support instruction and enhance student learning.
  • The student will begin to explore CDE standards for a grade level and subject for which they are interested and learn how to develop learning activities that support learning 21st century skills in a variety of content areas.

Course Outcomes:

  • Apply technology to the delivery of standards-based education.
  • Use technology to increase student achievement.
  • Utilize technology to manage and communicate information.
  • Determine appropriate use and management of technology in the classroom under various circumstances.
  • Utilize instructional technology to support a wide variety of learners and learning styles.
  • Explore various instructional tools and technology, including computers and similar devices, video, graphics, multimedia, audio, and other media, and their contributions to the learning process.
  • Investigate and design a lesson using instructional technology coupled with a variety of instructional strategies such as cooperative learning, discovery, problem solving, games, simulations, discussion, demonstration and presentation.
  • Acquire instructional materials in a manner consistent with current copyright laws.
  • Develop a lesson plan incorporating the use and applications of the Internet.
  • Identify trends in instructional technology and speculate about the impact on the future.

Course Outline:

Assignments (more information will be provided later)

  • Complete all reading assignments prior to due dates.
  • Post reflective comments on each reading assignment via discussion threads or other venues.
  • Classroom observations/evaluation in which you compare/contrast teacher and student behaviors and the role of technology and 21st century skills (we will use videos for this unless you have access to classrooms and want to go this route. You must communicate this to me beforehand for additional instructions).
  • Collaboratively develop a mini-lesson to deliver to class that demonstrate transforming uses of technology.
  • Collaboratively or independently create a digital story (video).
  • Explore a free software tool and develop a tutorial explaining the basics of the program and its uses to be shared with the class.
  • A final technology integration project/lesson in which you will describe and outline a lesson/unit that integrates technology in a “transforming” way. This must be your own idea and based on any content area standards and grade level, but it must include a technology component that demonstrates how you have come to understand the role of technology in enhancing learning opportunities. Technology use must be creative but NOT the focus of the lesson. Rather, it is an element of the learning environment that extends and enhances the student experience beyond what would otherwise be possible. You should expect to defend your technology element clearly and convincingly via a detailed narrative.


  • The course is graded using the standard A, B, C, D, and F scale. Attendance and participation in the full course is expected and lack of weekly attendance will impact your overall grade. Excessive absence may result in being reported as a stop-out and possibly dropped from the class (may affect financial aid).
  • Assignments are to be turned in on time. Due to the importance of completing readings on time, reading reflections will not be accepted late. Due dates will be posted with each assignment. Reflections are generally due on Sunday of the week we will be discussing them unless otherwise noted.
  • Generally, late assignments will not be accepted. Exceptions may be arranged by communicating your extenuating circumstance to the instructor prior to the due date. Students sometimes ask for an extension when their computer or storage device crashes and they lose an assignment.  A reliable backup storage device is a necessity for this course. You will NOT be granted an exception for late work in this situation. You should dutifully back up all your work every time you work on it.  That way you if a crash occurs you only lose work from the last session. Using Google Drive can help alleviate this problem. Please practice safe storage : )
  • Posts or comments posted after the due date will not be graded but you are welcome and encouraged to continue discussions. Your reading reflections should include a thoughtful discussion of the reading assignment and relevant class discussions. Do not summarize the reading. Instead, write about anything the reading caused you to think about and discuss how it applies to you as a current/future teacher. For information on how to act in an online community please read and follow the general netiquette rules (
  • Electronic submission of assignments that are not in the specified format (generally shared via Google Drive or turned in to the course website) will also be considered late. These assignments will be rejected and issued ZERO points until resubmitted. Resubmission will be expected within two days of being notified. Your final assignment grade will be reduced by 10% of the possible points for this delay.
  • Additionally, work must be written at an appropriate level for college students. This means your writing should include well-defined ideas, appropriate spelling and grammar, strong voice, and appropriate word choice. “netspeak” or other casual forms of writing are not appropriate for a college course or professionals such as teachers. You may benefit from reviewing the Online Writing Lab at Purdue. Your reflections and comments should include links to relevant sources or citations when appropriate.

Reflection/Discussion Rubric
Generally, students will receive full points for reflection/discussion posts that are thoughtful (proficient or above as outlined below) and on time. However, students who put forth minimal effort will receive points according to the rubric below.

  • Outstanding – Thoughtful and reflective but also includes information from the readings, class discussions, and outside resources. Encourages an ongoing dialog with other students. (9-10 points)
  • Advanced – Self-reflective and includes information from the readings and class discussions. (8-9 points)
  • Proficient – Relates to readings and engages others (i.e. causes them to think). (7 points)
  • Developing – Relies mainly on summarizing readings and discussions with few personal thoughts and makes it difficult for others to participate. (6 points)
  • Basic – Summarizes the reading or comments of others. Adds little or nothing to the discussion. (0-5 points)

Assignment breakdown and Grading (subject to change)

  • Reading reflections and discussions posted on the class website (20%)
  • Classroom observation/evaluation (10%)
  • Mini-lesson (10%)
  • Digital story (10%)
  • Software demo (10%)
  • Final lesson plan integrating technology (30%)
  • Class participation (10%)

School Policies:

The standard syllabus policies located at apply to every course at Aims Community College.  These policies are hereby incorporated into this Syllabus.