Candace Robertson

One educator, determined to create an engaging and dynamic experience for learners of all ages.

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SAMR in 120 Seconds

I finally had a few moments to finish up the SAMR “Flash PD” that was next on my list.  It took me longer to figure out an idea to visually represent this model.  I knew I wanted to use Playdoh® because I feel that the SAMR Model shows how technology can be molded to fit our needs.  Also, it brings forth the idea that we can either be rigid or malleable in our use of technology.  So, we are really looking at the flexibility of technology and the flexibility of our own ideas through this lens.  The concept of transforming student learning also brought the Playdoh® straight to my mind.  Once I had the idea…and found the Playdoh® (seriously, I had to order it), it was a quick creation because my ideas were focused and I had time to process the big picture and details before I ever set the camera up.  I’m looking forward to my next “Flash PD”- maybe Transliteracy?

Specific Tools Used:

  • iPhone (photo capture)
  • Tripod, yard stick, and masking tape (now my go-to set up to get my overhead shot)
  • A paint stick to make my “Redefnition” tennis ball look like it was bouncing
  • Playdoh®
  • Pixlr  (to edit my photos and look like the Playdoh® was really in different places)
  • Screenshots of Google Docs
  • PowerPoint (recreated version of the SAMR Model to use for PD)

A Peek Behind the Scenes:

Making of SAMR in 120 Sec.

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SAMR in 120 Seconds by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

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In working with staff from varying tech backgrounds…how can we pull them all in?  While trying to determine a way to hook the audience, I thought, “How am I going to get them to understand the EdTech mindset?”  I knew that my first PD would deal with TPACK and I had a lot to think about…

So, I put on my thinking cap and….TPACKed my TPACK PD!

What’s my goal?  To bring awareness to EdTech ideas, frameworks, theories, and mindset.  To breakdown the information in a way that is relatable and accessible to any level of learner.   (It’s the content!)

How will my learners gain knowledge?  I want them to have the ability to independently or collaboratively grapple with this information.  I also know that I want to model creativity in whatever method I chose.  If I want them to use it in the classroom, I should be using it too!  (It’s the pedagogy!)

What did my learners need?  Something to the point.  Don’t get them lost in wordiness or big ideas.  Make it something digestible and show appreciation of their time- they’re in meetings all day and nobody likes coming out of PD and feeling like time could have been better utilized.  (It’s the context!)

What do my learners know?  Teacher talk.  Instructional strategies, subject matter, content.  They can relate to this!  (It’s the context!)

What tool can I use? Video!  Highly accessible at any time of day and can be a resource they go to in order to revisit the concept as needed.  Also, it provides me with an opportunity to visually represent the concept- taking something more abstract and making it concrete. Keep in mind…people skip ahead while watching online videos (admit it, you’ve done it!).  How can I capture their attention so that they get the full message? (It’s the technology!)

Specific Tools Used:

  • iPhone (video capture)
  • Tripod, yardstick, and masking tape (you can make a tripod out of ANYTHING…I’ve used the vacuum, cereal boxes, etc. in the past)
  • 3 different color transparencies that are used to organize binders (modeled knowledge areas)
  • Scissors
  • Random tools from my desk for props
  • Student-response whiteboard and marker
  • One random starburst-cut paper for garage sales (modeled the sweet spot)
  • iMovie on my Macbook Pro (used to speed up video, add narration, and add text)

So, I challenged myself. Could I explain the base of the TPACK framework in 2 minutes?  With an awareness that this is not an in-depth view of the framework, I realized that I could create a “Flash PD”.  A quick burst of new or refreshed knowledge.  Why not?!  This can easily be shown at the introduction to a PD or team meeting and be a conversation starter.  Get them asking questions!  I’m looking forward to creating the SAMR Flash PD next!

Here’s a look behind the thoughts/scenes of the creation of “TPACK in 2 Minutes”!

Specific Tools Used:

  • iPad 2
  • Apps: iMotion HD (stop-motion footage), iMovie (editing, narration), Sumo Paint (images), Skitch (tools label)
  • Propped my iPad on a desktop computer to film

Creative Commons License
TPACK in 2 Minutes by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at


Those Wicked, Wicked Problems!

As CEP 812 is coming to a conclusion, the students have shared their insight this past week on the process of implementing a solution to a wicked problem. They were able to dialogue about the process from a perspective of understanding that grew from specific to foundational conclusions. We knew we had to share these dynamic ideas! Here is a summation of their conjectures in regards to identifying, researching, planning for/designing, and implementing solutions for wicked problems.

CEP 812 Visual Views

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Those Wicked, Wicked Problems! by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

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A Moment for Reflection and Perspective

In working as a course assistant with CEP 812 at Michigan State University, it has allowed me an exceptional opportunity to review my own growth over the past three years.  The assignment that the students are coming upon is to develop their Professional Learning Plan.  Just like rummaging through memories in the attic, I pulled my virtual trunk out and looked back on my blog from the first year I was in the MAET program.  My Professional Learning Plan from that year is below….

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.” ~Dan Rather

Among my previous reflections, there are some consistent focuses that have emerged. The main driving force is perspective and our responsibility as educators to open our own. At the same time, we have the unique opportunity to impact the lives of others by helping them alter their own. In our classrooms, we choose to perceive students either based off of what we have heard or what we observe. I feel that it is my responsibility as an educator to push the envelope for myself and my colleagues and to continuously modify my own perspective. This will allow me to see all of my students in the best light and to allow my students to see themselves how I see them. With a positive perspective, all things are possible and the significance of this outlook could be something that greatly impacts a student, parent, or peer that we interact with. I will continue to challenge myself to perceive the world in a unique light and to see beyond what people ordinarily see. This is especially why I am interested in assisting children with special needs. To help me achieve my goals, I have established a Personal Plan of Positive Action.

Positive Plan of Action

When I read this, I had to smile because it took me back to my first year of teaching.  I could see the exact students who were in my mind when I had created the original post.  They all came back to me- their struggles, challenges, and successes.  Of course mixed with my struggles, challenges, and successes I faced with my peers in broadening their perspectives about students also rushed back.  Then, I literally laughed out loud and gasped at the same time because I instantly thought of my final project for the MAET program (2 summers after the post above)…

Not much had changed from my original sense of passion in the field of education!  It was so refreshing to see that although I hadn’t looked back on this first blog post in some time, I was still carrying the torch and growing in my understanding of how to impact students through changing perspectives.  What an awesome moment to reflect on where opportunities and experiences have taken me in the past three years.  That initial professional learning plan helped me to keep hope and reach out to many resources throughout the following school year.  It eventually broadened to include so many other resources utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, various Webinar services, conferences, and the list goes on.

Through allowing myself time to reflect and plan, I was able to truly understand what I needed as a learner.  This is an invaluable experience and we often don’t get the time necessary to think about our individual needs as learners because we are typically so focused on our students’ learning.  I challenge you to take a moment to focus on yourself.  What do you need to become a better educator or a more inspired you?  How will you achieve it?