Distributed Cognition Comic & Essay #1

Learning With Things + Comic Strips at Hathaway Brown Middle School 

This comic strip that I created with Pixton replicates a time when students utilized their chrome books to discuss questions from a chapter of To Kill A Mockingbird. Mr. Hatcher posted the discussion questions on google classroom and students all have access to this. Students then put the questions in a shared google document where they all could write on. They also shared it with Mr. Hatcher so that he could observe while they were working. Students would put their answers and notes into the document under each question. They could write either with their keyboards or their digital pens. This way Mr. Hatcher can see what they have come up with and it also will be easily accessible to students later if they would like to view it. He also walked around and looked at what students were doing and discussed with them as well. Students seemed to enjoy this and they took turns writing things down on the document. This demonstrates one way technology can improve a classroom.

This connects to the article ”Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology.” I personally believe that we can learn through technology and learn with it. It is important to remember that this can amplify our knowledge and make us more capable, and should not be a replacement of knowledge (Salomon). It can help make us smarter but should not become a crutch. In this case, it is helping students learn as a way to save and share information and ideas.

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005)”Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology.”In: Robert Sternberg and David Preiss (Eds.).Intelligence and Technology: The Impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities. Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Publishers. pp. 71-86.


Access to Technology

I am currently at Hathaway Brown middle school and Bedford high school. Because Hathway Brown is more technologically advanced, I chose to talk about that school. Each student has their own technological device so they are in charge of their own but the individual teacher monitors this. I have had numerous conversations with the teacher I am observing, Mr. Hatcher, about how technology has positively impacted their school. Although he does not have a position directly involving technology, after watching him it is quite apparent that everyone at Hathway Brown middle school is immersed in technology. Mr. Hatcher uses the smartboard in his classroom and also monitors while his students use their ipads. 

There are a few people at Hathaway Brown who are involved with overseeing technology in the different grade levels. Some of them include Tara Anderson is the Director of Network Technology, Deante Jones is in charge of the Help Desk & Information Technology Support, and Valerie Yarmesch is the Computer Science Teacher and Computer Science Department Chair.

There is a lot of technology available. Students each have their own ipads that fold into computers paired with a digital pen. Students all have access to the printers in their school and each classroom has a smart board. There is a large quantity of technology that students each have on their own and is dispersed throughout the building. Another thing that I noticed is that the building itself has an interesting piece of technology in the entrances. They have things similar to ipads where you scan your license, fill out basic information, and then it prints onto a sticker badge that guests, like myself, are required to wear. This was something unique that I have yet to see anywhere else. 

From my understanding of the firewall at Hathaway Brown so far, most things that are not educational are blocked from the ipads. In class students cannot access things such as social media. I only have seen the students use their ipads for notetaking and doodling which I find to be great. The IT director is in charge of what students can and cannot see on their ipads. 

I spoke to Mr. Hatcher about technology but if I were to complete this again, I would consider additionally reaching out to some people like Tara Anderson, Deante Jones, Vans Valerie Yarmesch. 

Observing in the Classroom

Observing students: 

When observing the students at Hathaway Brown, I noticed a few things. The students utilize their computers, ipads, and digital pens for learning. I noticed that a lot of students take notes on their computers with a digital pen. Several times students were asked to complete discussion questions in small groups. Students would pull up the assignment on google classroom and take notes using these pens which I found interesting. A lot of students learn better when they actually write things out rather than type it so this is a modern compromise to this idea. Students need some sort of device like a computer or ipad and the pen to make this possible. I think that this improves learning because it allows for students to learn in a more hands-on way. Students can also share what they are writing with one another on google docs which I have seen them do during these group discussions.

Observing my cooperating teacher:

I have noticed my teacher using a smart board in his classroom but typically, Mr. Hatcher sits on a desk and has an open conversation with his students without much technology involved. I often see him sitting with a stack of paper next to him and a book in hand. He also does paper and pencil quizzes and tests which I think is less common nowadays. However, he does use the smart board on occasion. He has played a few videos on it. Additionally, he uses google classroom to share assignments with the students. He often asks students to pull up documents during class that relate to what they are learning and discussing. This makes teaching possible by sharing the materials in a more efficient way. From what I have witnessed, these strategies that he has incorporated are effective.

Digital Story Assessment

By: Anna and Katelyn

Flow, Organization, PacingThe story is well organized. It flows well and moves from part to part without bumps or distractions. The story is well organized but there are a few sections where the transitions feel unnatural. The story is poorly organized. The transitions are not cohesive  and the things discussed do not connect.The student or students did not complete the assignment or it is unfinished.
Originality, voice, creativityThe student or students exhibit an original sense of voice and a fresh perspective. The student or students exhibit some original sense of voice and a fresh perspective, but have a few areas that lack creativity.The student or students exhibit no original sense of voice or fresh perspective. The student or students did not complete the assignment or it is unfinished.
Content UnderstandingIt is clear that the student used enough evidence from the unit that shows they clearly understand the content. The student meets the academic goals listed in the assignment. The student or students showcase a clear understanding of some of the material, but not others. They meet most of the academic goals listed in the assignment.The students or students exemplify no understanding of the material. Through their work it is clear that they do not understand the content. They meet only a few of the goals.The student or students did not complete the assignment or it is unfinished. If they did complete it, they will also receive this score if they meet none of the goals listed in the assignment. 
Project PlanningThere is evidence of solid planning, in the form of story maps, scripts, story tables, etc.There is evidence of solid planning but a few gaps. The planning may be a tad unfinished or there may be aspects that demonstrate no planning.There is little evidence of solid planning. The student or students did not complete the assignment or it is unfinished. There is no evidence of any planning. 
WritingThe student or students’ writing is well developed and employs sophisticated language. The quality of the writing is excellent and showcased through the use of planning documents, research, etc. The student or students’ writing is well developed but unclear in one or two sections. The writing is decent. The student or students’ writing is unclear and not well developed. The language is basic and the quality of writing is poor. The student or students did not complete the assignment or it is unfinished.  

Digital Story Board


As education majors, it is important that we are aware of what our teaching environment will be like in a few years. As years progress, the technology component in a classroom is becoming more and more prevalent. There are an unbelievably large number of ways that teachers can incorporate technology into their lessons regardless of the subject. One type of technology that is becoming very popular in many of the classrooms we are in is the smart board. This is prevalent in the English, math, and education classes we are currently taking at John Carroll. 

 An interactive smart board is basically like an electronic whiteboard. It allows images and videos from a computer or phone to be displayed largely on the board for students to see. Not only does it do that, but its writing component is what makes it even more useful. There are many different features when using the whiteboard to write. To write on the board all you have to do is use your finger as a pen. For example, teachers are able to change the color of the pen and change the width with a click of a few buttons. There are also features that allow teachers to move whole paragraphs or images and put them in a different spot on the board for spacing convenience. The eraser and undo buttons are also very useful and make transitions much easier. 

From a math standpoint, I have been learning from a smart board for about two years now. In my math classes at John Carroll, I have had one teacher who consistently uses the smart board to teach her classes. 

At first it was a bit challenging to learn with, but each day it became easier. I started off learning about how the board works by simply observing the teacher. Right from the beginning I was very intrigued by this type of technology. I watched as my professor used the board with such ease. She would write equations for us students and change the color of the pen for different steps of the problem, which made it easier for myself to recognize which numbers were associated with one another. The professor would import graphs onto the board and enlarge the image so that my class could clearly see what was going on with the graph. I loved that she did this because it made it easier for me to learn by seeing the large image of the graph on the board, and what my professor would draw on it. It lets me be able to write alongside her. When she doesn’t like where she wrote a statement, she uses the copy and paste feature to move it, which I really like. She just draws a dotted circle around the statement she wants to move, and then pastes it in a different spot. This helps me because it makes it much easier for me to see where certain statements should be on my paper, and then I can quickly make those same adjustments. 

What I really benefited from when learning from the smartboard, was that things were able to be done with such ease. This really let me see how the math problems were different from one another. I am a visual learner, which is probably why I find the smart board so helpful. It really helps me be able to see what is going on in class by watching the teacher use different colors and fonts to make certain concepts more distinct. In math there are a lot of formulas, and with the smart board, my professor is able to highlight and color coat each formula so that I know what formula goes with what problem. I cannot express how much this has helped me. I am a very organized person, and the smartboard keeps everything very organized when watching the lessons in class.

It also lets me have more hands-on opportunities. I have better access to walking up to the board and writing when my professor uses a hands-on approach. She asks us to come up to the board and show the class how to solve a problem, which I really like because I am also a tactile learner. As soon as I am done writing, she can edit what I wrote (or drew), and then quickly remove it from the screen for the next student. The smart board sparks much discussion between myself, the teacher, and the kids in the class while solving problems together. 

From an English standpoint, a smartboard can be a useful tool as well. Over the course of my John Carroll classes, I have learned that a smart board can be utilized to elevate my learning. I have had several professors incorporate a smart board in a myriad of ways. One professor that I had would have the learning objectives and the tasks for the day written on the board. She would use the smart board to play videos, display prompts, and show pictures. On more than one occasion she would ask questions and then write the students’ responses on the board as they spoke. She would incorporate activities where she and her students would annotate passages or leave notes on assignments. This made it possible to do assignments both as a class and individually. Another professor that I have strictly uses it to display powerpoints and videos to his class. Every day that I would come in there would be some sort of visual available for us to look at as we went through our learning. For both of these professors, they give me the opportunity to see what we are learning and talking about in a visual format, which helps me to understand the concepts better. This has certainly impacted my personal learning by teaching in an interactive way through technology.  The board not only benefits my learning, but it makes things much easier, quicker and more convenient for teachers. Personally, it makes concepts more clear by the number of tools the board has. 

As future teachers, this is definitely something we want to incorporate into our curriculum. Along with helping us learn the concepts for the courses, our teachers have shown us how to teach in an effective way which will be beneficial moving forward.

All in all, a smartboard can be an effective learning technological tool across curriculums. As an English and education major and a math and education major, we have been able to further our studies and succeed in our classes while learning from a smartboard. Our professors have utilized this device to teach us, and we will be able to use this tool moving forward to teach our future students. Technology has helped empower us to better learn. 


Pixton Comic Strip

Anna, Katelyn, and Bridget

Click to access sciencemcmultimodal.pdfDoyle, K., & Dezuanni, M. (2014). Children participating in science through digital-media literacies. Literacy Learning: The Middle Years22(3), 42-54

Click to access 20876864.pdfGould, D., & Schmidt, D. (2010). Trigonometry comes alive through DIGITAL STORYTELLING. The Mathematics Teacher, 104(4), 296-301.

Click to access miller8.pdfMiller, S. et. al. (2012) A Literacy Pedagogy for Multimodal Compositing. In: Suzanne Miller and Mary McVee (eds.). Multimodal Composition in Classrooms: Learning and Teaching for the Digital World. pp. 114-129.

Video Game Blog Post 1

This was a very intriguing experience for me because I have never used any form of gaming as a part of my education before. Although I am not very familiar or interested in video games, I enjoyed playing the three games we were assigned for class as well as the game that I found myself.

The game that I selected is called Microscopya. It was available on a regular browser, google play, the apple store, etc. I chose to download the app on my phone and also play it on my computer to see if I could find many differences. It was definitely different to play because with one I was using my curser and with the other pressing buttons on my phone. Aside from that, I did not notice anything major. This game was entertaining because I got to set up my own character and customize it to whatever I wanted. It puts your character right in the center of a cell and you get to explore it for yourself. There are different tasks to get you to the end. For example, the first task was to find the entrance to the mitochondria. Even if I did not know exactly what it looked like, my interactive character could walk around until I was able to find it. You can move some things around as well and the app explains where you are at and what you are doing. It gave me a better grasp about the parts of a cell as a whole without feeling too frustrated or feeling that it was too easy. I had fun and I felt that I learned something new.

In our reading Mind Shift: Guide to Digital Games and Learning, the authors discuss
“The most convincing neurological research shows that video games contribute to neural plasticity because games provide ‘a multitude of complex motor and cognitive demands’” (Shapiro 8). I found this outstanding because video games are typically not associated with intellect or brain development. Infact, before reading this article I had associated it with the opposite. This opens a world of possibilities in the classroom. Many students are interested in gaming so this may appeal to them. This is certainly something that I will consider in my future teaching career.

All in all I enjoyed playing this game. I think this would be a perfect game to include in a middle school science classroom. However, as a future English teacher I would be curious to look more into games that relate to the books that I will be reading. One idea that comes to mind is buzzfeed quizzes. It may be fun for my students to take the “what character are you?” quiz. There are some interactive games for some of the bigger texts like Harry Potter, but I am not sure what materials I could find for some lesser known texts or the classics that I will likely be teaching.

Anna’s Introduction

This is my first blog post introducing myself!

Personal Information

My name is Anna Mialky and my preferred pronouns are she/her.

I am from Granville, Ohio.

There are a few things you may not know about me. I am a Junior here at John Carroll and I am majoring in English and education. I have two little sisters and two golden retrievers who I love very much. I love hiking, listening to music, and I am a huge coffee addict. I am involved with the Sweet Carrolines and campus ministry here at JCU. I am a member of the retreat team and I am currently preparing for an immersion to El Salvador as well through campus ministry.

Learning Style and More

For me to be comfortable taking creative and intellectual risks, I must have a comfortable relationship with my professor and peers. I want to feel as if I can suggest different ideas without being judged. I prefer conversation based classes because I gain comfortability speaking up and voicing my opinions.

Lately I have been reading a lot of Colleen Hoover novels. I read a few of her books over the summer because they are perfect summer “beach reads.” I read It Ends With Us, All Your Perfects, November 9, and more. I just started reading Reminders of Him!

About Dr. Shutkin

Here are a few questions I have for Dr. Shutkin: What is your favorite book? What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? If you could give one piece of advice to upcoming teachers what would it be?

Current Connection 4

There are a myriad of themes developed within “Wide-Awakeness and the Moral Life” by Maxine Greene. Some of the biggest themes are incorporating “wide-awakeness” into schools and to live with “eyes wide open,” encourage students to develop their own beliefs and attitudes, morality in schools, hierarchies in schools, cognitive clarity, existential concern, stepping outside of the norm, the golden rule, moral direction, attentiveness to the individual and the everyday life, the responsibility of the teacher as a moral being, and many more. Essentially the primary idea of the assigned reading is that we as teachers have a responsibility to act as moral beings and teach our students to be “wide awake.” This means thinking critically and asking questions and may not follow one set curriculum. 

The article employs several examples of evidence to back up her themes and ideas throughout the work. Right off the bat she quotes both “Moral Reform” Henry Thoreau and a quote from Alfred Shutz discussing the idea of “wide-awakeness.” Just as the title suggests, the main two premises of the article are wide awakeness and moral life so having evidence quickly that Thoreau supports her concept of the moral life and that Shutz supports her idea of “wide awakeness” allows Greene to confidently move forward with support. By including these two quotes she gains the readers trust. In addition, Greene references widely supported works such as Antigone, The Doll’s House, Hamlet, and The Plague which further develops her credibility. Furthermore, she quotes numerous people such as Martin Buber, Dewey, Camus, and many more. Lastly, Greene additionally uses the golden rule as a tool to back up her claim. This idea is widely respected and it is hard to find fault in treating others with kindness and the bible making this a valuable tactic in gaining her audience’s trust.

There are numerous perspectives intertwined throughout the article. One thing that stood out to me is that there is definitely a reference to progressive education, especially with the several references to Dewey. Greene calls for a shift where we stray away from tradition and teachers encourage their students to be “wide awake.” This could mean not necessarily following what is traditional, but learning what is interesting to each individual.

My current connection article titled “Studies Link Students’ Boredom to Stress” heavily connects to the idea of “wide-awakeness” and why it is so important and necessary within the classroom. I talk about the relation between boredom and a lack of focus. The author recognizes that when students are bored, they tend to not focus or be engaged with the material which leads to fidgeting or anxiety in the classroom. Being bored and not paying attention leads to students experiencing a cycle of higher and lower energy. Students could be completely zoned out one second and then trying to wake themselves up the next. This affects the prefrontal cortex and can lead students to a feeling of anxiousness or depression. Similarly, students who are already suffering from a bit of anxiety may get bored more easily according to this study so they may need an extra push. Secondly, the article additionally discusses the connection between boredom and dull tasks. This section is particularly interesting because it calls for “reappraising” dull tasks which is very similar to the idea of being “wide awake.” Reappraising is essentially finding ways how the material relates to themselves to make it more interesting as a strategy to combat boredom. The article is highlighting the importance of “wide awakeness” and giving us strategies to help our students achieve it. It discusses how we should attempt to meet our students halfway. Our students need to make an effort to “reappraise” tasks and to live “wide awake” but we as teachers can do our part by attempting to relate the topics back to our students to make it more interesting for them.