The Goal-Minded Teacher

This page will showcase the content that I created for the Goal-Minded Teacher with Shelly Sanchez Terrel in February, 2018. It originally appeared as a separate blog.

The Goal-Minded Teacher

Feb. 13, 2018

This journal will reflect my learning on the MOOC, The Goal-Minded Teacher, led by Shelly Sanchez Terrel and a number of other excellent educators. The plan is to set weekly instructional goals which will help me to engage my students, integrate technology , manage my classroom effectively, communicate more successfully with parents , and collaborate with other teachers.

In the first week, I will be exploring different goal-setting strategies to determine which ones will be the most motivating and practical for me. I also hope to transfer this ability to my students, to enable them to accomplish small achievable goals, both in my class and as a life skill. Reflection is also an important way to grow and learn, and I plan to use this journal for meaningful reflection on my teaching practices and learning.

For those interested in this journey, you can follow my progress on this journal, and also check out the #EduGoalsMOOC on Twitter.

Challenge 1: Learning Journal

Feb. 13, 2018

Our first challenge is to create and share a learning journal, where we will publish evidence of our achievements in this MOOC. I’ve chosen to use the existing art gallery, as it’s already a place where I post my teacher reflections. This will allow anyone in my school community who is interested in checking out what I’m doing to take a look, as well as provide a location to share with MOOC participants.

The second challenge is to post a photo and 3 stickers or emojis that represent me. Art is an important part of my life – it gives me joy and teaching it is my profession, so I decided to use a picture where I’m visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario. That’s one of my favourite Canadian artists in the background – Lawren Harris!

The 3 stickers at the side (I didn’t know you could do this in Facebook!) represent my love for my family, my interest in culinary nutrition, and my passion for educational technology.

I’ve also shared my general location on Google My Maps as the third challenge. If I ever have another opportunity to  teach online, I would want to start out with this activity, as it gives people a chance to see how we are both connected and diverse. Many years ago, with the advent of online learning, I did give a webinar on Artist Trading Cards and I spoke to people on the opposite side of the globe. It was an exhilarating feeling knowing that I had such a wide reach for my information!

Learning about Badges

Feb. 19, 2018

In preparation for a Twitter discussion on badges (#badgechat), I did some Googling and created a Mozilla Backpack to hold badges. I also completed a short challenge to earn a Web Navigator badge (pictured below, linking to my Backpack). I will fill in more information after the discussion. To learn more and earn your own Web Navigator badge, click on the Open Badges page.

The Twitter discussion was based on badges & civic engagement. Lots of food for thought. Since I haven’t participated in a Twitter chat like this in a long time, I found the lack of continuity difficult to follow. People reply to others when the comments are far back. You have to click to open certain comments to see others. If I want to try again, I suppose a goal will be to participate in more until I get the hang of it.

Badge from Mozilla

Meanwhile, here’s a good link for more info on badges:

Here is a badge that I earned in Mozilla’s Backpack. This service allows you to store and share your Open Badges. There is no option to create a badge.

Twitter Chat on Using Badges for Civic Engagement

Can badges be used to encourage more civic engagement? How can they be used to establish credentials in social and political situations? Some fascinating discussion on Twitter #badgechat talk.

Q1: Advocacy is important in any society. How might there be a role for Digital Badge Credentials in motivating and/or recognizing Civic Engagement?
A: Pat on the back, getting noticed can encourage more engagement. Consider how gamification motivates. Badge for civic engagement can recognize work outside of regular curriculum. Badges are also democratic – no race, sex, etc. issues. Recognizes someone’s experience in working on specific types of issues. Tied to action, not just retweeting or donating money, although you could get badge for that, too, but would differentiate.

Q2: What kinds of achievements might be meaningful for people earning Digital Badge Credentials?
A: New way to engage community service, rather than just filling in a form. Volunteer hours, committee membership, neighbourhood groups. Badges could be skill-based: organizing events, directing food drives, marching, speaking at events, designing social media events, journalists/podcasters, etc. Based on skills demonstrated, not just being present. It could help develop trust for politicians and community leaders. Can also demonstrate tangible progression and growth within students, teachers, leaders.

Q3: Who might be issuers of these kinds of Digital Bade Credentials and what value is in it for them?
A: How you design badge criteria determines how it will be valued. If it is just a sticker, who cares? If it is meant to provide portable recognition, how will the badge viewer value it? Not just about “quality,” but also community relevance and “fitness for purpose.”  It’s a way to recognize teachers who engage in communities outside of classroom, for students. Should there be centralized bodies that issue and regulate? It could be schools or school associations.

Q4: What are potential concerns & red flags for Badge designers to consider?
A: We need to be careful about not credentialing the trivial and ensuring the authentic and meaningful. Reputation of the issuing agency matters. Making sure people actually earn badges. Watch out for gaming or other methods of earning, eg. payment.  Also, external awards can be a negative – many feel that rewards should be intrinsic. Actual experience of getting involved should be reward, not the badge. (Look at Mastery Transcript and evidence “baked” into Badges to counteract inflated resumes.)

Challenge Week 2: Gamify a Lesson and Award Badges

I’ve been having fun designing badges! And then I realize that I have a problem. I don’t have much access to tech. Students don’t have access to phones and I have only one computer in my art room. If I book the computer lab, students complain that they want to make art (except for digital art classes), plus the computer lab is two flights away from my art room. My HS students tell me that they don’t “do” email and I’m not supposed (and don’t want) to contact them on their social media accounts, at least until they graduate. I have no idea how I would “award” badges digitally, in a meaningful way. It’s very frustrating for me, as a tech specialist.

Gamifying the Art Creation Process
So… working with what I have…  I like to emphasize formative. For the last project, students had to brainstorm, fill out a project proposal, complete a finished work and reflect on their successes and artistic behaviour. I would like to award badges for each step of the process on the current project, to motivate students in their work. So I will include an image of the badge on each step, or handout, and on my wiki. I don’t think they will appreciate if I just print out the badges on my feedback sheets/rubrics, so I’ll have to figure out the best way to award them digitally, that they can have them after they graduate.

Badges for the Art Creation Process

These badges reflect stages in the art production process, beginning with inspiration and ending with reflection and revision. I am in the process of creating badges for all the labels. Students will be able to earn badges by fulfilling the criteria for each step.

Badges were created in Piktochart (I use the paid version) and then uploaded to Credly to add the baked credentials. They can then be distributed to students from Credly. I had a bit of difficulty with that, too. I seem to have 2 areas with badges – one under my school name and one under my own. Ah, learning curves! Another option, once credentials are attached, is to use Mozilla or similar place. Credentials will contain the Learning Goal and Success Criteria for my lessons.

Learning Mission
My Mission is an art exercise for students, in order to prepare them for portrait painting. The challenge is to mix acrylic paint colours to match the back of their hands. The original instructions were verbal – to take certain colours and play with them. The challenge, at Paint Mixing Mission,  on Google Slides, is more defined and now shows them which badge they will earn for meeting the challenge (Experiment Badge).

Reflecting on Challenges and Badges

March 3, 2018

This week’s challenges helped me to see ways in which I could make my lessons more motivating and engaging. Instead of dry facts and activities, why not frame lessons as learning missions and challenges, and have students work towards earning badges that recognize their efforts. We know that students (in fact, everyone!) likes to be challenged and creating a game-like activity can bring in a fun element to their learning. As well, the emphasis on real-world purpose is another goal to work towards. As Simon Sinek has shared, people want to know the “why” behind what they do, and giving a purpose to activities will help give students something to work towards that is meaningful.

One of the aspects that I really like about awarding badges is that it fits well with the growth mindset that I’m trying to promote in my classroom. Instead of the focus being just on marks, here’s another way to reward students in a way that promotes love of learning and love of accomplishment. While students don’t seem to care about the Learning Skills that are peripheral to marks, on their report cards, they will probably like badges as something that is achievable, portable and collectible. While I have to still figure out how to distribute them in an environment that has limited technology resources, I think it’s worth the effort to use them.

Week 3: Design Thinking

March 6, 2018

One of this week’s challenges is to create a Mindmap about a learning theory. These include: Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, ConnectivismSAMR – Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition, RAT – Replacement, Amplification, Transformation, TPACKDesign Thinking, and Peeragogy. As an art teacher, I’ve chosen to explore Design Thinking in more depth.

Herbert Simon, Novel Prize laureate, first described the principles of Design Thinking in The Sciences of the Artificial, 1996.  The Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford ( is at the forefront of applying and teaching the theory. Other organizations include HCD (Human Centred Design), and David M. Kelley and Tim Brown of IDEO (see link below for Brown’s Ted Talk).

Main Principles
Design Thinking, is a creative, collaborative approach to problem-solving, a way to unlock creative thinking. It seeks to understand the user, challenge assumptions and redefine problems in order to come up with new strategies and solutions. Understanding and empathizing with the user is an important part of the process. The process usually considers feasibility, desirability (makes people’s lives better) and viability to ensure that an idea is successful and meaningful. In a push for using Design Thinking for a larger benefit to mankind, Brown talks about moving beyond an attractive, limited product with less focus on an actual object, to a wider view and more global impact.

There are many different models of Design Thinking, however the model shown below shows many of the main steps. Note that the process isn’t linear or sequential, but can loop around. For example, after you build a prototype, that might lead to more ideas or questions.

  • Empathize – define the problem, analyze how users interact with products, observe and ask questions about users’ behaviour, understanding culture and context
  • Define – Define users’ needs, problems and our insights, challenge assumptions
  • Ideate – Brainstorm ideas for solutions
  • Prototype – sketching, creating prototypes, get new ideas from prototypes and improve
  • Test – reveal insights that help redefine the problem
  • Share – some models include this as the final stage, when the solution is shared with others.
Design Thinking: A Non-Linear Process
Empathise to Define to Ideate to Prototype to Test
Interaction Design Foundation.
CC BY NC-SA 3.0 licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)


  • Takes user experience and needs into account.
  • Anyone can engage in it; you don’t have to be a designer.
  • It’s not reliant on craft, it’s a methodology that is transferable.
  • It helps people to brainstorm ideas beyond the obvious solutions and re-frames old ideas. Takes a divergent approach to explore solutions that haven’t existed before.
  • It harnesses the power of collaborative thinking and build on the ideas of others.
  • It supports practical solutions by considering feasibility and viability.
  • Can be used to tackle small and broader problems, such as health, water safety, education.
  • Iterative process – one step can lead back to other ones as new solutions are discovered. Gains validation along the way is because you are hearing feedback and seeing people adopt your solutions.


  • Criteria for success is unclear and constantly changing. Human problems can be messy.
  • It may be frustrating as it is not necessarily a sequential path.
  • Not all ideas may lead to a solution or take a long time to develop a prototype that works.
  • It works better with a diverse group of people with different skills and training.
  • Following a specific process may not be conducive to certain ways of brainstorming.
  • Only as good as follow-through.
  • Some designs focus on the small, immediate solutions that either become obsolete quickly or don’t apply to larger needs such as global problems.

Examples in Practice

  • A truck got stuck under a bridge. Experts debated chipping away at the bridge or dismantling parts of the truck. A boy walked by and asked, “Why not let some air out of the tires?” The solution was tested and the truck was able to drive away. 
  • IDEA has used Design Thinking to develop such diverse products as the first computer mouse for Apple, stand-up toothpaste tooth and a better Pringle chips can. In the case of the mouse, hundreds of prototypes were built until one that satisfied was found, the today’s existing mouse was based on that one.
  • On a global level, people are trying to find solutions to better lives, including projects related to health, education, and safe drinking water in developing nations.
  • In the classroom, teachers present essential questions or a problem and students work collaboratively to brainstorm solutions, build prototypes and test them. STEAM projects and Project-Based Learning make use of Design Thinking as part of the process.

Digital projects that are supported by it 
Digital tools can be used to tackle most of the stages in the process. Google Forms or spreadsheets can be used to survey user needs and study and collect information; search portals can be used to research and provide further insights; mind-mapping tools can be used to brainstorm ideas; and CAD or drawing programs can be used to sketch prototypes. There is an extensive list of suggested tools at .

Technology can also be part of the solution, not just the process. A solution can take the form of a digital presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi), a podcast or video, or a report that contains charts and images. Digital formats make it easy to post on the internet to share and get feedback and invite even more solutions and ideas.

Design Thinking can also be used to figure out best practices for technology integration in a classroom. You can empathize and observe students to determine which tools they already use on a daily basis, form insights into which ones would support their learning, create prototypes or try the tools with students to see which ones are engaging and offer the most value for your lesson, then modify what you are doing based on these tests. The most important aspects are to keep students at the centre of your planning, as it’s the learning that is most important, not the tools.

Explaining Design Thinking

Media Related to Design Thinking

Design Thinking in Education


For more Research:

  • “Outside of the Box Thinking” and “Human-Centered Design” are other names used for this process
  • “Integrative Thinking” – the ability to exploit opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions (Roger Martin). It’s balancing desirability (what people want) with economic viability  and technical feasibility
  • Twitter – #CBDQ to discuss ideas and problems that we can use design thinking to tackle

Digital Footprint Survey

March 7, 2018

 I created a poll on ProProfs (paid version) to survey students anonymously on their tech usage. Respondents who took the poll ranged in age from 16 to 21. Below is the embedded results of the survey.

Some surprises included the early age of first devices, early age of joining social networks, and lack of parent knowledge about what their kids were doing. I’ve included insights and thoughts within the Google Slides presentation, with a summary on the last slide.

Reflection on Week 3: Learning Theory, Digital Footprints

March 7, 2018

We were asked to pick one learning theory and I chose to investigate Design Thinking as I have heard art teachers promote this type of methodology. In fact, I already do many of the steps with my students, however, I will be modifying my curriculum in order to provide them with more real-world problems. That way, brainstorming solutions will be more meaningful. I am not certain about developing and testing prototypes, but since my school is pushing for integrating S.T.E.A.M. activities (science, technology, engineering, art and math), Design Thinking would be a good fit.

I spent 13 years teaching students about their digital footprint. I would poll students on their usage, including making them aware of adding non-friends on their pages, experiencing fear of missing out (FOMO), not changing their passwords, recognizing phishing and advice for dealing with bullying. My wiki for safety and bullying advice can be found at I’ve also taught them that they can curate their own good digital footprint using professional resources like LinkedIn and to be aware that the internet is written in Sharpie. Unfortunately, young folks sometimes lack the ability to see beyond the present, so it’s not a one-time message, it has to be reinforced constantly, as an ongoing conversation. Teachers should also keep up-to-date on the technology students are using so that they can be a resource and in a position to assist when situations arise.

Teacher Survival Kit

March 7, 2018

Oh how I know what it is to be prepared when technology fails! I spent 13 years teaching with old equipment and a server that didn’t want to serve. It was frustrating for my HS students and devastating for when I couldn’t teach. Sometimes we made safety posters, sometimes we used skits to show situations like bullying and how to handle it. So here is my Teaching Survival Kit, and it includes some of the resources I used when tech didn’t work.

I used to create this resource. It’s got lots of wonderful options but also has a mind of its own – I had to recreate pages a couple of times as it sometimes deleted without warning. If you use this, check as you go!

When Tech Fails – My Solutions
* Art supplies to make posters, flow charts and plan projects
* Games (purchased, made by me) that reinforce concepts of our current unit
* Stand-alone lesson plans that don’t require technology
* Go out of the lab into the fresh air and talk about what’s on their minds, how they use tech, anything!
* Stage an old-fashioned hippie sit-in with the students. Sing protest songs. It makes everyone feel better.

Other Supplies

  • Scheduling and Administration: Teacher binder with attendance, marks and schedule. Online wiki for my art class (another has my computer class), with lesson plans that have embedded videos, rubrics and handouts (in case kids miss class) and many resources and a section for parents and students on expectations.
  • Tools: Since I’m often called on to fix equipment or help with special activities, I have various equipment that I can borrow from the art room, including hammers, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, wire, screw drivers, masking and duct tape, scissors. And of course, being head of art, of have access to every other art supply. And my personal laminating machine makes everything look good!
  • First Aid: Box with bandages, antiseptic ointment, stain remover – first aid for clothes 🙂 , juice (for a diabetic student), comfort food including hot chocolate, a box of Kleenex, throat lozenges. When I taught in the computer lab I would periodically have students wipe down equipment with Clorox wipes.
  • Miscellaneous: Charging cable, aprons (for art), extra batteries, post-it notes, scrap paper.
  • Personal kit: breath mints, hair brush, nylons, packets of oatmeal for a healthy snack.

Week 4: Designing a Digital Safety Resource for Parents

March 8, 2018

II taught computer literacy to High School students, and spent a lot of time reinforcing safety and citizenship. A couple of years ago I started compiling resources into a PBworks wiki called Keep Me Safe. Since I already had this resource in place, I was given permission to build a Parents page for this challenge.

The wiki information is based on my own classroom experiences as well as information I learned from different safety sites. Even though I haven’t taught a computer class for a couple of years, I’ve tried to keep the wiki up-to-date.  In keeping with the information that I teach on copyright and plagiarism, I’ve included a Creative Commons license on the home page. Please check out the Media page for terrific movie clips to reinforce safety concepts.

As this wiki was built to share safety and bullying resources, I haven’t gone in to other areas of digital citizenship. I have some information on copyright and plagiarism in art, on my art class wiki. And I have more general information on the topic on, which I built for our English department. As you can probably tell, I like building wikis.  Since I didn’t have an opportunity to collaborate, I would be glad to help anyone who wants to create a wiki.

Click on the image below to visit my wiki and view the Parents page.

Reflections on Week 4: Classroom Management

March 11, 2018

Teacher Survival Kit
This was fun to create! I decided to use as I like to learn new tools. My Kit includes both paper and digital tools, as well as supplies for creating art and for fixing computers. There were also items that would fall under first aid and comfort (for me and for my students). I enjoyed seeing what my peers created, both in terms of the tools that they used and what was included. I need to add aspirin to my kit. 🙂

One important aspect of my kit were the ways in which I handled it when tech was being difficult. I do have back-up plans and have taken my frustrated students outside to discuss issues related to our course – anyway, it was spring and we all had spring fever! The most important lesson when considering classroom management is to anticipate and be prepared for glitches.

My Digital Safety Resource
My PBworks wiki,, has been a labour of love for a few years and incorporates resources I use in my computer literacy class. I created a whole new section for parents based on my experiences at school and keeping in mind the survey. The challenge also gave me an opportunity to update other areas of the wiki, because, as we know, apps and tech are always changing. There were a few surprises from the survey including that I should still address safety concerns with Facebook (I thought teens weren’t using it anymore!) and that resources for parents were definitely warranted. I plan to go to the Pinterest page of resources and include some of the excellent resources shared by my peers.

Week 5: Collaborative Project

March 18, 2018

This week’s challenge was to work collaboratively with other teachers on a lesson plan. My reflection, in the next post, will share some of my thoughts about the experience..Our project is embedded below, as a Google Slides presentation.

Reflecting on Week Five: Global Collaboration Project

March 18, 2018

What was your global collaboration project?
I partnered with teachers in Italy and Spain to create a lesson plan for high-school students that revolved around artists of our countries. We used various tools to speak with each other, and to plan the collaboration. Since we all  had our favourite tools, we decided that the tools used for student research and presentation would be the choice of the teacher. Hopefully we will be able to follow through on our project, as each of us has different vacation periods and class schedules

What did planning a global collaboration project with a peer in this course teach you?
The collaborative assignment project was both challenging and exciting.

I found it exciting to go beyond my own backyard and talk to teachers from across the world. I not only learned of some new tech tools, but my partner in Italy, Tiziana, shared something about her city.

The biggest challenge was our busy schedules and time differences, as well as the short timeline. I also felt that perhaps we were communicating with too many different tools, as I was going back and forth looking at our Google Docs and then Google Slides. I learned that if I do something similar with my students, I should streamline, and only use one tool at a time for comments. I also learned that it might be a good idea to set our own goals when writing the project. Before I had an opportunity to check with my partners if  the project was complete enough to share, I was surprised to see it posted on the Facebook group, along with an added Creative Commons license. That might be the kind of thing to discuss ahead of time, including how to judge when our assignment met our own criteria.

Overall, this was a productive and positive learning experience and I hope we can follow through with having our students create content to share.

Goal-Minded Teacher – Course Reflection

March 18, 2018

What was your favorite assignment?
I enjoyed the opportunity to post reflections. I’ve tried blogging; however, I’ve found that I don’t write or reflect consistently. I am  hoping that I will be able to maintain what I’ve been doing for this course as a regular goal. Reflection is an excellent way to grow in your professional practices and personal endeavors. I also enjoyed the opportunity to learn about badges and setting challenges for students.

Which unit do you feel helped you grow the most?
I was surprised at the results of the Digital Footprint Survey. It’s led me to the realization that as a tech person, I need to offer more resources to parents. I hadn’t been maintaining my Safety wiki; however, this unit gave me a chance to revisit it and add resources. I’ve also seen some impressive resources from peers in this course, which will help me in my goal to work with parents.

Which parts of the course were the most challenging?
I found collaborating to be challenging in that we had to try and coordinate across time zones in a very limited amount of time. I also found that Unit 3 was very challenging in terms of time-consuming tasks. I would have wanted longer to delve into the learning theories without only concentrating on the one I chose. But we also had to do the survey and create the parent resource. That was a lot for one week.

How has participating in this course helped you become a better teacher and learner? 
Learning for its own sake is always a positive. I had the opportunity, through this course, to learn new tech tools, learning theories and classroom techniques. I enjoyed the opportunity to actually use and share the tools, which I don’t always get in my school. I also found it challenging to comment on peer work, being fair and kind at the same time. I try to do this with students; however, having to do it with my peers is an eye-opening experience.

Thank you for putting together this excellent and rewarding course, Shelly Sanchez Terrell! And thank you to Fabiana L. Casella for helpful and positive moderation and to Jake Duncan for all the behind the scenes work!

The badge that I earned upon completion of this course can be viewed in my moz:lla Backpack

My Tag Cloud

AI AI in art Art Book Club choice Digital Citizenship extension menu Goal-Minded icons for depth and complexity Mindset Reflection Rejection Video