This exhibit is a component of the PBS TeacherLine/ISTE Capstone Certificate Program. The exhibit is part of the Portfolio intended to demonstrate proficiency in the ISTE NETS for Teachers.

Exhibit Details

Capstone II
Proficient Use of Technology with the NETS•T
The Secret Life of Bees and Other Integration Adventures
Students in 9th grade Honor English create a collaborative wiki based on the novel The Secret Life of Bees.
LaMaster, Jennifer
Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School
Grade Taught
Primary Subject
Reading/Language Arts
Curriculum Topic(s)
American Literature: Characterization
Exhibit Description

The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) focuses on the “dynamic elements of experience, reflection and action… at work in the classroom.” (Metts, 7) The Jesuit order was created as a teaching order. From its inception, the IPP was different from other paradigms because it acknowledged, welcomed, and strived to develop “men and women for others”.

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School is a Jesuit, Catholic and Interfaith high school in Indianapolis, IN. Our students come from over 30 sending private and public schools locally as well as some from overseas. Current enrollment is 823 in grades 9-12. Demographics reveal our ongoing work to diversify our student body: 82% White, 8% African American, 6% Multiracial, 3% Asian and 1% Latino. Brebeuf does offer reading-based learning support for students with diagnosed learning needs, working closely with the local metropolitan public school system. While students do take state standardized tests, this is not the focus of instruction. (Current state statistics show 100% of students passing the ISTEP exam).

Indiana State academic standards for 9th grade English Language and Literature focus on use of character as literary device. The classroom teacher wanted to challenge students to explore characterization devices in the novel The Secret Life of Bees by Susan Monk Kidd. She was looking for a collaborative, online learning environment. We decided to pilot a Wikispaces wiki with her 7th period section of Honors English. Students will create content related to elements of theme and characterization. The teacher was open to letting students have free rein in the wiki. Academic standards addressed are Indiana 9th grade English 9.3.3, 9.3.4 and 9.4.9,NETS-S addressed by this project are 1A, 2A, 5A and 5B. Students will create discussion posts, respond to posts, create content pages, experiment with tools (widgets, uploads) available on the site. Assignments will include original and response posts to the online discussion and creation of pages based on individual curiosity and expression of knowledge. Assessment is threefold. First, students will be required to engage each discussion prompt with an original response and reply to at least two other responses (formative). Second, students will be invited to follow individual curiosities and create pages or edit pages with content related to the novel (formative). Students were intentionally given a great deal of autonomy and freedom in the second level. The classroom teacher and I wanted to see, if given the chance to engage the literature without constraint, what the students would do. Finally, students will have a traditional, formal summative assessment on the novel at the end of the three weeks. The end product will be a collaborative wiki.

Time Frame
The time frame for this project is three weeks. Week One involves setting up wiki accounts, instruc
Tech Rationale

In 1599, the Ratio Studiorum provided Jesuit educators with teaching strategies and objectives for a systematic approach to education. One could argue the Ratio Studiorum was a predecessor to state sponsored academic standards. What is referred to as the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, key elements to Jesuit education, have held all these years: context, experience reflection, action and evaluation. I am continually fascinated that almost 500 years later; educators are still talking about the same issues! I find 21st century technology and learning fits right in with this “old school” paradigm. Suzie Boss may be a Jesuit educator deep down. Her article, “High Tech Reflection Strategies Make Learning Stick,” on the importance of reflection resonated with me. Reflection is a key element to the Jesuit classroom. Finding 21st century tools to aid in reflection has become much easier in recent years. The advent of blogging brought the tradition journaling process online and engaged students in an interactive activity while keeping the personal articulation of thoughts and ideas. When the Freshman Honors English teacher came to me with the idea of blogging as a reflective tool for her students reading Susan Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, I immediately jumped at the chance to collaborate. The classroom teacher and I discussed blogging options such as Edublogs and Blogger. In this case, the learning objective was the discussion and reflection piece, not necessarily elaborate, individual blogs. The teacher wanted the students to engage in the conversation on one site with enough options to be interesting but not so many as to distract. I recommended Wikispaces. The discussion feature was a tool I tested with AP US Government students but had not fully utilized other features. The teacher looked over the product and agreed to try it. Students were given free access to the BJPS Secret Life of Bees wiki. Students embedded YouTube videos, podcasts and images. Some used outside word processing tools (WordPad) and others composed with the built-in editor. They were required to respond to teacher facilitated reflection prompts, but could post individual discussion prompts, edit pages, create pages and introduce multimedia using the tools mentioned above.

Student Learning

The school day no longer ends at 3:15. Our students are posting online assignments at all hours of the day and night. They are blogging, video conferencing, file sharing, collaborating, and creating at home, at school, in the car (hopefully not when driving!). Those of us in IT departments are on call 24/7 thanks to smartphones. Our world is no longer home - school - practice - home…. We are connected to all elements at all times. The teaching paradigm of Brebeuf Jesuit is that of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP). The core elements of the paradigm are context, experience, reflection, action and evaluation. In order to engage students and facilitate creative reflection, I stepped in to a freshman Honor’s English class. The classroom teacher wanted an online tool, accessible 24/7 to engage student reflection on Susan Monk Kidd’s novel The Secret Life of Bees. The teacher did not want a flashy tool, she was more interested in written reflection than talking avatars, but did want a tool that would allow for flexibility of presentation (audio and visual uploads, video links). The teacher and I decided a Wikispaces wiki would be a great reflective tool. The Wikispaces product has a discussion feature which allows for reflective posts and discussion. Students can create and edit pages easily with an intuitive editor. Furthermore, the wiki would be a new technology for students, facilitating flexibility of skills. For me, the key was for the students to have free rein over content creation. The wiki would not work as a reflective tool if the students were required to answer set prompts on dictated topics. The classroom teacher agreed. Students were assessed twofold. First, formative assessments on required discussion prompts (checklist and rubrics uploaded under 2D) evaluated synthesis of ideas and reading comprehension. Second, a summative assessment on the novel as a whole was given by the classroom teacher (traditional test). Students were not formally assessed on the extras they posted. At first I was concerned that students would not experiment with the wiki because they were not being formally assessed on content creation. However, they proved me wrong. Students posted freely based on their individual curiosities and interests. Students responded to each other and engaged in the reflection process. The student control of content creation, evaluation and exchange surpassed my expectations. I highly recommend the Wikispaces tool for reflective exercises.

Standards Addressed

1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D


  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Creativity and Learning

    In fullfulling the mission of developing men and women for others, it is critical that creativity, innovation and inventiveness is fostered in our students. I facilitate, support and model these elements with students through collaborative content creation, global communication and integration of emerging technologies.
    Standards Addressed:


  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Creativity and Learning

    I have facilitated several projects using digital tools and resources to engage students in authentic, real-world activities.
    Standards Addressed:


  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

    The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm promotes a learning theory of context, experience, reflection, action and evaluation. Traditionally, the reflection piece took place in the form of journaling. I find electronic environments are well suited for reflection. I promote digital tools for reflection using Edline, Wikispaces, Zoho Wiki, Udemy and other tools.
    Standards Addressed:


  • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

    While reading “Disrupting Class” by Clayton Christensen, I was struck by the idea that a disruptive technology is often met with resistance for the simple fact that it changes the norms of behavior. By modeling collaborative knowledge construction, I not only model the new norms but hopefully take aware some of the fear of the unknown.
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  • Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

    The key elements to Jesuit education have held all these years: context, experience reflection, action and evaluation. I strive to create accessible virtual and physical learning experiences for my students.
    Standards Addressed:


  • Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

    The key elements to Jesuit education have held all these years: context, experience reflection, action and evaluation. I am continually fascinated that almost 500 years later; educators are still talking about the same issues! I find 21st century technology and learning fits right in with this “old school” paradigm.
    Standards Addressed:


  • Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

    One of the defining principles of Jesuit education is care of the whole person. As we know, learning occurs in multiple styles at diverse levels of abilities. I work at providing students the digital tools and resources needed to address their learning needs.
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  • Design and Develop Digital Aged Learning Experiences and Assessments

    In order to truly integrate technology in the classroom, we must re-evaluate how we assess student work. I tried multiple assessment tools including checklists, traditional rubrics and narrative self-assessments.
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  • Model Digital Age Work and Learning

    I am the Educational Technology Coordinator for Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School. I support every technology in the classroom, administrative office, plus whatever walks through the door. This collection illustrates not only how I can adapt to new technologies and new situations, but that I am comfortable trying new things. In each entry, I evaluated the need, assessed options available and followed through with the learning goal. I feel that I am a better professional and that Brebeuf will be a more efficient learning environment because I of the risks I am willing to take and the fluidity of skills I exemplify.
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  • Model Digital Age Work and Learning

    I am comfortable using digital tools and resources with the entire school community. My focus is on student success and learning through innovative collaboration between students, parents, peers and colleagues.
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  • Model Digital Age Work and Learning

    I communicate with students, parents and peers in a variety of media (communication servers, web-based, Blackberry, VoIP phone) and formats (email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, DimDim, Moodle, Edline, CAMS, Ning).
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  • Modeling and Facilitating Digital Work and Learning

    Today a teacher came into my office complaining about student use of digital resources. Having sat in on presentations in this class for two weeks, I had to agree the use of digital resources was less than impressive. However, when I asked the teacher how he assessed student use of digital resources my question was met with a slightly blank expression. I realized then, if educators do not assess student use of digital resources we are not teaching them to effectively locate, analyze, and use these resources. This realization encouraged me to reflect on how I model and facilitate the use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, evaluate and use information.
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  • Model Digital Age Citizenship and Responsibility

    A defining element of Jesuit education is cura personalis (care of the person). As educators, we are called to educate mind, body and spirit. The saturation of digital content for our students must be taken into consideration through this lens. Online responsibility and safety is a tremendous responsibility to the 21st century educator. I take this charge very seriously.
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  • Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

    To address the needs of all learners, I focus on flexibility of access and flexibility of expression. Digital tools and resources offer the flexibility to engage students within and beyond school walls.
    Standards Addressed:


  • Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

    There are a number of digital etiquette websites available to help navigate 21st Century online manners. I particularly like Digital Labz, These somewhat tongue-in-cheek rules remind me of the strategies used to promote digital etiquette with the students and staff of Brebeuf Jesuit. I foster digital citizenship and responsiblity through modeling responsible behavior, shaping official policy and educating the school community.
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  • Promote Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

    Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano argues in a recent Tech & Learning blog that global awareness “does not happen by osmosis”. I advocate and model intentional exposure to global culture through digital tools such as Skype, Adobe Connect, blogging and exchange programs.
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  • Professional Growth and Leadership

    The Jesuit Secondary School Association (JSEA) surveyed students in all North American Jesuit schools in 2008. One of the leading responses from students was a wish to engage in global collaboration. The JSEA encourages Jesuit educators to strive to create “men and women for others.” This sense of servitude can only be fostered in an open, global environment. Breaking down geographic barriers allows for dialogue between other cultures, faiths, political leanings and language.
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  • Professional Growth and Leadership

    Brebeuf strives to engage students in the context of their spiritual and cultural lives. Technology is part of that culture. The NETS-S and Route 21 rainbow advocate student critical thinking of culture and learning. As a technology leader, it is my responsibility to promote and demonstrate digital tools and resources which fosters technology infusion in school life.
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  • Professional Growth and Leadership

    I’ve been reading the book 8 Things to Hate About IT, a rather tongue-in-cheek discussion of the love/hate relationship of IT and business managers. The author discusses how IT leaders want to spend more time in the “forest” but usually find themselves in the “trees”. What she is getting at is the reality of wanting to spend more time coming up with innovational uses of technology in the enterprise, but in reality IT leaders spend their day making sure the printers are printing and the email system works. Boy, did this resonate with me! This collection reflects on the forests, thickets and trees of my professional practice.
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  • Professional Growth and Leadership

    Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis articulated my current situation in their May 2010 article “Navigating the Digital Rapids”. At the end of their article they lay it out – teachers need to be engaged in 21st century tools themselves and let the students take ownership of their learning. I participate in professional activities that energize myself, my colleagues and future teachers.
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Approved as of June 14, 2010

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