Online Resources and Their Use to Improve Motivation in Health Care Careers Programs

Online Resources and Their Use to Improve Motivation

The PowerPoint is a Summary of My Action Research Project for PLS 3rd Learning and Wilkes University. The “Internet Sites for Health Sciences/Occupations Teachers” post on this blog lists some of the sites that I explored and that others shared with me. Please contribute and share resources as comments on this blog! We are all pressed for time and collaboration can help us all! You can follow this blog by clicking the + Follow on the upper left portion of the page.


A Day in 2020

September 1, 2020:

I hop into my self-driving car, voice command “high school” and sit back as the monitor on the car dash brings up my RSS feed. I voice click on presidential race and read the latest about the predictions for which way the November elections are shaping up. I really hope Amber Green gets elected. She’s run on the platforms of continuing to expand clean energy sources, health care equality, nutritional support for families, support for small business, education funding, and upgrading the U.S.’s existing technology grid to bring increased internet support to our inner cities and rural areas. Last night, I couldn’t get my tele-nursing health care info to upload to the echart (again). This area is still lagging behind in accessibility, although we can now stream television programs without choppy results – something that wasn’t remotely possible back in 2014. My students are also noticing that our virtual conference discussions have a video and an audio lag.

Skype rings in – it’s my principal reminding me that we’re going to meet today with the Vocational Director from the Department of Ed. There’s been a new initiative to offer more collaboration between secondary education and business partners. Since health care is still one of the biggest employers in West Central PA, my program and students are competing to participate in a pilot program. I panic for a second about forgetting my notes for “talking points” and instantly realize there’s no need to be alarmed as I’ve cloud stored both these notes and the student information they need for their presentations. I’m really excited about this opportunity. Many students are looking for ways to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and health care workers, while seeing a decrease in wages in the last five years, still have stronger earning potential than many other industries, especially if you’re able to navigate the tele-health world and provide hands on care, which my students start to learn as sophomores.

Dang, it’s Tuesday and I almost forgot that it’s my day to pick up breakfast for the vocational department, but luckily my e-reminder sounds and Thiri (Siri’s updated version) tells me to stop to pick up the order that he placed for me yesterday. (How did I remember to do these things in the past?) I’m still the one who gets to work 30 minutes early, so I won’t be late as the café always has my order waiting for me.

The last thing I wanted to check is how the last night’s Vocational meeting went. I couldn’t get there because I had Skype office hours for my homebound and blended classes. I can’t remember the site’s name, but thanks to Diigo+ and voice commands, I can quickly access the meeting summary online. I grab the veggie egg white omelets, whole grain muffins, and coffee (with each order labeled with its recipient’s name) from the cafe. I know the guys are going to groan again with my choices, but hey, I have to put up with their jelly filled doughnuts! Some things never change.

My 35 minute drive to work has been productive as usual. Sometimes I long for the drive when I simply listened to the radio as I was focused on the road. It was sort of relaxing, but those days are long gone.

As I head to my classroom, I voice text the department, letting them know that breakfast is waiting in the faculty room. I login to my tablet, turn on virtual classroom and quickly check attendance. The early birds have already logged in and submitted a list of their goals for the day. A couple others have messaged that they’re going to the sim lab today and will upload their skills demonstration videos when complete. I make a mental note to check back after my meeting on the ones who haven’t logged in yet, then think the better of it and set a reminder on my tablet.

Tuesday’s are sophomore day. That means all the tenth graders have to be physically present in class. Three days a week they have the option of working from a remote site. Interestingly, most of them show up at least four days a week. Most parents want their children to have direct contact with the instructor and don’t quite trust the virtual initiative yet. Leaving 15 year olds to their own devices (pun intended) at home while the parents work is a scary proposition for many parents. The seniors and their parents are more trusting of the one to one device and virtual initiative, having worked with this for the third year. Many seniors appreciate being able to access the classwork at convenient times and have developed the maturity to understand their responsibility and accountability for virtual learning.

My substitute will keep the sophomores on task today, having them log into teacher video presentations, helping them collaborate on concept presentations and write reflections on the classroom blog. The classroom wiki needs updated on the Red Cross Community service project progress. (Although synthetic blood has been developed, there is still a great need for human blood components as scientists haven’t yet been able to formulate effective white blood cells and platelets.)

Today is also a HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) meeting day. Students will virtually sit in on the district level meeting and find out whose presentations got picked for the statewide competition. The site is already set up and ready for the sub to click on at 10:00AM. I wish I could be in the classroom to help them get through the emotions of being picked (or not), but that face to face meeting takes precedence today and my sub is great with the students. I silently remind myself that I did the best I could with the activities we did to help students learn about copyright. Flickr now has an educational student share license. Students can use these items as long as they give credit or embed the source within the presentation. has a wizard that makes this easy, but the bugs still need worked out.

Three of my seniors appear at the door. They’re nervous and a little in awe about today’s meeting. We’ve practiced their presentations, uploading them to our school’s video site, asking other teachers for suggestions for improvement. The English and Drama teachers really helped us with the finer points. We could have simply shown the video presentations to the Department of Ed Vocational Director, but decided to do face to face presentations. My students felt that this would be more powerful. They want to convey how strongly they feel about caregiving as a career and how much business partnerships can make a difference in helping them learn the skills they need to be successful.

Fast forward to 3:00PM. I’m a bit exhilarated and exhausted. The senior presentations went really well. The Vocational Director told us that he was glad that he came to visit our school and the nearby medical center. Talking with the students and seeing how well they work with the medical providers gave him a view that he felt he would not have been able to truly appreciate had we done the visit virtually. Three of my students’ presentations got picked for the statewide competition. The sophomores got most of their work completed today. Tonight, there are skills demo videos for me to grade and an agenda for the work activities for the junior class to post on the class website. Long gone are the days when I turned in my weekly lesson plans and kept them in a binder. Today’s events prove just how far we’ve come from 2014 with one to one device initiatives and online access to classes, collaborative apps, virtual office hours, and sim labs. Education is also collaborating more with industry so that students can apply the skills for success in the real world.

But one of the most important things I think about as I get into my car and voice command “home”, is that it is the face to face contact that still matters, that students still need to learn the soft skills for helping clients manage their health care, and that a face to face meeting can impact the decisions that are made by the ones powerful to make them. However, teachers are now adapting their lessons with the virtual tools we have and can reach more students. Excuses for being absent and not being present for a lesson are no longer viable.  Teachers have changed the way they present information and students are benefiting from the collaborative tools we routinely use in both the face to face and virtual classrooms. Helping students learn both soft skills and technical skills has continued to be a focus in education. It has also been a priority to help students learn to navigate the wealth of information available. I can only hope that education and technology access continues to be a priority within our political system. Nix that – I can vote!


Acosta, C. (2009, March 2). Technology in the Year 2020. Retrieved from YouTube: http://youtube/uug8m0BHzZo

Dillow, C. (2012). 12 reasons 2020 will be an awesome year. Retrieved from Innovation on


The following is a list of sites that have been compiled through personal research and recommendations from Health Sciences/Occupations Instructors. Please feel free to add to the list through the comments section

Internet Sources – Found through personal research. The numbers correspond to the objective number for Pennsylvania Department of Education POS 51.9999.

112 –

112 ––2

Identify and describe OSHA standards and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standard precautions.

109 –

109 –

109 –


111 – Recognize both physical and psychological indicators of stress in self and others and identify stress reduction techniques.

201 (also 203, 204, 205)


Internet Sources – As listed by Other Teachers (Please note that most of the sources listed below do not give the web address. An internet search of the titles listed should result in finding an address)




Anatomy Arcade


Kids Health

google the topics

websites from Mayo clinic

Johns Hopkins


Study Blue


pictures of diseases

Anatomy Arcade


Lesson share


Enchanted learning

Quest garden

Khan Academy for A&P, various sites for nursing

web anatomy

flash cards evolve

USA Today Health



Teacher’s Corner Slide Share

ABC Teach




Stu quiz box


8A1: My Very Own Site!

I have an idea that may appeal to various types of learners. Using Google Sites for individual learners could be a way for students to get familiar with various types of tools that are available to them on the internet and gather their work in one place. Google Sites requires very little technical knowledge. Designing a site simply requires having a Google account. Sites can be kept relatively private by inviting only certain people to join the site, adding a level of protection for students.

Using Sites for a classroom website seems pretty easy. My thought is to have each student design their own website, adding links to specific assignments that have been created by the student. For instance, students may be asked to create a video which demonstrates a particular procedure. They may also be asked to create a slide show presentation of a concept, such as infection control or environmental safety. A document may be assigned, asking students to detail the most important aspects of nutrition or to create a menu for a special diet. Students could also post pictures from photo sharing programs (or take their own) to create a pictorial representation of an idea, perhaps how diseases are spread (Chain of Infection).

Gathering these assignments in one place and posting them to a personal website allows students to practice within their learning styles and expand upon their abilities in others. For instance, a student who is highly visual may be able to write a better document if photos can be added to the assignment. One who is auditory may choose to use a voicethread or podcast to the assignment. A student who is kinesthetic may add a video to explain a concept. A logical, mathematical learner may complete an assignment in an outline or geometrical fashion. The interpersonal learner may team with others to develop a collaborative product. An intrapersonal student may add a self-awareness section in any of the above formats.

Sites assists with organization. I have many students who lose their assignments from one period to the next. Keeping the assignments in one online “portfolio” may help those who already very structured to add embellishments. Those who are not so, may find that their organizational abilities increase when working online. I also see this as an asset when interviewing for an entry level health care position. The student may be able to answer interview questions with a “Let me show you what I know about …..

7B1: Paperless Classroom?

A paperless classroom is an idea that many may see as futuristic, but in truth, it is a common practice. When I started working on my Master’s in Online Teaching a couple of years ago, I printed out many of the articles and papers I was reading for the classes. I no longer print our most of the information, preferring to toggle between windows. Teaching in a paperless classroom would require a huge paradigm shift. The content could change as information on the web changes. Learning activities would and should still be designed by the instructor, but students would be put in charge of meeting objectives by processing current information and showing the instructor how the information can be utilized to meet the objectives. Current information could make objective quizzes and tests obsolete and assessment would focus on products with and without collaboration.

I suspect that some students may rebel initially. Many students like to print out materials and use reading strategies that they’ve learned, such as annotating and highlighting to make sense of the material. These tools are available in Office programs, but require a separate learning unit and practice with this skill.

I can see that building a learning network might become easier because of the information and potential for collaboration that is available on the Web. Students show enthusiasm when limits are stretched and outside collaboration may be something that can spark enthusiasm. I can also foresee that some students may withdraw from their current peers and utilize only web tools, causing social isolation.

7A: Big Shifts in Education

Open content is a big shift in education. The information that is available with Web 2.0 tools has changed how teachers can present information or design activities for learning. Long before I knew of the “big shifts” that Richardson (2010) has put a name to, I taught students to question and look for current, applicable information. This practice leads to another big shift in that readers of the web must learn to critique the content and distinguish facts among the multitudes of information. Health care providers must be able to discern the current factual practices from the bogus promises of practitioners whose only aim is to make a buck.

MOOC’s, open courseware, and webinars can be used to facilitate courses and find current information. This is especially important in health care education where treatments and diagnostics can be lifesaving. As technology is upgraded in schools, the potential to have all content come from open sources exists. The problem with this is that teachers will need to prove that they are teaching to standards that will be tested for determining adequate yearly progress.

I’ve seen the value in students using Web 2.0 tools for learning. I am concerned about the disparity among the students who live at the poverty level or below and how their lack of access will affect their abilities to learn the skills needed to succeed in the Web 2.0 world. As a teacher, I can advocate for better technology access within our school and show how I can use the technology to teach students the skills that are required for common core competency as well as how to use these tools for success in the post-secondary world.

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Connectivism – A Learning Theory?

Those folks who were given the assignment to defend connectivism as a learning theory had a really tough job. You can read their position paper here. I assert that connectivism is a method that is taught to students or learned by students, but a learning theory? No way. The web allows us to access information quickly and puts the task of sifting through volumes of information squarely on the information seeker.

The defenders of connectivism assert that “Connectivism has a direct impact on education and teaching as it works as a learning theory. Connectivism asserts that learning in the 21st century has changed because of technology, and therefore, the way in which we learn has changed, too.” They are correct in that connectivism has an impact on education, but this impact is dependent upon the technology tools that the students and educator has available. Teachers are obligated to model safe, appropriate, and efficient techniques for researching the tens of thousands web pages on any given subject. When teachers do this, they are instructing their students. The learning takes place in a behavioristic or constructivistic model of learning.

With Web use, it is the instruction that has changed, not the actual learning process.