About Laura

Experienced educator, instructional designer/technologist, and graphic designer with a strong background in eLearning, social media technologies, and website production. Understands the value of digital technology and its ability to make an impact. Able to communicate and problem solve effectively through highly developed interpersonal skills.


Laura March currently leads American University’s training and certification program for all first-time online instructors. She received a Master’s of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology and a Master’s of Science in Art Education from the Pennsylvania State University (2013). Laura has worked for Penn State’s Institute for the Arts & Humanities and Education Technology Services, WeightWatchers.com, and continues to writes for the Huffington Post. She founded and co-organized Blue Out Penn State in fall 2011, which has raised over $150,000 for child abuse prevention charities and became a yearly school tradition. In her free time, Laura enjoys painting, photography, trivia games, and eating far too many cupcakes.

Specialties: Instructional Design, Training, Website Production, Arts Education, Social Media, Learning/Content Management Systems, Digital Design, HTML, CSS, Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress, Blogging

Creating a Personal Mission Statement

My quest for finding gainful employment after graduation led me to Franklin Covey’s Mission Statement Builder. After filling out the free online form, I was presented with the following results:

I am at my best when free to experiment and problem-solve.
I will try to prevent times when I am micromanaged or ignored.
I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can find solutions.
I will find enjoyment in my personal life by making my friends laugh.
I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as creativity, artmaking, listening, and empathizing.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I will eat every tasty food in the whole world.
My life’s journey is making the world a better place  and having fun while doing it.
I will be a person who made a difference.
My most important future contribution to others will be making life easier.

Sounds pretty spot-on to me!

Create your own Mission Statement here: http://www.franklincovey.com/msb/

Identifying Identity (for Disruptive Tech)

Cross-posted from my Disruptive Technologies course blog

This week’s readings (“An Introduction to Discourse Analysis Theory and method” by Gee (1999), and The Medium is the Massage by McLuhan & Fiore (1967)) provided interesting fodder for an analysis of identity. In particular, Team Tiger (aka Group 2) focused on the following themes as they related to the concept of identity: d/Discourse Analysis, Recognition, Individualism/Authorship, and Context.

Language and communication impact identity. Gee shows (through Discourse Analysis) the ability to deconstruct a speaker’s personality and values. In essence, we “enact” language for purposes of representing a particular identity, while at the same time, language constructs an identity for us. It provides the ability to share our inner thoughts and ideas, but also shapes how we can communicate these effectively.

Many members in our group found the ideas in Gee’s “Real Indian” section particularly compelling. Roi has personally experienced the contextually-defined aspect of Japanese-American identity while navigating different spaces. Laura spent last summer living on an Ojibwe reservation and found it disconcerting that Gee did not mention (what she had experienced as being) the biggest deciding factor of “Real Indian” recognition–poverty. MJ posited that student groups also hold strong opinions and ideals that directly influence their identities. Recognizing, identifying, and understanding the implications of those interactions is something that is often not a focus for teachers, but should be.

While the two may seem dichotomous, it may be possible for collaboration to feed and nurture individualism. Individual identity [at least in the United States] is still the dominant definition of ‘identity’ and collective identity seems to take a back seat. However, the two can develop alongside each other. Just because more than one person contributes to a piece of work, individual input can still be important and recognized.

McLuhan & Fiore illustrates how context and content are inherently intertwined in The Medium is the Massage. Our senses cannot be turned off. They play a huge role in how we situate ourselves within our communities the roles that we play. With new technological advances (and their impact on how we receive communication), comes the “reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life” (McLuhan & Fiore, 1966, pg. 3).

Identity influences (and is influenced by) multiple and interrelated factors. Gee and McLuhan & Fiore tease a few of these out–d/Discourse Analysis, Recognition, Individualism/Authorship, and Context. Understanding the links and their relationships help educators appreciate both students and the learning process.

Image is Girl Before a Mirror, Pablo Picasso, Boisgeloup, March 1932. Oil on canvas, 64 x 51 1/4″ (162.3 x 130.2 cm). Gift of Mrs. Simon Guggenheim. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York