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EDU699 Capstone Project

Instructional Connections: Linking Technology to Curriculum

Abstract

As new technologies continue to evolve and saturate educational institutions, teachers continue to struggle with integrating technology into instruction (Schrum & Levin, 2013). An analysis of literature was conducted to evaluate the implementation of technology in the classroom as it pertains to professional development (PD), teacher self-efficacy and the role of administrators. Following this analysis will be a proposal to connect technology to content-specific units of study and curriculum at Region 18 school district in Old Lyme, Connecticut. This suggested resource and final product will serve as the deliverable for the culminating capstone project in Post University’s Master of Education program with a concentration in Instructional Design and Technology. Keywords: PD, Instructional Technology, Integration, Leadership, Administration, Self-efficacy.

To view the full project and paper, click here.

Click here to visit the created website that connects technology to curriculum for social studies grades 6-8.

Reference

Schrum, L., & Levin, B. B. (2013). Lessons learned from exemplary schools. Techtrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 57(1), 38-42

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EDU 625 Unit 8 Reflection

Key Issues and Concepts

Unit 8 allowed for the opportunity to explore the value of emerging technologies in an academic setting.  In October I began a new job as a technology integration specialist.  In six short months I have explored many new apps, devices and software packages that could enhance instruction and improve student learning.  This has all been productive.  But I must say that all of the conversations we have had around accessibility, devices, professional development, infrastructure and training all really lead back to two of the most important points:

  1. Any initiative I have, or our tech group has, must become the initiative of the administrators.  Without the ability to convince people in power of your cause, it really is just talk. 
  2. The use of technology needs to be directly linked to curriculum, units of study or lesson plans.  It needs to have the capability of direct and immediate impact for student learning.  Without this connection, teachers won’t see how it can enhance what they do.

We are currently using our curriculum map at our middle school to create a web-based resource that outlines tools, applications and apps that teachers can refer to that are directly linked to their units of study.  Take a look at our 7th grade Social Studies page: http://region18techintegration.weebly.com/social-studies-7th.html

With this being said I think the next steps are to build this document out so teachers can easily learn about and use new tools that can enhance their instruction. In time, we plan to build this out for each grade level and content area throughout the district.  We have our tech department, media people and various teachers all pitching in to select the best and most appropriate tools. 

Image

(picture from http://www.creativecommons.org with permission)

My Experience in this Unit

For this unit’s learning challenge I chose to take a closer look at the emerging technology of 3D printing and it’s potential.  Simply put, a 3D printer creates a model from an electronic file by using flexible materials or by “…spraying a bonding agent onto a very thin layer of fixable powder” (Johnson, 2014, p. 40).  The leftover deposits help create or build an object by layers and with great detail.  CAD software is usually used in conjunction with 3D printing as Autodesk is one of the best known software providers.  Currently on the market are the MakerBot series 3D printers which allow the creation of almost anything but still carries a price tag of over $2500. 

There are many applications for using 3D printing as it allows for exploration of objects that might not normally be available to a student or university.  At Iowa State University, for example, geology students can study rare fossils, rocks and minerals without risking damage to these objects (Johnson, 2014, p. 40).  In my learning environment, I think this technology could be utilized in our drafting and engineering courses. Now students use CAD software but are limited to its design only.  Being able to create from a design is ultimately the next evolution in allowing students to really examine the details and accuracy of their work. 

 

Observations and Questions

The biggest concern I have is that change moves too slowly in education.  This is particularly an issue for technology because it’s changing more rapidly than anyone (especially schools) can keep up with.  The result tends to be a lot of missed opportunities and hesitation to see what other districts are doing first.  For this reason, I think it’s imperative to gather as many people in on the conversation so more people take ownership of the issues at hand. Administrators possess the power to make change so convincing them that your initiative should become their initiative is a developed skill and so important in a field that is often underfunded and understaffed.

 

Conclusions

Unfortunately, I think it will be a while before we begin to see 3D printing readily available in the k-12 environment primarily due to cost.  However, as more companies begin to develop products and increase competition, the price is predicted to fall dramatically over the next few years.  I foresee this technology being utilized heavily in the sciences and arts too where students have more of an opportunity to create an end product.

As far as new technologies are concerned, I think there needs to continue to be more consideration for staffing for appropriate professional development and support.  Teachers already have a multitude of initiatives they need to satisfy and technology can be overwhelming for many.  There is a growing need for instructional technology support to help bridge the existing gaps between sound instruction and technology that can enhance this instruction.

 

Resources

Region 18 Technology Integration Site:

http://region18techintegration.weebly.com/social-studies-7th.html

10 ways 3D printers are advancing science: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/10-ways-3d-printers-are-advancing-science.html

 

Reference

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2012).  NMC Horizon Project Preview: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media  Consortium.

EDU623: The Development and Implementation Phase

This is the fourth and final blog post of a four part series for edu623 Designing Learning Environments.  Today’s blog post focuses on some of the key components of the development and implementation phase.

Development Phase: Authentic Assessment

Authentic Assessment relates to instructional design in that it allows for a clear measureable connection between objectives and learned outcomes.  Being able to demonstrate the intended skill is different than filling out a multiple choice test to verify understanding.  For example, the training I do with my teachers calls for, in many cases, to demonstrate what they have learned by creating an actual product or artifact.  More traditional assessment might stop at multiple choice or essay questions to check for understanding.

Ideally I would like to have teachers ‘test out’ of my Microsoft OneDrive training.  One way to do this is to create a video screencast of different aspects of OneDrive and embed questioning within the video.  Educanon is web based program that allows for this type of creation and it’s free too.  The questioning built in won’t allow a user to continue through the video training until they answer the question correctly.

A second way to assess what the teachers have learned would be to have them actually use OneDrive to deliver instruction or create an assignment with their students using different parts of OneDrive.  Perhaps they teach students how to share documents or collaborate simultaneously on the same document.  This would be more authentic assessment in comparison to more traditional methods referenced in my first example.

I think both would provide a balance of assessment and allow also for different types of learners.  Coupled together, I think it could be an effective and not overwhelming way to insure teachers are learning what’s intended.

Image

(picture used with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

Implementation Phase: Evaluation

Kirkpatrick’s first to levels of training evaluation are reaction and learning.  The reaction level is an initial response to the training experience and is the most common form of evaluation.  Since my training project will be delivered via a learning management system, it would be easy to obtain feedback from the learners at this level.  I envision harnessing the power of survey monkey to easily create my assessment and deliver it.  It would also be beneficial to analyze the results in the form of graphs and charts which survey monkey does rather well and easily.

Kirkpatrick’s second level of evaluation digs deeper and is primarily concerned with how learning occurs as it relates to the identified objectives. I think for my training I would like to be able to evaluate what the learners (teachers) produce or create as part of their training and attempt to align with the objectives we were trying to actually meet.  Ideally, what they produce should be in accordance with the objectives and it’s a good way for them to demonstrate what they have learned.  I need to make sure that what they are asked to produce actually aligns with what I want them to be able to do when they go back to their classrooms.

 

Reflection

Regarding the evaluation phase, I will most likely use Survey Monkey to gather feedback and information to enhance my training for the next time.  Survey Monkey is flexible in that it allows for multiple choice and or short answer responses.  I wouldn’t begin to develop the actual questions until I had the exact module in place the way I want it with the resources I want.  I might even wait until I have a few teachers/colleagues ‘test’ out the experience too prior to putting together any feedback questionnaire.

I’ve used Survey Monkey and a few other products before.  They have been very helpful in providing insight to the learner’s experience.  I believe the assessment should be short and to the point with no wiggle room for interpretation.  Each question must be very clear as to what it is asking.  I actually think the questions may end up being a combination of Kirkpatrick’s level 1 and 2 to provide me with the most appropriate information.  The greatest challenge with surveys like this, from my experience, is that not everyone fills them out or the ones that do don’t really care enough to really convey what they think or feel.  This is why it’s imperative to have support from administrators to ensure teachers take it a little more seriously.

Image

 

(picture used with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

References

Hodell, C. (2011). Isd from the ground up:  A no-nonsense approach to instructional design (3rd ed.). United States of America: American Society for Training & Development.

Mueller, J. (2014). Authentic assessment toolbox. Retrieved from http://jfmueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/whatisit.htm

 

Additional Resources to consider

  1. A PD Plan that makes sense: https://ownupblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/teachingchannel_thejournalindustryperspective_transformingprofessionaldevelopment-2.pdf
  1. 2014 Horizon Report Emerging Technologies: http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2014-nmc-horizon-report-he-EN.pdf

 

EDU 625 Unit 7 Reflection

Key Issues and Concepts

Unit 7 allowed for the opportunity to explore the value of mobile technology in an academic setting.  I use mobile technology almost all of the time at work and in my personal life too-is this good or bad?  Honestly, I think there are pros and cons.  I use my laptop, ipad and iphone for a multitude of different things that pertain to work and play and it really all depends on what I need at that moment.  I email and text a lot each day also, mostly for purposes of giving or receiving necessary information.  All of this technology can be used in helping teachers at my school organize information, research new tools and present ideas to students.

The cons of this technology are aptly outlined in Sherry Turkle’s ‘Connected, but alone?’.  She claims that our world of texts and emails are superficial in that they don’t allow us to really know and understand one another.  Yes, it’s convenient to disseminate information and ideas; however it prevents us from growing as it keeps people at a distant at the same time.  Turkle claims “…we turn to technology to help us feel connected in ways we can comfortably control”(Connected,n.d.). She asserts that we ‘hide’ behind technology and essentially disengage from more personal encounters.  Indeed, this is arguable however she does have an interesting point.  Too often I see students (our digital natives) walking through the hallways with earphones on or with their heads down texting-they are isolating themselves to a certain degree.  Further, I find more students that are unable to hold normal conversations nor can they maintain eye contact.  Yes, these are generalizations; however I’ve experienced this in several different schools and even different districts.  This definitely concerns me. What are your thoughts?

Image

 

(picture used with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

My Experience in this Unit

An activity that supports the learning challenge this unit is the Socrative app.  Socrative is a free downloadable app that can be used to gather information in the form of a quiz, assessment, evaluation or poll. With a BYOD initiative in place at my school, I recently used this app with a science teacher to foster learning for all of his students.  The teacher had a desire to engage his students more as he introduced a new unit and questioned them in pairs to discover what they already knew about this topic.  In past practice, the teacher had simply asked questions to test for previous knowledge and any student could respond by coming up to the board to write words or phrases.  Clearly this was cumbersome, took too much time and only allowed for the same students to participate.  However, with the introduction of the Socrative app, we paired the students together and installed the app onto their smartphones.  They connected to the teacher-created poll, completed the brief set of questions while collaborating together and then submitted.  The teacher then retrieved all of the submitted responses through the app by quickly exporting the results into a spreadsheet and projecting for all to see and for dialogue on the new topic to begin.

This experience allowed for all students to participate, not just the ones who normally raise their hands because they know the answer.  The collaboration and communication that occurred between students when taking the assessment also allowed for self-directed discussion and problem-solving.  And from the teacher point of view, it was much more efficient as it took less time and generated electronic data that could easily be shared with the entire class.

Observations and Questions

I think there needs to be a balance of technology which helps us to enhance understanding as well as uniting us through collaboration and communication.  If used appropriately, technology can enhance instruction and can be leveraged as a supplement to good teaching-not necessarily a replacement.  Anytime I present technology to anyone, I keep in mind that it must be relevant to learning, appropriate for the audience and must in some way help learners understand something more deeply.

 

Conclusions

One of the key findings and trends from the NMC Horizon Project preview states that “…active learning approaches are decidedly more student-centered, allowing them (students) to take control of how they engage with a subject and to brainstorm and implement solutions to pressing local and global problems.” (Johnson et al, 2012)  With new mobile and web-based technologies continuing to develop and impact the classroom, the opportunities for problem-solving and learning in a student-centered collaborative environment are promising.

 

Resources

Socrative App: A smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.  www.socrative.com

The Journal, December 2013 issue: Good article on how administrators should lead the way in technology: click here

 

Reference

Connected, but alone?. (n.d.). Sherry Turkle:. Retrieved , from http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together#t-1041962

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Ludgate, H. (2012).  NMC Horizon Project Preview: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media  Consortium.

http://www.socrative.com introductory video

EDU 625 Unit 6 Reflection

Key Issues and Concepts

Unit 6 allowed for the opportunity to explore the value of the 3D virtual worlds in an academic setting.  Up until this unit, I had only explored one tool called Wilo Star 3D.  Essentially, Willow Star is a homeschooling program that caters to the students in grades six through 12. It boasts a fully accredited program and teachers and focuses on creativity and problem solving in an interactive online environment.  Students are able to create and customize their own avatars applicable to the theme of whatever the content is they are studying at the time.  Text and video are incorporated throughout the virtual experience in students can help build as well as respond to that environment. For example one themed virtual world takes place during the medieval time period and students can ‘become’ a participant in that time period through their avatar.  Or, their space station themed program provides students with the opportunity to create and build a space station while solving problems along the way as an employee.  Finally they offer a spelunking avatar with the not only explore through caves and learn about geology, they are encouraged to go out into their real world surroundings take pictures of caves to bring back into their avatar experience and share with their classmates.

 

My Experience in this Unit 

For my Learning Challenge this unit I downloaded and installed Second Life to two different computers but it wouldn’t launch on either as it kept telling me there was an issue with the ‘Second Life Grid’.  So, I turned to Sim-on-a-stick and it crashed my computer with a lovely blue screen.  I decided then to go to www.thinkingworlds.com to view a demo and it worked! I watched ‘Vehicle Checkpoint Simulation’ where a soldier was tasked to secure a vehicle checkpoint.  Questions during the simulation were embedded into the experience to allow the player to make real decisions with realistic effects.  Checking for bombs, handling an armed driver were just a few of the scenarios demonstrated.

I then downloaded Thinking Worlds and began to play with the software through the lens of training I could do with my teachers and students.  I created a journey scene and character and was on my way.  You can create objects, additional characters and scenes too.  It looks involved and could easily take hours to learn this program.  Here is a screen shot of what the design part looks like in Thinking Worlds:

 Image

(picture taken by Andrew Raucci with permission)

Observations and Questions

I must say had very little experience with gaming and the virtual world and this amazed me with its potential. I could see how valuable this might be especially with students with special needs, who are gifted, or have ADD or Asperger’s syndrome.  I also think this a virtual world could be leveraged teach students and role-play around the use of social media and other important ideas like bowling and respect. The experience feels like a blend of a learning management system (i.e blackboard) with 3-D gaming which produces a heightened sense of interaction and engagement.

 Image

(picture from http://www.creativecommons.org with permission)

Conclusions

I think this could be used with any student or class as a supplement to the more traditional reading and writing that might occur. But the real beauty of this is that the reading and writing is embedded into the actual avatar experience and with built-in functionality to allow the student to upload information and creates information to share with other classmates could really hit a lot of the common core state standards as well as the ISTE national technology standards. And with it being web-based and accessible anytime anywhere, you’ve created another way to reach students and might have normally fallen through the cracks.

 

Resources

Informative Gaming Blog: http://www.bluevolt.com/blog/gaming-elearning

Ted Talk ‘Gaming the Educational System’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auP-eq17U1g&feature=youtu.be

 

Reference

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wilostar3d.com/

EDU623: The Design and Development Stage

This is the third blog post of a four part series for edu623 Designing Learning Environments.  Today’s blog post focuses on some of the key components of the design and development phase.

Design Plan Objectives

The purpose of my learning experience is to allow for effective and meaningful training for teachers to learn how Microsoft OneDrive can enhance learning for students.  Upon completion of this training, teachers at Region 18 will be able to:

  1. Understand and Evaluate components of Microsoft OneDrive via a learning management system. (Enabling Objective)
  2. Engage in and Analyze OneDrive technology through training with emphasis on: file storage, document sharing and document collaboration. (Enabling Objective)
  3. Apply learned outcomes from OneDrive training by creating a product can be used directly with students. (Terminal Objective)

Other Considerations:

Audience: All/any teachers at Region 18 District

Behavior: Incorporating Bloom’s Taxonomy, behavior states Teachers ‘will be able to’.

Conditions: This learning experience will be asynchronous via a learning management system and all teachers are provided with laptops and wireless capabilities.

Degree: Measurement will be from created/completed project or assignment.

My Objectives all fall under the Cognitive Domain.

Image

(picture taken with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

 

Development Stage

The best way to discuss the development stage through the lens of my training project is to share the lesson plans with you for critique.  The delivery system will be via a learning management system which my district is in the process of investigating.  The actual specific resources (articles, videos, etc.) referenced below will be built out in the next portion of this project. 

The only road blocks I foresee are if the administration does not hold teachers accountable to participate in and complete training modules like this one.  Even if the training occurs over a longer period of time than 5 weeks-say one semester for example-there still must be follow through to insure teachers have the opportunity to engage in and complete specific training with Microsoft OneDrive, a district wide product.

For Detailed Lesson Plans, please click here.

Image

(picture taken with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

Reflection

Piloting this training experience is also slated to occur once the module is complete and embedded within our learning management system.  This will provide for review and necessary time to make any changes to best meet the needs of the learners.  The final step will be to build in ample resources into the lesson plans for delivery through the learning management system.

 

References

Hodell, C. (2011). ISD from the ground up: A no nonsense approach to instructional design. (Third ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: ASTD Press.

The Teaching Channel. (2013). Transforming professional development for 21st century educators. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/Whitepapers/2013/10/Teaching-Channel_Industry-Perspective/Asset.aspx

 

Additional Resources to consider

  1. What makes a good lesson plan? Visit: http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/professional-development/best-practice/lesson-plans/
  1. Tips for writing strong objectives: http://www.brighthubpm.com/project-planning/20136-examples-of-project-planning-objectives/

EDU 625 Unit 5 Reflection

Key Issues and Concepts

Unit 5 allowed for the opportunity to explore the value of gaming in an academic setting.  Although I am currently not a ‘gamer’ I do recall playing Atari back in the 80’s where I could be found playing Asteroids or Pitfall for hours on end.  Why was I compelled to play for so long? What kept me engaged? I think this week’s readings and outside research articulates well why I found my time with Atari so playful yet informative.  The problem solving that occurs at each level of play challenges the player to continually strive to ‘figure things out’ and succeed.  It’s almost addictive in a way but Reiser and Dempsey (2012) liken this to the same problem-solving steps that occur in the scientific and engineering methods.  Solving these problems might not have the same meaning or context if there wasn’t continual feedback-an essential game element according to Prensky (2001). Couple this with an interesting storyline and physical interaction with the environment and the game can allow a player to feel completely absorbed in the experience.  Even further, gaming according to Reiser and Dempsey (2012) allows one to feel ‘…free to try new things or to experiment with different ways of doing or thinking” (p. 322).

Image

(picture taken with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

My Experience in this Unit

For my Learning Challenge this unit I downloaded and installed Quandary to create a maze for which training for Microsoft OneDrive could occur.  My attempt was simple but it took quite a while for me to feel comfortable with how the program and sequencing worked.  I was not impressed with its capabilities or with its degree of user-friendliness.  But, I must say that once I understood how it worked I could see how it could be very useful in helping someone learn.  Click here for a few screenshots to get a flavor of what Quandary looks like and how it could be used to deliver content.

Observations and Questions

Gaming is essentially non-existent in the district I work in however there is some simulation software that is used and even created at the high school.  I think the main reason why gaming hasn’t been fully adopted is because there is still literature that finds the effects of gaming on educational success as inconclusive (Pearson, 2012).  Additionally, I believe that teachers have ‘new’ pressures like the Common Core State Standards that are being implemented now and preparation for state testing (practice) is scheduled to occur this spring.  If that’s not enough, there is the new teacher evaluation mandate that has been adopted by the state of CT which has added another layer of pressure and tension to the everyday climate.  I think if our staff/district had the opportunity to research and understand gaming more they might feel differently and consider ways to integrate within existing curriculum.

Currently, I do not have any plans to infuse gaming as I honestly still don’t know enough about it and would not be able to predict how my participants might respond nor would I fully understand how to evaluate what they have learned.  And if you are trying to convince educational institutions that your game has merit, it needs to be in alignment with educational objectives and standards.  According to Liu (2011), game designers should “Consider teaching as the primary goal and use games as accessory tools” (p. 1332).  Overcoming some of these obstacles has a lot to do with finding the appropriate tools to satisfy your needs.  There are a plethora of online tools that can be used to incorporate audio and video, for example, into a simulation or learning experience.  Identifying the most appropriate tool and finding time to explore it might be the most challenging obstacles of all.

Image

(picture taken with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

Conclusions

I see gaming not as the center of instruction, rather as an enhancement or supplement to desired outcomes or objectives.  The ability to engage and capture the interest of students in a different capacity is a tremendous asset and I believe gaming can do just that provided it is used in tandem with other forms of sound instruction.

Resources

Quandary2: http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/quandary.php

Reference

Pearson. (2012, June). A literature review of gaming in education . Retrieved from http://researchnetwork.pearson.com/wp-content/uploads/Lit_Review_of_Gaming_in_Education.pdf

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Resier, R. & Dempsey, J. (2012). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. (Third ed.). Pearson.

EDU 625 Unit 4 Reflection

Key Issues and Concepts

Unit 4 allowed for the opportunity to explore the value of presentations in an academic setting.  Through my experience as an educator, athletic coach and now technology integrator, I have found that there is a pretty specific time and place for a presentation.  Much of it has to do with the audience and their attention span as well, how long you have to present and most importantly what it is you are trying to share or convey; short clips of audio/video with something specific to be illustrated is usually what I do now.  For example, I’m currently helping teachers understand and utilize Office 365 OneDrive.  Not only will I do an actual live demo with them, but I will use various BRIEF video clips to illustrate a specific parts for better understanding.  Sometime just changing up the mode of presentation is effective and it reignites the learner back into the conversation (if you have lost them).

Coupled with this, however, is time for the learner to actually ‘do’ or ‘practice’ rather than absorb from me the presenter for too long.  Everyone has their saturation limit and I find the verbal introduction helps if it’s interesting (and funny!) but it must be brief.  The demo would follow of a specific tool perhaps in conjunction with a visual/auditory supplement to be used for clarification or enhancement.  Then, I try and allow (again depending on the time allotted) for the learner to actually apply what they have learned.  And this is the part I usually do in pairs or small groups to alleviate some of the pressure and allow for collaboration.  This is the part where I do less instructing and more guiding because I almost want the teachers to struggle a bit and attempt to solve the problems with the resources they’ve been given and/or by communicating with their colleagues.  I also find that allowing users to reflect on the experience and report back to the large group helps them articulate and reinforce what they have learned as well as brainstorm how this new learning might be used to help improve instruction and student learning (the application piece).

Image

(picture used with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

My Experience in this Unit

Two months ago our middle school counselor asked me how we could help the incoming 5th graders transition into the new 6th grade building.  After batting around a few ideas we decided to create a visual presentation for the current 5th graders and their parents to see at an orientation.

I selected 3 students to collaborate with as we thought it would have more merit coming from students who had already gone through the transition.  Having not been familiar with Animoto, I trained myself and the 3 students how to use and I set up an educational account they could all share.  (Accounts are free but click here if you are interested in the free 6 month educational account that provides no limit on length of video: http://animoto.com/account/education/apply​)  Over the last 2 months we slowly gathered pictures and video and began to storyboard how we wanted to communicate all of this information.  We investigated all of the tools and templates Animoto offered and applied them as needed.   Here is the link to the final product: http://animoto.com/play/1g1tTB0BxIDNLf3BFbPSLg

Observations and Questions

The more I reflect on my experience regarding how presentations impact learning, I believe that short and effective is the route I’ve had the most success with.  For me, at the end of the day it’s really all about relationships we build and being able to comfort each other and laugh is important too-especially in an often stressful environment like a school system.

I think presentations should be concise and engaging enough to motivate a learner to begin to create on their own…isn’t that where the real learning occurs?  Too often we have administrators that talk and present…and talk more and present more.  Allowing teachers to spend more time ‘doing’ has potential to allow for greater retention and not to mention the fact that learning a new tool can empower a learner.  As far as presentation tools are concerned however, I like Animoto and Pow Toon too and have used them with some of my middle school students.  They love it because it’s intuitive and they don’t need someone to present to them how to create a presentation!

Conclusions

There are so many tools available to us today-too many to be honest.  I try and learn a new tool and use it each time I meet with the same group.  I always want to have at least one different tool to demonstrate and share with them that can either help them professional or personally.  Today for example, I spent time with our media specialists showing them how Evernote could be used for a multitude of things.  Several had heard of it but never used it before.  It was eye opening indeed and the applications were obvious and plentiful.   My most recent presentation tools include: GoAnimate, Animoto, Educanon (flipped classroom/videos with questions/activities during the video itself), PowToon, Thing Link and Explain Everything (app).  All of these are content agnostic and can be leveraged to deliver content or learning across any discipline.

The Learning Challenge afforded students and teachers the chance to learn a wealth of information from who their teachers/teams are to where their lockers are located as well as everyday procedures they will need to follow.  The purpose of this video was not only to inform the viewers but to familiarize them with the schedule and routines in the new school.  After the video there was ample opportunity to reflect on what they saw with follow-up questions.  Hopefully the 5th graders and their parents will be more informed and at ease about making this transition.

 Resources

Animoto Tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKTdHIbnl4Y

More Digital Tools for Presentations: http://cooltoolsforschool.wordpress.com/thing-5-digital-storytelling-presentation-tools/

Reference

Mandell Communications. (2009). Best practices for excellent presentations in the virtual world. Retrieved from https://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-1870325-dt-content-rid-19160408_1/courses/EDU625.901238026230/Documents/Unit 4 Resources/mandel_best_practices_for_excellent_virtual_presentations.pdf

EDU623: The Analysis and Design Phase

This is the second blog post of a four part series for edu623 Designing Learning Environments.  Today’s blog post focuses on some of the key components of the analysis and design process as well as different instructional models to consider when planning a project.

Analyzing and Planning

My final project for EDU623 will be to develop training using the ADDIE model. Currently, I am an Instructional Technology Specialist at Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Public Schools in Connecticut.  LOL has a long tradition of providing education that prepares students for college and professional career-based endeavors.  With a district of over 1,440 students serving a primarily Caucasian populous and a low student-to-teacher ratio, LOL “focuses on enabling children of all ages to reach full potential as scholars, artists and athletes of character” (“Lol at a,”).  With over 95% of graduates pursuing higher education, LOL seeks to continue this trend as well as meet new standards and requirements outlined in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (“Lol at a,”).

Educators today confront many new obstacles.  With the introduction of a new teacher evaluation process and the arrival of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), teachers are facing new challenges under tremendous pressure (The Teaching Channel, 2013).  In addition, districts like LOL are encouraging teachers to incorporate technology into their everyday lesson plans and units of study as a tool to deliver these new standards. The issue, however, is that many educators at LOL lack the resources, ability or confidence to effectively leverage technology to utilize in the classroom. The main objective of this training would be to allow teachers to learn how Microsoft OneDrive could be used to enhance learning for students.  Specific attention would be given to file storage, file sharing and collaboration between students and teachers. With minimal experience using LOL’s Microsoft 365 portal, our teachers and students could engage in training to leverage this technology to foster communication, collaboration and responsibility.

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OneDrive allows for mobile access from Android, iOS and Windows.  (Picture used with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

Design Plan

I have also had the opportunity to research and learn about several different types of ISD and PM models throughout my experience at Post University.  Although there are several common threads they all share, I have come to believe that the best learning experiences stem from a strong, well thought out and detailed design plan in conjunction with a system that allows for evaluation and assessment throughout the entire process.  This blend of the two schools of thought allow for flexibility and change to occur for the betterment of the project/training.

Hodell (2011) states that the “…design plan serves as the anchor for the entire instructional design process” (p. 105).  Through a clear rationale, the designer can identify the purpose of the learning experience as well as the population or audience it might serve.  Supporting components of a strong design plan also include a description and clear objectives for the learning experience.  Further, additional components include: an evaluation strategy, participant and facilitator prerequisites and finally deliverables.  All of these components are carefully crafted by the design manager but also allow for flexibility and evaluation along the way.  Hodell (2011) aptly points out “Although the content will vary, the basics of great design plans never change” (p. 112).  Hodell is illustrating that the structure for which to deliver the learning experience may not be flexible, rather the actual content that makes up the design plan could be.  This is where I see room for evaluation to occur for each section of the design plan.

Other ISD models may have a completely different approach to planning and organizing for a learning experience.  For example, Gustafson and Maribe (2002) point out, “No single ID model is well matched to the many and varied design and development environments in which ID personnel work.  Hence ID professionals should be competent in applying (and possibly adapting) a variety of models to meet the requirements of specific situations” (p. 16).  With an understanding of the need for flexibility, Heinich, Molenda, Russell and Smaldino created the ASSURE model which is a classroom-oriented instructional development model that offers structure and stability for the k-12 environment.

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(Picture used with permission from http://www.creativecommons.org)

Reflection

Is one ISD approach “better” than the other?  I would prefer to look at the value and strengths of all of the ISD models and, depending on the content and audience, try to design the most appropriate learning experience that allows for flexibility and adaptability to best meet the needs of the participants.

Additionally and in contrast to both the ADDIE and ASSURE model, the PIE model has three essential components: Planning, Implementing and Evaluating.  Here, technology and media is leveraged to create and provide instruction.  In true socratic form, the PIE model is “…a shift from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered classroom environment” (Gustafson & Maribe, p. 44).  Computers can be used to enhance instruction and allow for the learners to investigate and engage in more problem-solving activities.  The instructor, therefore, becomes more of a facilitator rather than a disseminator of information in a controlled setting.  Creating an environment where learners are motivated and engaged also plays a significant role in the PIE model.  This model may allow for more evaluation by the designer simply because it is dependent on how the learner perceives and articulates the information from the learning experience.  Today, all of the information is available with a few clicks online.  It then becomes the teacher’s role to teach the necessary skills to work with that information and assist the students in creations that demonstrate learning.  I believe allowing students to ‘figure things out’ and collaborate to solve problems has tremendous value but is not occurring enough in the traditional setting.

References

Gustafson, K. & Branch, R. (2002). Survey of instructional development models. ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology.4h Edition

Hodell, C. (2011). ISD from the ground up: A no nonsense approach to instructional design. (Third ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: ASTD Press.

Lol at a glance. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.region18.org/page.cfm?p=476

The Teaching Channel. (2013). Transforming professional development for 21st century educators. The Journal, Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/Whitepapers/2013/10/Teaching-Channel_Industry-Perspective/Asset.aspx

Additional Resources to consider

  1. Interested in flipping your classroom?  Visit http://ed.ted.com/ or www.educanon.com
  2. Check out a flipping example I created using TEDEd: http://ed.ted.com/on/AMVIoe7t
  3. Here’s an Animoto example I created to express my vision of how the ADDIE model works:   http://animoto.com/play/gspKNa28vEz4ewMIf0Tq5Q

EDU 625 Unit 3 Reflection

EDU 625 Unit 3 Reflection

Key Issues and Concepts

Although I think that some of unit 2’s tools were more interesting or applicable to my own work, I found the tools in unit 3 to be more credible for some of the reasons mentioned below.  The following are considerations when evaluating online content and global resources:

  1. Is the information current?  Is there a date on the site as to when it was last updated?
  2. Is there a sound writing style for the site or product?  Is the site design appropriate and acceptable or is it distracting or uninviting?  Are there grammar issues?
  3. Is the site/content ‘pitching’ something or trying to persuade you to make an investment?  Is it just an advertisement?  Is there a cost or is it non-profit?
  4. Does the site or tool use references or citations when necessary or are wild claims made with no support?
  5. Is there any acknowledgement to competitors or the other side of the ‘argument’?
  6. Is your personal information shared?
  7. Is there an author for this content or tool?  Is the information peer-reviewed or is the author accomplished or published?
  8. Is the tool or product from a .gov or .edu site which tends to be more credible?  Or is it from a .org site which tends to be more for-profit and may have an agenda?

Many of these questions can be used to discuss with students or teachers to differentiate between credible content and content that may have other motives. In our technology literacy courses at the middle school, our students are given ample opportunity to learn about and identify content that is both credible and not credible.  The result is a more informed and responsible user that can quickly identify information that helps build their argument or critique someone else’s ideas (P, 2014).  Many of the global resources referenced this week are free however more robust versions are offered at a cost to the user.  This does not necessarily imply that the tool or product isn’t credible rather that the organization or individual seeks compensation for profit.  When gathering data in any organization it’s imperative that the conclusions drawn from the data are reliable and valid.  The data must measure what it’s intended to measure and deliver consistent results over a period of time or multiple tests (Cherry).

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(Picture used with permission fro http://www.creativecommons.org)

In reference to Using Real Time Data Resource Guide, many if not all of the sources listed are ‘.org’ or ‘.edu’ sites and have more credibility and legitimacy.  They all have reputable authors and are not looking to ‘sell’ something, rather attempt to convey information in an unbiased format.  Many sources, like Investigating El Nino Using Real Data, have additional credible resources embedded within the document as well as footnotes to reference sources used.  Differentiating between social sites and peer reviewed articles, for example, also yields information to the legitimacy of the content and resources contained within.  Connecting students and teachers to global content also allows the participant to view data and information from a different perspective or culture.  Further, using this data to solve real problems allows students to learn about the world around them at the same time.

My Experience in this Unit

I‘ve always loved TED talks.  They are groundbreaking, informative, thoughtful and funny.  For this week’s Learning Challenge, I wanted to somehow incorporate a TED resource with a valuable learning experience for some of my teachers.  Many have asked me about ‘Flipping’ the classroom so after some investigation I learned about a new tool called TED Ed: Lessons worth sharing. Located at ed.ted.com, this site allows you to build a lesson around any TED Talk or You Tube Video.  So, I created a free account, selected a video and crafted a lesson I could use for training with my teachers.  The link is below, but please be aware that in order to actually answer the questions, one needs to create an account.  Without the account, you can still watch the video and scroll through the questions however you won’t be able to answer the questions.

Here is the link to my lesson: http://ed.ted.com/on/AMVIoe7t

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(Picture used with permission fro http://www.creativecommons.org)

Observations and Questions

When gathering data in any organization it’s imperative that the conclusions drawn from the data are reliable and valid.  The data must measure what it’s intended to measure and deliver consistent results over a period of time or multiple tests (Cherry).

For my learning challenge I incorporated information/data from the video and built it into the multiple choice questions.  I also created an open ended question and added links to resources to allow the user to gather more information on the topic.  I found this experience to be a positive one although I felt this tool was limiting.  There are other tools/sites that can ‘flip’ a lesson and are more robust.  But, as I am a beginner to this, I thought it served the purpose and it’s easy enough for me to share with teachers in my district.

Conclusions

This unit has been extremely valuable and applicable to my field as an instructional technology specialist.  Allowing opportunities for investigation and reflection affords the learner the chance to actually ‘figure things out’ and to see how a tool could be used to enhance instruction and improve student learning.  Flipping a lesson using video in particular fosters an environment of engagement and allows for a visual and auditory understanding of complex ideas or problems.  TEDEd is also an easy way to share information quickly with any number of people/students, making sure that the most significant concepts are investigated.

Resources

Flip it and create your own lesson: http://ed.ted.com/

Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab: How do you know if a source is credible? https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/02/

Reference

Cherry, K. (n.d.). What is reliability?. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/researchmethods/f/reliabilitydef.htm

P, M. (2014, January 29). How can I tell if a website is credible? Retrieved from https://uknowit.uwgb.edu/page.php?id=30276