This link takes you to a .docx version of the paper: RationaleGetz (.docx)
A pdf version of the paper: RationaleGetz (.pdf)
Online version continues below:
Science teacher, all courses for which I have a teaching credential.
April 8, 2014
I have been teaching in the classroom off and on for the last eighteen years. My enrollment at Boise State University was a deliberate decision after doing a Certificate in Online Teaching from a CA community college online, taking a class at San Diego State University to try out their EDTEC program, and losing a job with an online schooling company. I know I want to be in the field of online learning because I know I have a lot to contribute to the virtual schooling community. My authentic experiences with online learning as a teacher were more like being a babysitter who monitors student attendance, more than student comprehension of content. I love that the courses here at BSU respected us as professionals and have taught us how to be a real teacher in an online environment. I fear that as schools are closed, and courses get moved online as face to face teachers disappear, the process of “teaching” is going to become more and more mechanized by people who were not trained as educators, but are really good at engineering systems for efficiency. I entered the program with this concern and voiced it often throughout the courses, whenever I could. I want to know that the paradigm I’ve been paid to experience does not have to be how virtual courses will always be run. I am looking for optimism that virtual courses can be created to fully meet the needs of diverse learners.
This paper is a description of my portfolio and how it meets the standards established by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). The talented curriculum designers at Boise State University wove the standards into their courses and have given me multiple opportunities to not just learn how to use technology, but how to use it in an educational context. The paper is organized by the AECT Standards. For each standard, I will explain my interpretation of the standard, present links to work I’ve done to demonstrate the standard, and finish with a justification of why I feel the standard has been met. The video goes in depth into two of the artifacts presented here because they are that significant to me. I encourage you to rummage around my Learning Logs if you are curious about which assignments did not make the cut to be in my final portfolio.
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Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.
Artifact: EDTECH 503: How to Identify and Utilize Evidence when Writing Entries for a National Board Portfolio (on Google drive)
EDTECH 503 is a course on instructional design so it makes sense my final project for 503 would fall in standard 1.1. According to the reflection I wrote for the project, to accomplish designing a “course”, we followed the model the authors of our textbook, Smith and Ragan, created for instructional design (Smith & Ragan, 2005). The Smith and Ragan model has three major parts which are divided into eight more specific parts. It is similar to ADDIE, in that the Smith and Ragan Analysis part is like the Analysis and Design parts of ADDIE. The Strategy in Smith and Ragan would match with the Development and Implementation part of ADDIE. Both systems have an evaluation component (Gustafson, K.L. & Branch, R.M., 2002, p.57).
To create our projects, I brainstormed an issue I was passionate about, found some teachers to survey, got their feedback, (Analysis) and using what I learned in my National Board (NB) Candidate Support Provider training, I set off to create a static course to help NB advanced candidates understand what is and is not considered to be evidence (Design). I created the course in Moodle (Strategy or Development/Implementation) and then the end of our course, EDTECH 503, arrived. I did not get to finish creating the course, nor did I get any formal evaluation of what was completed.
I hope to use this project to continue creating something to help Advanced Candidates because the stress you go through to write National Board entries is much like writing for a Master’s degree. I certainly felt like I should have a Master’s degree after doing National Boards. Even as I write for this portfolio, I am trying to focus on what is evidence versus what is fluff or unnecessary. Many of us could use training on how to discern functional sentences from dysfunctional ones. I used an ADDIE- like process to create a “course” that has exercises designed to help people see when a sentence should be in the document, compared to it just being there taking up valuable space.
Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.
Artifact: EDTECH 506: Unit on Molecular Shapes and Bonding (website on EDTECH2 server)
AECT (2001) gives as an example of this standard, “Apply principles of educational psychology, communications theory, and visual literacy to the development of instructional messages specific to the learning task.” To meet this standard, I am offering the product, Molecular Shapes and Bonding, the unit I created in Graphic Design for Learning, EDTECH 506. Our lessons allowed us to play with images and refine them so that they were communicating something. We explored the power of visual literacy (Lohr, 2008). This unit embraces the students’ mental abilities for abstraction and the transition they are going through from the concrete operational to a more abstract understanding of concepts and objects. In science we often use objects to help students move from the concrete world into more spatially abstract ones (Llewellyn, 2002, p. 43). One of the more difficult things for students to imagine is what an atom looks like, and scientists have for over a hundred years been trying to figure out that image for themselves. We are still doing research on what makes up atoms and as exciting as that is for me to learn, it is still very abstract and nonsensical for many adolescents. This unit on molecular shapes and bonding is designed to let students stretch their understanding of what atoms are and what they look like, by providing them with a variety of two dimensional representations of how scientists show what atoms and simple molecules are shaped like. If this was a unit to be done in a face to face classroom, I would supplement what they are doing with building molecules in their lab class so they could continue with more of a constructivist approach to make sense of the shapes of molecules.
The AECT website (2001) elaborates on standard 1.2:
Message design is embedded within learning theories (cognitive, psychomotor, behavioral, perceptual, affective, constructivist) in the application of known principles of attention, perception, and retention which are intended to communicate with the learner. This subdomain is specific to both the medium selected and the learning task.
Although the lesson I wrote in 506 took the concept of how molecules are shaped and what molecular structures look like in a two dimensional world, it can’t be like the constructivist lessons I usually try to create, because it does not actually contain any interactive qualities. This lesson’s purpose is to supplement or replace a textbook by providing an alternative way of looking at the concept of molecular bonding. Many of the segments that were designed each week focus on cognitive abilities to take a two dimensional object and visualize it in three dimensions, as well as perceiving the space that is physically occupied by molecules. Some of the weekly lessons involved manipulating the words so they could be more memorable, use color and organization to show patterns of atomic behaviors, or spacing to help students see categories for atomic properties.
The typography lesson practically personifies key terms by giving them qualities that goes beyond mere letters. The intermolecular forces have a force field between them. Ionic bonds have positive and negative charges, whereas the covalent bond words are locked together. My goal for making these words have more “personality” is to help students get a better visual image of what the words mean. Chemistry is insanely abstract and is taught to high school aged students, along with algebra, to help their brains develop the neural pathways that allow for more abstract thinking. The goal here is to help create more “nodes” as Alessi and Trollip (2001) refer to them on page 20. Can my images help create more neural connections?
The CARP lesson involves contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity to saturate the learner with a concept. For this lesson I presented at least three different ways shapes of molecules can be drawn. Since the lesson is written for online use, I can’t assume the students have access to molecular model building kits. I took photographs of what three dimensional models look like from a few angles, so students could at least see the models, even if they can’t hold them. The shapes I presented are based on models of what scientists think parts of molecules look like. I manipulated what is currently thought to be the behavior of small molecule parts, and provided students with various ways of looking at them, so they can get the idea that in three dimensional space, molecules have distinctly different shapes.
Instructional strategies are specifications for selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson.
Artifact: EDTECH 502: Webquest- Consequences of Genetic Testing (website on EDTECH2 server)
The webquest is as close as I have come to creating a lesson that has some level of student choice. It is not quite at a true inquiry level yet, but it does have lots of student freedom for choosing the disease they want to study and a dilemma that could arise relating to getting tested to see if they have the disease. The lesson itself has several layers that follow what Bernie Dodge proposed in 1997. His webquest design involves an introduction, a task, resources being made available to the learners, a process of what to do with the information broken down into smaller steps, guidance on what to do with the information, and some form of closure. The unit is sequenced from a broad perspective that there are dozens of diseases students can choose to study and takes them through a process of choosing one specific disease to focus on. It involves student choice to keep them engaged and interested in the topic. They get to create their own dilemmas, create a solution to it, have other people decide what the outcome could be for the dilemma, and find another person’s dilemma to solve.
Learner characteristics are those facets of the learner’s experiential background that impact the effectiveness of a learning process.
Artifact: EDTECH 503: Parts leading to the final project (Learning Log with links at the page)
As part of the process of planning and completing the final project in Instructional Design, EDTECH 503, we did some analyses of what we anticipated our learners’ characteristics would be. I have two documents at this link. In one, we filled out a chart that addressed Keller’s ARCS Motivational Strategies (Keller, 1987). Here I brainstormed what I already know about the people for whom I was planning my instruction. Being a motivational planning document, it has us identify who our learners are going to be and look at not only what will motivate them to want to notice what we are teaching (Attention), but what is going to keep them continuing with the lesson other than merely feeling obligated to doing it. It is useful to contemplate how your students will internalize the instruction before you create it so that you can plan to include components that will keep their attention (Relevance), give them feedback at appropriate places (Confidence), and in the end will leave them feeling like their time was well spent (Satisfaction). Knowing who your students are going to be is often as important as knowing the subject matter you plan to teach.
The final project I created for 503 was supposed to be a Moodle-like course for teachers going through the National Board process, who already did not pass the assessment. These teachers are referred to as “Advanced Candidates”. I personally know what the characteristics are for advanced candidates because I was one, twice. The ARCS Motivational Strategy planning document was useful because it forced me to expand on what I anticipated my students’ needs would be. This group of people is a very small group who, while technically did not fail, did not pass either, and that “failure” puts a tremendous amount of self-imposed burden and stress on their fragile egos. They get two more opportunities to prove to strangers that they know how to teach students effectively. With this in mind, when I created my lesson for the 503 final project, I was careful to be organized so my students would not waste precious time figuring out the logistics of how to complete the activities I made for them. I know my learners are already anxious because they are under pressure to figure out what they did wrong, write new lessons or make new video recordings, and write their analysis in a relatively short period of time. My job as the instructional designer is to make the part of their “reeducation” of how to write for the National Boards assessment as quick, efficient, and painless as possible.
Whether our students are ones who don’t try to do anything in the science classroom because they have never felt success in science, or if they are adults who are unsuccessful over-achievers, doing an analysis of what you expect your specific learners’ characteristics will be can make a significant impact on what you design in the lessons you create for those students. Knowing who we are creating lessons for will allow the designers to create lessons that ideally meet the students’ needs.
Print technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials, such as books and static visual materials, primarily through mechanical or photographic printing processes.
Artifact: EDTECH 506: Individual projects during the course (website on EDTECH2 server)
This webpageis where I stored my individual projects that I created during the EDTECH 506 course, Graphic Design for Learning. These projects are here because they are stand-alone digital images that could easily just be printed out and treated like digital images. They are here to show the process of learning I went through during the course. My final project, Molecular Shapes and Bonding, took a lot of time to develop. If you visit the website being presented for this standard, you will see it is very primitive. I was mainly just creating a space to store the projects as I completed them. My images are static visual materials. Each one serves a purpose and can stand alone. It does not have to be put with the other image assignments to have meaning.
If you have the time to read through the website and can actually see the text, you will be able to read my reflections and explanations of the assignments as I completed them. This mini-website became its own learning log. Although I had already made some explanatory images in the past, this course pushed me to get even better with making static visual materials. At the end of the course, around week thirteen, I figured out how to use the iPad to make my drawings. Except for the structural formulas, I am pretty certain all of those images were made in a drawing program on the iPad. They certainly have that iPad quality to them.
Artifact: EDTECH 511: Final Project User’s Manual (pdf)
Since standard 2.1 is about print technologies, I decided the user’s manual I wrote in EDTECH 511, Interactive Courseware Development, would fit here quite nicely. It is a pdf document that takes the user through the Flash Animation project that I created. This seemingly simple manual was the result of many storyboards and other logistical placements of written objects. It is a user’s manual that could be printed out to accompany the Flash Animation lessons. One thing I learned by doing this project is how to use Word’s built in styles to create a uniformly structured document. I became much better with using SnagIt and figuring out how to place images into text-based documents. The emphasis of the paper is to be a static written document where the user flips page by page. It is not full of hotlinks, nor does anything move if you click on it. It is just like an old fashioned booklet that used to come packaged with games in their boxes.
Artifact: EDTECH 513: Instructional Presentation, text only (Learning Log with links at the page)
EDTECH 513, Multimedia, started us off making a simple text based presentation. It had no sound, nothing to click on other than going to the next slide; nothing fancy. It was just a simple PowerPoint type of presentation that let us demonstrate our ability to communicate something to other people. I do not remember if the project had to be a how-to type of tutorial, but that is what I chose to do. This is another paper-like presentation where I had to integrate screen shots into a visual platform that included words. An instructor could use this type of presentation to introduce a unit on App Inventor, or it could be put online for students to look through if they needed a follow-up to what they did in class the day they set up their accounts.
Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.
Artifact: EDTECH 511: Final Project (swf)
In Interactive Courseware Development, EDTECH 511, I learned not only how to use Flash in a general sense, without code, but I also learned a little bit of ActionScript, which allows the presentation to be interactive or to have sounds. Although the activity is very cluttered and has redundant parts, that is part of its strengths. There is a video clip, a cartoon, sounds, a fluttering set of arrows that drop down into a scene, and even a tween that demonstrates how rounding happens. This project contains animation and sounds to accompany the animation. There are a variety of visual pieces, many of which are in motion and bump or bounce when they land in a spot. I used flashing things and colors to emphasize important points in the content. Audiovisual components should make the learning process more fun, and I think what I have created is a bit more interesting than what students would normally find in a printed textbook.
Artifact: EDTECH 513: My Digital Story (Learning Log with links at the page)
My digital story was created in the Multimedia class, EDTECH 513, as a way to demonstrate our ability to create a video that could exist on YouTube. The video is a digital story in the way it uses static images to show an event or point in time, while the narrator explains the context of the images. We researched digital storytelling websites to get an idea of what a digital story can be. Most of them are biographical. With my limited knowledge of people, the only person I knew I could do a digital story of is me. This project was more than just something I had to put together for a grade. I have wanted to know what digital stories are and how to make them for years. I’ve met teachers who do these with their students, and have always wished I had students I could request to make a digital story. For me, the learning in the project went beyond the mechanics of scanning in print copies of photographs to digitize them, sort them in PowerPoint, and use Camtasia to record me explaining them. It was a chance for me to learn a unique audiovisual technology that can be quite powerful. I made lots of videos in YouTube for Educators, EDTECH 533, but none that were as personal as this one was.
Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.
Artifact: EDTECH 502: Almost every project in the course (webpages at EDTECH2 server)
The Internet for Educators, EDTECH 502, had us create a teaching activity each week that utilized the Internet. The following assignments meet this standard by incorporating the use of the Internet, “library online catalogs and electronic databases to meet the reference and learning needs of students and teachers” (AECT, 2001). For example, the accessibility website and the copyright scavenger hunt use Internet resources to help students see how to properly and safely use the Web. Both activities contain links that lead students to websites where they can find information to answer specific questions. Electronic databases were referenced in the Image Access Page, the Jigsaw on Viruses, and the Consequences of Genetic Testing webquest. While many of the links are now broken, at one time these activities utilized computer based technologies because they required access to the Internet or the ability to view websites on a computer or tablet. For students to complete these assignments, which are located on specific servers, they need electronic access to the World Wide Web.
Artifact: EDTECH 505: Summary of our textbook (Articulate story at website)
I used the trial version of Articulate software to create the summary of our textbook for the Evaluation, EDTECH 505, course. This compilation of summaries of each chapter along with questions for formative assessment could not have been created outside of computer-based technology. Not only does the learner get to read a summary of what each chapter is about, but you get to hear my enthusiasm for what the book teaches us. In a few ways this project embodies what is capable because I used a computer.
First, it is digital and I included a navigation menu to the left so people can jump around if they want to. They can continue through the synopsis in a linear fashion, or if they choose, they can learn about one part of the book and go back to look at another part. When we took the course, we were skipping all over the place, so it makes sense I would create a slightly interactive way for my visitors to experience the book, too. Second, I was able to include quiz questions that immediately let the learners know if they have a clue or not. Third, it uses print media, written text, as well as audio as I read the slides to the viewers. I had not taken the Multimedia course yet, so I am sure I violated some rules in my presentation (Clark & Mayer, 2011), but it was still good practice for me to get better at making these types of tutorials for students.
Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.
Artifact: EDTECH 513: Worked Example Screencast (Learning Log with links at the page)
In Multimedia, EDTECH 513, we had to create a presentation where we showed students how to do something. The presentation needed to be multimedia, involving audio and visual cues (Clark & Mayer, 2011). I do not remember if it had to include practice for the students or not. I included it because I was using Articulate software to make my Screencast, and Articulate has an easy way to integrate questions. I added Flash animations to the Articulate presentation to illustrate some of the words I was defining. On other slides, following the guidelines for not having audio words interfere with what is happening on the screen, I created separate audio tracks to explain the slides. For example, on the slide, Going from pH to [H+], if students need to hear an explanation, they can click on the button indicating that a verbal explanation is available.
Integrated technologies emphasize the use of more than one mode being involved with the creation of instructional materials. These instructional materials would ideally work in an online environment and be self-contained enough so the learners do not have to go elsewhere to have the concept explained to them. I have created a few of these mini-lessons for students where they can control how much of the lesson they see at a time. By having both audio and visual options, multiple learning styles can be accommodated. The questions at the end of a teaching segment allow the learners to do self-checks for understanding.
Artifact: EDTECH 533: My YouTube Channel (opens YouTube webpage)
Besides the Edutainment class and the prospect of learning how to make apps for tablets, I came to Boise State because it offers a class on how to use YouTube as an educator, EDTECH 533. Dr. Snelson showed us several ways we can use YouTube to get students engaged in learning, such as how to use YouTube to create playlists or lessons that focus on a learning style. While the videos obviously involve moving images and sound, what makes a YouTube Channel integrated are the lesson plans that go with the playlists or teaching activities. For example, I made a playlist called Hopes, Dreams, and Survival. I wanted to use select videos found at YouTube to create an atmosphere that inspires students to not give up and to find a way to accept their challenges and overcome barriers. There is a lesson plan that accompanies the playlist which includes: learner description, instructional objectives, and possible ways teachers can use this exact playlist in the classroom. The education portion is combined with the videos to make using YouTube more valid than just a way to capture students’ attention.
Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.
Artifact: EDTECH 521: Community Strategies (Learning Log with link at the page)
Online Teaching k-12, EDTECH 521, was about how to involve the Internet in the k-12 classroom. One project for the class was to come up with strategies for how students would maneuver through the course, including support systems that would be built into the course. I assumed my course would be built in software that like Moodle, has areas to host discussion, build wikis, or just have a place where students could access links to places. Built into the community strategies outline are ways students can use the course for support, and it incorporates websites they can use to create their own projects.
Media is used on several levels in the Community Strategies proposal (on Google drive). First there is utilization of a LMS for support. There is a forum for students to introduce themselves, a forum for them to post their pictures, a place just to post “help me” types of questions, and an area for random discussions so they can get to know each other. External media is brought into the plan by having students either use the LMS or an external website like wikispaces to create a wiki. There is a blogging assignment so students can develop a topic that includes opinions. A class glossary can be developed so students can help their peers understand concepts that may otherwise be fuzzy. Finally, synchronous discussions are built into the course to allow real time help or learning.
Since online learning is often a challenge for students new to it, these structures are intended to provide new online learners with a sense of security. By participating in various discussion forums, their ideas are heard, recognized, and validated. Having multiple people recognize they exist is far more supportive than getting an email every week from a teacher you’ll never meet.
Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.
A technology use plan embodies a democratic way of determining how to use the limited funds a school or district receives for equipment and software. Ideally the decision is made by a community of stakeholders, and not just the principal or even a small group of exclusive teachers at a school site. While you don’t want to waste time by having too many people involved since money is often only allocated during a short period of time, you also don’t want to make the decision making group too narrow. This standard suggests there is a need to have an organized, methodical way to effectively communicate technology use and goals, while still including all members of that society in forming the plan to be used during the adoption process. The video presentation is one way a meeting could be held with the requisite stakeholders such that it allows for discussion and time for a real plan to be constructed. The final goal of this process is to have the school or district implement what decisions were made at the meetings.
Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real(not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.
Artifact: GetzGuides: An application of what I’ve learned in EDTECH courses (webpage with links)
I created GetzGuides when I was working for a virtual school. These are relatively short, interactive lessons that focus on a topic. The Art and Science of Significant Figures (swf) and Dimensional Analysis (swf) were part of my project for EDTECH 511. I presented the pH and pOH lesson (swf) for Standard 2.4, but it also applies here because this standard has a focus that includes what happens in real time. That lesson and the others, Henry’s Law (on Google drive), Limiting Reagents (swf), Equilibrium Math (swf), and Reaction Order (swf) are always available online for students to use at any time. GetzGuides is a part of my virtual teacher persona and I mention it to all of my chemistry students, whether they are kids I am tutoring face to face or ones I know solely in the online setting. These tutorials are becoming my way to provide real, authentic, interactive instruction for students who need to learn science. I intend to branch out beyond just chemistry lessons as I develop GetzGuides into a resource that can be used by anybody with Internet access.
Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.
What is netiquette and why is it necessary? Netiquette is a merger of “etiquette” and “Internet”. It is something that should be done, automatically, because that is just a good way to behave. Netiquette has become social policy. As teachers, if we are given our own virtual classrooms, this is one of the things we post on our “walls”: how to be nice to each other and treat one another with respect. My netiquette video tries to address the formalities that are automatically built into professional establishments online. Just as we have guidelines for behaviors in the workplace or schools, netiquette is a guide on how to interact with peers so that virtual collaborations can be productive and students can learn without personality issues getting in the way.
Artifact: EDTECH 543: Social media guidelines (as a part of the Learning Log)
The social media guidelines are very similar to the netiquette instructions, however they go a step further to account for safety concerns. If I were to use an open discussion board to have a student discussion, I would have to have the students follow very strict guidelines to keep their true identity and geographic location private. Ideally I would find a place like KidBlog or create a private group at Facebook to host a discussion with students. If, however, we decide to do a Tweetchat, there are rules students should follow so that they don’t inadvertently open themselves up for unwanted attention. Yes, Twitter accounts can be private, but if somehow during a tweetfest we use a hashtag that allows anybody to view the chat, there could be problems. Where netiquette has a focus more on anti-bullying tactics, social media guidelines have a focus on student safety.
Both artifacts demonstrate structures that should be in place for active, productive discussions that involve an electronic medium.
Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.
Artifact: VoiceThread asynchronous discussion (at VoiceThread website)
Bret Crane and I volunteered to do the discussion management so that our peers could have an opportunity to try an authentic representation of how VoiceThread (VT) works and can be managed. I had used VoiceThread in the past with students so I was happy to host the discussion, but Bret wanted to see how to handle that side of things so he is hosting it at his VT site. A great amount of planning went into setting up this discussion, ranging from deciding what we would put in the center area for students to focus on, to how we would introduce them to how to use VoiceThread. I found a video online that focused on how to sustain online discussions and broke it up into segments. We used the discussion questions from the video as prompts for our discussion. The link to the video was made available if our classmates wanted to see how it was addressed there.
Artifact: Synchronous discussion (video at Screencast.com)
Standard 4.1 deals with preparations or setting up policies to run an activity or program. This video shows you the aftermath of the discussion Bret and I did with our classmates. You should be able to see that to have the surveys ready for students to take, breakout rooms set up with a chat area, a discussion area, and a note taking area, as well as having files to download, links to LMS websites, and finally a link to our exit survey, not to mention two screens of instructional matter, a tremendous amount of planning and prep work had to be done by both of us. Our planning allowed us to control the pathway of the lesson because we could deliver materials at appropriate times. Students were rarely idle and were only asked to be listeners for a short period of time. We engineered our discussion to have student input by having them take our surveys when they entered class, and when they were put into breakout rooms to brainstorm answers to questions. Anticipating we may run out of time, we provided them with documents they could take with them so they could continue learning about Learning Management Systems if they chose. Part of our goal with the synchronous discussion was to demonstrate the versatility of Adobe Connect and how you can bring in external websites, too. If you do a synchronous presentation with Adobe Connect, you are not limited to just using that software. We did a little bit of screen sharing and “outsourced” our evaluation survey to Google forms.
Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.
Artifact: VoiceThread asynchronous discussion (at VoiceThread website)
Standard 4.2 emphasizes how the projects are monitored, the resources are managed, and how participants are supported when doing the project. The facilitation of the discussion falls in this area because we did not just put up our prompts and let the students go crazy without any monitoring. I tried to follow what I learned about facilitation in the PBS course on how to facilitate online discussions, and did private emails to the first people to post to the board. When enough participants joined in the discussion, I put out a landscape type of post to be inclusive of everybody’s opinions and work to advance the discussion even further. Unfortunately there were many constraints in this artificial discussion area, but overall I think our peers got a pretty full experience with seeing how VT can be used and managed for an asynchronous discussion.
Artifact: Synchronous discussion (video at Screencast.com)
The synchronous discussion is being used to show Standard 4.2 being met because for the numerous items you see completed to be filled out during the synchronous lesson, they had to be presented during the lesson. Students filled out the poll/survey questions and actively participated in their break-out groups. Bret and I had to monitor what was happening with our resources and if they were being used properly or not. We went into breakout rooms, collected student responses, and shared polling results with the students, as well as providing the parting gifts (a couple handouts), and a link to a post-presentation survey so our students could give us feedback.
Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . . [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner.
Artifact: The course I created for the evaluation project in EDTECH 505 (video at Screencast.com)
Standard 4.3 involves being a control freak with respect to course management. In less casual words, it is what the instructor is doing to provide a safe environment for students with respect to the instructional materials. Designing a course in a learning management system (LMS) is one way to organize course content in a predictable and systematic way. I created a sample course for the 505 evaluation project because I ultimately want to create an online component for face to face courses, so that the transition for traditional classroom teachers to including an online component, is less painful. I still know several teachers who are in the classroom with tables and chairs who do not know how they can possibly add more onto their classes, or how they could hybridize a part of their course. Since I am learning these tools and have the time to create a virtual component for a traditional textbook based class, I wanted to experiment with my organizational abilities as well as with making online course content that classroom instructors would not find difficult to use. The artifact is a video showing the course I created, along with an explanation of its components, and why I put specific details into the structure of the class.
Information management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.
One way to prepare content is to build it into the websites used to teach the class. Most of our webpages for 502 were ways of organizing information into succinct spaces so that the entire lesson can be launched from a focused location. The website for the Jigsaw activity is an example of how a webpage can be used to have directions about the assignment, and links to useful pages that help students complete the assignment. The virtual tour included links to videos that were chosen for specific content, questions to help focus students’ attention to a particular part of the presentations, and answers to the questions. When creating assignments that involve students seeking answers at websites, it is a good idea to provide students with links to websites you know will provide accurate and useful information. This is especially important with science courses because much of what is taught about modern science ideas like genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or evidence for evolution include websites with incorrect information. When teaching about the usefulness of GMOs or trying to avoid creationist arguments when teaching about evolution, it is a good idea to have websites prepared for students to visit that have the information aligned to what is known to be true in science. I have had to be very careful and deliberate whenever I have given students assignments that involve them doing any presentation about a science topic, because they will easily find the simplest website that does not cover their topic in enough depth, or that has incorrect concepts throughout. The activities created for the websites in 502 were originally set up with links to valid pages. Some links may now be broken; however, if these lessons were to be used for real, naturally I would find a valid replacement before turning the pages over to kids.
Artifact: Module 1 reflection for EDTECH 523 wiki assignment (at Google Drive)
In EDTECH 523, Advanced Online Teaching, our professor had us create a wiki with minimal guidance. It was a deliberate teaching method so we could see how essential it is for us to be clear with our communication as instructors. I have no clue where our wiki is located, but I do have my reflection so you can read about the value in creating a wiki to store information. Wikis apply to standard 4.4 because it is a compact way to contain content, create a way to display it for others to use, allow for revisions with a tracking feature that permits rollbacks, and the changes can be updated automatically. The only drawback I’ve experienced with doing a wiki as a part of a group is only one person can be in the wiki at a time making changes. We have to take turns, whereas with Google Docs, multiple people can be making changes on the same document simultaneously. Google Docs continuously refreshes the documents shared on a Google drive.
Artifact: Collaboration for the Digital Game Design for K12 (links below and at learning log taking you to Google Drive, Gliffy webpage, and Screencast.com)
Google docs and other web features allowed us to collaborate in EDTECH 597, Digital Game Design for K12. Aaron, Christina, and I collaborated with writing a program for our app (common Dropbox folder), creating a presentation (Google Docs and Drive), creating a flowchart to map out our plans (Gliffy website), writing a paper collectively (Google Docs and Drive), and creating videos (Screencast.com) to demonstrate our progress. To facilitate planning, creating content, transferring it to the submission forums on time, and processing our parts of each section, we utilized a common Dropbox folder, Google Docs, and Gliffy. We had to rely on static Internet resources because we live in three different time zones. Fortunately because the school has a school specific Google account, we were able to synchronously collaborate through chatting a few times.
Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.
Artifact: EDTECH 505: My Evaluation Project (Learning Log with links at the page)
Evaluation for Educational Technologists, EDTECH 505, took us through the process of determining that there is a problem, designing a way to evaluate it, and then ascertain if the problem can be solved or if more research is necessary. The evaluation project applies here because I spent a large amount of time to determine what exactly needed to be measured. At first, Dr. Fujii sent me folders of curricular information for five of the EAROP classes. The materials were mainly standards the students would master by taking the course, instead of it being projects or content material. I tried to create a couple of courses based on the standards, but found they would not necessarily be effective because for my design to be truly effective, I needed to know more than just what the standards were for the course. Since that first plan did not work, I approached Dr. Fujii again for more ideas about what I could create, and after an additional face to face meeting and several emails, we determined that I would create a course that many of the students could use, no matter what class they were in. This course is a general unit about how to prepare for getting a job. If the teachers liked what they saw, then they could expand on the idea on their own, or ask me to help develop an online version of their course for them.
The actual project is quite long so allow me to summarize it for you here. I did a survey about the teachers’ interests before they examined the course I created. I gave them a more detailed survey to fill out while they evaluated the content and style of the course I made. In my report, I show some tables that compare the findings of similar questions that were on the pre- and the post- course surveys, so the responses can be compared. I also provided opportunities for constructed responses and include many of them at the end of the report. Was my evaluation successful? Well that depends on how you define success, but it did really show me how I need a large amount of participants before I can truly have accurate data. Considering I want to create courselets for teachers to use in a hybrid setting, I hope to do more of these type of evaluations.
Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learner mastery of pre-specified content.
Artifact: The peer review form for EDTECH 523 (Learning Log with links)
We did synchronous presentations in 523 and as a part of preparing for the presentation, we were asked to create a rubric to use while watching other people’s presentations. This rubric lists specific items I was hoping to see in other people’s presentations, as well as ideally include them in my own. These items involved classroom management and lesson mechanics. For example, did they welcome participants to class? Is there something on the screen to welcome students or do they just sit there waiting for something to magically happen? Does the presenter introduce to students how they can behave in the course for answering polls or taking notes? Do students get to interact with each other? Is there collaboration or any discussion? The learner mastery I was looking for is how well did the presenter figure out components to include in a synchronous online discussion? I had about thirty items listed along with space for me to write feedback about each item. I found that sometimes instructors don’t realize that a component for online learning is available until they see it listed on an evaluation sheet.
Artifact: Webquest on the Consequences for Genetic Testing (webpage at EDTECH2 server)
The websites we created in EDTECH 502 often had an evaluation component to them. For this one I created a rubric that essentially uses a scale that goes from 1 – 4, from beginning to advanced. If they did an exemplary job, then they could earn an extra point. Expectations for students increase gradually as the criteria becomes more challenging. This is criterion referenced because each item to be graded is listed along with a range of possible outcomes. The items being looked at included identifying a minimum number of websites they could use for their research, posting their findings to a discussion forum and being thorough enough for their classmates to get a clear understanding of what they planned to do, whether they maintain communication in the discussion forum, their self and peer evaluations and the timeliness with which they were done, and following the rubric for the written paper. When standardized testing started becoming prominent in the classroom, I started using the terms they use to categorize students in rubrics I created so students could get an idea of what the terms mean and how the terms are a gradation of ability.
Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.
Artifact: EDTECH 505: My Evaluation Project (Learning Log with links at the page)
My big project in Evaluation for Educational Technologists, EDTECH 505, involved quite a bit of formative and summative assessment. I measured teacher interest in doing a hybridized classroom as well as provided opportunities for formative assessment in the courses I created for the teachers to evaluate. Data in the Evaluation Project is an example of formative and summative evaluation. You can find aggregated, summative data on pages 6 and 11-13 of the written paper. The Appendix also includes formative evaluation by having written comments to various open ended questions along with an example of the survey I used to gather feedback. My focus was strictly on assessing the teachers’ impressions of the course and the likelihood they would want to do something like this for their entire course. Dr. Fujii has been interested in branching out the courses to have an online component for years. My need to do a project where I could collect authentic data meshed very well with her need to get an idea of how her teachers stood on the issue. If you are able to read the proposal, you will see that my survey group was so tiny that it would not have provided statistically useful data, but it was enough to give Dr. Fujii an idea of whether her instructors were ready to move into a hybrid space.
Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning. Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.
Artifact: EDTECH 501: Simulated meeting for the presentation of how to use state allocated tech funds (Learning Log with links at the page)
Some of the projects we did in Introduction to Educational Technology, EDTECH 501, were to prepare us for being technology leaders at our schools or districts. Throughout 501, we went through the Problem Analysis (standard 5.1) phase and we assessed our schools to see what the current state was for the use of technology. From there we devised a plan and a way to communicate the plan to the stakeholders. Finally, the project artifact presented here is specifically about how the school should use funding by the state. There are two versions of the project, one up at Slideshare without an audio component, and a mp4 with audio. The slides are identical on both versions.
The presentation uses data tables from the National Center of Education Statistics to show relevant demographic information for the US (Gray, Thomas, & Lewis, 2009). The seminar’s analysis involves pro/con charts to look at the various suggestions which included providing computers to disadvantaged households and free or reduced price Internet access to all state residents. After several suggestions that are designed to stimulate discussion among the stakeholders, I give my personal recommendations along with citations and websites that may assist in my group meeting my recommendations. At around timestamp 13:35, I start listing my recommendations which included
- putting computers in all public libraries and extending the hours the computers would be available
- employ more people to help users
- keep public schools open later with appropriate supervision so students can use the school’s computers
- set up free Wi-Fi throughout the state
- have federal subsidies for private Internet access for low income families
- provide information literacy courses that include digital technology
- subsidize current companies that provide video content to schools or other online services
- subsidize companies that provide educational services for high school diplomas or for retraining of displaced workers
- subsidize teachers at Title I schools after they have been at one for at least 5 years for taking online courses
- subsidize all teachers with online courses they take to help them with learning how to better use technology in the classroom or with getting a refresher on their content area.
Recognizing limitations in how money will be used is one way to account for long term planning of limited resources.
The past three years have allowed me to explore a creative side that had not fully understood how to play with technology. I still dream about creating a virtual science course that allows students to get a more realistic perspective on doing science than just doing point and click. I have ideas of virtual labs I intend to create even though I don’t know if there will be an audience to use them. With what I have learned in 506, 511, 513, and 533, I should be able to create a variety of experiences that let students make mistakes online.
Hopefully the portfolio I’m creating will be an accurate representation of what I am capable of doing in virtual education. Even though I have not yet been able to use much of what I learned in my courses for my various virtual paid positions, I do feel that I have expanded my teaching skill set and extended my experience as a classroom teacher into an online learning environment. I appreciate that my foundations are based in well reviewed textbooks, peer reviewed papers, or published government policy documents. I like that I learned what is realistically possible in an online environment. It is not Boise State’s fault that companies are more concerned about making money than following what the government or academic community is endorsing. I have no regrets and hope I was correctly informed that I can continue to take courses even after earning the MET, because there are about 7 more classes I want to take. It just seemed to be the right time to finish the MET, in part, because I want to see if I can use it as a Master’s degree that qualifies me for technology credentials in any states. Even though my online teaching career has not yet been as successful as I would like it to be, I am optimistic that there are places that teach students online that see the teachers and students as more than mere commodities on the balance sheet.
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