Instructional Design: Module one discussion

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In this assignment we were asked to read various descriptions and analysis of the concept “Instructional Design (ID)”.  Most notably, we considered general purpose and function of ID and the theories and models that guide it.  Due to the many variables that affect the effectiveness of ID, an array of options have developed over time to support the different opinions and and emphasis.  Though ID has accrued some criticism because of it’s never ending attempt to present a standard method for instruction, most people that work in any kind of instruction or education field realize that all models of ID have the same goal, distributing instruction as effectively and efficiently as possible.

In addition to the reading, I was asked to respond to the following questions

  1. What do you think the word “design” implies? What does “instructional design” means to you? How does the meaning change when adding the word “systematic” in front of “instructional design“?

The word “design” is used by commerce in their job descriptions, by artists in their creation, and by philosophers (especially theologians) in their reason.  Despite the broad application of the word, it basically comes down to describing the process of making something with a purpose, or sometimes describing the purpose for which something was made.  Therefore, the word design implies that there is a designer and he or she has a purpose.  The focus of “instructional design (ID)” implies that a designer has some important information or knowledge that they want to transmit to other people, so they consider the best approach for passing the instructions.

Since we live in a world full of concrete and abstract ideas and skills, society has created a science and an art for disseminating information and knowledge; it is called instructional design.  The scientific and artistic aspects are forced to inhabit the same field of study, but not always in harmony.  The scientific branch of ID likes to apply the word “systematic”, hence you often see the term “Instructional Systems Design”.  This now implicates that there is a standard process that produces a standard result, or at least tries.  Furthermore, it supposes that there is a system that can be applied to a variety of circumstances that will promote the best learning outcome.  The artistic aspect of ID reminds us that learning does not always take place in laboratory with controlled variables, so we must modify or adapt our approach to the variables of the recipients or learning environment.

  1. Share your own experiences to illustrate your point(s) above. When you share your experiences, be sure to describe the process you use to design or create learning experiences for others. It does not need to be in formal learning environments such as schools or professional development courses.

Mostly, I have worked with students that have deficiencies in the English language or deficiencies in cultural context of information.  During my work in public school in Texas, I was trained in one popular ID model called Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP).  This is a linear model that emphasizes 8 components that spans lesson preparation, delivery, and assessment.  One key component is building a background knowledge, which constructs a learning foundation before you ask the learner to interact with new ideas.  Of course this model works well for teachers because it assumes you already know your students and their level.  Though it did not train me to develop curriculum, it did give me a good system to follow for constructing lessons.  However, the nature of my teacher role varied from year to year, so I never was able to build upon previous lessons.  This is why I was constantly adapting or modifying my strategies to fit the learner profile, which is why I can relate strongly to the artistic aspect of ID.

  1. In your opinion, how does Instructional Design relate to Educational Technology?

Last semester, I read and wrote about digital inequality, which refers to the unequal access and knowledge of technology.  Many people in education are putting the fight against digital inequality at the forefront of their missions and goals.  They recognize how this gap in knowledge and experience will limit people from interacting with society and if society does not confront this, it will put them at a disadvantage on the world stage.  This is just one aspect of educational technology, but it does assume that there is crucial technology knowledge that needs to be disseminated throughout society.  Furthermore, there are specialist in ID that are determining the best way to educate the masses and to give them appropriate access to technology.  On the other hand, many instructional designers realize that technology could  serve as a medium for transmitting instruction that may not be strongly related to technology, therefore, they kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by transmitting important knowledge while the learner is appropriately interacting with technology .

  1. Share a short description of the topic you plan to work on for the required Instructional Design project in this course.

During a 3 session instruction of 1 hour intervals, a group of K-12 teachers will be able to produce and analyze student surveys and quizzes on Polldaddy.com.

In this assignment, I developed the following AECT standards:

  • 1.1.b Identify a variety of instructional systems design models and apply at least one model.
  • 1.1.c Identify learning theories from which each model is derived and the consequent implications.
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My First Web Page Assignment

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It’s official now, I am a web designer.  Today, I completed my first ever web design assignment in my ED TECH 502 Course, Internet for Educators.  For the last few months I have had the Dreamweaver CS5.5 software on my computer, but I never ventured there to try to figure it out on my own.  Thanks to the excellent instructions in the reading materials and the instructional videos provided by the professor, I was able to work my way through it.  Yes, Dreamweaver can be overwhelming, but they provide so many features that makes it much easier for people like me, just starting out.

Fortunately, I had an excellent start last semester in the ED TECH program.  I feel that I have come a long way since then.  I am no longer as shy about putting things out there on the web.  I also saw bits and pieces of formatting language used in web design, as we set up this learning log and I learned how to embed content.  However, I know I have a long way to go.  I just wanted to stop and mark this milestone in my ED TECH journey by showing the finished project of my first web page.  I know it is simple now, but by putting this image up, later I will see how far I will have gone and see where it all started.

According to the course syllabus, this assignment accounts for the following AECT standards

  • 1.1.3.b Demonstrate personal skill development with at least one: computer authoring application, video tool, or electronic communication application.
  • 2.3.2 Design, produce, and use digital information with computer-based technologies.
  • 2.4.5 Develop effective Web pages with appropriate links using various technological tools.
My First Web Page Design Assignment

Instructional Design Job Description

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This is my first assignment for Ed Tech 503, Instructional Design.  Right away, it appears that my professor wants to either challenge or measure my current ideas of instructional design.  As a teacher with more than 10 years of experience, I was surprised by how diverse the concept of instruction can be.

We were asked to research and evaluate three job postings that specifically focus on instructional design with an emphasis in technology.  I discovered that many of the listings were for companies rather than educational facilities.  The fields of specialty were also very diverse among the companies.  This shows that almost every facet of society requires instruction and an efficient method for delivering that instruction.  Listed below are the three job postings that I selected.

After reading through these job descriptions, I was asked to put together my own pseudo job description for an instructional designer.  Probably the most difficult aspect of this was imagining a company with a service or a product at its core.  In order to complete this assignment I had to push aside some of the business notions that would ideally be established already.  Therefore, I set out with the idea of circulating instruction and design in general educational apps, always keeping in mind the necessary skills of the applicant. Below is my job description.

Lastly, I was asked to give a complete response to the  three reflection questions listed below.

1. What are teachers expected to do that instructional designers are not?

Throughout my teaching years, I have developed many survivor skills to help me juggle all the tasks that are expected of me at one time or another.  Lesson planning is probably one of the most time consuming tasks because it requires so much purposeful thought.  It is a skill that I continue to develop, but in a nut shell it is determining what the students need to know, how am I going to transfer that knowledge, and how am I going to check for understanding.  My current concept of instructional design is very similar to this layout.  However, when it comes to the lesson plan delivery, I have faced many challenges .  The most eminent challenge is what teachers and administrators refer to as “classroom management”.  I must admit that it was an underestimated necessity when I first started teaching, but in time I have sought a number of ways of managing my class with organizational skills and imposing general expectations on the students.  Based on my experiences, classroom management is probably one of the biggest measurements of a teacher’s effectiveness.  None of the job descriptions for instructional design mentioned anything about classroom management.

2. What are instructional designers expected to do that teachers are not?

Facetiously, I could say that teachers are expected to do everything, therefore nullifying the question.  But seriously, it almost seems like a trick question because the teachers’ role is so diverse and they are measured by so many variables, including designing and implementing instruction.  Admittedly,  I have yet to deepen my understanding of instructional design, but it appears that this type of role is more focused on the analysis of the instruction across many different professional fields and with a variety of ages to consider.  Though instruction is at the heart of both instructional design and teaching, ideally the instructional designer would be more of an advocate of the instruction, where as the teacher would be more of an advocate of the student.  Perhaps this view is short sighted, but based on what I have experienced in schools, when a student does poorly, there is more attention given to the teacher’s intervention rather than the instruction.  We are asked question like, “What have you done  for this student to help him/her succeed?  The instructional designer probably won’t have spoken with the family about the student’s struggles, they will focus more on how they can make the instruction more effective.

3. What are the three major differences between a teacher and an instructional designer?

Answering this question feels a bit like skeet shooting at night, but yet I will still attempt to hit the target with my answers.

The word “training” probably does not do justice to describe instructional design nor teaching.  However, from a layman’s perspective, that word seems like the best synonym for instructional design, whereas teachers are rarely called trainers.  Just to clarify, I know there is much more to instructional design than just training.  I hesitated even mentioning the word because I knew it probably sounded just as bad as when Jo Smo says that all teachers are just glorified babysitters.  So as a teacher, I know how important an instructional design is, even though I haven’t seen the whole picture yet.

It seems like an instructional designer may impact a broader audience and cover material more intensely than a teacher.  Teachers have the same students every day for several months and the flow of information is continuous, so many times teachers will teach general concepts.  Even though I am expected to transfer both knowledge and skill, many times my instruction is regarded as something the student may or may not be able to use in life.  I always try to make it as relevant as possible, especially since I teach based in literature and tie it into life experiences.  So as a teacher I know how my lessons are just one step in the learning process, but the students usually don’t think that way.  To them, my instruction is either interesting or boring.  On the other hand, the role of instructional design in many cases is to make instruction the most practical possible and for the recipients to apply it immediately.  With technology this type of instruction can be distributed over great distances and at indistinct starting times.

In case my first two responses seem superficial, I will make an attempt to go deeper with my third response.  After reviewing the job descriptions, I noticed that the qualifications for instructional design require more specialized knowledge and skill.  Administrators are always looking for a complete package when choosing to hire someone, including other school administrators.  Generally speaking, the minimum requirements for a teacher are less than that of and instructional developer.  Take for example the skill with technology; even though state and federal capacity standards are continuously rising for teachers, the basic level knowledge is still much lower than what is required of most people working with instructional technology.  In considering this factor only, you could say that all instructional designers could be teachers, but not all teachers can be instructional designers.

With this assignment I believe I meet the following AECT Standards:
  • 1.1.3.b Demonstrate personal skill development with at least one: computer authoring application, video tool, or electronic communication application.
  • 1.4.c Describe and/or document specific learner characteristics which influence the implementation of instructional strategies.
  • 2.3.4* Incorporate the use of the Internet, online catalogs and electronic databases to meet the reference and learning needs of students and teachers.