EdTech 523: Module 4 Reflection

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Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem

Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem

Module 4 was a transition period because I was ending one group project while I was getting started with another, and in between we had Spring Break, when my wife and I traveled a few days to Jordan and Israel. I agreed to work with one group to develop an online resource for online teachers and work with some other students to develop some discussion questions for the upcoming module.  This gave me collaboration opportunities where we met in Google Hangouts, shared a Google Doc, and exchanged friendly emails. I’m glad that I did both as I was able to use some of the work from the online resource as a reference in my communication plan.

Doing homework at the Dead Sea.

Doing homework at the Dead Sea.

Additionally, I was able to work ahead  by reading the material for the next module so I could prepare the discussion questions I will present.  Lastly, I would like to comment about chapter 9  on “Transformative Learning” in Building Online Learning Communities. This chapter was very inspirational for me because it described so much of what learning online has meant for me.  It also aligns with my philosophy on learning and teaching.  This chapter meant so much to me, since it is affirming my desire to grow confident learners through online education.

The other course textbook, Learning in Real Time, helped me to envision the role of synchronous communication in online learning.  As I was reading through this text I had to think of discussion questions, but my mind was really opened to the power of synchronous communication for building an online community.

Self Evaluation Using My Grading Scale

It seems natural for me to transition my skills as a teacher to the online environment.  I enjoyed putting together my grading scale for online discussions. My experience as a teacher has helped me know how to clarify expectations and also prevent problems with students before they happen.  Of course, I imagine students that range from a typical pre-teen to a solid full-fledged teen, which are the age groups that I have been working with the last few years.  Also, my grading has been influenced a little bit by the IB Curriculum, which is my current grading standard.

It is also a little unfair evaluating myself with my own grading scale, and this is based on two factors.  First, I made the grading scale based on general ideas that I have used when I respond to a discussion prompt.  This will likely work in my favor because I know what I like in a response, because it is often what I do.  However, the second factor does not work in my favor so much.  I am probably my own worst critic, so using my grading scale with my perception would probably cause me to nit-pick details in my response. When I consider my experience, while using my own scale to evaluate myself, I would not make any changes to my scale.

Nonetheless, I think of my last post which responded to one of the students who posted a discussion question.  I know that I didn’t do all the tasks that were associated with the research of his writing prompt, so I would probably loose about 3 points there.  I make up some ground in the area of content for posting some relevant information. I really wanted to discuss Chapter 9, which was one of the required readings and no one made a prompt that addressed this chapter, so I took the opportunity to steer the discussion in this direction, but at the same time I did address many things in the response.

There were many opportunities to respond to other students’ posts and I know I met the minimum requirement, and my posts are generally very thoughtful, so I received all 10 points.  Finally, I am a language teacher so I have developed many skills for using language in communication.  I make occasional mistakes with my writing, but I usually make a point to review, and I pride myself on my creative approach to writing, especially the introductions.  I know I took care of these details in my response, so I received 5 points for each scale.  Oops! I did not include any picture or media to accompany it, but at least I made up for it in this post.  This brings my total score to 32 of 35 points in that post.

Changes to Discussion Facilitation

Even though I have not facilitated a full scale discussion yet, I can already imagine some of the challenges associated with it.  I already know what it is like to feel overwhelmed with reviewing many writing assignments, so I could imagine the work load easily getting out of hand if students are constantly posting lengthy responses.  I would have to get to know certain features of the LMS that allow me to review overall activity.  Even though I want my students to write with quality and to feel like they are writing with a purpose, I know half of my job is complete just by getting them to do that.  In other words, I won’t feel that it is necessary to read every word, especially for the student responses.  I would have to learn some teacher shortcuts for reviewing these, as well as encourage more peer review and accountability among the students.

EdTech 505 Week 8: Request For Proposal

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505 Week 8 RFP

This week we had to prepare a proposal for a fictional company that is interested in pursuing a marketing campaign for their educational program development package.  The attached document is my proposal.

EdTech 505 Week 5: Gap Analysis

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Peer Structure and Support

Brief Overview:  This is a classroom instructional management design that requires students to create peer assessments of literary content and analyze peer responses.  The purpose of this evaluation is to measure the effective use of Google Web 2.0 tools while writing the peer assessment project.

Needs Analysis

As I have indicated previously, this is a program that I have successfully implemented in another school, but I had not yet applied the use of web tools, therefore the peer assessments were created by students and printed out for classroom distribution.  Additionally, when one student failed to meet the deadline, it affected the whole class.  In my current school, creating these assessments in web-based format, we can save the consumption of paper and the web-based collaboration feature makes the whole team accountable to the deadline and they don’t have to rely on one student.

The Goal

The objective is to make the peer assessment process more efficient by using web-based tools.  An additional objective with this current group of students is to measure the effectiveness of peer assessment for developing analytical literacy skills.  At the end of the evaluation, a recommendation can be made to continue with this program for future literacy activities.

The Program (Bridge)

All the students will read the same selected text.  The facilitator will distribute the assessment tasks to student directors, who will meet together to discuss those tasks as they relates to the deadline.  The student directors will meet with their team of students to delegate responsibility among the members.  Each team will work together to form assessment artifacts that target the objective and they will determine what are the appropriate responses to meet those objectives.

Students will be provided time with a computer to create a collaborative document, questionnaire, spreadsheet, and presentation, in addition, time for taking the peer assessments of other students and to analyze the results of their own assessment.


Peer Structure and Support

Philosophy and Goal

Through the process of assessing peer skills and knowledge, the students become more aware of their own ability to interpret literature and analyze peer responses.

Needs Assessment

In order to develop critical thinking skills for the students, the educational experience needs to be relevant for the learner.

The program facilitator needs to provide

  • rich literature for the assessment tasks
  • examples of assessment tasks
  • feedback on assessment artifacts

Students have a need to make a learning experience more relevant by

  • analyzing text for peer assessment tasks
  • analyzing peer responses of assessment tasks

Program Planning

  1. The students will take a pre-survey about assessment tasks.
  2. The whole group of students will read the selected text.
  3. Student groups are formed with a director, who discusses peer assessment tasks and coordinates the collaboration of the team.
  4. Each team will create an online assessment that targets the group’s assessment tasks.

Implementation and Formative Evaluation

During this phase the facilitator will review the assessments created by each group to see if they properly understood the assessment tasks and to clarify any mis-guided assessment artifacts.  Once the peer assessments are ready for distribution, the whole class will respond to the quizzes created by their peers.

Summative Evaluation

After the students have responded to the peer assessments, each team will collect and analyze the data.  They will put together an expository presentation that shows the anonymous responses from the class.  They will identify positive and negative response characteristics to their intended assessment tasks.

EdTech 505 Week 3: Project Proposal

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Peer Structure and Support

 

This is a student hierarchy of directors and teams that will actively participate in peer evaluation by creating the assessment, reviewing the results annonymously, and presenting feedback on responses.

 

Objectives

Evidence

  • Students identify and understand the skills that they want to assess in their peers.
  • Students correctly comprehend the literacy concepts.

 

  • Students collaborate to use Google Forms to create their peer assessment.
  • Students collaborate to collect and review the results from the peer assessment
  • Students successfully create an assessment that targets that skill.
  • Students successfully create an assessment with correct ideas and content.
  • Students will share with the teacher the Google Form that they created
  • Students will present their annonymous evaluation for the peer responses

1. Would the program you detailed in Chapter One benefit from an evaluation? If so, how?

Yes.  The evaluation can show how Google Forms serve as a medium for students to collaborate and communicate with other peers, allowing them to evaluate their peers comprehension and skills with literacy.  Student engagement in the learning process is an additional benefit by teaching them analytical skills through their own evaluation process.
2. What are the inherent limitations in the evaluation of the program?

One limitation is my direct involvement in the process.  Not only will I be working as an evaluator, but in most cases I will also be the faciliator of the related activities.  Additionally, at this point there is no third party for reviewing the evaluation progress and results.  I will likely seek out the involvement of the director of the learning resource center (LRC) because many of the activities will take place in the learning resource center.  Perhaps the director can take on some of the facilitator roles to allow me to observe more as the evaluator.

There are possible social factors that could impede the flow of the evaluation process.  As students are assigned roles of leadership and are also put in charge of evaluating peers, this could prove challenging for some students to handle.  Measurements are in place to avoid this as much as possible.
3. How might you use the results to benefit the organization, community, schools, or yourself?

As mentioned previously, the LRC will be a place of many activities.  This school resource has recently developed to expand its attention to student academic services.  The results of this evaluation can show the effective use of LRC resources for the academic goals.

EDTECH 504: Reflecting on Epistemology

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Before this course, Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology, the word epistemology did not exist in my vocabulary.  OK, so I don’t anticipate that this word will appear in any popular titles of songs or movies, but surely in teacher circles you would expect to see or hear the word emerge from time to time.  However, in my decade long plunge into professional education, I don’t recall the word arriving to my consciousness.  Suddenly, I find myself in a situation, where I have to reflect on my own epistemological views and acknowledge my own teaching strategies, whether they follow along with my views.  Fortunately, my professor recently assigned me a substantial amount of reading on this subject, which is going to help me not only put together a position, but also reflect on where I see my professional self within that view. 

The term, epistemology, means the theory of knowledge and it was coined by a Scottish philosopher named James F. Ferrier (1808-64)(dictionary.com).  It is at the heart of education, through which knowledge is acquired.  The concept has its roots in centuries of philosophy and discussions related to the effect of education on individuals and societies (Phillips, 2009).  Overtime, theories have been developed to consider the most effective way to transmit knowledge to individuals.  The majority of the last century was dominated with behaviorism theories, which were based on external stimuli and external receptors (Roebler and Doering, 2012).  Technology’s influence over communication and data collection has led to epistemological shifts for creating and sustaining a variety of learning environments that are more student-centered rather than teacher-centered (Jonnasen and Land, 2012). Furthermore, in the 1990’s there was such a surge in brain research and identifying consciousness in individuals, even more theories are being developed around the internal process for obtaining knowledge (Demasio, 2002). 

As I was reading through many of these theories, the major theory branch of constructivism is where I was more inclined.   I recognized my inclinations towards its major characteristics for two primary reasons.  First, as a student in the EdTech program at Boise State, our content is steeped with constructive learning approaches.  Also, I have notice especially the last few years of my teaching profession, I have pushed for more constructive learning activities.  I think this approach came me both instinctively and as a learned strategy.  The instinct developed as part of my own learning experiences; growing up accepting mediocre achievements in my own education, I learned that by applying myself to a subject matter, I was able to accomplish beyond my low expectations.  Beyond the time frame of my formal education, I was able to acquire many skills, including near fluency in a foreign language.  Obviously, these personal experiences have effected me as a teacher, so that I understand that most of my students have untapped cognitive potential.  However, when I first started teaching, I fell back into teaching modes that were modeled for me in my earliest educational experiences.  Over time, I have adapted my teaching styles, where I try to submit my students to rich learning situations, but I try to let the learning grow from within them. 

I perceive the world through my perception, but I had to step aside and consider the world perceived by other learners.  Due to the many readings on learning theories, I found myself formulating the framework of my own theory.  Up to now, I have not deeply investigated one particular theory to see how much of my own philosophy matches up against it.  Basically, I see life and cognition within multiple phases.  As people develop through those phases, their cognitive senses respond differently.  Depending on the phase, certain systematic approaches to teaching and learning can be applied at varying intensities.  However, I am aware that theories related to society also affect the “how” and “what” that many learners obtain and the also effect the way people relate.  I have experienced cultural tendencies in life and in education.  I have witnessed people and students that are confident in one environment and when thrown in another, their personality is muted.  I also have imagined modern-day learners, with all their abilities to access to technology, entering into a primitive environment and they would be seen as useless.  I have also observed many generational differences that affect perspective.  Therefore, I believe that no learning theory can be independent from the theories that calculate society.  According to some of my readings, this philosophy has some similarities to the Social Activism Theory by John Dewey and the Child Development Theory by Jean Piaget, as well as some tidbits from other constructivist theories (Roebler and Doering, 2012).

When it gets down to the educational experience with my students, I am willing to use technology software such as drill and practice and tutorials to help them develop more foundation.  Some students have struggled to produce in a constructive learning approach due to their lack of prior knowledge or skill with language.  Yet, many of the technology tools that I try to introduce to my students are to give a queue or guide toward a learning challenge and let them a chance to create their own understanding.

References

epistemology. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved September 26, 2012, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epistemology

Phillips, D.C., “Philosophy of Education”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
Jonassen, D., & Land, S. (Eds.). (2012). Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Demasio, A. R. (2002). EBSCOhost: How the Brain Creates the Mind. Science American, Special Edition, 12(1), 4–9.

The Technology Grade for the School

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In this assignment we were required to evaluate our school in terms of technology use and installation, based on the criteria list in the Maturity Model Benchmark.  We were also given the option to work alone or in a group.  I completed the spreadsheet evaluation for Sand Dune Middle School (Pseudonym) and my partner, Erin Okazaki, completed most of the summary of each field.  At the end of this post, you can find the ratings and the summary.

I found this assignment to have clear criteria to allow me to be as fair as possible when rating my school.  In some ways I felt inadequate in rating certain criteria because my experience with the school is so limited, however, I felt that even from my position I could observe many aspects of technology in regard to practice and attitude of the school administrators, teaching staff, parents, and students.  Therefore, I am fairly confident of my rating.

In terms of AECT standards, this assignment would serve as the beginning point of  three domains, Utilization, Management, and Evaluation.   All of these domains address planning criteria that would require any institute to make such an evaluation before they further implement utilization and management of a technology plan.  However, the Evaluation domain is where this assignment stirs up more value.  Specifically, this domain focuses on evaluating school process of technology use.  Below is a list of criteria taken from the AECT standards, which I feel are addressed with this assignment.

  • 3.0.1* Assess, analyze and design a media facility for optimal use and functionality to support contemporary educational goals of the school media program.
  • 4.0.3* Develop a collaborative working relationship with school administration and staff which results in a strong understanding and widespread use of the school media program.
  • 5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement
  • 5.3.3* Use a variety of summative and formative assessment techniques for the evaluation of the school media center and for the school media program.

School Survey and Evaluation

Digital Inequality Assignment

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Recently, my Beta group of Ed Tech 501 completed a collaborative project regarding the difference between digital divide and digital inequality.  Prior to this assignment, I was unfamiliar with both terminologies.  In preparation for the assignment I studied Dr. Barbara Schroeder’s online lecture regarding the matter.  I also did additional research on the internet and discovered some helpful information as well because there are active groups in society that are evaluating the effect and solutions of digital divide and digital inequality.  Among these groups are The Greenlining Institute and Internet for Everyone.

I also read about internet usage around the world.  Since I have had the opportunity to travel to different places in the world these statistics were of particular interest.  This issue of digital inequality is not only being addressed in the United States but it is an issue that many local and federal governments are considering because of the internet’s role in society and economy.  Many countries are taking steps to increase accessibility to the internet.  I have seen it in the state of Queretaro, Mexico, which decided to install free public access to the internet in city plazas and parks.  According to Taringa, an Argentinian publication, the Argentine government is implementing a similar strategy at the national level.

With all this new information I was able to see that there is a legitimate concern within the local and global societies concerning the individuals that have access or knowledge of digital technologies.  However, I also discovered that there are no easy solutions because it is not always a matter of physical resources available to the people, but the the mental and emotional attitudes toward the changing technologies is one of the limiting factors in moving forward a whole society.  Also, many that do have abundant access to digital technologies do not practice responsible use of the internet and it is very difficult to police.  Therefore, many who would otherwise be inclined to participate in online activities are reluctant because of the mistrust.

Here is a video copy of our project:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Digital Inequality Assignment , posted with vodpod