3D GameLab Guildsite – Let the journey begin!

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3D GameLab Guildsite – Let the journey begin!.

This is a potential teacher resource for alternative reality.  It is connected to my university.

EdTech 505 Introduction

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Please reply to this post by choosing the most appropriate answer:

For you, what is the most tedious part about doing a job search?

  1. Collecting all your data (references, certificates, transcripts, etc.) to make a good presentation (digital or print).
  2. Searching for potential job opportunities, reading through the generic sets of teacher qualifications.
  3. The lengthy process of filling out the same personal and professional information on multiple webpage applications.
  4. Waiting for anyone to contact you regarding a potential job opportunity.
  5. Sitting through multiple interviews, and trying not to answer in any manner that would make them reflect poorly on you.

Hi, I am Dann Mosteller. As you probably have already figured out, I am in the middle of a job search. Using the list above, I am approximately on #4 at this point. So when you reply to this, please take a moment to offer your general encouragement or any helpful advice.  Perhaps, a little more information about me would be helpful.

Here is a brief word picture about my life: grew up in Oklahoma, lived in Mexico, met my wife there, taught in Texas, taught in Kuwait, now teaching in Saudi Arabia.  While living in Kuwait (2010), I sought out an Boise State EdTech program, because I was interested in taking my teaching career to the future.  I started the program in Fall 2011, around the same time I moved to Saudi Arabia to teach.  I will graduate this year in December, so not only have I become quite familiar with online learning,  but also, I have enjoyed it exceedingly and excelled in education unlike at any other time in my life. 

My wife and I will move back to the USA this summer so she can begin to pursue her goal of studying a masters.  The program that she wants to study is in Texas, but here’s the good news: I am a Texas certified bilingual (English/Spanish) teacher, I have 11 years experience teaching ELL students, I have 2 years experience teaching IB, and I am about to complete a EdTech masters degree with 2 specialty certificates.  The down side is, it won’t impress anyone if no one takes time to look at my profile.

As I read through the syllabus for this course, I was really drawn to this idea of “evaluation”.  I know there is much more to it than high-stakes testing or teacher evaluations, but these are powerful attention-getters in current US, K-12 teaching.  Fortunately, I am not currently in the US, and honestly I have enjoyed the reprieve from high-stakes testing.  Additionally, during this semester I should have a lot of freedom to implement any type of evaluation procedures with my students.  Currently, I am teaching 9th grade English (Language B-MYP).  Another advantage that I have is that I’m teaching the same group of students that I taught last year in 8th grade English. 

I would like to leave you with my my ideal job situations: 1) working with a group of Spanish speaking middle school students who have been brought up in a bilingual or dual-language learning environment, developing their academic skills through technology integration.  2) teaching a high school Spanish class either in an online or mixed learning environment.  3) Working with ELL learners of all ages, with the freedom to integrate 21st century skills into the lessons.  Eventually, I would like to help any institution to integrate powerful technology tools or to develop online (mobile) courses for their students. 

Here is my professional showcase.  Spread the love, and don’t forget to leave me a bit of encouragement or helpful advice.

 

Scaffolding in Project Based Learning

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New_Scaffolding_in_PBL

This article identifies the best components of scaffolding for students that are working through a project.  As I was reading through the article, I was remembering my discussions with my project partner Aaron Dore.  We were discussing many of these points with regard to student guidance.  We did not want to leave them in a situation where they could wander all over the place or that they don’t even know which way to begin.  Therefore, he and I began to examine ways that we could put components in place that will not only help guide them but also help them develop skills and knowledge that they will use later in the project.

First of all, we will be asking our students to do something that I don’t think any of them have ever done.  They will be required to communicate with other students in other time zones and with very different cultures.  The students will be in Michigan and in Saudi Arabia.  This will be intriguing yet intimidating to students, as there will likely be cultural misconceptions, stereotypes, and prejudice on both sides that could emerge.  So we have specifically put in a component that will promote respect and collaboration among the students.

The tasks that they are asked to do early on will give them an anticipation of what it will be like to collaborate with other students and to complete more challenging tasks with technology tools.  When I ask the students to record a video  introducing themselves, not only are they putting their best foot forward for the cross-cultural connection, but they are also developing skills with web 2.0.  Later tasks will require the students to not only communicate about specific content, but they will also be required to produce a final presentation with web 2.0 skills.

The above article focuses much of its energy on making sure that students do not wander off topic of that they don’t get lost in ambiguity, yet they point out that the students also benefit from a fair amount of creativity and self direction.  They recommend that careful evaluation of steps be reviewed for possible lack of clarity.  For our project, as of now, we have given adequate direction and adequate freedom, but we could benefit from checking the specific steps so the students will know what they are doing each step along the way.  Here is a link to our project:  Trade and Cross-Cultural Collaboration

PBL: Driving Questions

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This week in my project based learning class we began to plan a project that can be applied to a group of students.  My classmate, Aaron Dore and I began to put our heads together to see if we could create a cross cultural project.  He first began with the overall idea of having students research supply and demand.  As I began to share with him some of the cultural and societal differences in Saudi Arabia, compared to living in the USA, we began to see unlimited possibility to collaboration ideas that can be done between students from both cultures.  So we set out to see what we can accomplish.

Fortunately, these projects slowly unfold, discovering all the enrichment that is waiting for the teachers and the students.  Aaron and I were full of ideas and potential, but piecing them together in the jigsaw of purpose would soon become a rather big task.  During this assignment, the professor asked us to make a driving question and sub questions that will support the goal and efforts of our students in this project.  As I began to piece together an appropriate driving question with the subsequent sub questions, I discovered that our project will probably need to be narrowed down to a more specific focus.  As I already mentioned, there are many ideas, but focusing them to a clear outcome is still up in the air.  As Aaron and I continue to collaborate, we will explore ways of making are project and questions more precise and focused.

Reflection: Community Building Strategies

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This week in my K-12 Online Teaching class, we were introduced to the idea of establishing an online community where people feel that they belong.  Since online learning sets up a class that is not based on proximity and physical contact, certain strategies must be considered to create a feeling of belonging and interconnectedness.  Therefore, I have written these strategies with the idea of creating a community for an online class.  Many of these ideas were inspired by my textbook, Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies and Practices.  However, since I don’t actually teach online, I had to imagine how I would structure activities in the event that I am preparing an online course.  Here is my plan:

My Plan for Online Community Building Strategies

The initial strategy involves me introducing myself.  Because I am trying to personalize this introduction, I would use my skills with video editing to create an entertaining introduction.  This will also model the same type of information that I want to receive from them in an introduction.

I will not obligate students to make a video, so I will provide them with general guidelines about the information that I want them to present, but let them choose the type of delivery (e.g. information post, audio recording, drawing, or presentation).  The information that I will ask for the students to include is: photo or image of themselves, family information, location, hobbies, technology background, experience with online courses, and educational goals for this class and beyond.

Many of these activities provide for a safe environment, yet it also motivates students to create good quality responses, because they know that other students will be reading or watching.  Requiring students to first, answer a teacher made quiz about other students, then, make their own quiz about themselves, will be the most effective way to make a community because they will have to depend on each other to accomplish each individual task.  These activities have the purpose of deepening interpersonal relationships online, so later they will be able to place confidence in their classmates when collaboration is required.

Reference:

Rice, K. (2011). Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies and Practices (1st ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

PBL Research Summary: Studies Validate Project-Based Learning | Edutopia

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PBL Research Summary: Studies Validate Project-Based Learning | Edutopia.

Despite being a bit dated (Edutopia, 2001), this article provides ample information about the effectiveness of project based learning (PBL).  The purpose of this article was to give a brief overview of various research projects, which studied schools that implemented lessons and activities that were more student centered, meaning that the students took more charge of their learning and funneled it into a purposeful project.  Of course the teacher in this role, was not as active in lecturing, but rather directs the students with a goal, or give them the tools to create their own goals.

In all the cases of PBL in this article, the students showed gains in their academic progress.  In many cases, the research projects were done in schools that had suffered through low results in standardized testing, and they all not only showed great gains, many of them were performing at higher levels than the standard level of other schools in their district.  Some of the data also showed that there was a decrease in absentees.

As I read through these accounts, of course I am inspired toward using PBL.  However, the thought is a little intimidating, because I think of how it requires a big idea.  Wrapping my head around something of such magnitude is a little overwhelming, but I am confident that I have the creative juices to tie in many standards and criteria into a project.  However, because I am not sure how well students will buy into the idea, I am always hesitant about taking on a project that goes more than 1-2 weeks.

For the EDTECH 542 course I will be required to layout a project that can be implemented for my students.  Likely, I will team up with other students, who are teachers in other subject areas.  This type of project is intended to be across subject areas, what we call in IB “Horizontal Planning”.  However, I do see myself very involved in setting the project goals and standards for multimedia use.  I can see either a project requiring students to make a commercial or do a role play in video.  This will require students not only to work with video, but also use video editing software.  At the same time they will develop concepts of effective communication and marketing.

Reference: 

PBL Research Summary: Studies Validate Project-Based Learning | Edutopia. (2001).Edutopia. Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-research

Moving to Moodle 2.0 | Technology Teacher

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Moving to Moodle 2.0 | Technology Teacher.

I’m looking forward to the upgrade.

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