EdTech 533 – Final Reflection

What were the three most important things I learned this semester?

This course had me learning a lot from the very beginning. I was definitely new to being a YouTube user when beginning this course. In the past, I knew that Gmail accounts had a YouTube account associated with them and I had uploaded a few teaching video clips here and there. However, it wasn’t until week one of this course that I learned what a YouTube Channel was and how to develop this through the creating of Playlists, Saved (curated) Playlists, Featured Channels and Subscriptions. I really have enjoyed learning about Playlists and I have started to put these together on topics I am supporting teachers with at my school site.  Here is the link to my own YouTube Channel. Of course, it is a continual work in progress as I am adding and tweaking over time.

Another important item I learned this semester was creating a short-form educational video as a Screencast with the added ability of zooming on sections of the screen and annotating during the presentation. I used Screencast-O-Matic for this first time through this course and was pleased with the capabilities. I have been able to share my created video through email with many teachers already. It is a great way to teach something without having the time to meet with a teacher one-on-one. Attaching my screencast video right in an email has been wonderful! Not to mention they can also locate it on my YouTube Channel.

A third important topic I learned a lot about this semester was the process of creating a mini-documentary. From storyboarding, to gathering and defining media assets to using movie editing software this process was exciting and informative. I think a big piece of learning for me on this was how important the storyboarding process can be when creating your actual movie. The outline and gathered resources are so essential to make sure you have a movie worth creating.

Has my opinion of YouTube in education changed or remained the same? Describe three or more specific examples.

I don’t know that I had much of an opinion about YouTube in education prior to this course. I viewed YouTube as a place to find videos to show whole class when appropriate. I definitely have grown in my understanding of the specific uses for YouTube in education and thus have an even more positive opinion towards it.

The use of YouTube Channels is a great way to organize teacher collected resources by topic and for multiple use across grade level teams or from year to year. The use of Playlists allows for a teacher to create a lesson plan with specific purposes for videos that tie them together around a theme.  Google Form embedded videos allows for a wonderful way to have students respond to videos, answer questions or write and submit responses.

What have I learned about media literacy and how will that information impact me as an educator? In your response, discuss three or more core competencies of media literacy: access, analyze, evaluate, reflect, or act.

As media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, reflect, act and communicate information in many forms this is very impactful for any educator. As a technology instructional coach this is impactful as I work with teachers who engage their students in media literacy of the print or non-print variety. I have been able to provide media access information to teachers through my YouTube channel for teacher education.  I have also worked with teachers as they have created digital citizenship lessons on topics about analyzing media lessons. It has also been helpful to share with teachers how to embed YouTube videos in forms for students access to responses and independent reflective student work.

In what specific ways will I use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching or training? (If not currently a teacher how might you use what you have learned?)

I have already been using my YouTube Channel for my work as a technology instructional coach. I have created Playlists to focus on specific technology integration topics that teachers have needed support with in their practice. I have created additional screencast videos as well to share information with colleagues through educational short-form videos. It is also helpful to have more knowledge on more advanced video editing software as classrooms need my support with this as they create videos showcasing work. I was also able to share Powtoon with some teachers as a way to create easy short-form videos to showcase learning during a Twitter chat.

Select at least three of the projects you created this semester and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

Short Form Educational Video: For this project we created a short educational video and then hosted it on YouTube with closed captioning.

AECT Standard 3.5 Learning Environments-Ethics: I made sure to obey copyright and fair use rules when creating my video.

AECT Standard 3.6 Learning Environments-Diversity of Learners: My educational video will appeal to learnings with a range of abilities as it enables teachers to connect to a printer without the help from an IT staff member. This is an enabling learning video.

Mini-Documentary: For this project we created the mini-documentary video project. We were able to storyboard, choose media and edit the final video.

AECT Standard 3.4 Learning Environments-Managing: I was able to improve learning by sharing this video on Blended Learning in DCPS with my site staff.

AECT Standard 3.5 Learning Environments-Ethics: I made sure to obey copyright and fair use rules when creating my video, including audio usage. I also was able to credit myself for video and photos where appropriate.

AECT Standard 3.6 Learning Environments-Diversity of Learners: This video is able to empower teachers to understand what blended learning is and the benefits for their classroom.

Media Literacy and YouTube: I was able to create a media literacy lesson which focused on gender stereotypes in media. The project was hosted as a Google Form assignment with embedded videos.

AECT Standard 4.3 Professional Knowledge & Skills-Assessing/Evaluating: For this project I was able to evaluate media and reflect on this message for myself and students.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: For this assignment I was able to embed YouTube videos into Google Forms and assess how easy this is for students to use and answer student created questions at a differentiated level.

 

Evaluation vs. Research

1. While evaluation and research do overlap on many aspects, and can often be overgeneralized when being defined, it is important to understand that these two processes are very different. By intent evaluation concerns itself with informing particular stakeholders about programs or goals while research is looking to inform those “well beyond the stakeholders” in order to move forward with new learning and knowledge (Boulmetis & Dutmin, 2011, p. 171). By design and by purpose priorities it is often fairly obvious whether or not evaluation or research is being conducted. Research is often more concerned with cause-and-effect, whereas evaluation is designed so that “programs can change” (Boulmetis & Dutmin, 2011, p. 173). In research, the sample is important as it needs to be nonbiased and appropriately collected. However with evaluation, as it is concerned with a specific group or organization, by design will be a limited generalized sample.
Again a major difference between both processes is the audience. Evaluations are very much designed and implemented and shared with particular stakeholders for specific purposes, in fact, often the results are never shared beyond this group. However, research is shared via peer review and often published for others to learn from the research.
2. The Wikipedia article discusses the reasons behind conducting the evaluation as efficiency and effectiveness, it leaves out the possible purpose of impact. The entry targets the importance of stakeholders as the reason that many evaluations are started and also discusses the importance of engaging with stakeholders. I thought it was interesting that the entry also laid out the pros and cons of external versus internal evaluators which we discussed in our coursework as well. I thought something lacking from the entry was an outline of the major evaluation designs (e.g. goal-free model). Both our course work and the Wikipedia entry highlight the evaluation framework as stages requiring 1) needs assessment and 2) program planning and then the stages differ. I didn’t notice a specific Evaluator’s Program Description framework within the online entry article which was a major piece of our work so far this semester.
3. First off, I found it interesting that there is an Amercian Evaluation Association, I definitely have not run into very specific organization before. I appreciate that the organization offers a lot by way of connections to its members through groups and social media connections. I took the opportunity to search for evaluators for the District of Columbia and was amazed by a number of names and organizations that filtered for possible connections if I was looking for an evaluator. I took some time to review their mission and vision and was pleased to see they have quite the set of governing policies complete with a guidebook, end goals, and strategic plans. This reminds me of the course I took on Instructional Design and how fascinating it was that this was a whole new world of careers and job focus.

Reference

Boulmetis, J., & Dutwin, P. (2011). The ABCs of evaluation: Timeless techniques for program and project managers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Screencasting – Short Form Educational Video

For Module 4, I explored the topic of screencasts as a short educational video. I had never used Screencast-O-Matic but quickly learned how to manipulate the free software to showcase the tutorial I was looking to teach. There are many screencast programs available some paid and others have free and pro models with differing capabilities.

Screencasts are recordings of both the audio and visual of what occurred on a computer screen throughout the recording. This can include the instructor switching between tabs as well as the possibility of recording a webcam image or possible cursor highlights or indicators

Screencasting has many powerful implications for the educational world. The major concept of the “Flipped Classroom” thrives on the ability for teachers to create and record videos teaching a particular concept or topic. Teachers can record themselves teaching with whiteboard apps or powerpoint slides as a possible way to create these videos. Flipped classroom videos allow students to “move at their own pace” (Ruffini, 2012). With videos, including screencasts, students can pause, rewind, fast forward all with the purpose of enabling students to control their understanding and increase their learning and comprehension. Michael Ruffini (2012), with EDUCAUSE Review Online, suggests also embedding Google Forms below screencast videos on classroom blogs for students to turn in answers to questions or write reflections based on the video. This reminded me of our Media Literacy lessons where we embedded videos into our Google Form itself – as this has been an upgrade since 2012.

Screencasts can also be a way for teachers to record themselves leaving feedback as they reflect on digital student work. Imagine a teacher recording a video as they score or revise a student’s paper. That student can watch the video of their own teacher editing their work for better insights into the feedback being delivered. This method will allow for much more feedback through audio rather than a teacher trying to write or type everything.

A third way that screencasts can be meaningful for students is if they themselves are creating videos. Apps like Educreations and Showme easily allow students to do this. I also encourage my teachers to use their SMART boards as a center and teach kids to create a screencast (using SMART record) to teach a concept to the class. Sometimes these videos are shared with parents, played for the whole class or shared with a small group. This is very motivation for students and allows them to practice many language skills.

These are just three of the many ways screencasts can be used in the K12 classroom. Have you tried integrating screencasts into your work? Have you had any successes you would like to share?

Student Screen Cast Sample

Resource:

Ruffini, M. F. (2012). Screencasting to engage learning. EDUCAUSE Review Online. Retrieved fromhttp://er.educause.edu/articles/2012/11/screencasting-to-engage-learning

ST Math – Blended Learning in California

The MIND Research Institute contracted the Evaluation Research Program at WestEd to assess their blended learning program, Spatial-Temporal Math (ST Math), in an elementary school setting in California. WestEd used data from the CST (California Standards Test) from grades 2-5 to compare CST scores of students using ST Math to those similar groups of students not using ST Math. WestEd compared first-year full implementation usage at schools to those not using ST Math. Full implementation usage was defined as 85% of students completing at least 50% of the blended learning curriculum during the course of the school year. Results showed that grades using ST Math showed higher scores than those students not provided with ST Math and that the most significant gains occurred in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades.

Interestingly enough the research group made sure to clearly define that grades were made up of all the classes within participating schools. For example, if a school had six grade 2 classes, all were included regardless of individual classroom implementation percentages. And that 212 schools were included in the full implementation groupings. It was also interesting how detailed the evaluation went by breaking down the CST data not only overall but also by growth for advanced and proficient students. I would have been interested to see results for far below basic and basic performance level as well.

It was also intriguing how clearly WestEd wrote up the limitations to the evaluation. They suggested that data may have been affected as ST Math was implemented by choice within schools and motivation, surrounding math in general, could have been high with the self-elected new program. The evaluation groups also suggested that some limitation existed as it was impossible to control that students hadn’t used the program in previous years, even though the study indicated it was a first-year usage evaluation.

Wendt, S., Rice, J., & Nakamoto J. (2014). Evaluation of the MIND Research Institute’s spatial-temporal math (ST Math) program in California. WestEd. Retrieved from https://www.wested.org/wp-content/files_mf/1415393677Evaluation_STMath_Program_20141107.pdf

EdTech 504: Reflections

Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology: Final Reflective Journal 

What were the most important things I learned this semester?

The most important piece of information that I gained from this course was the need, as an educator, to understand educational learning theories and their application in the use of educational or instructional technologies. It is important to not only understand foundational theories about also emerging theories and how these relate to the evolving ed tech field. I learned that it is important to stay up-to-date with learning theories and the research surrounding these topics with relation to the digitally changing classroom or educational environments. As a technology instructional coach, it is important to guide teachers in technology implementation for increased powerful learning experiences rather than implementation for implementations sake. It is essential to understand how students learn and how these technologies have changed and added to this with their own theories.

How was my teaching (or thoughts about teaching) impacted by what I learned or experienced this semester?

As previously mentioned, I am a technology instructional coach. I have the pleasure of working with classroom teachers to plan and implement technologies into their practice and lessons when most appropriate. This course continued to strengthen my beliefs in the power of connectivism and communities of practice. Over the last few years, I have really come to witness and believe in social networking for students and staff. I hope to continue to train and share the best usages and practices with regards to these tools, which can often be labeled as not educationally pertinent if one does not understand emerging educational learning theories.

 Did I (or will I) use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching, training, or professional practice? If so, how?

I have already begun to use what I have learned in this course for a few summer Tech Talks I will be doing for local teachers. As I prepare to create these teach talks I have always added the goal or student outcome with regards to the training topic, however now I will also add information on the learning theory behind the possible “why”. It is important that teachers know the why behind their decisions for integration within their classroom.

Select three of the projects/assignments you created/wrote in this class and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects/assignments demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

Learning Theories Paper: This assignment had me trace the lines form a major school of thought to theory then to its major contributors and finally the application of this theory.

AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Peer-reviewed journals were used to develop our understanding of learning theory and a particular major school of thought.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Critical thinking and analysis was needed of researched materials to argue applications of the theory at hand.

 Annotated Bibliography: For this bibliography, we were to research peer-reviewed articles around a similar educational technology and learning theories theme. I choose to focus on the Web 2.0 tools and the theories of constructivism and connectivisim.

 AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Peer-reviewed articles were referenced and cited with ties to the theme of connectivisim, constructivism, communities of practice and educational technology/Web. 2.0

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Each peer-reviewed bibliography entry was to be critically critiqued. It wasn’t simply a summary, but rather an analysis of the author’s work and research that made up the bibliography.

 Synthesis Paper: This final paper was an opportunity for me to showcase learning theories related to educational technology. I focused on the need for increased research around emerging learning theories, like connectivism, and their implications for the digital classroom.

 AECT Standard 1.2 Content Knowledge-Using: I was able to focus my synthesis paper on Web 2.0 and the theories that support this collaborative environment, but also reflecting on the need for increased research.

AECT Standard 1.3 Content Knowledge-Assessing/Evaluating: A major component of my paper was assessing social media and the theory of connectivism. This topic shows my interest and understanding that student engagement increases with learning that occurs socially.

 AECT Standard 5.1 Research-Theoretical Foundations: Research for this paper took into account past, present and future learning theories surrounding educational technology and Web 2.0 tools.

AECT Standard 5.3 Research-Assessing/Evaluating: Using peer-reviewed resources I was able to assess that more research is needed so that educators will be more apt to integrate digital technologies with the use of learning theories in mind. The synthesis paper was not  summary paper, but rather an evaluation of theory and implications for educational technology in learning environments.

PBL: Debrief

What do you now understand best about Project Based Learning? What do you understand least?

Throughout this process, I have learned a lot about PBL. This was my first experience creating a PBL unit. Prior to this I had read and heard a lot about the concept, but I had never tested out the process by actually creating a project myself. Upon completion of a unit from start to finish, I would say I understand the development and components well. It all seems to flow nicely from one component to the next. Each aspect seemed necessary and relevant. I would venture to say creating the project assessments were the most time consuming, but also essential to do upfront or order to create and understand the focus and direction of the project more completely.

I have never implemented a project, thus I would venture to say that I understand project implementation the least. Unfortunately in my current position, as a technology instructional coach, I will not be able to implement my project with fidelity with a class of 1st graders.

What did you expect to learn in this course? What did you actually learn? More, less, and why?

When registering for this course I expected to study multiple examples of PBL and review case studies for usage. I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to take a project from start to finish. The BIE resource is so helpful and I appreciated working with their templates and materials and will definitely reference this moving forward. I learned that PBL projects do not have to be scary, but it is a mindset whereas the classroom teacher understands learning can happen even when they themselves are not in the front of the room as the center of instruction. I learned that PBL projects grow and change and can be altered within the design process and even during implementation. I learned that some of the greatest skills students will get from PBL are learning to work collaboratively within a team.

What will you do with what you have learned?

Moving forward I hope to help introduce this concept and way of teaching to other educators. As a technology instructional coach, I don’t see myself using PBL units with a group of students, but rather helping other teachers develop their own units for usage.

Final PBL Project: Discovering Flight