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.

 

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.

School Evaluation Summary

Ward 4 Site – Evaluation & Survey

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For this assignment, we were able to research and explore school technology use planning. We were coached through the process to actually analyze our school, district and state for technology plans and overall direction. I enjoyed this process as I was able to learn so much about all the levels of complexity that go into a site’s technology evaluation. I appreciated the structure of the Maturity Model Benchmark as a way to organize my evaluation process. I feel that this will give me a good basis for starting to work out an actual technology use plan with my site leaders this upcoming school year.

The evaluation was broken down into five filters (administrative, curricular, support, connectivity, and innovation) which then received a rubric placement from “emergent stage” (low) to “intelligent stage” (high). Check out my school’s Maturity Model Survey as well as School Evaluation Summary for more specifics.

I used the pseudonym “Ward 4 Site” for my school’s name throughout the evaluation. Ward 4 Site reached an overall ranking of “island stage”, which wasn’t overly surprising to me. Both the district and school lack a technology usage plan, which needs to be rectified. On a positive note, discussions have taken place on this subject and a planning team will be working on this in the upcoming year.

 

Technology Trends

Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches

Leaving the west coast last year for Washington DC, was an adjustment for me. One of the major adjustments that I had not foreseen was joining a school district that had not adopted Google Apps for Education for their students. Having been a classroom teacher for eight years, in multiple school districts with GAFE, I apparently had taken this for granted. For years, my students and I were engaging in the collaborative learning projects using this platform as a jumping off point. When I interviewed for a Technology Instructional Coach position in DC Public Schools, I was shocked to learn GAFE or even some form of student collaborative capability was not in place everywhere.

Over the past few days, I have been reading the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. This annual publication discusses solutions, challenges and trends regarding educational technology over the short, mid and long term. For our assignment, we were to identify one of these technology trends or tools, explore it further and develop some authentic product we wanted to use from our research. I definitely gravitated toward the particular section, of which I am sure you can guess.

The trend that stood out to me was a mid-term (3-5 year) trend calling for increased use of collaborative learning or cooperative learning. This trend called out to me as it described districts successfully using collaborative environments through the use of district-wide tools. Collaborative learning is the opportunity for teachers and students to engage with each other to form a community of learners locally and globally.

Collaborative Learning

From this, I chose to look more deeply at Microsoft 365 as a collaborative and creation based tool. This fall our district will be adopting Microsoft 365 for both teachers and students. Not only this, but students will be given five additional Office licenses to use on home computers and devices. This adoption will be revolutionary for our students. I know this because my teaching in GAFE school districts was forever changed for the better. Students were engaged with each other, teachers, and peers outside of their school. They would work together on assignments, critique, review, analyze and create together. I am very excited to introduce this tool to the teachers and students that I work with.

My teachers are familiar with Google Drive and its features, but Microsoft 365 will be new. Of course everyone will have some familiarity with Office products so that is a great jumping off point. But, it is the collaborative nature of both services that I am most excited about.

I developed a beginning-of-the-year introduction to Microsoft 365 for my staff. I chose to highlight only a few tools for this introduction, as well as suggested ways teachers could learn more. These accounts will be a surprise to teachers and students as the release for my district will happen August 1st, and as you know, teachers and students have been off for the summer. I am excited about the collaborative possibilities. And now that Microsoft acquired Skype, the global possibilities are even more achievable!

Please check out my Microsoft 365 Sway presentation, a work in progress.