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.

Starting my PBL Adventure

What is Project Based Learning?

What considerations are important when incorporating a Project Based Learning approach into the classroom?

As educators “jump” into the realm of PBL, this movement itself can lead to pitfalls if tips are not gleaned from veteran PBL educators. Novice PBL teachers will run into issues if they attempt to incorporate PBL as an alternative to all instruction, fail to enforce deadlines or start off with long-term projects rather than a shorter less complex introductory projects (Mergendoller & Thomas, 2005).

A successful PBL project can be defined by the beneficial learning experience created and maintained by all stakeholders.  Research has discovered that successful projects do not happen by mistake, in fact, success hinges on a teachers foresight or willingness to admit missteps and address these with the class mid-project as needed (Mergendoller & Thomas, 2005). As a classroom teacher, I found students responded well when an adult admitted mistakes during a class meeting and invited a classroom culture shift or, in this case, project shift. It is important that a teacher not feel paralyzed by an unsuccessful process and feel empowered to right the misconceptions or correct the now detrimental project process within their own class in real-time.

Another facet to a successful PBL project is for a teacher to manage student engagement and offer opportunities for students to express learning throughout the process (Ertmer & Simons, 2005). This feeds into the types of students that will be successful in PBL environments. These would be students who are exposed to collaborative learning environments and problem-solving opportunities more often. I would argue that all types of students can be successful with teachers who serve as inquiry facilitators. Increased exposure to these types of learning opportunities will create students who are better able to communicate and not only work alongside peers but understand the benefits of collaboration and seek it out.

Feel free to learn alongside me as I work to better my understanding of PBL in the classroom. Check out this great resource: BIE.org


Resources

Ertmer, P. A., & Simons, K. D. (2005). Scaffolding teachers’ efforts to implement problem-based learning. International Journal of Learning, 12(4), 319-328. Retrieved from http://www.edci.purdue.edu/ertmer/docs/Ertmer-LC05.pdf

Mergendoller, J. R., & Thomas, J. W. (2005). Managing project-based learning: Principles from the field (PDF). Retrieved from http://bie.org/images/uploads/general/f6d0b4a5d9e37c0e0317acb7942d27b0.pdf

EdTech 541 – Course Reflection

Part One: Reflection

As I reflect back on this course, it is evident that I have learned so much surrounding educational technology and classroom integration. I have learned that the places for technology integration within the classroom are endless. Of course it is important to look to the lesson and standards and decide if integration will bolster the learning, one must weight the relative advantage of the integration. And this is a major reason teachers will never be replaced by technology, a teacher will always be needed to weigh the outcome against the process and plan for best practices of integrating.

As I went through this course and developed projects, I always took into account whether I was making up lessons to fit the assignment profile or whether I was creating a project that was best practice for integration. A few times I found myself needing to reevaluate my projects to make sure I was creating a resource with a relative advantage and/or purpose for integration. It is important that the integration enable a more powerful experience or lesson than before the integration was applied.

Throughout this course we were asked to focus on a particular subject area and grade level. My project for EdTech 541 can be found here  and it focuses on  elementary ELA.  As I created plans for my unit structure throughout this course many AECT standards were met.

AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge):

1.2 Using – Candidates demonstrate the ability to select and use technological resources and processes to support student learning and to enhance their pedagogy.

1.3 Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates demonstrate the ability to assess and evaluate the effective integration of appropriate technologies and instructional materials.

AECT Standard 2 (Content Pedagogy):

2.1 Creating – Candidates apply content pedagogy to create appropriate applications of processes and technologies to improve learning and performance outcomes.

2.2 Using – Candidates implement appropriate educational technologies and processes based on appropriate content pedagogy.

Throughout this course, I had to read, research and discover technological resources to better support student learning in the classroom environment. I also had to be mindful about analyzing resources to make sure I was including and utilizing quality resources for student engagement and learning

I have grown professionally, as I have become a better digital consumer. This is because I am more informed and more purposeful in my integration. I also feel I have grown professionally as I am more confident in my understanding of purposeful integration that I can share with other teaching professionals. I also really enjoyed Roblyer’s text for this course. I have used the subject specific rubrics with my colleagues in my own coaching work. This text will be something I use and refer to again and again in my professional sphere.

This course as opened my eyes to integration within the classroom. I use to have a few go-to integration tools, but I realize now there is more to learn and incorporate into my practice. My Weebly website is a great showcase of all the topics we covered throughout this course. I will use it as a reference along with Roblyer’s text moving forward.


Part Two: Self-Assessment

Criteria Outstanding Proficient Basic Below Expectations
Content

70/70 points

Blog posts were used to address the topic in a real-life way with attention to each weekly topic

 

Rich in content, full of thought, insight and synthesis with clear connections to previous or current content and/or to real life situations made with depth and detail. Substantial information, thought, insight and analysis has taken place with some connection to previous or current content and/or to real life situations but lack of depth and detail. Generally competent in summarizing learning, but information is thin and commonplace with limited connections and vague generalities. Rudimentary and superficial regurgitation of content with no connections and/or completely off topic.
Readings and Resources

20/20 points

All readings were completed and used to bring credit to blog posts through APA style references weekly.

Readings (from course text) and other resource materials are used to support blog comments. APA style is used to cite references. There is some reference to readings and other resource material. No or limited use of APA style references. Little if any reference is made to readings an other course materials. Readings and resources are not mentioned.
Timeliness

18/20 points

Efforts were made to post early, but on some occasions blog posts were made later into the week.

All required postings are made early in the module to give others time to comment. All required postings are made but not in time for others to read and respond. Some or all of the required postings are made, but most are at the last minute without allowing for response time. Some or all of the required postings are missing.
Responses to Other Students

25/30 Points

I responded to many students postings, but could always do better with this to keep the collaborative learning alive.

Final: 133/140

Two or more substantial posts with at least one detailed response made to address another students’ post. One or more satisfactory posts with at least one satisfactory response made to address another students’ post. One satisfactory post with a brief response to another students’ post. One brief post or no post at all and no response to another students’ post.

Obstacles and Suggested Solutions for Integrating Technology in Science

Integrating technology can be an opportunity and challenge in any subject area. You will always have the lurking technical problems, the issues of time, lack of teacher training and financial burdens. These issues  do not discriminate between subject areas. However, for this post I am going to focus on the obstacles and possible solutions involved with integrating technology into the science classroom.

Obstacles & Solutions

Teacher Prep

Educational technologist, Roblyer (2016), points out that elementary teachers face the obstacle of lack of preparation or background knowledge (p. 320). At the lower elementary level, every teacher is a teacher of every subject area. With  this comes unique challenges. A teacher is expected to teach content areas that are not necessarily their strengths, favorites or field of major. This seems to manifest itself often when it comes to the sciences. Some elementary teachers have not been educated to a high level of science education as would be their secondary counterparts.

Roblyer (2016) suggests a possible solution for this is to leverage technology as a means of teacher professional development (p. 320). It is important to use technology where appropriate for students, but also for teacher development. Roblyer stated that: “online PD opportunities increase access for elementary teachers to this important area” (2016, p. 320).

Scientific Inquiry

Another issue with technology integration is  the lack of time to integrate authentic scientific inquiry. We see teachers shy away from investigations, hands-on activities, interactives and problem-based learning as they try to check all the standards being covered before the end of the year. Often teachers will not include technology as they find it is another thing to be covered rather than viewing it as a way to enhance content that is already being taught.

The solution for this is to have teachers integrate into what they are already doing through authentic online projects. They can capitalize on tech by using it to enhance what they are already trying to teach. Robyler suggests that “internet projects provide environments that support all phases of an authentic scientific inquiry experience” (p. 322). And it is through scientific inquiry that we grow a student’s scientific literacy to better our world’s future.

It is important for technology integration to be built into science unit and curriculum development. As teachers map out a unit and develop its course, technology integration should be planned and  written into the development rather than attempted as an afterthought.


Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.