Rationale Paper for Association for Educational
Communications & Technology Standards
Master of Educational Technology Program
Boise State University
Professor Dazhi Yang
I used to know a teacher who early on in the school year would tell his students, “Please don’t sit there in class hoping to be entertained all the time. I’m only a teacher and this is only a classroom. You’ve been home all summer being entertained by things produced with a Hollywood budget. I don’t have a Hollywood budget. There’s no fancy technology built into this room to keep your attention all the time; you have to want to pay attention and you have to want to be interested.” I was that teacher. I looked out at faces that looked back at me with these bored expressions as if to say, “Go ahead, put on your little show and see if you can keep me awake.” I don’t give my little speech near the start of the school year anymore. Do I still believe that there’s a responsibility on my students to want to be engaged? Yes. But now more than ever I feel there are tools available to me that can help me get their attention more quickly and keep it longer. I still don’t have a Hollywood budget. Whatever the lowest budget film ever made is, most teachers have a lot less. What I do have after my time in the Master of Educational Technology program are more tools in my bag in the constant battle for the excitement and interest level of my students. I have learned how to offer them more than just what I can deliver. Skills and tools are now at my disposal, along with the knowledge to deploy them in the appropriate manner, to help open up the whole world to my students. This program has given me what I need to be better for them.
I’m not the best paper writer. All the things I enjoyed most during this program were hands-on projects where I got to engineer a way to solve a problem; to feel like I was creating something with my own hands. I guess I should try to look at my portfolio the same way. It definitely has taken time to put together. Before this class I’ve never made a portfolio as a culminating activity before. Looking back, I would put more work into it during each class rather than treating it as a separate activity to be done at the end of the course. Picking out the artifacts and writing some reflection while things were fresh in my mind, rather than waiting until what ended up being years later, could have made this process much easier. Apart from all that, I think the ePortfolio is a great assessment tool that gives me the best chance to show what I’ve learned. But I guess that understanding is partly what the reflecting is about; seeing what mistakes were made and having a plan of improvement moving forward (Ziegler & Montplaisir, 2012). In this paper I seek to show how I’ve grown as a student and educator during my time in the M.E.T. program, and explain how each of the following artifacts prove my mastery of the Association for Educational & Communication Technology (AECT) standards. My paper is divided into five sections that correspond to the AECT standards of; 1 Design, 2 Development, 3 Utilization, 4 Management, and 5 Evaluation.
Rationale for Artifacts
Standard 1 – Design: Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.
1.1 Instructional Systems Design
Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.
Before taking part in the EdTech program, I had never heard of the Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADDIE) process that we studied in depth during the 503 course. All of the components of standard 1.1 are at play in my Final Instructional Design Project for that course. While I’m sure that when planning lessons I gave thought to what my students knew about a certain topic before teaching it (I often had them complete a Know, Want to Know, Learned chart before many units), this project encouraged me to actually get more data showing my students’ knowledge level or skill gaps in a certain area. In the project we were going to do, students needed to take pictures with a digital camera of various geographic landforms that they may see in our area. Photos would be uploaded to a cloud based storage location so that they could be easily placed in a slide presentation created using some Web 2.0 tools (Google Docs and Zoho.com were two common choices). After speaking to a few students it quickly became obvious that many of them had no knowledge of how to upload photos or make a presentation. I created a survey to assess the learning needs of my students in terms of what skills they already had, and design instruction that would fill in the knowledge gaps for students with various skill levels. I tried to keep the ADDIE process in mind throughout the development of the assignment. Through the course you realize that the analyzing phase tends to happen continually. I couldn’t just evaluate students’ understanding of how to use the tools once. I had to keep doing it, then using that information to change the design of the lesson, and finally implement those changes. Even as I implemented steps guided by my research, I would evaluate whether or not those steps were going to be effective for the largest number of students possible. After evaluation, I knew that the design of the course had to involve more instruction aimed at getting them familiar with the technology. If you’re going to do the research into what your students need, you have to actually incorporate the results into the course you make (Shibley, Amaral, Shank, & Shibley, 2011). Creating the flow chart that attempted to plan in advance for almost any mistake that could be made, or where a lack of knowledge could cause the process to fall apart, was so insightful for me in the rest of my teaching. Without using the ADDIE model for instructional design to guide every step of this unit of instruction, it could not have been nearly as successful.
1.2 Message Design
Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.
The eBook that I created as a tool to be used before my students conducted a survey for our Livability Unit is what I’ve chosen for this standard. The pre-survey eBook that I created for EdTech 541 shows my mastery for this specific standard. Rather than simply handing the students a piece of paper, this ebook of instructions is available to them anywhere. They often lose paper. All of the instructions for the Livability Unit we did for geography class were put on a classroom website, with links to this eBook being included. I knew that both teachers and students could potentially be using these instructions, and I wanted it to be something a little more engaging than your average handout. Part of the lesson was also for students to create an eBook as part of the survey they’d be administering. Part of the message they were to receive for this was the ability to create their own ebook later in the unit. By allowing them to physically manipulate (in a virtual sense) an example of what they’d be creating, students were able to see as well as “touch” the instructions.
The other artifact I chose the 5 Themes of Geography Jigsaw activity created in EdTech 502. Students needed to learn the basics of geography and this lesson, which would be completed online, was a great way to do it. They were instructed to work in groups, with each member researching just one of the five themes. One of the most frustrating things for teachers that have the guts to take their students into the school’s computer lab is when class time is wasted by inefficient searching. This ‘technology generation’ of students can be really bad at using the web for educational purposes. By using the jigsaw format and a custom built webpage I was able to avoid much of the time that normally would have been wasted in poor research efforts. Sites with relevant information were found in advance and organized by theme so that students knew very quickly where to go for help finding their specific resources. Besides using the web page as an organizer for the sites, I also put assignment instructions, and even some tips on group work dynamics. By planning for how both students and teachers could interact with the content of this lesson I showed mastery of this standard.
1.3 Instructional Strategies
Instructional strategies are specifications for selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson.
For EdTech 502 I created a webquest that had students answering the question, “What Makes a Place Livable?”. In it, careful planning was done to make sure that even a student, or teacher, who had no previous experience with the idea of livability could follow the sequencing to complete the instruction. Even if someone had never been exposed to the idea of a learning theme, the website had planned instruction for that as well. Each step in the process built on the previous step, and students had a core group that they worked within that could provide feedback along the way. I realized fairly quickly in my master’s program that having someone else to bounce ideas off and check for understanding can really make a difference in my confidence level with a project, so I decided to build that into this project as well. It also required students to get their work peer reviewed for feedback prior to completion. Again, this allows for mistakes to be corrected before grading, and increases the chances that the final product is of high quality. A rubric was created that made it simple for students to know exactly what was expected of them. The thought put into the sequencing of instructional events creates a situation where students have a much better chance of success.
1.4 Learner Characteristics
Learner characteristics are those facets of the learner’s experiential background that impact the effectiveness of a learning process.
My EdTech 501 Digital Divide Letter to Parents is one of the artifacts I’ve chosen to show my mastery of the idea that one must know about the learner to help that person succeed. As was typical of my experiences at BSU, I had never even heard of the term digital divide before I enrolled. I hadn’t even given much thought to students’ at home computer use since I didn’t have them use school computers very heavily either. Research for my letter showed that while students at school had very good access to computers and the internet (83% of children), depending on their economic and ethnic backgrounds that rate could dip to as low as 20-30% with access to computers and the internet once they got home (Computer Use, 2006). The school district in which I teach lies within a city that is surrounded by agricultural. The report found that rural areas also saw less use of computers at home. We have a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds in our classrooms, and a large hispanic population. All of these factors can statistically lower a student’s chances of having adequate access to educational technology at home. The point of the letter was to make parents aware of this potential problem. I assured them that their child would not be forced to do assignments that required access to technology they didn’t have, but did inform them of why we thought it was important for their student to get hands on experience with computers as soon as possible. This letter shows the parent that as a teacher I understand certain aspects about my students that makes me highly qualified to help them overcome their challenges, and my mastery of this AECT standard. As my school increases its use of Web 2.0 tools, I should try to get this letter included in the information we give out to parents at the beginning of the school year (once I refresh the research information).
While the previous item showed how I could apply knowledge about student characteristics key to learning, my EdTech 504 Learning Research Paper is about how I acquire knowledge about the learning theories that can be applied in my room to help students succeed. Three of the most common educational theories used in classroom over the last handful of decades are behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Newer theories have also developed, and are at various levels of adoption now in classrooms. For my paper I chose to look at one of the oldest, behaviorism, because many of the teachers who are in school now were raised and trained with that style. Behaviorism is based on the idea by setting up a controlled learning situation and adding positive and negative rewards for certain behaviors, one can ensure learning (Watson, 1913). Much of what I read showed me that it fell out of fashion as a learning theory because it never truly sought to discover how students learned, but rather how to create conditions conducive to learning. My conclusion was that these conditions could be used in conjunction with more modern theories to provide students with the best learning environment possible. I feel that the study I’ve done of various learning theories and how they can be applied is highlighted in this paper, has given me the background knowledge to be able to create instruction that is geared toward the needs of my students, and adds to my qualification to be approved for my degree.
Standard 2 – Development: Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.
2.1 Print Technologies
Print technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials, such as books and static visual materials, primarily through mechanical or photographic printing processes.
Something that seems to be permanently attached to the idea of a historian is the smell of newspapers or the hum of a microfiche machine as one does research. The current generation of students may never experience either one of those. The EdTech 541 Story Behind the History project was meant to address that in some small fashion. I found primary source documents (in the form of newspaper clippings that had been digitized) that gave historical events from local papers a more personal connection to students. It was done in the context of a larger project where students were asked to consider if knowing the history of natural disasters in a place might change whether or not someone might choose to live there. I tried to expose the kids to newspaper accounts of floods, earthquakes, fires, etc., to show them how history was recorded before blogging and Facebook. My students used these primary source documents in conjunction with Google Earth to complete the assignment; creating a connection between old and new world technologies.
The annotated bibliography for EdTech 504 is the second artifact I’ve chosen to show my mastery of this standard. Again, the substandard 2.1 deals with producing visual materials via a mechanical process. Whether you’re the writer or another researcher, annotated bibliographies can serve various purposes. For the writer; your bibliography should make it obvious that you’ve read the material and gives you a chance to make sure that the resources you include truly fit the purpose of your research paper or other work. If someone looks at my bibliography it should quickly give them an idea of whether or not it is something they want to include in their findings. It also can give them a point of reference that they can return to later for more in depth research. My bibliography was related to a paper I wrote about constructivist learning theories and Web 2.0 technology in the classroom. Both are relatively new to the education landscape. I hoped to find out whether the promise of results for student gains in achievement had been met. In my writing I summed up the main points of the work cited, tried to give some information about the author when available, and aimed to give those who might read my bibliography some idea of whether or not I felt this was helpful in the field I was researching. I used the APA style manual to guide me in the citation process. The annotated bibliography showed that I could digest, summarize, and critique various works for the purpose of research. It was produced using a computer and could be disseminated through various methods to validate my research or aid others with their own. I feel that it meets this standard for the development of materials.
2.2 Audiovisual Technologies
Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.
The Digital Storytelling video for EdTech 513 was probably one of the most fun assignments I got to work on during my master’s program. The purpose of the assignment was to develop the skill to be able to deliver a message using visual media. This meets substandard 2.2 perfectly. I’ve been doing this on some level since I started the program, using both Jing from Techsmith and Screencast O’matic for creating instructional videos that I can send to staff, parents, and students. But for this assignment we were told it was okay to make the content a little more personal. I chose to use Windows Live Movie Maker to create a video, using still photography, music, and the spoken word to tell the story of my wife and I, and our journey towards adopting two siblings from Africa. Because of the subject matter the assignment was fun to do, but creating videos in the classroom also serves an educational purpose. I teach in a school that has a sizeable minority population. Some research has found that using digital storytelling as part of project based learning can help students to find a voice to help express themselves that might not be available to them through traditional means. The use of pictures and audio to express learning can show a deep understanding of concepts that have been presented (Condy, Chigano, Gachago, Ivala, & Chigano, 2012). Digital storytelling puts the focus on the student’s ability to show what they know, and I believe I showed through my adoption story that I have mastery of the ability to create a digital story.
2.3 Computer-Based Technologies
Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.
In EdTech 513 we created an educational podcast. The purpose of this assignment was to show that we could convey a message with educational content through non-traditional means. When teaching online, creating podcasts are an essential way to deliver information asynchronously. But even as a brick and mortar classroom teacher I can find uses for podcasting. Students who miss class need to find out what they missed, and it’s a great way to do that without having to take time away from instructing the rest of the class. By having a podcast of lectures or project instructions available on my class website, any student or parent can get classroom information no matter their location. For my assignment I chose to interview two educators who had taught in traditional and then online schools. When I started my degree program it was with the intention of someday teaching online, so I thought that for myself, and others with the same plan, this might be a topic worth hearing about. I used an iPod to record both interviews, then Audacity to mix and edit everything. Music can be a great way to make a podcast sound more professional, but you have to make sure it has the proper copyright permissions. I found various sites that had music to suit my needs and cited them accordingly. From the teachers I learned that both preferred the physical classroom to virtual. It has given me pause about choosing to teach online. Despite that, it confirmed for me how useful a tool podcasting can be to deliver a message. This student centered approach can be a very effective way to provide students with a summary of content that they can go back and review at their convenience, putting the learning experience firmly in their control (Van Zanten, Somogyi, & Curro, 2012). On my class website, I can see a rise in page views for both audio and visual review materials the night before a quiz or test, proving to me that students find them useful. My podcast example exhibits the standard of producing and delivering material using computer resources.
2.4 Integrated Technologies
Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.
The Curation Assignment for EdTech 523 was another situation where this master’s program has given me hands-on tools that I can use in my classroom immediately. For the project we were to curate a topic of our choosing that could be used in an educational setting. I had never heard of digital curation before this. I found out that it is a vital form of manage online resources in a way that adds value to the original material for the benefit of the user (Kunda & Anderson-Wilk, 2011). Before this, I had organized a series of links for my students to follow in researching a topic. Curation goes well beyond that. The first unit I teach each year is an ode to geography, which in its entirety has been cut from our curriculum. The study of North America is also mostly nonexistent from Social Studies in the middle school level in my district. A curation assignment seemed to be a great way for me to offer many resources about the geography of North America to my students. I collected information about 25 digital resources, created a summary for each, and at times added links to other related content. Then I put the choices in the hands of the students. They needed to pick only ten of the links to follow and tell me about. This allows them to choose the topics that interest them, and hopefully raises their engagement level. Students could choose to listen to audio, watch video, visit a pinterest collection, or read articles, just to name a few. This assignment choice was an easy one for me to make to show my mastery of the integrated technologies substandard.
Standard 3 – Utilization: Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.
3.1 Media Utilization
Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.
In EdTech 502 I created a Plagiarism Scavenger Hunt. It highlights my mastery of the systematic use of resources for learning. I have come across too many instances of plagiarism to count in just the last year as a teacher. Any time an assignment involves finding information on the internet, kids face the choice of either putting information in their own words and citing a work, or using the copy and paste function. Much too often they choose the latter. In my scavenger hunt, I lead students through many resources to make sure they know in advance what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Students visit five sites in their search for enlightenment about what constitutes plagiarism. There are questions they must answer that help them express what they’ve learned about when, and how, they can use a work, and whether or not it has to be cited. While there are a number of sites to visit, they are instructed to finish one before moving on to the next (like a scavenger hunt) so that they don’t overload their working memory, and therefore defeat the purpose of using the internet in the first place (Kurt, 2012). There were definitely times in my teaching history when I’ve designed an online lesson without thinking about the taxing cognitive load that the assignment put on them. After taking my EdTech courses in design and planning, I feel confident planning lessons that are more suited to my students needs in that area.
By now I’ve used this assignment many times in the classroom, and students often tell me that they had no idea that it wasn’t okay to simply copy from websites like wikipedia.com. They feel that since the information looks sort of anonymous, and it’s on a website whose purpose is to provide information, wikipedia must want you to copy it. I feel that by doing the research themselves in the form of a scavenger hunt, students will be able to construct their own reasons for why plagiarism is not a ‘victimless crime’.
The other artifact I chose for the media utilization substandard is my EdTech 521 Netiquette Webquest. Students get to self-pace their search, and often must collaborate with one another as they complete a quest. This can lead to lower rates of boredom among the students (Perkins & McKnight, 2005). I organized the search in a way that they are building their terminology as they work through the quest. It was meant for them to increase their knowledge base as they proceeded through the research. Practice at effective online research is something my students sorely need. The ability to read, sort, and synthesize information will aid my students in being successful in expressing themselves on assessments as Idaho moves toward adopting Common Core Standards. These types of assignments prove that I have mastered the effective use of electronic resources for learning.
3.2 Diffusion of Innovations
Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.
Communicating a planned strategy for the purpose of adoption was exactly the purpose of the Walled Gardens blog post for EdTech 541. I wrote the letter from my own point of view to administrators and/or parents. In my early EdTech courses I was discouraged from using Edmodo because of concerns about safety for our students. Not only were they worried about adult online predators, but students bully one another. The blog was meant to allay fears and explain how an environment could be set up that provided a very reasonable amount of privacy and safety. I discussed password protected meeting sites for students that would keep unwanted eyes out and make anonymity impossible when students were commenting on the site. Privacy settings for various types of sites (social media, photo sharing, Google Docs, etc.) could also help ensure that students are protected while using the web for education. The argument was made that while there are safety concerns, there are also many benefits from students interacting with kids from other cultures and countries (Cofino, 2010). Using a blog post can be an effective way to let parents and administration know that you understand their concerns while also providing a plan to deal with them, which I feel can lead to positive results for all involved. Fears about privacy and safety are two of the reasons, in my anecdotal observations, that parents keep their students from having much online activity. I wrote the walled gardens blog post to allay some of these fears and encourage adoption of many of the Web 2.0 tools that I felt could help students succeed in the short and long term
3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization
Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.
Jesus said, in Mark 6:4 of the New International Version of the Bible, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town.” To a much smaller degree, so much so that making the comparison seems a bit silly, I felt that way when creating a professional development MOOC EdTech 543. Mainly because of the familiarity I have with the building staff after 12 years there, I worried about how uninterested, or even resistant, some of them would be about getting involved with parents and students via social media. It’s been a challenge to get many of them to see the benefits of creating an account for something as simple and useful as Google Docs. Trying to convince them that Facebook or Twitter might have something useful for them seemed daunting. But in an age where we can easily reach out to educators around the world, “whether teachers can apply the latest technology and properly conduct e-instructional design may depend on the exchange/sharing of their instructional knowledge via Internet” (Hou, Chang, & Sung, 2009). By organizing the website (hosted by wikispaces.com) in a clean and uncluttered fashion I hoped to make it inviting and unthreatening. I kept the sidebar options to a minimum and made links to the three units easy to locate. The calendar of scheduled assignments was placed on the homepage to make it easy to find. The first assignment was as simple as setting up Google and Youtube accounts and using them to create two things that could be used in class. For all units, teachers had to submit links to their creations so that colleagues could give feedback. The second assignment was to create a class website using one of the tools mentioned. The third was what pushed the envelope a bit, asking them to curate a topic for use in their class, and share the link to it via twitter. Everything they did should be useful as part of their daily curriculum. Project based learning has been the most meaningful for me, and I hope it will be a great way to show my coworkers how useful that Web 2.0 and social media tools can be. I feel confident that my professional development MOOC meets the substandard for implementation of instructional strategies in real settings.
3.4 Policies and Regulations
Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.
The middle school Social Media Use plan that I created for EdTech 543 is a good example for meeting the policies and regulations substandards. The purpose of the plan that I wrote for parents, students, and staff of fictional North Middle School was to advise them about the current social media use policies that the school had in place, and goals to broaden the scope of device use by students in the future. A committee will be formed to look into how the school can safely and effectively increase how students use portable computers for educational purposes without increasing distractions they may cause. The letter outlines a plan of who will be on the committee, tasks that the group will need to perform, policies that may need to be developed, and consequences for misuse of personal devices while at school. For the institution of NMS to have success with increased use of personal devices and social media, a plan needs to be in place that will “govern the diffusion and use of instructional technology.” By providing a structure for creating a committee to look at current and future issues, I feel the document helps NMS be proactive in its planning, and demonstrates my mastery of the substandard.
The Online Course Student Communication Plan for EdTech 523 is another good example of “creating policies and regulations” that will govern how groups interact with each other while using instructional technology. The Advanced Online Teaching course helped me to have a much better understanding of tools I’d need to have at my disposal as an online instructor. As a traditional classroom teacher I don’t think about some of the following issues very often because the students are right in front of me and I can just handle things as they arise. But online I’d need to plan for issues before they happen. The assignment forced me to prepare for administrative tasks like posting forum discussion questions and then make sure that people got actively and meaningfully engaged in answering those questions. Strategies like letting them know about myself to encourage sharing, being very clear with my expectations for their responses, and then giving them defined spaces (where I may or may not be monitoring their discussions) to collaborate have prepared me to manage online classes better. A rubric was created that I can use to assess the quality of posts. With this system in place, I can ensure that my feedback to students is timely and constructive, which is key for success in online courses (Herron, Holsombach-Ebner, Shomate, & Szathmary, 2012). I feel one of the most critical parts of the plan deals with the personalities that can emerge online and how to deal with them. Part IV of the plan outlines what those may be, and how an instructor can fix the issue while trying to keep all students actively engaged. The final part of the plan gives some ideas for how to encourage community, which can be one of the most difficult tasks for online teachers. I’ve had some professors who did a great job of trying, but sometimes as a student I just didn’t get plugged in with others in the class. Having ideas prepared in advance is the only way teachers can hope to reel students in, which I feel I accomplished with Part V. I’m sure that I didn’t cover everything that could possibly come up during a course, but I feel that my communication plans shows my mastery of having a plan for communicating with students in an online course.
Standard 4: Management Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.
4.1 Project Management
Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.
The Evaluation Report-Course Project for EdTech 505 is what I’ve selected to exhibit mastery of substandard 4.1. The purpose of this assignment was to evaluate a program that encouraged the promotion of Google Drive use among students so that an institution (in this case, a middle school) could decide if it would be more effective than what systems were already in place. South Middle School (SMS) offers its students file storage on hard drives stored on the school’s network. The program being evaluated would see SMS have their students sign up for a Google Drive account, either with a parent or on their own (depending on the age of the student). Prior to the evaluation, I prepared program goals and objectives. The components to the program, and procedures for each, along with evaluation methods were developed. Costs estimates were provided to the district.
To test whether students felt Google Drive provided a better alternative to their present plan, a sample of SMS students completed an assignment with the current system, then completed an assignment using Google Drive. After each step, students completed a survey to gauge which they felt was more effective. Parents also did a survey to gauge how effective they felt it was for their student. Results showed that students completed the assignments at a higher rate when they had the ability to access their work via Google Drive as opposed to the school’s hard drive. None of the students that were randomly selected for the program had used Drive before, but upon completion 100% either agreed or strongly agreed that the school should promote Google Drive use to students.
I had never run any program like this previously. The planning was daunting. I had to decide what would be the goal of the evaluation program. Some are done to evaluate effectiveness for various reasons, but mine was to find out how people felt about using Google Drive. Sampling was also a big decision. You have to decide if it will be random, representative of the demographics of the group as a whole, or any number of multiple variables. I had to limit my sample size to students who had Internet access, or the program would not have worked at all. One could argue that this possibly skewed results, but it had to be done. Then I had to make sure the evaluation actually tested for the desired outcomes. You don’t want your clients to have to wonder if the positive or negative results were brought on by something out of the control or scope of the program. By keeping the focus of the program narrow, I feel I accomplished this. This assignment gave me the tools and confidence necessary to plan, implement, and evaluate systems in the future, which is why I’ve chosen it to show my mastery of this substandard.
4.2 Resource Management
Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.
In EdTech 513, I chose to create a Google Drive for Teachers presentation for an assignment that required us to provide instruction visually, absent audio content. We’d been studying principles of good multimedia design, and I learned that many of the things I’d been doing with powerpoints and web pages was counterintuitive. Since I had so many color choices, animations, and other tools available to me, I felt like I should use them to make the presentation or page more interesting. I learned, however, that these things often cause cognitive overload. By adding too much text, even interesting facts that might seem to make the material more engaging, people tended to remember less. The same was true for graphics that weren’t related directly to the specific information on the slide (Mayer, Heiser, & Lonn, 2001). After reevaluating what I wanted to communicate in the slide presentation, I changed my style of delivery. Slide backgrounds are simple. Transitions or animations only occur when necessary to aid in blocking the presentation of steps in a process. There are no graphics or images that don’t relate directly to the information on the slide. There are not ‘interesting’ video clips or cute pictures added to the slide. At the end of the presentation I included a slide to tell the learner exactly what they had just covered, and then gave them a quiz to assess what they’d learned, allowing them to revisit any slides where understanding proved insufficient. This class changed the way I’ll do presentations and videos from now on. I wish I’d taken it earlier in my degree program. I feel confident now that my multimedia products will be focused in their delivery and more effective in ensuring learning transfer. My learning in this area reflects how I plan, monitor, and control resources that will support learning.
4.3 Delivery System Management
Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . . [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner.
For EdTech 541 I created an online thematic unit about the livability of a place. The purpose of the project was to create a lesson that would use various social media and Web 2.0 tools to deliver content to students in a real life setting. I used to teach geography, and this was a very useful project for me. It made it easier for me to relate to the students how the physical features of a place can affect whether or not people choose to live there. Before enrolling in the master’s program I would have created paper handouts of everything and given a copy to each student or group. To complete the assignments they would have needed paper maps, cameras, printers, etc.; too many things to mention. But armed with new methods I was able to create a unit that had a home on the Internet where all the materials, links, instructions, and rubrics could be found. The only physical tool they really needed would be a digital camera, but so many students have those, or cell phone cameras, that it really isn’t a concern at all.
The first part of the project involved using the internet to complete research about how natural disasters changed the lives of people in certain places. That information was then pinned to a Google map so that all the students could see what the other groups had done. All instructions were produced via Google docs and available on our class website. Part two had them create an eBook that would be used to to guide people through a survey that would be taken about how much thought adults put into geography before moving to a location. In part three the kids administered the livability survey, entered results into an Excel spreadsheet, and graphed the results. I used screencasting tools to create instructional videos for students who didn’t feel confident in their Excel skills. If I were accomplishing the same tasks now I would have them do the survey using the Google Forms tool, which delivers the survey online and graphs the results for you.
This unit was one of the most detailed and involved I did during my degree program. I don’t know that I was really prepared for it in my first semester. There were so many documents that I had to create, coordinate, and link. Without the class websites, research sites, Google Docs, and photosharing site, I don’t believe the lesson would have had the same impact on students. They came out of it having a greater appreciation of how the geography of a place had impact on that place’s livability. We used that as a jumping off point for the next lesson, Human/Environment Interaction. As a result of completing this project, I’m confident in my skills at planning, monitoring, and controlling the methods in which instructional materials are organized and delivered.
4.4 Information Management
Information management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.
The Diigo resource collection about PLNs, Connectivism, and COPs I created in EdTech 543 is the artifact I’ve chosen for this substandard. Diigo is a website that allows individuals to find and gather links to any online resource. Pick any topic, ask someone to look it up, and then collect the best results you find in your Diigo account. When people look at your list of topics or bookmarks, they not only see the link to the original resource, but you the comments you’ve made to give them a preview of what they’re about to read along with your thoughts on the item. In our assignment, we need to find information about communities of practice, professional learning networks, and the practice of learning through connectivism. I found Diigo to be fairly easy to use, but there were a couple of times when comments I had made disappeared once I returned to the page. I think the best use for it was as part of a group. It makes the viewing of everyone else’s work so quick and easy to find. By reading the comments one can easily decide whether or not to follow the link to the original resource. Studies, even before the existence of Diigo, have found that annotation encourages people to build on their ideas by recording their own impressions of a text (Lu & Deng, 2012). Personally, I agree with that statement. In having to summarize the contents of some article or research in short detail, I definitely had to understand the material. I could see using this with students to check for understanding of various topics. I could also assign them to choose from a list of resources I had chose and add their own interpretations to what I had already done. This Diigo lesson meets the substandard for the planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.
Standard 5: Evaluation Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.
5.1 Problem Analysis
Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.
I remember feeling like a true intellectual when I was doing the research for the Technology Maturity Benchmarks project in EdTech 501. I had never really thought much about most of the data I collected for the assignment. The facts related to my middle school, but I changed the name for the project. As the title states, we gathered information to evaluate the technology maturity of an institution. This meant, to what level has ‘Northside Middle School’ involved itself in the use of technology at various levels (administration, curriculum, support, connectivity, and innovation). First I described our clientele in terms of racial and financial backgrounds. Being able to understand what types of backgrounds our student clientele has can help understand what problems we may face in meeting their technology needs. Each of the five above mentioned categories were then broken down into subcategories. Those got a rating of island (almost no evidence of technology use), emergent (some signs of use, but underdeveloped), integrated (there is use of technology, but not at optimal levels), and intellectual (the technology is a fully functioning part what the school does). Also, ratings focused on the infrastructure that was in place as well as the behavior/attitudes of employees and students. Northside didn’t score intellectual on any part of the assessment. In many areas there was no evidence of a plan to integrate technology into our organization or teaching. It wasn’t even welcomed by many staff. I identified that our curriculum used little to no modern technology at all. Some teachers were still using slide projectors. LCD projectors were not in all rooms yet. We didn’t have WiFi. Our computers were well over five years old. Our attitudes were even older. By completing this evaluation I was able to recognize the deficiencies of my organization. Today, the administration is willing to let me encourage staff wide use of Google Docs to save money on copies for staff paperwork and to help us connect to our clients outside the school day. I’ve assisted many staff in creating class websites, and all the social studies teachers in the district share lessons and materials via Google Drive. All this started when I realized how poorly we scored on the technology maturity benchmarks assignment. I know that this type of data collection and analysis is something I can do with confidence thanks to my EdTech experience.
5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement
Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learner mastery of pre-specified content.
I created two rubrics for the Livability Webquest that was assigned in EdTech 502. Students could have completed the assignment with a pictorama or synthesis paper. In either case they were provided with a rubric to self-evaluate during the creation of their item. The same rubric was also used for grading by a peer group and the teacher. I worried that the students who peer reviewed the products would not follow the guidelines of the scoring because they didn’t want to be hard on classmates, and in some cases that was true. But as some research has found, in most cases peers do a reliable job of rating fellow students with the use of a rubric (Hafner & Hafner, 2003). I really wasn’t relying on the students to do the grading for me though. The main purpose was for them to be able to see what standard they should be aiming for depending on what grade they wanted to get. Also, I felt the peer review process provided students with a chance to critically evaluate another’s work with the hopes of improving the ability to assess their own. By providing them with a rubric, I met the standard for providing criterion-based measurement of student mastery of content.
I also chose a rubric experience from the student as a rater point of view. The Peer Review Screencast for EdTech 543 gave me the chance to go through what my students have. We had created a MOOC for the main course project, and were then supposed to share it with a classmate for evaluation based on a rubric provided to us before we began the project. There have been many times I’ve had students in my classes evaluate each other based on a rubric, and then wondered how they could have given such a high score. They always tell me they feel bad giving a low score, or are afraid others will give a bad grade if they do. When I did the peer review of the MOOC, I have to admit I felt a little bit apprehensive about being totally honest in the video. But I got over it, knowing that the whole thing is only valid if we’re able to be truthful in a constructive way. The unit I reviewed had some trouble with the use of folders in Edmodo. My classmate had trouble making the folders for her three units, and when I went to the site could not access her documents. I told her about it and she still wasn’t able to get it done correctly. I understand that sometimes we just can’t figure out how to do some things, but I had to grade her down on that section of the rubric because if students had tried to access that it would have posed a problem for them. I thought the activity was great when done as a screencast. When that technology becomes available at my school for the students, I will definitely be doing it. Having provided two examples of using rubrics to gauge content mastery, from both sides of the equation, shows my completion of the standard.
5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation
Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.
My Synchronous Evaluation Checklist of an online lesson for EdTech 523 is the artifact I’ve chosen for this standard. We all submitted icebreakers that we could use at the beginning of an online course to help develop a sense of community. We were given a rubric that evaluated the classmate’s activity on eight criteria. The formative evaluation was based on our ranking of criteria of Not Observed, Basic, or Proficient. If too many of the categories were marked as Not Observed, then the project would be given a failing grade. Scores of Basic would show that some of the elements were in place, but not developed enough to be considered challenging or beyond rudimentary. Only those that received consistent marks of Proficient should be seen as highly developed and not in need of further adjustment. Depending on what ratings one was given, they should know which areas of the assignment needed to be addressed.
I feel that summative evaluation was completed at the same time by providing comments in each appropriate box (those comments could be seen as formative as well). By reading the comments, a reviewer could judge whether or not the icebreaker activity was developed enough or suitable for a specific online course. The criticisms could provide an instructor with information they’d need to decide if it was something they wanted to use or not.
5.4 Long-Range Planning
Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning. Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.
The Technology Usage Plan for EdTech 501 is the artifact I’ve chosen for this standard. This was created by myself, Glynda Pflieger, and Nancy O’Sullivan. In it we analyzed why we felt a need for a technology plan, the vision for our students and institution, and the specific process we’d use to develop the plan. Building a team to help formulate the plan meant we’d need to involve people from various sections of the staff, and some strategic members of the community who could help us meet our goals. That team would then assess the equipment and training needs of our staff, building, and students. Once the needs are clearer, we would set forth objectives and a timeline to that guided their completion. The plan also calls for the team to come up with some benchmarks that will gauge the success for all parts of the plan. I think it is a very comprehensive plan. By representation from staff at various levels, we wanted to achieve consensus that everyone in the building could support. The plan would surely be considered long range. Just forming the committee could take weeks knowing the staff in my building. One of the major drawbacks I see with creating a technology plan is the speed of technology evolution. If we had started to implement this plan at my school four years ago, many of the hardware and connectivity requirements could have been outdated by now. However, almost anything would have been an improvement. Despite the constant changes, I do feel like this plan solidly meets the standard for strategic long-range planning.
The journey through my Master of Educational Technology program has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. It has changed the way I teach and the way I interact with my colleagues. The instructors did a great job of designing instruction and assignments that challenged me, and so many of them were things that I’ve ended up using in the classroom. I believe the artifacts that I’ve chosen to write about show how I’ve grown as a student and a teacher, and that they prove my mastery of the AECT standards.
Cofino, K. (2010, March 4). How To Connect Your Students Globally | always learning. always learning. blog, . Retrieved March 4, 2010, from http://kimcofino.com/blog/2009/10/04/how-to-connect-your-students-globally/.
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