I am currently taking a graduate level class on engagement with digital technology in the classroom. Here is a 30 minute interview with a 20 year gamer about what we can learn about motivation related to gaming and motivation in the classroom.
I created this sketchnote based on questions related to Chapter 4 in e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Clark and Mayers, 2016.
Prompt: Why does the multimedia principle work best for novices? Should you change static illustrations into animations? What do we still not know about visuals?
Tool: Paper by FiftyThree
I have been using this app for about two years now. I love it for doodling and since I try to do something creative for at least ten minutes a day, it is a great tool to meet this goal. I used an apple pencil for this sketchnote, but I am also fine using my inexpensive targus.
My challenges with sketchnoting have to do with focusing too much on the design rather than the content. Sketchnoting is meant to be fairly quick and I get caught up in the overall look of the design and it is difficult to stop tinkering with it. I do find that sketchnoting helps me summarize the most important information and once I make one the information is committed to memory compared to simply reading a chapter and reflecting on it. I have not tried sketchnoting during a lecture. This would likely force me to sketchnote properly because there isn’t time to play around with the design.
This assignment meets the AECT Standard 3: Learning Environments
Creating instructional design products based on learning principles and research-based best practices.
I created this sketchnote based on the course textbook by Clark & Mayer, titled e-learning and the Science of Instruction. The sketchnote represents an original design that summarizes part of chapter 4 and addresses the questions listed at the beginning of this post. Research states that images connected to nearby text supports learners. Recall is stronger when images are present and the creation of the sketchnote itself requires a high depth of knowledge called Strategic Thinking.
I revisited my very first blog post on my vision for educational technology. I still stand by my belief that technology enhances student agency. However, the depth of my understanding about how to accomplish a sense of agency with all learners has greatly deepened as a result of taking this course.
Examining the relative advantages of instructional technology taught me to pause and consider how technology can be an enhancement or distraction from the learning task. I was familiar with the benefits of tutorials and drill and practice, but I learned more about the role that simulations and problem solving software can offer.
One of my biggest stretches in learning was when we explored the benefits of spreadsheets. Not only did I learn how to use them as an educator and with students, I also discovered through conversations with my colleagues that spreadsheets are a primary tool for organization.
I really enjoyed learning to use screencasting tools. I’ve spent the last few years trying to improve my video communication, and overall presence on camera while planning, creating, and editing with multi-media teaching tools. I believe in the power of this learning option when done well. The more you practice, the faster and better you get!
Another aspect of this online course that was eye opening was hearing from other educators from across the United States about their district’s stance on walled gardens. I would not have had the same perspective if we discussed this topic in a college course within my state. The field of educational technology is so wide and uncharted that I can see why some teachers feel scared to even dip their toe into the water to get started. I’m learning in my role of working with adult learners that adults are not always that flexible or open to new ideas or trying things out as I am. Using technology in the classroom, for the long haul, has more to do with helping others adopt a certain mindset then it has to do with giving teachers technology and apps to try out and expecting it to take off.
Finally, it was a good challenge to take one subject matter and look at it through three lenses: interdisciplinary, technology and accessibility. There is so much to consider in teaching that I have a new appreciation for the learning curve of our new teachers or even our veteran teachers who are trying to keep up with the times.
This course has made me realize that I need to observe and listen a lot this year. Teachers will provide me with all the information I need about how to take next steps based on where each teacher is and their willingness to move forward with technology. Even though I feel like my understanding of educational technology is light years away from where my staff is, I bring a level of calm and confidence about where we are going having been on this journey myself in the classroom and through graduate coursework.
Thanks to the The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) standards, I feel I have grown the most in content knowledge, content pedagogy, and professional knowledge and skills. I am now better prepared to create, use, and assess effective use of technology in the classroom. Due to the depth of the course blog work and content project, I am more reflective about the implementation of educational technology. Most importantly, I continue to develop my professional skills in this field by working in a supportive and collaborative online environment with other educators willing to share and learn with each other.
Self Assessment: Blog
I put a great deal of time and thought into each blog post and project assignment. I frequently sought out new research which is included in my resources page and references for the related post.
Readings & Resources: 18/20
I cited the course textbook as well as other research and used APA formatting on all but one blog post.
I always completed my blog posts prior to completing my project assignment which provided classmates at least two days to read and respond before the next module.
Responses to Other Students: 30/30
I always made sure to elaborate on one response and point out positives or connections in the other.
As an educator with experience in the fields of special education and technology integration, I connected most strongly with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) terminology of multiple means of representation and multiple means of expression (Roblyer, 2016). All students should have a diverse set of ways to access information and a diverse set of options to show what they know. This is even more true for students with impairments. The table below lists some accessibility features built into my Windows 10 operating system as well as other features available online to assist people with various impairments. Some of the accessibility options will be further explained after the chart.
Once you turn Narrator on, you can choose a voice (David, Zira or Mark) and adjust your narrator’s speed, pitch and even intonation. You can also pick which types of sounds (characters or words) you want to hear (Purewal, 2016, para. 3).
You can magnify or reduce your screen and choose what type of magnification view you want to see such as full screen, lens, and docked (Purewal, 2016, para. 4).
You can change the color, transparency, style, size, background color, background transparency, window color, and window transparency of your captions (Purewal, 2016, para.6).
As I think about the various accessibility features built into Windows 10, I was reminded in the internet document, Cognitive Disabilities and the Web: Where Accessibility and Usability Meet, by Mariger that accessibility and usability are two completely different concerns. “Usability considers how easy a site is to use and understand. Accessibility is concerned with whether you can get there at all” (Mariger, 2006, para.12).
When designing a website there are universal principles the designer should take into account. According to the US Census Bureau, 14.3 million Americans age 15 and over have a mental disability (Mariger, 2006, para. 1). The principles of good design for all center around these key areas: navigation, functionality, content and text, layout, and multimedia.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
Purewal, S. (2016) Windows 10 Setting Menu: the Ease of Access Tab, Retrieved from: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/windows-10-settings-menu-the-ease-of-access-tab/
Mariger, H. (2006) Cognitive Disabilities and the Web: Where Accessibility and Usability Meet. Retrieved from http://ncdae.org/resources/articles/cognitive/
Obstacle 1: Teachers’ responsibilities for teaching new literacies
Teachers require training about the multi-modal nature of reading, writing, and researching online.
Solution: Students are already seeking information from the internet on their own time. They need to be taught how to seek meaning across a wide range of media such as text, video, images, sound and oftentimes they encounter all of this media in a very short time. This requires teaching students how to decipher relevant from irrelevant information and how to use reputable sources of information on the web. Once they have found all the information they need then it is important to teach them how to organize it with tools like diigo.
Obstacle 2: The debate about the importance of teaching cursive vs. keyboarding
Common Core standards in grades 3 on have specifically written objectives around using the keyboard to complete written work. Some argue for dedicated time to teach the QWERTY keyboard and others argue that it is a waste of time.
Those in favor of cursive writing feel that it is valuable because it allows children to develop fine motor skills and knowledge of cursive allows them to read historical documents.
Solution: There are so many embedded benefits of learning to word process: built in editing tools, spelling and grammar resources, peer and teacher ease of sharing feedback throughout the writing process, and sharing writing with a more authentic audience which can improve the initial motivation to write.
Obstacle 3: Challenges relating to working with diverse learners
Many English Language Learners and students in Special Education have obstacles with writing.
Solution: Word Processing provides such students with access to better word choice through the online thesaurus or dictionary. As mentioned above, they also benefit from the computer making suggested edits along the way. Voice to text is getting better and better and this is providing a huge benefit to those who are able to verbalize their thoughts, but the thoughts get jumbled in the process of moving from brain to paper.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
I’ve always enjoyed cross-curricular lesson planning. Not only does it make sense because it enhances the learning process to be looking at subject matter in multiple ways, it also frees up time to pursue class interests or activities that don’t perfectly match the common core standards. When teachers are experienced enough to blur the lines away from a rigid subject matter schedule, cross curricular lessons can be magical for both students and teachers. These are the lessons when my class and I have experienced learning without any attention to the clock. Usually there is always one student every year who was a clock watcher, for better or worse, and reminded us that recess was half over.
The new challenge within this module of study was to look at cross-curricular planning with an eye focused on the benefits of technology integration. I focused on integrating technology enhanced arts, health, and physical education with my sixth grade opinion writing unit. This unit originally integrated health which is why you see health covered so heavily below. Here is a link to my Buncee which supports the chart below.
I have a personal teaching story to share about the benefits of technology in music programs. Last year my fourth grade teaching partner and I decided that our students would benefit from a half day field trip to the Oregon Symphony’s Young Peoples Concert. When I announced the field trip they moaned and groaned about how boring it would be. I worried a bit about this myself, but I was assured by my teaching partner that the conductor does an excellent job tailoring the experience for kids. Fortunately, the conductor did and the experience changed some attitudes about remaining open to new experiences for about half of the students. In order to build anticipation and some familiarity with the music, each teacher was provided with a cd of the music that would be played. I turned it on as background music. Nothing. I tried having the students act out how they felt while the music was being played. Aha! I had complete skits without words and too little time for all the volunteers to perform. Now that I had found a way to connect them to music that was originally foreign to them, I could rest assured that I now had data from them in order to finalize plans for our time together after the field trip. I told them that I had a secret activity planned and it involved the iPads. When we returned I introduced them to Beatwave which is a free music composing app. I helped them connect the dots that music doesn’t happen without a composer and they would get to be a composer for the afternoon. They were asked to share their best one minute composition with the class by day’s end. As stated in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (2016),
Today, the desktop music production software industry is helping accelerate a trend away and from reliance on printed sheets and toward an audio artifact. This means that many students who are discouraged by a requirement to learn notation theory can now participate as composers and performers. (p.356)
It’s time our music programs get updated and meet the needs of the learners in front of them. Despite having an amazing music teacher at our school, music class, presented in the traditional way, isn’t holding students’ attention which creates a frustrated teacher and ill-behaved students. Technology can help address many of the same issues across the curriculum. (p. 356)
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.).
The Basic Suite is composed of three software tools: word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Two of the three tools have been integrally important to my teaching and the learning experienced by my former elementary school age students. Those two being word processing and presentation. Due to the amount of writing and speaking experiences that I provide for my students, word processing and presentation software tools were a staple choice in my classroom across multiple subjects. Below is a summary of the relative advantages of these three tools.
Relative advantage: I created most of the documents for my families and students. My Back-to-School letter and questionnaire were modified slightly every year. All of my lesson plans were archived in Google Drive for easy access. Comprehension worksheets, graphic organizers, and sentence frames that I created for some favorite lessons were useful over and over again thanks to word processing software.
Student Productivity & Collaboration
Relative advantage: When students have access to word processing, it automatically provides some built in modifications such as spell check, and with the internet, the ability to consult a dictionary or thesaurus to help students get to the heart of their ideas instead of laboring over handwriting and limited word choice which can lead to rudimentary sentence formation due to playing it safe when they do not have access to these tools.
As well, the sharing feature in Google Docs is great for peer and teacher editing. I value the revision history tool so that I can provide feedback to the writer and editor.
Research cited in Roblyer (2016), states that students with access to word processing software are engaged in a greater quantity of writing throughout the year as compared to students without access to word processing. I also found this to be true.
“Spreadsheets are programs designed to organize and manipulate numerical data”, (Roblyer, 2016, p.121). Because of my former role as an elementary educator, I did not use spreadsheets ever. This class is my first experience using this software tool. However, in my role as instructional coach now, I am discovering that spreadsheets are a preferred way for some teachers when it comes to organizing information.
Time Saving Tool
When it comes to basic calculations in order to do higher level thinking, then spreadsheets offer a great advantage. Mathematics research states that it is more important for students to know how to approach a problem than to get bogged down in calculations that can be done for them.
Roblyer (2016) states that teachers are more accustomed to processing words rather than numbers and therefore student exposure to spreadsheets has been limited. Due to the recent focus on eliminating negative feelings about math, it seems that exposing students to spreadsheets would be a good thing.
Teacher Organization of Ideas
Relative advantage: Creating presentations forces any learner to prioritize the information that is to be learned or taught. As well, presentations enhance spoken word when created with an emphasis on visuals (Roblyer, 2016).
Student Demonstration of Learning
Relative advantage: The process of creating anything is the highest form of thinking according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. Therefore, I always include a creative option when assignments lend themselves to it. I prefer to grade student presentations over handwritten work. When visuals complement another person’s ideas, it is easier to determine what level of understanding a student achieved. Presentations are also a great option for those with fine motor challenges. For once in their life, they can create something visually appealing and communicate their ideas without worry that they will be judged on their handwriting or lack of drawing skills.
Research cited in Roblyer (2016), states that presentations are effective if the creator has a specific background in visual design principles and related pedagogy. Otherwise, overuse or improper use of certain presentation features can have a negative impact on the viewer.
My teaching and how students learned in my classroom changed significantly because of the basic suite. Once I fine tuned teaching students how to create using these tools then I just needed to introduce how to use an electronic turn in system. Our district promotes the use of Schoology and Google Classroom to manage teaching and learning in new ways.
Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.
My vision for educational technology in my K-6 environment is to utilize technology to increase student agency. Student agency is defined as “the level of control, autonomy, and power that a student experiences in an educational situation. Student agency can be manifested in the choice of learning environment, subject matter, approach, and/or pace.” (Knewton, 2014, para.1). Research conducted by social-learning theorist, Albert Bandura discovered that “when students act on their sense of agency, they are more likely to engage in learning, take the initiative to be in charge of their learning, develop dispositions as active learners which extend beyond simply learning tasks, and position themselves as active rather than passive learners” (Vaughn, 2014, p. 4). I believe that effective use of technology in the classroom promotes the development of student agency.
A majority of students at my elementary school come from low income homes and the concept of taking ownership of their future isn’t necessarily one that is learned at home. Often their understanding of why things happen to them is left to chance or the feeling that they do not have any choices to make given their circumstances. Educational technology can help empower students based on these benefits listed in Integrating Technology in Education by M.D. Roblyer:
Technology can be a motivational tool. Integrated technology can be attention grabbing, can rid the learner of manual learning in order to get to higher level operations, can provide real world relevance, can allow for opportunities for student created material, can expand the audience of the learner for feedback beyond the teacher, and can support cooperative work (Roblyer, 2016).
Technology can be a seamless tool for learning. Technology allows students immediate access to a large amount of visuals in order to understand abstract concepts, access to the internet to connect them to more information than would exist in a classroom without technology, access to self-paced learning, access to accommodations for those with disabilities, access to time saving functions, and teachers have easy access to student work so they can provide just-in-time feedback (Roblyer, 2016).
Our students only know one world, the digital world. Digital literacy and digital citizenship lessons aren’t add ons in a classroom with educational technology. Technology has made it easier than ever to learn what you want, anytime you want. Our students deserve to know how to continue learning and contributing to our world, using technology, in a positive way (Roblyer, 2016).
The two predominant learning theories that most developments in educational technology have stemmed from are behaviorism and constructivism. The characteristics of technology use in the behaviorist realm might include: children learning through repetition, sequenced instruction, consistent reinforcement; and assessment of learning based on specific skills with only one type of assessment allowed (Roblyer, 2016).
The characteristics of technology use in the constructivist realm might include: children learning through discovery, collaboration, learning from experts, learning at different rates and assessment of learning based on global skills learned over time with the option to be assessed in multiple ways (Roblyer, 2016).
Vaughn, M. (2014). The Role of Student Agency: Exploring Openings during Literacy Instruction Teaching & Learning, 28(1), 4-16.