541 – Obstacles to Technology Integration

The main challenge with integrating technology into any content area starts with access. I am fortunate enough to teach all my courses in a lab of computers and laptops which have enabled me to plan and implement technology based strategies in my content areas for several years. One of my main challenges has been ensuring that my instruction is content driven and not technology driven. Too often teachers fall into the trap of overusing technology to the point where it becomes distracting to students and actually hampers learning. However, for teachers who do not have consistent access to computers, integration in content areas becomes difficult to implement. Portable tablet labs and BYOD programs are beginning to alleviate some of the strain of access for all students in school, but it still remains a barrier to integration.

One challenge facing Language Arts teachers is the issue of plagiarism. Whether the written material is produced with the aid of technology or not, teachers must always be vigilant for work that is copied from another source. Plagiarism has become easier to accomplish using the internet by a simple process of copy and pasting, however the internet can also be a resource for teachers who suspect plagiarism. There are many web applications available for teachers to input phrases which then search the internet for a match. Related to this is an issue where students in classes where e-portfolios or notebooks are used could potentially access work done by other students on assignments given in previous semesters. This requires the teacher to carefully customize material and assignments on a regular basis.

It is easy for teachers to find reasons not to integrate technology in their classes by citing issues of access or security, however the benefit for students is potentially too great to find reasons not to integrate technology. Instead of find excuses not to adopt 21st century strategies teachers must find ways to make it happen. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology in the Classroom, “ The Internet and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) such as word processor, Web editors, presentation software, and email are regularly redefining the nature of literacy. To become fully literate in today’s world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of ICT. Therefore, literacy educators have a responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve.” (Robelyer and Doering, 2010)

Below is a link to a video I produced with Camtasia that addresses technology integration strategies and solutions for English Language Learners content area.
http://www.screencast.com/t/YsuJvGXciK

541 – Voicethread Blog Entry

The following blog entry can be found as an audio source in the following Voicethread

The Internet and Learning

As education evolves further into the 21st century the list of reasons why, and evidence for using the Internet in education is steadily growing. It is no coincidence that educational resources for Internet use is expanding while the capabilities and ease of access increases and the cost of hardware and software declines. For many schools the only reason there has not been consistent use of the Internet has been prohibitive costs and lack of access for all classes. Today the cost of equipment for schools has dramatically reduced and implementation of “Bring Your Own Devices” programs have alleviated the equal access issue.

Today the only real arguments against harnessing the power of the Internet for education are access to inappropriate material, safety and privacy issues, Internet fraud, computer viruses, and copyright or plagiarism issues. Although all of these issues can have serious consequences for students, to ignore the capabilities of the Internet for gathering information, sharing resources, engaging students, communication, solving problems, building artifacts, and exploration is a dis-service to students and does not prepare them for life in the world outside of school.

One of the fastest growing categories of Internet use in education is distance education. The use of the Internet in post secondary distance programs has been common for some time now, however distance programs in K-12 institutions are becoming more commonplace. As Roblyer and Doering state in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, fifth edition,“Thanks to distance technologies such as broadcast systems and the Internet, learning has escaped the physical boundaries of the classroom and the school, and students and teachers have become part of a virtual classroom they share with counterparts around the world.”(Roblyer, Doring 2010) Schools and classes right down to Kindergarten are accessing the Internet to mine resources, material, and experts from around the world, as well as collaborating and communicating with other virtual classrooms, increasing global awareness.

As part of this audio blog post we are required to outline some of the ways in which we use the INternet in our classrooms. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways in which I utilize the Internet in my classrooms.

I utilize Internet extensively in all my classes to increase engagement, deepen relevance and impact. My classes are centered around the philosophy that technology is a rich tool that must be used to break down the walls of the traditional classroom in order to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century world.
All of my classes utilize Wikispaces to act as the hub of all information on assignments, assessment, calender of events and due dates, resources such as down-loadable assignments, external links, embedded video, images, and widgets. I requires each student in all of my classes to create their own wiki and invite me to become a member of that site. I then records the URL of each student and can access my students’ virtual notebook at anytime from any location to assess and provide feedback for students. My students often communicate through the Wikispaces account with me asking questions or requesting reevaluation of assignments. Parents are sent an email early in the semester which contains the URL of their son or daughters site so that they may actively participate in their child’s education.
In Media Arts, Language Arts, and Photography I strive to engage student to discover and utilize productive and safe online practices. My lessons often include strategies for assimilating and evaluating online content for relevancy and reliability while encouraging students to use best practices of netiquette. In Language Arts, students extensively utilize a class blog for
the purposes of inquiry, collaboration, and discussion. This process includes instruction on the importance of quality responses to posts that include supplemental information, possess questions, and stimulates further discussion. All of my Language Arts students are required to establish and share a gmail account with me. This process allows students to collaborate with each other in pairs, small groups and as an entire class on projects in Google documents and create collaborative presentations in Google presentations. Through the gmail accounts list I can share documents and presentations with my students and students can share their work with me for assessment and revision.
Students in my Language Arts classes create high quality projects that solidify and demonstrate learning through the development of podcasts in a variety of units such as the study of Shakespeare and documentary video production when analyzing the power of metaphor.
The use of technology in my Media Arts class is the cornerstone for instruction, exploration, discovery, and creation. In Media Arts students engage in film analysis that requires students to be able to discern quality from the overwhelming amount of trivial online video content. This process then leads to the creation of their own quality online content. Students create their own online portfolio which houses resources and showcases projects. Many student video projects are uploaded to Youtube and embedded on their personal e-portfolio for viewing and assessment. Students in Media Arts collaborate using web 2.0 tools for script development and pre-production.
In Photography students often look to the world wide web for examples of exemplary work through sites such as National Geographic or directly from the sites of professional photographers. Students create their own online digital portfolio that includes digital slide shows of their assignments, multimedia photojournalism projects, written reflection on the work of professionals, resources and links. My photography class also harnesses the power of mobile technology in a unit which requires students to travel to locations given on a Google map and record images and audio clips that capture the essence of each location, edit the files and upload to the class website. For assessment purposes I often utilize online rubric creation websites  to establish evaluative benchmarks for students.

References:
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

506 – Final Project Draft

This is the last of a series of learning log journal entries for this course. It has been a very interesting journey of discovery. I have particularly enjoyed finding out the reasons why images can be affective and looking at the psychology behind human visual perception. I have spent a great deal of time this week organizing my website and unit of instruction to be submitted in draft form. The unit I have designed is one that I am currently delivering in an Language Arts class and have found the use of graphics to aid instruction highly effective. I’m pretty proud of this work and look forward to hearing some feedback from my peers and instructor.

505 – Post #7-Rubrics

Scoring rubrics are descriptive scoring schemes that are developed by teachers or other evaluators to guide the analysis of the products and/or processes of students’ efforts (Brookhart, 1999; Moskal, 2000). Some controversy sourounds the use of rubrics in the classroom, however the majority of educators seem to believe that they are a valuable tool for assessment when designed correctly. Rubrics can be deemed successful when they are both valid and reliable. Validity is assessed by looking closely at content related evidence such as whether or not an assessment is accurately determining a students knowledge of a specific question, or does the question itself pose difficulties which would invalidate the degree to which it assess the students knowledge in that area. Construct related evidence gives an indication in assessment about the reasoning process of an individual when responding to evaluation. In order to be useful, a valid rubric must strive to identify the internal process a learner goes through when responding. “When the purpose of an assessment is to evaluate reasoning, both the product (i.e., the answer) and the process (i.e., the explanation) should be requested and examined” (Brookhart, 1999; Moskal, 2000). Criterion related evidence in rubrics works to assess learning in relation to external factors such as the application of knowledge in “real-world” settings. Like any well designed lesson, a rubric wiht a high validity level should start with clearly define objectives and each element of the assessment should work to define the level of learning within these objectives.
Another criteria for a useful rubric is its reliability. The scoring of a learner should potentially be consistent when applied at any time or by any evaluator. One suggested strategy for increasing reliability id the use of anchor papers which is a reference sheet for raters to use given a set of test responses prior to administering the assessment rubric. If discrepancies exist between responses and raters than the rubric should be revised. This process would be time consuming and perhaps impractical in a busy public school setting, but nonetheless, it would increase reliability.

Like any type of assessment rubrics have their drawbacks. Teachers are human beings and many times it is very difficult to be completely objective during evaluation. In Understanding Scoring Rubrics: A Guide for Teachers, Carol Boston outlines some factors that at play when scoring such as positive-negative leniency error where the evaluator tends to be too hard or too easy on everyone. Personal bias and teacher student relationships should not be a factor in assessment, but human nature is not so easily beaten. Other considerations outlined by Boston are being swayed by the appearance of a document at the expense of assess the content. Length, fatigue, and order effect can also be a factor in altering the validity of an assessment. A well designed rubric should work to eliminate many of these factors, however some detractors suggest that the rubric is too prescriptive and can reduce a process such as writing to something so mechanical and prescribed that it takes away from the process itself. Personally I have, and will continue to use rubrics, especially as a way to establish criteria for learners before they embark on the learning. One successful strategy I have used in the classroom has been to have the students develop the categories and criteria for an assessment part way through a unit once they have had an opportunity to understand some of the content in the area of study.

Here are some samples of the rubrics used in my classroom as created in the website Rubistar:

MyHero Presentation Rubric
MY HERO Project – Website Rubric
Video Production Rubric
Persuasive Writing Rubric
Blog/Discussion Rubric

 

 

References:

Moskal, Barbara M. & Jon A. Leydens (2000). Scoring rubric development: validity and reliability. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(10). Retrieved November 1, 2011 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=10

Boston, Carol (2002). Understanding Scoring Rubrics: A Guide for Teachers. Eric Clearinghouse of Assessment and Evaluation, University of Maryland. College Park, MD.

506 – Selection

This weeks image uses concepts from the reading that deal with enhancing selection for the learner. The image I created uses a plain white background and a grey world map, which minimizes distraction to the viewer and forces the eye to the figure; the process of micro-financing. I also used colour to coordinate and combine images in the mind of the reader. I have mentioned in previous posts how it has been interesting finding theory behind designing images that for some people are intuitive. I think before reading this chapter I have unconsciously used this concepts of minimizing distraction and reducing cognitive load in most of my images thus far. I tend to subscribe to the “less is more” school of thought, and usually try to reduce much of my work down to what is truly needed; not just in graphic design, but also in my teaching and writing. In designing instruction I carefully consider each element to make sure it is integral to the overall objects…if in doubt leave it out! This is a difficult concept for early writers who like to throw as much information at a topic as possible in a desperate attempt to cover the topic.

This is my favorite image I have designed in this course so far. Out of all of them, I think this one is the most effective in its simplicity, colour design and message.

References:

For a complete list of references please link to:

http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/barryjanzen/502/figure-ground.html

506-CARP

This weeks assignment was to develop an image for the proposed unit of instruction using the principles of contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity. I think it is important to stress that these four  elements are great concepts to consider when developing an image for learning, however they do not all necessarily have to be used in every image. As a photography teacher I make it a point to teach my students to be aware and pay attention to design principles, but also to remember that they are only principles and not steadfast rules. Sometimes breaking these guidelines to make an impact-full image or photograph is worth the risk. My image this week was originally built on a black background which, as we all know, is problematic when designing text and graphics for readability. I felt as though it was successful and had impact even though it did not have 100% contrast. Some of the text required effort to make out, but that was part of the appeal of the image to me. Many of my peers commented on the readability issue and so I changed it…reluctantly.

You be the judge.

references:

Lohr, L. L. (2003). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Prentice Hall Press

“Cloud” image source: http://tinyurl.com/66elr2b (Retrieved October 11, 2011)

Edtech 506 – Design Process

The work this week centered around a design model labelled ACE (Analyze, Create, Evaluate) and included the PAT concept (Principles, Actions, and Tools). I found this material timely in that I was also currently working on an assignment in Edtech 506 that required the development of several images that where metaphorical representations of the concepts described in a series of slides. I was also delivering a unit of instruction in a Language Arts class that required the students to find or create images that represented various elements of a short story. Both of these assignments require students to make visual connections between concepts; a process called synectics (Lohr, 2008) as described in the text as “…a set of strategies used to stimulate and enhance creative thought” (Gordon, 1961). Coming up with the ideas for a graphic for learning is, for me the hardest part and using the strategies outlined in the text offered a great starting point for this weeks assignment in 505 and 506. Using metaphor to increase meaning and impact has always been an approach I have used and encourage my students to use.

“Juliet is the sun” Three words that tells us everything we need to know about Romeo’s feelings toward Juliet.

The ACE model is an instructional design model for developing graphics for learning. When the designer is faced with the task of creating a graphic for learning one must analyze by identifying its instructional function, content classification, and consider the type of approach (artistic or heuristic) (Lohr, 2008) It is in the create phase that the designer generates ideas and works with in the PAT model as described above. After completion the graphic is evaluated by assessing its effectiveness, efficiency and appeal.

I have found that It is through the class discussion forum that the graphic can be evaluated much more effectively than through self assessment or even having a colleague look at it. As an artist it can be difficult to objectively evaluate your own work. One gets too close to their creation to see how it can be improved.

Another connection with this weeks material is the relationship between the ADDIE model of Instructional Design and the ACE model for the development of graphics or even strategies for instruction.  Within the design and development phase of instructional design is where a designer can apply the ACE model.

 

References:

Gordon, W.J.(1961) Synectics. New York: Harper & Row.

Lohr, L. L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Prentice Hall Press

 

EdTech 506 – Shapes

This weeks assignment dealt with the development of effective images for learning using simple and complex shapes. I choose to use the persuasive writing element of my unit as the basis for the image. After considering the concept itself, I choose to use a simplistic colour and shape design concept, utilizing a black to white gradient to symbolize the gradual process of persuasion. With three simple elements as the key points in the graphic I also choose to include a hotspot link to a web page containing more detailed information. Not having created a hotspot image since early in Edtech 502, I had to go back and revisit some of the ins and outs of Dreamweaver. These are the types of assignments/projects I really enjoy doing in the edtech program, creating, experimenting and getting feedback on your work from your colleagues.

I’ve found it fascinating to find principles behind how shapes work in the mind of the learner and how these principles can be used to increase the effectiveness of an image. For example, the mind creates perceptual groupings based on simple shapes (Lohr, 2008), therefore a designer can harness this concept in the design of their image. A designer can use shapes to suggest unity, harmony, process, systems, and focus.

 

References:

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy. Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.

EdTech 506 – Post #1


Graphics: As a photography and media arts teacher I discuss principles of design and what makes images effective with my students all the time. What I am learning from this course is the application of good graphics for increased understanding in learning. I am also intrigued by the connection to instructional design and learning theory presented in the text this week. Using well designed images in conjunction with the principles of cognitive load theory to address learning styles allows instructional designers to produce images for optimum impact. When designing images many people seem to have an intrinsic ability to create something aesthetically pleasing; however, if a designer can combine aesthetic appeal with an understanding of concepts such as chunking, cognitive load theory, and information processing theory, they are much more likely to design an image with lasting impact on the learner. The designer must use visual strategies to appeal to the viewer through recognition, and find ways to allow the information contained in the image to process itself through short term memory and remain in long term memory. Images need to be created for learning that connect with verbal and visual memory and that translate into understanding through meaning.

References:
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance (2nd Edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Image: http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/9/9/7374/