EEND 681 Artifact 2 – Institutional Technology Plan

For my second artifact, I’ve chosen to include my Institutional Technology Plan.  I spent a lot of time developing this plan and I think the final draft is really well done.  I am very proud of how it turned out and I learned a lot while working on it. It encompasses a lot of different aspects of technology use in schools, all of which I now feel like I have a much better understanding of.  I feel like it is a comprehensive plan that really demonstrates how much I have learned in this class.

One of the biggest challenges in developing this plan was learning about and understanding all the different parts that went into the plan.  Many of the different parts I had never considered before, or in some cases, had even heard of before. One part of the plan that I spent a lot of time considering and thinking about was the technical support plan.  It was really difficult for me to figure out how best to provide tech support to the students and staff. I had so many options and ideas that it was very challenging for me to decide which direction to go. It was something I had not considered before I had to develop this plan, but it helped me a great deal in the end.

This plan is something that is very useful in the classroom, because it shows where the school is headed with its technology usage.  All teachers, students, and staff would be able to look at a plan like this and understand what the main goals of the technology department are, and how we plan to accomplish those goals.  It gives everyone some idea of what they can expect and how they fit into the plan. Most importantly, it provides ways to narrow the digital divide and hopefully encourage more technology use in the classroom.

EEND 681 Artifact 1 – 21st Century Learning Space Design

I’ve chosen to include my 21st Century Learning Space Design as my first artifact for this class.  I’ve included this design because I am quite proud of how it turned out and I really enjoyed putting it together.  I had the opportunity to really think about what I would like to have in my ideal classroom and that was a lot of fun for me.  Most teachers don’t expect to get all they ask for, and I’m no exception, but this assignment was the chance for me to at least consider the possibilities.

One of the biggest challenges I had when designing my classroom, was trying to accommodate all the different students I might have, the space I would be working with, and the infrastructure I would need.  I think these are the types of things most technology departments need to think about when rolling out new technologies in a school building. I had to consider the physical layout as well as the types of technology I would like to implement.  I actually spent quite a bit of time planning before I even began putting a design together. I probably went through at least 3 or 4 drafts before I had a final design in mind.

Some of the items I wanted in my ideal classroom I am lucky enough to already have in my current classroom.  My school has put a large emphasis on technology already, so I have been able to get some of these items and I currently use them.  I use items like the chromebooks and headphones all the time. I also have access to iPads which we also use from time to time. The tech I put in my plan that I don’t currently have, but would love to get, are the virtual reality goggles.  I think that it would be great for my students to be able to visit and explore some of the places we discuss in my Earth Science class. I think the students would really get a lot out of it, and they could experience things they might not get to in real life.

EEND 679 Artifact 2 – Infographic

I chose to include the infographic that I created during the 679 class as my second artifact.  I chose this project because I am proud of how the final product turned out.  I am even more proud of this project particularly because I originally made some mistakes and had to go back and make some changes.  Making these mistakes was a big learning experience for me and I think I understand the process much better for having made those mistakes.  I now know what kinds of things should be included in a good infographic and which things should be avoided.  I feel that now I am in a much better position to help my students as they work through their own infographics in my class.

The biggest challenge I had with creating this activity was using fewer words and more images.  “Infographics are traditionally viewed as visual elements such as signs, charts, maps, or diagrams that aid comprehension of a given text-based content” (Ross, 2009).  I am not used to doing activities like this and that was a hard lesson for me to learn.  I wanted to explain myself using words, when I should be focused much more on images conveying my message in an infographic.  I believe though, that my final product does a great job of this and I definitely learned my lesson.

I can use an activity like this for many different topics that I teach.  While this particular one is designed for comparing two digital tools, the principles can apply to many other topics as well.  One aspect of this activity that I really like are the visuals. Most of the students I teach are more visual learners so I think a project like this will really help them.  Also, in order to create a well done infographic, you really have to understand the topic. It is not enough to just copy and paste an article from the internet. The students have to understand the concepts in order to choose relevant images, graphics, and charts.  “The combination of verbal and visual learning styles has been shown to ultimately increase students’ retention of basic skills by 21% and higher order skills by 20%” (McGuire, 2015). This type of activity is perfect for many of the science topics I teach and will lead to higher learning and retention.  I will definitely try to include more activities like this one into my teaching in the future.

I have learned so much about infographics and assessments from taking this class.  Without this class, I would not have gained so many tips and tricks for including more visuals and higher thinking into my classroom.  I would definitely not have the same confidence in creating and using infographics without this class. These ideas are ones that I will carry with me the rest of my career and I am thankful to have gained so much knowledge over the last few weeks.  I wouldn’t have been as successful in this class without my classmates. Their ideas and thoughts have helped me so much. Having discussions with other teachers that are in the same position as me was very beneficial and provided a lot of different viewpoints I would not have thought of myself.  I learned quite a bit in this class, and look forward to learning much more as this program progresses.

References:

McGuire, S. (2015, November 05). How To Use Infographics As Multimodal Learning Tools. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/how-to-use-infographics-as-multimodal-learning-tools/

Ross, A. (2009, June 7). InfoGraphic Designs: Overview, Examples and Best Practices. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://www.instantshift.com/2009/06/07/infographic-designs-overview-examples-and-best-practices/

EEND 679 Artifact 1 – Digital Badge Pathway

I chose to include my digital badge pathway that I created during the 679 class as my first artifact.  I chose to include this project because I feel that it was one of the more useful tools I have created during this program.   Having clear steps of progression provided for the students is something that I think is very beneficial to their learning. They have clear expectations and know what needs to be done to move to the next step.  “Badges provide the opportunity to assess skills that we do not normally assess in more traditional forms of content based assessment like summative exams and reports” (Parker, n.d.).  I think this pathway that I’ve created is a great first step to incorporating badges in my classroom.

The biggest challenge I had in creating the badge pathway was deciding what steps were necessary to complete in order for the students to reach the final goal I had set for them.  I took some ideas from the article written by Fontichiaro and Elkordy. They said that a teacher should think about “When the student earns the badge, what will it symbolize in terms of what the student has learned and can now do?” (Fontichiaro and Elkordy, 2015).  I tried to keep that in mind when I created my badge pathway.  I wanted specific steps to lead to the next, and I wanted each step to be recognized by a particular badge showing the skills the students had learned.  This process was by far the most challenging part of creating the pathway, but I think it worked out well for me.

I can use this badge pathway in the classroom as a way of helping my students work their way towards a particular learning goal.  The students can look at the badges and see exactly where they stand in terms of their learning process and mastery level. Simply put, I can use the badges as an indicator of student accomplishment and learning in my classroom.

While taking this class I have learned a great deal about digital badges and badge pathways.  This is a topic that I find to be extremely useful to me as a classroom teacher. Finding new tools and figuring out how best to use them was a major reason I enrolled in this program.  I also learned a great deal from my classmates as I worked through this class. The discussions and ideas that we had throughout the class gave me a lot of insight into how other people use these tools and how I can use them as well.  I very much look forward to using what I have learned during this class in the near future.

References:

Fontichiaro, K., & Elkordy, A. (2015, February 26). Chart students’ growth with digital badges. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from https://iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=320
Parker, H. E. (n.d.). Digital Badges as Effective Assessment Tools. Retrieved July 25, 2018, from http://www.learningoutcomesassessment.org/documents/Assessment_in_Practice_Digital_Badges.pdf

679 Course Reflection

This was really an interesting class for me.  Much of what we worked on are things I have thought about trying in my own classes or have already tried to some degree.  It was fun for me to do some of these things and really figure out how I can use them in my class, instead of just experimenting a little on my own.  I would say that the topic that will stick with me the most was the Genius Hour. It is something that I thought very little about before, but now that I have learned more about it and have tried it out, it is definitely something I’m going to pursue in my classroom.  I think it is such a great way to get students learning in a different way, and it gives me an opportunity to redesign how I do things in my classroom. I really can’t say enough about the benefits of using Genius Hour in the classroom, and without enrolling in this program I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Throughout this entire learning experience, the one thing that I appreciated the most was being able to connect with and learn from my peers.  It was truly an invaluable tool being able to discuss topics and get ideas from other teachers just like me. Many of them were in similar situations as I am, but they still have new and different experiences as well.  I felt that everyone was able to bring something new and different to the discussions, and all of them were able to teach me and help me at some point along the way. I will be using many of the new ideas and techniques that I’ve learned from them, and I’m really grateful to have made these meaningful connections in this class.

I think that I have grown quite a bit as a teacher throughout this experience.  I have tried and done things in this class that I don’t think I would have attempted otherwise.  I’ve already mentioned Genius Hour. That was quite the experience for me, and I’m glad I have a better understanding of it because it is something I can see the benefits of doing for my students.  If I hadn’t learned about it in this class, I’m not sure it would have been something I tried with my students. Now I can see the benefits of implementing things like this in my class, and I have much more confidence in trying it now than I did when we first started discussing it.  

I will continue to use much of what I’ve learned in this class as I move forward in the program.   I want to develop more and better assessment activities for my students to help capture their attention and get them interested in learning.  Overall, I’m very pleased with my experience in this class. I have learned a great deal about many different topics that I will take with me as I progress through the program here at St. Francis.  I hope to build on the foundation I have received in this class, and look forward to incorporating many of the new ideas and strategies in my own classroom.

 

EEND 676 Artifact 2 – Writing and Assessing a Collaborative Task

I chose to include my writing and assessing a collaborative task activity that I created during the 676 class as my second artifact.  I chose this because I strongly believe that collaboration is extremely important to the learning process, and I think I have created an activity that will foster collaboration in my classroom.  As a part of this activity, I have also created a rubric for assessing not only the assignment itself, but the collaborative efforts of the students as well. Andrew Marcinek says that “Collaborative assessment must be part of our learning today. We, as educators are doing our students a disservice if we don’t attempt to make this type of assessment available to our students” (Marcinek, 2011).  I feel that this activity and rubric is a great way for me to include more collaboration into my classroom.

The biggest challenge I had with creating this activity was coming up with questions and topics that allowed for deeper thinking and discussion between the partners.  I also had to decide which tool would allow the students flexibility and creativity to provide answers in a unique and fun way. Generating student interest and engagement is something that can be difficult to do, and I think this activity does just that.

I can use an activity like this for many different topics that I teach.  While this particular one is designed for weather and climate, the principles can apply to many other topics as well.  One aspect of this activity that I really like and will use more often is the student feedback. I like having students comment on each other’s work.  According to the Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell University, “students teach each other by addressing misunderstandings and clarifying misconceptions” (Cornell, n.d.).  I like the idea of students teaching and helping each other.  I think they learn and retain the information much better when they are working together, rather than always relying solely on the teacher.  I will definitely try to include more activities like this one into my teaching in the future.

I have learned so much about collaboration and assessments from taking this class.  Without this class, I would not have gained so many tips and tricks for including more collaboration into my classroom.  I would definitely not have the same confidence in creating and using collaborative rubrics without this class. These ideas are ones that I will carry with me the rest of my career and I am thankful to have gained so much knowledge over the last few weeks.  I wouldn’t have been as successful in this class without my classmates. Their ideas and thoughts have helped me so much. Having discussions with other teachers that are in the same position as me was very beneficial and provided a lot of different viewpoints I would not have thought of myself.  I learned quite a bit in this class, and look forward to learning much more as this program progresses.

References:

Collaborative Learning: Group Work. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cte.cornell.edu/teaching-ideas/engaging-students/collaborative-learning.html
Marcinek, A. (2011). Importance of Collaborative Assessment in a 21st Century Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/collaborative-assessment-digital-classroom-social-media-tools

EEND 676 Artifact 1 – Collaborative Web Tools Rubric

I chose to include my collaborative web tools rubric that I created during the 676 class as my first artifact.  I chose to include this rubric because I feel that it was one of the more useful tools I have created during this program.   Collaboration is something that is extremely important to the learning process. “Collaborative learning teams are said to attain higher level thinking and preserve information for longer times than students working individually” (Clifford, 2018).  Because collaboration is so important, finding digital tools that promote collaboration and evaluating their effectiveness is also extremely important.  I think this rubric that I’ve created is a great first step in deciding whether or not these tools will work for me in the classroom.

The biggest challenge I had in creating this rubric was deciding what criteria were important to me in a digital collaboration tool.  I took some ideas from the article written by Aaron Couch. He said that if the tool is too clunky or too difficult to get started swiftly, it negates the features that make it worthwhile (Couch, 2015).  I kept that in mind when I created my rubric.  I wanted a tool that would be user friendly and easy to use.  I had to spend a lot of time looking at, and researching, different articles and resources to help me find other criteria I wanted to use as well.  This process was by far the most challenging part of creating the rubric.

I can use this rubric in the classroom as a way of choosing what digital tools I want to use with my students.  I can look at this as I try out new and different tools to help me determine if they are worthwhile to use, or if I have a better tool I am using already.  Simply put, I can use this rubric as a way to measure different tools against one another to find the best tool for the job. With the hundreds of tools out there and more being created all the time, a rubric like this will be extremely valuable as I continue to implement these into my classroom.

While taking this class I have learned a great deal about collaborative tools and how to evaluate their effectiveness.  This is a topic that I find to be extremely useful to me as a classroom teacher. Finding new tools and figuring out how best to use them was a major reason I enrolled in this program.  I also learned a great deal from my classmates as I worked through this class. The discussions and ideas that we had throughout the class gave me a lot of insight into how other people use these tools and how I can use them as well.  I very much look forward to using what I have learned during this class in the near future.

References:

Couch, A. (2015, March 05). 10 No-Signup Collaboration Tools You Can Use in 10 Seconds. Retrieved from https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-no-signup-collaboration-tools-can-use-10-seconds/

Krumrie, P., Sandel, M., Johnson, L., & Clifford, M. (2018, June 28). 20 Collaborative Learning Tips And Strategies For Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/20-collaborative-learning-tips-and-strategies/

 

EEND 680 Artifact 2 – The Hiring Process

I’ve chosen to include my hiring process interview questions and responses that I developed during the 680 class.  I’ve decided to include these because I felt that this was a very useful exercise for me to prepare for possible interviews in the future.  I am still not completely decided about what my future in technology education looks like. I’m not sure yet whether I want move into more of a technology specialist role, or just continue on with being a classroom teacher.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages for me personally, but I was happy to at least go through a bit of an interview process in case I do decide to make the change in the future.

The most difficult part of this activity for me was trying to come up with good interview questions that would provide me with the information I was looking for.  “The ability to ask the right questions is the single most important skill” (Wagner, 2017).  Until I began this process, I wasn’t sure what exactly I was looking for in a technology specialist or what types of questions I should be asking.  I focused on many of the topics we learned about throughout the program like SAMR and the 4 c’s, and tried to think about how someone would incorporate those things into their technology specialist role.  That helped a great deal in figuring out what types of questions I wanted to ask. I relied on the same method when answering my own interview questions. It was certainly a difficult process but I’m happy with the way my questions and answers turned out.

This activity wouldn’t be especially helpful in the classroom, but it would certainly be helpful if I ever decided to apply for a technology specialist role.  I have some really great questions and responses on this document that I can look at and use to help me prepare for a real interview. Not only did I develop my own questions and answers, but two other colleagues added their questions and answers as well.  That provides even more information that can be extremely useful. I enjoy seeing how other people might answer a question differently than me and it gives me a different way of looking at a question.

As I’ve mentioned above, by taking this class I have learned a great deal about the how I might go about answering questions as it relates to the technology specialist role.  This is a topic I wouldn’t have, and couldn’t have done by myself. It was helpful to have the input from my colleagues to help me prepare for an interview down the road. I won’t lie and say that I am now a perfect candidate should the situation arise, but I do feel much more confident in my ability to answer some of the more difficult questions I may face.  I truly feel like what I have put together with the help of my colleagues can really help me in the future. I look forward to seeing what the future may hold for me.

References:

Wagner, T. (2017). Would you hire your own kids? 7 Skills schools should be teaching them. Retrieved from http://thedailyriff.com/articles/would-you-hire-your-own-kids-7-skills-schools-should-be-teaching-them-291.php

 

EEND 680 Artifact 1 – Learning Walks

I’ve chosen to include the learning walk feedback form I developed during the 680 class.  I included this because I’m very proud of how it turned out and I think it will be a very useful form that I can use in the future.  I believe strongly in forms like these. I think that administrators popping into a teacher’s classroom twice a year and evaluating them based on those two instances is not very effective.  Administrators have to be in the classroom more often, and it has be be more informal. Those visits should be useful tools for teachers to learn from and grow.  “Teachers benefit by learning to use reflection to increase their knowledge, skills, and performance; strategically aligning classroom instruction to district curriculum; and increasing student learning across grade levels” (Hopkins, 2010).  It should not be seen as a dog and pony show that teachers have to go through in order to be hired back the next year.  That is why I think a form like the one I’ve created can be such a useful tool for administrators, or other staff members, to use on their walk throughs. It is an easy way for them to quickly assess what is happening in the classroom, and it provides topics for discussion later on.  The toughest part of creating this form was determining what I thought was the most important things I would look for in a teacher’s classroom. Technology use, collaboration, the 4 C’s were all pieces that I thought were important enough to be on the form. Other administrators or teachers might think other things should be included as well.  It was hard to create a form that could be filled out quickly, yet look for all the things I wanted the walk through to focus on. In the end, I think I created a form that will work well for me and the aspects of my teaching that I think are the most important.

While working through this class, I’ve learned quite a bit about learning walks.  Things I know I would never have seen or done if I had not taken this class. It is such a powerful tool to use in the classroom that I am extremely grateful that I was exposed to it, and had an opportunity to work through it with my peers in this class.  Without learning from my peers in the discussions, I’m not sure I would have been able to create the form that I have. It would not have occurred to me to include things like the 4 C’s or SAMR before reading through the resources and having those discussions with my classmates.  I am hopeful that I can use this form again in the future.

References:

Walk-Throughs Are On the Move. (2010). Retrieved from https://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin405.shtml

 

Genius Hour

I really like the idea of Genius Hour.  I think it really gives the students something different and interesting to work on.  They get to choose their own topics and work on their own ideas, so they should be really enthusiastic about doing it and I hope it will be a lot of fun.  I have never done this with my students before, but I have heard a lot of really good things about it from teachers who have. After trying a Genius Hour myself, I’m even more excited to try this in my classroom.  I think it is a great way to get students interested in learning and excited to share their thoughts and ideas with the rest of the class. I am for sure going to try this with my students next year.

For my Genius Hour, I was trying to figure out how to install low-voltage landscape lighting around my house.  I love the way it makes a house look at night and I have always thought about doing it, I was just hesitant because I didn’t know exactly how to do it.  During my Genius Hour, I learned that the most helpful information was on Youtube. Watching a professional explain how to install the lighting was much easier than trying to read a bunch of articles.  Many of the articles are specific to one type of lighting or another, while the videos were much more general and applied to just about any type of lights. The biggest win for me was learning that installing the lights would be much easier than I expected, and I felt pretty confident it wouldn’t be as big of a project as I originally thought.

Genius Hour is something that I think I could fit into my class schedule on a regular basis.  I would probably pick a day during the week when that is all the students worked on. It may not be feasible for me to use a day a week for the entire school year, but I could do it for several weeks at a time.  I might start off slowly with 4-6 Fridays in a row and see how that goes. If it worked out and I had enough time for my normal curriculum I would continue that 4 or 5 more times throughout the school year. I think that it would not only excite the students to work on something of their own choosing, but it would help with other skills such as researching and presenting that I want them to be doing anyway.  It really wouldn’t take much for me to get this going in my classes next year, and I look forward to giving it a shot.