EEND 678 Artifact 2 – Grant Writing

I have chosen to include my grant writing proposal as my second artifact for this class.  I’ve included this because I’m extremely proud of what my colleague and I came up with and how we have presented it.  This was probably the most challenging part of the class for me. Before putting this proposal together, I literally had zero experience with writing a grant.  I knew next to nothing about how they work or how to apply for one. I confess that when I first looked at the resources that were provided, I was completely lost.  I didn’t even know where to begin. I’m thankful that I had a colleague also in the class with me who I could work with. Together we learned a lot about the process and I think we came up with an outstanding proposal.  

One of the hardest parts of writing a grant is to find one that applies to what you need in your classroom.  There are literally thousands of grants available if you know where to look. I’ve learned that to get started you should “search for grants that are specifically aligned to your subject area, grade-level, type of need, or community to maximize your chance of being selected” (Classroom funding, 2017).  It is not enough just to find a particular grant you want, but you have to make your proposal stand out and separate yourself from all the others also applying for it (3 Tips, 2018).  I’ve learned several tips and tricks throughout the process for making my grant one that will stand out.  I think that we did a pretty good job of that as we put our proposal together.

The particular grant that we put together involves purchasing virtual reality goggles for our students to use in the classroom.  Many times in Earth Science, the only way to truly experience a topic is to be there and see it for yourself. Unfortunately, this is not an option for most of our students.  Instead, we tried to think of ways to bring those ideas, places, and experiences to them in the classroom through the use of virtual reality. We would design units in our class where students are expected to “visit” a location that is significant to the topics we are discussing.  We really think that by doing these types of activities we can get the students engaged in the topics and much more involved in their own learning.

As I’ve mentioned above, by taking this class I have learned a great deal about grants and the grant writing process.  This is a topic I have shied away from in the past because I was so unfamiliar with it and because it was such a confusing process for me.  I won’t lie and say that I am now an expert, but I do feel much more confident in my ability to look for and apply for grants. I truly feel like we have put together a great proposal and I look forward to using in the near future.  I’m excited to put it to the test for real and see what happens.

References:

Classroom Funding: 4 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Grant Applications. (2017, March 21). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://blog.edmentum.com/classroom-funding-4-tips-take-stress-out-grant-applications

3 Tips to Write Winning Grant Applications. (2018, January 12). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://thebookingbiz.com/2016/10/3-tips-write-winning-grant-applications/

EEND 678 Artifact 1 – PBL

I’ve chosen to include my project-based learning outline on climate change that I developed during the 678 class.  Project-based learning is something I had not really thought much about before I enrolled in this class.  I was one of those teachers who would just assign a project to the class and I’d have guidelines and expectations for the students to follow blindly.  They basically just checked off boxes on a rubric I would give them and that was that. They’d get their grade and we’d move on. But what were my students really learning?  Were they learning the material, or just how to get a grade? This was always something I had a problem with as a teacher, but I wasn’t sure how to fix it. Since I’ve taken this class and we have learned so much about project-based learning, I have completely changed my view on how I should be teaching in my classroom.  I’ve realized that there is a better way to get the material across to my students and get them engaged with their own learning. The key is to give them more freedom with fewer guidelines, and to let them use their own creativity. Creativity is what draws them in and creates self-motivated learners. When children are interested in what they are doing and are able to use their areas of strength, they achieve at a higher level” (Edutopia 2007). My job is simply to facilitate and expose them to new ways of doing things, and to show them the new and different technology that is available for them to use.

Creating a PBL was certainly something I was not used to doing, but I worked with a colleague of mine who also teaches Earth Science and I believe that together we came up with a pretty good PBL outline that we can use in our classes as a first step.  As I’ve mentioned above, we developed a unit about climate change which I think lends itself toward a PBL very well. There is a lot of information out there for the students to work with, and with all the controversy surrounding the topic it certainly gives the students a lot of freedom in choosing what they want to focus on.  One of the challenges with developing this PBL was to find a way to get the students to present their projects to a wider audience. We decided to start with something we thought would have a bigger impact on our own school, and so we decided to show the student projects on the video screens in the cafeteria during lunch periods.  The idea was that students should feel a sense of pride in their work, and should work more carefully knowing that the entire school will see their projects.  We also decided to have the student share their work via social media, another way for them to show their work to a larger audience, and hopefully a way to get the students more engaged in the project.  “Effective PBL requires integrating student ownership in the project design and implementation processes” (PBL Blog, n.d.).

While working through this class, I’ve learned quite a bit about project-based learning.  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 wrap my head around creating a PBL myself. I probably would have been scared off, and would not have taken a chance of doing one in my own classroom. Now, I’m looking forward to the opportunity of using my climate change PBL and I cannot wait to see how it goes.

References:

PBL Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.bie.org/blog/35_leaders_on_the_successes_and_challenges_of_project_based_learning

Why Is Project-Based Learning Important? (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-guide-importance

EEND 678 Class Reflection

This was really an interesting class for me.  Before I began this program I really thought I had a pretty good handle on using technology in my class.  I thought I would pick up a few tips or tricks by enrolling in the program, but I really learned so much more than I expected. I would say that the topic that will stick with me the most is problem-based learning.  It is something that I thought very little about before, but now that we discussed it in class and we worked with some ideas, 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 completely different way, and it gives them an opportunity to see how topics we learn about relate to the real world. I really can’t say enough about the benefits of using problem-based learning 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 discussion boards, 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 things and done things in this class that I don’t think I would have attempted otherwise.  Flipping my classroom was quite the experience for me.  I’m not too keen on videotaping myself, but it was something I can see the benefits of doing for my students.  If I wasn’t forced to try it in this class, I’m not sure I would have attempted it on my own. I have already mentioned my thoughts on problem-based learning.  This is another topic I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to without being in this class. Now I can see the benefits of implementing 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 will especially focus on the SAMR model going forward.  This was something I learned a lot about, and it can act like a checklist for me as I develop new and different teaching strategies.  I want to focus on using more modification and redefinition in my teaching rather than just substitution.  I want to develop more problem-based learning activities for my students.  To that point, I want to work at developing better essential questions and find ways to get my students more engaged in their learning.  I also want to find new and better ways to manage devices in my classroom.  Using technology in class is great and has many benefits for the students, but it has to be managed effectively by the teacher in order for it to be an effective learning tool.  Finally, I want to continue to learn about new and different ways of using technology to differentiate in my classroom.  I can continue to try new things like flipping my classroom to promote differentiation. I was uncomfortable with the experience at first, but I got over my hesitation and I think I created something worthwhile for my students. For me, that’s what its all about.

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.

References:

The Daily Riff – BE SMARTER. ABOUT EDUCATION. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/how-the-flipped-classroom-is-radically-transforming-learning-536.php

McGraw-Hill. (2016, November 16). Understanding SAMR – Inspired Ideas – Medium. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://medium.com/inspired-ideas-prek-12/understanding-samr-4898216474c0

What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning? (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-project-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron

Introduction

Hi, my name is Adam Wason.  I work in District 205 at Lockport East High School.  I just finished my 12th year teaching, all of them spent at Lockport.  I also graduated from Lockport, so all together I’ve been at the school for 16 years.  I am currently teaching sophomore level Physical Science and junior/senior level Earth Science.  I’ve taught Physical Science for all of my 12 years, and I’ve taught Earth Science for the last 9 years.

I really do like using technology in the classroom.  I think it’s something that all students today should be exposed to as often as possible.  We currently are 1:1 here at Lockport with the students all having chromebooks that they use every day.  I would say that I’m probably one of the teachers here that uses the chromebooks most often.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve printed off a single piece of paper in the last 2 months.  Almost everything the kids work on in my class is set up through our school’s PowerSchool Learning LMS.  They have their notes there, videos, practice problems, quizzes, tests, pretty much everything.

Some of my favorite tech tools I use are things like Kahoot and Quizlet.  Those are two that I use all the time in my class for review games to make it fun for the kids.  EdPuzzle and PearDeck are others I like to use for certain topics.  They also do a great job keeping the kids involved in the lessons.

As great as all this is, I do run into trouble using technology in class the way I do.  I have many students who don’t like online tests, don’t like taking notes on google docs, don’t like digital flashcards, etc.  As great as I think these technologies are, I still have to keep in mind that sometimes these may not be so great for all my students.

Overall though, it has been fun trying to come up with new and innovative ways to incorporate more technology into my classroom.  It has been really nice teaching in a district that seems to be ahead of the curve for many of these technologies and has a lot of support for the teaching staff.  With this class, I hope to learn more about the hardware aspects of Technology Education.  I would say that this would probably be my weakest area, because I have the least experience with it.  I really am looking forward to learning more about this throughout the program here at St. Francis and to round out my learning.