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  I am even more proud of this project particularly because I originally made some mistakes and had to go back and make some changes.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.

 

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.

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.