My First Game – Island Adventure 1

Embedded my Sploder game into a web page so I could include it here. WordPress was not being cooperative.

Advertisements

Scaffolding – Week 5 Reflection -542

This particular lesson this week was Planning and Preparing with an emphasis on scaffolding our learners. As we clarified where we wanted to end, we analyzed what it would take to get our students there. We wanted to provide the students a vision into our collective passions. Coming from our separate backgrounds, we listened to one another and added pieces to the whole.

One of our strengths is our difference. Viewing from our various experiences, we explored reaching all learners. One of my cohorts is a former teacher and now in IT and a Google Docs trainer. The other, also in IT, is our Spanish, sound and technical specialist. My background is both in teaching Theater and students with learning differences.

So on we went, detailing the specifics we would need in our Teaching and Learning Guide and we discovered areas that contained gaps in reaching our students. Rather than filling with wasted space documents and time, we challenged each other to talk out how to support our students. We looked to reduce assumptions we made about teaching high school students.

Jamie McKenzie addresses that “scaffolding clarifies purpose” (1999) as one of her eight characteristics. Our entry event is designed to evoke emotions since it centers around two unlikely friends during the Holocaust. Through underscoring innocence of the children of the world, even in the midst of great cruelty and prejudice, we start them caring about the future of their world and HOW they should make a difference.

At each level of this project we provide them structure and guidance to keep them focused on their mission. Starting at the end, we have worked backward leaving them materials they will need to build a road to where we want them to arrive. Our assessments are clear as they can be prior to implementation, so our charges know clearly our expectations. We have provided them a class glossary, adding some words we find essential to the information gathering, to use with their class and with their cohorts. We collected the best websites to get them started and information to analyze web information of their own choosing. We have provided them a tutorial on using VoiceThread and two opportunities to use it in the course of nine weeks. The use of Google Docs will encourage Peer editing and contributions so all feel included and heard. Adding a cohort element integrates curriculum and offers written and spoken immersion while providing direct contact with students halfway around the globe as they explore global issues.

I would love to test this PBL. I feel we have built a strong superstructure around their site of exploration and creation. I feel like we addressed all eight of the characteristics McKenzie addressed. All that remains will be the editing and revision that can only take place after a test with high school students.

Reference:

McKenzie, J. (1999). Scaffolding for success. From Now On, The Educational Technology Journal, 9(4). Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://fno.org/dec99/scaffold.html

Instructional Design Job Posting

Part I – SYNTHESIS

Up 2RIs N Poo Inc., a distributor of children’s books by A. A. Milne, seeks dynamic, self-directed, creative, and innovative Instructional Designer. The newly created position reports to both the Director of Sales and the Director of Production & Distribution. The Instructional Designer will work collaboratively with leadership, operations, human resources, and IT. The ID will help the team assess the organization needs, create and develop a variety of performance improving solutions that support technical, non-technical and leadership positions. The ID will design learning approaches that are efficient, effective and engaging to learners.  The ID will utilize multiple formats to include traditional instructor led as well as eLearning, mLearning, games and web pages capable of mobile device access. The ID will conduct evaluations of the effectiveness of the training, collaborate with the team and update training and materials based upon feedback.

Required skills and qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in instructional design, educational technology or related field;
  • Experience as a teacher, trainer and/or professional development instructor for adult learners;
  • Proven ability in designing learning and development programs in a variety of delivery approaches, including instructor lead, web based, and blended learning methods;
  • Experience in designing instruction for online learning environments;
  • Knowledge of emerging technology as related to instruction and experience with web technologies, multimedia applications and e-learning technologies;
  • Experience in using Web 2.0 applications;
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively on time-sensitive tasks;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

The outstanding candidate will possess:

  • Master’s Degree in instructional design, educational technology or related field;
  • Experience and interest in Leadership, Management and Professional skills development;
  • Synchronous and asynchronous online course development;
  • Demonstrated experience working with people of varied technological skills;
  • Experience managing multi-demand, multi-priority projects simultaneously;
  • An acute understanding of complex office environment as it pertains to sales, production, and distribution;
  • A proactive approach to collaboration;
  • Set the example for positive and ethical use of technology.

Part II – REFLECTION

If you asked me at the outset of this assignment the difference between an instruction designer and a teacher I would have been hard put to find a difference. We are products of our experiences and I am fortunate to have had military service between college graduation and my teaching career. Instructional design was founded in the military. Most of my outlook on how I teach, evaluate and modify what I do emanates from that experience as opposed to my formal teacher education. I was given opportunity to lead the group of teachers tasked to rewrite the Drama Curriculum and sequence of study for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. It was not until this lesson that I fully grasped what my principal and superintendent knew about me way back when. I thought like an instructional designer. I always asked three questions, “Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How will we get there?” Obviously, my questions are military-based and instructional designers ask, “Where do we want to go? How will we get there? How will we know we are there?” Most importantly, I learned that our little group wrote the plan. Since we were also teachers, we implemented that plan as well. Most of the teachers in the county only implemented the plan. Of course, there was flexibility to modify and manipulate the plan to fit each school, the needs of the classroom and the strength of the teacher. Bottom line, teachers implement.

Until I started on this path of Educational Technology at Boise State, I did what many teachers did. I sought any means necessary to discover existing programs, mlearning modules, You Tube videos or technology written by others to carry the learning to my students. I did not create the technology. I used technology created by instructional designers. They created the interesting, engaging technology I sought to use in my classrooms. Most teachers do not have the time or the ability to create intricate technology-based materials. So, instructional designers design interesting, engaging lessons that incorporate a variety of technologies.

Teachers are critical to the process of educating our youth. Instructional designers can create the most interesting, engaging, technologically rich material; but the educator is responsible for bringing that into the classroom. There is not a place on the state test for helping students deal with the loss of a fellow student; but it is a part of life. In many schools, I was rewarded for having a calm demeanor under pressure by being designated the Crisis Coordinator. That meant if a student died at a party by an accidental discharge of a weapon, my classes got put on hold and they were witness to me helping others process that tragedy. If the parents left the students at school, we found that if they processed their emotions, they would engage into their school day rhythms sooner. And if they did not, we all cried together and discovered our own humanity. I was also unique that I was well versed in more than one subject area. I also was a student in how students learn(ed). However, most teachers are focused on their own subject area and tend to teach the way they were taught. Instructional designers are experts on how people learn and the varying technologies one can use. They monitor outcomes, adapt and change the curriculum to increase productivity. We may evaluate what the students have learned; we rarely evaluate the educator in a real, and meaningful way. I am fortunate that I had a principal teach me a valuable lesson when I was a young teacher. He told me I was an advertising executive. He was the owner of a widget company and my students were the consumers of the widgets. When my students failed a test on a unit I worked and slaved to prepare, he asked, “If my consumers are not buying what you are selling, should I continue having you work to sell my products? Shouldn’t you try another advertising campaign?” I learned early to reflect, repackage, and revise to increase outcomes. I see that over and over again in the ads for instructional designers. In the classroom, the students provide feedback to the teacher. The teacher gathers feedback daily and at testing time. Unfortunately, only state test results are passed on to the instructional designer. The student feedback rarely gets passed on to the designer in the K-12 world.

Part III – Job Posting URLs

1 – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN – http://tinyurl.com/a5bcynd

2 – Textron, Inc, Providence, RI  – http://tinyurl.com/besgxx6

3 – Management Concepts, Tysons Corner, VA – http://tinyurl.com/aeqbpab

Horizon Report – Tech Trends

Tasked with viewing the NMC (New Media Consortium) Horizon Report > 2012 Higher Education Edition on emerging tech trends, we were charged with creating an innovative use of technology in our respective fields. Serving as a Theatre teacher for most of my seventeen years in education, I chose a Theatre lesson for the basis of the assignment.

I have taught a variation of this Theatre Arts lesson in the past. However, it required students to go to a public place and observe people. You know, stalk them. You can see where that might become more problematic with so many valid concerns about youth safety. The research side of this project took students a week to accomplish.

I also used the rubric for this lesson in the past. Giving it to students to use as a basis for critique of one another at each stage gives them black and white detail of expectations, while offering clear areas to discuss and share with one another. In the past, the first critique would be via each partner. Then it moves to peer critique. Next, would be self/partner critique as the scenes are rehearsed and finalized. Then the rubric is used yet again to defend in the final performance. Employing and integrating technology insures critique is visible, nearly in real time and in the palm of the student’s hand. Learning, adapting and refining the subtext occurs faster and the connection of character and performance, stronger.

IMovie allows the smartphone, Ipad or computer user to create everything from the simplest of movies (like the camcorder of old) to detailed productions with jpeg picture drops, background music and amazing editing capabilities. For this project, being able to simply listen to the different characters the users creates would prove beneficial in selecting the final three scenes and feedback would be quick and easy. Having the student first focus on audio only, allows them to hear the subtext without having to worry about how the character looks on camera. Then, being able to shoot and edit their movie with their device allows for nearly instantaneous edits and peer review. I found IMovie to be a very user-friendly tool when I made my movie for Introduce Yourself project found in About Me on this blog. Uploading to YouTube is easy as well.

YouTube allows the students to share what they did nearly instantly with their friends or parents. I am not sure I would want them to make the videos public and like the controls YouTube allows. Schools vary and some may or may not want videos shared. On the other hand, considering the reach of YouTube allows for some considerations I never dreamed of when composing this lesson. One could actually share with students in another classroom across the state or across the globe. Having shared acting class videos with one of my good friends before, I think of the time factor it took to send a tape simply across the state of Tennessee. The lesson was almost forgotten by the time we were swapping feedback on videos. YouTube would allow feedback to occur the same day and with a SKYPE connection the feedback could be immediate.

The biggest reason I chose YouTube beyond the sharing with parents (or administrators, since they are rarely familiar with organized chaos of a theatrical production or class) would be to allow students to detach themselves just a bit from what they created so they can objectively analyze their performances incorporating subtext.

The most amazing tool for the phone or Ipad used in this lesson is Explain Everything. Explain Everything allows the user to research, collect data (pdfs, photos, movies, documents) mark them up with notes and combine it all in a movie you can share directly to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. (There is a way to bypass the IMovie process; but that requires the Explain Everything App for Mac OSX. This allows you to play .XPL Explain Everything files on a Mac computer without converting them to MP4. I saw that as problematic since my goal was to use Ipad or smartphone technology.) You can save your work in folders, and if you combine it with an Evernote account you can unlock even more capability to notate, collaborate and store your work.

Coming from a very old-school background, I was “that guy” at the mall, a young actor scribbling character notes of people as they walked by. Old lessons taught to me and by me come to mind as I was charged with creating a complete history (background) of some person I had only watched and listened to for a few moments. One would craft elaborate collages and fabric swatches to create said history. Granted, there is still a need for that level of real texture at some point in the Theatre; but my notebook in my back pocket contained none of that. I only had character notes and no pictures. So, I took my information home or to school to complete my research. The ability to do all that research and combining of data as you in real time from your desk in class amazes me. Not only that, to be able to store all these notes, collages, and character studies on your phone or Ipad means you have a wealth of character knowledge and supporting data at your fingertips. Far more detailed than any notepad I ever carried, you can record voice, highlight traits or even create your background story from anything you find on the web and all from your smartphone or Ipad.

The administrator in me sees so many uses for Explain Everything coupled with an IPad. So many classes could benefit from the variety of tools. There is even a laser pointer tool you can use to highlight elements on the screen when using an Ipad. Sharing data, and lessons, marked with feedback, points of interest or questions from the palm of my hand is simply fascinating. There is not one blackboard anymore. With this technology and an IPad at each desk, all students get to “hold the chalk.” A large public school classroom becomes something altogether different as a handheld device transforms into a Harkness table.

I have some significant issues with Digital Inequality in this assignment. Two schools come to mind as I write – the boarding school in Litchfield, CT and the inner city public school in Winston-Salem, NC. In each case, the divide between haves and have-nots seemed like the Grand Canyon. In North Carolina Effective Teacher Training we were required to list potential roadblocks to the success of our lessons. As an administrator, I have continued to require that notation of all teachers I mentored, as it is wise to forecast issues potentially affecting success. And so I have noted it here. I look forward to exploring that topic in greater detail when appropriate.

Rather than build my assignment on the premise that my school is not mandated to follow a set of state standards (The Forman School is an independent school and does not follow State of Connecticut policies), I chose to work under standards from states where I taught or was publicly licensed. I ended up using North Carolina for nostalgia’s sake as that was my state of original license. I was Theatre Arts Director at RJ Reynolds High School and was the Curriculum Revision Chair for Theatre Arts for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District. I was also a member of the State of North Carolina Secondary Schools Theatre Arts Curriculum Revision Committee. But for the nomenclature, the text is as we wrote it in 1990. Current and emerging technologies are not addressed, so another revision appears to be in order.

I have not taught the lesson in its current form. I can only speak from implementing the lesson in earlier form and know that the major drawback was the sheer amount of time that was needed from introduction to scene prep with most of that time resembling an art class making collages. Logic dictates the lesson could be more fun, the learning enhanced and the feedback more immediate in the tech-infused version.

I can certainly see the connection of our AECT Standards and implementation. I designed a lesson that utilized RadioJames Objectives Builder for my objectives and saw direct correlation to their position on Bloom’s Taxonomy Pyramid connecting to Standard 1.1 Instructional Systems Design. The lesson uses media and devices not traditionally employed for theatre training exercises. Through utilization of these devices and implementing them in a classroom, what normally takes a week to cover, coupled with outside research, takes two class periods. This related with Standard 3.1 Media Utilization. By connecting to state standards, I insured my lesson aligned with current published expectations associating directly with Standard 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization.