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.

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Final Reflections of Project Based Learning

Our project is winding down and the link is attached here. This has been an amazing experience for me. Initially, when the class began, I was a little put off by the thought we would be responsible for our own learning. I felt considering the fees and what I was paying (or had paid through military service), I should be getting very focused instruction. I expected that I would not gain a great deal, or if I did, it would be in spite of the lack of visible instruction.

Shortly after beginning the course, we were given the opportunity to join into small groups or do the project on our own. Still not fully vested and unsure of what the composition of my group would be, I moved ahead. Boy, did I ever hit jackpot. I joined a great group of minds.

We all seemed to get excited about the project. As a result, we experience a PBL while creating a PBL. Certainly, this creation was not easy. We spent a great deal of time with each other every Monday night. Through the week, we communicated by text and email. However, the time flew by. It just did not seem laborious. However, I am not living on the east coast, as one of my cohorts, so the few really late nights we had might have taken a steeper toll on him. Considering how we all were energized each time we added a layer, I am not certain I would have had that energy off which to feed if I built a PBL on my own. In hindsight, having a group to work with was the greatest windfall for me in this course.

I would have liked to witness more PBL experiences incorporating Differentiated Learning. In my experience with students with learning differences, talking about it, reading about it and actually incorporating students in the mix are three very different things. I do understand the literature; I would just like to see it in practice.

I will take away a greater respect for use of Project Based Learning and Habit of Mind to create a culture shift. I look forward to the opportunity to help mentor teachers weave PBL into their coursework to make teaching and learning a collaborative experience for all.

Self evaluation of our PBL follows:.

Debrief, Reflect, Review and Revise

Once the event is over, all paperwork is done, and the guests are gone, I have found that most students experience a let down in the same way someone misses the show once the school play is over. The big fun project/labor of love is done and usually it is missed. I would want to create a highlight video of the presentations and reception/project defenses and share that video with the students. That way, they could all see what the audience saw. It is always hard to gauge your own performances. I would want to praise them, as the video should capture the students engaging with the community professionals and executives.

I would also want to share the results of their survey using the data sans names. Once the data is finished I would encourage them to talk about the data and process what could be done differently to make the experience better. Engaging the cohort class and gaining their feedback using the End of Project Survey on our PBL website would be valuable, as well as feedback from the cohort educators.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, German philosopher and playwright used to ask three questions before reviewing a play:

1) What was the artist trying to do?

2) How well did he/she do it?

3) Was it worth doing? Does it have value?

I think with minor refinement, these questions would serve this project well, although there are many quality feedback forms on the BIE website. I would want to get feedback from some of our guests from the culminating activity. This would help assess the end products and if they could be market-ready and if they weren’t what the projects lacked to make a professional connection. I also think that feedback might be valuable for the students to see and process as well.

A discussion with my collaborators and quite possibly either the Dean of Faculty, Assistant Head of School or Head of School would prove time well spent. We should examine the student, cohort and guest surveys and assess the final products. At our meeting, posting the results would frame further conversations. Exploring the data, we could share our praises and our changes we would like to implement should we do the project again.

I think assessment should happen each and every time this PBL is used. Change is inevitable and that will happen with students, teachers, school, and community populations. As things change, the dynamics change. Self-assessment and analysis of any PBL should occur with each use. In addition, teachers should continually appraise the needs of each group of students to insure they are meeting the needs of the students while addressing the mandates of the school system.

Emerging Technologies, Learning Theories and Theories of Educational Technology – 504

This week’s videos and readings, combined with some of the readings for the Annotated Bibliography and the Synthesis Paper, have proven to be some of the most valuable yet. As a future Technology Integration Specialist, I will be incorporating all the tools I have learned to help my school truly integrate what they do with technology and maximize the potential of human, software and hardware to achieve educational goals. The historical background is certainly important. I feel the newer theories reflect a digital infusion that many called for years ago.

John See (1993) stressed the need to incorporate an annual analysis, mentioning the speed of change in technology. Twenty years removed and his words are still accurate.  Thirteen years ago, David Hawkridge addressed three critical areas affecting all facets of education, professional training and educational technology integration: “cost, access and quality” (1999, p. 301). I have seen schools that did not listen to either of the above authors and their cautions. The computers sit idle because of poor choices, plans and knowledgeable integration. The deal to get X computer was important because XY district said everyone would use them. No one seemed to challenge why they needed X in the first place. What were the students in XY district doing that would be made better by that device? Eleven years ago, De Castell, Bryson, & Jensen urged educators to challenge each and every use of hardware and software thereby creating an “educational theory of technology” (2002, para 13).

George Siemens created a new theory of learning – Connectivism. Unlike previous theories that stress the teacher demonstrates or articulates a concept, Connectivism stresses that the teacher knows where to find the answer (Siemens, 2004). Connectivism relates directly to how the learners are connected through devices to various learning communities. They get their information through these various connections. The knowledge comes as the learner recognizes patterns in the information. Web 2.0 tools make this situation even more interesting as information may or may not be vetted by an expert in a given field. Gone is the old Encyclopedia Britannica and hello Wikipedia.

These changes in the information landscape have impacted the ways that students search for and synthesize information from various sources, and they are of particular importance to academic librarians who seek to connect students’ learning networks and to improve students’ information skills (Dunaway, 2011, p. 675).

Educators help teach how to research and how to filter good information from bad.

Many researchers in the first decade of the new millennium seemed to take this one step further as they explored theories of PCT or Pedagogical Content Knowledge  (Shulman, 1986) and (Shulman, 1987) and attempted to interweave technology to create Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (Angeli, & Valanides, 2009). This finally began to fill the void in teacher preparation. Teachers began training to teach their content incorporating, planning and executing through technology. I reminded myself as I read this particular journal article that our program here integrates as we learn.

The podcast/videos see the future when teachers can no longer teach the test because the test evolves and changes to measure what they know rather than how to fill in a bubble sheet. The expectations will change to teach 21st Century Skills and prepare students to learn in the same way they will be expected to work as an adult. They will need to collaborate and then seek knowledge, return and collaborate more and then make a plan to follow. Then they will do it. I am fortunate to attend BSU and their Master of EDTECH program. I am glad we integrate technology and incorporate our given content area as we work and learn. This way the learning is not just rote, separate training; but rooted in theories of educational technology as we explore our given content areas. It is this way we will prepare for the challenges of the future as technology and educational technology continue to evolve and mesh.

References:

Angeli, C., & Valanides, N. (2009). Epistemological and methodological issues for the conceptualization, development, and assessment of ICT TPCK: Advances in technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). Computers and Education (0360-1315), 52 (1),154-168. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.07.006

De Castell, S., Bryson, M., & Jenson, J. (2002). Object lessons: towards an educational theory of technology. First Monday, 7(1), 1-11. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/923/845

Hawkridge, D. (1999). Thirty years on, BJET! and educational technology comes of age. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 30(4), 293-304.

See, J. (1993). How to develop technology plans. Education Digest, 58(5), 28-30.

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15, 4-14.

Shulman, L. S. (1986). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1-22.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: a theory for the digital age. 1-6. Retrieved from http://www.ingedewaard.net/papers/connectivism/2005_siemens_ALearningTheoryForTheDigitalAge.pdf

 

Week 3 Reflection – 542

Created with bubbl.us.

We were busy this week. Found two other cohorts of like mind and interest to do our project. Deciding what we thought we wanted to do was not hard. Deciding what TO do was harder. Starting with the desire to create a unit of the present looking to a better future while focusing on a past event really appealed to me. Also, using the power of technology to have our class cohort with a class/school in another country in real time also heightened my interest.

I still remember pen pals in the elementary school of my youth. I also remember long deployments prior to the internet explosion where loved ones actually wrote letters. I have used SKYPE while my wife was deployed. Yes, it allowed decisions to be discussed in real time. However, until I started this degree program, I never really worked on projects in a synchronous Internet environment. Google Docs, Chat and other devices allow for research and decisions to be nearly instantaneous.

I created a Visual Organizer for our project using bubbl.us. It was a pretty simple program once I played with it for a few minutes. I would not rank it as the most amazing thing I have ever done. It is a first, outside of Google Docs and it does the job.

We (my group) chose a state first. Using Idaho High School Education Standards as our roots, we grew our project from there. Once we identified and agreed upon the standards we all wanted to address, we worked on our Welcome and Overview. We moved to the Driving Question and then really began to network. We wrote, rewrote and will likely rewrite in the future as this project evolves. I like how we are integrating technology into our PBL. Since our group is new, we are still in the Honeymoon phase and all seems good. I hope we can keep this up and continue communicating to each other and the PBL continues to grow and flourish.

Welcome page – https://sites.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/holocaust-pbl/home

Overview page – https://sites.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/holocaust-pbl/overview

Digital Inequality Assignment

Our group used many tools and technologies as we collaborated on this project. I enjoyed using Google Chat both video and text and Google docs to allow active communication with cohorts around the globe. We used Screenshare to show each other tools and how to accomplish tasks on the Google Presentation document and other tasks. One of my partners made a survey through Google Docs which allowed us to vote independent of each other and yet explore our results and our candid feedback on each option. I became quite comfortable with Zotero as I used it from the very beginning of this assignment. I wanted to keep tabs on the varying sites and be able to offer them quickly when we arrived at the assembly point. I became better through failure, though, as more than once I cleared my screen and had trouble locating documents I had previously retrieved. We also used mobile devices for texting and talking. WordPress, YouTube and Scribd were also used.

Working with peers is always challenging. Adding large time differentials, plus life events that all are experiencing make small obstacles larger. Time is a precious commodity and setting earlier time lines would always enhance a project. The Chinese government put additional strains on our group limiting Lydia’s access and searches throughout our research experience.

I think it pertinent to think how I might use what I have learned if given the opportunity to explore this at my next school. Regardless of the questions or research, you can utilize research teams to present findings to larger groups to help with problem solving on campus and in the classroom. Moving from that, you can also use small groups to work together on research projects within the curriculum or cross curriculum. Focusing specifically on the question of Digital Inequality, one can research the specifics that exist or obstruct Digital Inclusion on-campus with faculty, students and parents

My previous teaching experiences taught me that what is ethical and appropriate in one home is not in another. Just because I see great future in technology and the role it can play in a business, classroom or household does not mean everyone I contact will share those values. In the book Social, Ethical and Policy Implications of Information Technology (Brennan & Johnson, 2004) Disbenefits (sic) of Access are discussed at length. Are we reducing face-to-face interaction while touting sitting behind a screen for longer periods of time? Are people who work in skilled labor jobs really worse off for not accessing various sites online? When trying to research a community, sensitivity must be used by the researchers not to assume that with technology every life of every member of the community is going to be magically better. Flights can still be purchased off-line and business and personal transactions can still occur without the Information Superhighway running through one’s living room. The researcher must not judge those in the community and make assumptions. More importantly, the information gained in research must be respected and handled with care. Again, this is to protect those in the survey from feeling judged for their level of use of ICTs.

We used many integrated technologies in our project from animated slides in our presentation to embedding You Tube video to share concepts of inclusion. While building the project we utilized many different devices to coordinate and gather our research so I certainly see the alignment with 2.4 Integrated Technologies. Regarding 3.2 Diffusion of Innovations, once we made our decisions as to the order of alternatives, all our research and action went to addressing those items so the stakeholders would indeed accept, approve and act on our recommendations. All of our research focused on the 3.4 Policies and Regulations of the state of Idaho. We certainly wanted our project to have that validity. We attempted 4.2 Resource Management, though in the end, I am not sure how successful that went for us. That would require every hand on every oar. Those on deck rowed well.

We would have benefited from Backwards Planning (an old Army technique) where one looks at where you want to be and when you want to be there. You work backwards from there to determine needs, and available time to plan, rehearse, correct, rehearse again, and then,  execute violently. But this is not the military and I have been in the civilian sector far longer than I was ever in service. Peer-group projects work well when all are focused on the common goal and common values are shared. I learned a great deal through this assignment, both about human dynamics and the specifics of Digital Inequality. Wanting to put this project into action at some point, the lessons learned will help keep me grounded as I move forward.

Please see the link below for our sources:

https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1jzQHeNGPRm86mAOymZhzTLNAaNIUADlVuyWaJ9UqL0o

Introduction Video

I embark on yet another first as part of my journey to an MET at Boise State University. I have never blogged before and now I begin my first post reflecting on my Introduction Video assignment as part of Ed Tech 501, Introduction to Educational Technology.

This involved many new things for me. I have made videos before and even seen a few posted to You Tube. However, those movies were made using some sort of tape first. Up until this class, I have never completely composed a movie, filmed, compiled from others and edited on a computer. As with most projects, there were a combination of factors I could control and those I could not. I discovered I could not edit the lighting of subjects who recorded their parts and emailed them to me. I could control the audio and edit high frequency pitches evident in some of the portions. I incorporated transitions and music to make my video more interesting to the viewer. I used IMovie to compile and edit my production, and Garageband to add sound effects. A key issue learned was time. When I posted my movie, it was five minutes in length. Once on YouTube it became 5:01 and now embedded here it is 5:02. It serves to remind me to insure my production is as intended when I teach. I also learned how to edit my Preferences in order to embed my video. Nelson Baquero was patient and calm as he guided me through yet another first.

I certainly would align this video with ACET 2.4 Integrated Technologies as I compiled multiple media into one production. I combined the numerous elements to weave an introductory video for my peers and teacher. By posting it on the class discussion board, my video became interactive allowing others to offer feedback both affirming and critically analyzing elements of the work they viewed. This provided insight to me from those both near and far geographically reinforcing the value of my chosen Master’s program.

As you can see, I still have a great deal to learn, with this production resembling more Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space than Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. I look forward to learning new skills and applications to make me a better communicator, listener and educator.

Kurosawa, A. (Director). 1950. Rashomon [Film]. Toyko: Daiei.
Wood, E. (Director). 1959. Plan 9 From Outer Space [Film]. Los Angeles: Reynolds.