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.

Bowness Space Elevator

Felt the urge to be an explorer today. Attempted to visit the link provided; however, the link appears non-functional. Teleported to the base of Bowness Space Elevator. Read all the panels, and like a true “curious george”, investigated many of the teleport links. George capped an oil spill on the bottom of the ocean floor and learned about mangrove ecosystems. George explored the control room at the base of the elevator but could not obtain control of the computers. George gained information on the future of space elevators and NASA’s intended future use. George rode the elevator into space. The view of the orbiting station/satellite and Earth was fascinating. Again, George explored rooms, control room and the view deck.

The possibility of use by other educators or scientists as a meeting point or point of embarkation was not lost on George. Would like to gather the information from the link should that become available.Bowness Space Elevator_001

Online Communities & Community Building Strategies – 521

I joined two online communities this week. After reading about creating an online community, I did not want to wait until I graduated to affect a change. As Key Spouse, I am trying to reach other spouses, particularly younger ones, to engage in our organization. As a result, I created my first page on Facebook outside my own personal Facebook page. Due to the nature of a military base and the possibilities of security breaches, the page has a small viewing audience. People can see it but they must ask to join or be asked. If the constraint from the Squadron Commander was not there, I think we could network more globally as I do on other military spouse networks. We are up to five members and still growing, albeit slowly. With over seventy service members, I hope it continues to grow. It should serve as another means of communicating and hopefully build a feeling of community online.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/149288171948417/

I also joined EducatorsConnect. I selected it because it had a social feel and yet offered the opportunity to read and react to other educators in varied fields. I have identified myself as a 9-12 teacher and have established contacts with educators in the 6-8 realm as well as college professors teaching English and Composition. It is interesting to communicate with current teachers both above and below the grades I teach. I have read many blogs from others on this site and find many issues familiar and some new. I like the communication (questions and answers) and even like reading the conversations of others that are visible through posts. It has a feel of Facebook; but the subject matter is relevant to me as opposed to rants about Starbucks or the loud neighbor next door.

http://www.educatorsconnect.com/members/home

The building of community is about listening as much as talking. Offering forums supports students so they feel comfortable learning with others. Challenges are easier to take when you feel like you are not alone. I remember a student I had in Advanced Composition in 1988. Faculty warned me about him. He walked in the room with a bandana, a leather jacket with spikes on it, black jump boots, and jeans with chains all over. I did not react. I called on him expecting him to be prepared. We had a great relationship. I found him to be brilliant in all facets of the class. He did not speak on each and every topic. Yet, when it did, it was always worth the wait. At the end of the year, a stellar one for him, he stopped me and said, “You are the only one to see past what I wore. I always thought from day 1 that you saw me.” Dr. Rice, you practice what you preach in your book. I am connected to this class. I feel that if I apply what I am learning, I can still be THAT teacher online to a new kid in a different outfit, helping establish a place where he can be comfortable in his own skin.

Interview Tool Reflection – 521

Let me begin by stating I am not teaching this term. I have not been employed in a school since August 2008. That stated we worked on active listening and Interview Tools this week. (Please see attached documents.) Both topics attract my attention as a teacher, administrator and soon-to-be Technology Integration Specialist.
I have called the parents, or at-home adults, of my students every year I have taught, save the first one. I do not have an issue with getting my parents/adults to open up. I call with something positive I have noticed and share that with the parents as my opener. It is specific to their child and not a finger-wag. That helps in so many ways, as students come in the next day beaming with pride. I would imagine the same would hold true in distance-learning as I love to hear good feedback for work done.
I reacquainted myself with lessons regarding active listening. The Building an Avatar lesson (see below) was a good reminder of skills needed to communicate.  I feel better equipped to promote good vibes via documents to help my personality come through and extract theirs reducing transactional distance. I learned from my peers some interesting questions I might use with younger students and their families. Some of peers constructed parts of their interview document with structure I would emulate. I particularly enjoyed one peer who incorporated space for interviewer notes on the form. I thought about but did not do it, violating my own mantra – “Don’t talk about it, be about it!”
I find this activity to be crucial to establish positive tone in an online class. Much like our own class meeting Dr. Rice facilitated last week, such interaction exemplifies good teaching. Considering the challenges facing online educators, any outreach that helps close distance between teacher and student and their learning coach or parent seems like a win to me.

Building an Avatar:

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