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

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.

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

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