Final Blog Entry 541

Part I

All good things come to an end. This class is no different in that regard. John See stated years ago that technology should not be taught out of context of the material at hand (1992). I have learned and experienced first-hand Tech-PACK in context. I built on the three essential elements needed to guarantee positive technology integration: learning theory foundations, integration planning model & Tech-PACK and the essential conditions for integration (Roblyer & Doering, 2013, p. 34).  In my opinion that was the greatest value of this course.

I completed every project at a high level of excellence, not because I was grade-driven; but because I wanted to insure I could communicate what I learned with educators and students upon completion. I experimented with tools, apps, lessons and various ways of reaching a goal to insure I was mastering the material. I feel my body of work in this course meets the mastery criteria for each of the AECT course-specific standards.

Productive struggles, though frustrating in the moment, serve to show me what I am truly capable of achieving. I still need to work on communication to better articulate what I want or need to say. One can always improve and I wish to do better here.

As a learner who has struggled in the past and still struggles in some areas, I want to encourage the use of well-designed lessons and sites by my own students and teachers. I wish to strive for Accessible sites with goals that are articulated clearly.

The shift to Constructivism occurred some time ago. As a Theatre teacher, my curriculum has always leaned in that direction. Offering the students choices in early in the process and inviting them to share a seat at the planning table enriches the theatrical process. Adding a more modern touch with Connectivism seems a natural fit as we truly integrate technology beyond the crew positions and into the entire process of both education and performance. I was cognizant of both theories as I developed my lessons.

Part II

I feel my blogging efforts this term were solid across the board. Exploring the Blog Rubric now in hindsight, I still hold that view.

  • Content – 100/100 – My blog entries meet the criteria for Outstanding as I always went into depth on each topic. As a learner who sees things through a different lens, I shared my viewpoint with clarity, rich content and depth to articulate my point of view to the best of my ability.
  • Readings and Resources – 35/35 – Again, I feel I met the Outstanding criteria attempting to validate my points of view with grounded research and documentation worthy of a student enrolled in a Masters-level course.
  • Timeliness – 20/25- Being a harsh self-critic, if I had a shortcoming it was here. I would say I met the Proficient level. I would like to have been the first to post each and every week. Caring for an elderly father and enrolling him in Hospice during this term has been draining emotionally. Combining those issues with my own learning differences and needing to read, read and read again passages for comprehension meant time spent and posts occurred later in the week in a few instances. These are not excuses. I made choices and placed other priorities, my father and family and my own learning pace above being one of the first to post each and every week.
  • Responses to Other Students – 30/30 – I feel I met the criteria for Outstanding here as I embraced the opportunity to offer feedback to my peers. I offered true and honest feedback in a timely fashion. In many cases, I offered more than just feedback to two peers. I attempted to offer detailed feedback in a manner I would like to receive it – Praise, Correct, Praise. I started with a compliment, offered constructive points and finished with a positive comment. In many cases, I researched as much for their feedback as I did for my own posts.
  • Total – 185/190

Overall, the course has proven a valued rung in the ladder as I climb toward my goal. I appreciate the new tools in my toolbox as I feel they will be useful going forward.

References:

AECT Standards (2001) Retrieved from:  http://www.aect.org/standards/initstand.html

Dunaway, M. (2011). Connectivism: Learning theory and pedagogical practice for networked information landscape. Reference Services Review, 39(4), 675-684. Doi:10.1108/00907321111186686

Roblyer, M.D. and Doerling, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

See, J. (1992). National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

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Technology Obstacles in the High School Theatre Classroom

Theater Arts, by definition, is a performing art. At the very center, it is meant to be a moment shared between a performer and audience in a live setting. Technology is already woven intricately into nearly every facet of the theater. We are still left with obstacles. The Common Core, student performance fears, and the ability of all students to have computer/device access are the top three obstacles to technology integration in Theater classrooms and stage.

The Common Core does not directly address Theater Arts specifically. (Neither does the textbook for this class.) I feel that Common Core becomes our first obstacle. When it is not a stated priority but inferred to be part of English/Language Arts, then the true value of Theater is left off the table. States are left to adhere to Common Core, or like Colorado, create their own statewide Common Core that addresses the Arts. More states should write their own CC standards and push for a revision of the National Common Core. This would also help administrators grasp what Theater can actually do for a school, both as a challenging class on its own, integrating into a variety of curricula and as a platform for teaching responsibility and live literature in the performing space.

Student fear is real and palpable in many of the first time Theater students. Studies have shown that just doing it does not solve issues for introverts. It takes time and patience to teach someone the skill of having their butterflies fly in formation. My solution would be a blended environment, incorporating many MMORPGs and virtual environment experiences to all for a greater number of basic skills to be taught and confidence increased. “Whatever the purpose, the nature of the virtual reality is such that students have the potential to become engaged in a simulated activity and collaborate in a dispersed setting that more closely replicates the advantages of being face-to-face” (Eschenbrenner, Nah & Siau, 2008, p. 92). Eschenbrenner, Nah and Siau also state that not being directly in the space with the other person allowed “more daring interactions among students/avatars” (p.93). Many of the lessons previously taught in real time could be enriched by “creating an interactive environment” that would allow these lessons to go in directions only imagined in previous years (p.110). I still feel that Theater is a performance art and a blended environment still recognizes that ultimately we will perform in front of a live audience in real time and place.

This leaves us with questions of access. As a football, soccer, ice hockey and track coach, I never had to ask twice for anything I needed to include software programs to make running those programs and teaching or coaching easier. Mentoring numerous Theater programs, I often had to fund raise or reach in my own wallet to pay for needed items. Wanting to employ technology to stage design and save the school funds, I was denied the opportunity to use a school device and was denied funds for the software and ended up supplying both from my own pocket. Many schools are faced with funding decisions to supply classes addressed in the Common Core devices to reach clearly defined nationwide goals. Added to this obstacle are the differences in funding from area to area, locale to locale. “Disparities in computer and information technology use can be found among individuals in rural and urban locations, with the division drawn upon socio-economic lines” (Kidd, 2009). Kidd further addresses the issues of “home access to technology, therefore impacting urban student achievement associated with homework” (Kidd, 2009). It is hard to flip the classroom if the student cannot view the material at home. One cannot simply purchase devices without planning for their maintenance, software, upgrades and eventually replacement. My solution would have to involve long-term fund raising and grants. In order for that to happen, once again, stakeholders would have to be involved and educated on the value Theater Arts brings to the high school student and curriculum.

References:

Colorado Arts Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://www.cde.state.co.us/coarts/statestandards#Drama

Eschenbrenner, B., Nah, F. F.-H., & Siau, K. (2008). 3-D Virtual Worlds in Education: Applications, Benefits, Issues, and Opportunities. Journal of Database Management, 19(4), 91–110.

Kidd, T. T. (2009). The dragon in the school’s backyard: A review of literature on the uses of technology in urban schools. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 5(1), 88-102.

Roblyer, M.D. and Doerling, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Are Walls The Answer?

This week’s post is a VoiceThread discussion. Feel free to comment directly on the VoiceThread. Please follow the link to my VoiceThread (my WordPress account will not allow the embed).

https://voicethread.com/share/5910973/

References:

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/walled_garden.html

O’Donovan, E. (2012). Social media: Guidelines for school administrators. District Administration Magazine. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/social-media-guidelines-school-administrators

Smith, F. (2007). How to Use Social-Networking Technology for Learning. Edutopia. Retrieved July 19, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/how-use-social-networking-technology

Credits:
All Images Used Through Creative Commons Use Agreement
Image 1 – https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2561/3987002744_a0a62fec10.jpg
Image 2 – https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3255/2506993864_8bc2386d8e_z.jpg?zz=1
Image 3 – https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2206/2085901751_4fe134f85f.jpg
Image 4 – http://farm1.staticflickr.com/164/353410618_343f03e5e5_b.jpg
Image 5 – http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2009/11/09/ap89111001348_slide-73c82e0f3c6e88fb9ce68991028afa61120c5144-s6-c30.jpg

 

Internet Safety

“With great power comes an even greater responsibility”, said Voltaire as quoted by Beuchot & Miger (1829). If you google the sentence I just used, you will find many taking credit for these words. Some on the Internet project that Stan Lee wrote these words for Uncle Ben to share with young Peter Parker in Spiderman, Amazing Fantasy, 1962. Voltaire may have even taken a variation from scripture as a similar quote appears in Luke 12:48 “To those who much is given, much is required.” The quote is powerful and for this example sheds light on two facets of Internet Safety. Teaching students by modeling proper Internet use and stewardship demands that we as educators set the tone. The accessibility of both vetted and unvetted information allows students to do things I only dreamed about as a teenager.

Part of the problem is the challenge of the medium. Do children really understand the complexity and possible danger? Zheng addresses similar issues that children simply do not comprehend the concerns as the child sees only a screen and is disconnected from the potential pitfalls (2009). Furthermore, Zheng expressed that CIPA and the current in-school approaches (filtering, banning access) does not necessarily guarantee wise student choice and in fact may make the problem worse (2009). The common thread between both articles seems to point to positive encouragement, behaviors, education, modeling and mentorship on the part of adults in the lives of students.

Exploring Internet safety also requires educators recognize patterns of use. Wang, Luo, Gao & Kong indicate correlations to sleep and hostility issues and problems with interpersonal skills by those students whose families and adults are less involved in setting limits and encouraging real-time social interactions (2012). As we develop our Internet Safety programs educators should seek teachable moments to encourage students to implement good Internet habits both in their research and entertainment.

Please visit my Internet Safety Guide HERE.

References:

Beuchot, Adrien. J. Q. and Miger, Pierre.-A.-M. (1829). Œuvres de Paris, Lefèvre. Retrieved from http://archive.org/details/uvresdevoltaire27migegoog

Wang, Ligang, Luo, Jing, Gao, Wenbin, and Kong, Jie. (2012). The effect of Internet use on adolescents’ lifestyles: A national survey, Computers in Human Behavior, 28(6), 2007-2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.04.007.

Zheng, Yan. (2009) Differences in high school and college students’ basic knowledge and perceived education of Internet safety: Do high school students really benefit from the Children’s Internet Protection Act?, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30 (3), 209-217, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2008.10.007.

Zheng, Yan. (2009). Limited knowledge and limited resources: Children’s and adolescents’ understanding of the Internet, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(2), 103-115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2008.10.012

 

Relative Advantages of Hypermedia in the Classroom

Please enjoy a change as my blog visits a video format.

Text Version of Script:

References:

Clara, M., & Barbera, E. (2013). Learning online: massive open online courses (MOOCs), connectivism, and cultural psychology. Distance Education, 34, 1, 129-136.

Gerjets, P., Scheiter, K., & Schuh, J. (2008). Information comparisons in example-based hypermedia environments: Supporting learners with processing prompts and an interactive comparison tool. Educational Technology Research & Development, 56(1), 73-92. doi:10.1007/s11423-007-9068-z

Liestøl, G. (2006). Dynamics of convergence & divergence in digital media & learning. World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006, 2006(1), 2902–2909.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon – the Strategic Planning Resource for Education Professionals, 9, 5, 1-6.

Roblyer, M.D. and Doerling, A.H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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

Wessels, P. L., & Steenkamp, L. P. (2009). Generation Y students: Appropriate learning styles and teaching approaches in the economic and management sciences faculty. South African Journal Of Higher Education, 23(5), 1039-1058.

 

Instructional Software Project

Instructional Software Project

The link attached is to the Instructional Software Project as part of this week’s assignment. Were it not a mandated cross-post to this blog, it would not be included. This week was not a “productive struggle”. To write a reflection on this week’s processes is too soon and more than what should be said hits the screen. This lesson will need to stand on its own for a bit and I will attempt to revisit this experience at a later date.

Acceptable Use Policies

As this assignment began, this author viewed Acceptable Use Policies as the high school Internet variant of trampoline disclaimers. “AUPs outline what students are allowed to do with technology” (Ahn, Bivona, & DiScala, 2011, p. 4). Truly the obvious could be handled with the Golden Rule. However, is that enough? Are there requirements for a school’s AUP? Barring the Federal and State requirements not necessarily pertinent in a boarding school environment, a well-written AUP needs to contain the school’s purpose for providing the network, ethical use and restraint, delineation of privilege, Netiquette, examples of how inappropriate use is defined, how/when to report issues, system requirements, warranty (think trampoline here), expectation of privacy, and security/vandalism.

It is necessary to pause for a moment and qualify the schools and their AUPs listed in this post. Independent schools are not required to post E-Rate or CIPA, The Children’s Internet Protection Act, information. “The e-rate or ‘education rate’ program is part of a set of universal service initiatives targeted at low income subscribers, high cost areas, rural health care providers, schools and libraries mandated by Congress in the 1996 Telecommunications Act with the intent to bridge the gaps in telecommunications, technology and Internet access between rich and poor communities in the US” (Jayakar, 2004, p. 37). This US government program helps to bridge the digital divide. However, funds are tied to CIPA. An eligible school must certify that blocks and devices are in place in the network to prevent a child from accessing pornography. Thus, many AUPs for public schools address this focal point as funding for their Internet depends upon compliance. Since the vast majority of boarding schools are tuition and endowment funded, and not eligible for the E-Rate federal funds, their services are not E-Rate or CIPA compliant.

AUPs provide an envelope within which students can access and utilize technology at a given institution. This outline or envelope is necessary in today’s litigious educational landscape. One of the most detailed in envelope description was The Forman School, a 9-12 boarding school in Litchfield, CT. The focus of this school is students who learn differently. The only students who do not have a learning difference are children of faculty. As my former employer, it is pleasing to see the depth of information offered to both parent and student. The system information was clear. Forman even addresses device use and forbids their use as hotspots to provide wi-fi outside the Forman network. What is missing however, is the reason and purpose for the school to offer access in the first place – at no point is collaboration, research, communication within or to educational institutions nor the unique ability to access resources broached. “Education is a future-facing activity” (Facer & Sandford, 2010, p. 74). Stating the purpose elevates all involved and sets sights on the mission rather than the rules.

Wasatch Academy offers a learning center and attracts students who learn differently, though that population is not their sole focus. It is a 9-12 boarding school in Mount Pleasant, Utah. Wasatch Academy’s AUP again focuses on the privilege of Internet use. There is no mention of the true purpose of having Internet in an educational setting. There is mention that use should align with “the purposes, goals and policies of Wasatch Academy.” The statement continues spelling out what one cannot do and what one cannot hold the school accountable for. Again, the trampoline disclaimer comes to mind.

St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, VT is a 9-12 boarding and day school. It is a rigorous school with a diverse population. The AUP starts by addressing positive uses for their network in support of the mission of teaching and research. The leading paragraph continues by addressing excellence, sharing, innovation and communication. But that paragraph ends quickly and moves to address the myriad of disclaimers the school deems necessary in a modern environment. Again, the stress is that the network access is a privilege not a right, privacy is not an expectation and the school has ultimate authority. Device use is at the discretion of the individual classroom teachers and forbidden outside specific educational uses. Although the AUP starts in a positive fashion, it quickly follows the two previous AUPs into trampoline land.

Salisbury School is also a 9-12 boarding school located geographically close to Forman. Salisbury is renowned for its academic rigor. Their AUP reflects a forward thinking mindset. Although quite detailed as well, Salisbury School’s AUP starts with a positive explanation of purpose. It quickly moves to explain the Internet and use is a privilege and not a right. “Within a few years, access to the Internet may be perceived by the public as a basic resource for both educators and learners” (Flowers, 2010, p. 363). Additionally, the Salisbury School identifies the Headmaster and the Academic Technology Director as having final decisions with regard to privacy and privilege. Flowers also cautions that actions such as this “with or without just cause may be considered an infringement on individual privacy” (2010, p. 363). Strategic use of expanding paragraphs leaves the primary focus on the purpose and who is in charge on the Salisbury School’s AUP. This creative approach makes one feel forward thinkers who wanted to leave a positive impression designed the AUP. It contains the essential elements listed above and leaves space for device development and future network growth. The expectations are clear and the envelope sealed.

Ahn, Bivona, and Scala seem to target what makes a powerful AUP. Placing literacy skills ahead of computing in the AUP language by drafting a path to promote said literacy one creates a horse of a different color. This new policy “highlights information literacy development and allows room to value student uses of social media. Students who create and share school video projects on YouTube are developing media creation, communication and lifelong learning skills” (2011, p. 5). The rise in social media, the change in student access as the school is no longer the Internet gatekeeper and Web 2.0 tools demand that we keep pace. AUPs cannot be so restrictive that creative opportunities are lost as we are afraid to deal with them. The challenge seems to be an ever changing and growing envelope. Challenge accepted.

References:

Ahn, J., Bivona, L. K., & DiScala, J. (2011). Social media access in K-12 schools: Intractable policy controversies in an evolving world. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 48(1), 1–10. doi:10.1002/meet.2011.14504801044

Facer, K. R., & Sandford R., (2010). The next 25 years?: Future scenarios and future directions for education and technology. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 74-93.

Flowers, B. C. (2000). Analyses of acceptable use policies regarding the Internet in selected K-12 schools. Journal Of Research On Computing In Education, 32(3), 351.

Jayakar, K. P. (January 01, 2004). Reforming the e-rate. Info – the Journal of Policy, Regulation and Strategy for Telecommunications, 6, 1, 37-51.