Friday, August 7, 2015

EDUC 7730 - My Digital Portfolio

I am not sure where to begin with this reflection.
It was important work, sorting through the material I have learned over the past two years in the IT&DML program. I am the only one from the first cohort that has completed the work over two years. It was interesting starting with one group, and ending with an entirely new group. I feel like it was valuable for me to learn with twice as many talented educators.

First, Google Sites is not simple. It is not flashy. I really (really, REALLY) like the way some of my colleagues' Wix sites look. I chose to stick with Google Sites because we are a Google school and I want to be familiar with the tools Google offers. I am also a glutton for punishment.

I have worked on website content for 15 years, first with simple HTML at a public library, then as the Website Content Coordinator at Abbott Tech. Content is one thing. Constructing a website from scratch is completely different. I had to make decisions about my tabs and subheadings. I had to create buttons and insert gadgets. It was a true learning experience.

I used blue, white and gray because our school colors are blue and white, and blue always feels professional to me. It was tricky finding a background picture. When I was working in my air conditioned library at school over the summer, I found a photo of a display in my library on my computer. It worked! I will change the main page photo when I have a more dressy picture. I happen to be wearing a Relay for Life T-shirt, but it is cropped out.

The "Top Ten" websites in the G+ stream were interesting, but spare in their design. I felt like an outsider looking at them. Maybe it was because they were career-specific. Looking at my classmates' designs was most helpful. When I provided feedback for my group, I used the rubric to look at their design, and I did the same with mine. Someone separated out the video and non-video tutorials. It was simpler looking than the labels I had used, so I used that idea.

I had the most trouble with my blog page. I researched all over Google trying to find a way to make my Blogger (Google product) appear on my Site (Google product) when I was in Chrome (Google product.) I tried it 5 different ways and it would only show up in a non-Chrome browser. I gave up and provided only a link. Next, I tried to make picture links of uniform size for specific blog posts. That was incredibly frustrating. I did research and rediscovered Canva for making buttons. When I got the five step process figured out, I was able to finish. (Clipular to Downloads to Canva to Sites - then put in the link)

Sadly, I missed our final class and I had only one classmate give feedback online. It was wonderful and helpful feedback! Although I do not spell out the purpose of my site, I don't think people will search it out unless they would like to know more about me professionally. In the last couple of weeks, I added some more helpful websites to Pearltrees (my curation site) and to my website. I feel like this site will be a dynamic display of my professional self.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

COMM 7728 Video Ethnography project

Video Ethnography project:

Our goal was to create a lesson for our students that incorporates the creation of a video ethnography. Our next step was to become a student and create our own video ethnography.

Students at Abbott Tech create a digital portfolio for graduation.
For the project, they are to answer the following questions:
- What events in your life led you to Abbott Tech?
- What caused you to choose your trade?
- Because of your trade choice, what have you learned about yourself?
- Where do you think you will go from here?

Here is a link to my Video Ethnography:   Becoming a School Librarian
If you prefer YouTube:

Here is a link to my lesson plan on Google Docs. Why I Chose My Trade

I used Audible to create the "soundtrack" for my presentation. My first recorded draft was just shy of 8 minutes. My goal was to make the presentation no longer than 5 minutes, so I started cutting and substituting audio. I wanted to keep in the non-essential but fun fact about the Bicentennial House Tour, so the voice-over ended up being 6 1/2 mintues long. That's a lot of slides!

The music that kept spinning in my head was "Marian the Librarian" from the Music Man. I ended up performing in The Music Man twice during high school. We did it my Sophomore year at Masuk and my junior year when I was an exchange student in Fremont, Ohio. I looked for a Karaoke version online and recorded it on a completely seperate Audible project, then cut and pasted it below the voice track.

That was the easy part.

I don't have Microsoft Movie Maker or iMovie, so I needed to find a free tool to make my video/slideshow. I tried a couple and finally settled on Kizoa. It was intuitive, I could preview as I went along, and it allowed me to time the slides. I also discovered that I could create "collages" which are slides that can be words, pictures and shapes from the Kizoa files.

I looked through old scrapbooks and on Facebook (You are Probably from Monroe If...) to find photos of myself growing up. I looked on Google to find images that are safe to re-use. It was tricky figuring out where and how to give credit. I discovered how to create my own word slides during the last... three... hours of working on the project. It simplified things quite a bit! Overall, from starting to write the script to hitting "Publish," it took me 16 hours to create the presentation (I did a marathon one day, which helped!)

If I was to truly assign this project, I would ask that the video be 3 to 5 minutes long. It is difficult finding enough images to flesh out a project and make it interesting and personal. I also think, although the project is pretty fun, most students at my school would not take the time to work on it at home, so they would need at least 15 class periods worth of focused computer time. That won't happen!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

COMM 7728 Mash Up project

We had to make a "Schoolhouse Rock" kind of Mash Up with a group.
I was away when groups were being formed, so I tackled the project solo.

I outlined my ideas and jotted down notes for layout.
After checking for a credible source for "When to Cite," and finding Princeton University's Academy Integrity pages, I made a basic script. The working printed script had many notations.

After watching an Audacity tutorial, I jumped in and recorded my script. I edited it down to just over a minute, adding in sounds. I'm not sure if I did it TECHNICALLY correctly, but I made it work.

Next, I marked off the times in seconds on my script:
When the slides change and when the graphics should appear.

I loaded the Audacity MP3 file (after much swearing and gnashing of teeth, mind you!) onto the Raw Shorts app and discovered, as I added slides, it would use up more and more of the recording. Good sign!

Sadly, I needed the audio to be under 1 minute, so I cut out some chatter at the end. I had read (when I was working with Powtoon in the spring) that it is best to lay down the video first. I just had to lay the slides by length (in seconds) over audio, then lay my animations on top.
Finally, I added a free music track from the Raw Shorts files.

The last slide was a struggle. For some reason, I couldn't add all the data I had hoped and used a more basic citation (though not incorrect!) than I had intented. That last frustrating part took about 1.5 hours. Grrrr!

Here is my final project:

OK... I realized I said this is my CITATION, and it is really a "work cited," so I changed the words. I'm getting pretty good at audacity! (and Raw Shorts...)

Below is the original script:

When to cite sources…
You’ll discover that different academic disciplines have different rules and protocols concerning when and how to cite sources, a practice known as “citation.” The five basic principles described below apply to all disciplines and should guide your own citation practice.

(record scratch) WAIT

You need to give credit where credit is due.
Don’t steal steal other people’s ideas and pretend they’re your own.

When you’re writing a paper, remember:

Use a quote word-for-word?  CITE IT!

Paraphrase or change a few words around? CITE IT!

Make a summary of someone else’s ideas? CITE IT!

Facts data, or information you find exclusively in one source? CITE IT!

Copy and paste from the internet to your document… (Scratch) REALLY??? DON’T EVEN GO THERE!

Common knowledge - information everyone knows? You don’t need to cite this information.
But if you’re not sure?  When in doubt, CITE IT.

I got this information from Princeton University’s Academic Integrity pages.
I paraphrased.
Here is my citation in MLA format:

"When to Cite Sources - Academic Integrity at Princeton University." Princeton University. Trustees of Princeton

University, 01 Aug. 2012. Web. 26 July 2015. <>.

Green checkmark is Creative Commons: ClkerFreeVectorImages

Sunday, July 19, 2015

COMM 7728 Online Content Construction project


Simple and professional tool to design online (and print) flyers and newsletters

Uses for teachers
- flyers about upcoming events
- classroom newsletters
Uses for students
- flyers for events and activities
- newsletters (classroom or for a class project)
- flyers/posters for historical projects
- biographies of book characters or real people
Basically, any project that requires a poster/flyer/newsletter can be done using S'more.
Flyers can contain words, video, pictures from the Internet, photos, links... the format is very versatile. Of course, the interactive links will not work on the print version!

How to sign up: A basic S'more account is free.
Pricing for education (single teacher) is $59/year.
Benefits for education account:
- custom backgrounds and education-themed backgrounds
- privacy settings - not shared by default (enhanced privacy)
- unlimited newsletters
Students do not get separate accounts, but the single teacher account can be shared with students.
S'more will work with organizations at the school- and system-wide level. There is a form to submit.

Why S'more?
The tool makes professional looking products. It is easy to follow. If data is important, the program keeps track of the number of visits to the site. The site calls it "detailed stats in real time." Flyers can be printed, emailed, posted on social media, or embeded on school/teacher website or a blog.
Access all of your previous flyers and change and republish information as needed.

To sign up for a free account, provide the standard information. You're ready to go!
Here is a quick screencast tutorial for what to do after you have logged in:

For more information about S'more, check their site for additional tutorials and information.
You will be designing professional quality flyers in no time!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

EDUC 7730 My ePortfolio

In 2011, the State almost eliminated librarians from all 16 State Technical High Schools. In some ways, I believe it was a ploy to convince teachers they were serious about cutting positions if we didn't ratify the Union deal. In other ways, I have come to realize that my job is unstable. My audience for my portfolio is my current employer, and any future employer if it comes to that!

Image result for librarian
Ahhh... the "good old days."  **

In my portfolio, I will include:
- About me
     -Teaching philosophy
     - Abridged Resume
     - A little bit about me, personally

- Sample lessons
     - collaborative and individual
     - student and PD

- Tutorials
     - the best ones I put together myself

- Websites of interest
     - Useful Favorites from my Pearltrees that I reference often
     - I also control other websites for my school. I am considering including these.

- My Blog
     - at this time, a link to the whole thing. I think it shows growth and reflection, as well as a little bit of my personality and learning style. In the future, I may start a different blog, which will be less ITDML-centered.

I plan to use Google Sites, unless I can find something better. I like the layout of my learning hub.
I think "The Hub" looks a bit whimsical. It may change before next Tuesday.

Here is my Google Sites portfolio.  I played around with it for a week. It is a bit cumbersome, but we are a Google school and I would like to know the tools at my disposal. I tried to like Wix last summer, but it wasn't what I had hoped for.
Here is a version of my Site Map.  Google Sites automatically includes a site map. The link is labeled on the front page at the bottom of the navigation bar. I was able to figure out how to embed the map without looking something up yet again. The terminology is more familiar.

I posted my philosophy in G+, but here is my current philosophy for posterity:

We learn when we feel safe. As the school librarian, I work to create an environment with clear behavior expectations, appropriate conversation, and respectful rapport. I see my role as a facilitator for creating independent learners, so supplies are handy, useful information is clearly posted, and staff is readily available for support. It is important to build positive relationships with colleagues, students, and their parents. This creates a safe environment for learning.

We do our best thinking when we have time to reflect. Our culture and our devices eat away at our time. I do not teach formally every day, but when I do, I build in time and reflection questions to encourage students to think about their new learning.

We learn best when we are excited about our learning. Some students can be extrinsically motivated, but most students, especially today's digital natives, learn best when we can activate what motivates them internally. As a specialist, I have the luxury of teaching students library and research skills "just in time." They are able to practice and use these skills as they complete work for subject-area teachers.

People and the systems we create are not perfect. There are always circumstances beyond our control. It is important to be flexible and to embrace change, not blindly, but with honest effort. I put forth solid effort in all situations, and I expect the same of my students and my colleagues. Communication is the best bridge between expectations and reality, especially in change situations. Because of this, I encourage honest, respectful communication with my colleagues and students.

** Shareable image found at:,_Librarian,_and_Staff.jpg

Monday, June 22, 2015

EDUC 7726 Independent Project: Chromebooks 1:1 101

Our independent project was to cover a topic that involves both education and technology. There were unconfirmed rumors that our building would be getting Chromebooks for the freshmen in the next school year. Other schools had participated in a rather disorganized pilot during this school year, and it had been deemed a success. Because I end up being the information hub for everything from technology passwords to upcoming events, I wanted to research best practices for 1:1 rollouts and control what I could control to make things as smooth as possible.

Here is the result of my efforts.


QR code

Thursday, June 11, 2015

EDUC 7726 Week 10 - 21st Century Learning

Learning about 21st Century Learning

We were just looking at formative assessment and noting how it is not always best to have kids raise their hands. In Edutopia's "Ten Tips" article, there are students raising their hands with a wizened teacher in the front of the room. 

When I envision a class engaged using 21st Century skills, I picture much communication, sharing, and creativity. I picture students working alone and in small groups gathered around devices, finding information, and recording it. Using that information, they develop useful projects that they are proud to share with their community. The real world is not the perfect world of my imagination, but teaching, learning and assessing using 21st Century Skills have those components.

Much of 21st Century teaching and learning is project based. Students use the same processes that are used in the real world: researching like scientists, solving problems the same way as mathematicians, and exploring documents like historians. For teachers, assessing this information can be tricky. Bubble tests will not adequately reflect the learning that happens when students work out processes and exercise perseverance. Having grown up in schools that "teach to the test" it will be a challenge to get older students to buy into peer and self-assessment and to reflect on their own learning. If we, as an education community, stick with this "initiative" long enough, it will become natural. Our students will learn how to learn, which is a major goal of 21st Century teaching and learning.

Twenty-first Century skills revolve around three C's - communication, creation, and collaboration. Components of these C's are: critical thinking, leadership, Global awareness, and, most importanly, grit, and learning how to learn. Though aspects can be taught, not everyone can be a good leader. Some lead by example, others lack confidence when in groups, but do wonderfully when left to their own devices. Not everyone will be given the opportunity to gain Global awareness. Creativity, depending on context, is not always necessary. 
- Persistence (grit) can be used in every situation. Most problems can be solved with a little help and some extra time. Taking the time to overcome a mental block or to learn a new skill is important, especially in our rapidly changing world. 
- Learning how to learn is so critical. Using books, Internet connections, or mentors, information is abundant. This information can be used to follow a passion or discover an alternate means to a solution for tonight's homework.

In addition to possible Common Core standards that may be part of a project, like research skills and clearly written information, here is a way to incorporate and assess 21st Century Skills:
Focusing on Global Awarenes, collaboration and communication are made easier with an Internet connection. This allows for using email and connection tools like Skype or Google Hangouts. Technology has trained us to expect instant results, so old-fashioned pen pals are no longer relevant! ePals can provide students with "cross cultural exchanges" by coordinating groups from other places (schools, states, or countries) in project-based collaboration. Global Nomads can involve older students with forums to discuss topics that they find relevant through video and written questions. Both sites require student work prior to the actual project.

Units that involve collaboration with other schools can be assessed in a variety of ways:
- Demonstration of preparation for the initial interaction (using an online or paper rubric)
- Peer assessment of work in progress (Google Docs comments)
- Time on task/engagement with ePal(s) (journal/blog)
- Progress report of ongoing communication/work (online form or hard-copy)
- Finished product (rubric, online or paper)
- Self-reflection about any part* of the process, including ways the experience could be improved (journal/blog or Google Form)
In addition to possible Common Core standards that may be addressed in the actual project, 21st Century focus on Global awareness, collaboration, communication,

*Assessment is most effective when used as feedback during an assignment. Self-reflection through a blog can happen at any time during a project. Peers or teaches can also give the feedback.

Soland, J, Hamilton, L. Stecher, B. (2013) Measuring 21st Century Competencies. Asia Society. Rand
Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning. (2011) Edutopia.

Comment: When I learned about ePals and Global Nomads during one of our ITDML courses, though it sounded fascinating, I could not picture how to assess student work or engagement. It makes more sense now.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

EDUC 7726: Week 8 - Formative Assessment

According to Black and Wiliam, good formative assessment practices can increase student learning dramatically. Formative assessment helps "low-attainers" more than high-achievers.
We are focused on differentiated instruction. Why not formative assessment?
Our National focus is on competitive summative testing. We have been "teaching to the test" for years.

* This is a slide from my presentation. Formative assessment is NOT all technology based!

At Abbott Tech, we have been talking about formative assessments in relation to SLO's. Teachers need data, and formative assessment is a good way to collect that data. Formative assessments include pre-tests, exit tickets, and check-ins midway through a lesson also provide valuable data. Until I looked in depth into formative assessment, I was insecure about how to get this data. Technology can make it quick and game-like.

Next year, our freshmen will be getting Chromebooks. In addition to cataloging and distributing devices, and overseeing equipment maintenance, I am hoping to provide some solid instruction on using the Inernet for research. Recently, I attended a keynote address by Erik Palmer. He wrote a concise 50 page book called "Researching in a Digital World." Although I use the information myself, I have struggled to embed these skills into classroom teachers' lessons. The author had some wonderful ideas around which I was able to create formative assessments.
I chose to focus on three different ways to use Polleverywhere as a formative assessment tool.


When working on this project, I realized that, when I taught with Internet research skills this past year, I did not have crystal clear goals for student learning. Of course they struggled. I used formative assessments, but they were cumbersome and were not "in the moment." Because I see the students sporadically, I need to tive instant assessment. These tech based quick assessments will be more valuable for me as teacher and students as learners.

Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (2001) Inside the Box: Raising Standards with Classroom Assessment. BERA.
Greenstein, L. Formative Assessment powerpoint.
Palmer, E. (2015) Researching in a Digital World. ASCD.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

EDUC 7726: Week 7 Assessment with technology

Computer-based assessment is in the news. Parents across the nation are exempting their children from participating in the annual high-stakes testing ritual. Tests like the SBAC were supposed to correct the flaws of the high stakes tests that were generated after the testing for NCLB created environments that "teach to the test." According to chapter 7 of the Gordon Commission report, these new tests are designed to assess higher-order thinking, and experts are working on making the tests more effective.

Little focus has been paid on the day-to-day formative assessments which make the most impact on a child's learning. Allowing students to use the electronic devices that have become like human body parts, teachers can quickly assess their students' understanding in engaging  ways.
- Apps that act as games, like Kahoot and Plickers, can quickly pinpoint information gaps.
- Digital tools that can handle more thoughtful classroom response, like Socrative and Lino, can draw out a student who is unlikely to speak out in a classroom discussion. Others can learn from and about fellow students and the teacher gets real-time feedback.
- Reflection is a key component of learning. Blogging and mind-mapping tools can demonstrate student learning to a teacher in a way that multiple choice cannot.

This timely formative assessment is important. Teachers use this data to inform instruction and bring their students to deeper level of learning. Like traditional instruction, not every digital tool works well in every situation. An instructor should not be afraid to try new digital tools and "change up" their assessments. Some things will work. Some will fail. There are online learning communities where teachers post articles and ideas for using digital tools in the classroom for instruction and assessment. It takes time and practice, and with persistence, it will add a new dimension (and more data) to instruction.

Studies show that "effective formative assessment causes large improvements in learning" 
Black and Wiliam (1998)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Translating Chapter 7 of the Gordon Commission report

Throughout the readings, the concept that kept jumping out at me was that "effective formative assessment causes large improvements in learning" 
Black and Wiliam (1998)

So much talk today is about summative assessment, high-stakes tests that compare our schools to those neighboring towns and schools halfway across the world. As I was reading, my mind wandered back to my youthful impression of the Iowa tests in Elementary school. I considered myself smart, and I wanted to be placed with the smart kids, so I took the tests seriously. At the time, I did not understand that these were formative tests, instructing teachers about skills gaps and missing concepts. The test was designed to form instruction.

I chose to read Chapter 7 of the Gordon Commisson report because it focused on the best that summative testing using technology can be. There are 13 different components that summative tests like the new SBAC look at. I will focus on three.

1. Provide meaningful information: Data collected from the results of the tests must be "trustworthy and actionable." The results must be true and have practical value. Information from high stakes tests is used in studies like the PISA report, which compares countries from around the world with one another. It has become like a competition. It is important we have the correct data to make the comparisons. 2. Satisfy multiple purposes 3. Use modern conceptions of competency as a design basis 4. Align test and task designs, scoring and interpretation with those modern conceptions 5. Adopt modern methods for designing and interpreting complex assessments 6. Account for context: The answers to the tests are facts. The reasons why the student may have given the answers are subject to interpretation. Data about each school - demographics, ethnicity, free lunch recipients, etc. - can cause a child to answer differently than peers in other contexts. This must be taken into consideration during testing. 7. Design for fairness and accessibility 8. Design for positive impact 9. Design for engagement: There is much discussion that students must be engaged in order to learn. Similarly, when students are engaged in their assessments, they do better. Using gaming principals can help make tests seem more relevant. 10. Incorporate information from multiple sources 11. Respect privacy 12. Gather and share validity evidence 13. Use technology to achieve substantive goals

No Child Left Behind became synonymous with "frequent testing" and teaching to the test. Common Core and SBAC are trying to remedy that with more rigorous standards and adaptive testing. Testing using technology at this time still uses easy-to-score-questions. As test designers become more familiar with what works, they will be better able to use the above best practices.


Bennett, R. (2013). Preparing for the Future: What Educational Assessment Must Do. Gordon Commission on the future of assessment in education. 123-141.

Kahl, S. (2015) Technology and the future of assessment: Pitfalls and Potential. Measured Progress.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Peer Assessment

Notes about Peer Assessment best practices

  • Thoughts about how it would work in a lesson:

  1. Supply students with “well-defined instructor-established criteria
  2. Have student post work to be reviewed in a public, class-accessible space.
  3. Reviewers (4 is best) look at work based and give feedback based on the specific criteria. In order for the feedback to be anonymous, it must go through another format. What could that be? Should it go through the teacher and be sent to the student? Anon is best and can be most brutal! TurnItIn and StudySunc are two platforms that support double-blind reviews. Both cost money. Alternative, reviewer sends to teacher who sends to reviewee.
  4. After corrections/adjustments, student work is resubmitted and re-evaluated by same team.
  5. Multiple purposes because, not only does the students get the feedback, they are able to look at other student work and learn from others. They are giving diagnoses, being informative, getting information, allowed to adjust their work and resubmit, then the same group re-evaluates for a summative assessment.

Link to lesson:

Helpful resources found this week:

Bostock, S.  (2000) “Student Peer Assessment.” The Higher Education Academy.

Looney, J. “Making it Happen: Formative Assessment and Educational Technologies.” Assessment Network.

Vega, V. (2014) “Comprehensive Assessment Research Review.” Edutopia.
Rubistar rubric maker.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Adventures with Infographics

I enjoy creating visual representations. I also obsess over the finished product. The project becomes more of a production for me. Though I enjoy it, it becomes very time-consuming. There comes a point when I just take a deep breath and hit the "share" button.

That said, I found information on the topic of technology coaching and quickly realized that it is not a data-rich subject. I was not going to be able to throw statistics on the screen and write little blurbs that tied the information together. I found a template in Canva that really shouted to me. I like information linear, succinct, and tied up in a quick recap. With some adjustments, the design I chose worked for me.

My infographic working title was "Why hire a technology coach?" which evolved into "Why teachers need a technology coach." The concept of technology (instructional) coaching fascinates me. Much of the literature about integrating technology into classrooms is not encouraging. Many studies show that, once the newness wears off, little improvement in learning takes place. In many instances, the actual device and its functions have been the focus. In order for technology integration to be meaningful, teachers need to be trained to focus on the student outcomes.

I sent my design to a technology teacher (Tina) and an artist (Carl) who each gave me points to look at, both design and content. I also looked at Josh's infographic and saw the link to his works cited. I did not want to add a second page and Canva has font size parameters, so this eased my struggle to fit everything in.

"ISTE Standards: Coaching" was a gold mine of information. I was previously unaware of the varied responsibilites of a good tech coach. A coach will help set goals, lay a strong foundation, provide professional development, give individual feedback, troubleshoot, support teachers, look at data... At first glance it seemed like a tech coach would be indispensible. But why?

The ISTE Conference White Paper, "Technology, Coaching, and Community," really filled in that gaps. The authors cited studies, and the studies had some data behind them. Coaching is one feature of an effective professional development program. PD is critical for teacher growth and system change. I was able to use some of the works cited in this artice to find more anecdotes and information.

Finally, I found a statistic in an article sponsored by Amplify that related to my overall infographic: The WHY. School systems are adding technology as quickly as finances allow, and they are starved for good teacher training. A technology coach would fill the need. The article included an amazing infographic:

Tips for teachers: To make an infographic with lots of data, choose a topic with lots of data. As an infographic novice, I chose a template on an app where I had previously created an account. If I had had a lot of time to play, I would have created something from scratch, but templates are really handy and can be adjusted. 
When first using infographics in the classroom, I would recommend teacher-created infographics or "authentic" (found) infographics for practice with data interpretation. Some infographics are more like reading a comic book than a short story. Personally, I would not assign students an infographic creation project unless (1) the class had worked on interpretation of infographics, (2) there was available data for the project, and (3) there was a very specific rubric for student expectations. Even with high school students, I would specify the number of "numbers" that should appear in the piece.

I was musing that I may create an infographic for my year-end library report. Considering the many hours I spent designing and re-thinking this project, I may just type up a word document.
I was so excited about my classmates' infographics, I decided to try Pictochart. Here is the same information in another format: . I will post it on the G+ forum in a separate post.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ED 7726 Week 2 Integrating Technology into a Lesson

Simon Peyton Jones' TedX talk published 4/29/14

Each teacher starts in different places when choosing to adopt technology and insert it into their "tried and true" lessons. For some, the goal is substituting an online free version of a hard-to-duplicate hard copy. For others, the goal is to engage students with a new and different challenge. Other teachers find themselves in other places along the spectrum ,from adding a small enhancement to redesigning a lesson with similar purpose.

Teachers are like students. Because they have different comfort levels with technology, they need to feel like they have choice of technology. I completely reworked the Internet research lesson, incorporating more than one technology piece, but the originating teacher could choose to modify it if it seems overwhelming. One of my English teacher friends has her students do a "shop project" every year, and I modifiec/planned this lesson with her in mind. As the librarian, I can embed advanced search skills and copyright information into the lesson.

Learning new technology takes time. I have found that once a teacher finds something that has been successful in the classroom, that teacher is more willing to try something new. The initial curve is steep, but the future learning is much less so. As a technology leader, play with new apps and invite teachers to join. Be excited when finding something new, and tell everyone you come in contact with about it. When one teacher is finding success, others will start asking.

Don't just substitute technology for another activity. Look at the outcome. Does it all tie together? Is the goal to create something new or to do the same thing using different elements in the lesson? Either is fine, but adding technology does not mean "instant engagement." Students can be equally bored and unfocused in front of a computer as they are doing worksheets. Bounce ideas off of teachers who have found success using technology in their lessons, and ask for suggestions. Studies indicate that students learn better from collaboration. We should use that model as well.

Thank you Jodi and Christel, who helped me iron out some of the bumps in the lesson. Getting ideas from imagination to paper can be a challenge for me, and they really helped me see some of the awkward areas in my original plan.


Original lesson:
Internet Research tied to Literature for Alternative Jr. High
Diann Gergen
English/Reading 9th grade
Content Area Objectives Addressed:
Students will refer to and utilize textbook, audio equipment, paper and pencil, visual artwork, and computers, to:
Build Vocabulary, Respond to Literature, Look at Author’s Purpose, Build Grammar Skills, give oral interpretation, and search the Internet to make a Career Connection between Past and Present.
Technology Objectives Addressed: Students will access the Internet to search for information relating to careers.  Students will develop note-taking skills, reinforce “cut and paste” techniques on “Word”, orally respond to Art Transparencies on Audio-Tape, and Review procedures for correct editing with overhead transparencies.

Activity Description

           Students were introduced to 5 “center” activities.  Each center dealt with responding to or connecting with Literature.  With limited computers and in the classroom for Internet searching, and Word processing, centers was necessary to maintain student interest and on task activities.  Students have had prior exposure to center activities, computer usage, overhead driven activities, and “packet” work. New to them in this class was the oral interpretation center which allowed them to listen to their own and others interpretation of Literature.
1.      Students were given a brief over view of what activity could be found at each center, and where the centers were located around the room.
2.      Each activity was then explained in detail.  Understanding and clarity were checked for at frequent intervals
3.      When students seemed clear as to what expectations of lessons were, activities were started.
a.      Center 1: Overhead review of editing procedures.  (Overheads from classroom Literature series used)First draft, revision, peer/teacher editing, final publishing of paper.  (This was just an overview review to inform students what was expected of them with final copy of Internet center.  This center was done all at the same time, with the opportunity to review on an individual basis with me later.
b.      Center 2: Paper and pencil packets.  (classroom Literature book used)  This center exposed students to worksheets looking at Building Vocabulary, Reading Strategy, Author’s Purpose, and Building Grammar Skills.  Although paper and pencil packets are not always the most exciting way to inform and encourage students to learn, some seat work was needed to allow all students to be engaged in the learning process at all times.
c.       Center 3: Art Transparency and Oral Interpretation of said art tied to written word.  (classroom Literature book used)At this center, the students viewed a transparency of Cradling Wheat by Thomas Hart Benton.  There were hard copy directions that looked at Appreciation of art, Responding to Literature, and having the students give an Oral Interpretation of the short story, “The Harvest” By Thomas River Benton.  The students were asked to chose a section of the reading that they felt reflected the art work, then make an audio recording of said passage.
d.      Center 4: Career Connections.  At this center the students  read the poem “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman.  (Classroom Literature book used)  Students were asked to identify as many careers as possible from the poem, and then pick the career that they felt was best suited to their life choices.  It was noted that some students felt that they could not relate to any of the careers mentioned in the poem, yet they were requested to choose the one that came the closest to something they could research successfully.  They were then asked to search the Internet looking for information on their chosen career.  They were required to research at least two of the following areas:

Education needed for chosen career, time to receive that education, salary or money issues related to career, benefits of career, benefits beyond money related to career, physical locations where they could have career, length of time they may expect to be able to work in career, definition of career from the past into the future, (how has it changed, or may it change) importance of career to American society, (in the past, present, and future), or branch off in the direction that they felt best suited them.

Students could take paper and pencil notes, cut and paste to a word document, or some even just cut and paste information and sent to personal e-mail to work on and develop projects at home.

e.       Center 5: Word processing center.  At this center they were asked to produce a final product (report) sharing the information they researched on their career.  Not all students have access to computers at home, so they were made available in the classroom to help ensure success with the assignment.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ED 7726 Week 1

Summarize your learning, recommend a strategy to your readers, make suggestions to educators on aligning technology with standards, explain the importance of this alignment, describe how Marzano/Hattie fit with CCSS, etc. 
Image from CBT McGraw-Hill blog 

Students learn best when they are able to interact with the material rather than just trying to absorb it by reading or listening. Using technology can help a visual learner connect with the material. Chris, a teacher at my school, was reading  Memories of a Geisha with her class. Although her students were interested in the story, they did not understand the cultural references. We collaborated and decided to use Thinglink as the platform for their research. Using an image as a base, students were asked to find credible information and link it to different aspects of the image. They were also required to use one video. Chris and I observed her students sharing information with their classmates while working on the project. When they continued their reading, the students were much more engaged in the story after they had completed their research. 

As the Librarian at my school, I weave research skills into every lesson. It is critical to stress source credibilty. We are all exposed to too much information. Students use technology, mostly the Google, to research everything. Being able to determine the validity of sources is not just part of the Common Core for college and career readiness, it is a life skill.

I somehow lack teacher terminology ("edspeak" is my nickname for it,) so I find myself looking outside the class resources for definitions and examples. According to the book, What Works in Schools, teachers who are considered "expert" use many strategies in their classrooms. Teachers who are ineffective have few effective strategies.  Although there are many strategies for learning, John Hattie was the first to quantify how much each individual strategy can effect the percentile gain for a student. As an example, according to Hattie, tutoring can cause a 19 point percentile gain, and simulation and games can cause a 13 point gain.* It is surprising how large a difference using proven strategies can make. It is worthwhile to make time to learn new strategies.

Marzano's and Hattie's teaching strategies are part of best practices for teaching and learning. Teachers who use these strategies help their students learn how to learn. The alignment of the Common Core Standards is designed reflect these same best practices.  The ELA standards focus on complex texts and learning strategies for understanding these texts. The high yield strategies mentioned in this week's readings can give students the skills they need for college and career readiness, the main focus of the Common Core.

* Hattie's effective gains in What Works in Schools are different from the link to Marzano's effective gains in the assignment.

Additional resource:

"Teacher Level Factors." What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action. Robert J. Marzano. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003. 69-70. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.

Image link: