tech-ucation reformation

Goodbye overheads and chalkboards! Hello virtual "paperless" classrooms!

Final Reflections and Evaluations December 12, 2014

Filed under: 5210 — S. Michele Holmes @ 4:32 am
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The semester is almost over for my Instructional Design course, and it is time for my course mates and me to reflect upon what we have learned about instructional design. One of the reasons I began this graduate program is because I discovered that what I love most about teaching is designing lessons and activities. What this course did was define and formalize the processes I was already using resulting in a greater appreciation for the practice. When first introduced to ADDIE and the idea of designing for instruction, it seemed as though the steps needed to occur in separate, compartmentalized stages, but this is not the case. They actually overlap a great deal, and moving into subsequent steps may be necessary to finish the current, and likewise moving backwards to go forwards.

One major difference between what I do for my students and the projects I completed for my clients is meeting each population’s needs. For my students, I develop and implement the lessons, so I do not have to explain the implementation to an instructor or a client. Teachers often must adjust instruction on a whim due to unforeseen issues or immediate feedback from the students. When designing for a client, understanding exactly what they need then creating a product I will never actually teach feels much more accountability-driven. Something I did not expect was missing the closure I would normally experience from teaching a lesson after I created it. Also, understanding the content to be delivered in the instructional design, at least at a basic level, is essential. Even if a content specialist is involved, I still need to comprehend the gist of what will be taught. I would not feel at all comfortable working with some of the information my course mates designed.

As for what I have learned from the evaluation phases of my projects is that having clear goals for the final outcome is crucial. This is not always possible depending upon the project, but it was true for both of mine because of clear-cut beginnings and endings of the courses. Sure, they can both be adapted for future use, but these will never be ongoing projects. I imagine an ongoing implementation such as online educational software would have a much different process and experience. The evaluation of Project B revealed that the rubric was the most valuable tool to the audience, but the job aid and the development of a timeline were the most beneficial to the instructor. One idea I would like to ponder more is accessibility of the software used to make the final product from multiple devices and locations. The audience was asked to create PowerPoints, but Prezi is another possibility which can be accessed from the Internet.

Setting deadlines, communicating with clients, observing some of the implementation were all important lessons learned on my journey to become a better instructional designer. Being flexible and having a wide skill-set are also critical. The ability to receive constructive criticism and feedback and utilize it to improve the future iterations of the product is also helpful. Teachers often comment that once teachers become administrators, they forget what being in the classroom is all about. I wonder how having experience teaching will influence designing instruction at a professional level in the future.

 

Initial Project Proposal: The Case for Digital Portfolios September 22, 2013

Filed under: CECS 5200 — S. Michele Holmes @ 3:11 am
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When I began my teaching career eight years ago, I quickly realized I would be learning as much, if not more, than my students.  The challenge of teaching information to others is less about the concepts and more about how to collect and organize the information to make it understandable to others.  Yet, the concepts are still learned and with a much deeper understanding.  As the years have passed, I have collected resources and created lessons and activities in digital form, and my own portfolio has become a very personal and valuable learning tool for me.  Digital portfolios can likewise be a valuable learning tool for students, and with the availability of technology and the ease with which information can be researched, the case for digital portfolios is clear.  Therefore, I would like to research the use of digital portfolios in the elementary classroom.  I would like to explore the advantages and disadvantages of using digital portfolios for instructional purposes, what technologies of instruction are available which can assist with the creation of digital portfolios, ways in which teachers can implement the creation of digital portfolios in the classroom, and the long-term educational implications of creating digital portfolios such as incorporating them into a resume.  I would like to use a form of instructional technology which could be utilized in the creation of digital portfolios such as Prezi or a website to present my findings.

 

On Your Way to the Digital Classroom June 6, 2013

Filed under: Personal — S. Michele Holmes @ 6:52 pm
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It’s been a while since I’ve written an original blog, and I attended two “technology in the classroom” trainings yesterday, so I finally have something to write about.  Some of these Web 2.0 tools I have been using for a while, but I’m still attempting to invent new ways to use them.  Others I’ve heard of but haven’t made the time to explore.  Here’s what we experimented with:

Prezi

A variation on PowerPoint which steps outside the “slide” mentality, Prezi allows teachers to collect and organize text, pictures, video onto one page.  The viewer “travels” by zooming in and out and rotating to the information.  A really neat feature is that PowerPoints can EASILY be imported and manipulated within the program, so all that time you’ve spent making PowerPoints is not lost!  Older students should be able to work independently on a Prezi, but younger students with a lack of computer experience may need to work with partners or in groups.  There are so many great Prezis out there, and here’s a few that show off Prezi’s versatility:

Glogster

An online virtual poster maker, Glogster is a great way to save money on markers and glitter and allow more experimentation with design.  Adding pictures, video, sound, and animations to the Glogs makes the posters more dynamic than traditional paper posters.  Students of all ages and computer abilities should be able to use this program with minor assistance, but patience is required when working with a lot of media.  The link above takes you to Glogster EDU which controls content unsafe for students.  Here are a few really cool Glogs:

QR Codes

Have you seen those funny little digital squares on your groceries?  They are QR codes, and using a QR reader on a digital device connects the user to further information, which offers a variety of application in the digital classroom.  The link above takes you to a QR Code generator.  The codes can be imbedded in printable documents such as homework assignments and letters to parents which can then be scanned by the students or parents at home to link them to websites, videos, email addresses, documents, PowerPoints, etc.  Using QR codes in classroom activities involves more thought but greater possibilities; for example, post QR codes around your room linking students to questions you would normally have on a worksheet to give them an engaging way to complete the same objectives or activities.  How about displaying vocabulary words around the classroom with QR codes linking students to definitions and pictures as a new way to explore vocabulary.  Here are a few QR codes to some of my favorite links:

qrcode.13964401          qrcode.13964462           qrcode.13965164

 

 
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