tech-ucation reformation

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

Sssshhhhhh – On The Air! May 6, 2015

My Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I are in the final weeks of class which means we are now finalizing our courses including the job aids, final peer reviews, and last reflections.  This is the last blog required for the course, but we will have to complete some reflections which will not be blogged.  I am certain I will post some of those thoughts to my personal blog, and I definitely plan to go back and read my previous blogs for this course to develop my final reflections.

As for what needs to be done with my course, I am still creating the videos for the course due to the delay in production – thank you spring allergies!  This year seems to be especially crazy; I have seen more wildflowers than ever.  The allergies are now under control with the help of several medications, but now kids, pets, and a spouse keep hindering getting the videos done in a timely manner.  I need to have a space dedicated to creating them without interruption, but I do not see that happening until I have a professional designer job, so I just need to chalk it up to a lesson learned.  This does give me something to think about if I intend to do any remote or freelance work.  Having my family around with constant interruptions is usually not a problem because I am adept at helping them with their needs quickly and getting back to the task at hand, but video-recording is a whole different game.  Now I understand why radio stations have those “on air” lights and special recording rooms!  I am not quite finished with the text pieces of the course either, but that will easily be done because I already have it all worked out in my head.  Plus I am waiting for peer reviews to come in; perhaps I can head off some work by taking their ideas into account before the final additions. Then again, I am prioritizing other projects right now which also demands my already limited time.

As for the possibility of implementation, I am sad that my course will not get to be, at least at this point.  Perhaps one day in the future, I will have the opportunity.  I am even considering selling parts of it.  But at this point I have no prospects to, and this, of course, will make evaluation impossible, but it will be alright.  I am really pleased with the topic and nature of the course.  Somebody in the future will like it too and want to use it, so then I can get valid client feedback.

Advertisements
 

Too Busy Doing My Job To Do My Job May 5, 2015

Filed under: 5510 — S. Michele Holmes @ 9:41 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By now my Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I should be finished with our courses and ready to conduct peer reviews and make final refinements.  We have been asked to stop and reflect on whether or not we have finished our courses and why, any technology and people challenges we have faced, our thoughts on working within professional deadlines, and our strengths and weaknesses as a designer.

I have to be honest and say that my course is not finished at this point. My biggest impediments have been human conditions – mainly my own – which cannot be helped and time management. I usually am quite adept at time management, but this semester has truly come to be the “when it rains, it pours” semester. Luckily I have not really faced any technical problems, mostly just trying to figure out how to use another video editing program – a transferable and therefore fairly easy task, just extremely time consuming. I do have other video editing programs to use with which I am already experienced, but they do not capture computer screens, only footage I have taken with a camera. Also, the video editing program I am using to capture my computer activity is very expensive, so I intended on attempting to capture all my video within the 30 day free trial period.  Well, about four days into the trial, I had a major allergy attack and subsequent cold symptoms for more than a week.  When I recorded the videos, I sounded horrible.  Sure, I can edit out the sneezes and coughs, but the tone of my voice was bothersome even to me, so I was concerned about how I would sound to others. I could have asked someone else to record them for me, but then I would have to spend time writing a script and coaching them on what to say when. As for time management, I have already mentioned I usually have no problem, but this semester has been one of the most difficult of my life for personal reasons.  I am in the process of moving to another state, and all that that entails.  I am still working my full-time job, taking my two graduate courses, trying to sell a house, trying to find a new house remotely, trying to find a new job online, in addition to obtaining a license to teach in my new state.  Then, just when I thought things were about to clear up allowing me to concentrate on the course, the 1st round of STAAR scores came in, and I was added to the remediation team without being asked.  While I am a team-player, this has added a whole new level of stress to my already packed schedule.  I have come to the point to where I will have to lower my own quality standards for everything I do.  Luckily the house has sold, and we just have to deal with inspections and paperwork.  I have given up on the job hunt until after the school year is over.  The snags I have encountered to become certified in the new state will have to wait a few more weeks, and my regular full-time job duties will also have to wait for another week or two. I just keep telling myself it will all be over soon no matter the outcome.

Wow, I am really getting off topic and sounding like I am having a pity party.  The point is that I love the design work I am doing in school and the new career I am breaking into, I just want to do a super fantastic job.  But that is the problem – the doing!  In the future, I will need to have time dedicated to the instructional design job.  If that is the main job, the one I will be getting paid for, then certainly the time will be there.  Unfortunately right now, it is not.  The hardest part has been realizing that all of this was unforeseeable.  Had I known all these issues were going to happen, I would have only taken one class and saved the last two for summer.  So how does this apply to professional instructional design?  People have lives outside of work, and sometimes life just gets in the way.  The sacrifices we make to improve ourselves and become better both professionally and personally are often greater than we should handle.  Learning how to say no and only taking on the projects you can handle will be important.  If working for a company, they will be able to provide insight into the level of quality expected so you do not get overwhelmed by going overboard or overextending yourself.  But in the end there will be an end, there will be a point of no return. Professional companies likely will not micromanage a designer by asking for regular reports or quarterly deadlines. The designer will have to self-manage and stick to their own deadlines.

As for my strengths, I have an uncanny ability to see the overall big picture and break it down into parts.  In fact, I prefer it that way – I need to see the whole first before I can logically break it down into smaller, manageable pieces. I also am very good at organizing information to make it more comprehensible to other people.  As for my weaknesses, I am often very wordy and need to think about making directions more succinct. I am just somewhat good at anticipating issues before others know they can be an issue and addressing them head on.  So my instructions, especially to young children, must also include what NOT to do.

 

Canvas Development Peer Reviews March 17, 2015

Filed under: 5510 — S. Michele Holmes @ 11:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I have taken the opportunity to peer-review the first quarter of our Canvas course development.  We have been asked to reflect on the feedback from our peers as well as compare expected timelines in the professional world to what we are doing as students.

First, let me say that my peer-reviewer is AMAZING!  She has provided me with such positive feedback on what I have done well that I know I am on the right track with the next developmental phases.  I have reciprocated the feedback because she too is doing a fantastic job.  I have to admit that I am utilizing some of her ideas in my development.  I know this is not direct feedback from her, but in a way, it is still feedback.  For example, we have both developed a front page in which we welcome our students, but she added a nice graphic and links to some of the videos Canvas offers to help new users learn how to use the various aspects of Canvas such as setting up a profile and communicating with other course participants.  I also decided to add a graphic appropriate to my course and plan to add a Canvas orientation page later in my development.  In my course, I provided links to information specific to the course which is important but not necessary to completing the course – a background information page, a goals and objectives page, and a direct link to the modules.  As a result, my peer added these to her course as well.  Although not meant to be feedback, the replication is just as positive and constructive, letting me know I am making good design decisions.  My peer also reminded me to make sure I consistently address the same audience; I had neglected to revise a couple of sections which I had copied and pasted from the design document to the course.  My design document was directed toward stakeholders and supervisors while the same information in Canvas is directed to the student.  This valuable feedback reminds me to continue to review how I am wording directions in future development.  If we as the instructor are speaking to our students, then we need to write the information in a similar fashion.  But perhaps the best feedback is the professional behavior of my peer-reviewer.  Even her criticism is constructive and positive which makes me want to continue to impress her.

Now allow me to present my thoughts on the difference in timelines between developing instruction in the professional world and as a student.  Because the course is spread over 16 weeks over which we will develop one course, this is not nearly as authentic as the typical 3-week timeline we would experience as professionals.  However, there are other major differences involved here.  For example, my peers and I are developing the course for a 3-hour graduate class.  It is assumed that we all have full-time jobs and are taking graduate courses on the side, or that we are going to school full-time and taking multiple graduate courses.  It is difficult to understand how many projects a professional instructional designer is handling at once, but if we are performing the job full-time, certainly we would be spending much more time in course-development than we would in a class.  Another major difference is the number of people involved in professional course-development.  At this point, my course only has three people involved:  my professor, my peer-reviewer, and myself.  In the professional world, the instructional designer would have clients, supervisors, subject-area experts, technical experts, and possibly even other instructional designers working on the same course.  I believe the involvement of more people could both help and hinder timelines.  Consider that each time the client or supervisor suggests or requires a change, the designer will need time to revise work which has already been developed.  Having experts and other designers working on the same project would, in contrast, speed up the process.

 

Canvas Course Updates

Filed under: 5510 — S. Michele Holmes @ 1:46 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I have been busy loading our course information into the Canvas learning management system this for the past week or so.  In my last blog I reported that I am about a week behind due to taking a road trip halfway across the country to see my father who is fighting cancer.  As it turns out, I also ran into a bit of a side trip with my course.  Because we have been asked to reflect on what we needed to revise about our courses based upon the structure of the LMS, this is a perfect time to bring it up.

For the first-quarter course submission, we had to input information which had already been thoroughly developed and peer-reviewed.  The easy part was simply copying and pasting text from the design document into the LMS.  Sure, some editing was necessary, but the content was the essentially same.  This allowed my course mates and I to focus on the structure of the LMS thinking about the most appropriate placement of the information.  For the second-quarter course submission, we are now working on adding our instruction, activities, and assessments.  Because this content was not developed prior to input, we must also develop as we input.  Once I started working with the various aspects of Canvas, specifically the Modules and Assignments, I saw that I needed to give more thought to the structure of my own course, specifically the sequence of activities and how that might be interpreted in Canvas.  I actually returned to the design document for a major overhaul.  After all, the information will be put into multiple places in Canvas, so I wanted it to be correct before input saving editing time in the future.  Now that the paper overhaul is in a good place, I have begun to input it into Canvas.  I cannot stress how easy it has been to get the info into Canvas after the overhaul.  It is not only going so smoothly, it is actually guiding me on the development of instruction.  The ideas were there, but writing them out has become such a cinch!  I have a much better idea about both how long the rest of this stage of the development will take me bringing me back on track with my course mates and what my next stage will require time-wise and content-wise.

As for how the design model is working for me, I feel as though I have overcome a major hurdle and can now move forward with greater speed and efficiency.  To those of you who develop online courses but are not using Canvas, it may be time to rethink that plan. I have used Moodle, Blackboard, Edmodo, and Schoology; Canvas is now my new favorite.  I was concerned about how my population of younger students may receive Canvas as compared to Edmodo or Schoology, but Canvas actually allows you to develop your content more like a Word document or a website, so you can make content appear exactly the way you want.  Schoology is geared more towards younger students, but it experienced a major hacker attack several months ago, and I have been cautious about using it ever since. Canvas is a great alternative.

 

Beginning Work in Canvas March 9, 2015

Filed under: 5510 — S. Michele Holmes @ 4:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This week, my Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I are starting to input our own course information into the online learning management system (or LMS) we will be using this semester called Canvas. If you are not familiar with Canvas, I highly recommend reviewing the informational website here. This is my first exposure to the LMS, and thus far, I am highly impressed with the functionality and flexibility.

At this point, we have been asked to input information we have already developed in our instructional design document such as the learning theory we will utilize, course goals and objectives, and information about the purpose of the course including the problem the course intends to solve. However, once I began to enter the information, I realized how versatile Canvas can be making it possible to place the information just about anywhere. This has both advantages and disadvantages. Fantastic that I have such choices about where to put information including adding graphics and changing colors, but the possibilities are becoming a bit overwhelming. It is probably a good thing we are not developing new information right now and simply playing with the Canvas features. My biggest challenge has been to figure out how to create a front page for the learner to view once the first log in to the course. As it turns out, we must publish that page then set it to be our front page. Luckily Canvas provides an extensive help and support site which allowed me to figure out my problem. What has gone really well is my experiments with the modules and course progression. I love the prerequisite feature which requires the learner to complete one module before moving on to the next. Because my target audience is much younger, exposing them to the entire course might be overwhelming. So limiting them to only what I want them to see at a time is a plus.

Due to some personal and family issues which asked me to travel across the country, I am about a week behind in my Canvas course development which I hope to catch up during the next two weeks. So because my course mates and I were not supposed to have our peer reviews done until this week, by the time this blog was due, I should not have been able to give or receive feedback. However, the feedback I have received from my peer has been extremely valuable. Most of her comments have been about the placement of information as opposed to the content, and I quite agree. Canvas allows the teacher to create highly-visual pages and organize information into limitless pages and modules. I have provided my peer with similar feedback. So far, most of the development has involved the where to place it as opposed to what to place. As for what I have learned so far, Canvas is a very powerful LMS. I have only broached the basics of what it can do, and I am eager to explore more options.

 

Peer Reviews of Instructional Designs February 9, 2015

Filed under: 5510 — S. Michele Holmes @ 5:39 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

My course mates and I are well into creating and reviewing our instructional design documents in my Technology-Based Learning Environments class.  I have decided to go with the cross-curricular, project-based course for gifted and talented students.  I actually created most of the ideas several years ago as a gifted/talented teacher, but I did not write out objectives, lesson plans, or rubrics.  Also, the projects were not required to be completed using computer technologies, so turning the ideas into projects which can be created with online technologies is what I have been concentrating on the most.  What I have struggled with the most is expanding the entire course up to between 40 and 45 hours.  My GT students and I would not have had this much time together, so I know the amount of activities I am developing will not be possible with a GT program which meets only the minimum time required by law.  However, now that I think about it, a course such as this really could have helped my students spend more time on projects outside of regular meetings times because of the online nature of the course.  For this blog, we have been asked to reflect upon the feedback from our peers as well as discuss what we used and did not use and why.

After receiving feedback from my professor on the first draft, I focused on developing the course goals and objectives in addition to the timeline of course activities to a greater extent.  My peer reviewer provided me with even more guidance on the goals and objectives, especially the addition of how to conduct research.  I am so thankful because of the struggles I am having with writing them out.  Because searching for information on the Internet will be a skill used throughout the course to complete assignments, goals and objectives are necessary.  Funny how it sometimes takes the perspective of a professional in another field to stress the importance of some skills – in this case, my peer reviewer is a librarian, so developing searches is within her field of expertise.  As for disagreeing with any feedback and not changing the design according to the peer review, I am afraid to say this will not be happening.  All feedback was valuable resulting in at least minor changes, if only to clarify confusing writing or further explain ideas which are unclear.

I ponder how a peer review will be conducted in the world of professional instructional design.  The need for multiple perspectives or just another set of eyes to find typos is critical to a quality final product.  Perhaps the client or a project manager will serve in this role.

 

Review of Instructional Design Research January 26, 2015

Well, I am right back to it with a bang! This semester I have begun my Technology-Based Learning Environments course by reviewing some research on instructional design. My classmates and I are charged with reflecting upon three articles: (1) an article discussing project-based learning utilizing a constructivist framework, (2) another addressing instructional design in our own interest areas, and (3) the last an article that one of my course mates reviewed. At the same time, we are considering project ideas which could drive our work for the rest of the semester.

The first article began with defining and identifying three characteristics of constructivism. “Constructivism is a philosophical view on how we come to understand or know” (Savery & Duffy, 2001, p. 3). Gaining understanding through our interactions with the environment is central to the learning theory, suggesting that learning is the construction of understanding given the learning prompts. Setting a purpose for learning and incorporating opportunities for social negotiation are also central to the theory. The authors also suggest creating authentic tasks, helping students with project ownership, and providing opportunities for reflection should also be incorporated into a constructivist lesson. The article then asserts that project-based learning utilizes the constructivist theory and explains why. I want to create a course which asks students to use new technologies to present newly-learned content, thus combining the learning of skills through interacting with software and the learning of information that interests them, which addresses multiple constructivist ideas.

I have been pondering some project ideas, and the idea of designing an online course for gifted students is at the top of the drawing board. When I read Thomson’s (2010) article on this very topic, I found that the guidelines found in the research and suggested as best practices were the very same elements I am experiencing in my own online classes. Perhaps the perfect way to show what I have learned these past two years is by reflecting back my own interpretation of an online technology course is with the same idea but with a population I have more experience with. What an opportunity to explore my passions for technology, online learning, and gifted education. I plan to incorporate the instructional design suggestions from the article to the best of my ability: a well-organized course, frequent and prompt feedback, high-quality and appropriate learning materials, a mentor relationship with each student, and individualized and differentiated content.

Much interest in the emotions of gifted students has already produced considerable research. Gifted students often display emotional intelligence well beyond their years, yet many experience misunderstandings because their emotional maturity was over-estimated. I was surprised to find one of my course mates reviewed an article on instructional design considering emotions. In this article Astleitner & Leutner (2000) provide suggestions to address the five emotions in the FEASP instructional design approach: fear, envy, anger, sympathy, and pleasure. The suggestions for sympathy and pleasure were especially engaging and support two elements, cooperative learning and gamification, I would like to incorporate into my project.

Reference

Astleitner, H., & Leutner, D. (2000). Designing instructional technology from an emotional perspective. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(4), 497-510.

Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (2001). Problem based learning: an instructional model and its constructivist framework. CRLT Technical Report No. 16-01, 1-17.

Thomson, D. L. (2010). Beyond the Classroom Walls: Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives on How Online Learning Can Meet the Needs of Gifted Students. Journal of Advanced Academics 21(4), 662-712.

 

 

 
SEE JANE TRADE

Full Time Mom, Part Time Day trader.

JULES DAY TRADING JOURNEY

Transparency of a Female Day Trader

Eat Sleep Profit

For Traders By Traders

Trade The Day Away

Join Me on My Journey to Becoming a Day Trader

ThinkCreateShare

Educating with technology

Guila Muir and Associates

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

My about.me Experience

A lite journal of my experiences with about.me, its users and administrators

Dianna's LT 5210 blog

rapid instructional design

ltplusme

Welcome to a record of my thoughts as I venture through the world of learning technologies as a grad student in the field.

benedict5210

Reflections on Instructional Design

Through stories

Scott's blog about teaching, learning, games, film...

Jonathan Gratch

Doctoral Portfolio

Teaching with Technology!

Sharing my encounters with technology as a K-5 Technology Teacher

Melissa Pelletier

Writer of Oddities

Jennifer L. Scheffer

Make IT Happen: Innovation & Technology in the Classroom

Making Connections

Teaching, Learning, Relationships, Leadership, Life, Ideas

Ms. Computer Teacher's Blog

Teach Tech Better. Learn Tech Better.