To Be or Not To Be….a Digital Native?

In this week’s reading, there is a notion that students today are considered “digital natives” because they have grown up surrounded by computers and video games. It is believed by one of the authors, Prensky, that the students of today (the Digitial Natives) have different “thinking patterns” versus previous generations, such as the Baby Boomers.

I am of the generation that is considered “Generation X.” There were not many computers when I went to school. My first computer lab was in 8th grade and “Oregon Trail” was da bomb! LOL  My school still had a Typing Class, not a Keyboarding Class….and yes there is a difference! So, to suffice it to say I did not get much training on computers until my college years and beyond. Therefore, more of my teachers and my own learning required me to use actual books and dig for answers.  Now, I say all of this because I don’t think today’s students have a different thinking pattern they just have a new way of gathering answers. This is why it so important for teachers to change their instructional strategies in the classroom. Not because they think differently but because their way of searching is different.

I know this to be true just from observing my own classes. Students would much rather scour several different websites versus sit in a library and find books on their subject. Also, there is the instant gratification that is prevalent in today’s students….thank you Google. Many strategies have a kind of “entertainment” value. I know for my own classrooms I have looked for such items as a YouTube video, Powtoons, or something else animated to use in the classroom versus me just handing out the information for them to copy.

So, on the notion of Digital Natives…I agree and disagree. I disagree with Prensky when he said, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (2001, Pg. 1). I think our educational system is designed to teach all students no matter what generation they were born. I do think they are digital natives because of the different instructional strategies that need to be employed by educators to reach today’s students. The use of more technology whether it is different hardware, software, or applications replace yesterdays pen, paper, encyclopedia, dictionary, etc.

Comment below and let me know what you think!

 

References:

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants – Part II: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6). Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

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Are We Hurting or Helping Our Students? (Commentary Entry)

Ok..touchy subject up ahead. You have been warned.

IEP’s, 504’s….these are generally set in place to help out struggling students that need a little something extra to succeed in the classroom. I, personally do not have a problem with that scenario. What I do have a problem with is the fact that many school districts, in fear of lawsuits, want to make sure the students pass, NO MATTER WHAT! Meaning, the teachers are told, “Make sure these students do not fail.” This is a problem. Are we not supposed to help our students become successful productive citizens? Are we not supposed to make sure they know and pass (legitimately) the same standards as the general education students? Then why is it ok to pass them when they have clearly not mastered the standards? In my experience, it appears to be a numbers game with the administration and it’s frustrating to teachers, at least the good ones that care! This past school year, my partner had given every opportunity in the world to help her struggling students, many of them with IEP’s. However, these students already learned, by 6th grade mind you, that they could do whatever that wanted and STILL PASS! So, what is the point of my job? What is the proper solution here?

I don’t think it is right, or fair, to anyone involved. I feel if the administration had more backbone many parents/guardians would get on board. I understand that many parents are not home to help their student and this is one of the many reasons why I think we need to work smarter in helping them to master the standards instead of letting them “just pass.”

What are your thoughts?

Required Reading for the Upcoming School Year (List Entry)

In the upcoming school year, Decatur City Schools has partnered with A+ College and Career Ready to help move our students forward for today’s post secondary environments. Due to this partnership, the curriculum line-up has changed as well as what novels will be read. The following is a list of books that will be read during the school year in 8th grade English Language Arts. You may purchase one on your own or use a copy that I will supply.

The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss? parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. (Amazon.com)

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novella by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde.] It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next (Amazon.com)

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. (Amazon.com)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare, suggested by “The Knight’s Tale” from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, written around 1594 to 1596. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and with the fairies who inhabit a moonlit forest. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world. (Amazon.com)

EdTech 533 YouTube for Educators Reflection

YouTube for Educators is an elective course I chose to take to meet the requirements for the MET program at Boise State University.  This course proved to be more challenging than I ever thought it would have been. I learn a lot and plan to implement as much as possible into my classrooms!  The following is my reflection on the course that I submitted as part of my final grade for the course. At the end is a link to my YouTube channel where my artifacts from this course can be found.

As the fall 2016 semester ends, I think back to what I have learned and gained from my EdTech 533 YouTube for Educators course. Overall, I loved this class and would not mind taking another one if possible. Dr. Snelson made it easy to follow in Moodle by having due dates stated in easy to find locations and by providing guidebooks for every lesson. For me, the guidebooks are what helped me get through this course. With the inclusion of video tutorials and step-by-step instructions Dr. Snelson was highly methodically in providing everything a student will need and/or encounter in the course.

In the final essay, the class was asked to answer a few questions. Here are the questions with my answers:

  • What were the three most important things I learned this semester?

The three most important things I learned this semester were:

Copy Rights – learning about how important it is to obey copyright laws in creating videos and how to find a license to determine if I could reuse it was one of the most beneficial things I will take away from this class. I have already begun incorporating it into my current classroom.

Video Captions – an educator I need to make sure that all of my students have the same opportunity to be able to understand and learn from any and all methods I use in my class. Providing captions is just a small thing to add to all videos to help ensure I reach each and every student.

Creating a playlist in YouTube – I absolutely love how I can find videos for a certain subject or lesson and curate them into a file that will house them together. I have already used this option several times in my current classroom.  In teaching Language Arts I can find videos for all parts of speeches, on fiction and nonfiction information, elements of a plot, etc. and share the list with my students as supplemental material or use them in class!

  • Has my opinion of YouTube in education changed or remained the same? Describe three or more specific examples.

The short answer to this question is Yes! Before this class, I could “kinda” see the relevance of YouTube, but due to some content not being suitable for some students I was highly hesitant to use. My opinion has changed because I can see how I can actually incorporate it into my classroom. A couple of examples would be to create a page for each class. This would create a space for the students to be able to upload their creations throughout the year in one location. Students would then be able to use a shareable link to possibly distribute to a bigger audience. Another example would be to pick out a video and stop it before it ends and have the students create a new ending based off of what was previously shown. A final example would be to use YouTube to compare and contrast two different dragon videos or to pick out traits of the characters.

  • What have I learned about media literacy and how will that information impact me as an educator? In your response, discuss three or more core competencies of media literacy: access, analyze, evaluate, reflect, or act.

What I have learned about media literacy is allowing for options in a classroom is key. In providing access to many types of media, the students can then analyze each option to determine what would work best for them. By giving the students the responsibility of evaluating the media it provides them the opportunity to think in a critical manner to help themselves be prosperous. Developing critical thinking skills in using all types of media is essential to being college and career ready.

  • In what specific ways will I use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching or training? (If not currently a teacher how might you use what you have learned?)

I will be utilizing what I have learned in this course in many ways. I have already incorporated the short-form educational video in my classroom. My students recently had a biography project where they had to complete research on an author of their choice and then create a presentation on them. Many of my honor students chose to use Powtoons because of the animation ability it provided. I can absolutely see how my skills I gained with the mini documentary will and should come into play. Stressing the importance of being a good digital citizen by checking copyright licenses and practicing safe use strategies alone will be most beneficial to them.

I would like to incorporate the use of a Vlog, whether by me, in the form if a daily or weekly newsletter-like item, or by my students where they have to keep a vlog about their daily or weekly assignments (I am thinking more along the lines of a video journal). This will help accomplish many underlining items such as confidence in front of a camera and speaking and enunciating clearly.

Our media literacy assignment gave me several ideas on how to get my students to think in a more synthesized manner. By thinking outside the box I could use videos to help teach such things as characterization by having them identify indirect and direct from an excerpt from a movie; elements of a plot, have them fill in a plot diagram identifying where the different elements take place in a short video, and compare and contrast internal and external conflict.

  • Select at least three of the projects you created this semester and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

The mini-documentary and short-form educational video demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standard 3 in Ethics because we had to provide attributions on items such as video footage, pictures, or text we did not create ourselves.  It showed how plagiarism can be very easy in video creation if one does not take the time to take the proper channels in ensuring sources were cited correctly.

Vlog with captions demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standard 3 in Diversity of Learners because it was created with a certain level of students (6th graders) in mind and that was intended to be able to reach the many different ways a student can learn. It is an excellent method to use for those learners that are more visual and hands-on ordinated.

The media literacy assignment demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standard 4 in Assessing/Evaluating because I had evaluated videos that would fit into my topic of study. In evaluating the videos I had to keep in mind my topic and key points I wanted to convey to my students but I also needed to keep my target audience in mind. Meaning, I needed to find videos that would keep my students focused whether it was through animation and/or music and pertained the correct content.

My EdTech 533 YouTube Channel

Sylvia Plath mini-documentary

 

 

 

EdTech 503 Reflective Synthesis Paper

As part of our final segment in the Instructional Design Project, we had to write a reflection describing the Instructional Design Process in metaphorical terms. The following is my reflection.

The instructional design process can be compared to having kids for the first time. When parents-to-be (PTB) first find out they are pregnant they are excited and joyful, just like one would be when given the opportunity to complete an instructional design. Then when the PTB settle down, the worry of “what will we need to do,” and “what do we need in order to do what we need to do” kicks in. This is the same as an instructional designer. At this point, the PTB and instructional designer go out, looking for someone or something that will aid in gaining the necessary information to help answer the important questions. PTB will go out and find books, talk to friends, and find possible subject matter experts (SME) like a doctor to help gather the necessary information. An instructional designer will go and gather information from those that will perhaps use the instruction, conduct research with the intended company or by giving a survey from those impacted by the design. Determining the needs is critical for PTB so they can understand what they will need to do and acquire during the nine months of pregnancy. Needs analysis is also a critical step for an ID, because this will help determine the focus of the design. Next, PTB need to start making plans, where will the baby sleep, what type of milk will be used the first year of life, will a daycare be needed and if so which one should be chosen. For an ID, planning is answering the following: what is the role of the instructor (if there will actually be an instructor or will it be computer-based instruction); what are the learning objectives and how do they tie into what the needs analysis data revealed; how will the instructor motivate the learners to stay focused and on task; what will the instructions for the instructor look like and how will they be conveyed to the students; what materials and what technology will be needed for this design to be able to fully function. Then there is the evaluation plan. Right before the birth of the child, PTB need to evaluate the steps they have taken to ensure all (or most) of the needs have and will be met. Things to be considered (evaluated): was the right pediatrician chosen; is the place where the baby will sleep ready; have all of the necessary items for a newborn baby been purchased i.e. car seat. The ID needs to evaluate the instructional design plan by ensuring the intended goals of the plan have been met by the design. The use of an SME to help evaluate the plan would be a good idea for an ID and for the PTB.  Parenting is an ongoing, ever-changing process, so is an instructional design project. The project will need to be evaluated every year (or every time it is implemented) because the learners will constantly be changing.

This course, Instructional Design, challenged me to think about all of the little things I took for granted. The things I took for granted were things such as what materials I would need to deliver the instruction, the readiness of supplemental items to help differentiate my instructions, and being more conscience of the learners’ actual needs versus what I thought they needed.  When I walked into my classroom for the first time I did not think about what went into all of the materials that were at my disposal. Now, I am more appreciative of the fact that there was (is) a process that helps guide the course. In Report #1 the Analysis of the Learning Context was probably an area I did not take into consideration before I took this class. Teaching in the classroom I am in, I have learned to “make do” with what I have, or do not have…like a door. So, in thinking about the little details that could hinder or disrupt learning I had to take a step back and try to look at it with fresh eyes so to speak. Then in Report #2, the Instructor’s Guide I saw how the little things could be forgotten. When I begin a new lesson and introduce it, I base a big part of checking for understanding on watching my students for their nonverbal cues. In the design process, I learned that I needed to include the instruction of observation to make sure someone else could understand. Again, it is the little things I do automatically that took the longest to put on paper in the design.

How will the design process relate to my future work in educational technology? I believe that with the knowledge of the ADDIE model (analyze, develop, design, implement, and evaluate) I will be able to use and implement this skills no matter what area of educational technology I will be working within. I think the design process relates to my current position because it has helped me understand I need to pay more attention to how I create lessons, choose lessons, and how I decide to implement the lesson. I am more conscientious as a teacher now.

EdTech 503 Final ID Project

Instructional Design Description

In my EdTech 503, Instructional Design course this week, we were challenged to create a fictitious job posting for an Instructional Designer job; write three reflections on a given set of questions; and post links to three actual Instructional Designers job postings. In reflecting on this assignment, I can see where many teachers feel as if they are actual instructional designers, because many do create their own materials used in their classroom. However, I have discovered this week there is more to being an instructional designer than just creating the materials used in the classroom. I look forward to learning more as this journey into instructional design begins!

The following are my reflections answers; my job posting links are located at the bottom of the page.

  1. How do the roles of teachers and instructional designers differ?

Instructional designers create the courses that teachers use to teach and facilitate to their students. Instructional designers analyze the current curriculum; identify areas that are in need of updating or could be instructed using different materials and/or methods. They design and develop the appropriate methods and materials needed for the teacher to be able to meet the diverse needs of all of their students. Then, instructional designers deliver, guide, manage, and/or instruct the teachers on how to implement the course along with the materials and methods they can use to ensure they reach all students. The instructional designers will receive feedback from the teachers though out the school year in order for the course to be updated and/or reconstructed if needed. Thus, the main difference is that instructional designers do not actually use the curriculum they design, the teachers use it to deliver classroom instruction.

  1. In what ways do the responsibilities of teachers and instructional designers overlap?

Instructional designers and teachers have to be good collaborators and work towards the common goal of ensuring that the overall needs of the students in a course will be met. The instructional designers have to collaborate with the teachers of the course they are designing because they are the ones that are closest or will be closest to the students who will be using the course. The curriculum needs to be set up for the teacher to be comfortable and fully understands what the designer intended. The teacher will receive feedback from the students in the form of projects, summative and formative assessments, and comments from the students about the trials and tribulations they encounter. In essence, the instructional designers is also a teacher because they need to “teach” the teacher how to use the curriculum. Where a teacher manages the outcomes produced from the students and adjust the way the lesson is taught; the instructional designers will manage the feedback from the teacher to manage the course design and make changes as needed.

  1. In a comprehensive paragraph, please connect the relationship between these two roles to your own personal experiences. If you do not have any personal experiences to draw on, create a hypothetical example that clearly illustrates the relationship between teachers and instructional designers.

The relationship between and instructional designer and a teacher can be looked at as a never ending circle that entwine with both ensuring the needs of all the learners are being met. Just as a teacher instructs, guides, and assesses the students, the instructional designers develops, implements, and manages the design of the course. Instructional designers and teachers should build a relationship so they are comfortable and are not afraid to step in when they observe an issue or concern with the course content. Instructional designs need to observe the teacher to make sure he/she is using the materials correctly. And it is up to the teacher when they encounter something not correct in the curriculum to get with the instructional designers as soon as possible so the kink can be fixed.

I do not have any personal experience in working with an instructional designer, however our district just introduced a new program to help out our ESL students in learning English. It is called the EXCEL program. Students and their families have the option to join this program, it is not mandatory. In this program the curriculum has been set up for all core courses to be taught in one location. The instructional designers have created the courses so that they can help ESL student be more successful in the core subjects, which at times the jargon can be confusing. Over the course of the last school year and summer my district worked to make sure they created materials needed for the teachers. I would hope since our school year has just begun that the instructional designers and teachers are working closely to make sure the materials are being used correctly and are garnering the intended results. If not, then the teachers need to go back and help the instructional designers in changing or creating a new device for the student to be able to use in order to create the intended result.

My fictitious job posting

Instructional Design Job Posting

SUNY Sullivan is seeking a Coordinator of Instructional Design & Online Learning

I chose this position because it was a part-time, temporary job. I believe this would be a great learning job for those that may just be beginning an Instructional design career in an education-type setting.

West Chester University is seeking an Instructional Design Specialist

I chose this position because it gave more details on the essential functions and minimum qualifications. WCU actually listed software programs that the potential candidates need to be familiar with in order to be considered for employment. It did not leave room for in interested person to question what what expected.

Amazon Corporate LLC is looking to hire an Instructional Designer-Mobile Design Training

This posted was chosen for a few reasons. One, it was an energetic read. One could sense the excitement for working for Amazon just from reading the posting. Two, however it seemed too wordy to me. I got lost in what the requirements are for the candidate. So, basically I chose this as a “what not to do” for a job description.

 

 

 

 

Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology Ed Tech 504

In my Ed Tech 504 Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology class we have been very busy researching different educational theories. These theories are the backbone of every teachers teaching methodology. I currently feel better knowing the principles behind some of these theories because it gives me a foundation upon which to build and help my students achieve better success in my classes. The following is my reflection of this course and what I have learned.

  1. What were the most important things I learned this semester?

One of the most important things I learned this semester is that educational theory is the backbone of every teacher’s curriculum. How one chooses to deliver the content is influenced by a theory or in some cases it could be multiple theories. My very own teaching style falls in line with the theories of constructivism and constructionism. However, after completing my research on the theory of connectivism, I find myself wanting to hon in on how it says students store, gain, and retrieve knowledge somehow incorporate the principles into my classroom.

2. How was my teaching (or thoughts about teaching) impacted by what I learned or experienced this semester?

My way of thinking has changed in that I am more aware of the different educational theories and how they truly impact a classroom. My research paper was on connectivism and how is has changed distance learning.  According to George Siemens, “ Learning….is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important that out current state of knowing” (2004, Connectivism section, para. 1).  I want to focus on how my students can make these connections and create an environment where the teacher is the facilitator.

  1. Did I (or will I) use the projects, skills, or ideas from this course in my teaching, training, or professional practice? If so, how?

I know I will most definitely use the ideas I have learned in this class and try to utilize them in the classroom. The discovery of how much of a role educational theory plays in a teacher’s foundational approach to their classroom had been enlightening. My hope is to be able to implement a connectivist-type classroom when I return to a classroom. The idea that students gain knowledge not only from the teacher and fellow students, but the connectivism theory includes knowledge gained and stored software and other digital resources as well.

  1. Select three of the projects/assignments you created/wrote in this class and read the description of the related AECT standard. Then answer this question: How do these projects/assignments demonstrate my mastery of the AECT standards?

My assignments of writing a paper on a learning theory, creating an annotated bibliography, and the writing a final synthesized paper demonstrates my mastery of the AECT Standards 1.2, 1.3, 5.1, and 5.3. Through my research on the learning theories of constructionism and connectivism I learned how to evaluate and assess resources that are credible and beneficial. I also feel that I have learned a significant amount of information to be able to thoroughly demonstrate my knowledge of how and why learning theories came to be. I am more confident in my ability to better align my teaching methods with these theories and fully understand how they can/could impact my students, if executed correctly.

Artifacts for this course:

Learning Theory Paper

Annotated Bibliography

Final Synthesis Paper

Resources:

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A theory for the digital age. Retrieved from

http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm