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

Advertisements

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?

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.

 

 

 

 

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology

First of all, learning about the AECT’s Code of Professional Ethics was eye opening. Not because I didn’t already comply, but that there was such a thing. I know as an educator that it is my job to protect the student and represent my institution in a pleasing manner. However, I was surprised to see it broken down by what was required for the commitment to the individual, society, and the profession. With my personality I like cut and dry rules and regulations, but I understand that in ethics it will not always be easy to point out what is ethically or unethically correct versus moral or immoral in teaching educational technology.

I use to work in a school system that had a high level of students living on a poverty level. Many of these students had missing parents, parents who worked two or more jobs, or parents in jail for drugs or something worse.  I say this, not ridicule but to let you understand the decision making process of some of my students. At the time, MySpace and Facebook were becoming popular and picture sharing was growing. The school secretary had a child of her own in the same school system and therefore knew many of the students personally. So when she created her own MySpace and Facebook accounts she naturally “friend-ed” many of her child’s friends. This is when I discovered, for myself, how I would  handle this scenario personally. Many students began posting pictures of themselves or friends and /or family dealing with drugs, guns, and or sex. Did she (the secretary) have a duty to the student, student body, administration, and society to notify the proper channels about the content she was witnessing? Here is a link to my paper and how I think AECT’s Code of Professional Ethics standards apply to educators “friending” students on social media.