I’ve worked as a School Psychologist in the K-12 public school setting for the past 7 years. For the past year and a half, I’ve also been pursuing a doctorate in Educational Technology through Morehead State University. Although I’ve long mused about writing a grant, the confidence that I’ve gained since returning to graduate school pushed me to finally take the leap. I reached out to one of my favorite special education teachers to see if she was interested in joining forces. She jumped at the opportunity, since she had long talked about wanting iPads for her classroom. I chose to work with this teacher, because I knew she would make the most of the grant funds if we were so lucky as to be awarded them. She routinely brought her personal iPad Mini to school and let her students use it. She also worked with other teachers in the building to use an iPad in very innovative ways to accommodate a student with a severe visual impairment. Additionally, she was the only teacher in the building who used a set of iPods purchased with previous grant as classroom clickers. Until she began using them, they sat idly in a storage room gathering dust. If she and I were to be awarded this grant, hers would be the first one-to-one classroom at her middle school and, maybe, the district as a whole. As we await word as to whether we will receive this grant, I can’t help but to reflect upon the lessons I’ve learned thus far.
The Beauty of Collaboration
One of the joys of serving as a School Psychologist is the opportunity I get to work with numerous faculty, staff, and related service providers as well as students. I routinely observe in teachers’ classrooms, review IEPs, examine ongoing progress monitoring data, and meet with challenging students. My role lends itself to building a certain degree of trust with my teacher colleagues. They often come of me for input, and they are also comfortable with critiquing my work. I believe that the trust that we have for one another was a key element for authoring a successful grant. My largest role in the process was to write the grant, outline how we plan to monitor its progress, and determine what affordable, research-based instructional tools we would use throughout the cycle. The writing of the grant was what gave my teacher colleague the greatest anxiety, so having me there to take that on relieve some of the pressure. As I wrote the grant, I sent her updates and drafts so that she could approve what I had written. Ultimately, she is the one who will have to implement the grant with fidelity in her classroom, so her buy-in and comfort with the process was essential. I was more than happy to be the principal author who will then periodically monitor the grant’s implementation and help with the reporting of data. Although I had more work on the front-end of this endeavor, so she will be the one pulling up he sleeves on a daily basis throughout the yearlong grant cycle. I am happy to play my all-too-familiar supporting role.
Challenges, Surprises, & Advice
CHALLENGE: Collaboration can be hard work! The grant application was due over Christmas Break, so the teacher and I had to work on it remotely (though phone, social media, and email) right up until the deadline. Although the timing was not ideal, we sacrificed some of our vacation time and made it work.
ADVICE: One piece of advice I have for anyone looking to team up on a grant application is to CHOOSE A NATURAL LEADER!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Actions speak louder than words. If a colleague takes pride and puts great effort into his/her daily work, he/she will likely adopt that attitude with the grant.
SURPRISE: Lastly, I was and continue to be surprised by the sense of accomplishment I feel for having taken the plunge and authored this grant. Even if my colleague and I are not ultimately chosen to receive funds, I am confident that I will put myself out there again at some point. The application process was a lot of work and somewhat stressful, but the process is now demystified for me. I can do this!
In the coming weeks, I hope to receive positive news about our grant application. If we are blessed enough to be awarded the funds to establish our district’s first one-to-one iPad classroom, I look forward to updating the readers of the TED Blog on our progress as well as the inevitable challenges and rewards of bringing our grant proposal to fruition.
Some of you may already be at AECT. I wanted to post a quick announcement about one of our sessions. Jennifer Banas, Ugur Kale, Missy Ball, and myself will be presenting at the Technology Service Course for Teacher Education: Materials and Methods Share. This will take place on Thursday at 10:30am. We have posted our handouts here in case you cannot make it. Please feel free to post a comment and share your own resources!
- Indiana University:
- Georgia State University:
- Northern Illinois University
- West Virginia University
I teach an undergraduate pre-service teaching course.
Often, I have the urge to share last minute reminders or interesting articles, but e-mail seems too formal and students do not always read messages in our LMS.
I have tried different Web 2.0 communication tools to see what best works for my students and me.
Below are three of the tools I have used, a brief synopsis of what each tool does and how I have used each in my classroom.
This tool is a way to text message students without ever swapping phone number with your students.
At the beginning of the semester, I created a class group using the website.
Students could “join” the class by texting a specific code message to a specific phone number, both generated by Remind101.
Then, on the web, I could see the students who had signed up for this service, and I could “text” the class through the web-based site.
Students see a text message from a Remind101 generated number, but the body of the message includes my name so they know it is from me (see image below for an example of what students will receive in their text message).
The only downside is students cannot reply back to the text message; Remind101 is a one-way street!
A unique feature of Remind101 is the scheduled text messages
You can create messages and schedule their release for a certain date and time.
That way, you can create reminders for assignments ahead of time, and then Remind101 will release them for you.
I use Twitter in my class as both a communication tool and a learning tool.
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that provides space for users to summarize content into 140 characters or less. Users can "follow" other users in order to have content created by the followed user pushed to the follower. There is also a Twitter strategy called "hashtags." These hashtags help to label the topics of a tweet. A Twitter user may search for hashtags and find new users to follow as well as interesting notes on a particular topic. I generally do not follow the students in my class on Twitter, but I ask them to use the #it3210 hashtag if they tweet about something pertinent to the course and/or learning technologies.
When I tweet something with the #it3210 hashtag, I am guessing that not all of the students will see the post immediately because my message isn’t pushed directly to the students like in GroupMe or Remind101, so I only post time neutral information when I use Twitter for my class.
Last week, as our first Twitter assignment this semester, after learning about ABCD objectives, students tweeted an example of an objective they created (see below for some of our attempts!).
: This tool is app based, web based, and SMS based.
GroupMe is a messaging tool that anyone in the group can use to communicate with the rest of its members at once.
Like a group text, a student can respond back to the group by replying to the initial post.
One of the downsides of GroupMe is that the group creator needs access to the phone numbers of potential members.
I have shared this tool as an option for student communication for group assignments.
All three of these tools can be helpful for communication in your classroom.
Try them out and let everyone know in the comment section what you think!
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Web-based for the instructor, SMS for the students
Pushed text message, Can schedule text messages, Teacher does not have to see student phone numbers
Students cannot respond back to instructor or message each other
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Unobtrusive, Students do not need a phone
Students may not always see messages immediately
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All members in a group have equal messaging rights, Students do not need a phone
Phone numbers are public to the group
Marissa (Missy) Ball graduated from the University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in Telecommunication Arts and Mercer University with a Masters of Arts in Teaching. She is currently a full time PhD student in Instructional Technology. She taught for five years in the classroom: high school special education science, middle school language arts, and fourth grade general studies. At Georgia State, she teaches undergraduate preservice teachers at Georgia State University as an instructor of record for IT3210: Teaching, Learning, and Integrating Technology. Follow Missy's blog at http://missyball.weebly.com/blog.html
Hypothetically. In theory. For example. What if...
Technology in Education is one of the first courses required for undergraduate, teacher education majors at the University of Memphis. It combines instructional design components with educational technology and technology skills. Each of these could be its own course! However, the real challenge in this course is that the students have little to no background knowledge. They are asked to write lesson plans that integrate technology, but they have never written a lesson plan. They are asked to consider things like differentiation and modifications, but have not yet had courses that have included these topics. So, we spend a large portion of the beginning of each semester learning about state and Common Core standards, writing learning objectives, considering the learner, and classroom management. Only then can we can shift our focus to the content that is the true purpose of the class: technology integration. Still, we are plagued with designing lessons and activities for imaginary students in imaginary classrooms where everything is in theory. But we have salvation: cue the field experience!
This course requires students to complete a five hour field experience. We partner with Campus School, a first through fifth grade, public, elementary school located on our campus. Each class from Campus School visits the computer lab in our education building once a week. We also provide carts of laptops, iPads, and iPod Touches that can be used in Campus School classrooms in conjunction with the few desktop computers each classroom is provided by the school system. Preservice teachers are divided into groups of six and assigned a five week session in which they work with a class from Campus School. The first week of the experience they observe and assist a Campus School teacher with a technology based lesson. They are asked to note the skill level of the students and the types of activities they are engaged in. They note how the teacher relates the activity to the students’ prior knowledge and how he or she manages the class and the resources. Then the teacher gives them two topics for which they are responsible for developing and implementing a lesson. For week two and three, the group of six divides into two groups to plan lessons for the class on the given topics. They must complete a lesson plan and prepare all materials for the plan as well as divide the responsibility of implementing the lesson. Then on week four, one group teaches while the other facilitates, and on week five, they switch teacher/facilitator roles. Throughout the experience, they receive feedback from a field experience proctor and the Campus School teacher. Upon completion of the field experience, they write a reflection paper. The requirements of the paper are relaxed, and can be found here.
The field experience has become an integral part of the course. It allows students to acquire background knowledge without being spoon fed scenarios. It allows them to experience all of the working (and non-working) parts of the lesson. It gives them an authentic but safe place to practice and get feedback. Their reflection papers are evidence of the growth that occurs. I often laugh when reading them because they have these “aha” moments about things I know I stated numerous times in class, but obviously didn’t resonate until they had the experience. Do you face similar issues in your Technology in Education courses? I would love to hear what strategies you use to deal with them. Does anyone else require field hours? How are they organized?
Dr. Carmen Weaver
College of Education, Health and Human Sciences
University of Memphis
carmen.weaver at memphis dot edu
Scaffolding in Case-Based Service Learning
In a previous post in February,
Dr. Anne Leftwich described how pre-service teachers are working on two base-based learning activities, where students solve technology integration problems in their subject areas. All these cases are authentic cases since they are created by in-service teachers in K-12 classrooms. One challenge we faced is that students sometimes are not familiar with the technology integration environment. Besides, they often fail to see the bigger picture of the cases in action because they are not familiar with the teachers’ teaching style, the length of the unit. Although environmental descriptions are provided, it is sometimes far away from students’ personal experience.
To overcome these difficulties, our team started to try out service learning case analysis projects with one section, and expanded to three sections in Spring 2013. The gist of service learning projects is to have students engaged in activities that meet genuine community needs that would help them to achieve their personal learning goals. In the case-based service-learning project, our students connect to their previous teachers in their own subject area, and help the teacher to identify and solve technology integration problems. The main benefits includes:
- Students are already familiar with the teaching and learning environment.
- Students understand the teachers’ teaching styles and instructional goals.
- Students can easily relate to the knowledge and skills learned in the classrooms to its real-world applications.
Base-based service learning has great potential to motivate students to develop a positive attitude toward technology integration in their future classroom, and to increase their self-efficacy by connecting their academic coursework with the needs of their community. At the same time, it is crucial that instructors provide guidance/scaffolding to help students successfully accomplish the learning tasks.
In addition to the scaffolded template to help the novice teachers make strong technology integration decision, we also implemented the several strategies to help our students successfully achieve the learning goals.
- Setting up initialand follow up communication emails to reduce the workload of these students.
- Setting up a Google form to help students collect case information, and monitor their progress.
- Use weekly Google form to provide JIT support for their concerns. This form was usually filled out at the beginning of each class. Then instructor would review students’ comments and address the common problems in class. Individual questions would be answered either right in class or on the same day of class to make sure students are on track.
Instructors provide abundant help in students’ problem-solving processes. After all problems are identifies, and solutions proposed, our students would create all necessary artifacts that their teachers can implement in teaching.
Xiaokai (Katie) Jia is a fourth year doctoral student of the Instructional Systems Technology Department at Indiana University. Since Fall 2011, she has been working as an Associate Instructor (AI) for an undergraduate level technology integration preparation course, W200 (Using Computers in Education). Her research interests include teacher technology integration professional development, performance-based English as a Foreign Learning, and online learning. She is currently the Lead AI for the W200 team. In addition, she is also leading a research project on pre-service teacher case-based learning under the supervision of Dr. Anne Leftwich.
Here is my problem: I teach an undergraduate course for pre-service educators on technology. It is three credits. It is a hybrid course (i.e., in the loosest sense; the course meets the first and last week of the term for 90 minutes). For many of them, it is their first online experience.
I must/should/want/need to cover all of the issues and trends in educational technology, such as the history of the field, the digital divide, access and equity, distance education, and so on. I also must/should/want/need to give them practice working with the tools they’ll likely be using in their future classroom. On one hand, I know very well that the tools will change rapidly while the issues and trends linger. One the other hand, I don’t want to have them leave without having used ANY of the current tools out there (n.b., when I say tools, I’m mainly implying Web 2.0 tools), nor do I want to cover everything only at a surface level.
What. Do. I. Do?
I offloaded the “tool” portion of the course as being part of the course grading. However, I created a badge system, where students could earn badges for meeting certain competencies with various Web 2.0 (and other) tools.
Aside from a final project in the course and classroom discussions, students had several deliverables throughout the semester that were usually reflective in nature. The students could submit the assignment in a traditional manner (i.e., a one or two page document created with MS Word), or they could attempt to earn a badge. How did this work? First, in order to “unlock” the folders (i.e., using the adaptive release function on BlackBoard) that contained information on the badges, the students had to first pass a short quiz on Web 2.0 concepts (e.g., origins, benefits, differences from static websites).
Once unlocked, the folders contained introductory material on the tool, tutorials on how to create and refine the tool, examples of how the tools could be used in the classroom, and a list of specifications for earning the badge. For example, to earn the blog badge, students needed to create a blog, create two separate posts, include hyperlinks, images and/or embedded videos, and a short statement on how they could use this tool in their future classroom. The “content” contained in the posts themselves was related to the actual deliverable. In other words, the students could write a short paper with their thoughts on the digital divide, or they could create a blog (or a wiki, or a Prezi, etc.) containing the same information.
In the first meeting of the class, I had stressed to the students that, aside from being an experiment that could go horribly awry, that I wanted to give them the flexibility to try various Web 2.0 tools, as well as not pressuring them to do so every week. I said to them, “Hey, if you’re really busy one week and aren’t feeling all that inspired, don’t worry about it!”
Because it was not part of the course grade, I created both inter- and intra-class competitions (i.e., last semester, I taught three sections of this course). I had a public leaderboard posted in the Badges folder (i.e., a Google spreadsheet) showing who had earned which badges after every unit, and in my email updates I would post statistics for all three sections (e.g., how many had completed the quiz, how many different badges were earned, number of badges per student for each class) followed by my ranking of the three sections. I didn’t know what I would do for the awards at the beginning of the term (it ended up being some laptop sleeves I had lying around for the individuals and pizza at the last class who earned the most badges), but I did give students “Certificates of Achievement” at the end of the term denoting which badges they had earned through the semester.
There were five opportunities to earn one of seven badges. At the end of the term, 76% of the students had earned at least one badge, and the overall average was around two badges per student. Ten percent of the students earned the maximum number of badges possible. I also had the students complete an informal survey at the end of the course. Most of the feedback was positive. While many expressed some initial confusion at the concept, many enjoyed the process and liked the fact that they had quite a bit of flexibility with the badges. Those who completed multiple badges stated that it was difficult but very rewarding. Reaction was mixed toward the competitive aspect of the badges. While no one disliked it, some students were motivated by it, while the rest were ambivalent. Of those who did not earn any badges, some simply said they didn’t have the time because of the course load and other commitments. Only a handful said they did not participate because it simply was not required.
This process needs some refinement, obviously. In the future, I may make it an incentive that in order to use a particular tool in their final project, they must have earned the badges for that tool.
Assistant Professor of Educational Technology
Grand Valley State University
Grand Rapids, MI
Many of you probably have your teachers create a teacher website (one that mimics what they would want their future classroom website to look like). In W200, at Indiana University, students create a website that includes assignments from across the semester. For example, the teacher websites include teacher presentations, student examples, newsletters, welcome avatars, resources, calendars and more.
We use Google Sites for students to create their website which allows us to embed a wide range of resources (Google Docs, YouTube, PDF documents, images, Glogster, Xtranormal, etc). In order to make this work, we have a template, checklist, and rubric which helps assist in this process.
Here are some great example pieces:
Have a look and let us know what you think, or if you have any additional resources you'd like to share!
This morning, Tony Bertrus and Marshall Hughes provided an overview of the elements and structure of online modules so individuals can attain digital literacy skills.
You are welcome to visit their site:
http://ict.cyberlearning.org/ --- which serves as the portal for accessing these modules.
Based on one's prior knowledge and skills, individuals can complete the modules at a pace aligned with their needs and time commitment. It is anticipated that a participant will complete the modules in 20 hours or less.
These modules were produced through the support of the National Education Foundation.
K-16 institutions can seek access to these modules at no cost, due to underwriting.
This morning's webinar will be archived at: http://www.aect.org/GSA
GSA, TED, and MMP divisions are seeking input as to a focus for the next webinar to share ideas and strategies to extend digital literacy.
Your comments are welcome.
How do individuals attain digital literacy? How do we formalize digital literacy?
With the increasing use of mobile technology, how is digital literacy changing?
What roles do teacher educators and instructional designers have to promote digital literacy?
Since 2009, preservice teachers in the technology integration course at the University of Wyoming have created digital stories to explore message design using age appropriate, content specific ideas. Although students in the course generated videos for several years prior to this time, the assignment was modified to further align message design with instructional planning approaches emphasized during the course. A requirement of the assignment was to create a short (2-5 minute) narrated story as opposed to present information in video format. Preservice teachers were also required to create audience appropriate stories based on their desired subject and grade level and align stories to specified goals and state content standards.
Like most assignments in the course, extensive planning occurred prior to story development. Preservice teachers write a narrative, they take or select pictures, identify appropriate music, and state their rationale for media selection based on their goals and desired outcomes. This exercise allows for many opportunities to discuss message design, media literacy, and writing tasks associated with video production. Once plans were approved by course instructors, preservice teachers selected appropriate tools to develop them—though particular attention was placed on iMovie, PhotoStory III, and Windows Movie Maker. The entire process lasts two weeks.
During the past two years, this assignment was refined further by asking preservice teachers to use videos, photos, and music they either created themselves or obtained from creative commons and public domain locations.
A few examples of story plans and movies follow:
Movie: Uses copyrighted works so will not be shared.
Assignment descriptions and grading rubrics are provided in the links below. If you use these resources, please provide attribution back to the University of Wyoming or link directly back to this page.
AECT Teacher Education Division Communications Officer
The preservice teachers in this course complete two case-based learning activities. The cases were created by inservice teachers; they described an instructional situation that they believed could benefit from technology. For example, one secondary history teacher described that her high school students needed constantly updated resources for a current events class. Preservice teachers completed a Case Analysis using a scaffolded template. The template provided structured guidelines for students to follow, in order to help them make strong technology integration decisions. As they were at the beginning of their teacher education program, the Case Analysis template helped them consider different technologies and scaffolded development of their technology integration abilities. They were required to list potential options, select the best option, and explain the rationale for why it is the best option. For example, in the secondary history example above, preservice teachers could have provided a range of RSS feeds, websites, twitter accounts, or blogs as technology options for constantly keeping high school students updated on current events. After considering the additional restrictions embedded in the case (availability of resources in the school, time restrictions, student disabilities, etc.), each preservice teacher selected one of the options and explained why that option was the best choice. After receiving feedback from the instructor, each preservice teacher created the Case Artifacts they selected in the Case Analysis. As the cases were ill-structured problems, the Case Artifacts varied for each preservice teacher. By constructing the Case Artifacts, preservice teachers developed a wide range of technical skills and technology integration abilities within their own subject-area contexts. They received feedback on how to use technology, as well as how to structure technology artifacts to promote student learning. The case assignments began in the middle of the course, during unit two. Over the last six weeks of the course, preservice teachers completed one case analysis or artifact each week (e.g., Case Analysis #1 in week six, Case Artifact #1 in week seven).
Here are several examples of student's completed Case Analysis and Artifacts:
All our materials are embedded in them. All we ask is if you use these materials, please provide attribution back to Dr. Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich or link directly back to the page.
Dr. Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich
AECT Teacher Education Division President
left (at) indiana (dot) edu