Category Archives: 1.1.3 Develloping products
1.1.3.a Produce instructional materials which require the use of multiple media (e.g., computers, video, projection).
1.1.3.b Demonstrate personal skill development with at least one: computer authoring application, video tool, or electronic communication application.
(from EDTECH 503 course)
Relative Advantage of Instructional Software
When I can find software to use in class, everybody benefits. Obviously it means I don’t have to lecture that day, other than to explain how to use the software. Chances are the students will be more interested, especially if the software is fun to use. Unfortunately some of what I have had students use is less than ideal. For example, I had students do a webquest to learn about doing protein gels. I could have lectured, but it seemed better for them to see the animations. For this particular webquest, I gave them questions and links to various websites where they can find the answers. I learned that if I were to do this again, I may have to put the link to the website adjacent to the question it answers. As much as students like using computers, they don’t necessarily like to use them for research, or to find an answer that can’t be easily found in a Google search or a wiki.
To teach students how to analyze data by using software that gives them the opportunity to read graphs or the results of an experiment, is not as good as having them do it hands-on in the classroom, but it is better than them not getting any experience with the information. Unfortunately many of the virtual labs I have used with students are either so difficult that it takes me hours to figure them out, like Gizmos, or they are just point, click, and drag exercises that they actually end out being a waste of time. Until my abilities with creating software or using software to create lab scenarios gets better, I am afraid that if I use software with the kids, it is going to be written by somebody else.
Interested in what our textbook has to say, I started skimming through it. Sadly on page 77, they say, “Today, after more than 30 years of development and experimentation, there is less talk of computers replacing teachers…” which is actually an optimistic perspective. What is sad about it, is that from my experiences in the last 4 years, it is not true. Computers and scripted curriculum are replacing teachers. There are companies who are making lots of money by replacing the teachers that used to be in the classroom by replacing them with virtual teachers. These virtual teachers will often have a load of 200 students per day from whatever states they have a credential to teach in. While I realize this post is supposed to be about how educational software and technology tools help the classroom teacher, I feel the need to point out the disparity that exists between a classroom teacher and a virtual teacher. Software IS replacing the classroom teacher. I know this because I taught kids in Delaware who did not have a classroom teacher. The software and I replaced whoever should have been the classroom teacher when the school was restructured. For my Pennsylvania kids, I was their teacher, even though I never met them in person, and live 2000 miles away. I did not actually ever teach them anything. I tried to tutor them if they would stay focused enough during a tutoring session to let me explain things to them, but even then, I had some kids who were not used to the idea of being responsible for their learning. This is not at all what I meant this blog post to turn out as so I will curtail my digression on how bad virtual schools are at this point, but I do want to point out that in my presentation of tutorials, drill and practice, and other categories of instructional software, this is not the same software being used in virtual schools. The software links I am presenting for this post are stuff that I either used when I was in the classroom, or would use should I ever get back in a classroom. (The later seeming further and further away from possibility, but you never know. So far using a wheelchair rocks using a walker, and if I upgrade to a power wheelchair, who knows what my limits will be?)
Robolyer and Doerling point out on page 78 that “instructional software packages are developed for the sole purpose of supporting instruction and/or learning.” It is important they differentiate between technology that is merely a tool, technology that is replacing the teacher, and technology that supports the teacher. Granted, they are not acquiescing that software is replacing teachers, but trust me, it is. They go on to elaborate which types of software can allow for directed and / or constructivist approaches. Naturally, as the students are given more control of the software environment, the more constructivist it can be. For example, having students build a website gives them more freedom than merely doing a webquest where they go hunting for answers to questions. (I have had students do both.) I see a parallel between paper and equipment lessons and computer software ones. The tutorials and drill and kill are like the worksheets or notes I used to print out on paper for the kids to use. Simulations are like cookbook labs. Problem solving scenarios are like inquiry based labs. At the moment, I don’t have a parallel for instructional games, unless doing a Jeopardy review or having kids make board games qualifies as an instructional game.
In chapter 3, Robolyer and Doerling give advice on how to select good examples of software in each category. In addition they elaborate the pros and cons of each type. Many teachers scoff at having any rote memorization types of drill and kill, whether it is a worksheet or a computer program. It is comforting to see that I am not the only one who finds value in having students practice specific types of problems repeatedly. I am currently tutoring an algebra 2 student, and while preparing for her winter final, it became pretty chaotic with so many different problems to figure out. One thing I started to notice, however, is that what was becoming more important than getting the right answer, was learning how to evaluate the situation to determine which technique best solves each problem. We may never recognize we are factoring a binomial in the real world, but learning how to be calm while sorting through our resources and evaluating them is a skill both my student and I will benefit from knowing.
Tutorials are my favorite type of programs to create because I love learning how to use Articulate Storyline. I took the BSU class on Flash, and it was pretty much a nightmare. I used Articulate’s free 30 day download for two classes, and became hooked. Fortunately I have significant support from my husband and family, so I was able to purchase Storyline. Flash will integrate with Storyline so I may do some flying numbers in Flash to bring in to a Storyline project, but otherwise I think I am stuck on doing the “explanation screen” way of trying to help students with various science topics. I have not created many tutorials, but you are welcome to see what I have done at www.getzguides.com. For my students who were enrolled in virtual classes because they were at a treatment center, my guides were a way they could get additional support for the classes if a live tutor was not available. Robolyer and Doerling point this out on page 88, tutorials are useful for instruction when no teachers are available. You may be surprised by how many students are taking classes that don’t have a readily available teacher. It is for these students I write my tutorials.
I am a huge fan of physics simulations. Even making apps with Corona or other simple programs lets you use physics. Even though I did not figure out how to make an app by coding in lua for one of my BSU classes, I did come to appreciate how physics can easily be integrated into simple software programs. As much as I am addicted to Minecraft, it is odd how they only have physics apply to two types of blocks. Then again, because they suspend the laws of physics, students can easily make three dimensional representations of objects when building in creative mode. Redstone mimics electronics and minecarts can travel based on gravity, so Minecraft is not completely void of physics. The redstone and use of minecarts on trails can give kids an opportunity to participate in something a teacher created, therefore making it a simulation or game, or they can create their own situations which would fall into the problem solving category.
I am torn when it comes to digital dissection because I know I truly learned more about animals by dissecting them, than if I had just gone through a point and click way of learning body parts. I wonder, though, how necessary it is to kill so many animals just for tenth grade dissections. Our book quotes from studies that showed digital vs physical manipulation does not seem to matter in terms of what information students retain (Roblyer & Doerling, 2013, p.91). For many teachers, the benefits of no set-up or clean-up, less costly equipment once the software is acquired, unless its license has to be renewed annually, and less supervision needed during the class period, outweigh the negative perception that what the students are doing is not actually real. The American Chemical Society (ACS), and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have come out against virtual labs. Even the College Board will not accept credits in classes where students did a virtual equivalent of a lab. (Robyler & Doerling, 2013, p. 93). This means students will be doing PCR and running agarose gels for their AP biology lab, instead of imagining the bands migrating through the gel.
The last two categories, Instructional Game Software and Problem-Solving Software, are more difficult for me to see in the science context. The book recognizes Geometer’s Sketchpad, which is a very good program. It helps make geometry more spatially available. They also mention Spore as a game for studying evolution. I can’t comment on Spore because I’ve never played it. I do have to say, though, that I did an internship for a nanotech company in Emeryville, and the folks who created Spore were either on our floor or above us. It was interesting to ride in the elevator with them. But I digress, once again…
You may notice in my presentation , instructional games and problem solving software have very few entries. Hopefully I will be able to add more links after I post my blog. Fortunately the book treats the last two categories like it did the first three by giving example scenarios, and pro/con lists. One possible con that struck me was the idea of having to choose software that can handle limited physical dexterity (Robyler & Doerling, 2013, p. 95). I don’t think many students like having me in class because I can find faults easily in student work, and I will mention it. It is not to be mean; I’m actually trying to be helpful. People who don’t have disabilities really have no clue what it is like to have some. Just ask me about how ludicrous some of the ADA adaptations are where I live, and I’d be glad to tell you how we need people with the disability to create the adaptive physical changes, or in the case of my classes, adaptive software. We used Minecraft as a game, and as a way to do problem solving when I took EDTECH 531. In 531, we created an example of how to use one of three software packages as an educational tool, and there were some lessons I could not physically do because of the way they were designed. I did not have the manual dexterity to click and drag fast enough. If you know how to contact me, and you want me to evaluate any website or program you create for its difficulty with my limitations, just ask. I happily volunteer my eyes, hands, and defective brain as a testing environment.
In 531, I was incredibly impressed with how Minecraft (MC) can be used to simulate many social studies situations. I thought of a few ways it could be used with science, and I plan to make quests in 3dGameLab that have students use Minecraft to look at some science concepts. I feel like Minecraft is predictable enough that you can act like a scientist, and evaluate the game in survival mode as if one is going through the scientific method. I wish I qualified for minecraftedu so I could create scenarios that have students go mining for organic and inorganic resources. I can do that with regular MC, but it will be much more difficult to control student access to specific areas, and to protect blocks. The possible lessons in Second Life are also amazing, but from what little I’ve experienced, they are not on the level of games or problem solving. I can see World of Warcraft being used for problem solving because that is what you have to do continuously- the first problem being how to play the doggone game. I felt that way with Minecraft, too. I think any of these software programs that are easily intimidating at first are actually really good tools for students to learn resilience, endurance, and perseverance. I was a MC misfit when I first started playing it. I later became addicted to it. The book makes a distinction between doing problem solving software activities merely for the sake of learning how to problem solve. (Robyler & Doerling, 2013, p. 97). I can totally see using software for that purpose, at least until someone figures out how to create something that can be open ended enough for students to be able to make mistakes and therefore be able to learn from them
One thing that should be in any of the interactive software games is a chance for failure. When click and drag scenarios are too predictable, students won’t be challenged and will complete the activity because they are required to, and not necessarily because they are enjoying what they want to learn. We need to be careful, though, to not build in failures that students will take too strongly or too personally. I still don’t know where I am going to fit into education in my next stages. I’m hoping it will involve creating quest based courses in 3dGameLab that other teachers will want to use. If I can figure out how to turn a quest or a course into how to problem solve something in science, other than an easily predictable physics or genetics lab, I will be ecstatic.
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching [6th edition].
The Epic Build is finally done. Here’s a video of it:
What is written here is somewhat of a diary of the process.
I am building a store called Purse-n-Boots as my epic build in MC. It may not be as amazing as others’ will be, but I want to take an approach that is not conventional. I’m still convinced that not enough girls are playing MC because it is a boy thing. The skills in MC really don’t require a gender.
As I build the quest, I’m taking snapshots. I want to start loading them so it won’t be a menace later once I’m really ready to post.
I am not sure where my words will land because this is a WordPress site that I haven’t figured out how to fully control, or how to put in a carriage return after the last image. So my description and narrations may go in random places.
I did a videotape of quickly putting in wooden floors. ht
I don’t know how to get text to align with the images, so please bear with me while I add commentary and more pics.
After cleaning up the water spill, I worked on the walls. Here are some shots of putting up walls and putting blocks that glow in the letters of the name of the store.
I created a video to show a fast way to put in floors. Essentially it involves chopping up the line of blocks you want to replace, and then hit the S (backwards) button and your drop button quickly one right after the other and the row will fill easily. It works best if you have blocks on either side of you while you do this so that you don’t go off course.
In Instructional Design, EDTECH 503, we were taken through many exercises to prepare us for thinking about the course we were designing for our final project. One of the exercises covered ARCS motivational strategies, which stands for Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction. Attention has to deal with how you are going to grab the attention of your learners. What do you already know about them and how can you use that to grab their attention? Relevance focuses on how is what they are being taught pertinent to the learners’ lives? Why should they care about what I am teaching them? Why should they want to put time into doing the lessons I create? Confidence deals with what I am going to build into the course so that the learners feel supported and have their confidence built as they progress through it. What am I requiring them to do, how will they know if they are doing things correctly, and do I trust them enough to allow them to make choices about what they do to learn the information? Do I give them some level of personal control? Finally, what level of satisfaction is available for the learners? When they finish my course, will they feel like they have learned something and how will they know? What are some positive consequences they should anticipate by participating in my course? What have I done to make sure everybody feels welcome and can access the course content?
I answered these questions as I planed my course on how to tackle the National Board process. motivation-strategies_chart_Getz (doc)
ARCS Motivational Strategies Plan
Project Goal Statement: After identifying types of evidence evaluated in the National Board portfolios, teachers will be able to write their own statements incorporating concrete, concise evidence.
A.1 Perceptual Arousal
>We have all imagined the joy we will feel when we pass the National Board Certification process. Some of us, unfortunately, had our validated, yet the scores were not high enough for passing. If what was holding you back were the semantics of your written entries, then these exercises may be what can help focus your writing so it is more clear and concise to the assessors.
A2. Inquiry Arousal
>For this exercise we are actually going to look at an entry outside of your specific teaching area so that you can separate your passion for students interacting with content you teach and can focus on what productive student behavior can look like and how to communicate you are aware of student learning. In addition we will cover the multitude of ways you can present evidence in your written National Board entries so that you are sure to present relevant information that substantiates your teaching ability.
>The activities planned for you to engage in range from matching terms with their definitions, evaluating the quality of specific sentences, identifying types of evidence, and ultimately writing passages whose sole goal is to communicate your knowledge of students and how you share your craft with them.
R1. Goal orientation
> We submit portfolios to the National Boards for a variety of reasons. Many of us do not pass the first time we submit a portfolio. If you feel that your writing can be strengthened and that will ultimately yield better writing for your submissions, then these exercises may be what you need to fully understand the directions being given for the entries. The questions are intentionally ambiguous to allow for candidates to have freedom with what they choose to submit, however there are some very specific guidelines and questions that need to be answered. The evidence exercises are designed to help candidates identify what the questions are asking them to do and how to express in writing that they have achieved what the questions are asking.
R2. Motive matching
> All of us have our own personal motive for going through the National Board Portfolio process. Given that it costs us money to do it, it consumes our attention for the time we are writing or planning for the entries, and it is automatically made public if you passed, there is a high external motivation to pass. Naturally we all have some intrinsic need that we are filling by doing the National Board process, but the external factors can be what pushes us to continue and resubmit entries in the second or third year, if necessary.
>The initial target group, Advanced Candidates, are familiar with the National Board process because to be an Advanced Candidate, you have to have submitted all four written entries and taken the six assessment center tests. The total score was not high enough for passing so you get two more years to resubmit entries that did not pass or redo tests that did not pass a minimum score. Advanced Candidates are redoing something very similar to what they submitted the previous year. After these exercises are done by Advanced Candidates and the value of going through what may at first seem like something they learned in high school, first year candidates may find they want to take the few hours it will take to go through the lessons. If that is the case, the participants will be somewhat familiar with the nature of the National Board questioning, but may not have given it the amount of thought required to complete an entry.
C1. Learning requirements
>Learners will start out by reading the types of evidence and do a matching exercise to recognize their familiarity with the types of evidence that are assessed in the portfolio. They will then read sentences and classify them as having evidence or not. In addition, some may be able to be classified as certain types of evidence based on their content. For those who need awareness with specificity of evidence, there is a branch of exercises where students evaluate various sentences for their level of specificity. This should help candidates become more aware of how to be concise with their writing.
C2. Success opportunities
> There are opportunities for success built in the lessons’ exercises. They find out immediately if they matched the types of evidence with the description of the evidence. There are forums where peers will evaluate each other’s writing and give feedback. The main purpose of doing the lessons is to help teachers actualize their success as teachers by being recognized as National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).
C3. Personal control
> The exercises are optional. Although they are designed to go in an order, the learner is not getting graded or earning credits for doing the exercises. The point of the lessons are to help candidates with writing for the National Board Portfolio. They can skip parts of lessons or do some of them multiple times. If as they are writing they want a refresher as to what they should be considering when they write their entries, they are free to come back and redo any parts that help them.
S1. Natural consequences
>A natural consequence of doing the evidence based lessons should be increased confidence in how to answer the questions posed for the National Board entries. The instructions for the writing process in the portfolio are incredibly convoluted and are very difficult to pull apart to see exactly what the writer is being asked to address. Seeing the expectations presented from the point of view of answers being evidence based and not just figuring out what to say so the question can be answered will be very powerful.
S2. Positive consequences
>Learning how to write clearly and concisely is important in all academic settings. Learners may find their overall ability to write becomes easier because they have figured out how to remove useless words and only include those that impart meaning.
>At this point any teacher who is going through the National Board process is welcome to be a part of the learning community. Those who are not going through the NB process won’t necessarily be turned away, but the jargon and context for discussions may be meaningless and irrelevant to their needs. We do not intend to discriminate based on which subject area or age level is being assessed. All of the portfolio categories have similar questions; they are just located in different contexts.
Keller, J. M. (1987). The systematic process of motivational design. Performance & Instruction, 26 (9/10), 1-8.
Another activity we did in 503 to prepare for the final project, was to write an instructor’s guide to the lesson we are creating. The guide takes parts of what we did for the ARCS and other questions to provide an overview of who we are teaching, what we plan to teach them, and expected outcomes.
OUTLINE FOR Instructor Guide for the lessons included in: How to use the NBPTS Evidence Guide to write evidence saturated entries for the NB Portfolio.
Context of lessons: Learning Goal
After identifying types of evidence evaluated in the National Board portfolios, teachers will be able to write their own statements incorporating concrete, concise evidence.
Active Attention or Gain Attention
• The instructor needs to find Advanced Candidates who would be interested in participating in these lessons. There are some teacher forums online where they may be able to mention the presence of the lessons, however those forums actually restrict what can and can not be posted.
• The instructor may also be someone who already works with National Board Candidates (NBC) through their local or online instructional forums. If they already have students, then they can introduce to them that they have access to lessons that are designed to help NBC have an idea of what they are being asked to do and to create for their portfolios.
Establish Purpose or Inform Learners of Purpose
• Instructors should let the learners know that the intent of the lessons is to help them see the variety of types of evidence that are sought when their written entries are assessed.
• In addition, many people want assistance with their writing. There are exercises that should help candidates see how specific their writing can or should be in their entries.
Arouse Interest and Motivation or Stimulate Learners’ Attention/Motivation
• The motivation is mostly internal because teachers choose to do the National Board process. I understand that some districts are making the NB process mandatory. In those situations, there should be an increase in pay or other extrinsic motivator.
• An extrinsic motivator is also the recognition the teacher receives should their community choose to acknowledge the accomplishments.
• Instructors can inform their candidates of monetary or local recognition if either apply.
Preview the Learning Activity or Provide Overview
• Instructors should let participants know that there are three major parts to the lessons:
o Identifying types of evidence
o Learning how to write sentences where words focus on evidence
o Learners write their own statements and submit them for peer review. Likewise, they review other candidate’s statements to give constructive feedback.
Note: the lessons are going to be in an online format, much like how our class is in Moodle. I may build a Moodle shell or other “free” LMS to have a NB learning community. I intend to have the exercises relatively self-contained so learners work at their own pace. There may be times when the exercises are used with specific support groups. In those situations there would be an instructor, but it would be more like how “teachers” facilitate online classes.
Recall relevant prior knowledge or Stimulate recall of prior knowledge
• Instructors can inform learners that they are writing about their craft. How do they teach? Who do they teach? How do they know their students learned the material?
Process information and examples or Present information and examples
• This is built in to the lessons- Students do multiple choice or matching exercises to become familiar with words and what they mean.
Focus Attention or Gain & Direct Attention
Employ Learning Strategies or Guide or Prompt Use of Learning Strategies
Practice or Provide for and Guide Practice
• This is built in to the lessons- Students are given opportunities to write their own sentences. Ideally there would be multiple people engaged in the lessons at the same time so there would be the opportunity for peer review and feedback.
• If they want more practice, there are exercises the students can choose to do if they want to play with identifying evidence or good sentences.
Evaluate Feedback or Provide Feedback
• This is built into the lessons- there will be discussion forums where students can evaluate their peers’ work and provide feedback.
Summarize and review or Provide summary and review
• Instructors can provide learners with a summary sheet of the types of evidence or can remind students that they were provided with the sheet published by NBPTS (the ones who run the National Board process).
• If there are forums, the instructor can ask students to post a self-reflection or words of advice for other candidates based on what they learned by doing these exercises.
Transfer learning or Enhance transfer
• Instructor can share with learners the common aspects of all portfolio categories/subjects
Remotivate and Close or Provide Remediation and Closure
• Instructor can let learners know they are welcome to come back to refresh their memories or to get a reminder of how they want to write when they get stuck in the writing process.
Assess Learning or Conduct Assessment Evaluate
• Instructors should ask students to take the survey provided at the end that will evaluate the way the lessons were written. In addition students will be asked to reflect on what they learned by going through the evidence process.
Feedback and Seek Remediation or Provide Feedback and Remediation
• If learners are not already enrolled in a formal support group, they can enroll in a NBC training program through National University.