Category Archives: Standard 4: MANAGEMENT

Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate,
and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource,
delivery system, and information management.
Examples include:
4.0.1 Demonstrate leadership attributes with individuals and groups (e.g., interpersonal
skills, group dynamics, team building).
4.0.2* Establish mission, goals and objectives of the school media program that align
with and support those of the local school district and community.
4.0.3* Develop a collaborative working relationship with school administration and staff
which results in a strong understanding and widespread use of the school media program.
[from (SMETS)]

EDTECH 541: AECT Standards

AECT Standard correlation

Prompt: How the course work demonstrates mastery of the AECT standards http://www.aect.org/standards/initstand.html?  (Note: If you are not in the M.E.T. program, you can omit this.)

Many of the standards definitely applied in this course, and interspersed in the standards description are some ways this course offered an opportunity to achieve the standard.

AECT Standard 1 (Content Knowledge): Candidates demonstrate the knowledge necessary to create, use, assess, and manage theoretical and practical applications of educational technologies and processes.

Indicator:

Creating – Candidates demonstrate the ability to create instructional materials and learning environments using a variety of systems approaches. (p. 81)

  • Networks- the physical infrastructure of computer hardware, with firewalls
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).

Indicator:

Using – Candidates demonstrate the ability to select and use technological resources and processes to support student learning and to enhance their pedagogy. (p. 141)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Networks- the physical infrastructure of computer hardware, with firewalls
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Web Based Learning activity- learning about vaccinations by reading about its history, looking at data that is available online, evaluating the ethics of vaccinating children, and having students take a position on the issue by using at least one Web 2.0 app / software
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used

Indicator:

Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates demonstrate the ability to assess and evaluate the effective integration of appropriate technologies and instructional materials.

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Networks- the physical infrastructure of computer hardware, with firewalls
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Web Based Learning activity- learning about vaccinations by reading about its history, looking at data that is available online, evaluating the ethics of vaccinating children, and having students take a position on the issue by using at least one Web 2.0 app / software
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used
  • Geography and history- how scientists figure out science and atoms. Students plot on a Google earth map the locations pieces of the atom were investigated or how other historical things were happening at the same time the person they researched was doing his work.

Indicator:

Managing – Candidates demonstrate the ability to effectively manage people, processes, physical infrastructures, and financial resources to achieve predetermined goals. (p. 178)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Networks- the physical infrastructure of computer hardware, with firewalls
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.

AECT Standard 2 – Content Pedagogy

AECT Standard 2 (Content Pedagogy): Candidates develop as reflective practitioners able to demonstrate effective implementation of educational technologies and processes based on contemporary content and pedagogy.

Indicator:

Creating – Candidates apply content pedagogy to create appropriate applications of processes and technologies to improve learning and performance outcomes. (p. 1)

  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used

Indicator:

Using – Candidates implement appropriate educational technologies and processes based on appropriate content pedagogy. (p. 141)

  •  Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Web Based Learning activity- learning about vaccinations by reading about its history, looking at data that is available online, evaluating the ethics of vaccinating children, and having students take a position on the issue by using at least one Web 2.0 app / software
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used
  • Geography and history- how scientists figure out science and atoms. Students plot on a Google earth map the locations pieces of the atom were investigated or how other historical things were happening at the same time the person they researched was doing his work.

Indicator:

Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates demonstrate an inquiry process that assesses the adequacy of learning and evaluates the instruction and implementation of educational technologies and processes (p. 116-117) grounded in reflective practice.

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Web Based Learning activity- learning about vaccinations by reading about its history, looking at data that is available online, evaluating the ethics of vaccinating children, and having students take a position on the issue by using at least one Web 2.0 app / software
  • Geography and history- how scientists figure out science and atoms. Students plot on a Google earth map the locations pieces of the atom were investigated or how other historical things were happening at the same time the person they researched was doing his work

Indicator:

Managing – Candidates manage appropriate technological processes and resources to provide supportive learning communities, create flexible and diverse learning environments, and develop and demonstrate appropriate content pedagogy. (p. 175-193)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Web Based Learning activity- learning about vaccinations by reading about its history, looking at data that is available online, evaluating the ethics of vaccinating children, and having students take a position on the issue by using at least one Web 2.0 app / software
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used

Indicator:

Ethics – Candidates design and select media, technology, and processes that emphasize the diversity of our society as a multicultural community. (p. 296)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Hypermedia Integration- videos on color changes in chemistry; students view videos and make some conclusions about science concepts like when the chemicals have a specific color, or what are some of the things that happen during chemical equilibrium?
  • Web Based Learning activity- learning about vaccinations by reading about its history, looking at data that is available online, evaluating the ethics of vaccinating children, and having students take a position on the issue by using at least one Web 2.0 app / software
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used
  • Geography and history- how scientists figure out science and atoms. Students plot on a Google earth map the locations pieces of the atom were investigated or how other historical things were happening at the same time the person they researched was doing his work.

AECT Standard 3 – Learning Environments

AECT Standard 3 (Learning Environments): Candidates facilitate learning (p. 41) by creating, using, evaluating, and managing effective learning environments. (p. 1)

Indicator:

Creating – Candidates create instructional design products based on learning principles and research-based best practices. (pp. 8, 243-245, 246)

  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).

Indicator:

Using – Candidates make professionally sound decisions in selecting appropriate processes and resources to provide optimal conditions for learning (pp. 122, 169) based on principles, theories, and effective practices. (pp. 8-9, 168-169, 246)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used
  • Geography and history- how scientists figure out science and atoms. Students plot on a Google earth map the locations pieces of the atom were investigated or how other historical things were happening at the same time the person they researched was doing his work.

Indicator:

Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates use multiple assessment strategies (p. 53) to collect data for informing decisions to improve instructional practice, learner outcomes, and the learning environment. (pp. 5-6)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Spreadsheets and databases- how to access and utilize online databases and Google sheets to create organized way of looking at information
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.

Indicator:

Managing – Candidates establish mechanisms (p. 190) for maintaining the technology infrastructure (p. 234) to improve learning and performance. (p. 238)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.

Indicator:

Ethics – Candidates foster a learning environment in which ethics guide practice that promotes health, safety, best practice (p. 246), and respect for copyright, Fair Use, and appropriate open access to resources. (p. 3)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Acceptable use policy
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used
  • Geography and history- how scientists figure out science and atoms. Students plot on a Google earth map the locations pieces of the atom were investigated or how other historical things were happening at the same time the person they researched was doing his work

Indicator:

Diversity of Learners – Candidates foster a learning community that empowers learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities. (p. 10)

  • Technology Vision Statement- how I see the role of technology in schools
  • Relative Advantage Chart- the reality of what is currently done in schools and how things could change
  • Instructional Software- various ways software can be used to help students acquire information
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.
  • English-like assignments- having students write an ebook to explain how to balance an equation. Equations are provided and the difficulty of each equation is rated with experience points (XP).
  • Arts, Music, and PE- lessons on Materials science where students explain using a Buncee presentation how the material they chose to explain is made and used

AECT Standard 4 – Professional Knowledge and Skills

AECT Standard 4 (Professional Knowledge and Skills): Candidates design, develop, implement, and evaluate technology-rich learning environments within a supportive community of practice.

Indicator:

Reflection on Practice – Candidates analyze and interpret data and artifacts and reflect on the effectiveness of the design, development and implementation of technology-supported instruction and learning to enhance their professional growth.

  • Just about every entry in the Learning Log

Indicator:

Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates design and implement assessment and evaluation plans that align with learning goals and instructional activities.

  • Presentation software and embedding it: Python Strings – practicing making my own presentation that could serve as an example of how to make a useful slide presentation
  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our Moodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.

Indicator:

Ethics – Candidates demonstrate ethical behavior within the applicable cultural context during all aspects of their work and with respect for the diversity of learners in each setting.

  • Using Social Media- using Instagram , Iconosquare, Twitter, Kidblog and Google hangouts. Instagram shared images of science they found in nature. Iconosquare is someplace to organize Instagram feeds. Twitter is another way to share the image with peers. Kidblog is a place for students to congregate and share their ideas. It could have easily been Edmoto or wikispaces, but I already have a membership at Kidblog and like their format so I chose that location to put up discussion groups and places for students to post images and their ideas. Ideally I’d create a Moodle site to use as the LMS, but we don’t use our M­oodle account at BSU to create mock classes for graduate students to use. (like I did when I took classes at Merritt Community College in Online Teaching) Google hangouts are a free place to do real time face to face meetings in small groups.

EDTECH 541 Final Reflection

EDTECH541 final blog entry

  • Part One: Reflect on the entire course. Include –
    • What you have learned?
    • How you have grown professionally?
    • How your own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching have been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course?
    • How theory guided development of the projects and assignments you created?

Answers to these questions are mixed in the paragraphs about each assignment.

I actually learned quite a bit in our class. Weebly was a new website tool for me. I like some of what it offers and managed to get it to work for me, but I don’t think I’ll be using it for future projects. Oddly enough, what was bothering me the most was how the panel slides out. I kept triggering it, and fortunately I am not dealing with charms any more, or I think I would have just freaked out at one point. What is it with people who want to put motion into things that really don’t need motion?

Just about every week gave me an opportunity to think about things a little bit differently than I have thought about them before. I may be at an advantage because I already have the MET, and all the experience that brings with it. I am also aware that I am not a typical student because I don’t actually have a real job like most students do. I have the utmost respect for my peers because they are taking on so many responsibilities while being a student. There is no way I could have taken even one class when I was working full time. I enjoyed lessons that gave me opportunities to blab about myself, and things I did in the past. It was nice going down memory lane, and being reminded about times when I was actually productive, and contributing to students’ education.

I don’t know if I have ever thought about technology having a “relative advantage”. I liked thinking through the chart I made, because it gave me an opportunity to write down my advocacy for including technology in classroom lessons. I wonder if having the insights I mentioned in the chart would open up an opportunity for me to work for a school or district to help them implement realistic technology components into everyday types of classes. I don’t know if any jobs exist like that, or if they did, would they be frightful because of the hardware that may be antiquated or breaking? I’m hoping, in May, to look into volunteering at a local middle or high school to see if I can at least get in the door somewhere, and if nothing else, contribute by tutoring kids at some time, in some way. I would not mind volunteering to be a tech person at this point. I’d be happy to just put my education to use.

The networks assignment was fun, and it got me to think more about the layers in which software and hardware are organized. I like it when I can make connections between things that I may not have thought about before. As you may know, Minecraft is making more of a move into the classroom with the formation of Minecraftedu. The network assignment helped me get a better idea of how the Minecraft servers work. I have not joined any that are freely online, but I have joined Minecraft Google groups, and am following many Minecraft tweeters on Twitter. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could volunteer or work at schools, so they can set up their Minecraft servers and student accounts, and be able to explain to the students and faculty why what they are doing is safe, and is limited to the school site’s servers (or the district’s servers)?

The Instructional Software assignment pushed me to find more websites that do science lessons, and try out a few of them. I liked the categories you wanted us to fill, it gave me another way to think about the purpose of a website. It also showed me where there may be room for science apps to be developed. Now all I have to do is learn how to program well enough to make the websites or activities.

Spreadsheets and databases were fun because I already did those with students. I enjoyed sharing my lessons with others, and hope they will be inspired to try them, if they apply to their classes. Only the lesson on the NCBI database is one that I have not done with students exactly the way I wrote it.

Hypermedia integration was a great way to organize a topic I have wanted to teach. One reason I love teaching chemistry is because of the colorful products we often create.

The Web Based Learning Activity came along at the perfect time to have students look at the purpose of vaccinations. I live in California so the vaccination issue has been in the news fairly often. Living in the Bay Area, I can’t help but be informed about the folks who live about twenty miles away from me in Marin County who see vaccines be the epitome of poisoning our children. They are now in the courts, who may be leaning toward saying that if those children want a public education, they can have it at home. CA is fairly liberal with home schooling anyway, so it does not surprise me that may be the place un-vaccinated children will be educated. If you look at the list of places you can go to do creative work online, it may look like I got a little obsessive with finding places. I think these links also landed in my resource page. If they did not, then I was very foolish. While doing the research for website links, I was not as surprised as you may expect when I saw that the website was no longer working. Web 2.0 “apps” are so much fun, but there is an idea in the culture that they be free. Anybody who needs to make money from a website can’t actually have it be free all the time. I hope that if I do figure out how to run a website that offers something unique, I will be able to let people use it for free, while still finding a way to pay the bills for server space and security certificates.

Using Social Media was like a short visit back to EDTECH 543, but this time I investigated software/ apps I did not pursue in that class. I am finally a member of Instagram, and anticipate being more involved with it as I organize my photos. I am very impressed with what people put on Instagram and will be compelled to share quality images with them, too. It is like an anonymous way to share something that may make someone smile. Finding a way to have a coherent and collected way for students to progress through an assignment using online tools reinforces my hope of one day having a classroom of students from multiple states taking the same high school course. (This is one reason I applied for multiple teaching credentials in various states. I did not realize at the time, though, that students are still segregated by state when they take company-run classes online.)

I am thrilled to have found a way to bring reading and writing literacy into the chemistry classroom, other than having the students read The Periodic Kingdom and write something about it. Doing a lesson that involved students writing or making books is something I have wanted to investigate for a while, but it has amplified for me ever since I learned about Minecraft books. I really want to have students write a Minecraft book because I think it would be something they’d have fun doing. Using this project as a way for me to test out book-making software to see if it is something I could do easily served two purposes for me: 1. Could I write not just a book to be read by students that teaches them chemistry, but could I also integrate it into interactive lessons I can make in Articulate? 2. Can I now figure out how to organize a Minecraft book myself to be able to show students step by step how to make their own?

Doing a lesson on sports, music, and the arts in chemistry was an amazing excuse for writing lessons on materials science. Many, many years ago, I did a summer class at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which taught materials science. It was one of the last years the Institute for Chemical Education did a summer class, and losing that resource from teaching really stinks. (I think ICE is defunct- I did the class something like 15 years ago.) Because of the way standards had been written, I found it hard to integrate some of the fun parts of materials science into the chemistry class, which is really a shame since so much of what we enjoy in our daily lives depends on materials created by scientists and engineers. I have not scoured the NGSS standards to see if materials science fits in better, but I have a feeling I could now create lessons that let me use materials science as an excuse to teach something that is standards-based.

The geography and history of the atom, at times was like doing the geography and history of science because early chemistry was based on alchemy, and alchemy was the beginning of science, too. Teaching the history of the atom has always been boring. When I was a science student, I could just not relate to learning over and over again about all these white men who did these amazing things. Sure I learned about Marie Curie, and after reading her biography in 11th grade world history she became one of my heroes. I still think about how bittersweet what she chose to do with her life led to so many people’s benefit, and yet it killed her. That’s probably not the mindset to have when it turns out later in life you have something like MS that physically prevents you from doing your craft. If my only choice to teach about the history of chemistry in the years where the parts of the nucleus and electrons were being figured out is a time when white males were involved, the least I can do is have students look at it as more than just a list of random facts that don’t seem to have many connections to each other, other than being put in the same chapter in a chemistry textbook and are now things we take for granted. Of course atoms are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Who doesn’t know that? It was not that long ago, though, that we did not know what is now obvious and accepted as fact. There was a true mystery of figuring out how things existed, and in many ways, this mystery still exists. If I can get a student turn on to chemistry by using the curiosity of scientists, then maybe this is one person I can help on the journey to becoming a scientist. If I can get them to see it as something that is not necessarily about WHO did the work and what HE looked like, but it is about the IDEAS that were being tested, maybe someone who would not have originally planned to be a scientist will become one.

My accessibility unit was not as good as it should have been. I think I was starting to be a little worn out with doing projects and mistakenly thought I would have this issue down since I apply to so many of the classifications. I also have a grudge because so many of these assistive devices were not accessible to me when I needed them most. The disabled department at Boise State blew me off. I’m not someone who came through the k12 system and in to college with an IEP. I had no advocate to help me figure out what would help me. I had to figure things out on my own, so going back and reading about accessible equipment that I have not figured out how to get is really frustrating for me. I also dislike seeing kids be categorized and therefore treated as the “other” kids, when in reality all of us have limitations of some sort. Even people who run marathons get tired at the end. My marathon at the moment seems to be from this chair to the bathroom, and I’m barely able to walk the distance, let along run it, but it is my marathon. I suppose my point is that finding assistive equipment or devices should not be something someone has to do because the barriers should either not be there, or the equipment should be so ubiquitous that it is not an afterthought. Accessibility should not be an afterthought. We should not have to justify closed captioning as being something useful to everybody because it should just be there to begin with. I admit I am really at fault with doing closed captioning, and have been faulted because I will read my slides in a video, but isn’t reading the slides the same thing as closed captioning, but in reverse. With words on the slide, and then having audio added, isn’t that the same thing as having audio with words added? I think I also let my bias about how disabled people have their locations chosen for them, enter into my lack of excitement for this project. I can’t help but feel like this was put at the end of the course because it is required for teachers to learn about disabilities in our students. Just like we have to have the one location in the classroom set aside for the disabled child to sit, or the few seats in the auditorium that can handle the accessible equipment, putting in a unit on disabilities is stuck at the end because it is something that has to be done. By the way, I still have not figured out what a “daisy” is, how it works, or how I can get one. I would have loved to be able to listen to our textbook being read to me. Heck, I could not even read the book on multiple devices because the publisher put so many restrictions on it. I could only read it on my kindle. I tried several times just to bring it up so I could read it on my computer, but the restriction would not allow it. Am I now seen as being lazy because I did not want to call the publisher to see if there was an accessible version of the book? Should I have paid another $100 + just to have the paper version to use at times my Kindle was being a flake. (By the way, resetting it to the company default does wonders with cleaning up a clogged Kindle.)

If you are looking for the connection to standards, please click here.

EDTECH 541: Accessibility controls on my computer

In response to question 1: Accessibility Features on My Computer:

The main accessibility features I use have changed in the last few months because I had to get a computer that could handle gaming programs. EDTECH 531 practically destroyed the two laptops I was trying to use for that class, so I now have a desktop. I am happy to share with you what I did on the laptop, and now do with the desktop to help make my computing easier. After I tell you the ones I use, I’ll tell you about the ones I don’t use, and possibly why I don’t use them. I have found that many accessibility devices are created by people who don’t have the disability they are trying to accommodate with the device. The designer thinks what would be the best way to solve a problem, but can’t authenticate his/her design unless s/he knows someone with the disability the device is being designed to help. For me, lots of accessibility situations or equipment gets chalked up for a FAIL because my situation is so unique.

I started using IBM Thinkpad laptops in 2005 (I think) because in 2004 I lost full use of my right arm, hand, and some of my right side of the body. Fortunately much of it has come back by now, but at the time, asking me to use a mouse was torture. I could not control my fingers, could not click and drag, or even move the mouse without doing random clicks because I lost control of my fingers. I took a summer class in 2005 in Mandarin Chinese which forced me to learn how to write with a pencil again.  I had mostly lost my ability to write, too. My handwriting is still a mess, but at least I can now hold a pen or pencil and write when I have to.  I chose the IBM Thinkpad because I could use one hand to click “mouse” buttons and the other hand to “move” the mouse. Their ultra nav device, I think it is called, was one of the first to have buttons on top and on the bottom of the square that served as the tracking surface. I could not physically use other laptops because that one tiny area was so poorly designed. With the IBM, I was in bliss.  As you may know, IBM became Lenovo. Fortunately, for a few years, Lenovo kept the same layout on some of the laptops. Recently, even Lenovo has gone to the two buttons only on the top or the bottom of the square. I am disappointed to see this feature go.

With the desktop, we found full size keyboards made by IBM that had the same trackpad style, four buttons: two on top, two below. At first I was using the IBM keyboard and was happy for the most part. I could still easily do two handed mousing. I also have a Logitech wireless touchpad, which is great for me to use even though it only has clicking buttons at the bottom. The problem with the IBM keyboard is that it is old and the Windows 8 computer could not handle it. I did everything I could to turn off charms, but because that keyboard used some 3rd party drivers, the charms got launched just about every time I tried to use the touch pad.  I bought a gaming keyboard to see what it is like- actually this is just an ordinary keyboard that has backlit keys, a regular number keypad, and volume controls that are obvious. It is somewhat like driving a car- the more controls they put on the steering wheel, the easier it is to drive and change the music. Having the ability to instantly mute obnoxious YouTube videos is priceless.

Changing keyboards meant I had to either move to using the Logitech touchpad as my mouse, or I had to get a mouse. It has been about 10 years since I had the mouse problem and I have found ways to make sure I don’t drop things like I was when I first lost use of my hand, and I know my dexterity has somewhat come back. I don’t have the speed someone with working nerves would have, but I think the spontaneous clicking is now able to be controlled. Doing research for the mouse was fun. I have small hands so many of the mice just looked to doggone big for me. I wanted one that would be ergonomically useful and did not require me to put pressure on one of the buttons to get the mouse to move. I don’t know if that was something I deliberately chose or if it was just a coincidence, but the mouse I am  using, a Logitech 700, has curves that let my thumb go alongside of the mouse to control movement, without having to automatically click buttons. The other MAJOR feature that drew me to this mouse is that it has extra buttons that are programmable. The IBM keyboards come with keys that will let you go back a page or forward a page. They are the only keyboards I know that have this feature. I should photograph it and put it up so you can see what I’m talking about. Anyway, I was able to program one of the keys on the mouse to go back a page, and the other one to go forward. I am in heaven. I don’t have to move the mouse to the arrow to move back- I just use my thumb and do a tiny click on one of the tiny buttons, and the page goes back.  Saying that reminded me of scrolling- if there is time / space, I’ll tell you about my scrolling challenges.

To summarize some of my keyboard / mouse choices: A backlit keyboard so I can see the letters more easily than not having the light. A keyboard with sound controls that work. A programmable mouse that fits my hand, and does not force me to put undue pressure on any buttons to move the mouse. Plus the shape of the mouse does not encourage any fingers to do any random clicks.

Accessibility features built into the computer operating system: I’m on a Windows 8 computer. I use the “beep” for CapsLock because my pinky keeps hitting it. Reading in the book about the keyboard that lets you add and remove keys has given me the idea to possibly remove the caps lock key somehow. I may also look into that keyboard to see if it makes more sense for me anyway. I don’t know if turning off charms is an accessibility feature, but for me it is. Holy smokes, it is hard enough for me to concentrate for long periods of time. Having things jump out of the sides or cause the screen to change every time I touch the touchpad was driving me crazy. If I was not affected by attention disorders before, I certainly was having them with the charms problem. I turned off the charms, and replaced the keyboard to one that has drivers for Windows 8. I have not had any charms problems ever since I started with the “new” keyboard and mouse.

This is what the Ease of Access Center looks like in Windows 8

ease of access center for Win 8 image

Ease of Access Center

Now, I may use the Magnifier because even though I’ve set the display for big icons and letters, the words in the navigation bars/menus in Adobe software is still teeny tiny. Sometimes I take screenshots and enlarge them just so I can see what the software says. Everything in Microsoft products is a good size; it is just Adobe that wants to remind me how bad my vision is. (I have an especially hard time differentiating vertical lines like i and l or multiple ones next to each other.)

The Narrator drives me crazy because it does not stop. It is useful for a time, but when it just keeps talking to me, I lose my concentration. I empathize with people whose vision is so poor that they have to have the narrator or a screen reader going at all times. If there is a way to pause it while I am working or creating a draft of something, I don’t know how to do it, so I don’t use it at all. I don’t have a touch-screen display so the on-screen keyboard is not applicable to me. I’ve thought about getting a touch-screen display, but that would make the screen too close to me. I need distance from viewing screens because I get motion sick really easily (another vision problem). Plus, my husband had two amazing displays he was not using so now I’m really spoiled, and can have the paper I’m writing be on one screen and the ease of access center on the other. I don’t have to deal with the mouse and changing between software screens. I suppose that is an adaptation- less work to keep things organized in my workspace. I just tried “high contrast” and had a really hard time reading the white text on a black background. I thought I changed it back by doing the alt-shift-print screen again, but now I have a yellow background. Excuse me for a moment, I need to now get rid of the yellow. That was fun- I’m now back to a basic boring blue background.

I will not be marking to use the computer without a display, but if I did, the narrator could read all text to me and something else could give me descriptions of videos on the screen. There is the text to speech feature here, too, which I may revisit. The last time I tried to set up text to speech, I was not successful. I have not tried it in Win 8, yet, though.  I may select “Turn off all unnecessary animations” unless it means I won’t be able to create or enjoy gif files.  I may also change the Windows notification dialog box timer- I’m a slow reader and have not felt like they were disappearing too fast for me. Now that I’m aware of this feature, I will probably notice it more.

Make the computer easier to see:  I turned on the Magnifier, but I can’t tell if it is on or how to turn it on. On the laptop, it was pinned to my taskbar (?) and was obnoxious because it did not magnify locally- either the entire screen got enlarged or nothing did. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the magnifier tool. I just toggled the focus rectangle thicker- and also saw no changes there. I have a feeling my screen resolution is overriding some of these features.

Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard: does not apply to me- it would be really good for those who function better on a tablet like surface, or who function better with a joystick instead of a mouse. Speech recognition is also useful for those who have troubles with dexterity. Like I said, it has been a few years since I tried using Dragon or Microsoft’s speech recognition software. Maybe I’ll try it again to see if it has improved. Maybe I can learn the commands, and say them clearly now.

Make the mouse easier to use: So far, I’m fine with this cursor, but if I was on a tiny screen resolution, I could see myself using a larger cursor. I noticed that sometimes the cursor does not show up, but I think it was because I was in an Adobe LMS, and not because my mouse was too small. The mouse keys are interesting because they can be useful, especially when I’m playing games. I know that in Minecraft, I had to change the default keys because I was on a laptop that I used while laying back. Now that I sit upright in a chair, it may make sense to use the default aswd keys for movement. The mouse keys are good for someone who has trouble with a mouse, but has spatial understanding by clicking on keys in the numeric keypad.

Make the keyboard easier to use: I use Toggle Keys sound because I am otherwise unaware I have hit the wrong key until, of course, I look at the screen and it is in ALL CAPS.  I just tried to put on the underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys, but I don’t see anything different yet. I’m also stopping the automatic arrangement at the end of the screen because that was driving me crazy. I hope this means my windows will stop automatically expanding when I try to just move them up the screen. The exploding window is incredibly distracting, too.

Use text or visual alternatives for sounds: I respond better to sounds than visual cues. If I were deaf, this would be a useful feature, though.

Make it easier to focus on tasks: I am not convinced the Narrator actually helps with focusing me. For those who respond to audio instruction, this would be useful. Removing background images would be useful for those who are easily distracted. I need to remember this is available because I may need to use it in the future. Sticky keys- I usually avoid this because it seems like whatever I set it to, it is the wrong thing. One thing to keep in mind, do not set “shift” as a functional key in a game if it means you will be clicking on it a lot repeatedly. I think I set “down” as the shift key in Second Life and kept turning on sticky keys when I was trying to move down in a game. Using “shift” as a repetitive use key was a bad idea.

Make touch and tablets easier to use: you can set one command to be automatic when you press the ‘Windows button’ and ‘volume up’ at the same time on a tablet.

As if this was not enough to read, I may come back and also address question 2: Accessibility Features on iOS Devices: because it was really hard for me to do some things when I started back in school. I found that I had to use my iPad to help me with annotating papers, reading the book to me with the “Speak to me” app, and with making drawings for the visual literacy class (506?)

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching [6th edition].

My link to this week’s assignment: http://getzedtech.weebly.com/accessibility.html

An editorial I wrote about UDL is on page 10. 

EDTECH 541: Obstacles and Solutions for Tech in the Classroom

One of the biggest challenges with integrating technology into any curriculum is making sure everybody has the equipment and software they need to actually use technology. Once that barrier is solved, a common problem in the sciences is the teachers don’t know their content matter well enough to understand some of the websites that are available. Of course, like most of my blogs I am speaking from personal experience.

I shared a classroom with a teacher who seemed to be proud of the fact she was teaching AP biology, even though she had never taken a genetics class in college. If you have been keeping track of my bashing her, you may recall this is not a veteran teacher. She also liked to point out how she was the youngest in our department. If anybody should know how to do the latest math with genetics, it should be she. She had no clue. Because she, as well as many AP bio teachers, do not understand allele frequencies and genotype frequencies, software that is available to help teachers with those concepts won’t be effectively used by said biology teachers. I have to admit that I did not understand Chi Square very well, even though I supposedly taught it. It was a statistical test we were supposed to do to see if our class was in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. This is part of the Alu analysis at the DNALC website so the computer does the statistical computation for us. Heck, the math is the easy part because all we have to do is put in our data, and it will calculate a Chi Square value for us. As the teacher, though, I should be able to explain Chi Square. (Thankfully after taking stats at BSU, I have a much better understanding of Chi Square and could explain it now.)

The other personal experience I have with packaged software being available online is with Gizmos. The labs at Gizmos are not free. I worked for a company that paid for access to the labs. Personally I would not subscribe to Gizmos because as exciting as they can be, some of their lab concepts are so obscure or picky that I really have no clue why we should spend any time doing that particular lab. I was working for a virtual school that did not have lab kits for students to use. All of our science labs were virtual. That virtual lab experience was horrible. So with Gizmos, there were two problems for me. Sometimes it took me hours to figure out what the heck they were asking students to do, so there was the limitation of my brain power.  The second problem was trying to figure out how to make connections between the Gizmo labs and the scripted curriculum.

The company for whom I was a “teacher”, started developing their own virtual labs, which had a lot of potential. Unfortunately they were using a platform that crashed easily so the year I was with them, it was really tough to count on the labs working. They also created labs where students can’t make mistakes, and see outcomes of their mistakes. It is bad enough that students can’t make a mess of objects to do a lab, but with many virtual labs, they can’t make a mess of the data or outcomes either.

As for technology challenges in classrooms that have tables and chairs, barriers for science classes are usually time. The kids I last taught were trained on how to get the Mac laptops on and off the cart, so we did not lose too much class time the days we used the Macs.  We could only use the Macs, though, for Internet research or word processing. We did not have enough computers to have lab stations in the classroom, however there was one PC that stayed in one spot so we could take digital images of our gels. The PC, though, was not connected to the school’s intranet, nor could it go online, because we were a Mac school and did not have the necessary firewalls for the PC. Of course, I said I’d buy the software, but for the physical location of the computer to be with the equipment we needed to use to take the images, it was not possible to run an Internet cable to the computer. There was no way they were going to let me put the PC on the intranet.

Since I bought the PC, nobody could complain that there were liquids near it. You stain your gels in containers that have liquid. Biotech labs are wet labs. That is another challenge for science teachers- having stations or handheld devices to use Probeware, or other computer based learning devices, set up so liquids don’t cause problems.

I am not planning to do the science/math lesson plan because I want to push myself to think in the context of the other disciplines. Looking at the options for the science section, though, I am reminded of a couple of the challenges with online science class sites. First, is figuring out which exercise can be used for my class in the time frame I have to dedicate to that topic. Second, is figuring out if asking students to do a particular lab at home makes sense. I’m all for having students videotape themselves doing the lab and getting credit for doing a lab that way. Digital evidence gets points in my book. Some of the “labs” I found online, however, are either really difficult, use dangerous equipment, or don’t make sense / are not worth the time. In contrast, some of the labs are awesome and I’d happily ask students to do them as homework.

How to fix these issues? Hire the right people to do the job. I’ve applied to work for companies that do virtual explanations or virtual labs, but nobody has hired me to be a teacher consultant or a designer. I know how we’ve been taught about ADDIE and how you need to get stakeholder input. I seriously think they have not gotten authentic teacher input for much of the virtual stuff that is out there for serious science teachers to use. I participated, voluntarily, for anything I could get involved with when I was in the classroom. I trial tested the Living by Chemistry curriculum so I know it works with kids. I’m not going to denigrate the students I taught, but I can tell you I did not teach in a monetary wealthy area. I got paid in 2013 to draft a virtual community college chemistry e-textbook, but I have a feeling my ideas were so anti-mainstream, that that is the reason they did not ask me to continue on the project. Traditional chemistry works in the classroom because it makes sense. It does not make sense online because kids don’t actually do any chemistry in a virtual class. Teaching them the names and uses of equipment is the easiest way to turn off a student taking a virtual chemistry course. I digress…

I’ve taken over thirty courses online from at least a half a dozen schools or companies in the past four years. I’ve seen some good teacher / instructor habits, but for the most part, people don’t know the software they are using. To fix the obstacles we have with science teachers not using technology for science, we need to make the technology available, have it be a part of their regular professional development, and make sure when they do the technology requirement for their teaching credential, that they actually do something with the already existing platforms, so when they do their lesson plans, they can incorporate the technology in a useful way. If we’re going to have teachers jump through hoops, we might as well make them as authentic as possible.

EDTECH 541: Integrating Technology for the Content

One huge advantage to using technology in content areas is the edutainment value. Our textbook has chapters at the end of it that have a plethora of ideas on how to integrate technology into the classroom to make the subject matter more engaging. My intent is to highlight some of the main points they bring up.

English and Language Arts

Stories: These can be stories the students write by themselves or as a team. Just like students will write stories on paper and pass the story to the next person, they can do the story online and make changes more easily.  The teacher can monitor student progress to make sure all students are involved and are following directions. Student literacies are amplified by using technology because there is now a three dimensional component to some stories. Whereas we used to use our imaginations to “see” a story, we can now “read” someone else’s interpretation, or produce a digital product based on what we envisioned happening in the story. Digital storytelling is even a “technique” that has arisen where students communicate, using audio and visual cues, autobiographies or biographies of others.

Blog or Vlog: Students can express themselves in writing, a blog, or with using video, a vlog. (p.268) They can also do collaborative projects in wiki areas or by making a website as a group. Real world opportunities to be responsible to colleagues, meeting deadlines, and making contributions to group projects, like a wiki or website, help students prepare for the intensely collaborative nature of the working world.

Standards include expanding student access and abilities: The NCTE/IRA Standards are written vaguely enough that digital media can easily be used to give students access to print and non-print texts in various genres. Students are also expected to employ a variety of ways to communicate their ideas, what they have synthesized from what they read, or to generate new information. (p.269)

Language acquisition for students still learning a written or spoken language: Interactive lessons that let the learner hear phonetic sounds and connect them to letter patterns, can be very powerful to reinforce language structure and function.  (p.272)

Annotations: When utilizing paper-based resources, either the students have to own the book so they can write in it, or they need post-it notes to write down ideas as they peruse the text. With some eBooks, the software not only lets you highlight text, but you can also write notes to yourself as you are reading. Since is digital, in some cases, you can even use the software to aggregate what you highlighted, and the notes you wrote so that reviewing the material is easier than if you were using paper methods.

Foreign Language and Second Language Instruction

I expect the opportunities for students in these subjects are very similar to those who are learning English, however technology will allow students to be more fully immersed in a culture. They can visit the country online, can read websites written in the language they are studying, and depending on the teacher, they may even be able to have pen-pals from a country that writes in the language they are learning. Ideally they would be able to physically visit the country that speaks the language they are learning, but for some students, being able to visit their museums or other cultural locations online will be all they can afford while they are students. That experience is still far better than merely looking at pictures in paper-based books.

For English Language Learners (ELL) where English is an additional language, websites that have words translated in multiple languages can help students see parallels between the language(s) they know and English, if there are connections that can be made. For some students, having a visual way to see the structure of a language, and to be able to manipulate words and see how their meaning change, is very powerful. There are also many ELL websites where they sound out the words for students, and give instant feedback on whether they chose the right word for a given syntax. (chapter 10)

Mathematics and Science Instruction

Technology definitely can assist with making mathematics come more to life than having students merely use pencil and paper to learn it. I actually have mixed feelings about technology in science because I am a science teacher and therefore have a built-in bias for having students manipulate non-virtual objects.

From concrete to abstract: For math, making any numerical process be more three dimensional is very useful for many students. In elementary school we manipulated blocks and Cuisenaire rods to get a concrete feeling for what numbers can represent. When I took EDTECH 531, we used blocks in Minecraft to be virtual Cuisenaire blocks. I still think that developmentally having students physically manipulate objects is important, but there may be equipment limitations so students would have to manipulate blocks virtually at home. (p.310).

Graphing calculators: In algebra, a graphing calculator is one of the most amazing tools, because you can change one part of an equation, and look to see how that affects the shape of a graph. I am so old that we did not use graphing calculators when I was in school. I have had to teach myself how to use one in the last year because I was tutoring a student taking algebra 2. I still don’t know how to use the graphing calculator well, but I can show her how the graph changes based on the sign, a coefficient, or something being added or subtracted.  It should now be commonplace for schools to have graphing calculators their students can use in class and at home. There are also graphing programs online, and of course there is Excel, for students to have a digital way to graph data sets. (Graphing calculators are discussed on page 313).

Apps and games for math: There are loads of apps that are made to let people play with math. I think one reason for this is because it is really easy to code for mathematical logic. Coding, in general, has its foundations in math, and at least at the arithmetic level, it is very straightforward. I think it was an EDTECH 597 class where we were supposed to learn how to use apps with students, or something like that. It turned out he had us create an app. One thing I learned in that class was that mathematical logic is practically built in to anything that can be coded, and physics parts are already a part of the process for some of the software you use to create apps. You don’t have to explain F=ma because they physics engine already knows how to do those types of “common sense” applications.  This is one reason I am including coding with STEM lessons- the coding process lets students see the consequences of numbers.

Probeware or calculator based laboratories (CBL): This applies for both math and science simulations. Vernier and Texas Instruments produce physical equipment and software that lets students manipulate things and get feedback on what they are exploring. Some of the probes measure simple physics things, or can replace common chemistry equipment like thermometers or pH meters / pH paper. What is beautiful, though, about probeware is that you can see changes happen on the screen as they are happening in the experiment. That may seem silly, but it is one thing to know heat is going into a solution, and another thing to see a graph of the temperature changing as water comes to a boil. The plateau is something we memorize, but to see that at 100 degrees Celsius is when water boils and even though heat is being added, the temperature is not changing, is very powerful. Likewise, I’ve seen math teachers use the probe that gives instant feedback with sonar waves. Students physically move their bodies to change the beeping of the device. They learn how to control their speed of motion to get the consistent feedback they desire. CBL are very useful to engage students in actively being a part of the math (or science) they are learning.

Science labs:  I agree with NSTA and ACS’s stance on having students manipulate objects whenever possible. (p.319). I do not have a personal stance on dissections, though.  If the student is going to be a surgeon, then it makes sense to have them literally cut up the flesh of animals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, or invertebrates.  I know I found it useful to have pig body parts I could handle and look at in three dimensions when I cut up the fetal pig in college. Could I have learned the same information from a computer program had one existed 25 years ago? I may have been able to do just as well on a test because what you study for a test are not lab techniques or skills. You don’t get evaluated on how well you don’t massacre your specimen. You get graded on being able to identify the location of specific body parts in a diagram.

In contrast to dissections, pretty much all other labs do involve students learning skills and techniques. As simplistic as it may seem, it is important for students to know they should use a glass rod instead of a thermometer to stir a solution. Yes, that is easily assessed in a multiple choice quiz, but when they break the thermometer and are asked to pay for it, they quickly learn they should have used the $0.25 glass rod to stir their stuff. I worked as a virtual teacher at a school that used the Gizmos for science labs. I have mixed feelings about the labs because some are so complicated that it was really difficult to explain to students how to do them. The company wrote directions, but they might as well have been written in  language the students had never seen because they are so hard to understand. Some of the “labs” also have kids explore really obscure concepts. It was like we are having students do mental gymnastics so they can have the frustration of not having a lab work for them. In contrast, some virtual lab companies do not let students make mistakes. It is literally impossible for students to select a wrong answer and see the consequences of that decision. I tried to get a job with a company so I could fix that part of their system, but I was not hired. I’m just going to have to create my own labs, which I wish I knew how to do! I’m still trying to figure out which software or programming language I need to learn so that I can create mistakes for students. That is how we learn science- by making mistakes.

One last science comment, I understand why there are virtual biotechnology labs, and with the way equipment keeps improving or becomes more automated, maybe it does not matter if a student knows how to use a micropipettor. Even so, there is no way a virtual lab can teach a student the nuances of how to use a micropipettor and shoot off the tip so they don’t contaminate their samples. Some things just can’t be done with a joystick or mouse, and then have the person be prepared for a real life lab situation.

Social Sciences

The NCSS standards include ten themes, all of which involve students looking beyond their home, and into the lives of others. Because the ideas go beyond what can be easily acquired at home, multimedia is used to show students what other cultures are like, how they change over time, what power structures are in place globally and locally, how there is disparity with production, distribution, and consumption of goods, how technology and science have influenced decisions and opportunities, how peoples throughout the world are connected, and what an individual’s civic responsibilities can be. (p.335).

Technology examples:

Simulated Problem-Solving Environments– think games. Over thirty years ago, there was a simple lemonade stand game that played on the first Apple computers. Here students learned about how to strategize to make the most money at a lemonade stand given weather conditions on various days. I am old enough that I was one of those little kids who started gaming with lemonade, moved on to Intellivision, and then stopped because my mom did not see a reason to own a computer. Had I grown up with a computer, I’d probably be making the games instead of writing about them. I’m not dead yet, so there are still some ways I can figure out how to use games to teach content. EDTECH 531 introduced me to Minecraft, Second Life, and World of Warcraft. I saw how each of them can be used to teach students survival skills, cultural situations, or spatial comprehension of items. We had two really awesome scenarios, both situated problem-solving events, in Minecraft. In one, we were shipwrecked and had to work together to build a town, and survive. In the other, we simulated the Oklahoma land rush. In that case, we were not initially comrades and were on our own to survive the night.

Our book mentions other, more mainstream, sources for simulated problem-solving issues. Oregon Trail is a game I’ve heard much about, but I don’t remember if I ever played it. The others are new to me: Muzzy Lane’s Making History, GeoThentic, iEARN Collaboration Center, The International Communication and Negotiation Simulations (ICONS), and Who Killed William Robinson.  (p.338).

Information Visualization- bringing data to life by giving it texture, character, or a two or three dimensional representation. The software used to do this can be as simple as making a graph, or more involved by making a timeline to document when and where events happened.

Virtual Field Trips– think free travel. Even though we don’t have to make travel arrangements, effective virtual field trips are still very thought out and well planned. There are people who spend time (and money) to build a cultural environment in Second Life so that other people can get a somewhat authentic experience by visiting their space. Naturally, museums have online resources so people can visit parts of the museum without having to be there in person.

Adventure Learning– think virtual exploration. There are companies mentioned in our book, Earthducation Adventure Learning Series, The JASON Project, and GoNorth!, where students virtually travel with a companion who is somewhere doing the things they are learning about. This external person is exploring a location with a webcam or photographic digital camera so the students can see what is happening. (p. 340).

Digital Storytelling– archiving biographies or making autobiographies to preserve history. I want to make digital stories of family members because they have seen and done things I will never experience. For example, my father-in-law was born on a farm in Kansas, worked his way up to management level with McCormick, and now as a retired person travels to various second and third world countries to help them with their agriculture. He told me some of his history once and now that I know about digital storytelling, I want to capture him telling his story. Even though I did not provide grandchildren, my sister-in-law did. I want my niece and nephew to be able to know about their grandfather when they are older.

I worked at a school that had a Holocaust survivor give a presentation to the students. At the time I was doing National Boards, so I naturally thought to videotape the presentation. Fortunately they did record it, and I think they got permission to show it to students in the future. There are so few WWII survivors left because it ended seventy years ago. There is only so long people can live. Preserving history using a digital medium is something students can do today, so that history is remembered in a more authentic way.

Geospatial Analysis- think where am I?  Geospatial analysis involves using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Along with Google Earth and ArcGIS, students can look at geography and visualize the places they are learning about in class. The GPS in our car is a type of geospatial analysis system. We can use the one in our phone to do Geocaching, a game where people visit a location, hide something, and then leave the coordinates for others to use to find the spot. (p.344).

 Music and Art

For music, technology can be used to create sounds and to record them. Both are skills that can lead to careers. Our book also points out the importance of listening to music to learn about what it means. Music technology includes software like GarageBand to record music, Practica Musica for music theory, and MuseScore for music notation.  (p. 358).

The visual arts use technology to produce works of art, as well as visiting artwork online or with software. Students take virtual fieldtrips to art museums. They can also create ePortfolios to show their work. Personally, by taking EDTECH classes at Boise State, I’ve become familiar with iPad apps that can be used for creating digital images. I’m taking an Adobe class on Photoshop where they have us turning photographs into unique images each week. I even do some of the work using apps on my iPhone.

Students can utilize low cost apps to complete projects in photography or digital media. Teachers can create tutorial videos to help show technique, or to explain a concept. There are also many multimedia resources to help students realize their potential, or to learn more about other artists and their work. (p. 365).

 

References:

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching [6th edition].

EDTECH 541: Hypermedia

This entry is a video blog. Hopefully it will be embeded!

EDTECH 541: Instructional Software and Technology Tools

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.

References

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching [6th edition].

Artifacts from the course: Digital Game Design for K12 Students

From my rationale paper:

Google docs and other web features allowed us to collaborate in EDTECH 597, Digital Game Design for K12. Aaron, Christina and I collaborated with writing a program for our app (common Dropbox folder), creating a presentation, creating a flowchart to map out our plans, writing a paper collectively, and creating videos (mp4) to demonstrate our progress. To facilitate planning, creating content, transferring it to the submission forums on time, and processing our parts of each section, we utilized a common Dropbox folder, Google Docs, and Gliffy.

EDTECH 505: Far West Laboratories Proposal

Dr. Thompson had us “practice” writing a request for proposal (RFP) document. In this document we had to plan how to execute helping Far West Laboratory with their need to educate their school clients.

The pdf document at Google Docs

EDTECH 523: First Discussion Post

Questions:

  1. Imagine that you are about to lead a discussion in a subject that you teach. Based on the required and any optional readings, what aspect(s) of leading or preparing to lead a discussion stand out to you as the most important, and why?

The most important parts of leading a discussion are

  1. Establishing a safe environment.
  2. Having students be aware of the grading rubric
  3. Having students be aware of an “I agree” versus a more substantial post. They should also understand how the grading works for both.
  4. Having students understand when to start a new thread vs continuing ideas in an already existing thread.
  5. Having it in an environment where it is easy for me to keep track of who posted, when they posted, what they said, and who they were responding to.
  6. Having it in an environment where students can easily keep track of what they posted and where it was posted- our set-up of Moodle 2 does not seem to allow that to happen anymore. I have not played with my Moodle set-up enough yet to see if Moodle2 can do it at all.
  7. Having students’ email addresses so I can reply to them privately and off of the discussion board.
  8. Encouraging students to share their ideas.

(Choose and respond to one of the following)

2a. What obstacles have hindered the use and effectiveness of online discussions in a class you have taught or taken?

I would love to respond to both of these, but for now I will just address the first one because most of the discussion areas in the BSU classes have been less effective for me than they were in the community college classes I took online. Actually I was really spoiled in Alex’s classes because they were so well organized and were really easy for me to follow ideas, figure out where I had posted so I could see if anybody replied to my posts, and they were very safe environments. I was as clueless as my peers in those classes.

A few environments that were ineffective were ones where:

  1. Students do not start their own thread with their initial post.
  2. The deadline for the initial post is not set at a reasonable time frame.
  3. The deadlines for follow-up posts are not set for a reasonable amount of time after the initial posts are required.
  4. Netiquette is taken to an extreme. (I tend to be too frank in my posts at times.)
  5. I have used VoiceThread with students and found grading their discussion to be a nightmare. I did this before I even had a clue Moodle existed and at the time was the only safe way I could figure out how to enroll students onto a discussion board. I used space at a “free” phpBB board and often tried to get students to be able to do discussions there, but there was always some logistical hang-up that got in the way. I don’t know php and don’t remember why I was not able to get students to engage with that setting, but the phpBB’s failed and VoiceThread was more energy consuming than effective.
  6. In one online class, our discussion board was a list-serve. Yeah, doing discussions via email was less than organized or productive.

A couple environments that were effective or slightly effective were:

  1. WebCT with new science teachers. Here we discussed various ways of teaching different science concepts with our students. It was with the eMSS program, of which I was a part from 2003-2007. I was a facilitator in the chemistry area for two years.
  2. Blackboard with my student teachers. I used to teach science student teachers. They were required to do a reflection each week. The first year I taught with the program, I followed what I was told to do. Students emailed their reflections to one of the two instructors who by themselves gave feedback to the student who sent in the reflection. I wanted to make the reflection part of the course more interactive because I am not the source of all knowledge. Our students were very talented people who also had good ideas or may have been able to commiserate. I was able to talk my co-instructor into letting students turn their weekly entries in to a discussion board in the Blackboard course I set up for our class on the weeks they were to be turned in to me. She did not want to bother with Blackboard or to share the authority on teaching with the students who were obviously too inept to share constructive ideas with their peers. What little I was able to do with my student teaching graduate students was as good as I could hope it would be given the opposition I faced from my superior co-instructor. This happened fall 2005.
  3. I did get to use Moodle with my students once and that worked great for me, but since it was their first time, our product was not as good as I imagined it could be. I did not know how to use Moodle at that time so I was learning how to use it as they were. I had facilitated discussions with WebCT many years before so I knew the concept of a threaded discussion, but Moodle was a new environment. My students wanted to use Facebook but our IT person told us at the beginning of the year that we were prohibited from using fb with kids. That, of course, did not stop the cool teachers from using fb with their kids so my popularity got another ding by not using fb.
  4. I took a SQL class online where we had to turn in our homework assignments to the discussion forums. Our instructor set it up so that you could not see what other people posted until you posted your solution. This was effective because you could not cheat by looking up the answers before posting your own solution. Plus after you posted your ideas and then you saw how others solved the problem, then you could learn from your mistakes. She did have a discussion forum set up for each week’s major assignment where we could post questions to solicit help from the instructor or our peers. I almost failed the course, but not because of how the discussion forums were organized.

2b. Based on your experience with online discussions as a teacher and/or a student, what techniques do you consider most effective for soliciting interaction and critical thought? Are there experiences you have found particularly fulfilling or frustrating?

This is the question I did not answer