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Archive for the ‘S1 – Design’ Category

 


Unity 3D Worlds

September 2nd, 2014 Comments off

One of the stumbling blocks of online classrooms is the lack of community building that happens almost naturally in a face-to-face classroom.  It’s difficult to, especially in an asynchronous environment, to connect with classmates and the instructor.  They are words on a screen with some photos and maybe a video.  As I transitioned from face-t0-face into the online classroom, I was fortunate, at first, to have a completely synchronous online environment in Adobe connect.  Even though we all met at the same time and spent time together, I was still concerned about connecting with my students and having students connect with each other.  As it turns out, with a few tweaks and breakout rooms, those connections develop.  Things and mindsets have to be modified so that students have time to get to know one another.  Activities have to be redesigned so that they can be successful in a virtual space.  Generally speaking it is a rewarding and very feasible method for instruction from the standpoint of learning and community.  This is not a feasible method for most education.  My position, in t his instance, is training new employees to do a job while working from home.  They are paid an hourly wage and given a specific schedule.  It’s not difficult for everyone to meet at the same time on their computers because that is the job they were hired for.

In colleges and high schools, this method is not very feasible.  Schedule will never align and asynchronous methods have to be used.  In my opinion, asynchronous teaching has tremendous value for learning and content engagement, but not for learning communities with out some artificial and deliberate activities and practices.  If done properly and with a bit of luck, those connections can be made asynchronously as well.  One of the best methods is a regular live meeting similar to what we are conducting this semester in EDTECH 531.  This gives students “face time” with each other to hear voices and interact in a spontaneous manner that can lead to community forming and connections being created.  I think the use of virtual worlds and spaces is a tremendous opportunity to really lock those connections in and build the community.  It gives students a chance to see others and how they act.

I had never heard of Unity 3D worlds before but they are promising to me.  I do have some questions that I would like explore.  The interface seems simple enough, but how complex is creating the worlds? I’ve had some experience with Second Life and I’m wondering if the object creation is similar.  How long would it take to create a simple classroom or a larger area for writing prompts?  After our meeting and exploring these worlds, I’m excited to delve a little more into it and possibly use it in my teaching at IDLA.

I’m looking forward to Minecraft.  I play it with my daughter and am excited.

 


Course Expectations Lesson for Grades 11-12 Language Arts

April 6th, 2014 Comments off

Developed by Fabio Cominotti for consideration by IDLA during EDTECH 524 – Experience in Online Teaching at Boise State University.

March, 2014

Rationale / Needs Assessment

Online classrooms traditionally suffer from a lack of community.  Students and instructors simply don’t develop the natural relationships and sense of community that form in a face-to-face setting.  That is to say that the relationships don’t form if the online instructor, instructional designer, or facilitator does not introduce activities at the beginning of the course and throughout (more at the beginning) that help to foster community, allow students to get to know each other, and start to break down those walls.

The following activities have a several purposes.  One aspect of online classrooms that tends to be weak or non-existent is expectations.  Learners often suffer from a lack of understanding of what is expected of them.  Also, instructors usually don’t know what is expected of them from their learners.

In this lesson, the instructor will present the expectations of the learners.  I have provided sample expectations that I would include in my online courses as well as a sample attention getter video.  Then after viewing the presentation, students will complete a discussion board activity in which they convey what the course expectations mean to them with some analysis and they will also present two expectations that they have of the course and instructor along with a rationale of their expectations.  Students will also respond to two peer posts.

Learning Outcomes

1.)  The learners learn what is expected of them and have time to interact with and analyze those expectations as they complete the writing activities.

2.)  The learners gain practice in critical thinking as they synthesize, present, and discuss their expectations of the course and instructor on a discussion board.

3.)  Since this lesson takes place very near the beginning of a course, the instructor can gain an understanding of the learners current writing, organizational, and critical thinking skills at the beginning of the course which has several benefits

It provides a baseline for measuring improvement during the course of the semester.

  • It provides instructor with an idea of which students might need interventions and what types of differentiation might be needed at the beginning of the course.

4.)  The learners and instructor will begin to get a sense of who they are participating in class with.

5.)  The instructor can begin to get to know and understand thinking processes of the learners.

6.)  The learners can start to get a sense of their instructor through the discussion boards.

7.)  A sense of community can start to build that can be bolstered through other activities in the course.

Idaho Content Standards Addressed in this Module for Grade 11-12 Language Arts.

W.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

  1. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  2. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  3. Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  4. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
  5. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  6. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W.11-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

W.11-12.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

SL.11-12.2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

L.11-12.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.11-12.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  1. Observe hyphenation conventions.
  2. Spell correctly.

L.11-12.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Materials

Compressed (.ZIP) Archive of Materials

Design Document (this document)

Course Expectations PowerPoint Presentation

Kindergarten Cop – Setting Classroom Rules (MP4 File)

Kindergarten Cop – Setting Classroom Rules (AVI File)

Generic Discussion Board Rubric (IDLA)

 

The following prototype can be found at my coursesites.com by blackboard.  When viewing on Coursesites, please log in with the username: user8903 and password: user

Note:  This lesson can easily be adapted for other language arts courses.  With a few more modifications, it could be adapted for humanities and science courses as well.


Design Prototype

Course Expectations

Welcome to the course.   (Main Lesson)

For this first module, we will discuss and learn what is expected of you in the course and what you expect to take away from the course and how I can best help you.

Objectives

By the end of this module you will:

  • Be able to name and explain what is expected of you from this course and instructor.
  • Be able to identify and explain what you expect from this course and your instructor.

Idaho Content Standards Addressed

W.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

  1. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  2. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  3. Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  4. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
  5. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  6. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W.11-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

W.11-12.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

SL.11-12.2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

L.11-12.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.11-12.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  1. Observe hyphenation conventions.
  2. Spell correctly.

L.11-12.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.


Please watch the following YouTube Video.

 Kcop YouTube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mce3yiMF4iQ
Used under fair use guidelines.Kindergarten Cop. Dir. Ivan Reitman. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Ann Miller, Pamela Reed. Universal Pictures, 1990. Youtube.com. 

The preceding image is a placeholder for a video or interactivity to be inserted here.

Okay, so I’m not as strict and angry as good old Schwarzenegger as a Kindergarten teacher, but I do have some expectations of you during this course.  Please take a look at the PowerPoint presentation below.

 gdrive The image to the left is a placeholder for an actual PowerPoint Presentation or interactivity that presents the course and / or instructor expectations.

Now those aren’t too bad.  Right?

Please complete the discussion board for this module.

You will be graded for this discussion on the following rubric.  Don’t worry, it’s mostly on effort.


DB1-Course Expectations (Discussion Board)

For this initial post, you need to write three paragraphs.  Please read and respond to your classmate’s posts as well.

1.) Write, in your own words, what the course expectations mean to you.

  •  How do they affect your thoughts about the course?
  • Will they be easy to follow?  Are they too lax or too extreme?
  • Please, let me know your opinion.  I am always interested.
  • If you have any questions about my expectations or the syllabus and course schedule, you can include those in this first paragraph.

2.) For you second and third paragraphs, please list two expectations (one in each paragraph) that you have for me or that you expect to get out of the course.

  •  This is where you get to voice your opinion and help to shape the interactions in the course.
  • I want to know what you expect from me so that I can strive to meet those expectations.  Teaching and learning is not a one-way street.  It’s a give and take.  Please let your voice be heard.
  • In your paragraphs, please discuss your expectation.  Let me know why you expect it and how I can meet it.
  • Feel free to use examples from your past as well.
  • If you have more than two expectations, please add paragraphs.  I’m here to help you, so let me know the best way I can.

3.) And finally, respond to a minimum of two peers.

  • Do you agree or disagree with their expectations?
  • Why?
  • Be thorough in your responses.

4.) Before posting, please review the rubric for this discussion board assignment.  Discussion Board Rubric

Grading Rubric—15 points possible

5 pts.

4 pts.

3 pts.

Initial Post Posted early to ensure sufficient time to respond to classmates. Posted sufficient detail to completely address the discussion board prompt Posted by the end of the unit, but did not allow time for others to comment. Posted enough detail to cover the prompt but could have expanded and explained points more thoroughly Posted after the unit deadline. Minimal detail that required more explanation in order to clearly understand points
Responses Responded to at least 2 classmates prior to the end of the unit. Replied to questions from classmates in response to original post Responded to at least 2 classmates Responded to one classmate
Correctness No distracting errors—followed expectations for online communication as outlined in Netiquette presentation 1-2 distracting errors Some distracting errors. Used slang, acronyms, or emoticons in original post (Review the netiquette presentation for appropriate online communication expectations) 

 

 

 

Rubric, originally created from Idaho Digital Learning Academy.  No modifications were made.

 

 

 

 

 


Worked Screen Example

May 7th, 2012 Comments off

Here is a worked screen cast example. I chose to help students become more familiar with Adobe Dreamweaver since I have and would like to teach again some web design classes.

 

Standards Addressed

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.2 Message Design – Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

S2 – Development – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies – Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.
  • 2.4 Integrated Technologies – Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

 

 


Digital Story

May 7th, 2012 Comments off

Here is my digital story entitled, Pretty Princess Lana Lee:  The Doggie and the Dragon

 

 

Standards Addressed

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.2 Message Design – Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

S2 – Development – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • 2.4 Integrated Technologies – Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

 


The Coherence Principle

March 25th, 2012 Comments off

The coherence principle states simple that more is not always better.  Extra elements within an e-learning, distance learning, or presentation does not promote learning.  Extra elements can include words, sounds, images, video, or any other element that is included that does not directly contribute to the objective and content that is supposed to be learned.  For example, background music playing during narration or throughout the presentation can distract the learner and even overload their cognitive processing channels.  Clark and Mayer (2009) state “keep the lesson uncluttered…avoid adding any material that does not support the instructional goal”.  In the case of the coherence principle, studies suggest that extra information; even if it is interesting, detract from learning.  A boring lesson or presentation cannot be made interesting with irrelevant information.

The coherence principle shares a commonality with the other multimedia principles discussed so far in this course.  Those principles include the multimedia principle which states that information should be presented with relevant graphics rather than just words alone, the contiguity principle which requires graphics and other multimedia to be on the same screen or near the text that describes it, the modality principle that states that words should be presented as narration rather than on-screen text, and the redundancy principle that says not to present words as narration and on the screen.  The commonalities that these principles share are in the form of shared goals.  All of these principles have the goal of increasing student learning and decreasing the cognitive load on students.  The ultimate goal is to make the presentations and lessons more effective and less stressful for students to learn what they need to learn.  The coherence principle reminds me of what the author Anton Chekov once said.  He said that if you have a gun in the first act of the play, then it better go off by the end of the play.  Basically, he was talking about unneeded details and props in plays.  There is no need to overload the viewer or reader in the sense of a story with details that do not drive the story forward.  The same principle is expressed in the coherence principle.  Unneeded details lead to confusion and lower learning outcomes.

Cognitive overload can be a serious problem with many lessons and students.  I’ve seen many presentations both in schools and workplaces that have many pictures and music.  For me personally, it was hard to focus on the actual content of the presentation since I was trying to figure out the relationship between the graphics and the content.  I stopped paying attention to the facilitator and let my mind wander.  I’ve also sat through presentations that did not include graphics or sounds.  They were short and somewhat dull looking, but the information was imparted and I understood it on a deeper level.  This makes sense to me and is backed up by the psychology principles.  Students need clarity and singularity of purpose.  I’ve found that students can get overwhelmed easily and distracted easily.  It’s important to keep the information channels focused and clear.  They need to be singular in purpose and present the information that supports the instructional goal.  Students learn in two different channels and the coherence principle helps to keep those channels flowing with important and relevant information and keeps them uncluttered with useless, albeit interesting, information and graphics.

I really like the coherence principle.  It simplifies instructions.  Too many times, I have taken too much time trying to find graphics and images to make my slides look better.  I’ve never felt good about my presentations and now I know why.  Simpler is better.  It makes sense to me.

References

Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2009). E-learning and the science of instruction, proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. Pfeiffer & Co.

 

Standards Addressed

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.2 Message Design – Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

S3 – Utilization – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

  • 3.1 Media Utilization – Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

 

 


Podcast Project – The Modern Classroom Episode 1 – AirPlay

March 19th, 2012 Comments off

The Modern Classroom is a podcast designed to promote ideas and technology to enhance the classroom experience either online or in a traditional room. The first episode focuses on Apple’s AirPlay technology and its potential uses in a classroom especially a classroom that does not have an interactive whiteboard. It discusses what AirPlay is and some of its potential uses from allowing more mobility for the instructor to enhanced classroom control. It also talks about costs and some other possible uses for AirPlay devices that can be utilized in the classroom. Please enjoy Episode 1 – AirPlay.

This project address AECT standard 1 – Design in the sense that the podcast had to be designed according to specific criteria and the design had to incorporate some message.  In this particular case, the message was designed to convey some ides to add some inexpensive technology to increase interactivity in a traditional classroom.  The design of the message address Sub-standard 1.2 – Message design.

This project also addresses the development standard (AECT Standard 2) in the sense that it had to be developed over the course of time using various technologies and tools.  It addresses sub-standard 2.3 – Computer based technologies since it was created and designed using a computer and the internet.

 

Standards Addressed

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.2 Message Design – Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

S2 – Development – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • 2.3 Computer Based Technologies – Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.
  • 2.4 Integrated Technologies – Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

 

 

 


Multimedia Instruction Project – Formatting Book Entries for an MLA Works Cited Page

February 19th, 2012 Comments off

This project attempts to give a hands-on tutorial for high school students.  The tutorial is aimed at using Microsoft Word to properly format works cited entries according to MLA style.  I have applied the contiguity principles to the project.  My use of the verbal channel (both visual text and spoken text) is balanced will with images depicting the same directions.  If you view the presentation in Google Docs, you can see the speaker notes.  These notes are a guide as to what to say for each slide.  All of the graphic elements appear on the same slide as the text that describes it.  The slides are not overloaded with text.  Overall, this is a simple little lesson that, I feel, many students could benefit from.I created all of the images in this presentation.  I used screenshots of Microsoft Word to show how to format entries according to MLA style.

 

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.2 Message Design – Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

S2 – Development – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • 2.3 Computer Based Technologies – Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

 


Creating My Learning Log

February 5th, 2012 Comments off

This website (http://edtech.cominotti.net/llog) was created using free software from WordPress.  I chose to host the blogging software on my own web space in order to have more control over its layouts and to have direct access to the code to make customized modifications that would not be possible on a hosted site like wordpress.com.

The purpose of this site is to showcase my coursework, artifacts, and reflections created during my Master’s Degree program at Boise State University.  It’s a framework to display all of the projects and assignments that display my mastery and understanding go the AECT standards.

This learning log is a framework to display artifacts but it is also an artifact itself.  It is an example of work that demonstrates skills associated with AECT standard 2 dealing with development of materials and artifacts and more specifically sub-standard 2.3 the deals with the use of computer based technologies to create the materials and artifacts.

I used pre-written software and scripts to create this website, but I placed it within the framework of a larger website and modified the code to produce the effect you see now.  I used computers to create this artifact (the learning log).

 

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.2 Message Design – Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

S2 – Development – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • 2.3 Computer Based Technologies – Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

S3 – Utilization – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

  • 3.1 Media Utilization – Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

 


Instructional Design Project – Citing Sources Correctly Using APA Style

December 28th, 2011 Comments off

This was, by far, the most intensive and thorough project to date that I completed in the EDTECH program.  I designed a whole unit using valid ID models.  I designed every aspect of this course and completed a Instructional Design Document detailing every phase of the project.

Instructional Design Project – Citing Sources Correctly Using APA Style


Standards Addressed

S1 – Design – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

  • 1.1 Instructional Systems Design – Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.
    • 1.1.1 Analyzing – Process of defining what is to be learned and the context in which it is to be learned.
    • 1.1.2 Designing – Process of specifying how it is to be learned.
    • 1.1.3 Developing – Process of authoring and producing the instructional materials.
    • 1.1.4 Implementing – Actually using the materials and strategies in context.
    • 1.1.5 Evaluating – Process of determining the adequacy of the instruction.
  • 1.3 Instructional Strategies – Instructional strategies are specifications for selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson.
  • 1.4 Learner Characteristics – Learner characteristics are those facets of the learner’s experiential background that impact the effectiveness of a learning process.

S2 – Development – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

  • 2.1 Print Technologies – Print technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials, such as books and static visual materials, primarily through mechanical or photographic printing processes.
  • 2.3 Computer Based Technologies – Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

S3 – Utilization – Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

  • 3.1 Media Utilization – Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.
  • 3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization – Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.

S5 – Evaluation – Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

  • 5.1 Problem Analysis – Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.
  • 5.2 Criterion-referenced Measurement – Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learner mastery of pre-specified content.
  • 5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation – Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.

 


Synthesis Research Paper

December 29th, 2010 Comments off

This was a synthesis of the all of the research that I had done as part of this class. My focus was the effects of specific technology on student learning in a secondary (9-12) setting.  The PDF version is available here.

 

The Benefits of Technology in Secondary Education

Fabio Cominotti

Riverside High School

Boise State University


Abstract

This paper examines several studies about the use of various educational technologies, including web 2.0 applications, interactive white boards, and video games, and how they affect the learning outcomes of students. A study shows that student interaction is higher and student stress levels are reduced when a face-to-face, in-person class is supplemented with a required Facebook component at the beginning of the course (McCarthy, 2010). The same study shows that international students transition into the classroom activities and discussions with more ease. Several studies measure the effectiveness of increasing student achievement through the use of blogging and wikis for collaboration (Lou, Wu, & Shih, 2010) (Tse, Yuen, Loh, Lam, & Ng, 2010) (Judd, Kennedy, & Cropper, 2010). A different article studies the use of video games in the classroom as they relate to increased student performance because students become accustomed to learning due to the need to learn the rules and system of the video game (Amory, 2010).


The benefits of technology in secondary education

Now more than ever, schools and districts are looking for ways to improve student achievement. Since the “No Child Left Behind” act was enacted, failure of these efforts carries the possibility of penalties like loss of funding and accreditation. Now more than ever, schools and school districts need to find methods and pedagogies that will increase student achievement. Current educational theories place an emphasis on student motivation levels correlating to student performance. Many web 2.0 technologies can be integrated rather easily into the classroom. These applications offer the potential to raise motivation and achievement for students. The use of social networks, particularly Facebook is on the rise and many of today’s students make use of these services regularly. Facebook in the classroom or in conjunction with classroom activities could increase motivation for students. Blogging and wikis are two additional web 2.0 technologies that have a positive educational potential. Many students spend increasing amounts of time playing video games. The incorporation of video games into the classroom could increase student motivation and achievement. The key factor in student achievement is motivation. Current educational theories stress this. The incorporation of technologies, that students already dedicate large portions of their free time to, will increase motivation for students to participate in classroom activities. Increased motivation and participation will lead to increased achievement.

With the invention of web 2.0 technologies, social networking has skyrocketed in use.  McCarthy (2010) presented a pre-semester survey to both test groups in 2008 and 2009 which “outlined the student demographic and showed significant shifts in Facebook popularity and usage from the 2008 cohort…there was a much higher percentage of existing Facebook users within the group, 91% …compared to 75% in 2008”.   McCarthy’s (2010) study “also indicated that 61% of students logged onto Facebook at least once a day … compared to 35% in 2008”.  With this increasing usage of Facebook users, it only stands to reason that successful integration of Facebook into a curriculum would lead to an increased interest in participating in class assignments and activities.  Students already use Facebook every day and it’s apparent that the number of students using the service is increasing.

Social networks also allow users to interact with each other from the relative safety and anonymity of their homes or other places that they are comfortable with.  McCarthy’s (2010) study posed a questionnaire to the students about the quality of their experiences with the Facebook portion of the class.  In the 2009 cohort, the study found that 92% of students were able to increase their interaction with their peers and 89% felt that the Facebook usage generated “rewarding academic discussions that benefited” their studies (McCarthy, 2010)

High school is a popularity contest and it has been for a long time.  Students are less willing to take risks in school for fear of looking bad or foolish.  Facebook allows students to post and respond to others in a manner that doesn’t demand on-your-feet type of thinking and allows them to reflect and revise their response before writing.  McCarthy (2010) quotes on the study participants, “I really enjoyed this assignment as I find it quite daunting to speak up in front of a whole class, especially if at first you don’t know anyone in the class.”  This seems to be common in classrooms today.  McCarthy’s (2010) study shows that “there was a large increase in the academic interaction between local and international students …as well as general interaction, both academic and social, between peers”.

It is apparent from McCarthy’s (2010) study that students already use Facebook and probably other social networking sites and that when these services are used in a classroom in a blended style they lead to increased social relationships.  Without the awkward nature and fear of looking foolish, students might perform better and learn more.

Another web 2.0 application that can lead to increased student performance is blogging.  Two studies that took place in Hong Kong and Taiwan show that blogging in the classroom show increased performance in students engaging in reading or writing blogs.  In Taiwan, Lou, Wu, & Shih (2010) introduced blogging in Chinese to help students learning composition in Chinese to improve their composition skills.  Lu, et al (2010) found, “the statistical results show that he average post-test score is significantly higher than the average pre-test score…These findings reveal that after the blogging Chinese language composition instruction period, the students’ Chinese language composition ability was significantly enhanced”.  The study also found that “the students became more attentive to their writing after receiving Chinese language composition instruction that [utilized] blogging” and that “[the students] made significant progress in refining sentences, arranging paragraphs, and staying on topic.  In addition, the number of words significantly differed between the pre-test and post-test…This increase in length suggests that … participants not only made progress in the content of their writing, but also had more positive attitudes toward composition”(Lou, Wu, & Shih, 2010).

Lou et al. (2010) states that “the advantage of using blogging instruction is that students can learn from each other through posting their writings on the blog” and that “students had mostly positive feedback regarding the learning process, which indicates that students’ motivation to learn and composition abilities were enhanced after … instruction that [utilized] blogging”.  It is clear from this study that blogging has an impact upon student abilities and achievement and helps them to improve their writing abilities.  The ability to learn from each other is a commonly stressed element in today’s classroom and any technology that allows students to engage in this process should increase abilities.

Tse, Yen, Loh, Lam, and Ng (2010) conducted a study that measured 4th grade students behaviors that included reading blogs from the internet.  The study had 1,298 participants from forty schools.  The study found that “girls with ‘Medium’ level of blogging of ‘personal, friends, and classmates Chinese blogs’, ‘unfamiliar people’s Chinese blogs’, and ‘famous people’s and pop starts; blogs’ had superior Chinese reading attainment scores that their girl counterparts.”  The study also found that boys with a “‘Medium’ level of the blogging of ‘personal, friends’ and classmates’ blogs’, but ‘Low’ level of blogging of ‘unfamiliar people’s blogs’ and ‘famous people’s blogs’ had the highest level of Chinese reading attainment” (Tse, Yuen, Loh, Lam, & Ng, 2010).  This study makes it clear that reading other’s blogs increases reading levels.  From these two studies that measured reading and writing of blogs, it is clear that reading and writing levels improve when blogging is integrated into the classroom.

Yet a third web 2.0 technology that offers promise when integrated into curriculum is wikis.  Wikis allow for collaborative writing in an intuitive and convenient environment that does not have a need for individual group members to physically meet.  Judd, Kennedy, and Cropper (2010) conducted a study in which students were expected to write a collaborative paper using a wiki.  During the course of this study, “six hundred and ninety two out of 772 enrolled students (90%) participated in the task” of which they “created 2714 page versions during 1168 editing sessions resulting in the creation of 75 pages of content across the 30 groups” and “six hundred and twenty six (81%) students met the minimum required contribution of two non-trivial edits”.  This seems promising.  The anonymity of the online environment allows students to feel more comfortable participating and collaborating. Judd et al (2010) warn that “wikis are  widely promoted as ‘collaborative tools’, yet this and other research indicates that while aspects of their functionality can support collaboration, their success or failure strongly depends on the way in which individual activities are designed and implemented” and that “discussion aspects of wikis and the [socialization] of participants need to be supported”.  So while wikis offer the abilities to increase collaboration and achievement, careful instructional design that incorporates the social needs of students and careful structure of the activities may to be implemented in order for wikis to achieve their full potential as an educational tool.

Video games have become increasingly popular with advent of technologies that allow for three-dimensional graphics.  Many students today routinely play video games in their spare time.  Inherent to video games are the rules that are used to play the game.  Students seem to have no trouble learning these rules because they are motivated to learn them to enhance their game play experience.  Alan Amory (2010) conducted a study that used a video game system in a classroom that dealt with real world issues concerning several different health concerns.  The game, yKhozi-The Burning Ground was used.  It was designed for adolescents using the Game Object Model.  The concepts in the game dealt with in the game are transmission and biology of HIV / AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, biology and the mechanism of cancer and differences between viruses and bacteria and the role of protests in malaria (Amory 2010).  The results of the studies show that “teenagers…better understood a number of concepts when compared to the first year biology students”  and that “teenage participants … in this study scored an average of 57.1 ± 8.9% for the multiple choice instrument…This score is statistically similar to that obtained by first year biology students”.  This shows that video games can have a positive impact on student learning when used in the classroom.

While there are many technologies that exist that students use regularly and in increasing amounts of time, not all are suitable for integration into instruction.  Many web 2.0 technologies can improve student performance since many students already use these technologies and the use of them in the classroom increases their motivation which in turn increases their participation which increases achievement.  The study conducted that used Facebook clearly showed that students became more at ease and participated more in class when Facebook was integrated alongside with traditional classroom discussion in a blended format.  Their decreased anxiety leads to more challenging and rewarding academic and social interactions with their peers.  Blogging clearly shows to increase both reading and writing scores and wikis can increase collaboration and socialization if the activities are designed properly.  Video games used in the classroom that present information relevant to class show an increased level of attainment that is comparable to college students.  Taken in the grander scope of things, these technologies have to be carefully designed and integrated in order to achieve maximum results.

Further research is needed in the field of wikis.  While wikis offer excellent opportunities for student collaboration, it is apparent that the design of the activities is of paramount importance to the success of the project.  It would be beneficial to study which general types of activities are successful or not.  Additional research is also needed in the area of video games.  While video games have to potential to increase achievement in education, it is unclear as to what types of video games can help and in what areas of education.


References

Amory, A. (2010). Learning to play games or playing games to learn? A health education case study with Soweto teenagers. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26 (6), 810-829.

Judd, T., Kennedy, G., & Cropper, S. (2010). Using wikis for collaborative learning: Assessing collaboration through contribution. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26 (3), 341-354.

Lou, S.-J., Wu, S.-C., & Shih, R.-C. (2010). Adoption of blogging by a Chinese language composition class in a vocational high school in Taiwan. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26 (6), 898-916.

McCarthy, J. (2010). Blended learning environments: Using social networking sites to enhance the first year experience. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26 (6), 729-740.

Tse, S. K., Yuen, A. H., Loh, E. K., Lam, J. W., & Ng, R. H. (2010). The impact of blogging on Hong Kong primary school students’ bilingual reading literacy. Australasian Journal of Education Technology, 26 (2), 164-179.

Additional Sources

Farmer, B., Yue, A., & Brooks, C. (2008). Using blogging for higher order learning in large cohort university teaching: A case study. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24 (2), 123-136.

Ladyshewsky, R. K., & Gardner, P. (2008). Peer assisted learning and blogging: A strategy to promote reflective practice during clinical fieldwork. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24 (3), 241-257.

 

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