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Posts Tagged ‘S3’

 


Social Network Learning Course Reflection

December 10th, 2012 Comments off

When I first enrolled in this course, I was very excited. I have been and am still very interested in bringing the power of social networking to education and the classroom. I had been looking at utilizing Facebook as a means of announcements, disseminating homework information, and as a student support network. Facebook and other social network sites have the power of being nearly universally known. Many current students already make use of these sites, so the overhead of teaching them how to use it is virtually non-existent.

I had a Twitter account coming into this class and a Diigo account.  I never used them though.  I thought them to be a waste of time.  And even most of the way through this course I didn’t feel that Diigo was much different than Scoop.it.  I’ve learned a lot about the power of Twitter, Scoop.it, and Diigo.  These tools, with Facebook are something that I will incorporate into any online course that I conduct and even into a regular classroom should I ever teach in one again.

Twitter is perfect for announcements and other types of quick information sharing and idea sharing. I had scorned Twitter.  The only reason that I even had an account was because of EDTECH 501.  It required it.  I like Twitter so much now and so excited about its potential that I have the app on my phone’s home screen.  I check it multiple times daily.

Curation is a topic and practice that I had always done, but never realized that I did.  I curated such a variety of topics from information on video game story lines to technical information on PHP scripting.  I collected links and even whole articles and stored them in folders on my hard drives.  My collections soon became unmanageable.  However with the wealth of curation tools including Diigo and Scoop.it, I’m excited to begin using them to help organize my mass of information hoarding.  I’m excited to teach others to use these tools as well.  I didn’t understand their worth at first but see it now.  I’ve practically fallen in love with Scoop.it.  Its only real drawback is its limitation on the number of topics you can have.

Now for the best part of this course and what I enjoyed the most – the MOOC.  I didn’t know that these existed.   I love this idea.  I’m a lifelong learner.  I learn to learn and I don’t care what it is as long as it interests me and stimulates my brain.  MOOCs are awesome and I can’t wait to delve more into this fascinating area and possible even conduct a few.  I’d really love to take part in the one that I designed and others that I saw my peers start and design. I may not make an entire course into a MOOC, but I definitely will add aspects of MOOCs into my courses.

This entire semester, I’ve enjoyed the various social networking tools that we’ve used and the information about digital footprints.  It’s been a great course and I’ve loved every minute of it.  Social media and networking have such powerful sharing and community building platforms already in place.  It’s silly that mainstream education has not fully harnessed their power yet, however I see improvement and the road heading that way.

 

 


Personal Learning Environment Graphic and Reflection

October 29th, 2012 Comments off
PLE

My Personal Learning Environment

When I first sat down to complete this PLE graphic, I was a little overwhelmed. I’ve never really thought about how I go about learning. Even in a classroom, I didn’t think about how I learned, I just showed up and learned. As I pondered this, I realized that it doesn’t matter if I’m in a classroom or learning on my own, I go about it in the same way. I tend to have a starting point in which I always begin. Most of the time this is a simple Google search and at other times, I begin by asking someone I know that I know that knows more than me. Either way, once I begin, I tend to take rapid amounts of information in and let it all jumble together until something significant comes out. It’s controlled chaos. Often, what I end up learning only vaguely resembles what I intended to learn in the first place. For example, I wanted to know more about storyboards for my course that I’m designing for EDTECH 512. I searched and found some good information but them something caught my eye and before I knew it (and I’m not quite sure I could follow the path again) I was on a page for Leap Motion. Leap Motion is a small company that is pioneering a new type of input device for PCs and Macs that revolves round gestures in the air. It’s similar to the Xbox Kinnect but much more sensitive and advanced. This fascinated me and took up several hours or reading and watching videos. To make a long story short, my initial search for ideas about story boards led me to pre-ordering a new and exciting piece of tech. I spent a great deal of time learning through my various channels which included Wikipedia, Apple, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Google, Microsoft, and others.

This is how I learn. I follow the trails to what interests me. If what I set out to learn is important and I get sidetracked (which is quite often) then I eventually come back to it, but not until after I learned something else which usually captures my imagination or interest. I’m obsessive. When I decide to learn, I find as much information as possible and absorb it. None of it makes sense at first, but eventually, and at unexpected times, it all fits and makes sense.

This is chaos I guess. Like I said, I’ve never really analyzed it. I’ve always just done it and it’s always worked for me. Sure, I’m always pushing my due dates and deadlines because of my propensity to get side-tracked and even sometimes back-tracked, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps my thinking processes running even when I’m filling out the monotonous corporate paperwork (usually triple tracked rosters and reports) for my current batch of agents.

With all of that out of the way, I found that many of the online communities that I belong to are usually part of my search. I find useful information in wide range of places like Facebook and Twitter, Google and YouTube, Apple and Microsoft. I also find good places to get general information from Wikipedia, Google searches and believe it or not Siri. Corporate sites have some good information but can’t always be trusted to be unbiased. I tend to gravitate towards sites like Youtube, Voicethread, and WordPress. These sites are user generated and cannot always be relied upon, but they can also provide a wealth of information and eventually I learn who is accurate and who is not. Sites like Classroom 2.0 can house great ideas and information as well.

Basically, my PLE is the web. I use what is there and sift until I find what I need or until I understand. I’ve always been an independent learner and the web has made it even easier for me to continue in this process. I’ve found that the key is healthy skepticism. Just because someone sounds credible, if there is no corroboration of more trustworthy sites, then the information is probably not trustworthy.

Looking at my classmates PLEs I notice that many include the major social networking sites like Facebook Linkedin, and Twitter. This is good. This is how people connect. This is how people ask others for help and information when they can’t go to them in person. Email is used for this as well.

I noticed that many PLEs seem somewhat chaotic with arrows or lines going to and from every icon or community. This is natural. The learner is taken on a path that can have many different roads leading to the same goal. This is the web. Information is sent out and left to find it’s own way to it’s destination. This is also how the human brain functions. It’s no surprise that PLE operate this way as well. The brain is complex and learns what it needs to in any way that is efficient. I noticed that many of my classmates PLEs cluster sites together into different groupings like personal, professional, and academic. MIne does this as well. Certain sites are given more credibility based upon their function and reason for existence. I put more credibility into information that comes from BSUs website than I do for information that comes from a random WordPress blog. However if that blog is a blog that I’ve read often and for a while, I can get a sense of the level of credibility.

All of the representations of PLEs are similar in that they represent where we all get our information from. Many include other people in their environment and this is natural. Others have been a source of learning since the beginning of time. Many include social sites and search sites. This is how we start our learning quest. They differ somewhat in the sense that not all have the same sites. There are commonalities but not any two contain all of the same sites and communities.

We are all different and we all learn differently. For some it is a very logical, step by step, process. For others it is a iterative and circular process. The PLEs exemplify this. We all are different and all learn differently, but we share commonalities. It’s natural for our PLEs differ as well, but share similarities.

 


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.

 

 


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.

 


ID Concept Map

December 1st, 2011 Comments off

ID_Concept_Map

I created a concept map based upon different Instructional Design Models.

ID Concept Map

I chose the Heinich, Molenda, Russell and Smaldino Model (ASSURE) because it is what I did for every unit and daily lesson while teaching. It is what I am more familiar with.

I chose the Newby, Stepich, Lehman and Russell Model because of its relation to ASSURE. They follow the same basic principles. This model is just a bit more simplified in labeling.

I chose the Smith and Ragan Model because I liked it. It is something that I want to implement more often during design and planning. It seems like a good model. With this model, the implementation phase present in the previous two models seems to be implied rather than expressed.

Finally, I chose the Dick, Carey, and Carey model due to its depth of coverage of what is needed to be done during design. I find it interesting that this model also seems to imply implementation as well.

Standards Addressed

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 Case Study – Spring Wells High School

November 30th, 2011 Comments off

For this project, I read a case study about Spring Wells High School and responded to the following questions.

Suzanne Garner – Spring Wells High School Case Study

1.)  Describe the range of critical needs facing Spring Wells High School at this time.

Currently, Sprint Wells High School is facing some daunting and frustrating challenges.  They have one year left to bring 100% of their staff with a novice certification and 75% of their staff at practitioner certification.  They currently only have 75% of staff at novice practitioner certification and 40% at practitioner certification.  If they fail to achieve the goals, then their state technology funding will be forfeited.  For Suzanne Garner and teachers like Sandy Green, this is unacceptable.  Sandy Green uses computers nearly every day in her science classroom and has for the past 15 years.  Without the technology funding, maintenance and upgrades to the computer equipment cannot be performed.

Additionally, the school has been designated as “in emergency” for low test scores.  The school had two years to improve this status to “continuous improvement” by improving test scores.  The school is already in the second year and while test scores did rise by 6%, it was not enough to earn the designation “continuous improvement.”  If they fail to raise the designation the state will step in and decide on such matters as budget and educational changes.

The stakes are very high for Spring Wells High School.  They need to implement change in both areas to avoid losing funds and / or control of the budget and school.

2.)  Identify the available resources and existing constraints that apply in this case.

The school has many computers available to them to use in technology training as well as courses and programs designed to improve test scores.  For the past three years, Spring Wells has been receiving funding from the SchoolTech Equity Funding from the state.  The school has also been granted $20,000 to “improve teacher skills and knowledge in providing new environments for learning” from the Teacher Professional Development Grant Fund (Franklin).   Suzanne Gardner had, in previous years, offered after school workshops to get teachers and staff certified, however, many teachers did not attend stating that they were too busy to do it after school.

While the school has ample computers on hand, many teachers either do not know how to use them or include them in their classrooms, or they refuse to use them.  Teachers like Phil Nelson doesn’t believe in technology in the classroom and nearly refuses to participate in the workshops designed to bring him to at least novice certification.  Phil is probably not the only one with this mindset.

3.) Describe a plan for meeting the needs identified in question 1.

Basically, student test scores need to improve and teacher familiarity and certification rates with computers have to increase or the school will lose funding and control of budgets and educational decisions.  Both of these outcomes are not acceptable.

Some of the additional $20,000 in funding to provide some workshops those teachers could attend.  These workshops would be held during school hours and on an in-service day.  The workshops would be mandatory in this setting and teachers would be free from classroom work for the day in order to attend.  During the workshops, various activities could be implemented that show the potential for motivation that technology provides to students.   The workshops could also cover internet safety and resources for teachers to implement use of the internet in the classroom.

The workshops will be held at the beginning of the year so that teachers can implement technology into their lessons and units so that the benefits to the students can be maximized.

Some of the funding will be used to purchase a content filter service that will help to ensure that students are not only safe while online, but not viewing inappropriate content, or participating in activities that detract from the educational goals of the various lessons and activities.

Some of the funding will also be used to educate teachers and other staff that are responsible for the computers to maintain the machines that they control.  Proper maintenance is essential for error-free computing.

There is already a proficiency template in place to measure current classroom curriculum as it aligns with state standards.  The template is designed to identify areas and standards that are not being addressed.  Some funding should be used to teach teachers how to use this tool and why it is important.  Emphasis should be placed on the benefits of knowing what areas are lacking and what areas may be being covered too much.

With a more positive attitude towards technology, teachers will include it in their lessons, activities, and classroom more and more often which will lead to higher student motivation and interest.  If the students are interested more, then they will learn more and rising test scores should correlate with increased motivation and learning.

4.)  Specify the steps required for implementing the plan you developed in question 3, keeping in mind the resources and constraints present in the case.

A needs analysis has to be done to determine what types of workshops to offer. An assessment tool has to be developed to determine if the teachers and staff have achieved the desired proficiency.  This tool may already be in place with the novice / practitioner / expert certification guidelines.  Pre-assessments should be conducted and preliminary surveys as well so that Suzanne Gardner can properly design workshops that will be informative and motivating so that teachers will bring more technology into their classroom.  Each teacher should use the proficiency template to determine the areas that their curriculum needs improvement or new content and adjust accordingly by implementing technological tools and computers into the lessons.  A needs assessment should be conducted to determine current levels of technological expertise in order to develop guides and procedures for regular computer maintenance.  With the addition of all of these factors, student achievement and test scores should rise.  An assessment of student skill levels should be conducted as well and the post assessment should be administered regularly possibly in the form of MAPS testing or something like it three times yearly.  This gives teachers the ability to determine if what they are doing is helping and what students or areas need more work.

5.)  What are the ethical issues related to the use of funding for assessment and curriculum alignment when the grant was originally written for technology professional development?  

The money was granted to the school to use for professional teacher development in the areas of technology.  While, I can understand the desire to use the funding to help raise test scores, it is not ethical and, depending on the grant, could result in losing further grant monies but possibly needing to repay the current grant.

It is also worth noting that if teacher’s certification rates are not improved, other monies from the state could be lost.

It is clear.  The grant money should be used as it was intended for—to provide professional development opportunities for teachers in the field of technology.  If the money is properly used for this purpose, school test scores will rise as a result.  Now, there is nothing saying that that the money and programs funded by the grant money cannot be used quickly.

 

Standards Addressed

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.

 


Reading Quiz

November 29th, 2011 Comments off

This was a fun assignment in which I had to demonstrate my understanding of the readings with a presentation that used my creativity to explain the concepts in my own words.  I used Google Slides to Create the presentation and then saved it into PDF format.

Reading Quiz

Standards Addressed

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.

 


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.

 

 


Tech Use Plan (Draft)

December 28th, 2010 Comments off

This was a final project for EDTECH 501 – Introduction to Educational Technology. I created a presentation that I, as a technology coordinator, could present to my current school district. It does not include the actual plan as that is a long process, but it includes the framework and initial focus points.

Originally, this project was created using a combination of Microsoft PowerPoint and VoiceThread. I have exported the project into several formats below.

PDF
PowerPoint
MOV-HQ
MP$4-MOB

 

 

 

 

 

Watch at VoiceThread.com

 

If you have flash enabled you can watch the embedded version below.

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