Short Description of my ID project
After ninety minutes of classroom instruction, ninth and tenth grade English Literature students will be introduced to Google Docs presentation and collaboration tools to use for their group presentation on a poet.
Instructional design experts agree that careful front-end analysis is critical to the overall success of the program being designed. In a lecture on front-end analysis, Dr. Ross Perkins stated in a 2009 lecture, “We do a careful analysis of performance, needs, and job tasks up front so that we are able to describe–as accurately as possible–the goal we must meet. It is said that those who aim at nothing hit it with 100% accuracy. The front-end analysis gives clarity to the needs–or the gap–and the designer then knows exactly which bridge (or bridges) to build.” Our text states that while many may begrudge the time investment that such analysis takes, it actually saves time, cost, and frustration in the end (Smith & Ragan, 2004, p. 42). For technology integration projects, it is important to look at what the problem is and whether technology can help solve the problem. For example, Elliot Saloway from the University of Michegan asked in a 1999 lecture, “How can we use technology in a new way to help kids read and write? When they publish online what they write, they write more and they write better. They need an audience. What are the opportunities of technology to address age-old problems?” I will base my needs assessment upon these principles.
My project easily fits within Condition B, as students will learn something new in order to be more proficient in online presentation and collaboration skills (Smith & Ragan, 2004, p. 44). Prior to now, students have been doing group poet presentations using poster board and markers. This year posters have been banned and students are required to use PowerPoint. Students lack the ability to produce professional–or even adequate–presentations. Next year, they will migrate to Google Docs presentation tools, as they are a more practical and feasible fit. Google Docs also works seamlessly with PowerPoint, so students essentially still learn the backbone of PowerPoint or any other presentation software. Online collaboration, an essential 21st-century skill, would eliminate geographic limitations, and an Internet-based platform would serve students who have limited software capability. I plan to develop a survey for the students to assess both instructional needs and the learning environment. Even though the actual students participating will be different that the students polled, the information gathered will still be representative and useful.
The school I plan to implement this program in is a charter school with relatively small class sizes. Students come from all over the valley, which makes in-person collaboration difficult. The classroom has a teacher computer with Internet access and is connected to a projector. Some students are low income and do not have personal computers at home and need to use library or school computers. The school uses very little technology but is trying to integrate more. Teachers are encouraged to embrace technology and implement it as much as they can into their curriculum. Hopefully funding will be adjusted in coming years to allow for technological improvements. The culture of the school is rigorous, with high values and moral expectations.
Our text notes that “a common error resulting from failure to analyze the characteristics of an audience is assuming that all learners are alike” (Smith & Ragan, p. 58). Certainly this would apply to the ninth and tenth grade students in my target classes. There are many learner characteristics that may affect the instruction design of the instruction. I will choose to focus on three:
Specific prior knowledge (Cognitive)
What do these students already know? Through detailed assessment I will determine what skills these students already have, since “the more designers know about the relevant knowledge and skills that the learners already have, the more effective and efficient they can make the instruction” (Smith & Ragan, 2004, p. 69)
Motivation to learn (Affective)
Are these students motivated to learn a new technology? Do they see the value in it? Can a connection be made to something they are interested in? Would they like to see more technology implemented in their school and classroom?
Relationships to peers (Social)
Do they enjoy working in a group or would they prefer to work alone? Do they see the value in collaboration, even if they don’t enjoy it?
- How tech-savvy would you say you are? (Expert to novice scale)
- Do your friends ever ask you for help with a computer question?
- Have you ever used PowerPoint? What is your level of comfort with it? (Scale of 1 to 10)
- Have you completed a PowerPoint presentation that you shared in front of a group of people?
- If yes, did any slide have photos, video, or sound?
- Do you have a Google account? If not, do you have any public email account like Yahoo or Hotmail?
- Have you ever used Google docs? If so, what features have you used? (Sample of features)
- Have you ever shared a Google doc either publicly or with a friend?
- Do you have a computer you can use at home? Does it have access to the Internet?
- If not, do you have a computer you can use, either at a public library, friend’s house, or school?
- Do you want to learn more about technology than you already know?
- Do you wish your teacher used technology more in the classroom? If so, how? If not, why?
- Do you prefer working in a group or by yourself? Why?
- Why do you think your teacher has this assignment be a group project?
- Are you interested in poetry? In your poet specifically?
- If you could learn a new technology to use for your poet presentation, would it make the assignment more interesting? Why or why not?
Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2004). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Wiley.