Instructional Design Analysis

Module 2 ID to learner.001

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.

Introduction:
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.

Analysis:
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?

Sample Questions:

  • 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?

References:
Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2004). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Relative Advantage Chart

If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it

This adage applies well to teachers and the use of technology. If a teacher wants to implement a new technology tool in the classroom, he/she must first determine if the students really need it. Basically, if the students are already learning what they need to and are achieving the desired outcome, then there is no need to make a change. However, if there is a need and a particular technology tool can help meet that need with an expected outcome, then it is advantageous to use that tool. Such factors are often charted in a relative advantage chart.

I designed the chart below for the students I volunteer teach: teenagers who are learning English. I teach computer skills and expose them to various technology tools. I write my own goals and objectives, as there is no set curriculum. Hence, I developed these ten learning problems based on my observations of them in class and the expected outcomes if they use these technology tools.

Link directly to Google document

Vision Statement

While the Declaration of Independence does not list “digital equality” as a basic human right, it is widely accepted today that in order to excel in the 21st century, one must have a certain level of digital fluency. The corollary is also true, that if one does not maintain a certain degree of digital connectivity and skills, he or she is less advantaged than those who do. This advantage or disadvantage applies to both education and the workplace, to developed and developing countries throughout the world.

Schools have both the opportunity and responsibility to teach students not only curriculum but life skills that will prepare them for their futures. This knowledge goes far beyond basic reading, writing, and arithmetic that may have sufficed years ago. Schools must also teach technology life skills that expose students to multimedia, life management, organization, collaboration, research, and other digital academic tools that will enrich their education and make them more competitive in their respective careers.

Teachers must seamlessly integrate various technology tools in the classroom. This technology can be anything from computers, DVD’s, iPads, interactive white boards, smart phones, software, Internet, document scanners, electronic music devices, to digital film and movie cameras. Edutopia states that the use of such technology tools must be “routine and transparent. Technology integration is achieved when a child or a teacher doesn’t stop to think that he or she is using a computer or researching via the Internet.”

The 2010 National Education Technology Plan Executive Summary calls for a “revolutionary transformation” (pg. 7) and that no matter whether the subject is English language arts, math, science, social studies, history, art or music, 21st-century competencies such as complex problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and multimedia communication should be woven throughout. Such competencies are necessary if students are to become expert learners and be able to adapt to the rapidly changing world throughout their lives (pg. 9).

Support Technology Integration in the Classroom:

Students
Real-world tools will create learning opportunities that allow students to grapple with real-world problems. This will give students opportunities that will prepare them to be more productive members of a globally competitive workforce (NETP, 2010, pg. 9). Students should take advantage of every opportunity to learn a new skill and gain exposure to various multimedia and digital tools available to them online and in the classroom.

Teachers
Technology-based assessments that combine cognitive skills with multimedia, interactivity, and connectivity will make it more feasible to directly assess these types of skills (NETP, 2010, pg. 9). While technology will (and should) never replace a great teacher, it will help teachers meet the individual needs of their students. Teachers should be given time, financial support, and professional development training to engage students by using current educational technology tools.

Parents
Parents should do everything within their power to make technology tools available to their children, realizing that by so doing they are greatly contributing to their child’s education. At the very least, this includes having a computer with Internet access in the home, or if financially unable, providing a way for students to use library, school, or other community resources. Parents should make every effort to learn basic technology skills themselves so as to be a resource and support for their children.

It will take an ongoing national team effort of administrators, policy makers, computer developers, corporations, districts, and local and federal governments to improve our children’s education. Using the best that technology has to offer in the classroom is a great start.

Success stories:

References:

Edutopia. (n.d.). What is technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

U.S. Department of Education. (2010) National Education Technology Plan 2010 Executive Summary. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010

Initial Thoughts on Instructional Design

I have experience in graphic design, so for me the word design is both a verb and a noun. To design something is to conceive, organize, plan, envision, and dream up a product. It involves taking the end goal and abstractly creating a way of getting there. It is the process of actually putting those ideas on paper, so to speak, by whatever means is needed. As a noun, the design refers to how a product looks, its aesthetic appeal, its layout. Products may be anything from a brochure to a website, a business card to a brand identity.

While I am not an experienced instructional designer, or even a certified educator,  I have unknowingly used ID principles for years. Instructional design applies the above-mentioned principles to instruction. This instruction includes helping students, employees, or consumers reach specific objectives through the completion of the designed instruction.

Adding systematic in front enhances its meaning by providing a framework for the design. Hence, systematic instructional design is a model, method, system, or process for achieving optimal results.

Most recently I have had the opportunity to work with a program here in Nepal that helps teach English to motivated underprivileged teenagers. I received a grant to travel to outlying areas to expose students and their teachers to various technology tools that can enhance their learning and teaching. This has been an immensely challenging and rewarding responsibility. I was given no guidelines, no requirements to follow — only classes full of exceptionally motivated and willing learners. The majority of the students have never used a computer before in their lives, and I had a wonderful (but daunting) blank slate to start with.

Since I am not a trained educator, I have not written many lesson plans or designed instruction to this extent. For me the process involved starting at the end: what did I want these students to gain from my being there? What did I want them to learn, to take away from our short time together? Since I only had three hours with each class, and was not able to provide ongoing follow-up and support, I had to design an experience that would be useful and worthwhile for them in the short time we had together.

I have recorded my experiences here on my Learning Log, and have learned a lot from my mistakes along the way. As a result, each new class is better than the last. I have redesigned as I’ve gone along, often starting over completely, and have factored in what has and has not went well. I completely agree that “when applying instructional systems design to an instructional technology initiative in a developing country, it is important to keep in mind that the design process never takes place in a vacuum” (Arias & Clark, 1970, p. 52). There are so many other factors to consider, such as access, electricity, cultural norms, infrastructure, and so on. As such, instructional designers need to be “appropriately prepared to work with the unique challenges found in those environments” (Arias & Clark, 1970, p. 53). I have a unique opportunity to work with these students, and I hope the ID principles I learn in this course will support me in my effort.

Without being an expert yet in either field, I can clearly see the relationship between Instructional Design and Educational Technology. While it’s not a perfect analogy, I see Instructional Design as a toolbox and Educational Technology as one of those tools. Robert A. Reiser states, “Professionals in the field of instructional design and technology often use systematic instructional design procedures and employ a variety of instructional media to accomplish their goals” (2001, p. 57).

Educational Technology is generally the application of technology, the instructional media Reiser referred to, in a K-12 or higher education classroom setting. Instructional Design reaches further than educational environments. It is used in virtually every line of work from corporations to governments.

I like learning both Instructional Design and Educational Technology, and I feel that together they are powerful tools that will build powerful outcomes.

Short Description of my ID project
After ninety minutes of classroom instruction, ninth and tenth grade English Literature students will be introduced to five online multimedia presentation tools and choose one to use for their group presentation on a poet.

References:
Arias, S., & Clark, K. A. (1970). Instructional technologies in developing countries: A contextual analysis approach. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 48(4), 52-55.

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part II: A history of instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(2), 57-67. doi:10.1007/BF02504928