Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Short Description of my ID project:
  After three hours 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.

Learning Objectives:

1.0    Students can…
1.1    explain three common attributes of electronic presentations
1.2    discuss three benefits of using electronic presentations in the classroom
2.0    Students can…
2.1    summarize what Google Docs is
2.2    identify three types of files that can be created or uploaded to Google Docs
2.3    discuss two benefits of online collaboration
2.4    create an acceptable Google username and password
2.5    successfully login to Google Docs in the browser of their choice
3.0    Once logged into Google Docs, students can…
3.1    create a new presentation
3.2    name the presentation
3.3    select a theme from a list of theme choices
3.4    share the presentation with their partner
3.5    view their Google Docs home page documents and make sure the new
presentation is listed
4.0    Within the presentation and in collaboration with their partner, students can…
4.1    create new slides in the following formats: title, title and body, title and two
columns, title only, caption, and blank
4.2    add hyperlinks that work
4.3    add a timeline of their poet’s life
4.4    add sample poems from their poet
4.5    attach handout for class
5.0    Students can select appropriate images for their presentation that…
5.1    are properly attributed
5.2    include at least one Google stock photo
5.3    include at least one photo from Flickr with Creative Commons license
6.0    For each slide, students can…
6.1    add transitions between slides
6.2    add one object animation
6.3    write speaker notes for use during presentation
7.0    In keeping with good design principles discussed in class, for each completed slide
students will…
7.1    evaluate whether good design principles are met
7.2    determine if appropriate font size is used
7.3    examine text, background colors, and overall readability
7.4    distinguish if layout and overall design is professional
7.5    defend why they chose the graphics and layout they did
8.0    Students can successfully…
8.1    start the presentation
8.2    advance to the next and previous slides using arrow keys, the space bar, and
remote
9.0    Students can…
9.1    successfully save their presentation in the class shared folder within Google Docs
9.2    differentiate between sharing options of public, private, and anyone with the link
10.0    With their partner, students will present their Google Docs presentation in front of
the class using good verbal presentation guidelines discussed in class

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Relative Advantage of using Spreadsheets and Databases in Education

Click here: My complete spreadsheet lesson, lesson plan, and supporting documents

Overview
It’s almost impossible to imagine a world before word processing. Software such as Microsoft Word saves time and effort of handwriting, typewriting, and correcting documents. Spreadsheet and database software works much the same miracle with numbers. If you have a career in finance or marketing, you likely use Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access on a daily basis. If you are like the rest of us, however, you probably use these programs only occasionally to balance the budget or organize Christmas card mailings.

In the classroom, spreadsheet and database use among all age groups is thriving as there are endless possibilities to support project-based learning. Some teachers use them seamlessly and well for instruction and projects; others use them merely as productivity tools for things like grade-books or attendance. As with any technology tool, if used wisely spreadsheet and database software can be powerful and versatile tools for learning.

While both spreadsheets and databases deal with numbers and data analysis, each is unique in its function and purpose.

Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are designed to organize and manipulate numerical data, a term that stems from an accountants ledger for keeping records (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). They have several unique benefits in the classroom as outlined in the text (Roblyer & Doering, 2012, p. 122):

  • Save time: allow teachers to complete and update essential calculations quickly (e.g. grades)
  • Organize displays of information: store information in columns (e.g. schedules, attendance)
  • Support asking “what if” questions: students can visualize the impact of changes in numbers (e.g. charts and graphs)
  • Increase motivation to work with mathematics: can make working with numbers more fun and engaging for students

Databases
According to Webopedia.com, databases are “an electronic filing system, a collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data.”  While most of us do not create databases, we all use and access database information. Most websites are fed information from databases, such as Amazon, ZIP code lookup, or hotel reservation systems. Teachers can help students access complex information and turn it into an effective learning experience.

Integration Strategies for Spreadsheets
Roblyer and Doering (2012, p. 125-126) outline several ideas on how to use spreadsheets with students:

  • Visual teaching demonstrations: use concrete representations like graphic illustrations to clarify abstract numerical concepts
  • Support for student products: create timelines, graphs, charts, and other graphical displays of data
  • Support mathematical problem solving: takes over mundane calculations so students can focus on higher order “what if”  and problem-solving skills
  • Store and analyze data: students can keep track of data from surveys and experiments and perform analysis
  • Project grades: help students keep track of their own grades and answer “what if” scenarios

Ideas for Database Integration
Databases can be mined for information and analyzed among all content areas in ways such as these:

  • Students can research and classify several countries to determine which are more developed and what factors contribute
  • Students can analyze census data over several decades to determine socioeconomic factors and outcomes
  • Students can compare and contrast world countries or states using a variety of factors to determine the “perfect” country
  • Students can analyze financial databases to assist in accounting, statistics, and cash flow projects

Supporting Research
While “spreadsheets are widely believed to help students visualize numeric concepts better than other, nondynamic tools, few studies have attempted to capture their comparative impact on achievement” (Roblyer & Doering, 2012, p. 125). Studies have shown that spreadsheets can be useful tools and teachers who use them believe they help students better understand the concepts behind statistical data (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). Abramovich and Nabors (1997) found that when seventh grade students used spreadsheet-based manipulatives and numeric approaches to a variety of word problems, they generated new meanings. Uses of spreadsheets are often used in math and science classrooms, but increasingly teachers use them to span all content areas including social studies and language arts. We’re not there yet, however, for “despite its rising popularity, the spreadsheet has still a long way to go before becoming a universal tool for teaching and learning, and many opportunities for its application have yet to be explored” (Baker & Sugden, 2003, p. 1)

Even back in 1990, one study focused on the benefits of increased database usage for effective instruction among social studies teachers, particularly in problem-solving skills (Ehman). Another study showed how business schools would do well to integrate more database skills for financial analysis, as “students find the standard textbook approach to it stale and unexciting” (Maher, Schooley, & Fry, 2001, p. 144). Many databases are available for free online, while others are accessible through a school library.

Additional Resources
Using Spreadsheets in K-12 classrooms: an excellent resource with links to interactive data, student and teacher examples, and online lessons
Technology-supported lessons plans: organized by content area, these lesson plans integrate word processing, spreadsheets, and databases
10 Google forms for the classroom: productivity and project ideas for teachers
LT Technologies: spreadsheet resources, lessons, and tutorials
teAchnology: Using computer databases in the classroom
Primaryschool: A list of online databases, lessons, and tutorials for use in elementary schools

References
Abramovich, S., & Nabors, W. (1997). Spreadsheets as generators of new meanings in middle school algebra. Computers in the Schools, 13(1-2), 13–25. doi:10.1300/J025v13n01_03

Baker, J., & Sugden, S. (2007). Spreadsheets in education–The first 25 years. Spreadsheets in Education (eJSiE), 1(1). Retrieved from http://epublications.bond.edu.au/ejsie/vol1/iss1/2

database. (n.d.).Webopedia. Retrieved from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/database.html

Ehman, L. H., & And Others. (1990). Using computer databases in student problem solving: A study of eight social studies teachers’ classes. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED327465

Maher, M., Schooley, D. K., & Fry, P. (2001). Classroom financial analysis with electronic databases. Journal of Education for Business, 76(3), 144.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

Click here: My complete spreadsheet lesson, lesson plan, and supporting documents

In defense of PowerPoint: Using multimedia presentations effectively in the classroom

Overview
Say PowerPoint to any audience and you’ll likely hear a few groans. We’ve all been there: a presenter gets up in the front of the room, turns on the screen, and the dreaded slides appear. Within seconds, we either tune in or out. Good design might stand a chance. Bad design, well, we’re gone. It almost doesn’t matter what the presenter says, if the PowerPoint is boring, we won’t listen.

Perhaps there were days when the novelty of PowerPoint presentations were enough to engage an audience or classroom. Flashy, animated clip art on the screen was not something we saw every day and it held our interest. Those days are long gone. PowerPoint presentations, which have become almost synonymous with presentation software in general, have received such a bad wrap (does “death by PowerPoint” sound familiar?) that some people dismiss presentations as a teaching tool altogether.

What went wrong?
In short, it’s not PowerPoint itself. In fact, as a software tool, PowerPoint is stronger than ever, along with competitors like Keynote, Google Docs presentations, VoiceThread, and SlideShare. The software hasn’t failed; the presenter has. If used well, presentations can be a powerful tool in the classroom by both students and teachers. Used poorly and, well, don’t even bother.

Looking back
Presentation software initially took the place of a slide projector, where slides were arranged on a screen instead of in a tray. Used mostly for business training, presentations provided visual support to presenters, a way to show pictures, text, charts, and graphics on the screen. Slides were generally presented in a very linear way, with the presenter clicking from one slide to the next (Roblyer & Doering, 2012)

Today
Recently added features have equipped today’s presentation software with hypermedia capabilities that allow a more dynamic experience. Through hot spots users can click on hyperlinks to jump to other slides, other presentations, or even websites. Video and sound can be creatively embedded within slides (Roblyer & Doering, 2012).

Why use presentations?
Roblyer and Doering give three reasons teachers should use presentations as a “complex, multipurpose classroom tool” (2012, p. 128):

  • Presentations help teachers organize their thinking on a subject. A teacher must think through what he or she will say and in what order, essentially planning the perfect delivery of a lesson. They also help with sequencing and breaking large concepts into smaller parts. Additionally, using multimedia presentation software “provides an avenue by which students can learn through the act of organizing information” (Siegle & Foster, 2000, p. 3).
  • Presentations, when done well, enhance and support what the teacher says, especially when appropriate hypermedia tools like graphics, images, and sound are incorporated. Presentations also engage children who have various cognitive learning styles. “Cognitive principles suggest that a coherent blend of verbal-visual material boosts retention of scientific concepts beyond the level attained by verbal summary alone” (Marek & Christopher, 2002, p. 70).
  • Presentations allow students to practice collaborative skills, especially through sites likes SlideShare or Google Docs presentations. Students can work together online simultaneously.

Supporting Research
Researchers have studied presentation technology for years, and they “have looked at its impact on both educational processes and outcomes” (Roblyer & Doering, 2012, p. 128). While students generally respond more positively to presentation-enhanced instruction, the impact largely depends on how teachers use such tools (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). One study by Siegle and Foster (2000) showed that using multimedia presentations helped boost student biology achievement scores.  Additionally, and these were strong benefits found back in 2000, presentations can help students be active not passive learners, develop research skills, encourage cooperative learning and problem solving, and engage in more meaningful learning (Siegle & Foster, 2000). Teachers who model well the use of technology for presenting also help train students in the application of such technology (Marek & Christopher, 2002). Solid research indicates that teachers should not discount presentations as a potentially effective tool for learning.

Ideas
The following ideas from Roblyer and Doering (2012) show effective uses of presentation software:

  • Presentation of information summaries: when trying to focus student attention or guide note-taking
  • Demonstrations of materials for discussion: electrical circuits, diagrams, or types of animals
  • Presentation of illustrative problems and solutions: chemistry and mathematical problems
  • Practice screens: spelling and vocabulary review, states and capitols, etc.
  • Assessment screens: pictures of animals or instruments, essay prompts
  • Brief tutorials: reviews of simple concepts like grammar or how-to procedures
  • Book reports: teachers can provide templates for students to fill in missing information
  • Student presentations of project work: a powerful strategy where students create individual or small-group projects and become experts of content by later presenting their work to the class

Tips for better presentations:
Life after Death by PowerPoint: A great presentation on what NOT to do
Death by PowerPoint and how to fight it: Presentation tips on keeping your audience engaged
teAchnology: Good and bad uses of presentations for teachers
PowerPoint in the Classroom: A fun tutorial for students on creating presentations

References:
Marek, P., Christopher, A. N., & Koenig, C. S. (2002). Applying technology to facilitate poster presentations. Teaching of Psychology, 29(1), 70-72.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

Siegle, D., & Foster, T. (2000). Effects of laptop computers with multimedia and presentation software on student achievement. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED442465

Learning Task Analysis

Short Description of my ID project:
 After three hours 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.

Learning goal: After three hours of classroom instruction, ninth and tenth grade English Literature students will be able to create, publish, and present a
multimedia Google Docs presentation on an assigned poet.

Type of learning: This goal falls under Robert M. Gagné’s description of “intellectual skills” because the students will learn procedural knowledge and then apply that knowledge to a new experience not encountered during instruction (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 80). At the end of instruction, students will know how to do something they didn’t know before, in this case create, publish, and present an online presentation using Google Docs presentation. While the instructor may show examples and instructions during class, each student will need to synthesize that information and create his or her own presentation. No two presentations will be alike, either in design or content.

Learning objectives:

1.  Students can…

  • identify three common attributes of electronic presentations
  • discuss three benefits of using electronic presentations in the classroom

2.  Students can…

  • summarize what Google Docs is
  • identify three types of files that can be created or uploaded to Google Docs
  • recognize two benefits of online collaboration
  • create an acceptable Google username and password
  • successfully login to Google Docs in the browser of their choice

3.  Once logged into Google Docs, students can…

  • create a new presentation
  • assign the presentation a title
  • select a theme from a list of theme choices
  • share the presentation with their partner
  • check the list of documents on their Google Docs home page and make sure the new presentation is listed

4.  Within the presentation and in collaboration with their partner, students can…

  • create new slides inthe following formats: title, title and body, title and two columns, title only, caption, and blank
  • add hyperlinks that work
  • add a timeline of their poet’s life
  • add sample poems from their poet
  • attach handout for class

5.  Students can select appropriate images for their presentation that…

  • are properly attributed
  • include at least one Google stock photo
  • include at least one photo from Flickr with Creative Commons license

6.  For each slide, students can…

  • add transitions between slides
  • add one object animation
  • write speaker notes for use during presentation

7.  In keeping with good design principles discussed in class, for each completed slide students will…

  • evaluate whether good design principles are met
  • determine if appropriate font size is used
  • examine text, background colors, and overall readability
  • distinguish if layout and overall design is professional
  • explain why they chose the graphics and layout they did

8.  Students can successfully…

  • start the presentation
  • advance to the next and previous slides using arrow keys, space bar, and remote

9.  Students can…

  • save their presentation in the class shared folder within Google Docs
  • differentiate between sharing options of public, private, and anyone with the link

10.  With their partner, students will present their Google Docs presentation in front of the class using good verbal presentation guidelines discussed in class

References:
Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Instructional Design Concept Map of ID Models

This week’s assignment for EdTech 503 stretched me in all directions, literally. While I am vaguely familiar with concept maps, this pushed my understanding to a new level. I created a concept map synthesizing four different instructional design models. Reading in depth about multiple models was challenging; trying to represent some of them on paper in visual form was nearly impossible. I used Google Docs drawing tools and ultimately did the best I could to represent extremely detailed and complicated information. I chose to highlight these four models:

  • Heinich, Molenda, Russell, Smaldino – a great model for practical, everyday use by teachers in a classroom setting
  • Seels and Glasgow – a project-based model designed for developers that helps in the adoption and distribution of products
  • Nieveen – a project-based model designed for curriculum development and schools, offering support both to the teacher and learner
  • Smith & Ragan – a systems model in simplest terms for a highly trained team designing an entire course or curriculum

Part of the assignment was to link each node, or concept, to a part of the ADDIE process (analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation). Due to such limited space, and in order to not clutter my original, I chose to create a separate map highlighting these links. Click on either image to open them directly to Google Docs.

In short, what I gained, from this assignment is that there are numerous models that an instructional designer may choose from, and he/she must choose the best one to fit the task at hand. It is very easy to become overwhelmed by the complexity of the model itself and lose sight of the overall picture: to create an effective learning experience for the learner. Instructional design is far more complicated and time consuming that I ever imagined, and I look forward to learning more in this course to help break it down into manageable chunks that can yield results.

Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

Teachers have a responsibility to equip their students with knowledge that will prove useful throughout the course of their lives. Current methods should be examined and a teacher must determine if goals are being met and what might be adjusted in order to achieve more. Numerous technology tools are available–even to those with limited resources–that can greatly enhance student experience. Research shows that when teachers wisely evaluate, select, and implement instructional software in the classroom, student achievement, retention, and motivation increases. Students also gain valuable 21st-Century skills that help equip them to be lifelong learners.

I created this presentation for a group of English teachers here in Nepal. I outline advantages of integrating instructional software that will help students enhance and practice their English skills in ways not possible through traditional exercises. Most of the resources I’ve listed are free and accessible online from anywhere. While students do not have computer access at home, they can use cyber cafes around town to practice emerging language skills through drills and tutorials. Teachers can also use their computer in the classroom for group role-playing, vocabulary drills, educational games, and pronunciation guides. I think they would see maximum benefit for minimal effort.

Instructional Design Slideshow Overview

Instructional Design Slideshow

This assignment is actually a reading quiz on several chapters and articles. I am posting it here because I feel this is a good example of how a teacher can assess in a creative way that enables students to stretch in ways much broader than a standard assessment might do. I created a Google Docs presentation that included 21 slides with specific topics on each one. It was called a “post card” quiz because one slide would be a photo, and the next slide (like flipping over the post card) would include the content from our readings. To take it even a step further and to test my deeper understanding, the photo had to be a metaphor of the topic, not a 1:1 correlation. So, for example, when talking about systematic models, I showed a picture of a haphazardly wired telephone pole here in Nepal that demonstrated lack of order or planning.

I like Google Docs, even though the applications are rather basic. It provides students with an open-source option that can be accessed or edited from anywhere, while still providing sufficient practice with a software-specific platform. Since I like more design options than what is offered, I imported slides I created in Keynote for more visual appeal. The result is a product that took a long time but truly tested my reading knowledge in a much more interesting – and lasting – way than a standard written assessment would have.

Computer Networking Overview

I like the practical application of computers and technology, which is why I’m studying Educational Technology and IT systems administration. Generally, I am not interested in specific technical details of how a computer works or how a network is configured. I leave that to the IT engineers. While I have a basic understanding of things like routers, LAN networks, and wi-fi, I really only care about the network or computer hardware when something goes wrong. In those instances I wish I knew more about how it all comes together so that I could better fix it or at least know intelligent questions to ask.

For this week’s assignment in EdTech 541 I dove into networking like I never had before. I read numerous articles online and brushed up on computer terminology. I  learned about LAN and WAN networks, protocols, platforms, infrastructure, topologies, media types, hubs, nodes, links, Ethernet, bandwidth, switches, and DCHP/DNS servers. I dug deep and immersed with a sound understanding of the overall networking picture. Sure, I won’t be a systems engineer anytime soon — and still don’t want to be — but I do have a greater appreciation for all of the moving pieces that make my computer do what I want it to do.

I also had a wonderful visit with a few key IT players at my children’s school. To protect privacy and security, I have not named the school nor the individuals who proved so helpful to me, but from them I was able to take what I had read and studied and see its practical application. I saw switches, routers, servers, Ethernet and fiber optic cables. I saw how the school network is designed and what some of its strengths and weaknesses are. It was a very enlightening exercise and one that I found very beneficial.

I chose to share what I learned in a Prezi because of its graphic appeal. My intended audience is the school faculty to help them gain a better idea of how the school’s network is designed and how it affects them. Since most find this information rather unenlightening, I wanted to jazz it up a little by at least making it graphically appealing. It will be most effective if the presenter adds his/her own voice-over throughout the presentation.