Sunday, February 28, 2016

Questions for a School Media Specialist

1. What are the basic technological skills that teachers are expected to have mastered before starting their career?

2. How can I best market my Ed. Tech. minor when applying for jobs?

3. In what ways can a School Media Specialist support teachers?

4. Are teachers trained to use technology when they are hired?

5. What are some easy ways to integrate technology into the classroom on a daily basis?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Project-Based Approaches

INTEL Module 2 (Project Design)

  • Step 1: Determine goals
  • Step 2: Develop curriculum-framing questions
  • Step 3: Plan assessment
  • Step 4: Design activities
  • Needs 21st century skills: collaboration, accountability, information literacy, critical thinking
    • Life and career skills
    • Core subjects
    • Learning and innovation skills
    • Information, media and technology skills 
  • Objectives:
    • Tie directly to content standards
    • Written to specifically target the project: one size does not fit all
    • Higher-order thinking is incorporated
    • 21st century skills are addressed
  • Curriculum-framing questions
    •  Essential question
    • Unit questions
    • Content questions
  • Ongoing assessment can:
    • Gauge student needs
    • Encourage strategic learning
    • Demonstrate understanding
  • Student-centered activities:
    • Service learning
    • Simulation/role play
    • Construction and design
    • Problem-solving
    • Telecollaboration
    • WebQuests
    • Investigations
    • Peer teaching and group collaboration 
    • Debates

Edutopia: 5 Keys to Rigorous Project-Based Learning 

  • Traditional: students are sponges
  • 1. Real-world connection: authentic problem that drives curriculum, audience outside of classroom
  • 2. Core to learning: academic rigor, incorporate standards
  • 3. Structured collaboration: allowing students to work together within structure, students have their roles, scaffolded
  • 4. Student driven: teacher becomes facilitator who asks good questions, teacher gives hints but not answers
  • 5. Multifaceted assessment: assessment integrated throughout entire PBL unit, formative assessments, small check-ins with students, students assess themselves

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why Project-Based Learning?

Why PBL?

  • Makes school more engaging for students: active, real-world relevance
  • Improves learning: remember and retain knowledge longer, can apply knowledge to new situations
  • Builds success for college, career and life: learn to take initiative and responsibility, build confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, manage themselves more effectively
  • Helps address standards: real-world application of knowledge, critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, communication in a variety of media, speaking and presentation skills
  • Provides opportunities for students to use technology: find resources and information, collaborate and connect
  • Makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding: work more closely with students, learn with the students
  • Connects students and schools with communities and the real world: make a difference, interact with adults and organizations, exposed to workplace and adult jobs, develop career interests, involve parents and community members
Buck Institute for Education (BIE): Nonprofit organization, offers professional development for teachers on PBL

8 Essentials for Project-Based Learning

  • Key knowledge, understanding and success skills
  • Challenging problem or question
  • Sustained inquiry
  • Authenticity
  • Student voice and choice
  • Reflection
  • Critique and revision
  • Public product

PBL Design Rubric

  My Thoughts:

Based on these readings, it is clear project-based learning is an effective method for teaching, even if it may go against "traditional" methods of teaching. However, I believe PBL is a move in the positive direction because it puts learning directly into the students' hands. Teachers can construct their PBLs in ways that allow them to still meet standards and objectives for the class in any subject. I also included these rubrics because I felt they would be helpful in my own group's PBL unit. The rubric is intended for teachers to evaluate their own PBLs, not for students. This can help ensure that my group creates the most effective PBL possible and includes all essential project design elements.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Reflection: Collaborative Research Project

  • What I did in this project
    • For this project, I worked with Tre' Lathan and Kiley Snitker to research preparation and study habits among college students in regards to tests, papers and projects. We created a survey in Google Forms and posted the link on our social media accounts, asking for only college students to take the survey. Within the survey, we asked college students to put their year in college, as well as rather they were an undergraduate or graduate student. Then, we asked how far in advance a student would prepare for a 3 chapter test, final exam, 2-page research paper, 10-page research paper, 10-minute PowerPoint and 45-minute PowerPoint. The options were: the night before, a few days before, a week before, or more than a week before. As we collected data, we found that most college students spend about the same amount of time preparing for each of these regardless of grade level. 
    • Besides the assignment, I accomplished the goal of not speaking with either of my teammates in person during the course of this assignment. We only talked online via Facebook Messenger and on our Google doc itself. All of our communication was 100% virtual. This was the first time I had ever not talked to my group members in person while working on a project.
  • What did you learn in doing this project?
    • In the beginning of our project's development, it was difficult to decide which role each of us wanted to take on, as well as which topic we should do for our research question. We brainstormed a list of topics and tried to decide which would be easiest to explore in a poll format. After debating, we settled on the topic of preparing for assessment. It was tricky to discuss which questions we wanted to ask and how we wanted to ask them on the Google Doc. It involved a lot of highlighting, deleting and asking questions for clarification. Eventually, we created a "rough draft" of our poll, and it was smooth sailing from there. Kiley decided to create the poll that night. We waited a few days to get responses, and by Sunday night, we closed the poll. Tre' made the presentation on Google Slides on Tuesday, and I made our video on Wednesday. We all equally divided the work among ourselves. This surprised me because I thought I would likely have to end up doing all of the work by myself since this is what I typically have to do in a group project, but Tre' and Kiley were extremely easy and fun to work with.
  • How might you use this process in the future? 
    • Now that I have completed a collaborative research project, I have gained experience working with two individuals solely online to achieve a task. In the future, I may have to do this in my job as a teacher to collaborate with another teacher on the other side of the world. Obviously, in this scenario, all of our communication would have to be online since it would be impossible to meet in person. Outside of education, I am unsure I would ever talk to someone who I have not met in person, but I would certainly use the collaborative research skills I learned to work with others. As an RA, I often have to work with my staff members to achieve tasks, and I will be able to easily put my collaborative skills into play. While I found this process frustrating at times, I overall enjoyed working with my teammates, and I am proud of the final product we created.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Project-Based Learning

What the Heck is Project-Based Learning?

Something that "squares" with my beliefs:
  •  "PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. Kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, not just at the end."
3 points to remember:
  • "The learning happens along the way towards the presentation of the solution."
  • Project-based learning typically is grounded in the following elements:
    • Role-playing
    • Real-world scenarios
    • Blended writing genres
    • Multiple reading genres
    • Authentic assessments
    • Authentic audiences
    • Real-world expertise brought into the classroom
    • Units that assess multiple skills
    • Units that require research and comprehension of multiple subjects
    • Student choice
    • Collaboration
    • Multiple methods of communication (writing, oral speaking, visual presentations, publishing, etc.)
  •  "PBL cares about our mission to educate all. PBL never forgets that one of our main jobs is to prepare students for the predicted future. PBL knows that students are not standardized, they don't learn in a standardized way, and that our clientele can't be assessed in a standardized manner if we are looking to foster innovation."
A question circling in my mind:
  • What are some examples of PBL in a middle or high school English classroom?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Personal Presentation Review and Experience

My Personal Presentation

  • My original presentation: Personal Professional Presentation
  • My reflections on listening to others present:
    • I very much enjoyed listening to my classmates present and talk about themselves. It was interesting to see the pictures that people chose to share as well as the objects that people chose to bring into the classroom. I was a little shocked that more of my classmates didn't choose to present themselves in a more creative technological format, though. I found the PowerPoints to be slightly repetitive.
  • My reflections on my medium:
    •  For my presentation, I chose to create my own video via YouTube. By choosing this particular medium, I wanted to show my class that I already possess technological skills and know how to use Zoom to make a video. 
    •  I recorded a video of myself speaking via Zoom and shared my screen on the video to show my learning styles results to the class. I thought this would be effective since I could time the presentation beforehand to ensure it was the proper length. 
    • The media I used to present included an oral introduction to my video, the video itself and an image of a screenshot within the video.
    • Overall, I am happy with myself in the way I presented qualities about myself to my audience. Since I chose to make a video, I feel my presentation stood out from others in the class who had chosen to make PowerPoints.
  • My multimedia review of my presentation: CTELE Personal Presentation Review


Image "Metacognition" taken from Flickr by Denise Krebs
 Promoting Student Metacognition - Kimberly Tanner (2012)

"There is a need to teach for metacognitive knowledge explicitly... we are continually surprised at the number of students who come to college having very little metacognitive knowledge; knowledge about different strategies, different cognitive tasks, and particularly, accurate knowledge about themselves" (114)

As this quote shows, students do not readily think about metacognition without prompting. This is something most students do not do in middle or high school. As a students, I remember doing metacognitive reflections after assignments in one of my English classes, but if it weren't for this class, I would be in the same position as many of these students. As secondary teachers and even elementary teachers, I feel this is something we must change. Even giving students a quick chance to reflect on their learning can be meaningful for them.

"Regular use of the Muddiest Point in classrooms, which requires only a few minutes, sets a tone that confusion is a part of learning and that articulating confusion is not done solely to inform the instructor, but also to inform students themselves; students can use identified confusions to drive their independent learning or to generate dialogue in review sessions" (116)

In the Muddiest Point strategy, students write on a piece of paper or say aloud what part of the lesson they are still confused about. The instructor can use this as feedback to inform their next lesson and to try to address the areas in which students are still struggling. As the quote mentions, students can also use this strategy as a way to know what to study the most for the upcoming exam and as a question to ask during a study group. While none of my teachers ever implemented this strategy in my classes, I believe it is a good idea because it gives students a chance to critically think about where gaps in their learning might still exist directly after a lesson is taught.

    Using "Frameworks" to Enhance Teaching and Learning

    Something that "squares" with my beliefs:
    • "We learn more from reflecting on our experiences than from the actual experiences themselves" (113)
    3 points to remember:
    • To build a classroom culture that promotes metacognition (117)... 
      • Give students license to identify confusions within the classroom culture
      • Integrating reflection into credited course work
      • Metacognitive modeling by the instructor for students
    A question circling in my mind:
    • How can I, a future English teacher, effectively promote and integrate metacognitive strategies within my lessons?
    • Does the subject matter a teacher teaches influence which metacognitive strategies might work best?
    I think it is a natural mistake for teachers to associate metacognition with writing. There are other ways to promote metacognition in students besides asking them to write a paragraph or essay about their thinking processes. In my future classroom, I'd like to have an ongoing dialogue with my students in which they can share their own thinking on an activity, story, discussion, etc. with the rest of the class, which then promotes thinking among other students.