Module 4 Reflection

Clear:

In Module 4, I was excited to look through the different gaming resources that could be available for educational purposes. The various resources were very clear in examples of programs that could be used in education. I think that I could utilize Second Life in some of my visual art classes to allow students to role play in a safe environment. For example,  in my video production class, I could have students go on an actual film set in Second Life and each take roles on the production crew. These are all exciting ideas because students can digitally interact with the information rather than just reading about it. I like how gaming could create a platform for students with various learning styles. Marc Prensky’s (2001) article, “Fun, Play and Games: What Makes Games So Engaging?” was also helpful to me. In this article Prensky takes apart gaming and explains how the characteristics of digital games are also practices that we use in the classroom (p. 30-31). The connection between gaming and education is clear, but I think that it also comes with its own set of challenges.
Unclear:
I think that the effects of gaming in education can make a positive impact in the classroom, but I also think that this is a new frontier with space to explore. I hoped to see a bit more resources that speak about the challenges that gaming in the classroom creates. In this module, all of the exciting aspects of gaming were discussed but I would like to be cautious moving forward. We were asked to think about the drawbacks that gaming in education might have, and I would like to think about how to overcome these challenges. I continue to reflect on the following questions: How would digital communication affect face-to-face communication? Does my school have enough resources to support gaming in the classroom? How do I make sure the students are staying on track if they are working in an expansive game that has many different places to explore?  These are questions that I will continue to think through as I explore the use of gaming in my visual art classes. After going through the resources in this module, I feel that the good outweighs the bad when exploring the use of gaming in education.

Collaboration

It is so important for teachers to come together and collaborate. My school actually has put teachers in collaboration teams and we meet twice a month to sharpen each other and grow together as educators. I think that this relationship also creates an open environment for teachers to also bring collaboration to the classroom. An example of this is when I went on an art graffiti field trip with my mentor teacher’s art dimensions class. I filmed the students spray-painting a community board while my mentor teacher helped to direct students. The trip ended with supportive parents bringing cinnamon rolls for everyone to eat, while we all enjoyed the finished artwork. The collaboration continued because I taught a high level student in my video production class how to edit the footage from the day. This was an event that opened the door to connect two very different classrooms and teachers, and gave students the opportunity to explore their gifts together. It brought together the surrounding community and gave an open invitation for families to be a part of this experience. The student’s finished work can be viewed below and displays the collaboration of teachers, parents, and students.

http://vimeo.com/34145659

Showcase Lesson #1

Showcase Lesson Plan #1

Reflection:

In this lesson, students learned how to import music as a soundtrack into Adobe’s video editing software, Premiere Elements, and they also began to comprehend the difference between good and bad video footage. I used Marzano’s strategies of “Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback” and “Cooperative Learning”.

The scaffolding approach that I used worked very well. While I presented the information verbally and visually through words in Powerpoint, students followed along in their “Editing Your Music Video” handouts. Students were then able to practice their newfound knowledge by using their notes on the handouts to complete the learning objective through their collaborative learning groups. Marzano’s strategy of “Setting Objectives” laid a strong foundation for the students to follow. Marzano’s strategy was not only helpful for students to be continually reminded of the goals that they were trying to reach, but also because the “Objective” required specific actions that they could easily comprehend. Consequently, I found that the act of setting goals in this lesson created a certain feeling of accomplishment when the goals had actually been met. By the end of class, when each group successfully imported music into their timeline, the students felt like they had each achieved something. There was a sense of pride and ownership in the air.

I realize that Marzano encourages readers to keep goals flexible, but I found this to be particularly difficult in the everyday goals of a technology class where students rely on step-by-step detailed instruction in order to find success with the software. Even still, I maintained flexible goals on a more heuristic scale for an entire project rather than for a single lesson. I was able to follow Marzano’s (2001) advice in my second goal when he states, “…students should be encouraged to adapt them (goals) to their personal needs and desires” (p. 95). When I introduced the section on “Good vs. Bad Shots” in the handout, students were excited to hear that they were meant to complete it by applying their own experience. In the discussion, students were able to express what their best shots were, and they were also able to articulate why.

Marzano’s strategy of providing “Feedback” to students was probably what went the best in this lesson. The check-ins that I had with each group proved to an important time to ensure that students were on the right track. Certain groups asked clarifying questions which enabled them to accomplish the class’s objectives. I also used Marzano’s (2001) strategy of “Student-Led Feedback” (101) through the “Clear vs. Unclear” section of the handout. This was very helpful because students were able to tell me what went well in the lesson, and also what they are still having trouble grasping. From reading the students’ feedback, I found that almost every student wrote that they understood how to import music into their timeline. The reoccurring clarity that students were asking for in the “Unclear” section was primarily how to edit their project once the music was in. The assessment also showed that while most students very much understood the step-by-step process that they needed to go through, they still comprehended larger technological concepts. The next lesson involved going over what students said was still unclear. Through this lesson, students were able to relearn the information and continue with their projects. I further applied Marzano’s strategy by giving written feedback on the students’ “Editing Your Music Video” handouts. This proved to be quite useful when I saw students’ responses as they used the feedback to improve the “Music Video Project” summative assessment. My written feedback encouraged students to better understand the content. Incorrect answers were not only marked incorrect, but students were also given written feedback to better explain to why the answer was incorrect and how they could continue to grow in this area. Students were redirected to the learning targets and encouraged to better utilize the “Clear and Unclear” feedback sections to express misunderstandings.

I applied Marzano’s strategy of “Cooperative Learning” which greatly enhanced my lesson because students were able to encourage each other towards achieving the learning targets. For the summative assessment, students were placed in “Formal” groups and I divided the tasks into the following videography positions: cinematographer, director, and editor. In previous lessons, we had already established the expectation that each member will continue to rotate each position. To build up to this showcase lesson, previous lessons included components of Marzano’s cooperative learning: “Positive interdependence, group processing, appropriate use of social skills, face-to-face promotive interaction and individual and group accountability” (p. 90). I used these guidelines to teach students what cooperative learning looks like, and was able to remind them of these standards in this showcase lesson. The main challenge of the group learning was that students had a difficulty staying on task. This is in large part because only one student can use the computer’s mouse and keyboard at a time. Through this experience, I learned that students collaborate well but get distracted very easily when working in groups with technology. To try to counteract this challenge, I had groups continue to rotate positions, so that everyone had a chance to be in charge of editing while the other members gave instructions. I firmly agree with Marzano’s (2001) suggestion concerning groups, “Cooperative groups should be kept rather small in size” (p. 88, 91). At this point, we do not have enough available computers to have smaller groups, but I now have reason to ask for more resources. The challenges of working with technology are definitely worth the outcome because it is so rewarding to see students use their gifts and creativity to make original works of digital art. This lesson displayed the student’s growing knowledge in videography and video editing, and was also a space for students to utilize their creativity while collaborating with other students.

 

References

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works.             Alexandria, VA: Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

 

 

 

Module 3 Reflection

Clear:

I loved how this week was focused on exploring new technologies that we can apply in the classroom. I found it to be very encouraging that many of these technological resources are already available online. It would have been a bit difficult to read about so many useful tools, to then realize that we need a way bigger budget to make that dream into a reality. One of the most helpful parts of this module was getting to hear about other teacher’s experiences in using these tools. I found it a bit daunting to just be clicking on sites to get information about these technological tools without hearing from someone who is using it and not simply selling it. It was helpful to hear how these resources are being efficiently utilized in other classrooms, which encouraged me to incorporate them into mine. The “Tools 4 You” section of the module’s resources was excellent because everything was already organized for us. I found the “7 Things You Should Know About…” pages through EDUCAUSE to be very resourceful information. The content was very practical and had thorough reviews of the technological resources that we could use in the classroom. In particular, I found the article “7 Things You Should Know About Online Media Editing” to have great information on tools that I can use in my video and photo editing classes. On page 2, the article discusses how digital editing is moving into handheld devices and becoming an online tool. This is exciting because it creates accessibility, and allows students to work with the information on different mediums.

Unclear:
All of the informational resources that were posted were very helpful and clear. One of the pieces of this module that I found difficult was Prezi. I might have had a bad internet connection in this crazy weather, but the site itself kept freezing while I was using it. I would also create my paths in the correct order, to then preview the show and it would decide to go a different route. The site also did not seem to like my trackpad because it kept thinking that I wanted to zoom in on an image, when I really was just trying to click on the right section to edit. Is Prezi not user friendly or was I just having a bad night with technology? I guess this could just be another example of the beauties of technology: Wonderful tools, but there is always lots that can go wrong. The other parts that are unclear right now in this class is the continual reference to the Mini Course Project. I understand the basic structure of this assignment, but I am wondering how we begin to apply smaller projects to it since we were told that we should begin creating the online course now. I am wondering if there is a resource (such as Blackboard) that we will set this online course in or will we use different resources to create presentations, online quizzes, and discussions and just post all of the links?

Module 2 Reflection

Clear: In this module, I liked how different viewpoints to technology driven learning were presented. This was an opportunity for me to think critically about what I believe and also caused me to reflect on how I am putting these beliefs to action. I agree with what was said in many of the videos; that technology is going to be a part of education and educators can either jump on board or continue to fight it. In some of our class’ discussions, it was clear that technology in education comes with a price. The devices create distractions and technology itself has created an over stimulated generation that has issues sitting still. These points were clear in the “RSA Animate-Changing Education Paradigms” video when today’s generation was compared with classrooms from the past. It led to the fact that times are changing, and we as educators have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this exciting technological movement. This once again encourages me to explore technological resources that are available at my finger tips.

Unclear: The pieces that were unclear in this module, or I would say not thoroughly discussed is how to put all of this to practice. It could get quite overwhelming very quickly if we keep getting to study so many technological resources without thinking through how to apply them in our classroom. With that said, I love that Prof Holt specifically told us to use what would actually fit well in each individual classroom rather than feeling the need to somehow incorporate everything. I think that it is important to remember that these resources are not applicable in every learning situation, which is why this is a valuable time to explore the technology that we have available to us. I wonder if the best practice to find the most useful tools is to simple put these resources to the test in our classrooms and then assess the outcome? The best resource that I discovered this week was Animoto! This is such a fun tool for teachers to use to better engage their classroom. I love how it was so easy to use, while at the same time still creating a professional product.

Learning About New Technology!

This week I learned how to use a new technological teaching tool called Animoto. This tool allows teachers to create quick media presentations that look great and engage students in the subject matter. I used this tool to create a short intro presentation about troubleshooting technology, and I will use it to begin my visual art classes since technology glitches always come up.

Module 1 Reflection

In Module 1, I enjoyed reading through the “Washington’s Educational Technology Standards” for using technology in the classroom. It was good to discover the expectations that I am being held to, and now I am left trying to figure out how make this happen. I may not be able to get every boxed checked in every single lesson, but I need to start reaching for those standards. In this module it was helpful to see how other teachers utilized technology in the article “Addressing the Nets For Students Through Constructivist Technology Use In K-12 Classrooms”, which gave me new ideas to use in mine.

The standards and expectations were very clear, but it was a bit unclear of how to make that happen in our classrooms. The examples were wonderful, but I’m once again trying to figure out how that fits into my classroom’s circumstances. My school is blessed with a lot of technical resources, and so I would like to start thinking outside of the box with what I can do with computer, cameras, etc.

Another piece that was unclear was that I didn’t see a ton of materials talking about the issues and challenges that technology creates in the classroom. I have technical issues occur about once every other day. Sometimes computers don’t want to turn on, the internet isn’t working, software applications randomly choose to close, or students can’t find their projects’ files. We have an IT department, but they are not available every single time I have an issue and these problems eat up important class time. Should I just expect that issues will occur and therefore create flexible space for that to occur in?