Lesson 6: Formative & Summative Assessment

In this final lesson, we learned about the importance of applying formative and summative assessment with the use of ePortfolios. We discussed that these assessments need to provide specific and quality feedback for students to follow.  It is also important for this feedback to be given in a timely manner so that students are able to make necessary alterations. In the resource, “Principles of Learning – Frequent Feedback”, the author states, “Because the brain wants to deal with the most pressing matters, it is necessary to practice those things that we wish to retain and to receive feedback that includes ‘explicit cues about how to do better’” (Seely, Brown, & Duguid, as cited in Ewell, 1997, p. 9). These “explicit cues” allow students to see areas of growth that they might not have seen themselves.

The questions asked in this lesson made me examine how I am assessing student learning with ePortoflios, which then made me contemplate the target of using ePortfolios and what I should expect from the students. The target of the implementation of ePortfolios in my video production classes is that students will have a place to showcase their work as well as a platform for reflection. The consistent reflections will serve as formative assessment and the video projects will be used for summative assessment. Both of these assignments will be posted on the students’ ePortfolios and allow a space for me to provide feedback.

The resources and rubrics from this lesson were very helpful as I considered the best approach to give formative and summative feedback and assessment. My expectations are that students will post videos and reflections on time and meet the criteria of each assignment. The students’ reflections will be graded on the timeliness of each post, follow up postings, content contribution, and clarity and mechanics. The implementation of ePortfolios in my video production classes will not only provide a platform to showcase their work, but also a space to reflect on their growth.

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Lesson 5: Who Are My Students?

In this week’s lesson we explored the different tools that we can utilize in ePortfolios for students to showcase their work. In Dr. Barrett’s webpage, “Selecting a ‘Free’ Online Tool for ePortfolio Development” the components of WordPress confirmed that this is the correct platform for me to implement in my video production classes. Since I teach high school classes, the recommend usage for age appropriate students was from 7th – 12th grade. The 3 GB of storage that WordPress provides will be efficient for my students, especially since they will be housing their video projects on Vimeo and not taking up space on WordPress. The WordPress cons that Dr. Barrett described were that the program can be difficult for students to initially set up. However, I believe with the correct instruction and guidance that students will be able to complete the ePortfolio construction process. I think that the I should focus on making sure students have strict rules to follow rather than telling them to simply “create the pages however they would like”. I do not believe that the premium feature costs will be worth the outcome when compared with how much is available for free. I also do not have the classroom budget for an ePortfolio system, which is why free is my best option.

The use of an ePortfolio system for goal setting is an important feature in the classroom because I am already posting objectives for each day, unit and project. In the supplemental reading, “Module 3: Presentation of Evidence”, the author writes, “Then by focusing on the evidence in a learner’s ePortfolio the audience can encourage the learner to think about what they have done, learnt, planned or achieved. This process helps the learner to understand more about themselves and their learning”. For students to reflect on the evidence of their learning, they first need to have clear goals and objectives for their ePortfolio. I plan on incorporating the ePortfolio goals at the beginning of each video unit and project. Throughout the unit, students can continue to refer back to those goals and track their progress. At the end of each unit, students will be able to post their finished video project on their ePortfolio and then complete a blog reflection on how they met the objectives of the unit and project.

Through this lesson, I also was able to examine who my students will be and how to make the use of ePortfolios appropriate to best meet their needs. The ages of the learners that will utilize ePortfolios in my video production classes are 13-17 year old students. Concerning academic development, most of the students come into class with general knowledge of video production from what they have learned in social culture. This elective has a diverse range of learners from freshmen to high school students. These students also understand how to work with the technology that they are familiar with like multi-function devices. As I examine who my students are, it once again confirms the use of WordPress and Vimeo in my video production classes because it will provide an organized and interactive platform for their ePortfolios.

References:

Barrett, H. 2012. “Selecting a ‘Free’ Online Tool for ePortfolio Development”. http://electronicportfolios.org/eportfolios/tools.html

MOSEP Project. “Module 3: Presentation of Evidence”. http://electronicportfolios.org/mosep/MOSEP-Mod3-1.html

Reflecting On American Education

As I reflect on my personal growth throughout this course, I begin by looking at my previous understanding when I first began this online class. I decided to pursue a teaching career after receiving my BA in Communications Cinema/Digital from Vanguard University in southern California. My undergrad contributed a great deal of knowledge to the visual arts skills that I use in my video production and graphic design classes. However, this gave me no knowledge of the world of education. Through this process I have learned concepts and educational facts that were new to me but probably not to most teachers who have been in this field for a while. With all that said, it was very useful to learn about the history of education because it gave me a better understanding of how and why our educational system in America functions today.

In my first reflection, I talked about the difficulties that existed in pre-colonial America when efforts were first being made to create an educational system for children. I was encouraged to see the lengths that people went to for the opportunity to have access to education. This made me consider the people and resources in schools today that we take for granted. Urban and Wagoner (2009) state, “If some elements of education continued to tie new generations to those of the past, other lessons were being pressed to the fore as new challenges forced both old and new inhabitants to adjust to the demands of two worlds undergoing the process of cultural transfer and transformation” (p. 11). The inception of education in America came about from the clashing of worlds, cultures and societies. Through this process, many sacrifices had to be made, some good and some bad.

As we continued to learn about the history of education, I saw the following pattern: It was the people who had the power that were able to make decisions that dramatically affected education today. These leaders developed different viewpoints and discussed their differences, weighing the pros and cons of their approaches to teaching. In the end, I saw a great deal of effort put forward to create a system that supported student learning and personal growth, giving children the foundation to one day become a part of greater American society.

References

Lesson 4: The Importance of Reflections

In this week’s lesson we learned about the importance of reflection in the e-Portfolio process. In our discussion we talked about the many reasons that reflection needs to be implemented when utilizing portfolios in an academic setting. This allows students to reflect on their work and their collection of artifacts. In “Level 2: Reflective Blog”, Prof Barrett states, “Since one of the main goals of a portfolio is reflection on learning, perhaps a blog is a good option, since it can be used as an online reflective journal and an environment that invites collaboration (p. 1). The collaboration piece will be an important concept in my video production classes because I want students to give encouragement and feedback to other students about their finished work. This will motivate students to be proud of their work and hopefully encourage them to put forth extra effort since their peers will see their completed video projects. The idea is that this area for reflection could be an “online film festival” where students reflect not only on their personal growth but also on the growth of others.

The role of the teacher in e-Portfolio reflections was also discussed in this lesson, and I learned that it is important for teachers to respond to student reflections. The first time that I had experience with reflections in academia was in my MAT program at Seattle Pacific University. Since we were all older students, the purpose of the blog reflections were more for us as learners to track our progress throughout the course. Professors were not actively involved in these blogs unless we needed redirection. However, I think that it would have been very helpful to receive consistent feedback from our professors. In our lesson this week we learned that the teacher’s role in student reflection is to provide formative feedback so that students can see where they can see opportunities for growth.

Since I teach high school video production classes, my focus needs to be on implementing reflection processes in secondary schools. In this lesson, Prof Barrett brought up some of the positive outcomes of reflections, which helped me better understand how this could deeply affect student learning. Since students will be able to examine their learning process through reflection, it allows them to take responsibility for their own learning. They can see areas where they need to grow, set goals for the future and then track their progress towards reaching those objectives. In Jenna Luca’s (2011) blog, “5 Reasons Why Our Students Are Writing Blogs and Creating ePortfolios”, she states the following positive outcomes from blogging and reflection: positive digital footprints, communicating with digital tools, transparency for parents and family, new ways of thinking about Web tools, and effective digital citizenship. These outcomes make me realize how effective e-Portfolios are and how important the aspects of reflections are in this system. I now see that the implementation of an online portfolio without the use of reflections is taking away a crucial tool for effective learning. I want to make sure that students have every opportunity to utilize every aspect of the online portfolio by using reflection blogs to track their progress and personal growth.

References:

Barrett, H. 2012. “Reflection for Learning”. https://sites.google.com/site/reflection4learning/

Luca, J. 2011. “5 Reasons Why Our Students Are Writing Blogs and Creating ePortfolios”. http://plpnetwork.com/2011/08/26/5-reasons-why-our-students-are-writing-blogs-and-creating-eportfolios/

Meta-Reflection: What Have I Learned?

I came into the Survey of Instructional Strategies course with past knowledge of popular teaching strategies but I did not realize how extensive these strategies could be. This course helped me to not only understand these approaches, but to be able to implement them in my classroom. The examples that we were provided with throughout this course gave me clearer vision on the best ways to use these tools with my students, meeting the standards of “E1-Exemplify professionally informed, growth-centered practice”. In our first module, we were asked to think about how to design instruction to meet the needs of all students. In the article, “Closing Opportunity Gaps in Washington’s Public Education System”, the authors write, “All students can succeed, but they need highly effective teachers, exemplary curriculum and materials, and appropriate academic and social support” (2010). These thoughts have stayed with me throughout this class because I feel that every piece of this quote is necessary to help students succeed.

In the beginning of the class we read through “Classroom Instruction that Works” and this gave me a chance to think about some of the strategies that were new to me as I considered how I could utilize them in the future. This was also a chance for me to look at strategies that I was already using and evaluate what changes could be made that would make them more effective. An example would be this LESSON PLAN Artifact where I implemented the strategy of “Non-linguistic Representations” and “Assigning Homework and Providing Practice”. In this lesson, the strategies were productive but as I reflect on what I now know I realize that I could have used these approaches to take the students deeper into their learning. The strategies are not meant to simply convey knowledge, they are rather a means to get students to evaluate, question and discover the content material in a manner that will stick with them. Concerning Nonlinguistic Representations, Dean et al (2012) states, “Imagery is expressed as mental pictures or physical sensations, such as smell, taste, touch, kinesthetic association, and sound” (p. 63).  In the future, I plan on using this short video about TROUBLESHOOTING TECHNOLOGY that I made as a Non-linguistic Representation to introduce students to problem solving with technological materials.

As we continued through each module in this course, we were given the opportunity to role-play the strategies that we were learning about. In MY VIDEO PROJECT, I learned a great deal about Cooperative Learning and discovered new ways to implement this strategy in future Video Production classes. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007) state, “Cooperative learning is an approach to instruction that provides both the opportunity and the organization for balanced, successful, and satisfying group learning experiences” (p. 246). This is a fantastic approach that puts students in the driver’s seat rather than me with a white board. Bruner’s approach to teaching points the students to self-discovery of the content material. The author (1966) writes, “Discovery teaching involves not so much the process of leading students to discover what is ‘out there,’ but, rather, their discovering what is in their own heads” (p. 1). This is where I learned that teaching is not all up front; it is instead walking beside students and helping them discover the world around them.

I enjoyed the hands-on based approaches throughout this course because they work so well in my technology classes where students are constantly working with cameras, computers and software programs. Strategies such as Cooperative Learning, Concept Attainment, Advance Organizers and Role Playing all allow significant visual components to their implementation. An example of the Role Playing approach can be viewed in artifact 1 and 2 (see below) from a graphic design class that I taught. In this class, I had students create a personal business complete with a purpose, vision statement, and an extensive brand identity by using Office Word and Adobe Photoshop. Through the strategy of Role Playing, students were completely invested into the project because they got to play the role of a marketer in the business world.

As I reflect on my progress throughout this course, I realize that my approach to teaching has grown. I am not simply thinking about making a curriculum to meet the end goal of delivering knowledge to my students. Instead, I am delicately crafting a curriculum that utilizes an array of instructional strategies to meet the needs of a diverse room of learners. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007) bring up this example of my paradigm shift through the use of the Inductive Model by stating, “…the teacher is to continue asking students questions to facilitate their thinking, as opposed to providing praise for the ‘right’ answers” (p.160). As a result of my learning throughout this course, I will be not only a better teacher but also a better learner. I discovered that there are a multitude of instructional strategies and I need to continue to test these approaches in my classroom, evaluate the outcomes, make any necessary changes and then continue to implement.

References

Artifact 1:

Publisher

Artifact 2:

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Blog 7: Teaching Morals?

In this week’s module we discussed the role that virtues and values play in the classroom. As teachers, it is our role not only to lead young people to knowledge but to also teach them how to be a citizen of the greater society. In our discussion, a lot of great ideas and concepts were discussed. My point of view is that we as teachers need to be examples of moral character for our students. However, one of my colleagues brought up the fact that he does not feel comfortable in that role and would rather see those expectations stay inside family walls. I see both sides of this point of view. In the article, “Can Virtue Be Taught?”, Kirk proposes, “It would be vain for us to pretend that schools and colleges somehow could make amends for all the neglect of character resulting from the inadequacies of the American family” (p. 1). It is true that teachers cannot replace the lessons that children learn on a daily basis from their families. However, I think that teachers can try to partner with families to best support the students. For example, I know that I can better utilize parent-teacher conferences compared to past experiences. In my first year of teaching, I used this time to usually discuss behavioral issues in hopes that parents would then work with me in these problems. However, this could have also been a time to get to know parents and see what they are teaching their child. I could encourage them in their efforts to raise their child because parenting is hard and I’m sure it is nice to hear some positive feedback. Even though parents are hopefully teaching their children to be people of character, it is still something that we teach in the classroom whether we mean to or not. Since students are taking note of our actions, I think that it is an opportunity to be an example of moral character and maybe even make a lesson of it.

I enjoyed the following quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel that Prof Williams shared with us, “It is not better textbooks we most need to improve education but text-people. A teacher’s life is the book that students read with more care than anything on paper, and will far more significantly shape their lives.” Teachers are constantly watched not only by students, but by the surrounding community. We are leaders because of the profession that we chose and I believe that is an important authority that should not be wasted.

References