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.
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.
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/
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.
In this week’s lesson, we learned about various resources that are available for use as portfolio storage. In Dr. Barrett’s 2008 study of Options for Online Storage of Digital Archive she explains that a Working Portfolio is “The Collection or Digital Archive, Repository of Artifacts, Personal Information and a Reflective Journal” (p. 1). I believe that this is the best approach for my implementation of electronic portfolios in the classroom. My plan for level 1 implementation (Step 5.1) is to use Vimeo and WordPress to store artifacts. After looking through the resources linked to this lesson, I chose Vimeo as a video storage tool for the student’s video projects in my Video Production classes because it keeps the quality of the videos while also allowing direct downloads. When students first begin the class, they will create a simple WordPress account and a Vimeo account. When an assignment is due, each student will upload their finished video to Vimeo and then embed the link to their WordPress account. I will simply keep a list of links to the students’ WordPress sites and go to these links to grade their finished work.
The stakeholders will be my future high school Video Production students. Since I teach electives, grades will range from freshmen to high school. Since the learning levels of each student will vary, it will be important to make sure that the programs that I utilize for the e-Portfolios are user friendly. To ensure that students are utilizing WordPress correctly, I will introduce students to e-Portfolios by giving students a step-by-step set of instructions that will guide students in the initial setup of their accounts. In these steps, I will instruct students to allow messages to only be viewed by themselves so that I can give a graded rubric and constructive feedback to them for each project through the message tool.
My rationale for using Vimeo is based on my purpose for utilizing ePortfolios, which is the need for students to store video projects in the Video Production classes that I teach. After doing some research, I realized that WordPress works well with Vimeo because all that students have to do is paste the URL and it creates a video box that can be viewed inside WordPress rather than opening a new page. Since WordPress allows for multiple pages, I would have students divide their e-Portfolio into the following sections: About Me, My Work, and Blog. Since other people will be able to view their site, students will set up the “About Me” section to give them the space to be creative and make their portfolio into an expression of themselves. This will encourage ownership and create the foundation to be something that they are proud of. The “My Work” page will be the spot for all of their video projects to be posted. This will be the initial link that students send me so that I can grade their work and provide feedback. The “Blog” page will be a space for student reflection as well as a platform to submit any other written assignments. This will give the students an opportunity to visually track their progress in class. In Dr. Barrett’s link “Selecting a “Free” Online Tool for ePortfolio Development”, she explains the goal of reflections by stating, “At the end of a course (or program), students would write a reflection that looks back over the course (or program) and provides a meta-analysis of the learning experience as represented in the reflections stored in the blog entries.” As seen in this quote, reflections can also be used as a summative assessment that will not only help me as a teacher understand each student’s progress but it also helps the students see their growth in learning. In conclusion, as I have considered various tools and resources to implement e-Portfolios, I have found that it is important to remember my purpose for using this approach and the students that this will affect.
Barrett, H. 2008. Options for Online Storage of Digital Archive. http://electronicportfolios.org/web2/index.html.
Throughout this week’s lesson, the uses of ePortfolios were broken down and explained. I learned that as educators, we need to choose our motive for utilizing ePortfolios. If we try to do too much with this tool, then it will not be as impactful in the classroom. In Dr. Barrett’s narrated slide show, “Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios”, I found that the main purposes of ePortfolios in Education are “Learning/Process/Planning, Marketing/Showcase, and Assessment/Accountability”. The structure of the ePortfolio can then be separated as either a “Workspace” or “Showcase”. At first, I thought that the best structure for my video production classes would be a Showcase because I want students to post their finished work online for other peers, teachers and family members to see. However, I realized that it is first and foremost meant to be a workspace and the showcase of work will be an outcome of their posts through the ePortfolio.
It is also important to think about how I will use ePortfolios to better communicate with students. The main need that I hope to meet by implementing the use of ePortfolios in my video production classes is a place for students to turn in their projects for assessment. In Prof Barrett’s article, “Electronic Portfolios – A chapter in Educational Technology” she states the following three reasons for utilizing ePortfolios, “Learning (Formative) Portfolios, which usually occurs on an ongoing basis supporting professional development; Assessment (Summative) Portfolios, which usually occurs within the context of a formal evaluation process; and Employment (Marketing) Portfolios, which are used for seeking employment” (p. 1). With this information in mind, I think that the main reason for using an ePortfolio in my video production classes is as an Assessment Portfolio. My reasoning could be altered in future lessons, but I think this best fits my goal of having an online platform for students to upload their projects and then receive feedback and assessment.
To conclude my thoughts, were asked to make the first draft of our vision statement for implementing ePortfolios. I drafted the following statement: “e-Portfolios are implemented in my junior high and high school video production classes so that students can have a platform to showcase their work, track their learning process and receive feedback from myself and other peers. This provides an avenue for students to apply what they are learning through a visual process, reflect on their growth, and engage in collaboration as students encourage each other to reach their individual goals and classroom objectives.” I think that my focus is on using the ePortfolio as a tool to receive feedback and through this resource, students can follow their growth towards reaching the learning objectives. I wanted to also include that this can be a place to not only receive input from myself but also from other peers. I think that the building blocks are starting to come together for me and this week’s lesson was especially helpful because I learned how to start the process of utilizing ePortfolios in future classrooms.
Barrett, H.C., 2001. “Electronic Portfolios – A chapter in Educational Technology”. AnEncyclopedia to be published by ABC-CLIO.
Barrett, H.C., 2010. Narrated slide show, “Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios”.
Identifying Similarities and Differences is a teaching strategy that uses the concepts of comparing and contrasting knowledge so that students can better understand the subject matter. The specific strategies inside this category are comparing, classifying, creating metaphors and creating analogies (Dean et al, 2012). Comparing is when students differentiate subjects based on their similarities and differences. Classifying is when students divide the subject matter into categories based on their similarities. Creating metaphors is when students can find patterns among the subject matter and relate them to similar patterns that they are aware of. Creating analogies is when students pair together concepts to better understand the components of the knowledge (Dean et al, 2012). The main recommendations for implementing the strategy of Indentifying Similarities and Differences is to first show students how to correctly use this approach, then allow time for them to practice while also guiding them through the process with cues and questions (Dean et al, 2012).
Key Research Findings:
- With curriculum that is constantly changing and growing, this is a flexible approach that allows students to make connections with what they are learning in the classroom to the world around them (Dean et al, 2012).
- This approach can be useful in teaching students with learning disabilities because it helps them categorize the world around them (Tarver, 1986).
- Teachers can utilize technological resources that allow students to visually identify similarities and differences through computer software programs (Pitler et al, 2007).
- Guide students through this approach by first modeling what you would like students to do. Do this with different examples until students feel confident to utilize the strategy themselves.
- Provide students with visual organizers such as Venn diagrams or charts so that they can see the relationships that the information creates.
- Allow students to identify similarities and differences in collaborative small groups while giving them corrective feedback.
- When possible, ask students to summarize information so that they can draw conclusions from this strategy’s outcomes.
- Use student directed tasks and teacher directed tasks so that students can practice both elements of this approach.
- Use this strategy when introducing concepts that may be foreign to students and allow them to apply a creative process to it. An example from Video Production classes that I have taught is applying this strategy when teaching students the difference between good and bad cinematography.
- For descriptions of teacher directed and student directed tasks, go to http://www.pavilioncsd.org/webpages/mnoble/research-based.cfm?subpage=1250793
- The process of Identifying Similarities and Differences can be a visual process where students divide their thoughts through the medium of a chart or diagram. To download blank templates that can be utilized in classrooms, go to http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/Templates/similarities_differences.htm
- This strategy gives room for students to contemplate key knowledge while also applying their unique views and creativity. An example of this can be seen in my graphic design students’ work where they were asked to pick an everyday word or phrase, which contains different components and then making a visual representation of it (see examples below).