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

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Blog 3: Choosing the Right Tools

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.

Resources:

Barrett, H. 2008. Options for Online Storage of Digital Archive. http://electronicportfolios.org/web2/index.html.

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

Module 6 Reflection: How Do Students Learn Best?

Throughout this module, we studied some learner-centered approaches. In our discussion we talked about how to make sure that we as teachers are taking the time in building relationships with our students to know how they learn best. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007) describe the humanist movement by stating, “Rather than focus solely on students’ mastery of academic content, humanism advocates that schools educate ‘the whole child,’ the affective, physical, and cognitive lives of students” (p. 307). I believe that this was an important concept to be introduced to education because students are all different and learn in unique ways. Before this movement in education, the system catered to a specific type of learner while ignoring the needs of others. This is why approaches such as multiple intelligence strategies can be important tools in the classroom.

In our small group discussion, we talked about how it is almost impossible to cater to every student, every single day in a class of 30. However, that does not mean that we should give up applying multiple intelligences altogether. Instead, we can have opportunities for students to engage in multiple intelligences activities such as giving them a project with multiple paths to completing it. For example, in my video production classes when we learn about the history of cinematography, students could have the option of writing a research paper, making a video, creating a Powerpoint and giving a presentation to the class, etc. This would give students the opportunity to learn the content material in the context that best fits how they process knowledge. Gardner (1993) explains his two assumptions about learning today by stating, “The first is that not all people have the same interests and abilities; not all of us learn in the same way. The second assumption is one that hurts: it is the assumption that nowadays no one person can learn everything there is to learn (p. 3). It is true that we cannot learn everything there is to learn, but we can give students the tools they need to grow, learn and succeed in society.

References

Discovering Similarities and Differences In Cinematography

Classroom Context:

As previously stated in my first implementation of an instructional strategy, the school that I have taught at is a private Christian school. Since I teach elective classes, they allow me to create my own curriculum by basing it around the school’s vision and goals. I have implemented the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences in my junior high technology class and my review of this strategy can be viewed here: https://joannakharmon.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/strategy-2-identifying-similarities-and-differences/

This class is filled with 7th and 8th grade students and the majority of the class is boys with an exception of a few girls. The goal of this junior high elective is for students to see a range of creative technologies such as the Office suite, graphic design, and videography. The objective is that students learn an overview of specific tools and programs that they can then dig deeper in through high school classes, which they will have the opportunity to take in the future. The students are coming into class with an understanding of technological devices but almost every student has no experience with the editing programs. Some students have used aspects of the Office suite but it is amazing to see how basic their understanding of these everyday programs are. The class is highly energetic and it is important to hold their attention so that they don’t miss any important information that they will need when stepping into class projects.

In this unit, I am introducing the art form of cinematography and begin by teaching students the basics of what makes a well-framed shot. I am implementing the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences by showing the students a range of different example clips. I will continue to allow time after each clips for students to point out the similarities and differences that they are seeing in these clips. Note that some of these examples will be beautiful shots, while others will be proof of what not to do.

Learning Goal Specification:

EALR 2. Visual Arts: The student uses the artistic processes of creating, performing/presenting, and responding to demonstrate thinking skills in visual arts.

GLE 2.3.1 Applies a responding process to visual arts.

Supportive Description:

This class has already learned about Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Adobe Photoshop. The students have been given many opportunities to express their unique perspectives by applying their growing knowledge and skills of these programs. Since the art of cinematography is quite different compared to the tangible programs that they have previously learned, this will be a concept that they will need to grasp that they can then put into practice. The strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences is an excellent approach in this situation because it will help students better understand this new concept of being a good cinematographer. Dean et al (2012) states, “These strategies help move students from existing knowledge to new knowledge, concrete to abstract, and separate to connected ideas” (p. 119). Students will not only learn the main components of cinematography, but also how to create a good shot.

Outcomes Predicted:

The strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences was actually applied in the context described above and did indeed have positive effects. I had the students watch a various amount of clips that not only showed styles of cinematography but also shots that were poorly executed. I utilized the white board and had students tell me what shots were similar and which ones were different. We then branched out from these similarities and differences and discussed the attributes that these clips did or did not have in common. Students discussed a variety of components such as close up dialogue shots that were framed well compared to scenes that had a tilted camera to create the effect of unease.

The students were also able to pick out the shots that were examples of what not to do. I was actually surprised by how easily students were able to recognize these and I think it is because students are very exposed to professionally made movies and television and naturally expect a certain look. I found that they could see that something was wrong, but could not fully express why because we had yet to introduce all of the proper academic language for cinematography. This provided an opportunity for me to guide the students through a series of questions that helped them discover the specific aspects of these poorly framed shots that had a negative effect on the end product. Students were then able to move into their first video assignment with an understanding of what to do and what not to do. In conclusion, the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences was an impactful approach in this junior high technology class because it gave students a context for the newly introduced skill of cinematography.

Artifacts:

  • Powerpoint Example: This is the Powerpoint presentation that I used to first introduce students to the concept of cinematography. It starts with some key terms and then ends at the segment where I showed cinematography examples for students to identify similarities and differences.
  • Strategy 2 Sample Lesson: View this sample lesson plan from my cinematography unit to see how I planned to implement the strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences in this context.

References

Blog 2: The Purpose of My ePortfolio

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.

References:

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”.

Reflection: The Coleman Report

The Coleman report was an effort to study how a poorer economic status affected students’ educational opportunities in 1966. James S. Coleman was in charge of this endeavor and led a research group in this study; their findings were complied in the Coleman Report. In my review of the Coleman Report, I found that the importance which was placed on having quality teachers to be quite encouraging. Coleman (1966) states, “The quality of teachers shows a stronger relationship to pupil achievement” (p. 1).  I know that this could seem obvious, but it is a factor that I feel every teacher asks when in a low moment. Am I making a difference? Good teachers care deeply about their students and hope that their instruction is helping students succeed in education. When students have lost motivation and it seems that nothing is getting through to them, it is good for teachers to remind themselves that their instruction makes a great deal of difference.

I was also very interested to see that a majority of Coleman’s findings were based on students’ attitudes rather than access to resources (or lack there of). Coleman (1966) explains the “pupil attitude factor” by stating that it, “…appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together…” (p. 2). This is an important concept that we should take away from this report because it reminds teachers that the students’ perception of the world around them is a huge factor in their learning. Even though each student absorbs the attitudes of their social groups, teachers can use their influence to speak truth into students’ lives.

I don’t think that the Coleman Report hindered educational reform because it brought up important questions that educators needed to think about. Urban and Wagoner (2009) explained “Although the Coleman Report offered no definitive answer to the problem it addressed, underachievement of poor students, its greatest contribution was to bring into mainstream social scientific inquiry the question of the links among economic class, race, and school achievement” (p. 360). This report was not a catalyst for educational reform but it did open the doors for educators to see important factors that affect student learning and achievement that they might not have otherwise considered.

References

Module 5 Blog: Engaging learners through the world around them

Throughout this week’s module, we discussed Cooperative Learning and Constructivism. I have found Cooperative Learning to be an approach that applies quite well in my video production classes. Although this strategy holds merit all on it’s own, the reason that I first started using was out of necessity. We had limited materials in our computer lab, which means that students had to work in groups to complete projects. However, the challenge when working with technology is that it is difficult to divide tasks when there is one computer to split between three students. I found that assigning students with different tasks and roles helped them stay on task, and have an individual goal to focus on as well as the overall group goal. Dell’Olio and Donk (2007) referred to Performance Indicator 10 by stating, “Collaborate with peers, experts and others to contribute to a content-related base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models and other creative works” (p. 273). These action words are the goals of collaborative learning and I see how students can proceed in these actions with technology to further their learning.

John Dewey’s article, “My Pedagogic Creed” presented a very interesting viewpoint as he articulated his beliefs of the roles of education. One quote that stuck with me is, “I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself” (Dewey, 1897, p. 2). I agree with these thoughts because students learn best when they are able to apply their newfound knowledge to the world around them. We discussed this concept in our small group this week and found that society does of course influence knowledge. If this is true, how can we as teachers use the trends of society to make knowledge more impactful in our students’ lives?

References