This course introduced me to many technologies that I highly enjoyed learning and implementing. At the start of the course, our challenge was to create an introductory video, and I published mine on Youtube.com. I was able to make a much more personal connection to my classmates than in a discussion forum. I also liked that I could convey a lot of information quickly while being creative. Another tool I enjoyed was creating and implementing a community survey, which I did using Google Forms. I had already used the application, but this class helped me better understand the best practices that come along with surveying the public. Two other technologies I highly enjoyed were mobile learning using the authoring app easygenerator.com and presentation-based learning using powtoon.com. These two have so much appeal because the designer can keep their presentation simple while exercising a ton of creativity through visuals, sound, and text features. If I had to choose a favorite technology, I would have to say it was creating catchy presentations in powtoon.com.
On the other hand, there were a few technologies we had to try out in learning challenges that I was less than crazy about. I could not think of any uses for me to use live data in my English classroom besides during research. It was quite scientific and mathematical and I had trouble navigating the resources. Another technology I immediately wrote off was 3D immersion because what I experienced in Second Life would be highly inappropriate for students. For example, the female avatars are all scantily dressed and anyone can chat with you. By far the most frustrating of the technologies were educational games. I did not find any of the resources user-friendly or helpful in letting me create a game that would be engaging for my students. I ended up using scratch.com, but that ended up being highly time consuming, although it was good software.
Takeaways for Teaching and Learning
These activities did not change my views of technology for teaching and learning, but rather reinforced what I have learned are best practices. The technologies I loved in this course offered accessibility, enjoyment of use, practicality in my every day role, and a high level of creative expression. The ones I despised although they were accessible, needed blocks on certain content, especially Second Life. The biggest issue is that as a teacher, my time is limited, and many of the tools I turned away from were huge time wasters in addition to not being user-friendly. If I am frustrated as the designer, most likely my students will be frustrated as the participants. My main takeaway was that technology should not be used for technology’s sake, but rather when it is the best way to help students learn.
How I Will Apply My Learning
In the future, I plan on incorporating fun mini-lessons in powtoon.com and easygenerator.com. This will free up more time for students to collaborate and discover on their own. I would also like to teach my students the best practices of designing a presentation and conducting surveys. So often, we are bored watching students present, but are we teaching them explicitly enough what is expected? I know that I do not do enough. I also anticipate using Google Forms more often than just end of unit surveys and eventually having students create their own surveys and presenting their findings.
The Future of Educational Technology
In the next ten years, many emerging technologies will be impacting the educational landscape. Wearable technology like Google Glass will be the norm. Schools will probably have a number of 3D printers. Open Educational Resources (OER) will be common. Teachers will have to keep learning about these new tools and experimenting with them in their classes. Educational organizations will have to change their policies to incorporate this new technology while also protecting student privacy. Ultimately, everyone will have to advocate for the students who need to be prepared for the world, whether they are going to college or career.
Which emerging technology do you foresee having the greatest impact on education in the next 5 to 10 years?
A link to a discussion of 10 emerging technologies:
Some cool wearable technology tools from the Consumer Electronics Show 2015:
Unit 6: Virtual Learning Environments
I see amazing potential when it comes to 3D virtual environments, a potential that has not been reached yet, but probably will be within the next five years or so. I love that these virtual worlds allow people to practice real world skills without the fear of making a grave mistake. The greatest positive aspect of these worlds is how engaging they are. Wankel and Hinrichs (2011) concluded that when a person is immersed in a 3D environment, they become emotionally involved and experience heightened learning since they are taking an active role. Freitas (2006) discusses the many facets of 3D environments that affect a learner’s motivation: they need the right amount of challenge, highly realistic graphics, control over the environment, and many opportunities for discovery. If these facets are present in a virtual world, I can see how they would be highly effective for teaching and learning.
On the other hand, because they are so engaging, there is the risk of distraction, and in some cases, these environments become an obsession. Wankel and Hinrichs (2011) acknowledge the potential risks associated with 3D worlds: a shift in priorities, e-security, and exposure to mature comments and content. Since these virtual spaces offer not only educational pursuits, but also social ones, there is a good chance students will veer off during what are supposed to be solely academic pursuits.
This unit’s learning challenge was to immerse myself in a virtual environment and try to discover opportunities for teaching and learning. I was not a fan of Second Life before I even created my avatar because of the female characters’ way too inappropriate dress. In addition, many avatars approached me to try to make conversation, some not relenting when I did not reply. Although I was able to see Machu Picchu in 3D, I would not recommend Second Life for the classroom. It is too risky at this point in time.
One question I had during this unit was: What educational uses could my classmates envision for technologies like the Hololens (see video under Helpful Resources below)? I pictured geography teachers using it to show city grids and shrink and enlarge them during learning. My peers mentioned virtual field trips as one of the most exciting possibilities.
Unit 7: Mobile Learning Environments
Although there are many concepts that play into effective mobile learning environments, there are two that are more important than the others: Ease of Use and Perceived Enjoyment. If users can easily figure out how to use mobile learning technologies, they will be more likely to interact with them (Stanaityte et al., 2013). Also, users need to find joy in the m-learning environment to make them want to keep learning. Stanaityte et al. (2013) assert, “…the enjoyment and fun that can be associated with m-learning activities, together with perceived mobility, were the factors with the highest impact on students’ intentions towards mobile learning usage” (p. 60). These two concepts are the ones I most often see either get students totally excited about mobile learning, or if they are lacking, turn students away from mobile learning.
Wang and Shen (2012) discuss Mayer’s theory of multimedia message design, and the principles directly contribute to Ease of Use and Perceived Enjoyment. Designers can make instruction more coherent by eliminating unnecessary content (Wang & Shen, 2012). As a designer, you also want to keep devices in mind so that content is easy to read and interact with from any device (Legault, 2015). Some ways to make the mobile learning environment more enjoyable are making quizzes short, using clear graphics, and incorporating sound, video, and games.
This unit’s learning challenge was to use a mobile learning tool to create a learning activity. I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of using easygenerator.com. I created a lesson on making the perfect pot of coffee, and it turned out pretty effective. In the future, I would add more images and maybe some sound to foster more engagement.
One question I had during this unit was: How do you make mobile learning more enjoyable for students? I know that I add images, sounds, video, and games. My peers mentioned these items as well.
Freitas, S. (2006). Learning in immersive worlds: A review of game-based learning. JISC. Retrieved from https://post.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/courses/EDU625.901013080932/Documents/Unit%206%20Resources/LearningInImersiveWorlds_v3%203.pdf.
Legault, N. (2015). Best practices for designing mobile learning like a pro. Retrieved from https://community.articulate.com/articles/design-mobile-learning-like-a-pro-best-practices-for-mlearning.
Stanaityte, J., Washington, N., Wankel, L. A., & Blessinger, P. (2013). Increasing student engagement and retention using mobile applications: Smartphones, Skype and texting technologies. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Group Publishing.
Wang, M., & Shen, R. (2012). Message design for mobile learning: Learning theories, human cognition and design principles. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 43(4), 561-575. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01214.x.
Wankel, C., & Hinrichs, R. J. (2011). Transforming virtual world learning. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Book Serials and Monographs.
This video gives a great overview of mobile learning principles:
During the Design Phase of ADDIE, the instructional designer should consider the pedagogical approach that will suit their training best. I prefer a Constructivist approach for teaching and learning. The framework that Larson encourages, therefore, is the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study’s (BSCS) 5E Framework. However, since this framework is mostly geared toward science, the more suitable, and very similar choice for my training is Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction. Larson (2014) explains, “Ultimately, you should select strategies that complement or foster the behavior or learning described in your learning outcomes” (p. 152). It is imperative to consider what you want learners to be able to do and who they are as an audience before deciding upon an instructional framework. Gagne’s model has nine meaningful stages: gaining audience attention with a hook, sharing the objectives with the learners, stimulating prior knowledge, presenting the instruction dynamically, providing guidance to those who need it, having learners perform a task, assessing that performance, and enhancing learner retention by having them apply their knowledge. Larson (2014) is in favor of supporting learning by doing, and so am I.
A balance of instructional design and project management best practices leads to a successful Implementation Phase of ADDIE. For this reason, there are three tasks that occur during the Implementation Phase of ADDIE that are more important than the others. It is crucial that the designer identifies project management requirements, such as the organization of tasks, deliverables, a schedule, and communication procedures (Larson, 2014). Harris (2013) supports the importance of this task when he explains his technique, “SPADES stands for start, plan, administer, develop, engage, and stop. Each of these stages incorporates tasks typically completed with ADDIE, but adds project management techniques to ensure everyone’s needs are met” (p. 60). The designer does not want to waste time, money, or energy, and this task will help them avoid failure. Another significant task involves establishing standards for accessibility, safety and privacy, and quality (Larson, 2014). The instructional materials should be available to all learners, and should follow Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This means the materials should have multiple means of representation, action and expression, and cognitive engagement (Larson, 2014). Finally, there needs to be a solid evaluation and revision plan in place. The designer must follow up on the summative assessments and stakeholder reflections to ensure that improvements will be made.
In the past, I always implemented instruction without thinking making many of these considerations of design or implementation. Now I know that having my learners begin by taking an actual Google Forms survey will spark their interest. I have always thought it is important to share the learning objectives before instruction. Whenever I have been in meetings with no agenda or objectives, I have become quite frustrated; I would like to avoid that with my learners. Also, the final piece of this framework gets to the higher order thinking skills on Bloom’s Taxonomy in which learners do something with the new knowledge and have a better chance of committing it to memory. For these reasons, I favor a constructive approach.
Learners in the training I am developing for this class will actually be taking, creating, and sharing Google Forms surveys, which makes them active participants in their learning. Since teachers have their own school-issued laptops, they will be able to move quickly from the lower to upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and make use of Google Forms right away. As the designer of this Google Forms training, I will have to carry out the implementation tasks with fidelity. I will be reviewing my project management documents from EDU627 and creating a project management plan and communication procedures. I will also design my training by incorporating principles of UDL. I will have to find some articles to refresh my memory on UDL. Lastly, I will elect an evaluator to sit down with me to review my data from the training to ensure that I carried out that task and made the appropriate changes.
What is the most important step of implementation in your point of view?
Harris, A. (2013). Training in sp♠des. T+D, 67(6), 58-62. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b38a9d20-6088-419f-ad98-b912228910c9%40sessionmgr4002&vid=1&hid=4113.
Larson, M. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge.
This website gives more in depth information about SPADES, the project management version of ADDIE:
Unit Four: Creating & Delivering Engaging Presentations
I rarely use presentations in my teaching because I believe in more of a Constructivist approach in which students are interacting with material and learning collaboratively. Sometimes, students need information quickly before completing a more hands on activity, and thus, I will incorporate a presentation. Oftentimes, I use slides for class notes and guide students through the process to find their preferred note taking method.
When creating presentations, there are a few guidelines I follow. I use very little text, a limited color scheme (usually with a white background and bold color for text), and titles so that learners know where they are in the presentation. I often provide links to videos or images that relate to the material I am teaching, which students enjoy. I find that using humor keeps their interest, and anytime you can use music, the better for engagement. By far, my favorite resource for creating presentations is Google Slides. Multiple people can be in the presentation at once and changes are made in real time as well as saved automatically. Google Slides saves users a ton of time, money, and energy.
This unit’s learning challenge was to create a presentation-based learning activity using engaging technology. I used Powtoon to create a video presentation about the rules for using semicolons. I was able to make it catchy with sounds, images, special effects, and bright colors. This is a website I will use a lot in the future. It is user friendly and I am happy with my final products.
One question I had during this unit was: How often do you use presentations in your teaching (per week)? I found that my peers at every level use them quite often, in just about every class. One of my peers in higher education talked about how his organization is doing away with traditional PowerPoint presentations, a change I think many other organizations will follow suit on.
Unit Five: Games & Learning
I have attempted to incorporate games into my curriculum as much as possible, as they are quite engaging for my learners. I have created my own Jeopardy boards using free software, but found that students become too competitive and it starts to be more about points than about mastering the material. I have also used already-created games on Kahoot with my students, and they love playing them. Even though Kahoot is fun, it can get dry after a couple games because it is a simple multiple choice style game. The best part about it is that students can access the website and play for free from any device. No one is left out. Plus, users can create their own usernames and add emojis.
I have also incorporated offline games in my classroom. For example, before the ninth graders read The Lord of the Flies, I gave them a desert survival challenge in which I put them into a plane crash situation and they had to choose the ten items from a list that would best help their team survive the Sahara Desert. I then came up with a point system for the items and descriptions of the point ranges. Students got really into it. I am sure this would be more engaging using digital tools, so I would like to use what I learn in this unit to transfer it to an online game.
I am in favor of the use of game in the learning environment because it allows kids to make mistakes and learn from them in a practice situation. Game can help learners expand upon important skill sets, such as taking control, solving problems, experimenting with their identities, and communicating within a global community (Sorensen, Meyer, & Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2011). However, I do not think the field of education is doing a good enough job of designing games that are as engaging to learners as the video games they play outside of school. I am hopeful that within the next five years, though, that improvements will be made and time will be spent dedicated to producing games that students want to play, and more than that, games that help students learn more effectively. Oftentimes, students will get in trouble for playing a computer game when they are supposed to be focused on something in class. If we as instructional designers did a better job of creating academic games, we would not have this problem.
This unit’s learning challenge was to use technological resources to create a simple game to teach a key concept. This challenge just about brought me to tears. Most of the resources were not compatible with Mac, and inklewriter was extremely difficult to learn. Therefore, I ended up using Scratch Project Editor to create a game that teaches basic interview etiquette. Unlike the other options, this one allowed me to exercise creativity and it was easy to use. However, I still find game creation incredibly frustrating because I know the potential for educational games that I am not reaching compared to the video games kids are playing at home.
One question I had during this unit was: Are online games better than offline games? Most of my peers, when talking about games that are effective, were giving examples of games with no technology component. In my classroom, I tend to rely more heavily on offline games. Until game design and education are brought together, most teachers will probably default to offline games.
How do you make presentations and games engaging for your students?
Sorensen, B. H., Meyer, B., & Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2011). Serious games in education: A global perspective. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
Forbes’ list of five ways to increase interactivity in presentations:
Keith Stuart’s article will tell you how video game designers seduce their audiences:
The Development Phase of ADDIE takes a designer’s work from the Design Phase and applies the principles of graphic design to create an instructional message that is effective and engaging. This phase is not only about the message, but also the medium, or the vehicle of delivery (Larson, 2014). It is crucial that instructional designers are mindful early on in development, in order to avoid mistakes later (Larson, 2014). Ignoring the principles of message and graphic design would surely mean the failure of instruction.
Message Design & Principles of Graphic Design
There are many considerations an instructional designer can make in order to effectively reach their audience and have successful outcomes. They can appeal to the senses, make sure all materials are accessible, use multimedia and a combination of words and pictures, and personalize the instruction with a more conversational tone (Larson, 2014). Larson (2014) also suggests using the Gestalt grouping laws of proximity: showing relationships by putting objects close together; closure: showing relationships by grouping them as parts of a closed figure; continuity: aligning objects with each other; similarity: showing similarities using color, size, orientation, shape, and shading; and simplicity: using symmetry, regularity, and smoothness to organize elements. Other suggestions include using crisp, clean images instead of clipart and icons in the place of text (CreativeMarket, 2014). Coates and Ellison (2014) also explain, “If used effectively, color can convey meaning; it can also show at a glance that elements are connected or separated” (p. 82). Therefore, a designer must plan colors carefully and purposefully.
For me, this has been one of the more powerful units in the program. I appreciated being able to watch videos of people taking a rough design and applying graphic design principles to make it much more sleek, sophisticated, and catchy. In my own teaching, I have not often stopped to consider these principles, although intuitively, I think I have always thought about some of them even if I did not have the words. A few standouts for me are to achieve better coherence by reducing the nice to know information and using signaling to highlight the essentials (Larson, 2014). I will no longer use clipart or overused fonts, but instead keep the messages I design fresh and fun. In this way, I will better engage my learners.
What are your go to principles of graphic design?
Coates, K., & Ellison, A. (2014). An introduction to information design. London: Laurence King Publishing.
CreativeMarket. 2014. Learn web design: Simpler is better [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AASd5ewKNSw.
Larson, M. B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge.
Cool video that discusses graphic design principles and then connects them to movie posters:
Unit One: Social Networking in the Classroom
The use of social networking and media has increased exponentially over the past fifteen years. Since cooperative learning is at the heart of my classroom, social networking blends right in, although only when absolutely necessary for learning. Social networking can enhance learning in many ways, such as offering more multimodal ways of learning, connecting with a wider and more diverse audience, and having a sense of ownership over learning. However, it is my belief that a blended classroom is more successful with social networking because of the community built in the physical space. Thibaut (2015) did a study in which she documented social networking in a classroom for four months (p. 83). She found that social networking had the ability to extend student learning beyond the classroom, but only with the presence of a great teacher (Thibaut, 2015, p. 91).
I have many concerns about using social networking in learning. One major one is the anonymity of the Internet. This can lead to students feeling as though they can post anything with no sense of responsibility. By the same token, students at my school get a laptop for academic uses only. However, they often use social media for personal reasons and struggle to grasp the acceptable use policy. One issue is that many of my students do not have another device to use. Also, as a staff, we cannot block all social networking because our students need to access it to learn. The overwhelming problem is that students can find ways to get around blocks and it is unmanageable for the teacher to be able to see every screen at all times to ensure students are being responsible users of social media.
This unit’s learning challenge was to create and publish an introduction video. Although it was uncomfortable for me to film myself, the video tour I created of my school turned out visually appealing and creative. I did have a bit of anxiety knowing my video was public on YouTube.com. In the end, however, this was a great challenge because I feel like I know my peers so much better through this format than just through writing.
One question I had during this unit was: Do you think schools will develop separate courses to teach responsible digital citizenship, or do you think standards will be blended into all curriculums for the use of social networking? After completing the unit, I predict that there will be digital citizenship woven into all subject areas and classes.
Unit Two: Conducting and Analyzing Surveys
Although surveys are a great way to collect needed information, there are many concerns about the use of the data that comes from them. From my perspective, measurement errors are the most common type of error in surveys because it takes a lot of time and attention to detail to ask questions properly and avoid bias. Also, I am not sure how a survey administrator ensures the credibility of the data, especially when giving a survey online. You have no way of knowing who is actually taking the survey or if they are providing genuine answers. The hope is that as the survey designer you will follow best practices, but even then you cannot guarantee there will be no errors.
In order to ensure that the data I collect from my community is credible, I make sure I begin with clear survey objectives, sound research design, and the right questions (Phillips, Aaron, and Phillips, 2013, n.p.). From there, it is best to use effective administration strategies, such as only allowing respondents one opportunity to take the survey, to avoid errors. Scheuren (2004) also recommends that all concepts be clearly and simply expressed, that definitions be included for precise or technical words, that it have a strong introduction, indicate why questions are being asked, and that it should have a friendly conclusion (n.p.).
This unit’s learning challenge was to create and administer a survey and then visually represent the results using technology. I used Google Forms to create and conduct the survey and WiseMapping.com to display the results in a mind map. Since I left out some survey best practices, I did not quite get the results I was looking for. I was also frustrated by creating a mind map to display the information when Google Forms did that for me already. Ultimately, though, I thought of ways in which I could use mind maps in the classroom, so the challenge was not in vain.
One of the questions I had during this unit was: How can educators help learners check for credibility of data? Scheuren (2004) suggests pretesting survey administration, following up on non-respondents, and having adequate quality controls (n.p.). As far as students taking in information from surveys, I explicitly teach bias and reliability of data. Now that I have gone through this unit, I would explicitly teach all possible survey errors described above so that students can be on the lookout for false or biased information.
Unit Three: Using Live Data in Lessons
While I do not see any issues arising from the use of live or real-time data from the global community, I do see issues when it comes to analyzing that data. Data is useless unless people are trained to effectively synthesize and make conclusions about it. Oftentimes, I see students draw a beautiful graph to represent the data they have collected, but then fail to explain the inferences they should be able to make based on it. Blagdanic and Chinnappan (2013) also found that students made idiosyncratic judgments about the graphs they had drawn (p. 8). Another observation I have made is when students put a statistic from an article in a paper, but do not know why they chose it. Part of the problem here is that the articles found in library databases are too difficult for many students to read.
There are several things that I do and also teach my students to do to ensure that we are using legitimate data. One important step is to check the URL to determine the reliability of the sponsoring organization. Sites that end in .edu are usually educational organizations and ones that end in .gov are most likely reliable government websites. The tricky site ending is .org because those can either be great or poor sources of information. You want to do some research on each organization’s political bias or agenda. It is also crucial to check the date of publication because you do not want to draw conclusions on very old data. Another step is to investigate the author to see what their expertise or authority is in what they are publishing data about. Finally, any online journal or magazine with repute should offer a reference page with scholarly sources for every research study or data set.
This unit’s learning challenge was to create an activity using a live data source from the Internet. I created an activity in which students would control the NASA telescope in order to view objects in space. It was tough as an English teacher to complete a challenge that was so sciene and math heavy. However, it is valuable to me for teaching research skills.
During this unit, I was wondering how teachers in other subjects teach credibility. I found that it is helpful to check for field-specific professional organizations depending on what information you are seeking out. I can also conclude that it is a best practice to find multiple articles on the same topic or data focus to check the information for reliability.
The Most Valuable Takeaway
By far, credibility has been the underlying thematic concept of these three units. The information you post to social media needs to show you in the best way possible, and the information you find on the Internet needs to be reliable.
Blagdanic, C., & Chinnappan, M. (2013). Supporting students to make judgments using real-life data. Australian Mathematics Teacher, 69(2), 4-12. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=baac116c-1f0d-40df-92fe-ee754c7dd3b3%40sessionmgr112&vid=1&hid=112.
Phillips, P. P., Aaron, B. C., & Phillips, J. J. (2013). Survey basics. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.
Scheuren, F. (2004). What is a survey?. Retrieved from https://www.whatisasurvey.info/chapters/chapter1.htm.
Thibaut, P. (2015). Social network sites with learning purposes: Exploring new spaces for literacy and learning in the primary classroom. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 38(2), 83-94. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1f14b58a-0390-4ef4-99f4-bad61fb7f11d%40sessionmgr111&vid=18&hid=103.
Excellent online checklist for credibility: