Saturday, July 26, 2014

COMM 7728 Remix Project - Math Rap

When our professor informed us that we had to create a remix project with a partner for our content area, I knew exactly what I wanted to and who I wanted to work with.  +Amy Paskov and I have worked together on previous projects.  As math teachers, we love our subject area and we know what our students would like to use in class to help them with math.

Our professor referenced School House Rock as an example of what she wanted us to create.  My 8th graders actually love School House Rock, but they also like the YouTube videos created by Westerville High School in Ohio that feature math raps.  I knew Amy would go along with my idea and help me create a math rap animated video.

We both attempted to download apps that took our voices or text and converted them to a rap.  I even attempted to do the rap myself, but boy was it awful!  Thankfully we found that Go Animate provided a text to voice feature and although it wasn't Tupac or JayZ sounding, it didn't turn out so bad in the end.

Honestly one of the best parts of completing the project was collaborating with Amy through a Google Doc on the lyrics.  We should consider copyrighting the lyrics to ensure no one else tries to use it as their own creation!  This was another example of how we can use the tools and resources that we learned about during our IT&DML courses to create online material that our students can use.

The following is a link to the Go Animate video we created together:  Solving Two Step Equations Go Animate Rap Video.  Thank you +Amy Paskov for purchasing an account which allowed us to make a video over 30 seconds.  If we were to ever incorporate this type of activity in class, a free 30 second video would be perfect for our students!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

COMM 7728 - Teaching Online Content Tools: Poll Everywhere

When I saw that we were assigned to complete a lesson for teachers on an online content tool, I wanted to focus mine on a free resource available for teachers that they could use for assessment purposes.  I recently interviewed for a position as a digital instruction specialist for a school district.  During the interview they talked about data collection and what resources I could introduce to the teachers that they could use to collect data.  Poll Everywhere is a free resource that teachers can use to create assessments and have their students text or submit their results using their mobile devices.  The data is displayed on the screen to provide immediate feedback to the students and the teacher.

Many school districts are beginning to implement bring your own device (BYOD) policies.  This would allow teachers to engage their students with classroom activities by using their devices.  The following is a link to my video tutorial on Poll Everywhere:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Creating my E-Portfolio ED 7730

This week I used a site map to layout my E-Portfolio.  As I was thinking about what I wanted to include in my portfolio, I thought about what I would want to learn about a person who would be instructing either myself or my child with the integration of technology in their classroom.  I plan to refer people to my portfolio when they ask what I have completed in my IT&DML coursework.  In addition, I want to make sure there is a place in my portfolio where others can use to access resources for them to use in their classroom.  This will be used to sell myself as a digital instruction specialist or media/technology integration specialist to potential school districts.

Here is the image that I created on MindMeister to help me organize my thoughts on my E-Portfolio:

I know that I will be expanding on this site map to help me when I construct and update my E-Portfolio.  I also plan on purchasing a domain for my E-Portfolio.  This will allow me to have a professional looking site that others can access and see me as a professional in the field of Instruction Technology and Digital Media Literacy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Technology in Education Philosophy ED 7730

Throughout my teaching career I have written my educational philosophy multiple times.  The most recent was last summer when I began my 6th year program in Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy (IT&DML).  As I looked back on my previous philosophies, I realized that I never addressed the use of technology in classrooms.  The materials in my IT&DML courses have opened my eyes for the need to address the use of technology in today’s classroom.  Therefore, I am again rewriting my philosophy with a primary focus of technology in education.
Elizabeth Ferry’s Technology in Education Philosophy
According to John Dewey, education is acquired through the experience of the learner and the teacher.  If the teacher has experiences that can enhance the students' learning, they should use those experiences in their classroom.  In addition, teachers should provide students with tools that are available for them to have new experiences.
Technology allows teachers to introduce students to experiences otherwise not possible in a traditional classroom.  There are skills which students should master in order to be competitive in the 21st Century workforce, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.  These skills can be introduced by teachers with the use of technology in and outside of the classroom.  
Advances in technology allow students today to receive information quicker than ever before.  Technology can be used to differentiate instruction, conduct assessments, and provide feedback to students and teachers almost immediately.  With the use of technology, teachers can give their students a learning experience which will prepare them for the 21st Century while giving them skills that they can use in the real world.
Teachers are responsible for preparing their students for the future.  Technology is one aspect of society that continually changes and improves.  Teachers need to be on the forefront of these changes in order to effectively prepare their students to be successful citizens and contributors to the 21st Century.

The following video was created by Daniel Nemroff for the 2014 White House Film Festival. It provides a glimpse into what a future classroom might look like with the use of technology. The video demonstrates the need for teachers to begin thinking about what role technology will play in their classrooms.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

ED 7730 E-Portfolios Part II: My Own E-Portfolio

I was asked to write a blog post about what I think my e-portfolio should include for my IT&DML course.  As I read through the materials provided that gave me an overview on e-portfolios, I began thinking about the purpose of my e-portfolio.  Would I want the e-portfolio to demonstrate growth over the course or would I want to demonstrate my mastery on a variety of topics?

The coordinator of the IT&DML program, Ian O'Byrne has constantly stated that we are the experts now in the field by completing these courses.  With that in mind, I think it would be more beneficial for me to demonstrate how I am an expert in the field by creating an e-portfolio that provides examples of my projects and work I completed in the area of instructional technology and digital media literacy.  It would allow me to demonstrate what I can do, while promoting the IT&DML course at UNH.

To take it a step further, I can look at the different 21st century learning skills that I want my students to be proficient in prior to graduating high school.  I could create an e-portfolio that has artifacts from each of the learning skills that I completed.  In addition, I could use my e-portfolio as a example that my students could reference when they create their own e-portfolios.  Modeling is an instructional strategy that many students benefit from and my e-portfolio could be used as a model.

As I begin to apply for position as digital integration and instructional technology specialist positions, I realize how beneficial it would be for me to have an e-portfolio to present to an interview board.  I have answered many questions on application forms about projects and work I have completed in the field.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I wish there was one link I could send out that would provide all the information.  My e-portfolio could be just that, a reference for future employers to see what I can do and what I can bring to their school district to teach the staff and the students. 

ED 7730 E-Portfolios Part I: Fundamental Elements

For our new course in the IT&DML program, ED 7730, we were assigned to review materials associated with e-portfolios. We then were asked to complete two blog entries on e-portfolios.  The first entry is what we believe the fundamental elements of an e-portfolio should include based on the material provided by our professors.

Initially I thought e-portfolios were strictly used for students.  An article written by George Lorenzo and John Ittleson titled, An Overview of E-Portfolios, discuss that there can be a variety of e-portfolios for students, but also teachers and institutions.  I found that there were many similarities between the different groups who use e-portfolios and the fundamental elements were very similar.

The following are what I believe are the fundamental elements of an e-portfolio based on the readings:

  • Design and Ease of Navigation
    • The e-portfolio should be visibly appealing and able to be used as a presentation.  
    • Someone accessing the e-portfolio should be able to do so with ease with little to no direction on how to navigate to find artifacts.
    • The e-portfolio should be organized with a variety of audio/video, documents, slide show, and digital images.
  • Artifacts
    • Artifacts should demonstrate either a growth in an area or a collection of items that demonstrate mastery in a certain content area.
    • Artifacts should include a variety of audio/video items, digital images, and other work that is both visually appealing and easy to understand for anyone viewing the items.
    • The work should be related to the purpose of the e-portfolio.
  • Reflection
    • Individual should provide a reflection for the different items of the e-portfolio.
    • Reflections should demonstrate growth over time or the mastery of a certain topic.
In the research article, Web-based assessment: Validation of Electronic Portfolios  I found it very interesting that the electronic versions of portfolios received higher scores than the paper version.  In addition, the portfolios with audio/video components received less negative comments than those that did not have them.  It is important to remember when creating e-portfolios to not over enhance the portfolios with audio/video components, but rather use an appropriate amount that would not overwhelm or distract the viewer.

The materials that we were asked to review provided me with a lot of information that I want to share with my school.  Each of our students have access to folders that they can store their digital work on throughout their K-12 education.  We tell the students that they should use their folders to create their e-portfolio, but we have never taught the students what an e-portfolio is or what it should contain.  If done properly, our students could have a wonderful resource that they can take with them after they graduate from high school.  In addition, it would be a great way for teachers to assess students' abilities and see their growth from kindergarten all the way to their high school graduation.