Monthly Archives: June 2012

Thoughts on Instructional Design

ImagePlanning is essential to the quality of instructional design and impacts the effectiveness of lesson delivery.  Understanding target market needs can often be overlooked, but it is very important to consider target market before thinking about instructional approaches.  

Video technology is a powerful force and influential when pushing learning participants to consider other viewpoints.  Cooperative learning, video technology, emphasis on evaluating media, and challenge based learning can better engage students.  

Giving students choices is also essential to student motivation and is an important component to instructional design.  Alternative assessment approaches that includes a portfolio piece is a research interest.  Standardized approaches to instructional design cannot be eliminated, but creative and alternative approaches to instructional design and assessment is needed.  

Students are very interested in seeing work appreciated by the public at large.  Instructional design should give students a variety of choices, which includes many instructional technology components as well as creative and artistic components.  


Learning Analysis, Lesson Design, and R/Evolution

It is important to understand and pinpoint the needs of students and teachers in order to plan, deliver, and evaluate learning experiences.  In order for learning to occur, educators and instructional leaders must fully understand problems and focus on the quality of instruction rather then the quantity of instruction.  Lesson design must also accommodate 21st century learner needs, which is very different from previous conventional learning approaches, such as the objectivist model of learning.  As pointed out in Leidner and Jarvenpaa’s article , many instructional leaders view IT as an automated program and have yet to fully understand the importance of IT, which can be used as a “catalyst of change.”  Many instructional technologists will lead the world in the R/Evolution, which industry leaders and economists, such as Thomas Friedman, recognize is lacking in current approaches.  A shift from managerial leadership to that of an instructional leader, who models life-long learning, is needed.  IT will continue to push public K12 education to recognize that standardized and lecture based approaches are lacking. Collaboration, mobile learning, accessible video content, access to real time current events, and  virtual field trips will continue to push educators to think about cognitive processes.  Clear objectives and goals are essential for IT to take place.  However, clear guidelines on how to integrate appropriately are also a huge component to improved learning outcomes.  The R/Evolution presented on the youtube video reintegrates that media literacy and cognitive processes are changing.  Unfortunately,  many approaches to professional development ignores this new reality.  Life long learning, evaluation of approaches, positive communication, virtual collaboration, support, mobile accessibility, and encouragement is essential for growth.  

Reflections on NASA MMS 2014 STEAM Camp and Extended Learning Experience

DISD STEAM camp is turning into a wonderful experience.  Daily our 18 teachers are learning new approaches after camp  to utilize both in their classroom next fall and in an extended learning trip to NASA later this weekend.  STEAM teachers are facilitating true 21st century learning experiences and giving low income students in our community opportunities to extend learning outside of DISD.  

Teachers have had little to no exposure to  the purpose of NASA’s MMS mission until they began training last week.  Each day we meet and teachers are exposed to a little more information and resources.  We have worked to bring in experts for both professional development and to help with the STEAM camp via Skype and social media.  As I begin thinking about the purpose and objective of our lesson and work through this course, I realize that approaches being used are very much at the top of Blooms Taxonomy of Learning and address all three learning styles:  Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor.

The objectives for this weekend and next week will be the following:

Students will research and analyze how NASA is using the scientific method during the development of MMS 2014 mission. Students will create informative hands on robotic and digital productions to showcase why the mission is important to the world and then evaluate student production in a student led community STEAM Science Fair showcase. All will be documented on websites and social media. We will showcase on an ISTE NASA panel in San Diego.  Teachers document training daily.  The approach that we are using is two folded.  Teachers are becoming empowered and learning how to facilitate and recognize that they do not have to be an “expert” to challenge students to think about the purpose of the MMS mission.  All activities are student led and teachers are learning with the students during the next few weeks.  I ask both students and teachers to reflect daily after training or camp for documentation purposes.  

To learn more about our STEAM camp, you are welcome to view our schedule, which is changing daily. 

My Viewpoints on Personal Learning Theory

I believe top educators motivate, engage, and challenge students to want to learn or become lifelong students.  As our nation attempts to keep the brightest minds to advance freedom of thoughts and ideas so that progress continues, it is imperative that we recognize as a society how important it is to hire and employ quality professionals and leaders who do not view the occupation as “job” but see it as an opportunity or “calling” to make a difference.    When looking at personal learning theories, I can see pieces of all theories as an important part of the overall make up of the 21st Century School.

Our job as educators is to facilitate learning and model learning.  In addition, educators need to expose students to a wide range of viewpoints and ideas.   Lectures and death by powerpoint is not engaging and often this is what a college student will encounter when attempting to “learn” how to be a 21st century teacher.  Instructions and small lectures may be needed, but this should not be our main focus.  For this reason, I have strong feelings regarding the objectivist model of learning.  The objectivist model of learning is boring and does not give students the experiences needed to really gain knowledge.

The constructivist model of learning is a more preferred approach because it centers on students and is student led.  Student follow the scientific method of approach and the teacher facilitates and allows the students to find knowledge on their own, with the teacher acting as a guide, which is a 21st century skill set.  Problem based learning and challenge based learning are both approaches that follow this model, and students find PBL and CBL very engaging and rewarding.  Students also enjoy collaborating and working in a team environment, either virtual teams for face to face.  The cooperative learning model is also essential for students to succeed in the global economy.  Students must be exposed to other cultural norms and societies and the socioculutural model allows for students to think about global connections and viewpoints.

Video Technology Personalizes Instructional Design

After viewing a student video production on coal mining entitled “Footage from the real Silent Hill” Centralia, PA” , I realize that video technology is a powerful and engaging component in the field of IDT.  Questions that immediately come to mind include, how can I learn more about Centralia?  Is this happening in other locations?  How did this happen?  Why did it happen?  The opportunity for higher level thinking and questioning are numerous.  I also think it is important to consider validation methods and approaches.  Is this accurate?  What was the motivation behind this video?  The images are very powerful in the video and I couldn’t help but think that these kids were very cool.  I wanted to learn more.

After researching other multiple search engines, I quickly find that this is not an isolated phenomenon, as reported by the Smithsonian.  The video was very engaging, but a deeper exploration into why this happened that included interviews or experts in the field would have made the video more meaningful. However, it is obvious that students who created this video will never forget the learning experience and production content.  For example, the images of the highway were powerful.  The gas fumes and images were eye catching and I found myself wanting to learn more.

Recently, I came across a fantastic video site to use, which I think relates to this topic and assignment.  Vocab taps into the idea of using video technology as a powerful tool to increase academic achievement and vocabulary usage to prepare for SAT exams.  Video technology gives users a choice to be a participant, contributor, or creator.  Students now have more of a say and can utilize social media for reflections, giving access to many extended learning opportunities.

Perhaps the most important benefit to video technology, is the motivation aspect that can really improve the learning experience for students.  It is really fantastic to see students become excited about learning and recognize the power and potential they have within themselves to contribute and produce content.  A student in my video technology course this school year created the video link below, “A Word of Advice.”  The video she created was published and shared with over 11,000 viewings.   Her purpose was to motivate students to think about how they can improve themselves.

Word of Advice

The Importance of Instructional Design

The value of instructional design and consideration as to how value is determined is a real issue and affects all levels of instruction.  As I work towards becoming an expert in the field of instructional design, I realize skill sets needed will include the following:  the ability to find solutions, new resources, and applications to real world scenarios, analyze information from diverse viewpoints, critical thinking, and flexibility.  After reading Dr. Barbara A. Bichelmeyer’s study, I tend to agree that instructional deign and the field of information science is iinterdisciplinary by nature.  However,  the need to understand how to analyze information and contribute knowledge and organizations will need quality experts to assist in IDT.

The effectiveness of instruction and quality of teaching must be addressed and modeling will be necessary for me to be successful in this field.  In addition, I think it is important to be an active learner and contributor for organizations and institutions to further the cause of increasing the effectiveness of instructional design.  Learning experiences must be meaningful and researching and finding new approaches, ideas, and methods of evaluation will be areas of research that I will need to work towards.  Also, understanding that change is part of improving the importance of instructional design.  How do we react to change?  How do we work towards producing positive change and participating in a movement to radically change the movement to using technology as an bridge or vehicle to give meaningful  experiences to increase instruction.

Last summer I coordinated a challenge based learning technology integration 2 day training.  The video created by educators participating emphasizes many of my viewpoints and attitudes towards 21st century learning approaches.

Dublin ISD Summer 2011 Professional Development

Student Digital Art Exhibition on NASA’s MMS 2014 and Solar Weather

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DISD and RYSS Joint Space Art Exhibition on NASA’s MMS 2014

DISD and RYSS Joint Space Art Exhibition on NASA's MMS 2014

Student art exhibition on NASA’s upcoming MMS 2014 Mission