Real Time Professional Development: Webinars

Wedinars for Edtech 543

1. Live 2.0
Date: Saturday September 28, 2013
Time: 9:00am Pacific/10:00am Mountain/
11:00am Central/12:00pm Eastern
Location: Blackboard Collaborate

Zoe Midler is a media specialist in Flagstaff, Arizona. She was determined to pursue a career in the education field after she saw her children researching by Goggleing a topic. She observed that they really did not understand the steps to conducting authentic research. She is also passionate about collaboration. Here is her blog: http://zmidler.blogspot.com/

During her webinar, participants were asked to take part in two polls. The first poll question was, “Do you currently use Google applications in your classroom?” 29% said yes. The next poll question was, “Do you co-plan or co-teach lessons? Only 16% said yes. Zoe ties the poll questions into her presentation by emphasizing the use of 2.0 tools and stating that the definition of a 2.0 classroom is collaborating, publishing student work, and empowering students’ voices.

Proof of Attendance

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2. Connecting You and Your Classroom Globally

Presenter: Ted Nesloney
Date: October 13, 2013
Time: 7:00AM Pacific Time Zone
Location: Blackboard Collaborate

This webinar focused on the fact that our kids are already global learners, and we need to allow kids to connect, especially kids who are form low socioeconomic areas because statistics show that these kids stay where they are at after reaching adulthood. In other words, our kids need to learn about the world and feel connected to the world, regardless of where they live. Ted emphasized utilizing Skype for Education, Google Hangouts, and Twitter. He told a story of a 15-year-old teenager who created a test for pancreatic and ovarian cancer, and how his classroom skped with the young man. It was truly inspirational. He also discussed how his PLN saved his career, and I really identified with this. I am finding professional inspiration from all the networking this class requires us to do.

Proof of Attendance
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3. Promoting Language Learning Through Gaming
Presenter: David Dodgson
Date: October 13, 2013
Time: 9:00AM Pacific Time Zone
Location: Blackboard Collaborate

I am not a gamer, but as David pointed out, games are everywhere; moreover, games are based in critical thinking skills. Language evolves when learners play games, so promoting language learning through gaming is a no-brainer. Vocabulary can be enhanced because learning the rules for the games requires reading instructions, including the walk-through guide. Teachers can require students to actually write their own walk-through. I have often required students to write rules for a board game, so I was really excited to learn about this. I also learned that an ELT sandbox is a mode of play with creative freedom. Cool!

Proof of Attendance

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4. Flipping Classroom Roles
Presenter: Akevy Greenbelt
Date: October 13, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM Pacific Time Zone
Location: Blackboard Collaborate

This was one of my favorite webinars because I could relate to everything that Akevy said about , teacher’s roles, student’s roles, and classroom management. The first point that caught my attention is that as teachers, we just don’t give enough feedback to our students. This doesn’t necessarily mean graded feedback, but rather verbal feedback. Our students need this from both their teachers and their peers. They need to be critiqued. Akevy also put up the following quote that he discussed at some length: “People by nature resist being managed.”-Tomlinson. Akevy discussed teachers who consistently take an adversarial role with their students and how that just doesn’t work these days. I couldn’t agree more. I just started at a Title 1 school, and the last thing that these kids need is to think of their teacher as their adversary. One of the teachers I befriended, who is also new at the school, just quit because she cannot change her teaching style; thus, she was miserable because the kids literally hated her.

Proof of Attendance
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Strategies for Creating a Positive Professional Online Presence

Every time I log onto the Internet, I leave a mark.  It’s time to make sure my mark is building a positive digital trail. 

1. The first step in creating a positive and professional online presence is to simply search for my name in all the main web browsers. Seeing the information that appears in the search engines and identifying my current digital footprint can help me ensure that the news, images, and web search contain factual information about me. I definitely do not want any inappropriate information posted about me nor do I want any information that could be misconstrued as negative.  Jean Dumais (2013) suggests that searching for your name can reveal the following:

  • How common your name is
  • How much information you have provided on the web (Facebook, LinkedIn, online forums or discussion groups, other social networks)
  • How much information has been written by others about you (mentions in newspapers, professional publications, employer’s website)
  • How much public data exists about you in general (public records ranging from marriage license, real estate transactions, legal actions)

2. When choosing a strategy for my digital footprint, I need to first begin by examining my strengths as well as my weaknesses as an online participant and professional.  This is because it is important to match my strategy with my online presence.  For example, I am a better, blogger, Youtuber or Facebooker than I am a Tweeter, so in order to maximize my digital footprint, I will want to focus on building my profile on those social networking cites rather than spending too much time on other cites I might not use very much. (Mitch, 2009)

3. In keeping in line with this idea, I really need to have the philosophy that quality is always better than quantity; therefore, even though more posts may help “get me out there,” of course I want anything that is out there to be my best work.  So I need to consider this always, and edit material as necessary(Mitch 2009).

4. In order to optimize search engine hits or the occurrence and the size of my digital footprint, I need to increase my blogging and my comments on others’ blogs.  One goal would be to write a blog of about 250 words per week.  This will allow my blog to pop up in the top spots when my name is Googled. (Ratcliff, 2011). In addition, I need to focus on using key words, tags, or relevant titles.

5. I need to utilize my own digital radar by setting up a Google Alert and entering my own name in the Google news alert tab. This way, I will always know what my online presence is, and that will allow me to manage my digital footprint (Nelson & Simek 2008).

6. One thing I need to remember to do is to update my profile on all of my social media sites.  This will allow the viewer to have access to the most recent and relevant information about me (Joel,2009).

7. Next, I need to consider blocking anyone who reflects poorly on my reputation.  In other words, if I am “friends” with someone on Facebook, and he or she posts an inappropriate response, I need to delete it and potentially “unfriend” the person.  It is just not worth it to damage my reputation and jeopardize the integrity of my digital footprint over someone else’s views (Jorgensen, 2012).

8. Another site that I am going to join to enhance my digital footprint is LinkedIn.  According to Dumais, 2013, “this networking site is a good choice for putting your professional foot forward on the web.”  She also states that this social network will change the priority of my name when conducting searches.

9. I am going to make it a habit to search my name about once every month.  Even though I am signing up for Google Alerts, I think it is a good idea to continually monitor what comes up in various search engines (Jorgensen, 2012).

10. I am not going to post status map updates from my phone; I haven’t done this very much in the past, and I am not going to do it in the future, unless I am at a conference or somewhere that reflects my profession.  (Bernard, 2013)

References

Bernard, D. (2013, August 27). Increase your online presence. Retrieved from http://link2dave.com/2013/08/increase-your-online-presence-with-these-blogging-tips/

Dumais, J. (2013, March 20). Have you googled yourself lately? control your digital footprint. Retrieved from http://www.bewebsmart.com/internet-safety/control-your-digital-footprint/

Joel, M. (2009, March 05). How to build your digital footprint. Retrieved from http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/how-to-build-your-digital-footprint-in-8-easy-steps/

Jorgensen, M. (2012 October 1). Your digital footprint. Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Wq90S3iic

Nelson, S., & Simek, J. (2008, September). Watching the digital radar with google news alerts. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/publications/law_practice_home/ law_practice_archive/lpm_magazine_articles_v34_is6_pg20.html

Ratzlaff, C. (2001 June 17). Creating your digital footprint with social media [Web].
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdWmhZsJQHo

The Impact of Digital Footprints

Yes, everything we do on the internet is transparent, and I’m lucky that I was in my forties when I started social networking. That’s because, yes, I was a bit of a wild child in my twenties, not in a reckless way, but I may have posted pictures at parties if I had the opportunity back then. Well, as they say, that was then, and this is now, and I’ve been very responsible as to what others see on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. In fact, I ask that friends and family do not tag me in pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and quite frankly, they become annoyed, but I like the freedom of choosing what is posted. However, with that said, even though I can keep tagged photos off of my Timeline in Facebook, apparently, I can’t keep them off Facebook. In fact, I just untagged a photo that, quite honestly, was just a terrible photo of me. Yes, even at my age, I still have a bit of vanity! However, the point is that everything that is put on the internet becomes a part of our digital footprint, and I’ve always been aware of that. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I’ve been pretty careful.

In the past, I have researched what my own digital footprint says about me, but I usually add information to the search because my name is pretty generic: Cynthia Mills, and if you do not know my maiden name and you Google me, you might mistake me for the Cynthia Mills who was just arrested in a “murder for hire case” in Maryland, or for the numerous Dr. Cynthia Mills that exist out there, although I plan to become Dr. Cynthia Mills one day anyway, so I guess that is okay. I’ve often teased my husband about how common the name Mills is and that I wish I had kept my maiden name, but it’s probably a good thing. When I add other key terms to the search, for example, Cynthia Mills edtech, a lot of my course work for this Masters program appears, but I’m proud of that, so I guess I don’t mind it too much, though it is a bit creepy.

My anxiety about digital footprints really is for my students; in fact, I am very concerned about their future and how their digital footprints will follow them. After my students graduate, I often receive friend requests from them on Facebook, and I accept them. Although some students are diligent about their posts and “get it,” there are so many who don’t, and their posts are often inappropriate. This worries me, especially after reading the information on the webpage, Follow your Digital Footprint. http://www2.huhs.org/library/pathfinders/footprint/footprints.html-Kids just have no idea, so I’m actually going to post this link on my FB page tonight! I really hope they read it. I don’t want to see them work so hard in college, but fail to get hired because of their immaturity and carelessness on social media sites.

My creative expression of my understanding of Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and Personal Learning Networks.

The following iMovie trailer is a creative expression of my understanding of Module II in EDTECH 543, more specifically, it symbolizes my perception of Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and Personal Learning Networks.

http://youtu.be/J-gJ77vv-uQ

I began the trailer with single flowers to represent the learner in a Personal Learning Network. The flowers, like the learner, have petals that stretch outward, symbolizing the individual’s desire to connect to the world. According to Canadian Education Technology Research Specialist, Stephen Downes (2011), “What we learn, what we know — these are literally the connections we form between neurons as a result of experience. The brain is composed of 100 billion neurons, and these form some 100 trillion connections and it is these connections that constitute everything we know, everything we believe, everything we imagine.” Thus, our need for connection drives our desire to learn.

Next, I added several vegetable vines to symbolize the growth of these networks as Connectivism. Each vine has it’s own destination, just as each learner decides his own pathway, yet all the vines are connected by the initial seed. Ana-Maria Marhan of the Institute of Philosophy and Psychology of the Romanian Academy Learning asserts, “Networks are self-organizing systems. Self-organization can be defined as the spontaneous formation of well organized structures, patterns, or behaviours, from random initial conditions. Learning, as a self-organizing process requires that the system (personal or organizational learning systems) be informationally open, that is, for it to be able to classify its own interaction with an environment, it must be able to change its structure.” Each vine grows and changes its structure depending on its environment; furthermore, it produces its own unique product.

Finally, I added pictures of several sunsets to convey the idea of Community of Practice. The sun symbolizes the learner, and the clouds are actively engaged with the sun which defines the totality of the sunset. In comparison, Kristi Newgarden (2009) asserts, “Learning is a social process facilitated by interaction with others who are mutually engaged in the socially and culturally defined practices of the community.” Like the sun and the clouds as they mutually engage in a courtship that produces an array of colors and formations in the sky, learners who participate in Communities of Practice and technology assisted learning are able to collaborate to produce unique learning outcomes.

References

Downes, S. (2011, 01/05). ‘Connectivism’ and connective knowledge Huffington Post, Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Marhan, A. M. (2006). Connectivism: Concepts and principles for emerging learning networks . (Master’s thesis, Romanian Academy)Retrieved from http://fmi.unibuc.ro/cniv/2006/disc/icvl/documente/pdf/met/19_marhan.pdf

Newgarden, K. (n.d.). Annotated bibliography – twitter, social networking and communities of practice. Retrieved from http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume13/ej50/ej50int/

Initial thoughts on Social Networking EDTECH 543

  1.  What are your initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

My initial reaction to joining these sites was that I felt enthusiastic.  Although I do use Facebook, I don’t use Twitter because when I initially signed up for it about two years ago, I was confused, so I dropped the entire notion of tweeting.  In addition, I have never used Diigo, so I am really excited to learn that interface.  Because I have to use both Twitter and Diigo for a class, I know I will master these interfaces and begin to discover ways in which I might be able to use these sites for my own teaching.

2.   What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?  

 I never really thought about social media as a professional development tool.  If anything, I guess I have used Facebook to initiate a working relationship with a co-worker and build rapport.  There have been times when I have shared teaching ideas via Facebook with others, but I don’t do that very often.  Perhaps, I should. However, Using Edmodo had helped me grow professionally because not only has it increased my collaboration with peers and students, it has also been a useful tool for organizing lesson plans, sharing lesson plans, and discovering new ways to teach the same topics.

  1. What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

I have used Edmodo to manage several classes, and I have been very successful.  Although it was a bit difficult to “roll” it out in terms of training my students (and myself, for that matter), I find that the site is an excellent tool for immediate feedback, social interaction, and class management.

4.  What are your expectations for this course?

I’m excited for this class because I think it will involve hands-on learning; in addition, I really want to further my knowledge and experience in this genre, especially when it comes to implementing Twitter and Diigo. 

Final Blog for 541

From the beginning, I thought this course was really challenging because each week, there was a complex project due that involved reading, planning, researching writing and revising. In fact, there were times when I spent 15-20 hours on a project. I’ve learned a great deal in this class, and this entry will summarize what I’ve learned and how these assignments have both enhanced my knowledge of AECT Standards and helped me grow professionally.

To begin with, writing the vision statement afforded me the opportunity to research and analyze my own position on integrating technology. Then, organizing a relative advantage chart that aligned with the common core standards not only allowed me to justify technology use in the classroom, but I was also able to share my chart during collaboration. My collaboration group appreciated the clarity of the chart in terms of the technology tools being aligned with the common core standards.

One of my biggest learning stretches occurred during the interactive presentation assignment. For the assignment, I created a pre-reading assignment for The Grapes of Wrath, and it was the most interactive and engaging presentation that I have ever created. I implemented it about a month ago, and it went really well. I actually had students tell me that they appreciated all the work I put into it, and they were excited to read the novel. This success tells me that as a teacher, I can really hook my kids if I spend the time and create something that is truly interactive while front-loading and scaffolding knowledge. Overall, this course has taught me new methods of integrating technology, and on top of that, I learned how to integrate and develop lessons in disciplines other than my own. As a result, I will be able to strengthen my instructional strategies, utilizing the resources I learned during this course.

The constructivist theory along with an emerging theory, connectivism, guided my project development in this class. For instance, I constantly strive to design learning activities so that students make connections between different disciplines, ideas and concepts; I especially focus on how they make connections to their own lives and construct meaning. This happens when students are directed to access their background knowledge about a topic. I then encourage students to share their ideas or theories with their peers and/or me, and together students learn from their perceptions and misconceptions, and they formulate new hypothesizes or understand the concept on a deeper level. These strategies are based on the constructivist theory in that they foster creative problem solving.

EDTECH 541 is a class that not only focuses on technology integration, but also examines the relative advantages for using technology in the classroom. During the course, I was exposed to and learned the applications of networking, instructional software, software types, web-based activities, integrating basic technologies, adaptive/assistive technologies, internet-based tools, and interactive technologies. These skills helped me demonstrate my mastery of AECT Standard 1: Design, in that I was challenged to apply the principles of instructional design, message design, instructional strategies and learner characteristics. For example, the social studies lesson that I designed (along with many other projects) integrated the previously mentioned technologies while also incorporating primary sources and a Jigsaw activity. See http://www.cmillsedtech.net/Social_Studies_Activity.html.

In addition, every project in this class advanced my skills and mastery of AECT Standard 2: Development, and AECT Standard 3.2, Diffusion of Innovations. Not only did the assigned projects challenge me in terms of bringing about change in my classroom and my professional life through trial and adoption, but they also challenged my technological skills. I have used several of these projects in my teaching thus far, and will continue to do so with an emphasis on engaging the learner and improving my skills and instructional strategies.

Part 2: Self-Evaluation
Content:
65/70: I believe my content was thoughtful and synthesized what we had learned during the module. I tried each week to demonstrate insight while also reflecting on my overall connections. Sometimes this was difficult to do in that I couldn’t reflect until after I had finished my project (because I needed, for myself, to complete the assignment in that order), and there were times I felt like I could have expounded more on what I had learned.

Readings and Resources: 20/20: I feel like I have met this criteria. I actually really enjoyed this textbook.

Timeliness: 18/20 Sometimes I didn’t finish my blog until the day it was due, but that was usually because I was still working on my project. So no, I didn’t always give enough time for people to respond, but I’m not sure that I could have done it any other way because as I stated, I reflected after my experience, and I think that was a good thing rather than a determent to my learning. However, because it was required, I think I should lose a few points.

Response to other Students: 30/30 I read and responded to two classmates for every assignment, and I felt like I added some insight and personal reflection to the posts.

Total: 133/140

Assistive and Adaptive Technology

Rationale for Assistive/Adaptive Technology: In this forum please respond to the following: Schools, universities, and libraries are struggling with tight budgets. How can we justify spending a lot of money to buy assistive technologies that might only be used by a small number of people? Cite relevant literature.

To begin with, it is estimated that over 50,000,000 people in the United States have a disability; with this number increasing yearly, how can society not fund programs or tools that aid individuals with disabilities? If we have 50 million Americans who cannot be as productive as they can be given the right tools, imagine the cost to every aspect, every level of our society. Obviously, for the betterment of both the individuals with disabilities and of the country, we need to spend the money to assist, educate and involve these individuals in all of the realms of our society. The solution is technology, for technology is the great equalizer.

Technology allows individuals to be more independent in any environment. In addition, the fact that federal laws govern special education is a solid justification for funding assistive technologies in schools, libraries, and universities; for example, there are “federal laws that promote the use of technology by individuals with disabilities”(Roblyer and Doering, 2013). To begin with, the Technology-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with Disabilities provides not only the awareness of, but also the access to assistive technologies (AT) devices and services. This means that individuals with disabilities can participate “in education, employment, and daily activities on a level playing field with other members of their communities.” In addition, “the act covers people with disabilities of all ages, all disabilities, in all environments (early intervention, K-12, post-secondary, vocational rehabilitation, community living, aging services, etc.)” (“national dissemination center,” 2009). Technology is so important in our everyday lives, not only in the educational realm, but also for our economy and democracy. Overall, technology empowers individuals with disabilities and allows them to participate and be productive citizens.

According to the National Service Inclusion Project, (2011), an estimated 20.3 million families, or 29% of all families in the United States, have at least one member with a disability. Another federal law that protects individuals with disabilities, the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), revised in 2004, “mandates that every individualized education program (IEP) team consider assistive technology when planning the educational program of an individual with a disability” (Roblyer and Doering, 2013). Mittler, (2007) defined assistive technology as any “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” Schools, universities and libraries not only need to offer ways that provide individuals with physical access (Roblyer and Doering, 2013), but also this technology needs to assist with instructional access, including special teaching and learning needs. Therefore, AT devices should be available in both libraries and educational institutions, especially given the percentage of tax paying citizens who will benefit from them.

References:

Mittler, J. (2007). Assistive technology and IDEA. In C. Warger (Ed.), Technology integration: Providing access to the curriculum for students with disabilities. Arlington, VA: Technology and Media.

National center on instructional accessible materials. (2009, August 24). Retrieved from http://aim.cast.org/learn/historyarchive/backgroundpapers/technologies_supporting

National dissemination center for children with disabilities. (December, 2009). Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/laws/ata

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.