Brandon Workentin: EDTECH Learning Log

Using Technology to Improve Education

Archive for the category “1.1 Instructional Systems Design”

Definition of Educational Technology

For our first assignment in EDTECH 504, I had to write a definition of Educational Technology. My definition and reasoning are pasted below.

Before I started taking classes at BSU, I thought of Educational Technology as the hardware and software that was used in class. I viewed the tools that we had available as being what technology is. Learning about educational technology, then, meant learning about what tools were available, and learning how to use the tools I had more efficiently.

My definition of Educational Technology has grown over the last couple of months, though. Now, my working definition needs to include how a teacher can set up the learning environment to be most beneficial. The tools of educational technology are still there, but the focus has shifted to the whole learning environment instead of just the use of tools. Creating and managing the learning environment in new and different ways is something that educational technology allows us to do. As Hlynka and Jacobsen (2009) pointed out, these different jobs have historically been done by different people. Textbook writers created content, teachers managed the classroom, and students did the work. Now, teachers can curate their own content, or students can find their own content, and so on. The roles can blend together through the use of educational technology..

My working definition of Educational Technology will also need to include something about the goal of the technology being to improve learner experiences and outcomes. As Luppicini (2005) says, Educational Technology can be viewed as a “goal oriented problem-solving systems approach” (p. 107). The goal isn’t just to use the best, shiniest new toys. The goal is to to improve the current state of affairs in education. This can only be done by having a plan for how the technology will be used at all levels, from the classroom, to the district, to the state and national levels.

To put it all together in a succinct definition, I would say that Educational Technology is the systematic use of all available tools to create, manage and use a learning environment where students are able to have authentic experiences and improve their educational outcomes.

References

Luppicini, R. (2005). A Systems Definition of Educational Technology in Society. Educational Technology & Society, 8(3), 103–109.

Dorbolo, J. (2003). Alan Januszewski, educational technology: The development of a concept [Review of the book Educational technology: The development of a concept by Alan Januszewski ]. Ethics and Information Technology, 2003, 5(1), 68-70.

Hlynka, D., & Jacobsen, M. (2009). What is educational technology, anyway?: A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field. Canadian Journal of Learning & Technology, 35(2), 9.

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School Technology Use Evaluation

For this assignment, I performed a survey of the technology use at my school. The Technology Use Maturity Benchmarks had five main categories. It looked at technology use through administrative, curricular, support systems, connectivity, and innovation filters. The results of the survey are shown below. One thing to note, when it says “MS” in a category, that is because I would rate that category different if I were only rating the Middle School classes at our school. The “x” would be if I were rating the school as a whole.

After taking the survey, I then wrote an evaluation of the technology use at our school. That evaluation can be found below.

From completing this assignment, I learned several things. The only area where our school rated highly was when looking at technology use through the connectivity filter. Our school has a good wireless Internet system in place, and we had very few problems with connection issues last year. That at least sets us up to be able to improve in other areas. It was a little difficult to complete the survey because I was torn between rating what happened last year, and what I think will happen going forward. I ended up focusing mainly on where we are right now, and not assuming what will happen as we move forward. With a new Executive Director who is committed to streamlining committee and fundraising/grant-writing processes at the school, I think that some of the areas would be rated higher if I did the survey again in one year.

This assignment also made clear to me just how much of a hurdle it is to start a new school. Many of the areas where I rated our school low are rated that way just because we do not have systems in place yet. I think that as we move forward with our plans, those things will be an area of focus and will show improvement.

AECT Standards addressed by this assignment:

STANDARD 1 DESIGN Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

1.1 Instructional Systems Design Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

This project demonstrated  this standard by thinking critically about where our school is at in the use of technology in instruction, and how we could improve in this area.

STANDARD 2 DEVELOPMENT Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

This assignment used various computer programs to produce and deliver materials to an audience. These included Google Docs, Scribd, Moodle, as well as word processing and spreadsheet software.

STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.

3.4 Policies and Regulations Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

This demonstrated the diffusion of innovations strand because it evaluated our current technology plan and helped me think of ways to improve that plan and make it more relevant for our school. It shows thinking about implementation and institutionalization because that is what the plan is focused on, and it included evaluating the current polices and regulations at my school.

STANDARD 4 MANAGEMENT Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.

4.1 Project Management Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.

4.2 Resource Management Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.

4.3 Delivery System Management Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . . [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner.

Evaluating our current technology use plan, or lack thereof, is a part of planning and monitoring development projects and our resource systems.

STANDARD 5 EVALUATION Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

5.1 Problem Analysis Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.

5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learner mastery of pre-specified content.

5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.

5.4 Long-Range Planning Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning….Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.

I analyzed the problems that our school has in our current uses of technology. I evaluated the current technology use at our school, and in completing this assignment began talking with our Executive Director about our long-range goals for technology use.

Horizon Report Tech Trend

This assignment was to read the Horizon Report on technology trends in education, and then create a lesson using a tool or technique we read about.

I created this lesson plan because I know that I will be teaching how to write a persuasive essay this coming year. I like this tool for writing an essay because I am trying to get the idea across to my students that if they write a good outline, then writing the actual paper will become much easier for them to do. I am hoping that using the computer to do the outline will make students a little more motivated to do a good job, and not just view the outline as one more requirement they have to do for their assignment. I like that this tool is able to either print or email the outline directly from the tool, so it is easy for the students to share their work. I have also used ReadWriteThink activities and lesson plans in the past, and find them to be very good.

This assignment demonstrated proficiency in the following AECT standards:

STANDARD 1 DESIGN: Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

1.1 Instructional Systems Design Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

1.3 Instructional Strategies Instructional strategies are specifications for selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson.

This demonstrated knowledge of instructional systems design and instructional strategies by designing an effective lesson plan. For example, the lesson involves scaffolding the instruction so that skills are demonstrated, then per formed in a small group, then performed individually. Since this lesson has not been taught yet, it is specifically an example of the steps of analyzing, designing, and developing instruction.

STANDARD 2 DEVELOPMENT: Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

This assignment demonstrates knowledge of computer-based technologies by finding an Internet-based resource that students can use to help organize their work.

STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION: Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.1 Media Utilization Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

3.3 Implementation Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings.

This assignment demonstrates the implementation of technology by using a computer-based program for the main output of students’ work. It shows the skill of media utilization and diffusion of innovations by the use of new technologies in a lesson plan. By using new technologies, I would be able to speed the adoption of those technologies by other teachers by showing them the possibilities and the benefits of using technology in the classroom.

STANDARD 5 EVALUATION: Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

5.3 Formative Evaluation Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development.

This is an example of formative evaluation because I would use the information gathered from this assignment to ensure that students know how to organize a persuasive essay, and are prepared to move on to writing their essay.

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