Saturday, February 25, 2012

WPP Part C - Implementation

This podcast/vodcast describes the implementation phase of my Wicked Problem Project regarding SMART Board use within the classroom.

SMART Board pre-training survey displayed below. Results can be found here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mobile Learning Lab

For the Mobile Learning Lab, I explored use of a flip video camera, PollEverywhere, and use of mobile devices (iPad and Smartphone) during my WPP training session.

For the Flip video camera, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop session at eTech Ohio Conference about creating your own common craft style video. The simple point, click, and video of the flip camera makes it perfect for using within the classroom. Here is the finish product of our Fun Fractions common craft style video.

My next tool to try was the use of PollEverywhere. I thought the use of the PollEverywhere during my SMART Board implementation would help give me an idea the audience. I know most of the teachers, but not exactly sure of their experiences as well as get a feel for if additional trainings were something they would be interested in attending. I also thought that incorporating the use mobile technology within the session might begin the conversation of using mobile technology in the classroom. The results are as follows:
poll taken before session started

poll taken after the training was complete

As for my classroom, I think that mobile technology will focus around using iPads/iPods within the classroom as devices to explore and create. I would like to explore the use of iPods to develop the student's independence through visuals schedules and communication apps. I also see the use of flip video cameras for video modeling or the use of mp3 players as a way to provide greater access to the general education curriculum. At this point, the use of other mobile technology tools, such as PollEverywhere or Smartphones, are not appropriate for them.

One mobile technology I would like to see used in middle and high school is the use of "back-channeling" using a twitter hashtag. I experienced the power of "back-channeling" this past week while at the eTech Conference. While attending my sessions, I was tweeting with the hashtag #oetc12 sharing session notes and web links. Others where doing the same thing. By the end of the conference, I had resources for many more sessions that I could have even attended myself. I can't help but think of the implication this would have for the classroom. Students could send comments, questions, and share links via the class hashtag. It would also allow for all the students taking the specific class to interact even if not in the same class period. My comment in Classroom 2.0 reflected this idea of "back- channeling".

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Data Visualization

For my data visualization, I chose to use the "Show Summery of Responses" option in Google Spreadsheet. I was interested in gaining the visualization of this data because it was related to the results of the survey I created for my Wicked Problem Project. For me, I was a much easier to way to see how the respondents responded. According the the survey, 5 respondents were not interested in a lesson demonstration within their classroom; whereas 4 were interested. The second questions was related to observing my students using the SMART Board within in my classroom. Here 8 respondents showed an interest in observing within my classroom.

Responses to questions from SMART Board survey for my WPP 

I also did a visualization of my diigo tags. I have been using diigo as a social bookmarking tools for about 8 months. I bookmark for a variety of educational topics so I was very curious on how the sites I bookmark were distributed. Here is a screenshot of my diigo tags. My top tags relate around technology, AT (assistive technology), web 2.0 tools, and education. You can also see that i Pad and sped (special education) are also frequently tagged.

I'm not sure that I had an AH-HA moment while creating these visualization. I think that my AH-HA moment came when I was watching the TEDxLansing video. So many times I think that we (educators, society) get caught up in the words. That video really made me think on how sometimes a picture or graphic would make the difference between a student "getting" a concept or not! I will be discussion UDL with some teachers over the next couple weeks and I plan on discussion this concept, possibly showing part of that TEDx video.

GLP Part B - Storyboard and Script

For our storyboard and script, we utilized Google Presentation to organizes the project. I found this to be a very effective way to collaborate on the storyboard as we all could view and edit the presentation. The speaker's notes section worked out as a section to create the script. As I created a slide for the storyboard, I would then type what I would say if I was "talking" about the slide.

Each of the team members with iPads (Bill, Randy, and myself) created a ShowMe video relating to our given subject area. We posted the link into the storyboard. Sarah was the "stage manager" of the group. She organized the production "how to's" of the presentation and transferred the information into a powerpoint presentation for final production.

In an effort to have the script all in one place, I copied and pasted the "speaker notes" into a doc. Here we can continue to collaborate and fine tune the script in preparation for the final production. The script can be found here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

WPP Part B - Application of TPACK

Application of TPACK within my Wicked Problem Project

The technology I chose for the WPP was developing teacher skills in using the SMART Board (interactive whiteboard) as a student interactive tool. WIthin my building, almost all classroom are equipped with a SMART Board; however, students are not having the same experiences using the board from classroom to classroom or grade to grade. The methods that I chose to implement are directly related to what I see as being needed to support the teachers in making this transition. The "direct" mini-workshop approach is needed for the teachers who need to the visual of the SMART Board in use. I wanted the teachers to feel a little more in control of the sessions and planning; therefore I incorporated the use of a survey to poll them on there needs and what they want to learn. I also used this tool as a way for the staff to reflect and assess on their strengths with using the SMART Board.

The use of the interactive whiteboard technology (IWB) creates so many classroom possibilities and allows for various presentation methods. The use of the IWB allows for opportunities to engage the recognition, strategic, and affective networks which are the principles of Universal Design for Learning. By engaging these principles, all students will be able to participate and engage in the lessons. Using the IWB to display information, such as videos, websites, photos, the recognition networks will be engaged. I find that with my students, just the mere fact that the SMART Board is larger than they are, helps them focus on the content. Developing a graphic organizer or manipulating data for a meh problem would incorporate the strategic networks. Lastly, using the IWB to create excitement over a topic or allow the topic to become "real" related to the affective network.

The pedagogical choices for the WPP create an accessible learning environment. The solution (WPP plan) utilizes various assessment and teaching strategies. The mixture of direct instruction, time for reflection, peer modeling, and model lessons allow for all individuals to be involved as well as choose which learning method would be best for them. With the direct interaction, the staff will see how the basics of the SMART Board and be able to ask questions. The survey allowed for staff to reflect on their own needs and relay needs on an anonymous basis if they chose to do that. I think this is important for some people who are interested in learning, but are afraid to say they might need help. (Yes, there are still people out there!) The peer modeling and model lesson were something that I think is necessary to truly understand how integration of an IWB can happen. I foresee these are the two sections of the plan will be the most uncomfortable for staff.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

GLP PART A - Brainstorm Session via Web Conferencing

The web conferencing session was a little difficult from most of us having trouble finding the link to trying to conference in a small hotel room with children sleeping. We used the adobe connect "classroom" so that we would have the opportunity to use the video, audio, and screen recoding capabilities. We experienced issues with audio. (We could hear a member, but he had difficulty hearing us.) I also lost internet connection for a few minutes which resulted in having to reconnect and enter the room. Adobe connect is new to must of us (I think) and our experiences have been limited to the MSU sessions. I think for next time I would choose a conferencing tools that I am more familiar with such as Skype or Google or facebook chat.

Within the classroom, I could see web conferencing being very valuable. I could see if being used to bring field trips "into" the classroom as budgets are getting tighter. I could see it being used to connect classrooms from around the city, state, or world. From a special education perspective, web conferencing could be used to hold meetings with parents when they cannot make it to school or help bridge the home/school gap when students are on home instruction. I think the most interesting use of web conferencing that I have recently heard about it speech therapy via Skype. Not sure the it is as good as face to face, but the potential to provide therapy when otherwise there would be none is something to think about.

For our Group Leadership Project, we are choosing to create a tutorial for the iPad app ShowMe. It is an interactive whiteboard app that allows you to record what is written on screen and voice. This presentation can they be posted to the web to allow for introduction of information, reteaching, or for extension activities. Show Me could be used within various subjects and across multiple grade levels.

Here is a partial transcript of the chat portion. The session was recorded as well, but due to  some of the internet issues in the hotel I was demoted from host. Thanks to Melissa for posting our Adobe session link.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

WPP PART A - Description of Need or Opportunity

The Educational Need
Within the school system today, the focus is shifting from traditional sit and listen tasks to activities that require thought, discussion, and interaction. All students are expected to make progress. Within the school system, educators are utilizing the principles of RTI (Response to Intervention), and UDL (Universal Design for Learning or AKA differentiation) to help all students reach their greatest potential. One piece of technology that is becoming more prevalent in classrooms is the interactive whiteboard (IWB).

As an intervention specialist, I get to see the education world as a teacher within my own classroom and as an observer while I am proving intervention services within the general education classroom. Within my classroom, my main job is to create a learning environment that supports the goals and objectives of my students whose academic skills range can be anywhere from 6 months (developmentally) to a student performing on grade level, but need some classwork or behavior modifications. UDL/differentiation is just a part of my classroom environment due to the range of student needs. While visiting the general education classrooms, too often I see students, unengaged in the paper/pencil lessons and wonderful technology tools being left untouched. I see students who would benefit from a slight change within the instructional strategies to incorporate a UDL principle. This has especially been the case for the past few years as our school slowly added SMART Boards to the classrooms.

As the school district begins focusing more on inquiry based learning (or PBL = problem or project based learning), I see missed opportunities for the students to get “involved” and use the technologies tools available. One of the best ways that I see students getting involved in an elementary classroom is through the use of an interactive whiteboard. Two years ago, I was lucky enough to receive a SMART Board for my classroom. Since that time, my method of instruction and student participation has changed drastically. Every chance I get, I structure lessons so that my students are the ones who are using the board. Now, it is impractical of me to think of using the SMART Board all the time. I still will use it for projection, but if a lesson can be created (or modified) to allow student manipulation of the activities, I do my best to accomplish that for the lesson. I also understand that: creating lessons takes time, structuring the lesson to incorporate student use of the SMART Board takes time, rethinking the classroom routine takes time and all of the above takes a change in the teacher mindset. However, once these routines and lesson structures are establish, some great things can occur.  A change in the current pedagogy is needed in order to meet the needs of all the learners and in order for the students to reap the full benefits of the SMART Board.

The Plan
As mentioned above, most teachers within my building have a SMART Board (with the exception of the PreK classrooms). In the past few years, the district has a history of rotating staff to different buildings resulting in new teachers to the building who have little to no experience with a SMART Board. With this change, the “new” teachers have been left unsupported with formal training of the basic “how to’s” of the SMART Board. It has been left up to the individual teachers to learn for themselves or for other teachers to step up and offer assistance.

This educational technology wicked problem needs to be address by starting with teachers beginning to feel comfortable with the technology that has been afforded to them. Teachers need time to evaluate how they can incorporate the SMART Board as well as time to discuss appropriate use as an interactive board versus a projection screen. Teachers also need to reflect on how the incorporation will impact the current pedagogy of the classroom.

In Embedding interactive whiteboards in teaching and learning: The process of change in pedagogic practice (2008), the authors identified a three stages of pedagogic change when incorporating an IWB.
Stage 1 -  teachers fitting new technologies into established pedagogies;
Stage 2 - teachers engaging in collaborative exploration of the new opportunities offered by the technologies; 
Stage 3 -  teachers using the IWB skillfully and intuitively in way that extend or transform their established pedagogic practices.

With that summary as framework, I will be addressed these stages of needed changes within my building. Creation and implementation of meaningful professional development opportunities that allow staff to see the pedagogic stage they are in and give them the tools to go to the next stage. I also think it is important to instruct the students on what type of tool the SMART Board is and how they are to interactive with it in a meaningful way. My plan for address this wicked problem was constructed by using the aforementioned paper by Lewin, Somekh, and Steadman (2008) as well as the Derek Kaufaman’s article from Distance Learning (Vol. 6, Iss. 2) How Does the Use of Interactive Whiteboards Affect Teaching and Learning? (Both resources were retrieved from

The Implementation
There will be a couple stages of implementation that will need to take place in order to work on a solution to this wicked problem . First, I will gather information and review journal articles regarding IWB use with elementary students. I will research various school district implementation ideas for IWB as well suggestions made my the SMART company in order to compare findings. Next, I will survey staff to see where they see is the greatest need when utilizing the SMART Board. Third, I will create timeline for implementation. This is an example of what the implementation could look like:
  • Create and implement one mini-workshop regarding introduction to SMART Board. Attendees will be pre-assessed and what they would like to learn in the class, possible incorporating leveled groups or pairing teachers who can help each other
  • Create and implement one “how to” lesson for the students within at least one general education classroom.
  • Demonstrate at least one “model” lesson on using the SMART Board either in my special education classroom OR within the general education classroom.
  • Create one screencast explaining how to search SMART Exchange website for pre-made SMART Board lessons.
  • About 4 weeks after mini-workshop, set aside part of a morning to have people come share a lesson that they created or downloaded from SMART Exchange OR I will set aside time to observe his/her lesson within the classroom setting.

Additional Resources - 6 Strategies for Using a Smart Board in Class - Technology Combined with Good Teaching Leads to Success (paper) - PRESENTATION AND PEDAGOGY: THE EFFECTIVE USE OF INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS IN MATHEMATICS LESSONS (abstract) THE IMPACT OF IWB ON TEACHER-PUPIL INTERACTIONS IN NATIONAL LITERACY AND NUMERACY STRATEGIES - Google Scholar Search Results
see MSU library research for addition documention

Was the project successful? How will I know?
Well, the long term effects may not been visible for a while as it will take teachers a while to feel comfortable with the pedagogic change not to mention the comfort level of using technology. Some paperwork items that would help me assess the success of the project:
  • compile feedback from staff to see if/what information presented was helpful
  • track how many users used the exchange screencast
  • compile information from sharing session or lesson notes from classroom observation
Additionally, some visible short term results I hope to see from this implementation are:
  • positive feedback from mini-workshop
  • teachers share with me an activity they have done or invite me into the classroom to show me what they have done
  • how many teachers attend the sharing session and have something NEW to share
  • lastly, and most important....student’s are seen accessing the SMART Board for an appropriate learning experiences!