Rationale Paper

M.E.T. Artifact Reflection Paper

Emily Peterson

Spring 2014

INTRODUCTION

This has been an insightful journey to say the least. I am an admissions counselor for an online university and have always been interested in the education field. I received my Bachelor’s degree in January 2013 in Psychology and have a true passion for this field. I aspire to get my PsyD and eventually hope to teach psychology online or work as a school psychologist. My other passion in life is teaching children. I hope to homeschool my children some day and this degree has opened my eyes to so many incredible resources. Having never been a teacher, some of these courses were quite challenging. With the help of the incredible teaching staff and faculty in this program and the feedback from some outstanding peers, I have pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and truly learned more than I ever imagined.

Getting my Master’s in Educational Technology with an Online Teaching certificate is important to me because this degree not only opens up employment opportunities, but it gives me the confidence to integrate technology into any of my future classroom settings. It also gives me exposure to resources that I can use in my current job with helping students in the online classroom environment.

This rationale paper serves as an explanation of the artifacts I have created in Boise State University’s Master of Educational Technology (MET) program from Spring 2013 to Spring 2014. These artifacts show my mastery of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) standards.

STANDARD 1: DESIGN

1.1  Instructional Systems Design

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

The creation of my instructional design project for EdTech 503 was a huge accomplishment for me.  Throughout the Fall semester of 2013, my knowledge of instructional design expanded substantially. Any “instructional designing” that I thought I had done before the semester started, has now been categorized as “teaching” a curriculum. This course really pushed me to dig deep and think outside the box. I have a new appreciation for designing courses. It is difficult to switch from the instructor role to the designer role. As an instructor, you are teaching a curriculum that is often already created. An instructor needs to know how to successfully present the material to a group of learners, as well as have knowledge of the subject. This experience is already common among educators. An instructional designer, on the other hand, needs to think and design outside the instructor role. The designer creates a curriculum that someone else will be teaching. The challenge stems from having to create steps for the instructor to follow in order to present an effective lesson. It is as if the teacher is being taught what to deliver to their learners. I really had to take myself out the situation. I had to see teaching and instruction from a whole different view. It has been rewarding to see how much I have accomplished.

This knowledge is incredibly valuable in the educational technology field. As educators, we should strive to not only understand the curriculum we are teaching, but know how to effectively implement it. Instructional design is necessary, especially in this evolving world of technology that we live it. Intelligently implementing design practices into educators’ daily lives will allow the shift from “brick and mortar” education to online education to be more transparent.  I am excited and feel empowered to use this information from this course to reevaluate my future classroom and make changes as needed. This course has truly offered me so many resources to be an effective educator.

AECT standard 1.1 “Instructional Systems Design” is met with the completion of my instructional design project because the project covers each of the criteria set forth by the standard. An analysis was completed on learners who signed up to take part in the voluntary class on Google+ Hangouts. In this analysis, demographic information, technology familiarity, current technology use and availability were all measured and summarized. A design process was described for how the class was going to be created and conducted. Learner objectives and assessments were laid out in a table for the developing portion of the class along with an instructor guide. The implementation of the course was discussed and learner surveys were included to assist with the evaluation of the instruction.  A formative evaluation was conducted with an SME and learners who participated in the class. These results were discussed in the report.

1.2  Message Design

Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

The typography principle assignment completed in EdTech 506 was selected because it specifically relates to AECT subdomain 1.2.c, “Understand, recognize and apply basic principles of message design in the development of a variety of communications with their learners.” These graphics in this assignment were designed for a unit on sentence structure and vocabulary usage for 4th grade homeschoolers. I chose to design four words that express their meaning. In the text Creating Graphics for Learning and Performance, Lohr (2008) defines instructional typography as “the art and science of using individual letters, words, and passages of text to convey an instructional message” (p. 211). These graphics, along with daily instruction, will help learners remember the different parts of sentence building, as well as help the visual learners solidify their new English lessons.

I am concurrently taking EdTech 506 with EdTech 592, so the completed final project for EdTech 506 will not be included in my portfolio. However, this course has enabled me to create images and lessons to complete an English unit for my future 4th grade homeschool classroom.

1.3  Instructional Strategies

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

In EdTech 502 we had to create a Web Quest. This Web Quest assignment was selected to represent this standard because it shows the drastic improvement I made throughout the course in understanding the implementation of instructional strategies in the classroom. The Web Quest was the last web page we created and I finally mastered using CSS templates and customizing them to fit my assignment. I also mastered the educational art of selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson. This assignment deepened my knowledge of lesson planning that provides students with appropriate forms of technology in the classroom. This lesson can be used in high school English and History classrooms. Each tab on the page enables students to navigate through the lesson in chronological order. It explains the steps and resources needed to be successful in this unit. This web quest specifically meets subdomain 1.3.d, “Select motivational strategies appropriate for the target learners, task, and learning situation.” This lesson plan includes comparing a fictional novel with nonfictional events in history. It stimulates critical thinking appropriate for high school age students, specifically 9th grade.

1.4  Learner Characteristics

Learner characteristics are those facets of the learner’s experiential background that impact the effectiveness of a learning.

In EdTech 503, part of the final Instructional Design Project was a Learner Analysis portion. This portion of the final ID project demonstrates my mastery of AECT standard 1.4 and its subdomains. The analysis was conducted on learners who signed up for a voluntary class on using Google+ Hangouts. In this case, the learners were 18 – 50 year old, working adult learners. Most of the learner population consisted of students and military members. They attended the class on a volunteer basis. All learners had experience with using computers but there was a range in experience with using computer-mediated communication tools such as Google+ Hangouts. This information was gathered through surveys completed by the learners. After completing this analysis, it was very clear to me why it is crucial to know your students’ strengths and weaknesses. Knowing this information and designing lessons based on the needs of the learners creates an environment that is most beneficial to the majority of the students. This analysis was in-depth and taken very seriously. Many learner characteristics were addressed which enabled me to see what an important part of lesson planning learner analysis plays.

STANDARD 2: DEVELOPMENT

2.1 Print Technologies

Print technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials, such as books and static visual materials, primarily through mechanical or photographic printing processes. 

In EdTech 513 we had to create a multimedia presentation that required us to use static visuals and text to deliver information to our classroom. It also required that we follow the guidelines of multimedia and contiguity principles. My presentation was for a college psychology class that was learning about the different lobes in the cerebral cortex of the brain. It also identified the sensory expressions associated with these different parts of the brain. Multimedia presentations with few words and relevant graphics are key to the student’s learning. It allows the learner to actively engage in their learning by mentally organizing the information and integrating it with their existing knowledge. At the end of the slide is a quiz to test the learners’ comprehension. When opened in Google Docs and previewed by clicking “Present” this quiz shows the questions and the answers separately so that the learners can be engaged while the professor is reviewing what was just learned in the presentation. Print technologies are vast and evolving. This examples shows one of many ways to master this concept.

2.2 Audiovisual Technologies

Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.

In EdTech 513 we created a Worked Example Screencast. A worked example screencast is a way of visually showing and explaining how to solve or understand any concept, procedure, or problem. This is a great audiovisual technique to use in the classroom to get the students engaged. I used Camtasia to record a screencast of a few “How-To’s” for Microsoft Word. My coworkers are always using Word, but unfamiliar with a lot of the preferences you can customize and select. I decided to produce this how-to video for a quick and easy way to answer these frequent questions I hear at work from staff and students alike. After sharing this video with my coworkers, I got positive feedback and thanks for producing something so simple but that answered many questions they have daily.

This assignment shows my mastery of AECT standard 2.2 “Audiovisual Technologies”, specifically subdomain 2.2.1, because I applied principles of visual and media literacy for the development of instructional materials for my coworkers and future students. This video shows my ability to use features in Camtasia to highlight sections as I am instructing as well as simply producing an audiovisual that is effective for all learners.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies

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

In my first semester of the M.E.T. program, I took EdTech 502 and created a Virtual Tour webpage of Washington D.C. This site was really enjoyable and educational to create. I learned a lot myself! Through the use of the website, students navigate through videos, maps, and websites to learn about the historical monuments of Washington D.C. This artifact is all-encompassing when it comes to using computer-based technologies to produce effective resources for students. This assignment shows my mastery of  AECT standard 2.3 and subdomain 2.3.1 by the use of my choice of audio/visual instructional materials included in this lesson for elementary age students.

2.4 Integrated Technologies

Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

This AECT standard was met by two different Moodle courses designed in EdTech 512 and EdTech 522. To view these artifacts, click “Log in as Guest” on the home page.

In EdTech 522, we were required to create a skeleton for a Moodle course. My Moodle course on MOOCS that was designed for this class was not required to be a full course, but still required to have the essential elements needed in full course. It was the most impactful assignment in EdTech 522. Creating my own lesson really reinforced my passion for learning and educating. I think it was so important that we were able to create our own lesson with our own ideas. Everyone has a different teaching style. It was important be able to capitalize on what we thought was important in e-learning and online teaching. I am a huge proponent of online education and this assignment really deepened my knowledge of what being an effective online educator really means.

My second artifact is the Moodle course created in EdTech 512 called Adult Learning Theory in the Online Classroom. This was required to be a full course. It included five modules with resources, discussion boards, assignments, and a final paper. This was a very challenging assignment for me. Having never been a teacher before, it took a lot of effort to create learning objectives, an effective syllabus, a smooth transition from module to module, and create each assignment. My first draft was rough. With the help of Dr. Lowenthal and some of my peers, I was able to understand exactly what I was missing and how to incorporate it into my course. With the inclusion of articles and videos, as well as the essentials in any lesson, I was able to create an online course that shows my mastery of AECT standard 2.4 “Integrated Technologies.”

 STANDARD 3: UTILIZATION

3.1 Media Utilization

Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

In EdTech 502 we created a Jigsaw Activity for our classroom. My Jigsaw Activity was focused on state facts of the bordering states of Idaho. This lesson requires students to use interactive websites to find answers to the questions about each state. I used this course with both 4th and 5th grade students to measure the strengths and weaknesses of this lesson. Overall, the lesson was effective and engaging. The students enjoyed learning in groups, as well as using the sites provided to learn more about all states, not just the ones assigned. This extra engagement seen by the students was a good indication that the right questions were asked and the right resources were provided on my part. This artifact shows my abilities to to use CSS and HTML to create a media rich site that is engaging and interactive for students learning about state facts.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations

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

The artifact I chose to showcase my mastery of AECT standard 3.2 “Diffusion of Innovations” is my Blogging Proposal from EdTech 597. This letter and proposal was written to a high school principal for consideration in allowing me, as the educator, to use Twitter in the classroom. Stipulations were laid out and common concerns were addressed. Positive aspects of allowing the students to create a Twitter account (if they did not already have one established) and for everyone in the class to interact over Twitter were discussed in hopes of gaining adoption. Twitter is a common tool used in many classrooms today. Although there are always concerns for security and cyber-bullying, the positives seem to be more abundant that the negatives.

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.

In EdTech 501, I created a video using xtranormal discussing the Challenges of Using Technology in Schools. Technology is an incredible tool that provides the student with learner choice and control. I believe that, like myself, many educators want to provide their students with the correct technology for the achievement of a positive personalized learning experience, but they are not provided with the funds or tools to gain access to that proper technology. They are also not provided with the correct training for effective use of this technology. To begin to solve these issues, I propose some attainable solutions in my video. This demonstrates my mastery of AECT standard 3.3 because these are real situations being solved with real strategies for integrating educational technology into the classroom.

Again, EdTech 502’s Jigsaw Activity can also be used as an artifact that fulfills this standard since I was actually able to implement this lesson with 4th and 5th graders. My Jigsaw Activity was focused on state facts of the bordering states of Idaho. This lesson requires students to use interactive websites to find answers to the questions about each state. I used this course with both 4th and 5th grade students to measure the strengths and weaknesses of this lesson. Overall, the lesson was effective and engaging. The students enjoyed learning in groups, as well as using the sites provided to learn more about all states, not just the ones assigned. This extra engagement seen by the students was a good indication that the right questions were asked and the right resources were provided on my part.

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. 

In EdTech 502 we had to create a webpage called Copyright Scavenger Hunt. Through this interactive webpage, I show my mastery of AECT standard 3.4 and subdomains 3.4.3 and 3.4.5. This scavenger hunt utilizes the computer and specific websites to discuss the important topic of copyright. Students use a worksheet to fill in their answers found on the different websites. This entire assignment is dedicated to discussing policies and regulations pertaining to copyright and fair use. For example, information is provided about copyright expiration, legal music downloading software, and the requirements of registration of work with the U.S. copyright office.

STANDARD 4: MANAGEMENT

4.1 Project Management

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

The artifact I chose for this AECT standard is comprehensive and discusses project management from start to finish. My Implementation Plan from EdTech 512 allowed me to track my progress by creating a design document that laid out all the different parts needed for my final project. Creating this document gave me confidence in managing large projects because I was successful in planning steps to achieve the final goal. This was unlike anything I had ever done before. Having never been an educator, I never had a reason to create a lesson, much less san implementation plan. The creation of this document has set me up for future success in managing classroom lessons and outcomes. This project serves as a continuous outline for my use for future projects.

4.2 Resource Management

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

In EdTech 505, we had to create a Response to a Request for Proposal to Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development. In this response I discuss the planning and monitoring needed to evaluate the current state of the company and if the Determining Instructional Purposes (DIP) training program is of value to them. The items discussed in this response consist of evaluation methods, instruments used, a task schedule, project personnel, and a budget. These are all important topics that need to be addressed when controlling resource management and evaluation for any situation.

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.

For this standard, I chose to use an artifact I created in EdTech 502 called the Mobile Learning Activity. Of course, this page would look better on a mobile device, since that is what it was created for. This artifact is for students on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo.  In this activity, students will use their cell phone or any other web-enabled mobile device to enhance their tour. They will learn more about specific animals, navigate through the zoo using the downloadable map, and share their findings with other student via Twitter. This assignment would definitely be something I would use in my own classroom. With so many students having cell phones, I think it is important to take advantage of the positive aspect of this when appropriate. This artifact deepened my knowledge of message design and delivery system management. This was the first time I had created a site specifically for mobile devices. This artifact shows my mastery AECT stand at 4.3 because it shows my success in creating an educational mobile site used to present instructional information to a learner.

4.4 Information Management

Information management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.

In EdTech 504 we learned about learning theories. The Final Synthesis paper discussed a constructivist approach to educational technology in the homeschool environment. With the emerging availabilities in technology, learning theories have been developed and brought to the surface to compliment educational technology. The constructivist approach to these theories has left the learner in charge of his or her learning and has let technology and educators help facilitate the learning, but not overwhelm the learner. Self-regulated learning (SRL) and student-centered learning (SCL) theories have greatly impacted the use of educational technology in the homeschool classroom. This artifact demonstrates, through a research paper, my mastery of AECT standard 4.4. This paper discusses how planning and researching specific tools for technology in home schools can provide many resources for learning. I realize this artifact may not show my own information management, however, because I am not currently a teacher but plan to homeschool in the near future, I took this assignment very seriously. This paper provided me with an abundant amount of information that I can use to manage my own resources for learning in the future.

STANDARD 5: EVALUATION

5.1 Problem Analysis

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

In EdTech 501 we had to conduct a Benchmark Survey and create a School Evaluation Summary. This assignment was very challenging. It was quite the accomplishment when I finished the evaluation. It certainly opened my eyes to the more detailed steps and data required for successfully implementing technology into schools. This summary was my first experience with evaluation of a school. This summary shows my mastery of AECT standard 5.1 “Problem Analysis” because I am able to discuss the parameters of the technology usage problem at the school based on the information-gathering I did. I conducted the problem analysis by interviewing teachers, the principal, the dean of students, and the president of the school. I received documents needed to conduct an analysis on the demographics of the school, available budget information, current technology usage and the available support for further technology usage. Based on all of this information I was able to create conclusions of the nature and parameters of the technology problem at this school.

5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement

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

A rubric is one of the most common ways of measuring learner mastery of pre-specified content. They are effective in aiding in successful student performance based on the idea that the learner does better when they clearly understand how they will be evaluated and can evaluate themselves before the completion of an assignment. The rubric I created was located on an evaluation page in my Web Quest assignment for EdTech 502. In this Web Quest students were required to write a paper comparing The Hunger Games with nonfictional events in history. They had all steps and resources laid out for them while navigating the assignment. Students also had this rubric available to them the entire time they were completing their comparative research paper. This rubric defined how they would be graded and helps the instructor and the student determine if learner mastery of the content was met.

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.

For this standard, I chose to use an artifact I created in EdTech 512 that involved Formative and Summative Evaluation. This evaluation plan was part of our final project. It involved SME’s and secondary evaluators for the formative evaluation and a summative evaluation design was set in place for the future. This artifact involved gathering information for the further development of my Moodle course and setting steps in place for the further evaluation of the completed course. During the development of my Moodle course, “Adult Learning Theory in the Online Classroom,” a formative evaluation was conducted. This evaluation was conducted to determine any revisions that needed to be made before the final implementation of the course. These changes are addressed in the report. A summative evaluation is set in place to be conducted after the completion of the course. A summative evaluation is used to evaluate effectiveness and gather feedback for revisions in the future. I have participated in evaluations as well as conducted my own evaluations prior to this course, however the extensiveness of these evaluations has never been met before. Through the completion of the formative evaluation, I was able to increase my skill and gain resources to professionally conduct an evaluation in my current position at work. This professional evaluation was discussed in my final evaluation project for EdTech 505. (This artifact is discussed more below in AECT standard 5.4)

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.

Evaluation, as defined in Boulmetis and Dutwin’s textbook The ABC’s of Evaluation (2011), is the “systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to determine whether and to what degree objectives have been or are being achieved” (p. 4). They also state, simply put, that “evaluation is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to make a decision” (p. 4).  The final project for EdTech 505 was an Evaluation Project of a procedure or product that is currently being used. I conducted my evaluation on a course that is currently used at the university where I work. It is a required 2-week course for all newly hired admissions counselors. Surveys were conducted, information was analyzed and interviews were conducted for the complete evaluation of this mandatory course. Through tables, summaries, and documented interviews discussed in the project, this artifact shows my mastery of AECT standard 5.4 “Long-Range Planning.” It gives the university a starting point to determine if this current course is adding to the success of the company and if it should be required in the future.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I have had a remarkable experience learning about so many incredible resources and teaching techniques. I am a life-long learner and strive to push myself to try new things and implement new resources in my life. I will use these artifacts and all the experience I have gained throughout this M.E.T. program to better my future students, and myself as an educator whether they be college students or homeschooled elementary students. I look forward to the journey ahead!

REFERENCES

Boulmetis, J. & Dutwin, P. (2011). The ABCs of Evaluation. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Mayer, R. & Moreno, R. (2000).  A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory.  Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning, 2(2). Retrieved from http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2000/2/05/index.asp

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