Introduction to Teaching, Learning, and Assessing with technology

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This week we are looking at High Yield Teaching Strategies. Robert Marzano is a respected leader in this field with his well-known work in collaboration with Pickering and Pollack, Classroom Instruction That Works, (2001) in which they outline nine effective teaching strategies. These are:
1. Identifying similarities and differences
2. Summarizing and note taking
3. Questioning by teachers and students
4. Chunking learning
5. Nonlinguistic representations such as mental images, graphs, acting out content
6. Collaborative learning
7. Setting objectives and providing feedback on progress
8. Generating and testing hypotheses
9. Activating prior knowledge via questions, cues, advance organizers

Strategies 1-3 are intended to help create an environment for learning; 4-6 are designed to help students develop understanding; and 7-9 endeavor to help students extend and apply knowledge.

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It is good to have strategies, and use them well, but it is not good to limit yourself to only a few strategies. Marzano himself was concerned about that after his work was published and school districts began to limit their teachers to using only these nine strategies. He wrote Setting The Record Straight on “High Yield” Strategies in response to what he was seeing.  He warns about:

  • Focusing on a narrow range of strategies
  • Assuming high-yield strategies must be used in every class or lesson
  • Assuming high-yield strategies will always work

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Another respected voice in the teaching and learning strategy arena is John Hattie. His meta-analysis on the effects of various factors on learning outcomes was published in the book, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement, in 2008. Hattie indicates that the most effective strategies include:
1. Self-Assessment and Reflection
2. Formative Assessment
3. Vocabulary Building
4. Problem Solving
5. Instructional Quality
6. Direct instruction
7. Remediation Feedback
8. Class environment (culture)
9. Challenging yet feasible goals
10. Peer tutoring
11. Mastery learning

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For this week’s assignment, we were to select a High-Yield teaching strategy, connect it to the Common Core and then apply technology to support the learning target. In this way, we are using technology not for technologies’ sake, but in support of student learning. I chose to use the Marzano strategy of Identifying Similarities and Differences. I attached this to the National Core Music strands:
MU:Re7.2.7a Classify and explain how the elements of music and expressive qualities relate to the structure of contrasting pieces.
MU:Re9.1.7a Select from teacher-provided criteria to evaluate musical works or performances.
Then I chose to use YouTube and the iPad app Venn Diagram to have 7th Grade World Music students listen to two pieces of Brazilian music and compare and contrast them in the areas of style, instruments, key, tempo, meter, steady/changing beat, rhythm and mood.

This analysis requires the students to use higher order thinking, synthesizing previous learning and applying it to the current task. Teacher use of this strategy, and the Venn Diagram iPad app to support it, can be easily incorporated in any content area, and really at almost any grade level. I recommend that teachers interested in including technology in the classroom do so with the content in mind first, not the technology. Technology is and should be one tool in the teacher’s toolbox, not an end unto itself. Start small, with one thing at a time, and slowly build up not only your own proficiency at using and incorporating technology, but your students’ proficiency. I’ve found that most students are not nearly as technology savvy as we give them credit for, at least not when using technology to learn and show that learning. Why don’t you give it a try and see what you think?

Me: A Case Study

I am good at learning. Learning has always come easy to me. My learning styles are a good mix of auditory, aural, and kinesthetic. In elementary, middle, and high school I learned alot by rote, with tons of drill and practice because that is the way the teachers presented the information. That is, with the exception of my piano lessons, in which everything must be listened to (to detect correctly and incorrectly played pitches and rhythms), as well as physically done, to be learned.
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In undergraduate school, I mixed these three learning styles, continuing my kinesthetic and aural learning through music theory, ear training, and piano skills classes as well as vocal lessons. I also had Liberal Arts classes to complete, which followed the traditional format of lecture and test. I found that if I listened carefully and took a few good notes, that I didn’t need to read the text, or even study, to do well. I could just regurgitate everything I had heard in class onto the test paper. Auditory learning at its finest.
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When I completed my Master’s Degree online, I completed some of the hardest fought for learning I ever did in my life. The format was to read the lecture online and then read the assigned texts. You were to demonstrate your learning by then writing a paper. Further, you had to participate in a stilted discussion forum with your classmates. I had to put in more effort in that degree program than I probably did for anything else in my life. So much for the myth that online classes are easier!

In the Instructional Technology & Digital Media Literacy program, I have been delighted with the mixture of in-person and online classes. I have been especially pleased that many of the “readings” have been in the form of videos as these are much easier for me to decode and digest than the traditional “learned writings”. The fact that there is almost always some hands-on activity to engage with, such as the #walkmyworld events and the weekly Storify-making, has challenged me in an effective way to broaden my learning and hone my skills. This Blended Learning works especially well with my learning styles, and I think it could be an effective format to incorporate into my own teaching.

As a music educator, I had no real knowledge of how to incorporate technology into my classroom. Neither did I have any skills to do so. However, the one thing I had going for me is that I am not afraid to try things. Or at least, I won’t let my fear stop me when there is no real danger involved (no, I won’t jump off a cliff because my friend says its fun and I should try it too).
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I was teaching a piano-keyboard class, which basically is 15 student keyboards and a teacher keyboard all hooked up by miles of wire to a computer system that allows me to control the speakers and volume of all the keyboards hooked up to it. Here is a Vine that will give you a glimpse of what I’m talking about. This is technology, but not in the sense that we think of it in the IT&DML program. I have also been using a smart-board for the last four school years, to show YouTube videos of various related content. I also have a few programs where the kids can write note names on the screen to practice and such. This too is technology, but not what we are aiming for.
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Rather, in the IT&DML program, we are looking to be able to deliver content to students using technology, allow them to manipulate the ideas to be able to understand the content while using technology, and then be able to create something to show that they have both learned the content and learned from the content, using technology. I am in the process of making that transition to a blended learning platform in my classroom. Students still get traditional teaching. I teach piano-keyboard skills after all. They have to play the piano and get real help from me. But other classes can be re-worked to be mixed platform.
For example, Eighth grade students are working on research projects in my History of Rock and Roll classroom where they use Chromebooks to research various rock artists and present their findings to the class including YouTube videos of the music. These classes have little of the traditional lecture and lots of the technology. My world music classes are in the process of being re-worked and I haven’t yet tried the new platform out with my seventh graders, but I am looking forward to that happening in the near future. Next, I’ll be reworking my sixth grade materials and so it goes. In teaching change is constant or you become irrelevant. I won’t let that happen to me or my students. That’s the disposition you need to be an effective blended educator.

This song expresses what I think the IT&DML program has done for me. I’m so very thankful to be able to participate in this program. It has transformed my teaching. The only thing really holding me back right now is the availability of technology. Where I teach, we have chromebook carts, which are great, but there is not a cart assigned to every class. This means that I can’t have them every class so I have to have more traditional lessons when they are not available. Our music department also has an iPad cart of 20 iPads to share among three music teachers….again, a good start but not enough. By the way, the iPads are great for performance type apps like GarageBand, but not so great for research due to having to flip back and forth between the apps as you can only use one app at a time, etc…. My students want to use them every class, but so do the kids in the other two music classes, so again, we have to rely on traditional format lessons when technology is not available.

At this point in my IT&DML program, I feel that I have the confidence to try delivering all of my content using technology but that I am hampered by the lack of technology availability to do so. I guess really the heart of the matter is money, and as the economy goes, so goes the education budget.

In fulfillment of the requirements of the course ED 7722, Distance Learning: Trends, Issues and Practices, here are links to the weekly Storify assignments that I have completed:
Curating My Work
Learning Theories In Distance Education
Learning Management Systems
New Pedagogy
Concerns In Distance Education
Teaching With Passion
Blended Learning Curriculum
Educating The Heart
Digital Badges

Finally, here is the latest Digital Badge I have earned for completing the 2015 Version of #WalkMyWorld:
Walk My World Badge

Distance Learning Medium Review: Google+

Google_Google+ is an online social media layer in the Google arsenal of online tools, that is suitable to use with students. Available within the Google Apps for Educators suite it is convenient to use as:

  • A way to deliver content to students in a distance learning situation
  • A way to deliver content to students who have missed in-person classes
  • An online discussion forum for the distance classroom
  • A way for students to have a discussion when they may feel reluctant contributing to a conversation in person, also ensuring that everyone in the class contributes and cannot “hide”
  • A way for students to submit their work for teacher assessment
  • A way for students to share their work with their peers
  • A way for peers to give each other feedback on their work

A teacher who wishes to use Google+ needs:

  • Basic computer skills such as word processing and copy/paste
  • Basic internet skills such as typing a web address in a search bar and performing a search using a search engine
  • The disposition to try new things
  • The disposition to try again when things don’t go as planned

Of course, the teacher should be thoroughly versed in their content area as well as have the ability and willingness to modify:

  • The mode of content delivery
  • Discussion format
  • Method of acceptance of student work for assessment.

If you can use a browser to search, you can use Google+. Here is a tutorial I made on how to use Google+ to create a community.

Reflecting on becoming a Global Educator


How, as a professional educator, can I become responsive to the global needs of my students? In completing the coursework for my Global Literacy class, I have found my classmates to be an invaluable resource to bounce ideas off of. Additionally, my classmates provide insights both by responding to my posts in the community, as well as by posting their own work for my perusal. The readings, discussions in the community, and the LiveBinder resource have opened my eyes to using familiar resources such as National Public Radio in new ways to become more globally aware, and help my students to do the same. In addition, the coursework has prompted me to research and find some resources of my own, such as the Arts Education Partnership. Here is my presentation on National Public Radio.

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While my school has several “international” students, I’m not so sure that my school can be called responsive to their needs. In a single class of 16 students, I have two students from India, one from China, and one from Mexico, with the rest being born in the United States. While our school certainly has services for English as a Second Language, students need much more than this to fit into the society and culture, to blend their “old” with their “new, while honoring each. I have to say that I have seen nothing to indicate that anything is being done to help them with this aspect of their new lives. I try to help in a small way by helping them to see music as universal/global. All cultures use music to express their emotions, happiness, hopes and dreams, as well as their disappointments and despairs.

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I could always use additional resources. I think I need to branch out more and try to make connections with music teachers around the world. I could potentially use Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus to be able to make those connections.
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Week 4 Storify for ED 7222

Storify Week 4 ED 7222

What is a MOOC?

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A MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, like an LMS, is an often misunderstood term. Like an LMS, there are other terms which are similar, yet oh, so subtly different, such as cMOOC and xMOOC, DOCC, HOOC and even MIIC. Touted by some as “the single most important experiment in higher education”, perhaps answering all our staffing shortage, financial and other problems, and feared by others as “a racket”, with “horrible conditions for professors and students”, perhaps even causing the end of many teacher jobs. In the end, MOOCs are likely to be some of each of these things, but not entirely any of them. It is a given that MOOCs work, but under what circumstances and to what extent are things that still need to be studied, as discussed by MacAuley, Stewart, Siemens & Cormier (2010).
MOOC Monitor
MOOCs can be used for:
-College and graduate level courses
-Professional Development for in-service teachers
-Professional Development for Professional Development Leaders
-Improving and increasing teacher community
-More recently they have been considered and utilized for k-12 education to supplement student learning opportunities, to make them more interesting, engaging and informative
-Providing a diverse cultural, international, and interdisciplinary perspective for both teachers and students.
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MOOC as Valued Concept
-Learning Principles of Connected Learning….start with an academically oriented interest shared by others and work together to learn and improve
-Design Principles…learn openly, share your work openly to aid others’ learning
-Core Values of a MOOC include equity, social connection and full participation
-Assessment….as standards are achieved, awards such as Badges can be given to show the progress of the student(s) toward the goals of the course, much more valuable feedback than a letter grade which indicates exactly nothing about what the student has learned or achieved

This has been a response to What Massive Open Online Courses Have To Offer K-12 Teachers & Students

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Week 3 Storify for ED 7722