Archive for July, 2011

PART C – Implementation

grimpodcast
Above you will find a link to my podcast dealing with the incorporation of Moodle into my classroom environment. Below I have included a link to a google presentation document that includes a few photos of the progress so far.
Presentation

Group Leadership Project: PART B – Storyboard and Script

For the Group leadership assignment in CEP 812 our group decided to pursue Google’s online application suites. Part of our reasoning behind this overall decision was based on the ideology that the technology is a little to no cost solution for many of the instructors and institutions. As such it presents a great opportunity for instructors trying incorporate technology into the classroom. With this in mind we went about breaking up the suites into Google’s categories, with an emphasis in pursing an application that would be most beneficial to each group member’s particular area of instruction. I chose to pursue Google SketchUp as it relates directly to the course I teach and I have had an interest in learning more about this software package. We then discussed the use of Google Presentation as a means of group collaboration as we felt it would be beneficial to use one of the applications available in this situation to help show how versatile and beneficial Google Applications can be.

Below you will find a link to my current story board developed in Google Presentation software. Within this document you will find detailed information as to what I will include in the final slides for our group presentation as well as a script component in the presenter’s notes.

Storyboard Link

I have also created a Google document separate from the presentation that includes all the presenters notes found HERE

PART B Application of TPACK

This post represents my current progress with my overall “Wicked Problem Project” (WPP), and how I am applying the concepts of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) within the project itself. First let’s look at the previous posting where I put forth the idea of incorporating Moodle into my classroom as a means to improve my overall all efficiency as a teacher, with the knowledge that this is the overall goal of my “WPP” let’s look at how I am planning on incorporating the concepts of “TPACK”.

The first concept to touch on is Technological Pedagogical (TP) knowledge. This is a pretty interesting concept as it basically relates to how a technology may affect the classrooms teaching strategies etc. So let’s look at my current classroom strategy, my principle strategy is based upon Mastery Learning. My basis for its use is based upon the outcome requirements placed upon me by the state as well as industry for students within the Drafting field. I have to assure the state that my students are competent in all the segments and I currently require students to meet an 80% competency before moving on to the next segment. Now with this information in hand, would Moodle compliment my strategy of Mastery learning? I say yes, I base this on the fact that Moodle would allow for a repository of all information covered previously as well as project rubrics and tutorials. This would allow a student to revisit segments that they may not have achieved the 80% competency and even more importantly a student would have this available anytime they had internet access. I feel this offsite access to the courses information would allow students more opportunity to improve their scores to the predetermined level of mastery. Moodle would also allow the student along with myself to track the segments that the student has struggled with and modify the content provided on Moodle to better service future students.

The second concept associated with TPACK is Technological Content Knowledge (TC). This portion of TPACK relates a teacher’s knowledge of the content they teach to the way that a piece of technology can alter the way the content is perceived buy a student. As a teacher who instructs students in both hand drafting and CAD I can relate to this concept as many times I can see how the incorporation of the CAD software allows students to experience content in a different way. So how might Moodle have an effect on how a student accesses the course content in a more efficient and effective way? Let us exam this from the perspective of the student, currently they are presented with a concept that they will receive in the form of a lecture or demonstration and then be assigned a project that will show how well they understood that concept. Now this limits some student’s ability to achieve the specified level of competency as they may not be auditory learners and have difficulties with the lecture component, or they may not be visual learners and struggle during the demo. However, Moodle would allow a student to revisit either of these areas at any given time while adding the benefit of hands on application for the kinesthetic learners. I believe this combination and the fact that a student can review while actually working on the project is a huge benefit. This is also where my WPP issue would come into play as this would help struggling students, while other topics were addressed thus improving overall efficiency in the class.

The third and final TPACK concept is Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PC). PC is probably the most important concept in becoming an effective teacher as it represents the instructor’s ability to recognize which content a student may find more accessible and which may be more difficult. Along with this it’s also dealing with the strategies that a teacher may incorporate to make the more difficult subject matter approachable to the student. As mentioned previously my class is broken up into segments defined by the states outcome requirements with a set amount of content per trimester of study. However, these can be arranged in a manner that I feel best suits the student’s needs. With the incorporation of Moodle into my classroom I could track the content that causes the greatest issues with student understanding and rearrange the content to provide students with a more linear learning experience where they may work on similar topics such as line types, lettering, and basic hand drafting skills progressing to something along the lines of the Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing segment. Moodle’s capability to quickly change out a portion of the overall trimester content and reorder a segment to better fit this type of learning is a huge bonus. It would allow for more difficult content to be organized in progressive levels of difficulty scaffolding off previous knowledge that would still be available to the student through Moodle.

PART A – Brainstorm Session

As part of group 3 for the Group leadership project it was agreed upon that we would use Vyew for our brainstorming session. Overall, this went fairly well and there were not any catastrophic failures or issues. The interface of the site was very intuitive and easy to use. I have used a few other forms of software for web conferencing including Microsoft Office Live Meetings, Adobe Acrobat ConnectPro and I would say for a free tool it offers some very nice features on par with its high dollar competition. The ability to share video, audio, and your desktop could allow for some very in-depth interaction within a group setting. I believe this will be a major advantage in future group discussions as it will allow participants to display their work as well as any issue they are facing. However, there were some disadvantages involved in this process. One group member did not initially receive an invitation to the meeting and there isn’t any type of search capability to allow a person to find a meeting. I thought this was a major drawback for the site itself as tool as it limits group members from finding and participating in the group discussion. Along these same lines many had issues with the voice interface as it really had some major issues with feedback and low volume levels for several participants. Overall I would give the experience about a 7 out of 10 rating.

As a group we discussed using Google apps, and came to an agreement to cover the portions of available software that best suited our needs. As such I chose to pursue my interest in the Google App SketchUp. We will be using Google’s own apps to share and correspond between our selves. This will allow us to quickly and efficiently communicate between the group. Currently we have a timeline goal of developing our script and story board by Friday the 29 of July. We will then compile and discuss further preparations.

PART A – Description of Need or Opportunity

Many times it seems that due to the fact I reside outside of the core academic areas people do not understand the structure of my classroom. As an instructor of Technical Drafting in a vocational setting I am presented with some fairly unique instructional challenges. These issues are exacerbated further by the fact that unlike many vocational centers that only deal with 11th and 12th grade students we provide instruction to 9th through 12th grades. While this is beneficial in making sure that students are able to achieve the state required segments for instruction it has some major draw backs as well. Let us look further into the issues that arise due to these facts. First let us look at some issues relating to how class schedules affect the class. As a vocational center we have 12 sending schools, one that is directly attached to the facility. With this in mind we need to look at students arriving and departing at different times during the “2 hour” block that the traditional vocational students are in. Due to the distances some of the sending schools students have to travel I have students who either show up half way through a class period or have to leave over a half hour before the end of a period. This does not lend itself very well to a traditional teacher lead classroom. Further issues arise when considering scheduling of the sending school directly attached to our facility, as they allow students to take a “1 hour” block of the class. Unlike other sending schools that require a student to devote an entire year to the class these students have the ability to take only a single trimester or any combination of trimesters throughout the year. Another of the major issues that arises with this type of classroom structure is that it creates an environment much like a one room school house. As such I have students that are at the intro level intermingled with my fourth year co-op students. This has some pretty major drawbacks because many of the beginning students are very “needy” for information and the advanced students questions can take up to a half hour or more to fully explain and answer. With all of these factors in mind it has become a personal quest to discover a means to help disseminate information through a very effective and efficient medium, thus increasing my overall classroom efficiency. I believe I may come across exactly what I am looking for in Moodle!

I feel that Moodle would offer me the opportunity to improve my instructional efficiency in several different ways, this is echoed in the following statement “Moodle can be used as a tool for delivering content to students and assess learning using assignments or quizzes and, more interestingly, it can be used to build rich collaborative learning communities”( http://www.informatica.si/PDF/35-1/12_Sumak-Factors%20affecting%20acceptance%20and%20use%20of%20Moodle.pdf). The first of which would be its ability to help students keep organized. I believe this would be accomplished by its ability to display a trimester’s worth of assignments and projects, while allowing students to keep a running check list of items that have been submitted. This would reduce class time spent on tracking student’s progress and questions pertaining to the topics. The next item that really excites me about Moodle is its ability to allow students to view tutorial videos that I can create for the portions of course work involving hand drafting as well as video’s I can create while using the classes CAD software through the use of Camtasia’s excellent screen capture software. This would free up an unbelievable amount of time as it would allow me to develop a complete set of instructional videos for the beginning students. This would provide students who have either missed a day or students who did not fully understand the concept during my initial demonstration to revisit the concept at any given time. The third and final benefit that I can currently see that would help me to reach my goal of a more efficient classroom would be based upon Moodle ability to capture the students attention as it breaks from the tradition of paper and pencil typically found in most classrooms and allows the students to experience something unique an interesting. My hope is that this uniqueness will help the student to better retain the information as they will be more interested it a new experience. This seems to be the case with Justin Hyde, Winner of the CORE Foundation Professional Learning Award (Secondary) 2010 who states “But what stood out was in the mixed-ability Year 9 class. Over the year, they increased their participation and use of the tools in Moodle, so much so, that their exam results were amongst the highest in that year-level” (http://www.core-ed.org/lab/moodle-lms-and-teaching).

As far as the logistics for the implementation of this technology into my classroom it should be very non problematic as our district has already begun to implement this software in some of the other classrooms. My classroom is currently outfitted with 21 workstations and 3 laptops all with internet connectivity so there is no cost associated with purchasing new hardware. I plan on integrating this technology into all of my class periods for an indefinite amount of time or until such time as the service becomes obsolete.

My plan for implementing this technology throughout this course will involve the construction of a trimesters worth of lesson plan material and projects list. I will also supply several tutorial videos for beginning students. That will range from simple lettering and line type projects to introductory CAD projects. Once this portion has been completed during the time frame allotted by CEP812 time frame I plan on continuing to build lesson plans and tutorials for all of the state required segments so that my students have a greater opportunity of completing them so that they may articulate to the institutions we currently have agreements with.

I believe that success shall be measured by tracking the increase in speed at which the students complete their segments. This should be easily tracked and give me a very measurable and tangible account of the improved efficiency of my classroom environment.

CEP 812 Intro

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