 Lesson Plan Description:
My lesson plan consisted of migrating students from their initial experience as a manual drafter to AutoCAD. They would be exposed to its basic functionality through a demonstration and then required to complete assignments based upon the use of AutoCAD. To facilitate this process I incorporated the use of the following technologies: LCD Projector, Moodle, and Autodesk’s AutoCAD software suite. The ideology behind the use of these technologies was based upon the requirements put forth by the state of Michigan’s curriculum requirements as well as a means to gain student attention and interaction. Once the lesson was completed students would be expected to build upon their basic understanding of AutoCAD and begin to incorporate the drafting principles previously learned in to their CAD generated prints. No major changes occurred from the draft to piloting the lesson.
 Implementation of lesson plan:
For this lesson plans implementation I chose my third period as it contained the greatest number of “exploratory” students. So out of the 20 students within the class the lesson was directed towards 14 of the students. The lesson proceed fairly well for my first run through with this combination of technology as the majority of the students were attentive to the overall process of the demonstration and follow up assignments. The vast majority was very attentive to the demonstration itself and followed along with it as they constructed a few simple items using AutoCAD. The incorporation of Moodle seemed to help their attention and comprehension of materials as they had the ability to quickly change from reference materials to the CAD package. This seemed to make for a much more seamless process than in years passed. So overall the implementation went very well.
 Reflection
The overall goals of this lesson plan were to expose students to the use and basic functions of the AutoCAD software suite in such a way that they could begin to incorporate previous topics (e.g. multi-view projection) into a CAD generated print. This was done via the incorporation of multiple technologies including the use of Moodle as a center for reference material and collaboration. In this way the students were exposed to a scaffolding strategy as they were expected to take the ideas put forth during their tenure as a board drafter and begin to use these same geometric construction techniques as a way of helping to understand how to construct prints through the use of a CAD software package. Much of the lesson relies on the overall ideals of the Constructivist learning theory, more specifically Problem Based Learning with the inclusion of the previously mentioned strategy of scaffolding. As students were expected to build upon the prior content, then in an open and collaborative environment the students set about working on the assignments associated with this lesson.
In regards to the affordances of the technology harnessed to conduct this lesson I first look to how Moodle allowed me to seamlessly integrate my reference and other class materials into the lesson itself, overall helping to supplement my already established curriculum. This saves both time and paper within my class as normally the reference materials would be printed and store within the student binders. Along these same lines a person would lose 5-10 minutes passing the materials out during the course of a class, where as Moodle simply allowed me to direct the students to the location and retrieve all the needed information. Another affordance given to me by the technology chosen was that of feedback and open communication. One of the unique roles that Moodle played was its ability to allow a forum for questions to be both presented and answered while the students worked on their individual assignments. Further adding to the reference materials available to the student and presented in a manner in which the students themselves had worded and answered the questions so that it was more understandable to them. Along these same lines the use of technology seemed to be beneficial in helping to capture and retain student attention. The combination of the new introduction to the use of AutoCAD combined with Moodle seemed to allow students of all learning styles to effectively experience the lesson as all modalities of learning were touched upon at least in one way through the use of demonstration and classroom discussion that followed via Moodle. This technology also made it very easy to submit and provide feedback to the students in a very similar situation to what they would see in a real world environment. They were directed to create PDF files of their prints and submit them for checking via Moodle. This allowed for better organization for the students and a reduction in expenditures or resources such as paper and toner within the classroom.
Looking from the outside in if another instructor was to teach such a lesson as this there would exist some caveats. One would be Moodle itself as it is not very user friendly to setup and I am still learning all the ins and outs of the interface. However, it does allow for some very neat features such as blogs, forums, and a place to control documents. The other technologies involved ranged from mundane, such as the LCD projector, to the content specific AutoCAD software so in a paper such as this somewhat out of context. Again relating back to Moodle another issue that could arise is the student’s use of such a program as if the instructor’s site is not correctly developed it could lead to confusion and possibly cause more problems than it solves. It also requires students to have some working knowledge of how to use and submit work via a web based software package so there is a bit of a learning curve involved with that as well. Several questions arose because of this fact through the print submission phase, ranging from how to create the pdf file to how to properly share the document. It seem while students are exposed to many things on the computer these days not all of them are based in productivity.
Overall, it would seem that the lesson came together fairly well as it allowed students to explore new ways to harness and interpret information through the use of the technologies involved. They seemed to respond well not only when directed by myself, but also when left to their own devises as there were many students using Moodle’s capabilities to both ask questions they would normally be somewhat shy about as well as share and collaborate information. I hope to learn from this experience and start to break down the lesson further so I might continuously improve upon it.