Monthly Archives: September 2014

Reflection for Week 3: Collaboration and Engagement

This week I learned a lot about how collaboration with teachers through a website could open doors that not only makes the technology coach available to them, it also creates a place for teachers to keep up with current technology news and make connections with other teachers. My daughter has just started teaching this year. She is taking off on technology ideas like this. Her next step is to record her lessons through her document camera as she lectures, and post it on the website for students and parents at home, as well as for the resource room support staff! All I did was tell her about the concept of flipped learning, so students could watch a recording if they missed a class and then doing the assignment associated with that. I think that as she shares ideas through her website, others will take off on these ideas and she will learn from them; back full circle to her mom who is continually learning in the area of technology. This is the heart of collaboration.

When I read Jon’s reply to Thomas, I was thinking about how Thomas’ definition of engagement sparked a lot of thinking in this particular discussion thread. I added a thought about how students could have discussions on blog posts may be a great alternative to face-to-face discussion for some students because it is less intimidating and does not require the same “taking turns” aspect. I think engagement could be measured even more authentically this way. It gets them to practice writing too.

What is coming to my mind now is the connection between engagement and taking an affective stance—emotion as stance (Goodwin, M., Cekaite, A. and Goodwin, C. (2012). Since the visual environment is excluded in a blog discussion, an initial emotional reaction to what the reader “heard” can be thought over before reacting. The same lack of body language from writing in a blog may make it more difficult to interpret meaning in the environment for discussion, but it may also allow the responder more time to reflect. Often, I have an initial response to what is said in a blog, only to realize that is not what was really communicated. Having that space to reread and reflect helps. Then I can respond with how I feel regarding the topic with a more pertinent response. Back to engagement; the premise is that I have permission to express my view through an affective response, which only proves that I am indeed engaged in the discussion. The teacher needs to stay involved with students, collaborate with them in whole group sessions, to keep the focus of affective response on personal perspective. I think students can learn by some of the issues they may have incurred on blogs with communication were due to cultural perspective.

I looked up the article that Jon posted that talks about getting silent students involved in active learning using clickers to show their engagement (Obenland, Munson, and Hutchinson, 2012). Since the learning style of many of the students in our school is very quiet, this would be a great tool for them. In the article, it further explains that students are encouraged to ask questions that arise from the questions asked to them. Students can expand answers to clickers using colored index cards that correspond to multiple choice letters.

References

Goodwin, M., Cekaite, A., and Goodwin, C. (2012). Emotion as stance. In M. Sorjonen and A. Perkyla, (Eds.), Emotion in interaction. Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 16-41. Retrieved on 9-21-14 from: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/goodwin/emotionasstance2012.pdf

Obenland, C., Munson, A., & Hutchinson, J. (2012). Silent Students’ Participation in a Large Active Learning Science Classroom. Journal Of College Science Teaching, 42(2), 90-98.

Teachers and Coaches Collaborate

How do I want to improve teaching and learning in my classroom? How can collaborating with others support my teaching and learning goals?

Our 7th and 8th grade students started using a blended learning reading program this year; Read 180. The 8th grade students participated in the Lexia computer reading program, which was very individualized and used computers almost completely with the exception of providing worksheets specific to reading needs determined by the Lexia computer placement test. I am the site test coordinator, and in this case I have given all of the reading tests across grade levels. The 7th and 8th grade students took the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, which divides score results into components of reading skills. They have recently taken a placement test for the Read 180 program. The results from this information can be added to my research as I review a variety of assessments for common themes.

The collaborative piece to this will be when I go into the classroom to observe how the program’s blended learning stations are working in our school’s specific time and place. I will interview 8th grade students to find out what they think helped, or did not help, them when they used the Lexia program last year and how that program has prepared them for using the one they are in now. I will interview the teacher about apparent motivation and engagement in the reading processes. Then I will share my findings, and ask for his observations so that we can collaborate to improve services where needed.

In my situation, I believe we will learn from each other. The teacher, Jeff, participated in a Read 180 training at the same time I did last spring. We got an overview of the program. Then he received more training this fall. I like the idea from Joyce and Showers (2002) that we could “walk through” a planning activity together. It is early in the year, so we can think about “big overarching goals” for our students (his students as far as being the teacher of record), and consider what we want to accomplish by the winter break, and the second MAP benchmark assessment occurs. If students are not able to keep the recommended pace of the curriculum, I believe these questions are very pertinent: “What instructional strategies are most appropriate for the various objectives you have set for the first [semester]? Are they consistent with your year-end goals?” (Joyce & Shower, p. 92).

I found an article by Sugar and Slagter van Tryon (2014) about the potential benefits of having a virtual technology coach who is available in seven ways for supporting technology integration. The coach collaborates with the teacher and switches roles to mentor the teacher in using new technologies to teach any subject area. A discussion forum would be provided where current technology integration events and topics could be talked about with the coach (and visitors) online. A continuous discussion with other teachers about technology integration into lessons would be helpful; like being able to share and ask questions using the SmartBoard in kindergarten (Sugar, Slagter van Tryton, 2014). The learning resource section is a part of supporting new learning in the virtual coach. I am thinking about learning opportunities here coming directly from the coach in a Google Hangout session, or watching prerecorded lessons like from Screencast-o-matich. The news resource sounds like a great way to keep up with current events. This would look like a wiki where teachers could find links to technology articles or resources, a calendar of events for upcoming webinars, and it can grow to include a wide range of subjects and grade levels where information can be sent to the teacher’s email box.

Another piece was the profile resource. Teachers can have profiles where they update their knowledge and skill level in order to be a resource to each other. If a teacher is willing to share their expertise on Excel, for example, they could list themselves as a resource. I could see this really helping in our district where the teachers in a specific field, such as language arts, could help each other at different schools. A place for sharing resource is helpful. A technology coach could set up a place where teachers could go obtain lesson plans from other teachers. In our district, this would be helpful to teachers who participate in the elementary level dual language program. The coach would be the mediator by setting up a virtual environment for sharing, and help teachers find each other for collaborating.

Something I find that I spend too much time at is troubleshooting technology issues. It would be nice to have a site where a coach serves as a technical resource at the point of my teaching, so that if I am applying technology during a lesson and run into questions, I could post these and receive feedback in a short amount of time. So the article is promoting the idea of having a shared technology coach that is at times available live and at other times, virtually. I think this could really work well. I could start my own wiki to share and get things started.  My daughter did this as a place for her students to go, and the resource teacher has already used her wiki (or wordpress site) to find out what the lessons are.  I need to get her link 🙂

Joyce, B. & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development. Alexandra, VA: Longman, Inc. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Sugar, W. & Slagter van Tryon, P. (2014). Development of a virtual technology coach to support technology integration for K-12 educators. TechTrends 58(3).

Teachers and Coaches Collaborate

How do I want to improve teaching and learning in my classroom? How can collaborating with others support my teaching and learning goals?

Our 7th and 8th grade students started using a blended learning reading program this year; Read 180. The 8th grade students participated in the Lexia computer reading program, which was very individualized and used computers almost completely with the exception of providing worksheets specific to reading needs determined by the Lexia computer placement test. I am the site test coordinator, and in this case I have given all of the reading tests across grade levels. The 7th and 8th grade students took the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, which divides score results into components of reading skills. They have recently taken a placement test for the Read 180 program. The results from this information can be added to my research as I review a variety of assessments for common themes.

The collaborative piece to this will be when I go into the classroom to observe how the program’s blended learning stations are working in our school’s specific time and place. I will interview 8th grade students to find out what they think helped, or did not help, them when they used the Lexia program last year and how that program has prepared them for using the one they are in now. I will interview the teacher about apparent motivation and engagement in the reading processes. Then I will share my findings, and ask for his observations so that we can collaborate to improve services where needed.

In my situation, I believe we will learn from each other. The teacher, Jeff, participated in a Read 180 training at the same time I did last spring. We got an overview of the program. Then he received more training this fall. I like the idea from Joyce and Showers (2002) that we could “walk through” a planning activity together. It is early in the year, so we can think about “big overarching goals” for our students (his students as far as being the teacher of record), and consider what we want to accomplish by the winter break, and the second MAP benchmark assessment occurs. If students are not able to keep the recommended pace of the curriculum, I believe these questions are very pertinent: “What instructional strategies are most appropriate for the various objectives you have set for the first [semester]? Are they consistent with your year-end goals?” (Joyce & Shower, p. 92).

I found an article by Sugar and Slagter van Tryon (2014) about the potential benefits of having a virtual technology coach who is available in seven ways for supporting technology integration. The coach collaborates with the teacher and switches roles to mentor the teacher in using new technologies to teach any subject area. A discussion forum would be provided where current technology integration events and topics could be talked about with the coach (and visitors) online. A continuous discussion with other teachers about technology integration into lessons would be helpful; like being able to share and ask questions using the SmartBoard in kindergarten (Sugar, Slagter van Tryton, 2014). The learning resource section is a part of supporting new learning in the virtual coach. I am thinking about learning opportunities here coming directly from the coach in a Google Hangout session, or watching prerecorded lessons like from Screencast-o-matich. The news resource sounds like a great way to keep up with current events. This would look like a wiki where teachers could find links to technology articles or resources, a calendar of events for upcoming webinars, and it can grow to include a wide range of subjects and grade levels where information can be sent to the teacher’s email box.

Another piece was the profile resource. Teachers can have profiles where they update their knowledge and skill level in order to be a resource to each other. If a teacher is willing to share their expertise on Excel, for example, they could list themselves as a resource. I could see this really helping in our district where the teachers in a specific field, such as language arts, could help each other at different schools. A place for sharing resource is helpful. A technology coach could set up a place where teachers could go obtain lesson plans from other teachers. In our district, this would be helpful to teachers who participate in the elementary level dual language program. The coach would be the mediator by setting up a virtual environment for sharing, and help teachers find each other for collaborating.

Something I find that I spend too much time at is troubleshooting technology issues. It would be nice to have a site where a coach serves as a technical resource at the point of my teaching, so that if I am applying technology during a lesson and run into questions, I could post these and receive feedback in a short amount of time. So the article is promoting the idea of having a shared technology coach that is at times available live and at other times, virtually. I think this could really work well. I could start my own wiki to share and get things started.  My daughter did this as a place for her students to go, and the resource teacher has already used her wiki (or wordpress site) to find out what the lessons are.  I need to get her link 🙂

Joyce, B. & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development. Alexandra, VA: Longman, Inc. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Sugar, W. & Slagter van Tryon, P. (2014). Development of a virtual technology coach to support technology integration for K-12 educators. TechTrends 58(3).

What is classroom research and how can it improve technology integration in my classroom?

Aleta May

Initial and Reflective blog post

9-14-14

Essential Question–What is classroom research and how can it improve technology integration in my classroom?

Classroom research is primarily qualitative. It involves educators (teachers, specialists, administrators, curriculum designers, etc.) taking intuitive and experiential information to the next level. Quantitative information, numerical data, for example, may be used in classroom research. Experimental research may be designed based on information that developed into measuring tools created across locations (from one town to across the nation) and has as its root dependent versus independent stimuli and predictable responses. The key to classroom research is observation (taken on through many formats) and questioning what is and why of what is right there in front of the educator as the starting point.

Qualitative classroom researchers are more concerned with how their own students respond in this time and place to a particular situation. How do “people interpret their experiences, how they construct their worlds, and what meaning they attribute to their experiences” (Merriam, 2009, p. 5). Applied research may take on the form of action research so that a specific problem is identified within a setting. As educators, we begin with an identified problem and create a systematic set of ways to gather information to evaluate that problem. We are contributing to the world of educational research, one case at a time.

A case may be the impact of a new blended reading program on quantitative scores. But a phenomenon; such as students engaging in reading outside that program; may arise that would bring up another question on the pathway to finding out so much more about quantitative scores and what the mean in that educational environment so that we can further enhance those positive effects.

Taking the scenario of the addition of a reading program a step further, what questions do I want to ask as a classroom researcher? This new technology tool for reading is said to do this wonderful thing, and fulfill that wonderful goal. However, what do I notice that it does for my students, in my setting? So I may want to form a brief questionnaire to ask teachers (maybe I am the support educator, and not directly teaching and using that computer program) who work with the students in the environment a question that has pragmatic meaning for them and the students (Schwarz, 2012). The question needs to be both broad enough for the respondent to provide valuable information I had not foreseen, while narrow enough to get at the effects that program system has on the emotions and motivation of students using it.

As I read through the article by Duke, Martin, and Akers, 2013) from the perspective of a Reading Specialist, I believe classroom research may be summed up by thinking about what a research-tested computer reading program actually tested. “What exactly did the research find? With what sample(s) was the research conducted?” (Duke, et. al., 2013, p. 12). These questions are vital when I am considering whether say the video clips that build background knowledge for our students are enough for our students, or whether further analogy needs to be added for some students. I am excited to think about studying the impact of reading motivation, engagement, or transfer to other classes the blended reading program approach may or may not have on our students in a combined 7th and 8th grade class. I will be identifying themes or patterns that arise rather than focusing simply on experimental cause-effect relationships.

I have conducted classroom research one time, last spring. As I reflect on that experience, I learned so much just by observing, collecting student samples, interviewing teachers, and researching the curriculum posted online for the teachers to follow as they teach science in a dual language program. I recently shared this information with the new principal, who was very glad to read about out school in very recent real-time. Also, I already recognize two names in the blog roll, so I know I will learn much, much more about the impact of technology on learning during this semester.

References

Duke, N.K., Martin, N.M., and Akers, A.T. (April, 2013). 10 Things every literacy educator and school librarian should know about research. Teacher Librarian 40(4).

Merriam, S.B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Schwarz, N. (2012). Why Researchers should think “real-time”: A Cognitive rationale. In M.R. Mehl and T. S. Conner. Handbook of research methods for studying daily life. New York, NY: Guilford Press