Frau's Blog

·  What resources do you need to carry out your plan?
 
For my goal of modifying my current classroom activities to include more technology, I first and foremost need to become familiar with more technological resources. I have already learned about several new resources, like VoiceThread and Wikis, through Walden. I would need more time playing with these resources using my computer, YouTube or TeacherTube for videos to help guide me through new technology and also the internet for advice and information. I could also bounce ideas off my colleagues and get their opinions on new activities I want to try. For me use new technologies with my students I need to be familiar with them first so that I can help them when they need it. It is important to me to include more technology because according to Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne, as cited by Stansbury (2009), technology in the classroom can “personalize instruction, enhance learning with multimedia components, can help students construct new knowledge, and motivates students with their work”. As a teacher, I want my lessons to encourage these traits in students and if I can achieve that by integrating more technology, then I definitely want to give it a try.
Second to becoming familiar with these resources, I would also need to make sure that I can use these resources in school. Time in the computer lab is limited and there are no computers in the classroom for student use.

For my other goal of monitoring student progress, I just need my computer to check the login information for my students on the online grade book.

· What additional information do you need?
 
Additional information that I need is knowing whether my students do not have access to the internet and the online grade book at home. Because reserving time in the computer lab is not always easy, it is important that students can check their progress at home. Also, I do not have enough time to get my students to the computer lab on a weekly basis solely for checking their grades. If a student does not have access to the internet at home, I would have to make accommodations for that student. A possible accommodation might be letting the student use my classroom computer before or after school to monitor their progress.

· What steps have you been able to take so far?
 
As of right now I have not done much to reach my goals. I am thinking of new activities using technology, but coming up with the ideas and actually putting them into motion are two very different things. One idea I had to use VoiceThread did not work out as I discovered VoiceThread is blocked by our district’s internet filter. Hopefully I will be able to begin integrating more ideas in the near future.
As stated in my previous blog posting about my GAME plan, I plan to integrate monitoring student progress beginning in January for second semester.

References:

Stansbury, M. (2009, February). Technology empowers differentiated instruction. eSchool News Online. Retrieved from http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/news-by-subject/index.cfm?i=57064.

 

 

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  • Set goals for strengthening your confidence and proficiency in at least two indicators in the NETS-T. 

I would like to strengthen my confidence in the following two standards of NETS-T:

1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

 

b. engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources
 

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

 

b.   develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and becomeactive participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress 
 

 

  • Decide what actions you will take to achieve those goals.   

To achieve my first goal of teaching students about real-world issues using digital tools, I will create new lessons that will use more digital tools. In addition to this I will look at lessons that I already have in place and see how I can modify them to incorporate technology. Teaching the German language is a lot of black and white information. There is only so much that can be done to show students what a direct object is and how to conjugate a verb, but I can begin to incorporate more activities to help students practice this information using technology. For example, I can make online practice exercises and quizzes using a website like http://www.quia.com

My second goal is about encouraging students to monitor their own progress. I have done a literature review about student-monitoring and how it affects their grades and it appears to have a positive affect. Our school offers students an online  grade book so that students can log on and see how they are doing in their classes whenever they want. However, not very many students check their progress regularly. Teachers can see when the last time the students logged in to the online grade book. I would like to make it a weekly grade for students to check their progress online. Because I can check when the students log on, I can make it mandatory for students to check their grades. They students must have logged in sometime each week to earn points for monitoring grades.

  • Determine how you will monitor your progress.

To monitor my first goal, I will aim to add 3 more lessons incorporating technology and modify 2 existing lessons to incorporate technology this school year. I also intend to add even more in the following school year.

I would like to incorporate my second goal starting next semester. Since we are already into the 2nd nine weeks, I will wait until second semester begins before I require students to monitor their progress online. This will also give me the opportunity to see how the student-monitoring affects their grades between first and second semester. It should provide very clear evidence if self-monitoring does affect student grades.

  • Decide how you will evaluate and extend your learning.

For the first goal, because I have done more traditional activities in the past, I can observe how the students respond to new activities using technology. If students react positively to the new lessons I will continue to modify lessons to incorporate more technology. If not, I can continue to use the lessons I already have. Although I think using more technology could only have a positive effect on students. They are already so excited to work in the computer lab that I think more activities using the computer would be beneficial to them. I hope to see higher levels of engagement and therefore higher quality of work.

For my second goal the students progress will serve as my evaluation. If monitoring their progress does show evidence that it can improve their grades I will continue to use this strategy in the future. If it does not show a positive affect on grades I will re-think the idea and possibly modify it or scrap the idea.

References:

National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf.

  • Describe the most striking revelation you had about the teaching of new literacy skills to your students as a result of this course.

The most striking revelation I have had with my students is how few of them actually knew how to properly evaluate a website and decide if it is reliable. My students often will recite something they have read online and when another student challenges it they joke,”Well, everything on the internet is true”. While this is only a joke my students do not take the time to determine if the website is reliable or not. An English professor from my undergraduate studies illustrated how important this is by showing us a website discredited the existence of the Holocaust. After reading the information on the website, at the very bottom of the site we discovered it was written by a math professor from a fictional university. I experienced this again while evaluating a website for this course: Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus at  http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/. This is a fictional creature, but the website even fooled me at first glance. Until I began investigating the website further I did not realize it was a hoax. As a result of this I have already done activities with my students to help them identify reliable web resources.

  • Describe how the knowledge and experience gained in this course will influence your teaching practices going forward.

Something that I have really enjoyed about this course, and this program for that matter, is that so much of what I am learning can be used in the classroom. During my undergraduate studies, I learned about classroom management and how to write a lesson plan but none of that really went with me into my classroom. Those are concepts that cannot be realized until a teacher has their own classes and students and discovers the best way to interact with them. The information I have learned through this course and through Walden I can begin using practically immediately in my classroom.

This course has emphasized the importance of teaching 21st literacy skills and those skills are something that I will be thinking about as I make new lessons and modify old lessons to incorporate these skills. It is important that as I plan activities for my students that I try to include technological resources as often as I can.  Being able to read and comprehend text is no longer enough to be considered literate. The International Reading Association (IRA), as cited in Eagleton and Dobler (2007), says that “literacy educators have the responsibility to effectively integrate these technologies into the literacy curriculum in order to prepare students for the literacy future they deserve”. By offering more opportunities for students to use technology I am helping to make them more marketable for when they graduate and are looking for jobs.

  • Identify at least one professional development goal you would like to pursue that builds upon your learning in this course and develops your own information literacy or technology skills. Describe the steps you will take to accomplish this goal.

My goal as a result of this course is to give more opportunities for my students to question and research. As a German teacher, the majority of my time in the classroom is spent teaching my students vocabulary and grammar concepts. It is a lot of teaching and not much questioning. However, as Eagleton and Dobler (2007) note, humans are natural questioners. They also cite being around a 4-year old for an extended amount of time will prove this! My inquiry-based unit plan was a research project on a famous German-American. This activity allowed for students to ask questions such as how German-Americans have impacted our society. I love this project and I have already begun to implement it in my classroom.

Unfortunately, I do not feel that I provide very many opportunities to my students for inquiry-based lessons. A lot of this is because I feel rushed enough as it is just to teach the facts, but it is also because as a foreign language teacher there is not too much information to question. Students cannot question or research whether something is a direct object or a predicate nominative. Those are just facts. Cultural information is really where students can inquire. Usually I just teach cultural tidbits when they come up in class and I only spend a few moments discussing them with the students. I plan to allow more time for students to research and discover more about German culture. Instead of just telling students information, I hope to allow more time for them to question and research cultural information.

References:

Eagleton, M. B., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading the Web: Strategies for Internet inquiry. New York: The Guilford Press.

For this assignment, I am to look at the following scenarios and pick the type of research best suited each scenario and a rationale for choosing that type of research.

Scenario 1: Ten students are available for in-depth interviews. Participants will be selected based on their involvement with the peer mediation program. They will be observed over three weeks. Analysis will attempt to determine issues concerning peer mediation.

Method of Research: Qualitative

Qualitative research design focuses on personal information. Research could include journals or interviews with individuals to find out personal information and opinions. The in-depth interviews with students in this scenario, fit perfectly with what qualitative research in looking for. The scenario also picks students based on their involvement with the mediation program and not based on age, grade or gender. The means of obtaining information alone, the interviews, make this research qualitative.

Scenario 2:Two classrooms of students are selected. There are 30 students in each class; each group will have similar demographics—age, sex, race, socio-economic background, etc. Classes will be randomly divided into two groups of 15 students. Of these two groups, one randomly selected group will get training on peer mediation and the other group will not. Thus in each classroom there will be one group that is trained in peer mediation and one that is not. Analysis will occur on which groups have the fewest office referrals.

Method of Research: Quantitative

In contrast to qualitative research, McMillan and Schumacher state that quantitative research uses numbers, statistics, structures and control (p. 23, 2006). From this scenario, demographics like age, gender, race or socio-economic status reflect what quantitative research is. These statistics are simply facts about each student. There is nothing personal about the students factored in to the results, only the numbers are being looked at.

Scenario 3: A school counselor is interested in knowing how student attitudes affect the value of peer mediation to decrease the number of office referrals that are being filed for inappropriate interactions.

Method of Research: Mixed Method – exploratory design

McMillan and Schumacher also note that some research is best done with a combination of research methods (p. 161, 2006). Exploratory design combines qualitative and quantitative research, first focusing on the qualitative research. In order to find out about student attitudes toward the mediation program, the students need to give their opinions on the program – qualitative research. Whether or not the attitudes of the students will affect the number of office referrals is quantitative. 

Scenario 4:Peer mediation has become widely used in many schools. The feelings of those involved in the process are little known—either from those doing the mediation or those receiving it. The ZASK-R Acceptance Preference Survey will be given as pre- and post-tests to 40 students participating in mediation. Follow-up interviews will be conducted on a bi-monthly basis.

Method of Research: Mixed Method – explanitory design 

Explanatory research design also uses both qualitative and quantitative research, first focusing on the quantitative and then moving on to the qualitative. This scenario uses both qualitative and quantitative research design and in two phases, the student interviews and the surveys. The survey portion of the scenario is more quantitative and is the initial focus of the research. The surveys looking for statistics about the program and not about the personal feelings or opinions that the students have.The qualitative research in this scenario is, again, interviews with students, in this case follow-up interviews after the quantitative data has been researched. Finding out the feelings or the students in regard to the mediation program is qualitative information.

References:

McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson.

I discarded my original problem statement, as it was too vague, and upgraded to a more specific and measurable problem statement. My new statement is as follows:

I plan to determine if mandatory monitoring of student progress using the online grade book Progress Book and spreadsheets will affect the grades of high school students, both short term in a 9 weeks, and long-term over the entire school year.

And here are some possible research questions:

1. Does monitoring student progress affect student work ethic and therefore students’ grades over time?

2. How can I best assess the students and how they are monitoring their progress?

3. How often should the students monitor or “check in” on their progress?

4. Will using Progress Book and spreadsheets encourage students to check their progress more often than interim reports and report cards?

This problem statement and the research questions primarily use the qualitative method of research. McMillan and Schumacher describe qualitative research as “gathering data on naturally occuring phenomena” (p. 26, 2006). Giving students assignments and grading those assignments is very much a “naturally occurring phenomena” in the classroom. However, I have noticed that students rarely monitor their progress in their classes. I often have students approaching me the last week of the grading period wondering if there is anything they can do to improve their grades.

 This is also what McMillan and Schumacher describe as a noninteractive method of research. Many of the research methods require interviews with the participants and having students monitor their grades does not require such interactions, but rather investigates “concepts and events through an analysis of documents” (p. 27, 2006). As I grade student work and enter their progress into the online grade book, I will then analyze the student progress. The documents in this case could be considered student report cards, or grade print outs from the online grade book. What my problem statement seeks to find out is if I require students to monitor their own grades, will their awareness of their grades improve their overall grade in my class.  

McMillan, J. H., & Schumacher, S. (2008). Research in education: Evidence-based inquiry (Laureate custom edition). Boston: Pearson.

Updated to fix Problem Statement as of 7/15/2009

I plan to determine whether or not mandatory monitoring of student progress using the online grade book Progress Book and spreadsheets will affect the grades of German students, both short term in a 9 weeks, and long-term over the entire school year.  

Who – German students

What – monitoring student progress using Progress Book

Why – to determine if monitoring student progress will improve student grades over time

  • Reflect on the “Personal Theory of Learning” you developed in Week 1. Summarize any modifications to your personal theory of learning you have made as a result of your learning in this course. 

I have not really changed my personal theory of learning, I just learned how to use each method more effectively and using new activities in my classroom. My personal learning theory consisted of a combination on behaviorist, cognitive and constructivist learning theories. I use positive and negative reinforcement as a part of behaviorism. I spend most of my time dealing with constructivist theory because it suggests that students learn what is meaningful to them. I like to make my classroom activities as meaningful to my students as possible so that they are active and engaged learners and that is what makes for more successful students. When new information is not meaningful, that is where cognitive learning thoery comes in. Cognitive theory focuses on how the brain learns new information. Cognitive learning techniques are what I have to do when material is not as meaningful to students. Even though something might not be meaningful (for example: German dative prepositions) it is still important for students to learn and retain the information.

  • Describe any immediate adjustments you will make to your instructional practice regarding technology integration as a result of your learning in this course. Identify two technology tools you would like to use with your students and how the tools will support or enhance your students’ learning.

I would like to immediately bring as much technology in the classroom as possible. This is easier said than done, but I am very excited about using new technologies used in this course, like VoiceThread and blogging, but also to make better use of technologies I was already using, like Power Point.

I learned several ways to make Power Point presentations more effective, like making them interactive and incorporating more pictures and less text to the presentation. VoiceThread is such a cool internet resource to use in the classroom. I would really like for students to make VoiceThread presentations and I am looking forward to implementing them into my lessons for next school year. I already have a great idea planned for my German II classes using VoiceThreads to make virtual field trips of German cities. It will be interesting to see what ideas I can come up with to use VoiceThread in the other levels of German. Something basic that was used as a part of this course was this very blog. Although we did not learn specifically about blogs, I really hope to have a classroom blog for my classes next year. I would like to use it as a class update system, with schedules, notes, and make up work, but also use it to post links to articles or important websites. Students can visit the links via the blog and then leave blog comments and reflections to the blog. The only problem here is clearing a blog site that will not be blocked by my school’s internet filter!

  • List two long-term goal changes you would like to make to your instructional practice regarding technology integration and outline a strategy for achieving them.

My first goal is somewhat vague, and that is to incorporate more technology into the classroom. I currently use some technology, like Power Point and the internet, frequently in the classroom, but this is only the beginning. There are so many more web resources to use with students and I am not using enough of them on a regular basis at school. This course introduced new technologies that I was not familiar with, like virtual field trips and VoiceThread, and I would like to use more and more technologies like these as much as possible. It will be difficult to get more time in the computer labs but it is very important to me that students can familiarize themselves with these new resources as well. Many students use technology mostly for Facebook and instant messaging and occassionally for researching school projects. I want my students to use these resources for more than communication and making meaningful projects to do in class will help with that.

My second goal is related to the first, and that is for students to use more and more of the technology themselves. Making a Power Point presentation so that students can take notes is fine, but it is better if the students are able to make the presentations themselves and teach each other. I want the integration of technology to focus more on the students and less on me showing them how do use the technology or using it myself. The best way to achieve this goal is also just to try it. I hope to provide more opportunities to my students to use technology and only by doing this can the students use more technolgy themselves.


  • Stephanie: Thanks Cesar! It is wonderful to have such support through our cohort. I appreciate your comments and kind words.
  • Cesar Rubio: Hi Stephanie, You are making great strides in completing your GAME Plan. I'm so jealous! I haven't gotten mine off the ground because I don't know
  • Toni Malvestuto: I hope you have a better week this week. I know how stressful it can be when you don't have the resources you need at hand. I have also learned not

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