5368 Instructional Design

My Blog about Instructional Design Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences Big Ideas - Exploring the Essential Questions of Education Template for Understanding by Design

Week 1 Discussion:

Learning Styles Analysis:
Learning Beliefs and Inventories I learned from the Teaching Style Inventory that I my teaching style is both analytical and hands-on. I agree with this assessment. I teach Web Mastering. Students must complete several projects at the end of each unit. They complain about it being too hard, but most enjoy their final product. I also learned from the Learning Style inventory that I am an auditory learner. This assessment surprised me; I have always felt that I was a visual learner or at least, equally auditory, visual, and tactile. I also learned that most students who completed the assessment are visual learners. There were many auditory learners. Several were equally auditory and visual or visual and tactile. And a few were equally auditory, visual, and tactile. There were very few who were tactile. Most students agreed with the findings. One student I interviewed after the assessment said he now understands why he asks so many questions in math. He learned that his learning style is visual. His teacher's style of teaching does not give him enough opportunities to "see" the concepts. The reading that I received the most information from is "How People Learn." I have included four quotes from the book. "Today, students need to understand the current state of their knowledge and to build on it, improve it, and make decisions in the face of uncertainty (Talbert and McLaughlin, 1993)." ~ How People Learn, page 132 Students come to CATE classes, in many instances, not because they want to, but because its on their schedules. Many come with no interest in computers and state many times that they do not need the class. I feel that I need to help students understand the current state of their knowledge about computers and help the build a foundation for the future. Many leave with a new appreciation for computers and technology and decide on careers in technology. But, there are some who leave without learning the value of technology. "Teachers who are learner centered recognize the importance of building on the conceptual and cultural knowledge that students bring with them to the classroom." ~ How People Learn, page 134 This can be applied to every subject matter. CATE teachers know that students come to us with a lot pre-conceived concepts about computers. We have to correct what they know, and help them gain new knowledge that they will use in the future.Unfortunately, this quote is far too accurate. "After receiving grades, students typically move on to a new topic and work for another set of grades. Feedback is most valuable when students have the opportunity to use it to revise their thinking as they are working on a unit or project. The addition of opportunities for formative assessment increases students’ learning and transfer, and they learn to value opportunities to revise (Barron et al., 1998; Black and William, 1998; Vye et al., 1998b). Opportunities to work collaboratively in groups can also increase the quality of the feedback available to students (Barron, 1991; Bereiter and Scardamalia, 1989; Fuchs et al., 1992; Johnson and Johnson, 1975; Slavin, 1987; Vye et al., 1998a), although many students must be helped to learn how to work collaboratively. ~ How People Learn, page 141 I find myself moving on to new topics and another set of grades. I agree that students need to have an opportunity to use what they have learned in a unit. I assign projects to help reinforce new knowledge, but usually move on whether project is completed or not. I do encourage peer tutoring and give extra points to students who help others. I do have students who refuse, and after reading the article, it may be that they do not know how to work collaboratively. "A challenge for the design of knowledge-centered environments is to strike the appropriate balance between activities designed to promote understanding and those designed to promote the automaticity of skills necessary to function effectively without being overwhelmed by attentional requirements." ~ How People Learn, page 139 I agree that there is a challenge between designing activities to promote understanding and those designed to promote automaticity. I find myself shaking my head because students want me to give them each and every step to complete projects. Keep in mind, we have just completed the step-by-step assignments. And, in most cases, they can copy the code from the step-by-step and apply it to the project! This transfer is not happening with many students.
Source: How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition (2000) retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9853
(pages 132, 134, 139, and 141)

Week 2 Discussion:

Online Course Design:
According to Wiggins and McTighe (2000), some teachers believe their students should “really understand,” others want their students to “internalize knowledge” and yet others want their students to “grasp the core or essence.” Do these mean the same thing? When a student really understands, what will he do that he will not do when he does not understand? I agree with Allison's comments that "really understand," internalize knowledge," and to "grasp the core or essence" relate to different levels of understanding. "Really understand" means that a student has read the lesson or unit and can answer questions regarding what has been read. "Internalize knowledge" happens when students have read and understood what is read and can apply this knowledge to complete assignments and quizzes. When students "grasp the core or essence" they can create something new by applying newly gained understanding of concepts. I teach Web Mastering. Our units are projects based. The students complete step-by-step assignments with my help and must work on projects independently. I can tell when my students really understand what they are doing when they can complete projects without any or very little help from me. I always add new dynamics to each project to ensure that concepts are building upon concepts. I usually add something to the book's end project that includes skills learned in earlier lessons. This is more work for me because students refuse to use their research skills and I have to learn to step back and allow them to find the information for themselves. I do have a few unmotivated students that I must show where and how, but the majority of students just need to be reminded when we covered a concept. I have found that students who do not understand can do none of the above. I encourage peer tutoring. The students who do not understand do not take advantage of this. They are working at the frustration level and are usually the ones waiting for my attention instead of asking students around them for help. What is your definition of understanding and how do you assess understanding? Wiggins and McTighe gives the following definition of understanding: "...is to make connections and bind together our knowledge into something that makes sense..." (page 7). This is what I expect from my students in my Web Mastering class even though this is not what I always get. I agree with the authors that students that "get it" come in already able and articulate. These are our digital naives as coined by Prensky; students who already know a lot about working with codes because of MySpace and Facebook. To access the understanding of other not so capable students can be trying. The best way I have found is projects that include every skill covered in a lesson. I do have a few who refuse to even look back at the unit to refresh their memories and wait for me to give them every step. These are the students who really, in the terms of the authors, have no understanding of concepts. They will not remember past the unit nor will they be able to show a college the skills learned.
Source:Wiggins, Grant P.; McTighe, Jay. Understanding by Design Expanded 2nd Ed.[e-book]. by Publication: Alexandria, VA Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005. Available from: Netlibrary. Accessed April 21, 2010.

Weeks 3 and 4: Create an account using Schoology.com.

In this week’s discussion board, share with your colleagues what steps you would normally use in designing instruction. Also, discuss your overall impression of the “backward design” process. What are the pros and cons of designing instruction in this manner?I generally create my lessons much like the world history teacher in the vignette found in Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). I try to cover the entire book. To quote from the book, "But at its worst, a coverage orientation—marching through the textbook irrespective of priorities, desired results, learner needs and interests, or apt assessment evidence—may defeat its own aims. For what do students remember, much less understand, when there is only teaching with no opportunity to really learn—to work with, play with, investigate, use—the key ideas and points of connection? Such an approach might correctly be labeled, “Teach, test, and hope for the best.”" (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005, p. 3). I feel that I "teach, test, and hope for the best" most of the time.I think I design with the end in mind, but sometimes I have to re-think my end projects. I teach Web Mastering, so everything in the book can easily be covered in a school year, and we still have time left over after completing the book. My textbook also comes with a disk that includes lesson plans. I design my lessons based upon these plans which includes end projects; however, my class is self-paced. I have student with different abilities, so I try to give all a chance to complete assignments and projects. Even at this pace, I loose the special needs students in my class, and must design easier assignments for them so that they can feel successful. The end projects are my "hope for the best" because students can pass the quizzes but tend to get stuck on the projects. I used to make the quiz 50% of the grade and the project the other 50% of a quiz grade. This became a problem because many students would not or could not complete the end projects. So now each, the quiz and its end project, is worth 100 points. Backward design would work in all CTE classes. Students in CTE courses have projects to complete, be it a recipe or a cabinet, or in my case, a Web site. The advantage, especially in CTE classes, is that the teacher already knows must be mastered before the end of the class. Teachers in CTE classes also have the students' finished projects, recipes, cabinets, videos, etc., which can show proficiency. One drawback to this approach in designing instruction is finding projects that are not too hard for all students to feel successful at the end of the course.
It is hard to find a "one size that fits all" answer. Most of the students who "get it" finish the projects and either work ahead or help others. Those who "get it" are the ones with MySpace and FaceBook and other social media sites. They want to know how to add things to their pages! According to the authors of Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005), "Evidence of understanding that is transferable involves assessing for students’ capacity to use their knowledge thoughtfully and to apply it effectively in diverse settings—that is, to do the subject." (p. 48). I try to create projects that allow students to transfer everything they have learned in ways that will benefit them in the future, but again, this is a problem for special needs students. No matter how easy I make the projects, some of them just can not do them. Most projects require simply typing what you see exactly like you see it or copying and pasting code that works. Maybe 'backward design" will help me design lessons that helps all students be successful. Again, according to Wiggins and McTighe, "We need to see if students with understandability limited ability can nonetheless transfer..." (p. 49)
Janet, I like the quote you included from NACOL . "According to the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL), when designing an online course, it is important to make sure that “the course is designed to teach concepts and skills that students will retain over time.” As a Web Mastering teacher I try to teach for retention and transferability. I want my students to be able to earn money right out of high school as a Web designer. As stated in Understanding by Design, this requires "...transferability: finding out whether students can take their learning and use it wisely, flexibly, and creatively." (Wiggins and McTighe, p. 48).

Week 4 Discussion:

In 2007, the Sloan Consortium issued a report on the extent and nature of online learning in K-12 schools. The overall number of K-12 students engaged in online courses in 2007-2008 was estimated at 1,030,000. Sloan-C also reported that more than 4.6 million students were taking at least one online college course during the fall 2008 term, a 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year.Post to the discussion board using the following questions as a guide to respond to the Sloan-C reports.• How do you see online education being used in your classroom, campus and district?
Online education is used in my classroom. I teach Web Mastering. I have had to come up with creative ways for students to submit assignments to me for grading. I have accounts with edmodo.com (which is now blocked by the district, again) and think.com. My students take test on line via my teacherweb.com account. I have a personal Web site that they can use for quick access to the teacherweb account. I went paperless last year because the copiers were always down or busy. I put everything online, from the course syllabi to the grading rubric for our final project. My online presence allows my students to stay on top of quizzes, tasks, and projects. Students to re-take tests on which they made low grades because of the online test. I have had students take quizzes while on field trips! I have one students who recently moved to New York who checks in with me almost every week via his think.com account. With edmodo, students can find out planned activities for the day, write and submit journals, submit assignments for grades, chat with friends across the classroom without disturbing others around them, peer tutor, and I could post links to interesting sites. I am excited about using schoology, which may take the place of edmodo for the next school year. My students have been able to post assignments. They are quickly learning and adapting to the new technology. They like the interface. It also allows them to chat with each other through the blog feature and they can customize their page, like MySpace, as one student pointed out to me today.
• What type of staff development do you think K-12 teachers need in order to begin to develop and implement online learning?As the educational leader, principals would need to embrace online learning. Teachers would need extensive training to implement online learning. I think hands-on training, with help setting up a least one class, including the lesson plans and students, would be imperative. I am a CTE teacher and had trouble setting up and working with schoology. Teachers would need time to set up the class during a staff development while there is lots of support. They would also need support available throughout the set-up and implementation stages. Teachers would also need to work together to design their courses. Looking at TEKS and other standards to prepare students for success requires a concerted effort by all on the campus, especially the stakeholders who would be held responsible for the success or failure of the online learning community.
• What impact will this type of teaching and learning have on the business world?The business world is ready for a society of workers that is highly trained. This means that less money will need to be spent to train a person for a position. Industry expects our students enter the workforce with technical skills, including familiarity with word processing software. Online communities also prepare our students to think globally. Our think.com accounts allow my students to collaborate with students from around the world. Online learning helps our students be able to communicate at a higher level. They also are aware of copyright laws and computer ethics.

Week 5 Discussion:

What benefits do you see in educators knowing how to design and implement online learning?
I see great benefits in educators knowing how to design and implement online learning. I just completed the Advanced Technical Credit Part I Online Training Session which is required to teach statewide articulated courses. One thing I learned in the training is "Advances in technology have changed the workplace in a dramatic way. Students graduating from high school need highly technical skills to be competitive in the job market, and up to 85% of all jobs in the future will require at least two years of education beyond high school." ~https://www.atctexas.org/t2_tech_prep_explanation.asp?ID=32 With that in mind, teachers need to know how to design and implement online learning so that our students can be prepared for the highly skilled job market. Students need technological training to be competitive and capable for future jobs. The State expects students to grow technologically from Kindergarten through High School with each level laying foundational knowledge that can be built upon. My grandchildren, currently enrolled in Headstart classes, will need teachers who can design and implement online learning. There are so many learning games online for young children that teachers can use to help prepare K-2 for the next level. My grandchildren love the games on Disney and other sites for the very young. By the time my grandkids leave second grade, they are required to know how to use computers and should have gained basic technology skills such as inputting information, beginning touch keyboarding and should be familiar with the computer. (http://www.irvingisd.net/technology/documents/Tech%20App%20TEKS.pdf ) This will prepare them for more challenging online learning tasks in the future.
Additionally, according to the Texas Education Agency "Benefits of Online Learning: According to the NACOL report, A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning, the number one reason school districts cite for offering Internet-based courses is that the courses are otherwise unavailable. Many schools in rural or poorer urban districts find it difficult to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers especially in the areas of advanced mathematics, science and language courses. Online courses can meet specific needs, such as gifted students seeking opportunities for Advance Placement or accelerated learning at their own pace, or homebound students need access to more curriculum choices. Many Texas districts and schools in other states are realizing the potential it brings to providing students with unparalleled equity and access to high quality education. Some of the benefits offered by online learning include:
  • expanded curriculum options available to students, including courses required for the Recommended High School and the Distinguished Achievement Graduation Plans * advanced Placement
  • accelerated study
  • expanded access to qualified teachers
  • alternative educational opportunities for diverse students, including gifted or accelerated students, at-risk students, migrant students, dropouts, pregnant students, incarcerated youth, elite athletes and performers, and students who may not be able to attend regular school because of injury, illness, or involvement with other activities
  • alternative learning methods and opportunities for students whose needs are not being met through traditional instruction in a traditional classroom setting
  • schedule flexibility for students with schedule conflicts or who may be working during the regular school day schedule flexibility for students with schedule conflicts or who may be working during the regular school day
  • flexible pace for students who need to work at a faster or slower pace * electives for which qualified teachers are not available locally
  • opportunities for students to prepare for today’s technology-rich real world experiences in the workplace and post-secondary education
  • educational experiences to address the needs of today’s technology-savvy students
  • provide professional development for teachers and other educatorsIn summary, online courses can meet multiple and various needs of diverse student populations and serve as an important strategy to address education needs in the state." ~http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/technology/wbl/
How will you professionally use your course that you designed?.
• How will you professionally use your course that you designed?
The course I designed is my actual ending project for my students. I can see it being expanded to other discipline, but it works well in CATE classes. • Will you integrate online learning in your role as a teacher/staff developer?I will continue to integrate online learning in my role as a teacher. Online learning can also be integrated into staff development. Our campus has mobile labs. We also have 6 computer labs. It would be simple to integrate online learning as part of our staff development. The training should not be after school; most teachers are on shutdown mode and ready to go home. I think online learning would have to happen during the summer or on staff development days. As a matter of fact, I received a communication today about "Project Share" from the Texas Education Agency. "Project Share provides an elearning platform to support a community of practitioners dedicated to improving teaching and learning through an interactive and engaging environment. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is proud to announce a new initiative that will explore the development and delivery of high quality professional development in an interactive and engaging learning environment. Project Share will utilize a single online platform to leverage existing and new professional development resources for teachers across the state and build professional learning communities where educators can collaborate, share, and tailor professional development to meet individual needs." ~http://tea.epsilen.com/Public/Home.aspx. I am anxious to learn more about the new initiative.
• What questions do you still have about online learning?
• Questions include:• How much storage is available for my use?• Will I have total control of what students are allowed to post?• How easy is the program to learn?• How easy is the program to use?• Can I send private messages to my students without them having an e-mail address (I do not how to do this with Schoology.com, can be done with think.com and edmodo.com)?
• What will you do with this new learning?I am using it!!! I have shared the site with the CATE teachers with computer labs at MHS. I can share the site with the librarian (that thought just came to me) because she has computers for students and teachers to use. I will share with other teachers on campus. The problem for other departments is that there is only one computer in the classroom beside the teacher's computer. Limited access to computers may deter many teachers from trying online learning with their students. When I have mentioned or suggested that assignments can be posted online, many teachers balk and say that students complain about having no access to computers.

Interesting resources: