The Road to Mastery 1 Running head: The Road to Mastery The Road to Mastery: A Rationale for Artifacts Included in a Portfolio Carmelina Sears EDTECH Portfolio Course Boise State University The Road to Mastery 2 Two years ago, I was something of a techno-ignoramus. Not to be misinterpreted, my essential knowledge of technology was better than basic; however, the successful implementation of technology into the curriculum was clearly lacking in my instruction. What I perceived as a technology lesson was using Microsoft Word to type up a paper or having students look up definitions on dictionary.com, or worse yet, performing a random Internet search. I wanted more for my students and more teaching strategies to utilize in the classroom; hence, in the spring of 2008, I enrolled in Boise State University’s Master’s of Educational Technology program. The first two courses in the program were a positive realization that I had come to the right place. In the Introduction to Educational Technology course, I moved out of my English teacher MLA comfort-zone and learned to create a synthesis paper using the APA format, and received feedback, (ACET 5.3 for the summative assessment) , and was introduced to the AECT Standards and the CARET site. This first course was exactly what I needed as I began the program. Concurrently, I had the fortune to be enrolled in the Internet for Educators course. This course was phenomenal. Many of the works I am most proud of are from this course. For example: The “Etiquette for Netizen’s General Computer Rules” was designed to allow students to know the rules for respectful usage of the computer. While it is simplistic in outlining the rules of netiquette, this was my first The Road to Mastery 3 Webpage. In some long hours into the night, I worked to successfully arrange a table, import images, and create a Webpage to be proud of. As a first try, I deem it a success! This site, combined with the Scavenger Hunt: Copyright assignment, are within the ACET Standard 3.4 as they are indicative of the need to create, promote, and monitor the correct and ethical usage of the computer for learners. The importance of promoting a positive social environment within online and brick and mortar school is certainly of paramount importance. The “Jigsaw” activity lesson was created as a cooperative learning strategy which incorporates media into lessons. Placing this within ACET Standard 1.3 and 3.1, the rationale for this activity is to use the media tools of technology to create a dynamic, motivating lesson designed to teach a poem analysis strategy entitled TPCASTT. The step-by-step process is outlined in the instructions allowing students to know the full parameters of the lesson. Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory asks educators to create lessons that reach as many modalities for learning as possible. While rudimentary in its scope, I believe this lesson works towards reaching many of the modes of learning. In the lesson entitled, Research Process Lesson:“First Steps in the Research Journey”, I created a lesson asking students to begin the research process using a specific set of criteria. The rationale (ACET Standard 3.3) for creating this lesson is that it allows students to begin gathering information The Road to Mastery 4 to “solve” problems and to make decisions concerning the commencement of the research experience. This was my first experience in using the software Fireworks to create images and to create links within those images. As rudimentary as the product is, it is all handmade and working. I have used this lesson several times since its creation, and my students see my name on the bottom of the site and are surprised I learned to create this page. The scaffolding associated with this lesson is akin to the theories developed by Lew Vygotsky in that learning is cognitive development shaped by individual experiences that build upon prior knowledge. This critical step in the research process asks students to find a focus, narrow down a topic, and build upon this knowledge to create the research paper. Then an evolution, the pun is absolutely intended, began. I discovered ways to incorporate as much media as possible into my lessons. I created a “Virtual Tour of Evolutionary Biology” for my Academic Decathlon students. This virtual tour encompasses two ACET Standards, 2.4 (incorporating several forms of media) and 3.2 (innovation with the intent of planning adoption as we will be creating many more of these each year). The tour is massive in scope and filled with media and design elements I would never have dreamed possible. In creating this lesson tour, I spent a considerable amount of time discovering the intricacies of creating a table in a webpage that includes video, images, and links. I discovered how to manipulate the handcoding elements of Adobe Dreamweaver software, but also learned how The Road to Mastery 5 frustrating handcoding can be when you leave off one simple letter. This tour became the focal point for the teams’ study for the season and may be responsible for our placing third in the SuperQuiz event that year. Jerome Bruner based the theory of “Discovery Learning” on the idea that students are more likely to remember concepts that they discover during their interaction with the environment. This lesson became the prime example of the linking of theory to practice. By creating this environment for my students to find the answers and explore the nuances associated with Evolutionary Biology, I set up the ideal situation for discovery and manipulation of “objects” and optimized learning. I am particularly proud of this tour as I grew to understand the importance of design in creating a webpage. I learned about the value of repetition, color, alignment, pixels, proximity, text crowding and padding cells. The final project for the EDTECH 573 course was to create a WebQuest. Years ago when the Internet was new, I had made a WebQuest for an exploration of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, so I had some familiarity with the format. However, nothing prepared me for where I went with this “Global Warming?” writing WebQuest. What I created here is the culmination of everything I had learned so far in the two courses. It manifests itself as a well-organized, well-developed lesson I have actually assigned to two classes, and it is a success as a lesson—what better rationale than this? This systems approach to learning offers instruction that is structures and The Road to Mastery 6 sequential, and students are continually monitored in the progress through this lesson. The computer applications provide a clear sequence of information, practice, and assessment creating a lesson where the skills and content are clearly defined, and easily acquired. I was hooked. The EdTech program at Boise State captured my interest. I then enrolled in three summer whirlwind courses: Instructional Design for Educators, Evaluation of Educational Technologists and Multimedia. Needless to say, I didn’t really have a summer vacation that year; however, these three courses were important learning experiences for me for a variety of different reasons. In the Instructional Design for Educators course, I learned to develop instructional programs for use in instruction and training. The course focused on Case Studies which asked for a determination of the most practice design for a given educational situation. Then from the perspective of questioning and development of an ID plan, I then created a Design Specification APA lesson/research paper. Placed as evidence for ACET Standard 1.1 and 1.3, this paper reflects the design, development, and evaluation of instruction and used a systematic design to create instruction. I then tried out my specification and created a final report. The rationale for including this lesson as an exemplar in this portfolio is its clear focus on scaffolding toward a desired product. I used Information-processing theory to hypothesize the process of a designed series of lessons, gave the lesson, The Road to Mastery 7 and reported out the findings. The nature of this course captured my interest for the readings were particularly interesting and the ID format itself is a unique approach to the teaching process. In the beginning the Evaluation of Educational Technologists course appeared daunting. When pairing the words “evaluation” with anything, it seems daunting. However, this course was intellectually stimulating in its challenges. The course asked me to learn important concepts and practices in the field of evaluation. The most difficult task was in developing an idea for research. The need to develop an idea (ACET Standard 4.1) that would engage in program evaluation and be measurable culminated in a project which is close to my heart, Evaluation of “Are Teachers Using Technology in the Classroom at my School?” I created a series of surveys, evaluative situations, and then had staff members become my focus group. The final evaluation paper indicates my findings. I include this example in ACET 3.2 as it was first and foremost the biggest challenge in the program, and the many uses of technology from creating an APA table to a teacher technology survey are reinforcing most learning theories are certainly the process of communication through planned strategies. The final paper for this course is the “Evaluation of Far West Laboratories Educational Research and Developments Determining Instructional Purposes.” In this report a fictitious situation was presented and my task was to evaluate the situation for its viability as an instructional unit. I utilized all that I learned about evaluation The Road to Mastery 8 in the creation of this report, placing it within the ACET Standard 5.3 for its evaluative nature and the examination of systematic adequacies to determine how to make decisions about the future of the company. While the Instructional Design and Evaluation of Educational Technologists courses offered a positive experience and worthwhile challenges, the Multimedia course will, unfortunately, remain the one course in the Boise State EdTech program for which I found lacking. I include some of the artifacts from this course because I believe they are worthy examples; however, the professor did not. With no frontloading of assignments or hints for expectations, I felt confused for most of the course (and I had been looking forward to the course). When feedback from assignments finally came to me, the professor clearly indicated either displeasure for my work or simply said he didn’t understand anything I had accomplished which might explain earning an A-. So, I kept plugging away, hoping for success. Here are some examples that map to the standards and show my growth in the use of multimedia: In the first lesson, I discovered the software Audacity for creating and editing audio recordings. As a nice fit for ACET Standard 2.2, I recorded the sound of my voice as I recited famous lines of poetry. I created an original uncompressed digital voice recording and compressed it into MP3 format; I then edited it for various items including amplification. I felt it important to use this example as it showed me a simple way to create audio for special The Road to Mastery 9 needs students and for auditory learners in my classroom. I have since used the program for short items such as creating sound for movies. In the “Text Captioning Project”, I again learned to use the tools of multimedia to make lessons that are accessible to all students. In this project I learned to edit movies for content, add and subtract text elements, and upload the movie to a webpage using QuickTime. This creates accessible media for ELL, special need students, and visual learners, Gardner would be proud. Because it is using computer-based technologies to deliver instruction, I placed this as an example of ACET Standard 2.3. Creating Storyboards/Slideshows in MovieMaker: A Basic Tutorial is an example of ACET Standard 1.1 as I used step-by-step procedures to create an instructional tutorial for using MovieMaker. I also create a lesson on Using Sentence Variety in Writing and placed this within the parameters of ACET Standard 5.1 as it asks students to gather information to solve problems. The final contribution from the Multimedia course is the “Frame-by-Frame Animation.” The project was an exercise in patience and fortitude. Creating a frame-by-frame animation using PowerPoint was difficult and a bit cumbersome; however, I create a lesson animation featuring the scales of justice. As this lesson is designed to have students “solve” the problem and gather information to answer the question of what justice truly is, this fits ACET Standard 5.1. The Road to Mastery 10 In the fall of 2008, I began the courses Instructional Message Design and a Special Topics Course: YouTube for Educators. These two courses were amazing. Each one gave me a new “tool” for my toolkit by allowing me the creative license to explore lessons within and surrounding my subject matter—English. Instructional Message Design asked me to explore the differences between a .gif and a .jpg image as I created visual solutions. I incorporated the ACE and CARP methodologies and found ways to create typography from architecture. I also learned about the selection of color, color palettes that are web-friendly, alignment, depth, rotation, reflection, and scaling (ACET Standard 1.2). Creating the CARP instructional poster and then using the usability method was a great way to get feedback on the design to be sure of its overall effectiveness. The posters reflect theory in practice. The use of visual, intentional design, and creating justifications gave credence to the inclusion of these artifacts into the portfolio. For this course, I became fluent in the use of Adobe Photoshop, SnagIt! and Fireworks. The usability and justification included for the Parallel Structure Poster is included as it is a prime example of the acceptable use for CARP and ACE methods to create an instructional design. Another example is the use of Typography to create interesting design patterns using the same philosophies. Here, I took my cues from architecture and found letters and numbers within them. The Gestalt principle of perception where the whole is greater than the sum of its The Road to Mastery 11 parts was another concept learned in this course. I created a poster entitled, “Don’t Monkey Around with Subject-Verb Agreement” incorporating some of the features of Gestalt. I have since been careful in my lesson designs in my classroom. I try to remember and use the lessons learned about instructional design in all the PowerPoints and Notebook Software lessons I create for use with the SmartBoard in my classroom. When I saw the Special Topics course was called YouTube for Educators, I knew I had to take this course. I have wanted to learn how to create movies for years. I thought it would be simple to do. I was wrong! Creating a good instructional video is time-consuming, challenging, and filled with crazy issues. I absolutely loved this class! Using Microsoft MovieMaker and Camtasia softwares, I created videos which: Explored the Cognitive Domain. For this I created a video entitled: “The Art of Persuasion: Ethos, Logos, Pathos”. As a teacher, I am of the Jerome Bruner Discovery Learning teaching style. I believe that as a teacher my main job is to give students a learning experience that is active, engaging, and interactive. Videos offer the opportunity to explore learning in this manner. This video seems to hit many of the ACET Standards; however, I found it the best fit in standard 3.1 of the many uses of media. Robert Gagne theorized that one way to learn was to present simple skills and then build to complex skills. This video starts off simply then become progressively more complex in its material and application. I have people The Road to Mastery 12 from all over the world subscribing to my YouTube page because they found this video lesson so useful. I often get hits and students from around the globe have thanked me for making it; one student even asked me if I was going to make more. I do plan to make more Cognitive Domain videos, as time allows. I then created a video encompassing the compassionate nature of the Affective Domain. I created a video entitled, “Does What I Do Really Matter?” Placed within the ACET Standard 2.2 for its use of audio and visual to This video is designed to raise awareness that one person can make a difference in this world. I often feel my students feel as though they have no voice of presence; I want to change this negative self-perception. I enjoyed creating this video as it allowed me to explore that sensitive part of me which we as teachers sometimes need to be reminded. I don’t only teach English; I also teach the future citizens of this world who need more than just English skills to survive. The Social Activist theory indicates that students learn by connecting abstract concepts with real world situations. This video is designed with this concept in mind. The final project in this course was to propose and plan a final product. Of everything I have accomplished in the program, this one is my shining star. I proposed the “WHS Video Log Project”. Fitting multiple standards, I placed this within ACET Standard 3.2, 4.2, and 4.4 for the many planned and systematic monitoring and storage of instructional materials. This is a The Road to Mastery 13 “warehouse” for instructional videos available on the Net aligned to content area standards. I created a long range plan (ACET Standard 5.4), had it approved, (ACET Standard 5.4) and commenced to creating the most worthwhile product I had ever done. This Video Log continues to grow and grow as teachers on my school site contribute to the program on a continuous basis. While management of the Video Log is time-consuming, I consider it a great use of my time as teachers are using the site and finding it useful. This on-going site is representative of the types of plans I currently have for the betterment of my school site in terms of the positive uses of technology. The next two courses in the program were Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology and Online Teaching in the K-12 Environment. In the Theoretical Foundations of Educational Technology course, I learned to blog and wiki. Our class was the proud part of the grand experiment to create a Wiki Page for the class filled with our written texts. I was then given the unique opportunity to become a Wiki Editor. I enjoyed this immensely as it allowed me to utilize my English skills as the person who read each paper for clarity and grammatical needs. All the papers were interesting reflections of the learning experience. For me, it was a lesson in time management and figuring out all the nuances of APA citation and stylistic techniques which can arise from so many different papers. Because being and editor required long-range planning, it fits well in ACET Standard The Road to Mastery 14 4.1. It gave me a new appreciation for the grading process of my professors. Because of the nature of this course, I was inundated how pedagogy precedes practice. In the Online Teaching in the K-12 Environment course, I found a practical approach to the ins and outs of teaching an online course. The nuances between brick and mortar school and the online schools are pronounced in some respects, while in others, students are students, no matter in which program they enroll. The course offered many ways to engage the online learner and allow learners to make connections to real world experiences. When those real world experiences are not available, we as online teachers will need to create those experiences in the virtual world. As one project, I created a Setting Up Internet Safety for your Child. This fit into ACET Standard 2.1 as it is a print resource designed to give parents instructional knowledge of Internet safety options on their computers. In this course I created a Breeze lesson on the conventions of English grammar. As it uses PowerPoint and Breeze as the medium for delivering instruction, I placed this in ACET Standard 4.3. I found it practical, useful and fun. The most effective ideas that came to me from this course is the that of the Reflective Journal. Here, I was asked to show what I had learned both through dialectical journals of my readings, and how those reading came to fruition within my activities and tasks in the course. I placed this activity The Road to Mastery 15 within Criterion-measurement (ACET Standard 5.2) as it is indicative of showing mastery of the learned concepts. The final courses in the program were the Integrating Technology into the Classroom Curriculum, and, of course, the Portfolio course. The Integrating course was a great way to weave all blogs, wikis, and instructional techniques into lessons. In this course I created a lesson on Arthur Miller, and found simple, and seemingly effortless ways to INFUSE technology into my everyday curriculum. (ACET Standard 2.1 for the use of print resources.) I was also asked to read articles in my content area to see how this infusion could become a reality. I created a simple blog entitled, “Strategies for Using Technology to Teach Writing,” and placed this as an example of ACET 3.3 as it exemplifies the search for a “real” lesson infusion that complements existing curricula. I have come far. The beginning goal of finding ways to become a better teacher is realized. I infuse, with automaticity, technology into all my lessons. It has become the norm. In fact, I would venture to say that while my students may know more about the “newness” of technology than myself, I have become a teacher who teaches them how to utilize the technology for the betterment of his/her own education. I am creating lessons such as “Follow the Columnist” (ACET Standard 2.4) as it integrates technology into instruction and asks students to utilize computers in their research process. And while I only have Microsoft Frontpage to work with in The Road to Mastery 16 my district (at this time), I am maintaining an English Department Webpage for my school (ACET 4.4) Yes, I am becoming a master of educational technology.
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