rationale by liamei12345


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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
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      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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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
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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.
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      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


      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
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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
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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
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“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


      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
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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
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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
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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


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