AK Studies Pedagogy

Please see my Google Drive with all my documents.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any feedback from my peers, but my instructor asked the following questions about my unit plan: “How would your very classroom-based learning unit be adapted to online? What affordances might the online modality provide? What challenges would exist if delivering this unit online?” I hope that I answered most of these with my screencast. I think my Google Docs links will help very much with all of that.

I think I am doing pretty well in terms of design. I still plan to complete a few more daily lesson plans, but I know what the content will be. Each day’s history lesson utilizing the following activities will lead us toward the final timeline assessment. Some of the activities I hope to accomplish are tracing Russian exploration, student created skits, analyzing primary sources, Socratic discourse (students articulate, develop and defend essential questions related to territorial days), role play, watching a gold rush slideshow, making an Alaska newspaper on World War II, a Statehood debate, and Gruening speech. This is how I will reach my desired learning objectives.

My rationale is based on constructivist learning theories as the students will be given choices for how to compile the information they need for their activities and their timelines. The pedagogical challenges I forsee are large classes, unmotivated students, and mostly students who are underclassmen. The nature of the subject is stable and includes chronological thinking, historical analysis, comprehension,  and interpretation. 

I think Alaskans tend to feel a greater connection to their state’s history than other states, maybe it doesn’t feel as old… Maybe we are still very aware of the effects of that history, especially since there are still living people who have experienced that history for themselves. I just studied about place-based education in my other class and am thinking about things I can do with my units 4 and 5 that would incorporate some of that methodology – but I still have a lot of reading to do first…

Emerging Tools Product

Powtoons Video – AK Studies Intro

I volunteered to review 3 different animation apps for making movies for my classroom: GoAnimate, Powtoon, and Toontastic. I also looked at several others: Fluxtime, Doink, XtraNormal, Scratch, and PowerPoint animations. My motivation was to explore tools I can use to create interesting content/instructional videos for my students, but also to have them use to create assessment products for class content.

GoAnimate’s name has changed to Vyond and has changed enough that YouTube tutorials are different. I was thinking about making a Gold Rush dramatization (ignore the title page), but I had trouble finding the right characters. While the product looks like it has a lot of potential, I was easily frustrated by trying to get my characters to move properly and I gave up.

The video you see above from Powtoons was fun and easy to make. The only change I would make would be to figure out how to add a few seconds to every slide. I put this video on the HomePage for my AK Studies class. There are templates that are already available and all you have to do is fill in the text you want. However, in the chapter 7 reading by Fahy, he recommends against just using text with images. So, this may not be the most effective way to make a video for instructional purposes. If students were the ones making the videos though, they might have so much fun that the content might stick.

Toontastic looks fairly easy, but I didn’t make it far into the process because it looked silly and juvenile. Scratch looks like it has some tremendous educational possibilities, but it looked really time-consuming (as did PowerPoint animations). XtraNormal just looked stupid. Doink looked like you had to own your own drawing skills

The best (and I mean easiest to use) animation tool I came across was the Powtoon app. It was also very easy to embed and share. It only took me about a half hour to create the video you see above. It took me that long to navigate through 3 screens and watch 2 videos about Scratch.

ED 655 Module #1

Assignment 1: PLE Brainstorm & Connections

Learning Activity by Owen Guthrie (assignment not copied here in its entirety)

Begin a brainstorm list of your learning network by answering these questions…

Your list may be lengthy. It may include family, friends, and colleagues; it may also include groups, resources (such as journal subscriptions), and web sites…

Once you have a somewhat comprehensive list, evaluate how efficiently the network is working for you. What are the key strengths? Are there obvious gaps? Are you stuck in predictable ruts…

Kat Geuea- PLE Brainstorming plus peer discussion

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 1.22.17 PM.png

The brainstorming pictured above was the result of my introduction to this subject one year ago.  I made this infographic in the same format that I wrote it into my notebook.  I also wrote a blogpost  after I read several pieces of material addressing Professional Learning Networks.  I have since subscribed to several technology email posts and have joined the ISTE.  Sadly, I do not find myself reading the emails, logging into ISTE, or looking at their monthly magazine.  I think that I probably will when I have fewer things on my plate.

As educators, I think we should be active learners.  We should be willing to learn new things and change the way we do things.  However, and I have given this a lot of thought over the past year, we are so busy!  I guess, in the context of PLEs, we should choose contributors who give the most meat in the smallest packages.  Where can we learn the most with the smallest investment of time?  Time is a teacher’s greatest nemesis, especially where technology is involved.  

Right now, I have access to some pretty helpful resources.  SmartBrief on EdTech sends very helpful tips through email, the ISTE has hundreds of apps/programs that have already been evaluated and reviewed by teachers, and even our school district sends us emails with with security tips.  Also, since I have been enrolled in the ONID program, I have learned about technology that I have been able to integrate into my own practices in the classroom.  There are even more ways that I plan to expand into more innovative uses of technology in the future.  However, it still comes back to time.  There is never enough time, so I just keep plugging away.  I read, plan, and integrate what I can, when I can…

  • Mica . Hi Kat, I agree with you that we should be active learners. Besides we should be willing to learn things, I also think that we should be willing to share our thoughts and what are the things that you take away. Sometimes, we can learn from others’ thoughts and know people by knowing their thoughts.(1 like)
  • Owen . Hi Kat, it is hard to balance all the resources we can sign up for, and all the learning opportunities that exist with our personal capacity to make use of those resources and opportunities.One way to extend our PLE greatly is to sign up for a high stakes program. ONID can serve that purpose. 🙂 Nice job and I hear you on “what I can, when I can…” 
  • Rachael Yes, I relate to what you wrote about having and taking the time to read through information even when it is conveniently sent to my inbox! I recently let my membership in ISTE go, primarily because I wasn’t using the resources that I had available to me. Initially when I got it, we were using information in our PLC meetings, (I even got to go to an ISTE conference!) but I found that my limited time squeezed it out of my priorities.
  • Marquette I like that you said educators should be active learners. I think that learning new things while students are learning can be beneficial for both teachers, and students. How do you plan on integrating technology in the future? I would like some ideas to have for myself. 🙂
    • KatI want to have an adaptive LMS for students who need extra help outside the classroom.  I want to change my grading program to include standards and get rid of the 100 point grading scale.  It is garbage. I want to continue to find creative ways to engage kids online.

Module 1: Reflection – Experts & Novices

Reflection and Writing Assignment (not copied in its entirety) – Owen Guthrie

Benander (2009) contends that “experts negotiate the learning space differently from novices.” Reflect on your own experiences with that. Compose a brief (no more than three paragraphs) post …

Kat Geuea Reflection and peer comments

In 2005, I was placed in the position of being a novice who was supposed to be an expert.  I was hired as a history teacher who was also supposed to teach 2-sections of beginning art to 9th graders.  I told my employers that if I could teach Macbeth, I could teach anything.  It was a very interesting experience.  Needless to say, I didn’t tell the kids that I hadn’t taught art before.  As I taught my way through the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, I did what I told them to do; I stood at my desk and drew while they were drawing.  After I encountered a problem and worked it out myself, I could ask the students, “Are any of you having a problem doing such-and-such? Here’s how you overcome that…”

You see, sometimes we “experts”  forget to think about what “novices” may not know.  We assume our students have background knowledge that they may not have.  We do not take our lessons down to an actual novice level, but instead teach from a expert perspective.  For example, I recently found out that most of my 10th-11th graders do not know what “case-sensitive” means.  They were getting stuck in the login part of an assignment’s instructions!  I’m sure many art teachers forget the small hurdles they needed to jump over as they were first learning to draw.  I am also sure that because of my early interest in history, when I was their age I had a deeper base of understanding than the majority of my students.

According to Benander (2009), “Reminding oneself of what it feels like to be a novice can provide important insight to help create the structured experiences required to to help students move out of the novice stage.”  I was not surprised to learn that compassion was often the end result of novice experiences had by experts.  How can experts change their perspectives and practices without actually having to enroll in and attend a class that they teach?  We have to be able to imagine how to anticipate difficulties and predict questions as we create  learning experiences.  

  • Good job, Kat. Nicely done. Yes, experts do forget what it is like to be a novice. Sometimes, especially when designing learning experiences, it can be valuable to put ourselves in the shoes of the learner. That’s pretty hard to do. One of the common questions I ask instructors who are new to online is to take a course before they try to teach one. The experience can be invaluable. Nice work! 
  • Ryan Hey Kat, I really appreciate this post, it struck a cord with something I think about personally. I don’t consider myself an expert in practically anything. Certainly not teaching. I think I might be close to expert knowledge in writing, but I’ve only been doing that professionally, or academically, for 9 or ten years now. Anyway, in my class, I find the easiest (or most fun) things for me to teach are humanities stuff, discussion topics in which I slip writing assignments and philosophies. I don’t know a heck of a lot about the kinds of topics I jump into before I present them, and finding those topics and researching them and ordering them into a lesson plan just seems a lot lighter and dynamic for me. Personally, I think writing can be difficult for me to teach because of what I already know about the subject. I find myself projecting knowledge on my audience and assuming they know more than they do. Sometimes, when I catch it, I feel a little overwhelmed by that gap and so I just really try to teach the same key concepts over and over in the short few months I have my students. But man, it’s weird, the stuff I don’t really know about is so much fun to talk about and a blast to teach. 
  • Marquette I really liked this post Kat. I think that experts do forget what it feels like to be a novice, and that can be frustrating. Did the students ever find out that you had never taught art? And if they did, did this change their attitude toward you?I wonder how novices being taught by a novice act toward their teacher if they find out that their teacher is not an expert.
    • Kat No.  I never told them.  I learned my lesson the semester before that when I was a long-term sub for English for the first time.  I taught Macbeth to 12th graders at in an inner-city school on the outskirts of Baltimore. They ate me alive when they learned that I was a novice in Language Arts.  lol.  I think they liked me, but they didn’t have much respect for me.

Literature Review #5

By Kat Geuea

Barriers to Technology Use in Large and Small School Districts

Gregory M. Francom

Summary

The title of this piece is pretty self-explanatory. The author/researcher looked at five barriers to technology use: access to technology, technology training and support, administrative support, time to plan and prepare, and beliefs about the importance and usefulness of technology. I chose, read, and annotated this article before I wrote last week’s review, so it seemed of more value to me then than it does now (last week’s was the one about teaching pedagogy related to technology-enabled learning as opposed to technology integration). Today, I am less interested in barriers to technology. However, I was particularly interested in Francom’s research process. He appears to have crossed a lot of i’s and dotted a lot of t’s.

Analysis

This research took place in an unidentified North Midwestern state of 150 districts ranging in size from 100 to 3,000 students. After doing an institutional IRB, 12,161 surveys were emailed to all staff for 3 times over a period of 3 weeks. If they blocked this first link, they were sent 2 more. I found that both amusing and annoying… Francom gave the survey to 4 teachers from the population as a test-run. I thought that was a pretty good idea, because he was able to feel out how the test would go and make improvements. 1,079 respondents ending up taking the 48-question, quantitative, educational survey that was developed by the researcher. He included questions about the teachers’ demographics, technologies in the classroom, barriers and factors that relate to technology integration, and student-centered uses of technology. Several months after the survey, Francom (2013) did follow-up, telephonic interviews with 11 teachers to “allow for in-depth responses to a small list of questions without reaching data/theme saturation.”

Eleven teachers?! Apparently they were from different schools (large and small), districts, grades, subjects… What? One of each? As far as I can see this is one of the only weaknesses of this research. The 1,079 respondents give plenty of good data, but the follow-up was pretty weak. The findings are not too surprising: time to plan and prepare for technology integration was the most significant barrier, with small schools having the biggest difficulties; the second most significant barrier was access to technology, with large schools having the highest responses; the least significant barrier in both large and small schools was the belief that technology is important. I was a little surprised by that. Even seasoned teachers valued technology in this study, but they did have the highest responses in regards to time.

Respondents in their 20’s are more likely to indicate that they have sufficient time to plan and prepare for technology integration than those in their 40’s and 50’s. Respondents in their 30’s are also significantly more likely to indicate that they have sufficient time to plan and prepare for technology than those in their 40’s. Age was not found to be a factor for any other categories in the survey for barriers to technology use.

Francom, 2013

Francom admits that some school districts may have been underrepresented due to the original email having been blocked, but hopes that the following emails could be accessed by all respondents (could he not have contacted the school districts?). He also suggests that often “teachers report more positively on their classroom practices than is the reality.” That’s pretty skeptical… He recommends that more research is needed to find out why these barriers exist. The only ‘why’ I am interested in is why do young teachers have enough time when seasoned teachers do not? The rest of it would be a waste of time. Do we really need someone to tell us why we don’t have enough time to prepare and plan? Why we don’t have money for improving access to technology? How about solutions to the barriers? How do we get more time? Money? Overall, I thought Francom’s research methods were sound, however irrelevant his findings are to me at this point in time.

References

Francom, G. M. (2016). Barriers to Technology use in Large and Small School Districts. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research15, 577–591. doi: 10.28945/3596

Literature Review #4

By Kat Geuea

Removing obstacles to the pedagogical changes required by Jonassen’s vision of authentic technology-enabled learning

Peggy A. Ertmer, Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich

Summary

This article does not reference one project, but is instead a collection of researches, including the authors’ own, intended to recommend a broad course of action. The research carried out by the authors is referenced and receives full treatment in another article, see below. I am pretty impressed with the content of this article, the crux of which is the need for teachers to change their pedagogy regarding the use of technology. I will be hard-pressed to find anything to critique, beyond learning the specifics of the common, but elusive unicorn.

Analysis

This article calls for a shift from the term technology integration to one of technology-enabled learning. The authors use many articles to educate the reader as to the value of this authentic use of technology in spurring students to the development of critical thinking skills, all referencing the constructivist theories developed by Jonassen. Honestly, it is all very interesting, you should read it…

I noticed that many of the research projects referenced appear to have very small sample sizes. This includes their own project, which apparently only included, “12 award-winning technology-using teachers,” 3 of whom they included as examples throughout this article. All 3 of them are using technology in non-traditional ways to enable student-centered uses. Not only are these 3 teachers wonderful, they have wonderful administrators as well.

From their examination (of which there are no specifics in this article) of these 3 unicorns, the authors discovered the following: there are contextual (access to computers, admin support, school culture), cognitive (teachers’ knowledge, skills, PLNs, developing pedagogies), and affective (teachers’ beliefs about the value of technology) factors to the utilization of technology as a cognitive tool.

Ertmer and Ottenbreit-Leftwich’s recommendation is that more time should be spent teaching teachers how to be better teachers than is spent actually teaching technology; that the “verbs” of technology are more important than the “nouns.” The word “pedagogy” is used about a bazillion times in this article, in reference to the following: problem or project-based learning, transformative approaches, student-centered, inquiry, higher-order learning, developing thinking skills, powerful instruction methods, collaborative informal reasoning, and mindtools to construct and demonstrate knowledge. I like it, however it seems so abstract. Give me some applications of the term!

You have to know what the tools are capable of… You have to know what you are doing and you have to be willing to put in the effort that it takes to learn it. Knowledge is king.

Garcia, research subject, middle school science teacher

This is what I mean by unicorn. I have a peer in my building who is probably only in his/her early 30s. They are very popular with the students and often wins our school’s popularity contest, the “Golden Apple” award (sore spot for me). They are the type who complains about every request the school district makes of us that sounds like it sits outside of our school contract. They stay after school and come in on weekends to grade, but whenever technology talk comes up, complain about not being paid enough or having enough to invest in additional “stuff.” Because of how they are willing to spend their precious time, they obviously see the value in their own assigned work, but don’t see value in technology. How can we “promote best practice and effective pedagogy” that are “at the very core of effective technology integration”(Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2013), if teachers are not willing to put in the effort?

references

Ertmer, P.A., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A., Sadik, O., Sendurur, E., & Sendurur, P. (2012). Teacher beliefs and technology integration practices: a critical relationship. Computer and Education, 59, 423-435. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.02.001.

Ertmer, P. A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2013). Removing obstacles to the pedagogical changes required by Jonassens vision of authentic technology-enabled learning. Computers & Education64, 175–182. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.008

Literature Review #3

By Kat Geuea

Teacher Beliefs and Technology Integration

ChanMin Kim, Min Kyu Kim, Chiajung Lee, J. Michael Spector, Karen DeMeester

Summary

The article I did this week is enormously interesting to me, but also enormous in scope. It will be hard to break it down and analyze it. It will also be hard to critique, because it seems to answer ALL of the questions.

The researchers listed above tried to improve the use of technology in poorly performing schools in rural southeastern schools, because, according to Mishra & Koehler (2006), “knowledge pertinent to pedagogy and content are required to realize the full potential of teaching technologies to improve learning and instruction.” To do this, they sought to answer some questions about the beliefs of teachers about teaching and technology. There are many interesting reviews within this document, but I also thought this quote was great (as a counterpoint to the quote above).

Nonetheless, the acquisition of technology and knowledge does not always lead to effective technology integration.

Polly, Mims, Shepard, & Inan, 2010

Analysis

This was a Department of Education research project. It targeted 42 (later reduced to 22, which hardly seems like enough) teachers in K-8 schools over a 4-year period of time in various schools across 4 southern states. The research questions were:

To what extent teachers’ (a) beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning, (b) beliefs about effective ways of teaching, and (c) technology integration practices were related to each other.

How do teacher beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning as well as effective ways of teaching relate to their teaching practices?

ChanMin Kim et al., 2013

In the report, there is some discussion about first and second order barriers to technology – the one being environmental readiness or access to computers, the other being the knowledge needed by teachers to operate effectively within the boundaries of technology. The study sought to eliminate both sets of barriers, so they provided the schools with “laptops, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras and recorders and other technologies.” Then, they spent 4-years conducting week-long summer workshops, and workshops on demand during the school year. I could not find any description of exactly when the interviewing/survey-taking/observing happened. During the 4-years? After? It makes sense that they first spent 4-years equipping and training the teachers, only after which could they then assess the progress. However, they did not specify.

The researchers breakdown the teachers by the grades they taught: for example, 5- 4th grade teachers. However, I wondered if they ever considered different variables before they selected those 22. How long had they been teaching? What was their previous experience with technology? What were their teacher evaluations like? To find out what teachers believe about teaching, don’t we need to know what kind of a teacher they are? Were they “good” teachers before technology? I think I discovered later that this last question is answered by the nature of the survey questions themselves.

Four different tools were used to gather data regarding the quoted research questions listed above: Schommer’s Epistemological Belief Questionnaire (EBQ); the Teaching, Learning, and Computing (TLC) survey, the Classroom Lesson Observation (CLO) survey, and a semi-structured interview protocol based on the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) .

The charts and graphs are very interesting! I wish I could share it all here. The results showed that there was indeed a correlation between teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning and their technology integration. For example, teachers who had a more sophisticated epistemology were more likely to have student-centered classrooms and utilize technology more seamlessly than teachers who were more teacher-centered. I find great value in this conclusion and am curious to know more. The researchers even suggested that maybe the solution to the technology integration issue is not more technology or technology training, but interventions for changing teachers’ beliefs about effective ways of teaching instead.

REferences

Kim, C., Kim, M. K., Lee, C., Spector, J. M., & Demeester, K. (2013). Teacher beliefs and technology integration. Teaching and Teacher Education29, 76–85. doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2012.08.005

Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1). 60-70.

Polly, D., Mims, C., Shepard, C. E., & Inan, F. (2010). Evidence of Impact: transforming teacher education with preparing tomorrow’s teacher to teach with technology. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26, 863-870.

Literature Review #2

By Kat Geuea

Perceptions of Public Educators Regarding Accessibility to Technology and the Importance of Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum

Geana W. Mitchell, Elisha C. Wohlreb, Leane B. Skinner

AbstRact

This article is another one of those I am studying for insight into my own research project. The descriptive research conducted for this study occurred in a county in the southeast United States. The purpose was twofold: to see if demographic factors affect teachers’ attitudes towards and availability of technology; and, if there was a relationship between availability and the use of technology in the classroom (I think that one is a big “duh”).

AnalysIs

The introduction to this project includes a quote by J. Gayton that fits right in with our group discussions over the past few days. He claims that, “when technology is used in teaching, student-teacher interactions increase and students are more engaged in the learning process.” This goes beyond how an educator uses technology and asserts that just increasing the amount of student-teacher interaction builds a more authentic learning environment. So for that reason, these researchers set out to investigate teacher attitudes towards technology. That is what I am interested in too!

It is common sense to look at teachers attitudes towards “(a) the utilization of technology, (b) the availability of resources and equipment to educators, and (c) the amount of technology training the educators had received” (Mitchell, Wohlreb, Skinner, 2016). This is every objection I hear from teachers with problems integrating technology, minus one; that objection being the fear of investing time in tools that will be replaced arbitrarily by the school district. Because of the obvious nature of the research in question, it’s validity and/or importance is in question. Especially the second part, “if a relationship exists between the educators access to technology and their use of technology in instruction.” As I suggested above, duh. What may have been more interesting to know might have been is this: Is there a correlation between the number of years the educator has been teaching, their attitudes about their own teaching expertise, and the amount of technology they integrate?

The participants were 199 teachers in an undisclosed state somewhere in the South; apparently this was ALL of the teachers in a given county, so I am assuming K-12, with a variety of ages/technology expertise. However, we might assume that the culture of all of the teachers is all the same, since they are all living in the South. The sample size might have been a little more interesting if the researchers had included a county in the North as well. The tool was the Technology Integration Survey which was reviewed by a panel of experts (again, no details). The findings in this report are all the gobbledy-gook that IS statistics, but I will sum up what I could understand. I was not surprised to see that “educators’ attitudes toward the utilization of technology and the number of years the educator had been teaching were statistically significant” ( Mitchell, Wohlreb, Skinner, 2016). What was a little more surprising was, that the subject the teachers taught and their own perceived ability was also significant.

  • teachers who have taught 20 years or more (27%)
  • elementary school teachers (54%)
  • math teachers (18%)
  • 82% classified their own ability as average

The findings show that not only are there are relationships between how much training teachers have had and how confident they feel about using technology, but also between teachers attitudes about technology and whether they have access to it. The researchers recommend that school districts apply for grants so they can provide more technology to teachers and they also recommend that seasoned teachers get more training. I’m trying to be a little professional and not write hahahahahahaha or LOL, but it is really hard. They should have included some inquiry into whether teachers even found value in integrating technology. Many seasoned teachers believe that technology cannot teach as well as they can. While that may be true in many cases, they will never know unless they open their minds to the possibilities. Maybe they should have asked the question, “How can we change perceptions of seasoned teachers towards technology?” It was a little interesting to see how the perceived confidence with technology broke down by subjects, but besides the literature reviews and the bibliography, I can find little value in this research.

References

Gayton, J. (2011, December). Integrating classroom instruction through technology based games. Business Education Forum, 66(2), 44-48.

Mitchell, G. W., Wohlreb, E. C., & Skinner, L. B. (2016). Perceptions of Public Educators regarding Accessibility to Technology and the Importance of Integrating Technology across the Curriculum. The Journal of Research in Business Education57(2). Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-4311456951/perceptions-of-public-educators-regarding-accessibility

Literature Review #1

By Kat Geuea

Social Studies Instruction: Changing Teacher Confidence in Classrooms Enhanced by Technology

Michael Shriner, Daniel A. Clark, Melissa Nail, Bethanne M Schlee, and Rebecca Libler (2010)

Summary

I am planning to do my master’s research on how to change teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and confidence in integrating technology in the classroom. I chose this article because it appears to address this issue. Shriner et al (2010) summarized their study in this way:

to determine to what extent seasoned educators’ perceived confidence, competence, and resultant content-specific self-efficacy could altered as a result of three different workshops geared toward the use of technology in social studies classrooms.

Because I found their research so interesting, I scheduled myself to discuss it with my social studies PLC next Monday.

Analysis

Disclaimer: I am mathematically- challenged; the statistics in this study melted my brain, and I cannot report on them. However, I can interpret the results based on the words “felt more confident,” so I will inform my readers on those points. By the way, I am making plans to conduct my own research in a manner that does not require statistics. I think qualitative, narrative research will suit me just fine…

The researchers listed above tackled the job of proving that old dogs could indeed learn new tricks. They recognized that a gap existed in the research in identifying what “mechanisms could be used to improve teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and confidence in their classrooms” (Shriner et al 2010), and they focused on seasoned teachers for their workshops. I think it is safe to assume that preservice teachers are learning about edtech in their current programs, but with the speed that technology changes, today even 30-somethings are getting left behind. That means that teachers who have been teaching for decades are literally in the technological dark ages. Many of them do not even know how to embed a link on a PowerPoint. This research project is based on the idea that if professional development could be used more effectively, even seasoned teachers could develop the confidence to integrate edtech into their lessons.

I think this is absolutely appropriate and overdue. With the implementation of personalized learning into so many schools today, technology is really the answer to student success on the secondary-level. There are so many amazing tools out there that can help us teach in ways that are more relevant to the students of this digital world. I find it sad that many seasoned teachers are close-minded to those options. However, I believe that most of them would try new things if they had the time to learn them. I am so tired of wasting my time at professional developments just so that my school district can check off a box or pay some high-dollar speaker to come motivate me. Shriner et al (2010) claim that

Professional development with regard to educational technology may hold the proverbial key in terms of their perceived confidence and belief in their ability to utilize various technological applications in their respective classrooms.

One of the three phases of the project was conducted over three five-hour workshops designed to teach teachers how to create virtual field trips. The second and the third phases were conducted over two-day periods (7.5 hours each day). I think that the experiment would have been better if the workshops were in more realistic professional development-sized chunks. For example, in my district, break-out sessions on PD days are often an hour or two, but that would be ineffective because of how seldom these meetings happen. On the other hand, PLC meetings happen throughout the district for 45-minutes every week. Using that weekly meeting to teach edtech would be the best measure of how effective using professional development to improve teacher confidence could be.

The results looked a lot like this: t(89) = 5.28, p < .001, but I don’t know what that means. The bottom line was that the teachers got excited about the virtual field trips. The 15-hours they spent creating them gave them enough confidence to feel that not only could they plan one on their own, but they definitely would. In addition, they would teach their students to make them as well. The overall conclusion was that,

Participants in this study appear to have gained a significant amount of confidence and competence in terms of their ability to use various educational technologies in their social studies classrooms .

(Shriner et al 2010)

I do not doubt these findings at all, and I get excited about teachers being excited! That excitement is contagious and creates a dynamic learning environment. I find myself teaching my own students about the tools I am learning through my master’s program, but they are a captive audience. This research project conducted by Indiana State University proves that time earmarked as professional development time works as a mechanism to deliver workshops about technology to teachers. Hopefully school district administrators will get the message and encourage this use of time.

REferences

Shriner, M., Clark, D. A., Nail, M., Schlee, B. M., & Libler, R. (2010). Social Studies Instruction: Changing Teacher Confidence in Classrooms Enhanced by Technology. The Social Studies101(2), 37–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/00377990903283999