New Project Reflection

For my new project, I have developed a two-week STAAR review for our World Geography students.  The morning of our first day implementing the review, I decided to change it just a tad by adding a “gaming” aspect to it — they were already in teams, working on one objective each day over ten days… now their team would be their “guild” so to speak, with each day having “quests” that they can use to “level up” (their grade).  I was a little uneasy about how much this would encourage their participation or taking the activity seriously…… but it has gone over magnificently!!! I’m seriously so impressed.  Kids who walked into class like, “Oh HELL no, I’m not working with so-and-so!  You CAN’T MAKE ME!” are, at first reluctantly, but in the end quite voluntarily, working as a team, discussing the geography through teaching and reminding each other… kids who I’ve seen reluctant to do anything besides sleep and be a nuisance are focused and doing what they’re supposed to, working with students they might not usually work with, etc.  It has been such a fantastic success, and it makes me really happy! 🙂  That’s my update for the week!

Self Regulation

What does it mean to manage/regulate yourself (self-regulate) and others? How does it bring you towards goals? How important is communication in this process and what helps/impedes it?

To manage or regulate yourself and/or others means to oversee that what needs to get done is getting done, and intervene if that is not getting done.  It also means figuring out what needs to get done and making a plan of action, so you know when you need to intervene.  This helps assure that you are achieving the goals you set out to achieve, and assists in making that an efficient process.  Communication is extremely important in this process – even if it’s a process you only partake with yourself – because it allows for a full understanding of progress and a more complete analysis of the current situation.  This is why therapists often have their clients journal — it’s a form of communication and processing, and it also allows them to acknowledge their progress and see how things have advanced over time.  I believe communication in management or regulation of ourselves and others serves a very similar function as journaling does to a patient — it helps the progress become clearer, allows for acknowledging our triumphs and setbacks, and also serves to document how the process is coming.  Communication is most successful if all parties are open and honest with each other (and themselves), and if everyone sees each other as being open, trustworthy, and non-judgmental.  If concerns need to be aired, it will be a more productive conversation if the people participating believe that everyone has everyone else’s best interest in mind. 

Second Life and the future of education

So we were instructed to visit two areas in Second Life and explore and evaluate their efficacy and usefulness as a learning environment.  I had never experienced Second Life before, and somehow bypassed any tutorial and just learned a lot of it by trial and error… which took a lot longer than learning it by tutorial might have taken.  Later I went through a tutorial which was really great and helped fill in some of the holes.  But here was my experience:

First we were instructed to visit Democracy Island (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Democracy%20Island/128/128/28).  This appeared to be a space set up to encourage group collaboration for people who were not necessarily geographically close to one another.  It also had a number of areas for people to watch live webinars and speakers.

There was a slide in one of the areas that said that their Instructional Design process was:  Development, Design, Deliberation, Consultation, Evaluation.

Some of the stuff I clicked didn’t ever seem to load.  I don’t know if that was a problem on their end or on my end.  I was warned that my graphics card might not be good enough to run Second Life, so maybe that had something to do with it.  It took me awhile to notice the “information” screen next to each of the bridges that lead to other areas.  That’s when I finally figured out what the idea behind the area was — but the signs were pretty small and easy to overlook.  When you clicked on the information screen, after the initial explanation of what Democracy Island was, there were three buttons that you could click to find out more information… but they would just say “loading” continuously and wouldn’t load for me.  More obvious directions or places to find directions would have made figuring this place out a lot easier.

The built in slide shows are where I got most of my information.  It took me awhile to notice that the slideshows were not on the first slide, so for awhile I thought they just had a few slides.  That was confusing.  When I finally figured out there were more, though, I was able to learn more about the project.

Our second area to explore was called Caledon Oxbridge University (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Caledon%20Oxbridge%20Village/174/61/36).

I started by just wandering around, letting it all sink in.  I was looking around for where I might go, and wandered into what ended up being a shop for what looked like Victorian era clothing.  Then I wandered into a school that let you play in games of fencing… which had a door that, when opened, had this spiral that implied that I’d be warped into another dimension.  I decided to take it, because why not, right?  So it took me to an outdoor fencing arena.  At the outdoor fencing arena I saw another, smaller door.  Again, for the heck of it, I opened and took it… and then I was standing in someone’s private home.  And they were there.  And it was really awkward.  But I didn’t know it was his private home until he came over and told me.  Hah!  He came over and said hi… and helped me get to the tutorial area, plus gave me some notecards with information on them. Their tutorial was very well organized, much clearer than Democracy Island.  I think there should have been some big clear sign at the area where you teleport to initially that directs you to the tutorial site.  If there was one, I missed it… Instead, I had to break the rules and wander into someone’s private residence to find it!  (I only found out it was bad etiquette to walk into a private residence without an invitation after I went through their tutorial, though!).

The tutorial area was really helpful.  It gave a step by step directions for all the basics of Second Life.  The arrows on the ground helped direct where we should go next, and there were people all around that were there to help you and answer any questions you had. Each large poster gave directions over a certain topic.  Some allowed you to practice what you just learned, and gave you prizes if you did it right.  Many of the avatars standing around were associated with the university, and would walk up to you and welcome you, and ask if you had any questions — it was very helpful!

Overall, I found Second Life to be a very interesting experience.  I can think of some really interesting uses for it in the future.

Does the 3-D contribute to learning according to what you know from psychology or pedagogical practice?

I do think 3-D contributes to learning.  It’s kind of like the Loci method in a way – you’re learning about new information in an environment, giving you another layer of memory coding in your brain (not just textual or audio, but visual as well).  I remember learning in psychology that you should study where you intend to take a test over material, because simply being in the environment where you  learned new material can help you recall it.  I also once read an article that your brain compartmentalizes your memories of a space, and when you simply walk through a doorway it resets your memory to store information in the new compartment for the new room (so to speak).  By mimicking the real world environment using 3D environments, I’m sure our memory would react to these 3D worlds in similar ways that it reacts to the real world, and thus they can contribute to learning.

Does the immersive experience contribute to the learning for you or the members of the group? Are you the intended audience? Would it work for another audience?

I think the immersive experience definitely contributed to my learning experience in both areas.  It makes it more of an exploratory experience, which encourages curiosity, which is really important in learning new things.  For Democracy Island I feel like the public in general is the audience – anyone who wants to see their live webinars or speakers can fly in and attend.  They have a lot of seating available, so I imagine it really feels like you’re sitting among people watching a presentation.  It’s a neat idea.  It made me think about how I could build and incorporate stuff like this into a high school classroom.

The tutorial area at the university was DEFINITELY made for people like me :).  It was all the beginning steps of being part of Second Life.  It was very welcoming, very informative, and really well done.  They hold classes and everything!  How cool is that?

The Future of Education

I think about this a lot.  How can and should classrooms as we know them change in the coming years?  I’ve played a lot with this idea.  I really believe that we will never completely get rid of brick and mortar schools because the face-to-face social interactivity of schools is a main facet of school life, and I think an important aspect of adolescent (and human!) development.  That being said, I can certainly see schools which implement more flipped designs, or have times of the day where you’re independently studying your online modules, and parts of the day where you are processing that new information in a more sociable, traditional-classroom style environment.  I really think Second Life could be used in very cool ways by instructors — but I also bet it takes a LOT of time to set up something that works and looks as great as the University site did.  It would have to be curriculum that does not change that frequently, otherwise it might not be worth the work it takes to build a location if you have to change it very often.  I’m already thinking about group work and presentations in a virtual world… how cool!  I’ll have to play with this further…

QR Codes in the Classroom – Reflection

Reflect on your first instructional design project. What went well? What did not? What will you do differently the next time?

Overall I think the project went really well.  The feedback was good to great, the assessment showed that learners gathered what they were supposed to, and the evaluation survey at the end also indicated that for most learners agreed with the vast majority of the statements.

The lowest score of the survey statements was the confidence about incorporating QR codes into their curriculum next school year.  My client and I ventured to guess that this was due maybe to integrating technology and the problems that come with this.  To address this in future workshops, we think there should be a section added that addresses the real-world technology issues that a teacher might face – and ways to combat or prevent them – when incorporating lessons with QR codes in a classroom setting.  This will help ease the nerves of those teachers who are reluctant to try new technology for fear of everything going wrong.  We might also change the wording of the evaluation survey to break that statement into two different statements:  “I understand how to incorporate QR codes into my curriculum next year,” and, “I feel confident about incorporating QR codes into my curriculum next year.”  This distinction would help the presenter to understand if the lack of confidence is related to the understanding of the material or other, outside issues.

The second lowest survey result concerned understanding how to find and download apps that will let me scan QR codes.  While the score (average = 3.56) leans towards “agree,” it is important to note that enough people felt uneasy with this process that it dropped the score significantly below many of the other statements in the survey.  This suggests that more time and resources should be given to learners concerning app acquisition.  Perhaps we assumed people were more app-store savvy than they were, and the instructor should be cognizant of this before presenting again in the future.

Lastly, my client and I discussed why her knowledge about the subject was ranked as third to last in our Likert Scale evaluation.  She believes it was because she gets nervous before presenting at workshops, and that her nervousness might have translated into ineptness by some of the participants.  She also admits that she did not look over the material in great detail, especially the links to example lessons, prior to the workshop.  She thinks her lack of preparing in this regard might have come across as lack of knowledge to some of her learners, and we both agreed that looking over the material and practicing with it prior to actually presenting the material would be helpful in bridging the gap between what she knows about QR codes with the perception of what she knows is.

Overall, we both agree that the workshop was a success, and with the adjustments mentioned in these previous paragraphs, it will only improve in the future.  My client was also really impressed by the submissions for QR code lessons, and has decided to create a district Google Doc that teachers and administrators can reference for ideas and add their own classroom suggestions to.  I look forward to seeing how this evolves into an even bigger and better workshop in the future.

The Loci Method of Memorization

The Loci Method of “placing” objects in a familiar place in your mind so as to help you remember them only seems to work for me for relatively concrete concepts.  Like, if I want to remember that my friend’s birthday is June 15th, I can think of my friend in a party hat, with a big JUNE 15TH around her neck or something.  That might work.  But when they are ideas that don’t have concrete pictures that can be associated with them, I find that these types of devices don’t work as well with me, because I lack the patience to try to come up with some creative mishmash of pictures to represent it.  It’s more effective for me to outright try and memorize it.  I definitely think this would work as a way to remember concrete type ideas for students… like vocabulary terms, famous people, more of the rote memory stuff.  I already do a little bit of this in real life in my classroom… like I draw all over our classroom maps (they’re laminated so they’re dry erase marker friendly :)) and leave it up there for sometimes as much as weeks to help kids remember certain concepts (like the equator, prime meridian, trade routes, circle Britain the Colonizer, etc.).  We also have a word wall that we refer to.  Not exactly the same, but when you refer to different areas of your room to emphasize certain points, even if you erase your markings on the map or cover up your word wall, you can still see kids look to the side of the room during assessments as if the material is still there for their reference.

I know the mental version of this works well for many people (I remember reading about people who memorize decks of cards like this), but I’m just not one of ’em.

PS — I love David Sedaris, and his book The Santaland Diaries is definitely in my top 3 favorite Sedaris books. 🙂  Not sure if I’m supposed to relate the Santaland Diaries to this blog post… but I thought I’d mention it.

Design changes per client feedback

My client and I agreed on most aspects of the QR Codes in the Classroom workshop instructional design.  A few minor changes she suggested that I implemented included:  showing some examples of QR codes uses in the classroom before showing them how to make the QR codes, then going into further detail after they learn how to make them; showing a screenshot of the iPhone and iPad apps that they can get on their i-device, and a separate screenshot of the Android apps that Android users can choose from; including her information as the Business Card QR Code on the power point (instead of mine… made sense :).  Other than that, she didn’t have any more advice, and I thought all of her advice was useful, so there was no advice that I ignored.

Job Aid for QR Codes in the Classroom

QR Codes in the Classroom

 

Introduction

Many teachers would like to incorporate more technology into the classroom but are deterred due to many factors:  they do not feel comfortable with the technology themselves, they do not have time to fully develop good lessons involving technology, they are hesitant to rely on technology for their lesson in case something goes wrong with the technology (rendering their lesson useless), or they simply do not know what sort of technology is available and how to use it in their classroom.  QR codes are a relatively simple, versatile way to incorporate some technology into a class.  In this three hour, face to face interactive professional development workshop, participants will become familiar with QR codes and their many uses, and will develop a ready-to-go lesson that they will commit to using in the following school year.


Starting the Workshop

In preparation for the class, a few things will need to be done well in advance.

Three Weeks Before
Double check that the PowerPoint is edited the way you want it.  Make sure the room you are scheduled to be in has access to the necessary technology, and that you will have the technology you need reserved in your name for that day.  Specifically, you will want to have a laptop cart, iPad cart, document camera, a laptop for your personal use, a wireless mouse, and extra outlets/extension cords for the day of the workshop.  If you do not personally own a Smartphone, try to arrange to borrow one for the purpose of this workshop.

One Week Before

In the week before your workshop, make sure that the QR codes work, that the links you have linked from your PowerPoint still work, and make any copies you will need for the workshop. 

Day of Workshop, before it begins:

Technology
Be sure that the internet is up and running, and that you are able to connect to your device(s).  Have your projector ready to go, connected with your laptop which should be displaying the corresponding QR Codes in the Classroom PowerPoint.  You may also want to have your QR code websites loaded so that you can easily switch to them without wasting any time.

Classroom Materials
Make sure you also have classroom materials, such as the practice QR codes for scanning, copied and ready to go.  You could even place them on the participants’ desk or table to save time.

Checklists and Surveys
Also make sure that you have your checklists that you will use to assess the success of your participants ready to go.  You should also have plenty of copies of the post-workshop evaluation printed.


Timeline

The session should take approximately three hours.  A timeline of how the session should go is as follows (demonstrated in minutes/hours):

0:00-5:00               Introductions – Tell learners about yourself and your experience in education and technology.  Have learners introduce themselves also.  (Slide 1 of ppt)

5:00-15:00             Introduction to QR codes – Explain the definition of a QR code and examples of their uses.  (Slide 2-7 of ppt)

15:00-30:00           Discuss various QR code scanner applications, then assist learners in gaining access to the store for their device, downloading a scanner app, and using that app.  (Slide 8 and 9 of ppt)

30:00-50:00           Discuss the types of QR codes (URL, Phone Number, Text, SMS, Business Contact), and have them scan different QR codes to see how each type works on their device.  Go to the website www.qrcode.kaywa.com to demonstrate and practice.

50:00-1:10:00        Introduce different websites that can be used to create QR codes, and demonstrate how to create QR codes and use them in word documents.  (You will use the same website from the previous step, but also use slide 10-13 of ppt)

1:10:00-1:30:00     Demonstrate how to copy and paste a QR code into a word document (right click on the QR code image, click “copy image,” open a new word document, then right click and press “paste”).  Learners will practice by creating a URL QR code, a text QR code, and a Business Contact QR code, and then successfully place each code with a label on a word document. 

1:30:00-1:50:00     Discuss more ways people have used QR codes in the classroom – instructor will show examples, and learners will brainstorm and list general ways they could use QR codes in their own lessons, and then they will generate a short list of specific lessons that QR codes can be incorporated into.  (Slide 15)

1:50:00-2:00:00     Short Break

2:00:00-2:10:00     Instructor will tell learners the instructions for the last piece of the session – that they will create a ready-to-implement lesson (or part of a lesson, like an opener or closure) to be used in the following school year.  They will have about 35 minutes to create the lesson (ideally modifying an existing lesson to include QR codes, but they can create one from scratch if they prefer).  They can work with like-subject and/or like-grade level teachers or individually.  The instructor will be walking around to help and answer questions. (Slide 16 of ppt)

2:10:00-2:45:00     Learners will work on their lessons

2:45:00-2:55:00     Learners will present their lessons and discuss the benefits and drawbacks to incorporating technology like QR codes into their lessons.

2:55:00-3:00:00     Learners will complete an end-of-session survey covering how they think the training went, how helpful it was, how much they think they learned, and whether they would recommend it to another teacher.

Appendix A:  Checklist assessment

Checklist Assessment:

  • Learner can discuss what a QR code is.
  • Learner can discuss ways that QR codes can be used.
  • Learner can select, download and use their own scanner application.
  • Learner can determine which type of QR code would best suit individual scenario purposes.
  • Learner can create their own QR code.
  • Learner can adapt QR classroom example lessons to fit their subject or grade level.
  • Learner can develop their own QR classroom lesson.
  • Learner can assess the benefits and drawbacks of integrating technology (like QR codes) into the classroom.

Appendix B:  End of Workshop Evaluation

QR Codes in the Classroom: Evaluation

 

 

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

This workshop was well organized.

5

4

3

2

1

The presenter was knowledgeable about the material.

5

4

3

2

1

I understand what a QR code is.

5

4

3

2

1

I understand how to create a QR code.

5

4

3

2

1

I understand how to find and download apps that will let me scan QR codes.

5

4

3

2

1

I understand how to scan and use QR codes.

5

4

3

2

1

I understand the different types of QR codes and when to use them.

5

4

3

2

1

I am familiar with different ways I can use QR codes in the classroom.

5

4

3

2

1

I feel confident about incorporating QR codes into my curriculum next school year.

5

4

3

2

1

Overall, this workshop was very useful to me.

5

4

3

2

1

 

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