Category Archives: EDTC 6104

What is troubleshooting? What is it not? (Module 3, ISTE-CS 3e)

For my last week of exploring ISTE Coaching Standard (CS) 3: Digital age learning environments, I focused on indicator 3e – “troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments.” I initially started off with different questions, but they led me to these questions:

What frameworks or models are there for troubleshooting? What counts as troubleshooting? And if it doesn’t count as troubleshooting, then what is it?

What is troubleshooting?

Troubleshooting is one of those things that we often talk about without defining. And even more, specific language might be used when defining troubleshooting in a specific context. So based on the definitions or descriptions of troubleshooting from the resources I found, I feel like this general definition summarizes the idea well:

Troubleshooting: “Effective troubleshooting is a multifaceted exercise in diagnosis and deliberation, analysis and action” (Krieger, 2010) for the purpose of attempting to fix a failing or otherwise misbehaving system (Kuphaldt, n.d.).

What is troubleshooting not?

Debugging. This word came up when I asked my friend what general troubleshooting techniques are used in his discipline, computer science. The techniques he told me about didn’t quite match what I was expecting to hear. To me, he was telling me more about debugging techniques rather than troubleshooting, which led us to this forum response on the difference between debugging and troubleshooting:

The difference to a professional software developer is:

“Debugging” usually refers to the act of finding out what is causing a bug in a computer program, done by a person with the ability and authorization to change the computer program to fix the bug once the problem is found and pinned down.

“Troubleshooting” usually refers to the act of finding out how to fix or work around a problem in a computer program one is trying to get to run. Usually it is done by a person who does not have the option to alter the code, but has a program that is supposed to already be debugged. It involves finding conflicts in configuration or the like.

There are definitely overlaps, but they have different main usages. I would suggest that in your context of classroom work, that you use “troubleshooting” most of the time. “Debugging” would apply mostly when attempting to figure out how to alter the lesson plan so the problem does not reoccur on subsequent attempts to teach the same lesson. (Truffula in Debugging vs. troubleshooting, 2014)

The distinction ends up being important due to its implications for a solution. For example, Krieger (2010) says, “It’s common and understandable for users to blame the software or hardware when something frustrating happens that they don’t understand. For a troubleshooter to do the same, however, is an almost certain setup for failure.” I believe Krieger says this because when we believe a problem is caused by a bug, we give up on finding a solution, and the belief that a solution can be found is arguably a prerequisite for persistence in troubleshooting. See Kayne’s (2017) article What is the Difference Between Troubleshooting, Testing, and Debugging? for more elaboration on the differences between these terms.

Problem solving. When you are troubleshooting you are trying to solve problems, but does that mean you’re problem solving? If you are problem solving, does that mean you are troubleshooting? In academia, I don’t think these two words are interchangeable, though, like troubleshooting and debugging, I think they probably have some overlap. The main idea about troubleshooting that seems distinct from problem solving is that troubleshooting happens when a system is failing, misbehaving, or not working as expected; problem solving seems to encompass more than that. Perhaps troubleshooting is a subcategory of problem solving.

The Weyerhaeuser Company has a nice troubleshooting website which outlines the troubleshooting process at their company (it appears that they manufacture things). On their website they distinguish between problem solving and troubleshooting in the following way:

Problem solving is used for longer-term, more complex problems that require more data analysis and a team approach. Working through a problem may take several weeks but will often lead to major improvements in processes, products, or services.

The Weyerhaeuser Troubleshooting Process is designed for “on the floor” situations where time is of the essence. These problems usually take only a few minutes, hours, or shifts to solve. If it takes much longer than that you might consider using a longer-term problem solving process. (source)

Their definition of problem solving doesn’t seem to strictly match the academic use of the term, but I found it helpful nonetheless.

Troubleshooting: The Process

The resources that I found seem to agree on at least three basic steps for troubleshooting:

  1. Know the problem
  2. Narrow down the cause
  3. Verify the solution

But together the resources create a better picture of what troubleshooting entails. This outline strongly resembles *Steve Litt’s Universal Troubleshooting Process (UTP) because his process has the most steps and all the resources I found align with at least one item from the UTP. But this list combines information from Johnson, Flesher, and Chung (1995), Krieger (2010), Davies (2006), Weyerhaeuser Company (2004), Litt (2014), and Kuphaldt (n.d.).

*See the heading titled “The 10 step Universal Troubleshooting Process” for Litt’s elaboration on each numbered step below. I recommend checking it out. There’s a lot he talks about that I don’t mention.

But before getting to the steps of troubleshooting, I think there’s one prerequisite worth listing, which often seems to be assumed.

Prerequisite: In order to troubleshoot, you need at least some content knowledge. Particularly I’m thinking of conceptual understanding of the system and its components (Johnson et al., 1995) and relevant terminology. You don’t need to know all the content, but you need to know enough of something, and obviously, the more the better. It is incredibly difficult to Google something if you don’t know what key terms to use. And beyond that, if you don’t have a conceptual understanding of the system, it can be very hard to use the information you find to answer your own question or to even know to ask a question.

For example, when I was first trying to get my computer to read text to me (see my previous blog post here), I didn’t know the term “screen reader” so I didn’t find that software right away. Then once I found the software, I didn’t have a conceptual understanding of how it worked, so I didn’t know that I should be looking for the “button” command key which will cycle through clickable buttons on a webpage.

1. Prepare: This might require certain tools, software, or setting up your work space. Litt emphasizes having the right attitude and describes that here; I think persistence is one of the things he describes. Krieger emphasizes the importance of always assuming you could be wrong.

I have definitely experienced something like “putting on” a troubleshooting-attitude. I recall a night when my printer wasn’t working. After some halfhearted attempts to get it to work and deliberation over whether or not I really needed to print the thing, there was a distinct moment where I went, “Fine, I am going to commit to attempting to fix this.” After something like 5 hours I finally got it working. I think I cried in celebration.

2. Damage control plan: Litt was the only person I found who mentioned this, but it’s incredibly important! If you’re going to mess with things, make sure you backup whatever content you might affect.

3. Know the problem: You need to be able to clearly state the problem and fully understand the problem. Here are some questions that will help you get a complete picture of the problem:

  • What works?
  • What doesn’t work?
  • How are the working and non-working things related?
  • Have the non-working things worked in the past? Has the problem happened before (prior occurrence)?
  • Have there been recent changes to the system?

I think using the process of Rubber Duck Debugging during this step (and the next) could be beneficial. I say this because the act of trying to email someone about a problem often causes me to refine my answers to these questions.

4. Reproduce the problem: I think being able to reproduce the problem is really a sub-point of knowing the problem because you have to be able to answer the question: Under what conditions does the problem happen? I think sometimes this step might get skipped, particularly if the problem and solution are well documented. But sometimes being able to reproduce the problem is super important.

I can think of a handful of examples off the top of my head when I needed to be able to recreate the problem. Two of my examples involve reaching out to tech support and it’s probably safe to assume that in order to get help from tech support, they will need to be able to recreate the problem themselves (especially if it’s not a known problem).

5. Corrective maintenance: Looking at Litt’s description of this, I think it’d be fair to summarize this as “restart and update” but it includes other things like cleaning terminals. Corrective maintenance includes the things you would typically do for general “system health.”

6. Narrow down the problem: Easier said than done. “Your success or failure lies in what you choose to eliminate, and more importantly, why. It’s a game of Pick Up Sticks where you evaluate, reason, then remove any obstacles that get you closer to resolving the problem without breaking anything else. How you make those choices depends entirely on the questions you ask and how you interpret the answers” (Krieger, 2010). And to pull out some of Litt’s comments from Step 1 Prepare: “Don’t try to fix it, just try to narrow it down. Don’t panic. Don’t get mad. Be patient and don’t skip steps. Practice teamwork. When you get in a bind, just ask yourself ‘how can I narrow it down one more time?'”

7. Solve the problem: Once you think you’ve narrowed down the problem, solve it. Solutions can be broken up into at least two categories: fixes and workarounds. Illig (2010) describes the difference between these two things here. In short, a fix is a solution that will eliminate the problem and a workaround is a solution that will avoid the problem. For example, OwossoBob posted this workaround for the problem of the new Google Sites not (yet?) having a “site comments” feature.

Once you’ve solved your problem, don’t stop here!

8. Verify the solution: You want to make sure the problem is fixed and that the solution didn’t cause another problem. Additionally, Krieger says, “If you don’t know why it works, it isn’t fixed. … If the fix doesn’t work consistently, it most likely doesn’t work at all.”

9. Take pride in your solution! I’m glad Litt included this step because it is certainly a clear stage in the process!

10. Prevent future occurrence: Document your problem and solution and then share the information with your community to help them quickly resolve the problem should they encounter the same issue. This could be a great focus for student blogging on a class blog or website.

Is it Troubleshooting? And does it matter?

Two of my questions at the start of this post were:

What counts as troubleshooting? And if it doesn’t count as troubleshooting, then what is it?

But does it really matter whether your troubleshooting, debugging, problem solving, or doing something else? I think it does because learners will need different kinds of support depending on the activity they are engaged in.

With that in mind, here are three examples of activities I engaged in during my recent “text-to-speech adventure,” which I blogged about here. During that adventure, I did a lot of things, but was any of it troubleshooting? After thinking about troubleshooting more, I decided that a lot of what I did was not troubleshooting.

Not troubleshooting: I’m thinking about everything I went through to learn enough about screen readers so that I could use one to turn on accessibility mode on Ebook Central. And since I didn’t know enough about screen readers in order to have any expectations about how mine should be behaving, I can’t say that at any point my screen reader wasn’t behaving as expected. Therefore, I wasn’t troubleshooting…right? So what was I doing? I think I was engaging in the prerequisite that I listed above: acquiring content knowledge. I was learning the basics of using a specific program, and based on the definitions I’ve read, technically that is not considered troubleshooting. Perhaps this is the kind of activity which would well supported by a “click this button” type of tutorial.

Not sure: I’m having a harder time deciding whether or not I was troubleshooting during a different activity. My favorite text-to-speech reader for Chrome and Safari, ttsreader.com, has a Chrome app (here) for their website. It wasn’t immediately clear to me what the app does because the website works without installing it. So I got on two computers at once, one with the app installed and one without, and explored how the features differed based on which computer I was using. Once I realized that the website “remembers” a setting when the app is installed, I started confirming that it remembers other settings too.

Going through this process helped me prevent “a misbehaving website” down the road, and I can see how I might have needed to troubleshoot in the future had I not realized that you need the app for the website to perform as described by the developers. So was I troubleshooting? I’m not sure. I might say I was preemptively troubleshooting because I assumed that not understanding the differences between with-app and without-app would impede my ability to help others troubleshoot in the future. Thinking of myself as part of a community and wanting to support that community was really what encouraged me dig in and find an answer to my question.

Definitely troubleshooting: However, I was definitely troubleshooting when I was trying to add new voices for MS Speak and I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t work. The answer to this problem is that there is no known solution to this well documented problem in Windows 7. (It seems to be a bug!) And I suspect that Microsoft’s workaround to this problem is to continue to allow users who utilize assistive technologies to upgrade to Windows 10 for free (see this), rather than fixing the bug on Windows 7.

Troubleshooting and ISTE-CS 3e

Troubleshooting is one of those terms that gets used so much and so loosely that it can seem to become a catchall word for “figuring things out.” In that respect it reminds me of the word “identity.” And for me to be able to engage in CS 3e, it was important for me to go through this process of thinking about what troubleshooting is and what it isn’t. The next step for me would be to think about what it looks like to teach troubleshooting. I know that modeling the troubleshooting process is one way to teach it, but what other ways can we teach and learn it? In the future I think it would also be nice to make an infographic based on the information I found.


References

Davies, J. (2006). Chapter 16 – Troubleshooting TCP/IP. Retrieved from https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727023.aspx#EFAA

Debugging vs. troubleshooting [Online forum comment]. (2014, October 14). Retrieved from WordReference Language Forums website: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/debugging-vs-troubleshooting.2909914/

Illig, T. (2010). The difference between a workaround and a fix [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.paraesthesia.com/archive/2010/01/29/the-difference-between-a-workaround-and-a-fix.aspx/

Johnson, S. D., Flesher, J. W., Chung, S-P. (1995). Understanding troubleshooting styles to improve training methods. Paper presented at the American Vocational Association Convention, Denver, 1995. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED389948

Krieger, S. (2010). Troubleshooting 201: Ask the right questions. Retrieved from https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff955771.aspx

Kuphaldt, T. R. (n.d.). General troubleshooting tips: Troubleshooting -Theory and practice. In Lessons in Electric Circuits: Vol. V (ch. 8): Reference. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/reference/chpt-8/general-troubleshooting-tips/

Kayne, R. (2017). What is the difference between troubleshooting, testing, and debugging? Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-troubleshooting-testing-and-debugging.htm

Litt, S. (2014). The Universal Troubleshooting Process (UTP). Retrieved from http://www.troubleshooters.com/tuni.htm#_The_10_step_Universal_Troubleshooting

Rubber duck debugging. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 19, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_duck_debugging

Weyerhaeuser Company. (2004). Troubleshooting [website]. Retrieved from http://www.pushmultimedia.com/sites/trbleshoot/default.asp?stra=default.xml&strb=default.xsl

Community Engagement Project – EDTC 6104

Growing your PLN through Twitter

PLN

This summer I made a huge life choice by leaving teaching and entering the educational technology industry to continue my work with SPU School of Ed and the Digital Educational Leadership program.  I moved from Seattle to San Francisco and started working for Edmodo as the Community Growth Manager.  I believe that a piece of that is due to my time on social media and growing my professional learning network. The way I used social media made me thrive and build my support base to believe in what I was doing in the classroom and for my career.  As George Siemens states “a central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs inside a person. Even social constructivist views, which hold that learning is a socially enacted process, promotes the principality of the individual (and her/his physical presence – i.e. brain-based) in learning” (2005). Educators need to figure out how to utilize the tools that we have available in place on the world wide web and by doing so we can harness the global collaborative power of teachers around the world.  Teachers can use Twitter to connect with new educators, communicate what really happens on the job, create a public professional persona to help students know what it means to have self-awareness and positive online self-management.  During April, 2017 I created and ran a Global Collaborative Project that used Twitter in the classroom.  I appreciated this video to help spur my students inspiration by Ted Ed – What makes a poem … a poem? – Melissa Kovacs

Workshop Title and Description

Presentation Session “Growing your PLN with Twitter” – Educators are using Twitter to grow their professional learning network, sharing resources, and building the global educational community. I am one of the PSESD Washington Teacher Leaders for Twitter this year, and I want to share how this program and the use of

Twitter has made me a better more informed teacher. Twitter can be a way to create a strong professional social media platform for yourself to help promote what you are doing in your classroom every day.  I think this topic is important because teachers spend so much of their time alone.  We have our classrooms and our students but when it comes to honest peer-to-peer contact it takes so much time and investment.  Some teachers don’t ever make those important connections with their colleagues in their building and Twitter or other Social Learning Networks are crucial for creating new conversations with people outside of your building.

In 2015, Denise Scavitto wrote an article Teachers: Embrace Twitter for Professional Development and I appreciate the way she explains the reason behind using Twitter to grow a PLN.  “For me, Twitter is a way of consuming information targeted to my interests. Using a hashtag like #sschat connects me to topics that will interest and intrigue Social Studies teachers – from all walks of life – and all because I know what to look for. Twitter isn’t overwhelming anymore – it’s incredible. I’ve connected myself to an extensive personal learning network of educators, entrepreneurs, and innovators through a little bird – and found it the best professional development I’ve never paid for” (Edudemic).  

Learning Objective Event

My objective is to create a presentation for my session on teachers using Twitter to grow their PLN. There are 600 educators are registered for the conference total.  I am not sure if anyone has signed up for my session yet, but I am hoping to talk to around 30 teachers specifically about my topic. The conference I am CCS Powerful Learning Conference in Issaquah, WA on August 16th, 2017. I already submitted a small proposal and got it accepted in November.  I have a handout but may need to complete a couple more. The venue is the CCS Powerful Learning Conference at Issaquah High School in my old district.  I was inspired to submit a request because I went to the conference last year and I wanted to show growth by speaking at the next year’s conference.

Length

My presentation should be one hour and fifteen minutes long. That is the required length. I think it would be essential to provide blended content. I could probably make it a lot longer but this will help me limit and edit my work.  I also submitted a proposal to NCCE for their 50-minute session.  I think I can cut a lot of my material out if I could accomplish a true flipped or blended learning environment. 

Workshop/Online Elements

Common Misconceptions & FAQ

  1. The first one is that 140 characters are not enough to have a productive conversations.  But my counter to that one is imagine you are in a meeting with 20 of your closest friends in your department or staff.  How much content do you add in that 45 to 60 minute meeting?  With the addition of pictures it opens a whole other place for content. The 140 characters also limits people from venting, blabbing, and allows for constraint when we know sometimes educational meetings can run long.
  2. If you don’t have a lot of followers then there isn’t any point.  But I disagree because it is more important about how you use the platform.  To gain followers you must use the platform on a consistent basis.  
  3. Hashtags are just trendy things for young people and are not professional enough to take serious. I think that if it is for “young people” then that in itself is a reason to give it a try.  It keeps you current and it also allows you to connect with your students.  If teachers are not constantly learning then they are taking steps backwards.
  4. Twitter for communication and collaboration come with the the idea that it is only for some politicians and weird bots who spam up your feed. But I think that is another way to show to students, parents, and admin that it does not always have to be ran that way.  It can be “boring” as my students said when they found and read my twitter feed.  I said it isn’t boring to me it is what I am interested in and what I like to talk about.  

Gates Foundation (Ed.). (2014). Teachers Know Best What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from http://www.teachersknowbest.org/survey-results/1

Morris, K. (2017, May 11). Step 2: Using Twitter to Build Your PLN. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-3-using-twitter-to-build-your-pln/

Scavitto, D. (2015, April 17). Teachers: Embrace Twitter for Professional Development. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-embrace-twitter-professional-development/

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 13, 2017, from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm


Global Collaborative Project – Social Emotional Experiment – EDTC 6103 & 6104

This week in my exploration of ISTE Coaching Standards with my graduate program in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am continuing to examine ISTE Coaching Standard 3 and specifically point G, in an effort to understand how teachers can create…Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.33 PMScreen Shot 2017-08-04 at 4.37.48 PM

This standard immediately made me think of my final assignment and Global Collaborative Project from EDTC 6103 in the Spring of 2017.  In this project, I worked together with my administrator, advanced eighth-grade language arts students, and parents to create a global collaborative environment. If you scroll down you can see the whole breakdown of the project from planning to execution to feedback and reflections.  One unexpected outcome of the project was the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) that took place. And now that the state of Washington’s educational legislative body (OSPI) and similarly in other states have hooked onto the fact that social emotional learning is essential to a student’s health and future my project is even more relevant.  The unexpected part came as many students do not get to experiment with new digital tools in their classrooms very often especially not real world social media platforms due to unpredictability and fear.  I decided to push the envelope a bit so that my students got to use Twitter during national poetry month.  I got the okay from my principal and the parents were notified. This gave my students an authentic audience and an external megaphone to share their work. The flip side and surprising part were that students felt exposed and vulnerable with their writing out in the public sphere. 

Now, taking a step back I first want to use Washington States OSPI’s definition of SEL “social emotional learning is broadly understood as a process through which people build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships and making responsible decisions, leading to success in school and in life. Research shows SEL on a large scale supports better performing and more positive school communities” (2016, pg. 3).  I think in our current 21st-century digital revolution that digital citizenship fits directly into that “awareness”. Being able to build a positive self-rewarding social media presence that adds to your life instead of distracts or detracts is something that now needs to be taught in classes.  

Therefore, to implement SEL “effectively and equitably schools will need to (1) start by evaluating and building school and classroom environments that are conducive to SEL; (2) incorporate principles of universal design for learning when adapting SEL curricula to their unique climate; (3) emphasize equity in the selection and implementation of curriculum; and (4) take a holistic approach, understanding that each person (child and adult) will start at different places and progress in different ways along an SEL continuum” (2016, pg. 7).  As I began my project with my students I did not know realize how serious posting on the internet can be for some of them.  Online personas are extremely personal and some of my students struggled with posting and sharing their poetry.  Not only but some just could not handle the wide range of communication that Twitter allows for.  As the social benchmark, standard five states students should have the ability to “demonstrate a range of communication and social skills to interact effectively with others” (2016, pg. 4).  Although many teachers and adults do not want to admit it being able to communicate on social media is essential to these effective interactions with their peers.  At the end of the process, I believe that some students understood through my examples that a social media platform like Twitter does not have to be for ranting or spamming people.  It can be used for good and for a specific purpose, to make friends and connections and build a network of people for your own community.  

 

Click to view slideshow.

 


Global Collaborative Project

Poetry & Twitter

IMS, WA

Autumn Ottenad

 

National “Poem in Your Pocket Day” in person shared on Twitter

#pocketpoem, #poetryhw, #poetryisd #npm17

April – May 2017

 

Connection Phase

ISTE Teaching Standards

In order to clearly reflect on the alignment of the ISTE Teaching Standards in the project that follows, I have used the standard number and letter to identify them accordingly.

  • ISTE Student 2 Communication & Collaboration Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
    • a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
    • b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  • ISTE Student Standard 5 – Digital Citizenship Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
    • a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
    • b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity

Communication with Collaborating Partner

For this global collaborative project, I have chosen to utilize a vast amount of teacher professionals on Twitter during the National Poetry Month of April. Most of us teach English for middle or high school classes; there are also teachers that tweet posts for their elementary school students. Although I did reach out to a couple of other teachers specifically, it was more about working on a larger platform. Our shared intent of expanding our students’ reach regarding sharing their work is increased via Twitter (2. a. & b.).

My colleagues and I did communicate over direct messaging on Twitter.  I also reached out to other Humanities teachers in the ISD via email to inform my local colleagues and interested district employees.  Given the collective subject area expertise and subjects taught, we will focus our attention on language arts content and skills. Specifically sharing and writing our poetry.  Since I started working with PSESD and Corelaborate as a Washington Teacher Leader my ability to monitor and use Twitter has expanded.   It became apparent that this vast social media platform could be an opportunity for a wider community might provide a rich opportunity for a technology-supported collaboration project between our students (2. a. & b.).

General Overview

Project Plan

The goal of this endeavor is to expose my students to a global collaboration project, which allows students to work with peers across the Twitterverse and see how far their posts/tweets can go. It can also teach valuable skills like digital citizenship, communication and collaboration, and information fluency (5. a. & b.). I decided to work with my two-morning Advanced 8th-grade Language Arts classes; I have roughly 26 students in each class.  I chose those two sections because I thought they could handle the responsibilities that come with using Twitter and making the required deadlines of posting a lot better than my other classes (5. a. & b.). In those two classes, I have 24 boys and 26 girls which I think will play a part in participation.  Each student will be asked to create and use a Twitter account during the month of April and early May.  April is the National Poetry Month (#npm17) and April, 27th we would participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.  The project will be a sharing of creative writing to a wider more authentic audience while sustaining a professional demeanor on a social media platform.  My students will “like”– communicate and collaborate with other students via Twitter (2. a. & b.).

 

Technology & Communication

I have already stated the use of technology will be predominately the Twitter application on their smartphones.  I created a new account for this project and to keep the students safe from trolls and spammers.  Twitter is a free social media tool used for communicating.  You are allowed to use 140 characters to message other people; certain hashtags will allow others to connect and collaborate easily (2. a. & b.).  Students were told to either tweet their poetry as written or take or make a photo of their poetry.  Some students used Canva or iPhone image editing apps; others just took a picture right from their interactive notebooks.  

Project

Instead of National Poetry Month and my students and I beginning our two to three weeks poetry unit.  Students will receive four different poetry writing assignments that they will need to post to Twitter.  All will use the hashtags #poetryisd, and #poetryhw for collaboration with their peers and they will Tweet at me (@ottenadpoetry), so I am notified that they have done their assignments (2. a. & b.). Students will also participate in International Poetry in your Pocket Day.

 

Additional Considerations

This project will require multiple check-ins with Twitter but will be primarily asynchronous in nature.  Students will be posting at different times and will have certain requirements to hit at various times.  They are required to interact with their fellow students’ tweets regarding “likes,” replies or retweets.  I will also keep up on the people following the account and block any trolls or spammers.  I have consulted the district’s AUP and the fact that the students are at least 14 years old and Twitter is open on all classroom computers we are not violating anything.  I have notified parents of what is going on in the classroom and opened the window to allow them to follow our classroom interactions.

 

Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.5 – Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.6 – Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.3.D – Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6 – Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Design Phase

Global Collaborative Project Outline

Six A’s of Project-Based Learning

6 A’s of Project Design Guiding Questions
Authenticity What is the point of writing when the audience is only my teacher? How can I get my students’ creative writing heard by a larger audience?  What could push them to create better more thought out poetry?

By placing the poetry on Twitter students have a true authentic audience that feels larger and more important than just our classroom and their classmates.

How will your project require students to produce something that has personal and/or social value beyond the school setting?

Students will start to see what happens when their poetry is shared and found.  Specifically on the National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27th.  Students will have their poem they want to share with them and also share it on the web.  It can be one of their own making or one that inspires them in some way.  

Academic Rigor What disciplines, content areas, and standards will your project address?
This project hits an array of standards that only pertain to poetry and figurative language in language arts.  Specifically, it is for my 8th-grade advanced language arts classes at IMS.  It also requires the students to share their writing with people who may or may not like it.  Their bubble becomes much larger than it used to be once we put things out there on the world wide web. It also connects securely with the following speaking and listening standards. I have taught several different units for poetry and at the high school level, we used to have a poetry night that was hosted by the language arts department.  Teachers, parents, admin and of course students would attend. This event was great but I always thought that the poetry could be sent to an even wider audience.
What higher order thinking skills will students be using?Learning Targets: Students can analyze how the structure of the text can contribute to its meaning. Students can use their Twitter accounts to correctly post and tag their poems in a multimedia setting.  They will use the social media tool to connect with the outside world.  
Adult Connection How will the adults collaborate to design the project and/or assess student work?
I have reached out to my whole language arts department at my school and my TOSA for the whole district is also sharing the Poem in Your Pocket in the next newsletter.  Teachers are sending me their favorite poetry and poems they have written so I can share it on Twitter for them or they can share themselves and use the same hashtags.  
I am also collaborating with the national cohort of teachers who are participating in the same National Poetry Month.  I saw how other teachers were conducting their programs and I got ideas of how to entice students to post their tweets.  
What opportunities will students have to observe, interact, and work closely with adults?My students are posting their poetry alongside adults for National Poetry Month.  They can see using the same hashtags what it looks like to publicly disperse your materials.  We also perused Twitter together to like, retweet, or reply to certain poets and their work.
Active Exploration How will students engage in real investigations and field-based work?
What technology tools and media sources will students use?My students are predominantly using their phones or school provided laptops to post their Tweets on to Twitter.  
How will students be expected to communicate their new knowledge and skills?They are expected to post their tweets within specific calendar dates using certain hashtags and tagging my poetry Twitter account @ottenadpoetry. Hashtags include #Poetryhw, #poetryISD, #Pocketpoem, #NPM17
Applied Learning How is your project grounded in real-world learning?
Students have to create a piece of creative writing which is not always set in the real world, but then presenting it and sharing it on Twitter a social media platform is more connected to real-world.  They will have to learn as it has taken me quite some time that self-promotion is crucial for success.  It also is clear that presentation matters, students who are taking their time to make a graphic that goes along with their poems are getting more traction than those who simply take a photo of their notebooks and post it.
How will your students work in teams and problem solve with each other?
Students worked together to find poems for Poem in Your Pocket day and which ones they would post and why.
How will your project help students develop organizational and self-management skills?
Beyond the other two questions, I think students will develop organizational self-management skills.  This project counts on them remembering to write their poems, create some graphic, and post the poems in the time allotted for their due dates.  
Assessment Practice What project criteria will students use, and how will they reflect on their learning?  During the week following most of the posting, I will have students reflect on the process of writing the poetry and then having to share it on Twitter.
How will standards be assessed? See rubric below.

Steinberg, A. (1997) Real Learning, Real Work. New York: Routledge. adapted from National Academy Foundation’s Project-Based Learning: A Resource for Instructors and Program Coordinators

CCSS Poetry Rubric
Timeframe: April 16th – May 5th

Activity details:  Students will participate in our Poetry Unit by also posting on Twitter and being involved in the International Poetry Month.  We will use different hashtags to get in the correct threads of communication so they can spread their poems to larger audiences.  


Execution of Project

Parent Guardian Email/Letter

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.  

 

Our goal will be to tweet several times per weeks about poetry.  At first, I will model how to tweet about our work or exciting poetry opportunities.  As the students grow in their understandings of how to use Twitter to share ideas, they will begin to tweet independently or with a partner.

Students’ safety is of utmost concern.  Last names should not be used in tweets and accounts.  We will avoid using images of students in our Tweets.  Responsible use of social media and Internet safety will be explicitly taught in our classroom to ensure all students know how to stay safe while online.  Here are our classroom norms for using Twitter:

  1. Approve your tweets with an adult before publishing especially if you feel it may be deemed inappropriate.
  2. We only connect to classes and people who add value to our learning.
  3. We use first names only on Twitter
  4. Twitter is a tool for learning.

Finally, if you do not have a Twitter account, and need assistance on creating one please come by and ask me or ask your student. We would be more than willing to help you create a Twitter account so you can start following our class.  We will probably not follow you back because it is our policy that we only follow other classrooms or educational Twitter feeds.  Using these social media tools will give you a glimpse into our classroom and your child’s learning in a new and exciting format.  I think you will love being “connected”!                                                         

“Tweet” fully yours,

                                                                                            Mrs. Autumn Ottenad

                                                                                            @ottenadpoetry

                                                                                            @ssseason7


Email to Staff & Colleagues:

Good Morning,

I am working on a class for SPU that requires a Global Community Project and I have decided to combine our poetry unit, national poetry month and Twitter with my students.  I was also hoping that if you have Twitter you could potentially tweet some poetry using the #poetryhw and #poetryisd.  If you even could email me a poem I can put them on Twitter for you.  I know my students would love to see teacher input on this topic.

The other event I am trying to work into our schedule is Poem in your Pocket Day #pocketpoem (https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/poem-your-pocket-day).  It is on April 27th and students should carry around a poem in their pocket and share it with people throughout the day.

Here is some of the information I shared with students and parents. “Our classroom is getting connected! Please follow us on Twitter as we use this social media tool as a class to share, connect, and collaborate with the world around us during Poetry Month.  We are in the beginning stages of a poetry unit and April in Poetry Month.  For the rest of April and beginning of May, we will use our classroom Twitter account (@ottenadpoetry) to share snippets of our work, learning, and life at school.”

Thank you so much,

Mrs. Autumn Ottenad

8th Grade Humanities

IMS

@ottenadpoetry

@ssseason7


Collection of Student Artifacts from Twitter

 

Feedback from Students

 

Positive Feedback for both Twitter & Poetry Positive for Twitter/Negative for Poetry Positive for Poetry/ Negative for Twitter Negative Feedback for both Poetry & Twitter
Risa W. – The poetry unit was not as bad as I thought it would be, I liked tweeting the poems instead of turning them in.  I don’t like the reflections though. Trevor C. – Before we just turned it in.  Poetry is bad but I like that we just post it on Twitter. Ruth S. – I liked the unit, but I feel like I was not used to posting my poetry on twitter.  I would write the poetry, but sometimes forget to post it.  The poetry was fun to write. Tommy B – It was terrible, horrible, no good we could have just turned it in during class no one even reads the poems on Twitter.
Mason B. – Tweeting the poems was really fun! Poetry was a chance to express true feelings hidden within other words, using rhymes, and making everyone more fun to read! Matthew K. – This unit was as interesting unit to do.  It was an interesting way to share poems.  It was pretty boring but it was fine. Makena L. – It was good to try to involve social media but it may be hard for students without a smartphone but it was annoying to make a twitter. Alec B. – Twitter was a mess and is not an educational platform.  Poetry is fine, just boring as ever.  Technology should be used in other, more educational ways.  Whatever.
Breana L. – I like tweeting them so everyone can see, but it is kind of confusing. Cody C. – Tweeting our poems instead of reading them out loud was way better.  More convenient and faster. The writing of the poems was the bad part.  Poetry is very boring. Madison N. – The actual unit was okay…but the Twitter part was unnecessary. C.J. G. – Last year we had more instruction, this year we were just told to write poems.
Leila R. – Tweeting my poems wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I liked tweeting my poems out rather than having to read them out loud. Daniel A. – I didn’t think it was terrible, but it was not the most fun.  Personally, I don’t enjoy poetry, but I am grateful we didn’t need to present them.  Overall, I think the unit was okay. Shoki I. – Just turning in poems would have made more sense.  Making a Twitter was completely pointless Noreen A. – This unit was not the worst and it went better than I thought.  Poetry is not my favorite, but it was fairly easy.  The twitter part was different, but it seemed pointless in my opinion because most people just made the account so they didn’t have a large following.  
Medha V. – I like tweeting our poems because more people are able to see it and I don’t feel embarrassed like I would if I was reading it to the class. Benny P. – I did not enjoy the poetry unit, but mainly because I don’t like poetry in general, but I did learn a lot about poetry. Camille P. – Compared to past poetry units using Twitter was definitely different.  I think it’s difficult to use and some people don’t take it seriously and post random stuff.  I don’t know whether it would be beneficial to use again. Chris A. – My experience was mehh…it was less boring than other poetry units.  It was kinda bad and corny.
Anonymous – I love this unit and I enjoyed the prompts we wrote about and posted.  I also liked the way we shared the poems on twitter allowing me to share my poems and get used to technology.  My only question is why we are the other units so much longer? I honestly wish I got to explore more mentor texts. Gavin B. – I don’t like the poetry.  The Song lyrics were okay. I liked using Twitter in class. Aiden L. – Tweeting poems made me self-conscience about what I write so it made me think so it was fine. Braden H. – Ever since the Twitter verification did not work I lost my LA book problems have stirred though I had to re-do some of my poems.
Mary – Poetry on Twitter is a really good tool for poetry, we get to post our poems. William W. – I do not like poetry but I kind of like writing it.  Tweeting the poems is good and an easy way to turn it in from home. Aoife B. – The poetry unit was the best all year.  I enjoyed it, but Twitter sucks.  My poems don’t fit 140 characters other than that , good. Lizzy J. – I was eh with the Twitter thing because it was a little extra and no one reads other people’s poems (at least I didn’t) and my mom got mad that i got an account without letting her know.
Katie Jo – I like how interactive it was, also I liked how I got to see other people’s poetry.  I really enjoyed it! Jeremy D. – Tweeting has been really easy to do, but poems aren’t fun.  Tweeting was fun and a good use for poems. Emme F. – Tweeting poems – it is embarrassing to show school work in a public social media place.  Where I usually don’t talk about it.  It was also a little extra work that seemed not helpful. Jack W. – This was a pain it was nearly impossible to get photos to load and my poems were too long for a Tweet.
Katie – I liked using Twitter because I felt like it was a “safe environment” to share my poetic product.  I also liked that I could explore poetry unlike I did in other units. Isaiah J. – Tweeting my poems has been okay.  I liked the poetry unit last year more, although it was interesting to share my poems with a larger audience. Lindsey C. – Posting poetry for a grade is uncomfortable.  Poetry is very personal and I don’t feel okay with sharing my feelings with everyone.  Additionally, it’s hard to find all my posts even with the hashtags which is extra work for me and you to find them.  I could be a good idea but not for middle schoolers.
Abi C. – My experience with Twitter was okay.  It gave me some examples if I was stuck on what to do.  It was okay compared to other units. Ethan V – My experience with Twitter was fine and I was able to post without any problems.  I just had small problems with the pictures.  I thought it was a creative way to share, but not private. Eva A. – Technology is a bit problematic, but I like this better than having to stand up and share.
Eli L. – This poetry unit was shorter than the one we did last year and also we didn’t have a final project this year which was nice. Sophia C. – I didn’t like tweeting my poems because I don’t like sharing my writing I think it was a good concept, but I personally didn’t like it.
Kathryn M. – Tweeting poems went well.  I thought it went better than most units, and it was fun.  It was not terrible horrible no good. Eden C – Tweeting poems was easy, but it seemed odd to force us to make an account.  The comparison was okay.
Preston J. – I think that tweeting the poems were a good idea, and I am glad that we do not have to present them to a class.  Also, this poetry unit was more unique than others I have taken before.
Ansh P. – Tweeting out poem was a pretty good experience and was relatively easy to do and better than other tests.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 12.07.26 PM

Data Analysis

It is interesting to note from the qualitative and quantitative data about the male to a female breakdown of their take on the project.  Twelve of the fifteen students who liked both the poetry unit and the use of Twitter were young ladies and on the opposite end of feedback for those students who hated both parts six of the eight were male students.  When I think back on it, the students who wrote negative feedback about both elements of this unit are pretty cynical students in general and usually criticize what I put in front of them.  It is this fascinating new cultural trend of apathy, that “nothing is cool” and I know that is not a new trend for teens to think nothing is a fresh idea but I can’t imagine being negative about a teacher letting me use Twitter in a class assignment even if it was for poetry.  The last piece of data that gave me hope for this overall project was the ten boy students who do not like poetry but liked the Twitter part of the project.  Analysis of their interest is important because these are all students who I struggle with engagement and enticing them to do their best on their assignments.  In this instance, their motivator was the ability to use their phones and use Twitter, but that had to come with some poetry.  So either way, I did one of those fun teacher tricks where I got them writing what I wanted them to all under the guise of “fun.”

Self Reflection

This project was more successful and easier than I had expected it to be.  I am very lucky to have an administration team that allows for experimentation and trial and error.  He and the rest of my staff allowed for me to try something new and use an online tool that is not usually utilized at the middle school level.  But because Twitter is such a notorious application, due in part to our current political situation, I thought practicing in a more academic setting could help students learn about how to act on an expansive social media platform.  

Access to technology was the initial challenge as standardized testing ate into our planned timeline. And standardized testing uses all the laptop computers in the building.  But most students have a smartphone with the Twitter app-enabled, therefore I just had to bend the school rules a bit to allow students to access the app from their mobile devices.  Those few students who did not have their Smartphones or did not have their own devices (tablet, or laptop) at their disposal I allowed to use one of the seven desktops I have setup in my room.  While Twitter proved to be a useful tool for arranging the open and moderated communication between students, I failed to consider how some students would handle the requirement of creating an account on their own.  It again made me take stock of the fact that we call this generation “digital natives” because they were born with a tablet in their hands, but when it comes to tasks like opening a new account or application they struggle.  Establishing the hashtags in Twitter required students to sign-up, log-in and post a tweet and ensure they tagged the correct people and hashtags.  Then, I had to individually check that each student had posted and labeled their tweets appropriately. Once students joined, I had to individually like and/comment on all 55+ students to their specific tweets. And, all of this was done asynchronously between classes or from home.  I also had to monitor my new account like a hawk to ensure I did not have any trolls following me or someone who had posted within our hashtags which were gross or offensive. In the end, I had to delete one to two items per day.

 

As students began the formative stage of writing their poetry they needed time to make their poems before posting them.  So some time in class was spent just generating ideas and creating versions of the poems they would eventually post.  Students decided on their own how they would post their poems to Twitter.  Because they have a 140 character limit, most students took pictures of their poems and posted them that way.  While others created word art and graphics that helped desirably present the poems.

I anticipate trying this project again and potentially having a classroom Twitter account all year long.  I had parents immediately begin to follow me and it was a great way for them to have more insight into what we do in my classroom. I have not spoken with my administration about doing it again, but because he did not deal with any actual backlash or parents being upset, I figure I would have the ability to try it again. I think I would also add in some more analytics about best times to tweet and when will students get the most views.  I would also use the work I did in Module four of this class to push the digital citizenship piece about netiquette and the real feelings that come out of putting things out into the World Wide Web.  

 

Related Resources:

Colorful Poetry: 22 Diverse Poetry Picture Books for Kids:

http://www.readbrightly.com/diverse-poetry-picture-books-for-kids/

KUOW Local Recorded Poetry Collection: http://kuow.org/post/treat-yourself-washington-grown-poems-national-poetry-month

Washington State. (2016, October 1). Addressing Social Emotional Learning in Washington’s K-12 Public Schools. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from http://www.k12.wa.us/Workgroups/SELB-Meetings/SELBWorkgroup2016Report.pdf

The Poet Tree Project:

http://thepoettreeproject.weebly.com/information.html

http://thepoettreeproject.weebly.com/lesson-7—diamante.html


Text-to-Speech Adventure: Making Technology Work for You (Module 2, ISTE-CS 3b, 3d, 3f)

To continue exploring ISTE Coaching Standard (CS) 3: Digital age learning environments, this week we are looking at three of its indicators:
CS 3b – “maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.”
CS 3d – “select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.”
CS 3f – “collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure.”
These indicators spoke very directly to some recent tools I’ve been trying to learn to use for myself, and the experience has lent itself wonderfully to the creation of my investigation question:

How can I evaluate, select, and manage text-to-speech (TTS) tools and resources for teachers and students that are compatible with my institution’s technology infrastructure?

Why This Question?

I have always found course texts difficult to read. When I was interviewed for admittance to SPU they asked me something to the effect of “what is something you think you might struggle with in the program?” Or maybe they asked if I had any fears about the program, or if I expected any particular challenges. The gist of my answer was: I know I struggle to keep up with course reading materials and I expect there will be a lot of required reading. And it’s not that I can’t do a lot of reading, because I can…when I’m reading novels. When I’m not in school I like to go on the occasional “reading binge” and read a handful to a dozen books consecutively. But learning by reading? It’s never been something that’s come easily, and the thought of it feels heavy.

So when I started this quarter and saw that I needed to read an entire book on the history of American education for one of my classes, I went “I gotta find a way to get my computer to read this to me.” I tried to figure out how to do that, but I got so lost in the forest of technology I scrapped my efforts. Or maybe I didn’t even get into the forest – I got stuck trying to make it through the bordering brier patch. (One of the main reasons this has been so difficult is because my ebook is a protected text and displayed as images instead of text. I’ll get into this more later.) So I committed to reading the book without any assistance, and after 9 hours reading the first two chapters, my brain was fried.

By the time week three came around I said it one more time: “I have got to figure out how to get my computer to read this to me.” So there (re)began my adventure of trying to get my computer to read me my textbook. It sounds like an easy task, but it has been anything but. I won’t describe the whole process of how I came to the information below, but I will say that all of this has been new information to me.

Important note: It seems pretty typical that you need to download a voice pack along with whatever TTS software. I didn’t know that and spent a good deal of time going “…Really?! How is this the only voice option?”

Selecting and Evaluating TTS Technologies

TTS technologies benefit many populations of learners with a range of needs, such as those who are blind, dyslexic (The Regents of the University of Michigan), learning English (Carroll, 2014), or simply anyone that has any reason to want to listen to writing, and the needs of the user will play a role in how you assess a TTS tool. One of the obvious features to assess when selecting a reader is how it sounds. Of course that counts for a lot and could ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not you like a given reader, but there are other factors that come into consideration too. Some other things that matter to me are whether or not you can read from a chosen place in the document and if you can pause. The Kurzweil Blog Team wrote a nice article called The Many Facets of Text-to-Speech which lists things to consider when selecting a reader for yourself or for others. Their list includes: accuracy of TTS, variety of available voices, and options for highlighting the text as it’s read.

Two of the suggestions I really like from Kurzweil’s blog are: before recommending a reader, make sure you can listen to it for 10 minutes; and when using a reader, test out different voices for different content areas – you might find that one voice doesn’t fit all.

ttsreader.com

My number one favorite tool so far has been the TTSReader X In-Page Text to Speech. This is a free, super easy to use Chrome extension that reads the text on a webpage. Of all the free readers I looked at, this one definitely has the best voice (I like the UK Female). And that comparison almost doesn’t say enough; plain and simple, I think it sounds pretty darn good. It’s also really smooth to use: highlight the text, right click, select “Play Selection.” Then from the extension button (which is next to the address bar) you can pause, rewind, and otherwise control the reading. Once it starts reading the selection, you can even leave the page if you would like.

Here’s a quick video to demonstrate how the reader sounds. With Ryan’s permission, I am using and excerpt from Ryan’s Blog, The Worst of All Possible Worlds – ISTE Coaching Standard 3 and the Dystopian Future of Education? (2017). It’s a great post on the future of education with technology – I recommend giving it a read!

In addition, they also have a website ttsreader.com, which is the same tool but on a website. It’s a little more ergonomic than the extension tool if you are copy+pasting a chunk of text. The website works in Chrome and Safari (you can go to the website in other browsers, but it won’t work properly or fully). This Chrome app, TTSReader – Unlimited Text-To-Speech, will enhance the functionality of the website, making it so that the website remembers your voice settings, the last thing you entered into the text box, and where you left off listening.

TTS in Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat

Microsoft Office actually has a built in TTS tool called “Speak” – here’s how to access it, and here’s how to get to Speech Properties to change the reading speed. This TTS doesn’t sound nearly as good as ttsreader.com, but I’d guess that you can download other voices – Microsoft Anna is the only voice available in my settings – I just haven’t investigated that yet. To make it read you highlight what you want to read and click the Speak icon. Click it again to make it stop. There seems to be no way to pause and resume.

Here’s a quick video to demonstrate how Microsoft Anna sounds. Again, I’m using an excerpt from Ryan’s post.

Similarly, Adobe Acrobat has a built in reader called Read Out Loud – here’s how to access it. Mine currently only reads in the Microsoft Anna voice. I see that there are other voice options, but none of them seem to work. Again, I’m guessing you can download a voice pack. On PDFs that I create, I can click a paragraph and the reader will read that paragraph, but for other PDFs (like articles downloaded from journals that I can access through my university library) it will only start from the top of the document or page. There are hot keys to control pausing. Despite having settings for changing the reading speed under Edit > Preferences > Reading, the speed seems to actually and only be controlled from Speech Properties in the control panel (i.e., the same way you change the speed of Speak, which I linked above).

Since I tend to want greater control in where the reader starts from, and I read a lot of journal articles that only want to start reading from the top of the page, it was good to learn that you can actually open PDFs in Word. (Select the file, right click, select Open With > Word.)

JAWS

JAWS seems to be the screen reader and it was suggested to me more than once. (Screen readers seem to be a special class of TTS with extra capabilities for controlling your computer via audio and the keyboard.) But trying to use JAWS was a bit like trying to pilot an aircraft after only playing Pilotwings on Nintendo 64. I really would need to put in some time to figure out how to use it.

Also, JAWS is $900. However, you can download a free 40 minute trial (here), and restarting your computer renews the trial. There is a separate voice pack to download (here), and yes, the voice pack works during the trial.

Voice Dream

I want to quickly mention one last TTS reader. At the recommendation of my program director, Dr. Wicks, I bought the Apple app Voice Dream for my iPhone. In spite of having a hard time changing the reading speed, I’m very happy with it and it was well worth the $15. I have regularly wished that Siri would read PDFs, but it never occurred to me to look for an app to do that. (Of course there’s an app for that!)

It sounds great. It shows how long it will take to read any given document. I can adjust how far it rewinds/fast-forwards. I can load a variety of text-based documents into it, including webpages. I even have it linked to my Google Drive which makes it super easy to access the documents I want. I recommend it.

Reading My Class Textbook

So with this information in mind, what did I do to read my protected ebook and why is this so challenging? The major challenge here is learning to use screen readers (e.g., JAWS). If your protected ebooks are like mine, then screen readers are basically your only way into TTS technology.

My school uses ProQuest: Ebook Central for its ebooks. On this website, the pages are displayed as images, and in order to turn on accessibility mode*, which displays the pages as text, I need to use a screen reader. If I download an ebook, the only program that will open the file is Adobe Digital Editions. There is no built-in TTS feature in Digital Editions (like there is with Adobe Acrobat), but this blog post from Adobe (Kirkpatrick, 2012) suggests that they have improved the accessibility of protected texts and it lists screen readers that are compatible with their software.

(*Accessibility mode is not available on mobile devices.)

But recall the JAWS/Pilotwings analogy… Not knowing how to use a screen reader made all of this very difficult. While discussing this, my friend immediately asked me: “Did you Google it?” Yes, multiple times. The information surely exists, but finding what I needed, while not knowing the right key words to use, was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Two days ago I finally figured out how to turn on accessibility mode on the website, and in my silent apartment, next to my fiancé, I had visions of fireworks, parades, and confetti falling from the ceiling for about the next hour.

In the weeks prior, while I figured out how to use a screen reader, I used up my copy+paste allotment for my textbook by copying a page at a time from Digital Editions into ttsreader.com. (Publishers set copy+paste limits on ebooks, and I assume Digital Editions keeps track of how much you’ve copied because it’ll cut you off.)

Tying All This Back to CS3

That was a lot, so let me restate my investigation question.

How can I evaluate, select, and manage TTS tools and resources for teachers and students that are compatible with my institution’s technology infrastructure?

Knowing about these programs and features is the first step in being able to make recommendations for teachers and students; I’ve learned a lot and there’s a lot to learn. I also feel a heightened sense of awareness about the importance of making course materials available in a timely manner so that students have time to use them in ways that support their learning (thank you, DEL program, for consistently posting all course materials for us at the start of each quarter!).

Now that I have my feet wet about some (overstatement) of the realities of trying to evaluate, select, and use this technology, I am more prepared to think about how math teachers can make the materials they create TTS friendly. For example, how would a reader speak through an equation or graph? How do images and diagrams get read out loud? I don’t yet know the answers to these questions, but I know to ask them. I also see that the occasional math equation I put in my posts, like this d = x_{2} - x_{1} (which reads d equals x-sub-2 minus x-sub-1), simply gets skipped over by tssreader.com. The same is true of all the equations on Paul’s Notes (a very popular website for additional math notes). This has pretty big implications for choosing the format of instructor-provided notes. To give a different example, when I have tssreader.com read Dr. Lambers Multivariable Calculus notes, it reads much of the math text, albeit not 100% accurately (e.g., x^2 and x_{2}, that is, x-squared and x-sub-2, are both read out loud as “x-two”). Add in the difficulties of finding/using/paying for readers that are compatible with a school’s technology infrastructure and you’re looking at a lot of hurdles to use TTS technology with a math textbook. Again, I don’t have answers, but these will all be things to keep in mind as I start my math program in August.

Making Technology Work for You

One thing I have really taken away from all this is a better understanding of the phrase “make technology work for you.” This TTS technology is like a revelation. Where has it been all my life and why have I never tried using it to read? I mean…through the thicket of technology…that’s where it’s been. I’m definitely a little TTS-crazed at the moment and I’m having fun exploring when it best aids me. I also know at least a handful of people who would love to know how to use TTS technology and I’m guessing that a lot of students would benefit from TTS if they knew how to use the technology effectively and efficiently.

My one tip for any first time user who thinks TTS could benefit them is: Give it a chance. It took me a few tries to settle into a rhythm using TTS, and initially it was distracting to hear the words out loud. But after I got used to it, it became incredibly helpful. So give yourself a chance to find that rhythm.


Resources

Carroll, Jason. (2014). Digital supports for English language learners. Retrieved from https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/company/education-blog/december-2014/digital-supports-for-english-language-learners/

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for coaches (2011). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches

Kirkpatrick, A. (2012). Adobe accessibility: Digital Editions 2.0 available. Retrieved from http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/2012/09/digital-editions-2-0.html

Kurzweil Blog Team. (n.d.) The many facets of text-to-speech [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.kurzweiledu.com/blog/2016/05-11-2016.html

The Regents of the University of Michigan. (n.d.) 10 helpful text-to-speech readers for back to school. Retrieved from http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/software-assistive-technology/text-to-speech-readers

 

Accessibility & Adaptability – Text-to-Speech – EDTC 6104 – Module 4

Thought Question:

How can I choose digital tools that are assistive and adaptive technologies but still support student learning?

Ensuring that the digital tools we choose to share with our students are ADA acceptable and keep equity and accessibility in mind, I am curious about what assistive truly means.  As 13% of students are working with a learning disability and no two student has the same diagnosis, therefore, one tool may help one but not the next (NCES).  If we also take a look at the Gates Foundation, “Teachers Know Best” study and the essential finding for me come from the fact that both “teachers and students see technology as a useful in instruction.” Which I think is an essential basis for our conversation.  If educators and students did not state that digital tools helped education then there would be no point.  And as we try to bridge gaps in learning with digital tools it is important to think outside of the standard U.S. Public School student to the ones who make up our fringe groups of students and even beyond to our global populations.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 9.02.33 AM

When I think of “assistive and adaptive” for middle school language arts/ss the big names in online digital tools, come to mind like Turnitin and Newsela but I wanted to explore a realm I am not as familiar.  So I reached out to my really good friend who is a Pre-K – Kindergarten Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in the Issaquah School District.  She also has her own business where she can continue her work with individual patients throughout the Summer.  She predominantly works with nonverbal students and those kiddos who are severely impacted by autism.  When I prompted her about her favorite “digital tools” she first asked what I meant by digital tools.  That language/moniker, especially for an SLP is a bit clunky, but then I remembered I once opened her Ipad and was shocked by some educational apps she had for her very young audience.  So I asked her what are her favorite Apps, she replied quickly with her short list:

  • Bitsboard,
  • Speak for Yourself,
  • Little Bee Speech Articulation,
  • Boardmaker Online,
  • Epic, Toca
  • Board Games.  

After perusing through the provided list, I want to share some more information about Speak For Yourself.” If you click the link you will see the Apple Itunes store and that price tag gave me a bit of sticker shock, but after learning about what it does and what population it helps I understand it a bit better.  I read most of what it does from the blog “Speak for Yourself (SfY) is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application that was created by speech-language pathologists.  This AAC app turns the iPad into a communication device. It gives a voice to adults and children who are not able to speak or are limited in their ability to express themselves verbally.  Speak for Yourself is being used by thousands of individuals around the world with autism, cerebral palsy, apraxia, and genetic syndromes. Additionally, it is also being used in preschool classrooms to promote word-finding, visual language support, and verbal speech development.”  I think that this YouTube video also helped me understand where this application could be assistive and adaptable to people who are in the most need and young age.  As I contemplated how this tool could be used in other learning environments, I began to think about mute students or those dealing with traumatic situations who may not be able to always verbalize their feelings.  But I also thought about collaborating globally at young ages with students who do not speak English.  Students could potentially use the “Speak for Yourself” (SfY) pictures to speech tool, and then the group on the other side of the world could understand and send it back.  

This conversation and following brainstorming session, fostered by my involvement with the Digital Education Leadership and has pushed my thought process for tools that help with “assistive and adaptable” technology. Although I am not sure, I would have the capability or purchasing power to have gotten the funds from my previous district for the (SfY) app due to its $300.00 price tag I can see how it would be useful to a large population of Educators and students.  From there my exploration of more text-to-speech digital tools started to peak my interest.  Last quarter when I was feeling under particular pressure to balance work, life and school I utilized my Apple Iphone’s “VoiceOver” function to read several of the required web pages and .pdf to me while I drove to and from work.  When my commute was sometimes over an hour in the afternoon it was a great use of time.  I am also an auditory learner and remember things a lot better when they are told to me verbally than if I just see it visually.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 3.48.22 PMNow the Apple “VoiceOver” is not accessible or equitable to everyone because not every student obviously has an iPhone or any Apple products.  Therefore, other text-to-speech tools include Google Chrome’s “Snap&Read” which came highly recommended by a fellow cohort member and if your school is already Google (GAFE) schools and have Chromebooks in the school this extension might be the best feature out there.  Now, for the other big name in software/hardware and who sometimes mandates schools exclusively use their products, Microsoft has some innovative learning tools – for OneNote was named Top Dyslexia app for 2016, if you use the link and check out the page they have a live tester at the bottom of the page which is this new Immersive Reader which reads the script aloud. All of these tools are accessible online and it just depends on what tools the student has access to from school and at home.  

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers Know Best What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from http://k12education.gatesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Teachers-Know-Best_0.pdf

ISTE (2011). “ISTE Standards for Coaches.” International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches ISTE Connects (2017).

LLC, S. F. (2017, June 24). Speak for Yourself on the App Store. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speak-for-yourself/id482508198?mt=8

NCES – National Center For Education Statistics (Updated, May, 2017). “Children and Youth with Disabilities.” The Condition of Education.  Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp Perez, Luis and Kendra Grant (June 8, 2015)

Speak for Yourself. (2014). Retrieved July 21, 2017, from


Connecting classroom management to collaboration (6104 Module 1, ISTE-CS 3a Digital age classroom management and collaboration)

This quarter we are addressing ISTE Coaching Standard (CS) 3: Digital age learning environments – “technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students.” Each module will look at a different indicator from the standard and for this week we are looking at indicator CS 3a – “model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments.” This indicator inspired two questions:

Why does this indicator link classroom management with collaborative learning? How can you promote collaborative learning in an online course?

One thing I’m still unsure about is whether CS 3a is about promoting spontaneous collaboration or collaboration within the structure of assigned group work. My investigation mostly turned up the latter kind of information.

My Resources

During this module, I learned that classroom management is more than just managing discipline. It’s also about establishing expectations and managing the structure, culture, and flow of the classroom, which I think can be seen in this Edutopia blog post by Tyler Hester (2013), here. To develop a better understanding of the instructor’s role in promoting collaboration in an online course, I found these two articles particularly valuable:

  • Sull’s (2007) article, Keeping Teamwork Alive, Motivated, and Enthused!
  • Shank’s (2007) article, Improving results and reducing frustrations from team activities

Sull (2007) gives a nice list of what online course instructors can do to foster teamwork and collaboration, such as: giving students examples of good team work from previous courses (like excerpts of a threaded team chat), being an active part of each team rather than just observing, and answering all teamwork questions within 24 hours. Shank (2007) gives a different set of suggestions aimed more at how to facilitate what the students should do. These things are along the lines of how to set up team agreements and team assessments. Shank (2007) also suggests this online tutorial for students to help teach them about working in teams.

Between reading these articles and talking to my peers, I feel like I better understand how the techniques to promote collaboration in an online classroom are classroom management techniques. For example, having each team decide how they will provide constructive feedback to each other and how they will handle teammates who are not contributing as expected (Shank, 2007) gets students thinking about and discussing, in advance, how to manage such issues. Additionally, posting a list of possible solutions to common teamwork problems, including suggestions for ways to talk to non-contributing team members (Sull, 2007) and how to provide certain types of constructive feedback gives students some common structure for how to handle problems and supports them in managing their own activities.

Thoughts

I initially struggled to understand the connection that CS 3a makes between classroom management and online collaboration – which is likely a result of me having a limited understanding of what classroom management entails – but I’m starting to see how these two things are deeply related. In today’s world of tech, everyone seems to have their own system and set of tools integrated into the way they do things. For example, nearly every Physics Education Research project that I’m a part of in the physics department utilizes different digital tools to store, organize, and share files (e.g.: SmartSheet, Google Drive, DropboxGoogle Sites). Similarly, there are a variety of ways that instructors will choose to have you submit work (e.g.: sent directly to their email, uploaded to the LMS, posted in the discussion forum) and in different formats (e.g.: Word documents, Google Docs, PDFs). There’s really no converging on a single system of digital tools to use, because every situation has unique needs, and that’s okay. But what that means is that, given the plethora of tools and expectations that students experience from quarter to quarter, we as educators need to be clear for students about how we plan to manage our classroom, and how we expect them to manage themselves.

A Suggestion

Obviously, students in an online course need an online space to collaborate, and as a student who has used a variety of LSMs, I would suggest that instructors choose a discussion platform with two key features: threaded conversations and notifications. Threaded conversations really help organization discussion, allowing for multiple discussions to happen at once, and notifications are a must (I think) to keep people connected and the conversation flowing. In the past I have suggested slack.com as a good platform conversation (blog here) but I’ve recently wondered how well Slack would work if I were part of multiple Slack chats. Nevertheless, I envision one of Sull’s (2007) techniques for teachers, “become an active part of teamwork,” happening within a platform like Slack.

References

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for coaches (2011). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches

Shank, P. (2007). Improving results and reducing frustrations from team activities. In Online Cl@ssroom’s Student Collaboration in the Online Classroom [Online]. Magna PublicationsRetrieved from: http://icoblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/ff_online_student_collaboration.pdf

Hester, T. (2013). 7 Tips for Better Classroom Management [Blog post]. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-tips-better-classroom-management-tyler-hester

Sull, E. C. (2007). Keeping Teamwork Alive, Motivated, and Enthused! In Online Cl@ssroom’s Student Collaboration in the Online Classroom [Online]Magna PublicationsRetrieved from: http://icoblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/ff_online_student_collaboration.pdf

Rethinking an Ideal Learning Environment – EDTC 6104 – Module 1

This quarter in my graduate work in Digital Education Leadership at Seattle Pacific University, I am exploring Digital Learning Environments by focusing on the exploration of ISTE Coaching Standard 3, which charges technology coaches to create and support an efficient digital age learning environment to maximize the learning of all students. To explore this standard, I read some original pieces on in the intersection of pedagogy and technology in educational practice. I then used these as a jumping off point to explore my initial thoughts on my own ideal digital learning environment.  As my research started and I began to read the Edsurge article by Ellen Dorr Designing Professional Learning Experiences I stopped for a second and thought about how I have heard or thought these same things myself throughout my teaching career.  

Click to view slideshow.

Professional Development (PD) is a necessary evil and must happen but the way it is structured in most PNW districts is backwards and not helpful.  Most of the time I take notes at a PD and then those notes never get looked at again.  So for my first resource I would like to share that I am not the only one with these feelings, at the most recent ISTE conference Mary Jo Madda of Edsurge went around and asked attendees what EdTech words they are sick of hearing (http://bit.ly/2tQAtzU) and it coincides nicely with what I am trying to explain regarding PD.  As Martin Cisneros states “It’s not necessarily a software, but it’s a term of professional development. We need to leave the phrase “professional development” to the side and really start thinking what we want our students to do. We’re always going to be lifelong learners, so let’s leave the “development” behind because we developed enough—let’s start learning.” Other words are personalized learning, blended learning, lifelong learner, and others like dongle which are overused, and we might want to start putting them to bed.  As the public schools are continuing to fail in their current state, I want to introduce my next resource as for how I wish one day our schools could be designed.  We need to reimagine what professional development looks like just as we have started the journey to reimagine what the next generation of high schools will look like. My thoughts are that one day our teachers will go to collaborative spaces inside the school like  “Makers Space” for professionals.  I do not want teachers to have to sit down in a stuffy library getting another photocopied pdf from the internet.  I want them to get up, get out of the building, and explore what the possibilities are out there for their students and themselves.  

Therefore my second resource stems from the fact that we need to stop for a second and think about how we are examining education as a whole, and so I would like to share is the XQ Super School Project (https://xqsuperschool.org/abouttheproject) that is reimagining high school.  “Imagine students in a school that makes design thinking, futuristic technology and high-school instruction mean the same thing. Design-Lab will put students in a mode of continuous inquiry as they design the world in which they want to live, and discover their places in it.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 12.21.00 PM.png

Design-Lab High School understands the global challenges facing its students, but sees absolutely no limit to the solutions students can design to meet those challenges. With design thinking baked into its DNA, this Super School will be a school based on a research-and-development framework that continually learns, builds and improves, while encouraging its students to do the same. Whether working on prototypes, podcasts or virtual museum exhibits, an academically rigorous loop of learning will prepare its students (including many first-generation college-goers) for the challenges ahead.  As Anthony Rebora found in this Edweek article “Teachers Still Struggling to Use Tech to Transform Instruction” from June 2016, 700 classroom teachers and school-based instructional specialists were surveyed, and they have a similar feeling about the current status of professional development. Teachers want stronger PLC’s; they want coaches and more opportunities for observations. I think a school like the Design-Lab could bring real life experiments to professional development sessions.  When the point of this is to think about classroom management and particularly for me, I wanted to concentrate on the participate presence, but I believe that if we create a unique creative space or environment for learning, then it will not be as much of an issue.  If we could then use some LMS to live stream whatever creative design is happening in the classroom, then teachers and students can hop on via the internet and watch whatever interests them from home.  Basically, in the end, I feel that what we are doing now is not working and we have to start looking on a larger scale for change especially when it comes to developing our teacher’s creativity and interest. 

 

Madda, M. J. (2017, July 05). Tired Edtech Trends That Teachers Wish Would Retire: From the Floor of ISTE 2017 – EdSurge News. Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-07-04-tired-edtech-trends-that-teachers-wish-would-retire-from-the-floor-of-iste-2017?utm_content=buffer69865&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

XQ: The Super School Project. (2017). Retrieved July 02, 2017, from https://xqsuperschool.org/abouttheproject


EDTC 6104: Conference Proposal – Integrating Digital Citizenship: It’s Common Sense!

This quarter, for my Seattle Pacific Digital Education Leadership Master's Degree coursework, I was asked to develop a proposal for a session or workshop at a professional learning event. I was given free choice for both topic and learning event. It did not take long for me to settle on a topic:

EDTC 6104 Individual Project | Interactive Lecture Workshop Proposal

Interactive Lecture Workshop Proposal
Interactive Lecture Workshop Proposal: Allow students to participate in and stay engaged with class lectures using a variety of interactive digital tools and resources!

For my EDTC 6104 Individual Project, I created and submitted a project proposal on the topic of “Interactive Lectures,”  which focuses on the use of digital tools and personal devices to engage and include students in class lectures. My proposal was accepted to the Northwest 5 Consortium (NW5C)  a one-day workshop on “Digital Humanities/Digital Pedagogies,” hosted by Collins Library at the University of Puget Sound.  The workshop included a mix of presentations and hands-on workshops by and for faculty, educational technologists, and librarian attendees. I gave my original workshop at this consortium on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, and using that experience, feedback from participants, and the ISTE Coaching Standards, revised and improved my proposal to be resubmitted at a future conference.

The Argument for Interactive Lecture Tools

There is a strong argument for using interactive lecture tools, and at a small liberal arts colleges, student success and learning, especially for marginalized students, is high priority. Annie Murphy Paul in “Are College Lectures Unfair”  argues that lecture style classes are biased against certain groups of students such as  young women, students of low socioeconomic background, or students of color; these students ultimately do not perform as well in lecture style classes as compared to wealthier, white, and male students (Paul, 2015). She highlights the use of interactive lecture tools as a means to increase student learning for all students and help decrease the gap for marginalized students. Murphy Paul states:

“Yet a growing body of evidence suggests that the lecture is not generic or neutral, but a specific cultural form that favors some people while discriminating against others, including women, minorities and low-income and first-generation college students. This is not a matter of instructor bias; it is the lecture format itself — when used on its own without other instructional supports — that offers unfair advantages to an already privileged population.”

The data is clear; students, all students that is, perform better on high stakes assignments and assessments when given consistent opportunities to contribute to and interact with a traditional lecture style format. In fact, while only 66 out of 100 students pass a traditional lecture course, 78 of 100 students pass an active learning course that utilizes interactive lecture tools (such as Pear Deck or Poll Everywhere) to engage students (Freeman, 2014).

PearDeck cites multiple sources (including “Are College Lectures Unfair”and “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics”) to highlight the effectiveness of it’s use:

6 Percentage Point increase on average. 50% reduction of achievement gap between less and more affluent students. 100% reduction gap between male and female students. Your hard work pays dividends Students who feel engaged in material relevant to their lives and who feel a sense of belonging or connection to their teacher and peers, are more likely to stay in school. These students also show better classroom behavior, improving the atmosphere of the room.
6 Percentage Point increase on average. 50% reduction of achievement gap between less and more affluent students. 100% reduction gap between male and female students. Your hard work pays dividends
Students who feel engaged in material relevant to their lives and who feel a sense of belonging or connection to their teacher and peers, are more likely to stay in school. These students also show better classroom behavior, improving the atmosphere of the room.

PearDeck also teamed up with NYC Department of Education Office of Innovation & EdTech iZone and Johns Hopkins University to study the efficacy of Pear Deck in the classroom:

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 4.44.37 PM
In 2015, we worked with the NYC Department Office of Innovation & Edtech iZone and Johns Hopkins University to study the efficacy of PearDeck in the classroom. The study found the following: 65% of students agreed that Pear Deck helped them understand class material better. 61% of students reported that it increased their interest in class material.

With these arguments for both Pear Deck and all interactive lecture tools in mind, I began designing and revising my presentation to train educators to use these tools successfully in their classes.

Constructing the Proposal

When planning for this  original workshop in July, my main concerns centered on length of the conference, access to the digital resource, and the mixed experience of audience members. Given a ninety minute workshop time, determining how many digital resources to introduce that allow maximum “play” time without overwhelming our audience with too many resources was key. Audience members did need a Gmail account and are required to allow certain tools to access their data- this piece was included in the original workshop proposal. Finally, my workshop is geared towards faculty and educational technologists, however a majority of attendees were librarians.

After creating and delivering this workshop, I redesigned it with the intention of

  • Sharing my experience and recommendation for the members of my learning circle, several of whom are creating similar workshop proposals.
  • Delivering a stronger version of this workshop to faculty members at the University of Puget Sound in a future on-campus training.
  • Possibly submitting the proposal to a larger higher education conference in Spring 2017.

ISTE Coaching Standards 3

The ISTE Coaching Standards were one of the guiding factors in evaluating the effectiveness of my original workshop proposal and assisted in the revision of my proposal. I created the following chart to review each coaching standard, questioned how it could strengthen/apply to my proposal, and what areas needed to change because of it.

 

ISTE Coaching Standards: Workshop Considerations: Plans and Revisions:
a. Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments. How can I effectively manage time to allow maximum engagement with  the digital resources? -Alter length

-Assignment before presentation

-Hands on experience

b. Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.. What preparations need to be made to update resources, including lab and check out devices? -Alter location (smaller room, more like a workshop)

-Possible test accounts

d. Select, evaluate, and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning. What accommodations can be made using the given tools for attendees who need adaptive technologies? (submit needs in survey) -Examples of adaptive and assistive capabilities of tools

-Alternative tools

e. Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments. What issues might be encountered with showing a web-based tool? -Give attendees temporary wifi logins

-Back up check outs available

f. Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure. What choice will attendees have in evaluating which tools might work for them? Is there a way to give options for the digital resource they experience? -Possibility of smaller breakout groups for extended learning
g. Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community. How can the digital resources share strengthen student communication with their local and larger community? -Example projects (Takeaways)

Five Characteristics of Professional Development

Using my experience giving this workshop in July, feedback given by participants, and knowledge of effective professional development gained through my EDTC 6104 course (neatly summarized by Karen Johnson’s awesome “5 Things Teachers Want from PD, and How Coaching and Collaboration Can Deliver Them—If Implementation Improves” article via EdSurge), I revised my workshop using the following guidelines:

  • Length
    • Original Workshop: 90 minutes
    • Revised Workshop: 60 or 90 minutes
      • Part of my presentation was arguing for device use in the classroom while creating a sense of commonality to issues and trials faculty face when allowing or denying device use. From there, I transitioned into encouraging device use as a tool and resource by having students interact with a lesson using their devices (encouraging control and classroom management).
      • In the future, I would shorten this introduction and focus more on giving faculty experience using the tool. A sixty minute session would allow faculty to have the above conversation while experiencing two digital resources (PearDeck and Go SoapBox). A ninety minute session would allow faculty to edit a previous lesson using a resource of their choice with support from Educational Technologists. This would require faculty to view an introduction to the workshop and to come with a lesson in hand (blended learning).
  • Active and Engaged Learning
    • Original Workshop:
    • Revised Workshop:
      • Blended elements: attendees will be able to view an overview of the workshop beforehand and will be assigned to come to the presentation with a lesson, device (or can check out a device as indicated in the pre-workshop survey)preferable PowerPoint, in hand that they want to add interactive lessons to.
      • Tools:
        • Pear Deck and Go Soapbox were chosen because they allow faculty to edit and revise past lessons without completely overhauling them. I assumed most faculty would buy into interactive lecture tools if it allowed minimal effort (not creating whole new lessons) to achieve their goals (student engagement). I chose a tool that allows for extended interaction and options but does cost money (Pear Deck) as well as a free option that has more limited features (Go Soapbox).
          • PearDeck does have a free trial period where faculty can edit 5 previously made presentations (made with PowerPoint, Google Slides, or uploaded as PDFs).
        • Both tools will be used to deliver the presentation so faculty can experience both the student and teacher side to each tool (incorporating active elements).
  •  Content Knowledge Needs
    • Content Objectives:
      • My main objective is encouraging faculty to use a digital resource that increases student engagement and learning and creates a more forward thinking digital learning environment. The following standards align with my objective:
        • ISTE Coaching Standard 3a:
          • Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments.
        • ISTE Coaching Standard 3f:
          • Collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and resources that enhance teaching and learning and are compatible with the school technology infrastructure.
    • Common Misconceptions:
      • Faculty tend to adopt an “all or nothing” model to personal device use in class. We will begin each training with a discussion of these models, why they feel necessary, and offer alternatives to those models with tips on how to manage them (seen in the presentation).
  • Teacher Needs
    • Digital Classroom Mangagement:
      • We will model best practices and give tips about using interactive lecture tools, including the types of questions we ask, number of questions we ask, freezing screens or putting away devices when needed, etc. We want to encourage faculty to use but be able to limit device use when needed.
      • Accessibility (revised workshop only):
        • Closed caption Introduction
        • Takeaways populated to attendees’ Google Drives
        • Alternatives to PearDeck (which cannot be used with Screen Readers, though it does put content at the classroom right in front of the students), such as Go Soap Box, Plickers, and Go Everywhere
        • Accessibility benefits of using interactive tools allow students who already use devices for accessibility reasons to continue to do so in a structured way. PearDeck puts content at the classroom right in front of the students, as does other interactive tools).
      • FAQ (revised workshop only)
  • Collaborative Participation
    • Original Workshop: no extension or possibilities for future collaboration. Collaboration to discuss cellphone use policy, but no opportunity to build/create anything.
    • Revised Workshop: Use of Takeaways (allows interaction), opportunity to collaboratively write a new in-class device use policy, opportunity to collaborate with faculty and Educational Technologists to revise a lesson (instructed to bring a lesson to revise in new workshop proposal) using an interactive digital resource.

Project Artifacts

Complete Workshop Proposal:

Resources

Active Learning Pear Deck. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from http://help.peardeck.com/article/76-pear-deck-research
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. (2014, April 15). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics [PDF]. Seattle: Department of Biology, University of Washington.
Johnson, K. (2016, June 28). 5 Things Teachers Want from PD, and How Coaching and Collaboration Can Deliver Them-If Implementation Improves (EdSurge News). Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-28-5-things-teachers-want-from-pd-and-how-coaching-and-collaboration-can-deliver-them-if-implementation-improves?utm_content=bufferfa66c
Paul, A. M. (2015, September 12). Are College Lectures Unfair? Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/opinion/sunday/are-college-lectures-unfair.html?_r=1

 

 

 

EDTC 6104: ISTE Coaching Standard 3 e & g – Digital Age Learning Environments

ISTE Coaching Standard 3 provides seven benchmarks for creating and supporting effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students. My focus is on benchmarks e & g:

e. Troubleshoot basic software, hardware, and connectivity problems common in digital learning environments

g. Use digital