Project Evaluation of Edmodo Certified Trainer Course (ECT) at Edmodo – 2017-2018
This project is being conducted by Autumn Ottenad, Community Growth Manager at Edmodo. I am trying to figure out if the new Edmodo Certified Trainer (ECT) program which I recently revamped taking it from six to four weeks is successful because Edmodo wants groundswell, massive growth for the betterment of the community.
This evaluation is formative in nature, which means that this information I’ve gathered and which I now present is not intended to determine the overall worth of the program. Instead, this data will allow me to make some recommendations and comment on perceptions surrounding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the Edmodo Certified Trainer program at Edmodo.
Important points that will be reviewed in depth in this report:
- Educators feel comfortable to “train-the-trainer” and present about Edmodo and know that there are staff and peers who support them there.
- Educators becoming Edmodo Certified Trainers (ECTs) would like to have colleagues and figures to whom they can turn for conversation and advice in their profession.
- Educators have high confidence in their ability to succeed in the classroom with Edmodo.
- Educators who become ECTs have a high opinion of their influence/participation in their community and professional learning network.
- The Instructional Facilitators and mentors of the cohort have communicated to the cohort that high achievement it is crucial and they are striving to provide it.
- When these educators become ECTs, they would like more information about how Edmodo functions as a product and company.
Recommended Next Steps
Thinking ahead to future cohorts the decision at hand becomes how do we strike a balance between quality and quantity of the ECTs who graduate from the course? We saw the same drop off after week two of the previous cohort with a number of the participants as we did in the in this current cohort. Kate B., the instructional facilitator, began to speculate a few different options for the future cohorts. Suggested Option A. Keep the same design of four weeks, producing high caliber, but few ECTs. Suggested Option B. Redesign the course again and trim it down to two or three weeks to create more, but potentially not as high caliber ECTs. Trimming to three weeks is doable, but trimming down to two weeks total may be problematic. “Other than having to encourage Bobby, one of the mentors, to keep up with the scoring (again, I’m so disappointed in his lack of engagement), this cohort went very smoothly, and I think that the participants enjoyed it. Lidia, the other mentor from Argentina, was wonderfully engaging and the more active the mentors were in the group, the more the participants engaged with us. It would be interesting to reach out to those who did not complete the cohort and ask them to complete a survey about their reasons for lack of completion. I’d be curious to read their responses. I was very thoughtful in the design of this course, but I also recognize that folks need to be motivated and stay motivated to complete the work.” I did reach out to those who did not finish the course or dropped out early on. My responses from those who dropped out first were mostly that they did not have the time to invest in the class at this moment or that they do not hold the product knowledge at this time to complete the ECT program at the level that they would need to find the course fruitful. For those who it was a wrong time I will reach out again for the next cohort to see if that one is better, and I wonder if the Summer would be better because they will have more free time. For the few who stated they did not have the right amount of product knowledge I sent them the link to join the Certified Learner course which is our base level of the community and it is a self-paced 12 module course. I think if they went through this course on their own time they would become sufficiently knowledgeable about the product to then become an ECT.
Overall the changes that were made to the ECT program were positive, proactive modifications in my perception but we have to be able to scale the number of graduates without compromising the content and quality of the program. I come with the educator background, so my guidance is always swayed by the fact that we are asking these educators to represent the company in the world without much supervision after this process and Edmodo needs to trust that the ECTs will serve the product well to any audience. But I can also see the need for groundswell and the incorporation of a large ground army for the product so that Edmodo can have as many people trained sufficiently on the product as possible.
As I begin to wrap up my studies in EDTC 6106 Educational Technology Leadership for the DEL program our last inquiry asked us to explore; what does the ideal technology-rich professional learning program look like? From there I began to contemplate Computational Thinking again which is a common thread throughout my studies in SPU’s DEL program. As Google for Education defines it computational thinking (ct) is “is a problem-solving process that includes a number of characteristics, such as logically ordering and analyzing data and creating solutions using a series of ordered steps (or algorithms), and dispositions, such as the ability to confidently deal with complexity and open-ended problems. CT is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem-solving across all disciplines, including math, science, and the humanities. Students who learn CT across the curriculum can begin to see a relationship between subjects as well as between school and life outside of the classroom.” Applying CT to professional learning is an easy leap to make, and therefore my question became; how do we challenge K-12 stakeholders to take on the role of problem solvers in designing solutions for the next generation? I want the responsibility of integrating technology into the educational curriculum to be a shared job between everyone who comes into contact with the students. It cannot only fall on the shoulders of those who are tech coaches or district tech leads because they are spread so thin. All stakeholders must take a problem-solving approach to the issue of tech integration.
Furthermore, in Jennifer Groff’s OECD report Technology-Rich Innovative Learning Environments she explains under the heading of opportunity that, “once thought of as just a part of resources‘, we‘ve come to see how technology can be so much more than that. It can play a key role and at times a leading role, in all elements of the teaching and learning environment. Technology can shape, and reshape, who is the learner and who is the teacher. It can open up knowledge and content that otherwise would be less accessible, through access to open educational resources for example. It obviously is part of resources‘, but it is clearly integral to the 3 organization‘ component insofar as it offers a critical mediating medium for those relationships of pedagogy and assessment inherent in an organization” (2013, pg. 3). Therefore, we establish the crucial element of technology into the classroom and Groff goes as far to say that it should play a key or leading role because of its transformative nature. If it takes a village to raise a child why is the goal of tech integration into curriculum put on just a few shoulders? Digital Promise says “As we bridge the digital divide in schools and homes across the country, we also should build educator capacity to ask students to take part in new and transformational learning experiences with technology. This will require more than sharing tips in the faculty lounge or after-school professional development for educators.” I think stakeholders who should get into the solution game are teachers, district admin, students, parents, interested companies, and government think tanks.
Demonstrating the Scale:
The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) illustrates how teachers can use technology to enhance learning for K-12 students. The TIM incorporates five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, constructive, authentic, and goal-directed (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). The TIM is an interactive rubric that shows the scale of integration from Entry level to the Transformation of a school to fully tech-integrated. The entry-level states that it is when “The teacher uses technology to deliver curriculum content to students.” Contrasting the transformation stage is when “The teacher cultivates a rich learning environment, where blending choice of technology tools with student-initiated investigations, discussions, compositions, or projects, across any content area, is promoted.” If we know the problem and we have a rubric to compare our schools and districts against why then can’t we work towards a solution?
The matrix is designed to assist schools and districts in evaluating the level of technology integration in classrooms and to provide teachers with models of how technology can be integrated throughout instruction in meaningful ways. While tech companies around the world are getting into the game of helping schools and districts out with tech integration. The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools directed by Digital Promise initiative for example “provides teachers and students in U.S. middle schools with always-available access to technology and empowers them to be content creators, adept problem-solvers, and responsible consumers of digital media and learning resources. We fully document the process so others can learn from the experiences of these schools.”
Professional Learning Goals for Faculty now
- Teachers should know how to leverage the device to increase student engagement, increase STEAM engagement/opportunities, increase tech proficiency (student/teacher)
- Implement PBL model
- Implement school-wide literacy strategies
- Implement AVID strategies
Eventually, educators should know and be able to…
- To utilize and demonstrate/model the use of schoolwide tech applications.
- Identify additional tech applications that will enhance our practice and student learning.
- Champion the integration of technology into student learning tasks.
- Synthesize the school-wide initiatives into a comprehensive program.
- Collaborate with other team members to develop schoolwide plans for improvement and accomplishment of goals.
So students feel empowered and be able to:
- Create products and applications to demonstrate learning.
- Lead learning around the use of technology.
- Solve real-world challenges while demonstrating knowledge of content and skills that are required at each grade level.
- Identify and explore careers that are applicable to STEAM topics/activities.
What are the next steps for developments of tech integration?
As we all know by now technology changes at a rapid pace. It is my idea is that if everyone involved takes a problem-solving approach to the issue and understands that they all share responsibility then the process can be a living process. Continually updated lesson plans and videos added months and years from now will look completely different than they do at this moment. Districts and schools will be encouraged to use tech integration in professional learning and in the context of goal development and associated professional development planning. As we engage learners, technology needs to be woven throughout the curriculum so it becomes an integral part of the daily learning. Through regular classroom observation and targeted professional development activities, it is our hope that over time teachers will be able to effectively monitor their progress through a continuum of technology integration levels.
Groff, J. (2013, February). TECHNOLOGY-RICH INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Technology-Rich%20Innovative%20Learning%20Environments%20by%20Jennifer%20Groff.pdf
Office of Educational Technology, Conclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2018, from https://tech.ed.gov/netp/conclusion/
Verizon Innovative Learning Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved March 06, 2018, from http://digitalpromise.org/initiative/verizon-innovative-learning-schools/
I have recently explored ISTE Coaching Standard to try to understand how professional learning impacts explicitly the use of education technology. This week specifically I looked at the influence of school leadership or administration and how they influence the professional learning and educational technology adoption process of the staff.
Taking advantage of technology in the classroom makes the support of a proactive school administrator who should help facilitate, and organize along with the district instructional technology task force. Within chapter three of the Project Evaluation Report Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State entitled Professional Learning Requires Attention to School and District Culture Attending it states that “the “culture” of a school or district organization requires careful attention to a variety of indicators. Desimone (2009) articulates that professional development is not one-size-fits-all that can universally be applied across contexts. As school leadership is examining how they approach professional learning they need to keep in mind that adults learn need to have the opportunity to approach the content in a variety of contexts. Moreover, as administrators must take on several roles in the building they can’t always be focused on these different approaches to learning. Therefore, how can district instructional coaches (or whatever you call them in your district) be seen by administrators to hold more of a leadershiprole.
When I was perusing my latest installment of English Leadership Quarterly that is a part of my NCTE membership I found an article entitled “Toward Online Participation as Teacher Leadership” by Luke Rodesiler, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne. This piece had a few gems in it regarding the thought process of leadership. I know it mainly pertains to English teachers, but I think it can be applied to all educators Pre K thru Higher Education. Here is a quote “ I recognize leadership not as the product of a formal appointment in a top-down, authority-driven model but, like Lambert and colleagues (2002), as a reciprocal process embraced by those who see the need or the opportunity. This vision of leadership is not about rigid and unchanging hierarchies; instead, it promotes the boundaries of leadership as porous and flexible, allowing teachers to carry out acts of leadership as they see fit and as they are able. Additionally, for the purposes of this article, I recognize English teachers’ online participation as the creation of new content on the Web in an exploration of issues at the center of an English teacher’s work: teaching, learning, and literacy” (Rodesiler, 2018, p. 3).
Admins – Let Instructional Coaches Be your Marketing Team
Leaders who believe they can delegate the articulation of a vision for how technology can support their organization’s learning goals are those who will be the most successful in this reciprocal process. As district officials and school administrators do not have press relations managers nor do they employee marketing directors, they still need to communicate the districts message and brand. It is important that those looking to move to the neighborhood understand who the school’s leaders are and how they will help their children. Rodesiler goes on to explain that when leadership is delegated one can “draw(n) from a content analysis of collected artifacts to document three acts of leadership embedded in the routine online participation of [English] teachers in the study: (a) making teaching practices public; (b) speaking out on topical issues in education; and (c) creating platforms for others” (2018, p. 4). I think these three acts of leadership can lead to better job satisfaction for the administration, better community advocacy and involvement, and in the end teacher retention.
Making teaching practices public
Before I started the DEL program at SPU, I was in need of finding people who were public about the teaching practice. As an educator, it became crucial for me to communicate with people who were like-minded and I could find mentorship for my future. This task required me to go online and seek these people out myself. As I got more and more involved with Twitter and other public practices I witnessed how teachers “participated online, teachers in the study spoke out about topics tied closely to their work as educators, including curriculum decision-making, professional development, and the de-professionalization of teaching. In doing so, they took on the responsibility of adding their voices to conversations that all too often seem to be dominated by those outside the field of education” (Rodesiler, 2018, p. 3). As documented, the Web offers teachers multiple and varied avenues for exercising their influence and inviting others to do the same. This evidence of influence can only help administrators and district officials make a case for the power of their school and their vision.
Speaking out on topical issues in education
Although leadership in technology is needed across all levels of the education system, the need in PK–12 public schools is acute. Getting technology in schools is a multi-layer systematic change that takes budges and board members approval. But it needs to begin to move quicker because as of 2017, twenty percent of school-aged children media consumption comes from mobile devices. Children’s use of electronic media is increasing, resulting in significant part from tech transformations, easy access to mobile devices, especially cell phones. Which means… The majority of students may not be able to stop by the classroom after school but could interact with school while using some sort of technology. This can allow for real-time access to resources, due dates, and feedback. On top of that Did you also know…Only 58% of parents of school-aged children carried smartphones in 2010. Now 94% of parents of are smartphone users. This means that the topical issues and the information being shared are happening online and on mobile devices.
Creating platforms for others
Whichever tools the administrators condones for the educators to spread the great news of the district in school be it Twitter, Edmodo School Pages, Facebook, Linkedin, or perhaps something like WordPress or another blog system like Medium. Demonstrating how administrators have used some of these platforms for positive career development should help persuade reluctant educators of their importance. I believe that instructional coaches could take on the role of also demonstrating how educators can become their own advocates, self-promoters, and networking gurus if they are only willing to make their practice a bit more public.
Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA. http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/WA-TPL/pubdocs/2016-WA-TPL-Evaluation-Report.pdf
Rodesiler, L. (2018). Toward Online Participation as Teacher Leadership. English Leadership Quarterly, 40(3), feb, 3-6. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/ELQ/0403-feb2018/ELQ0403Toward.pdf
At the center of my current studies with the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University is ISTE Coaching Standard 4, which focuses on how professional learning can best support teacher practice and, ultimately, student learning. And as the country recently suffered another tragedy in a public school shooting rampage. I think that this post is poignant as it will talk about teaching digital citizenship and global competencies for educators is essential for the future of our students. Both of these expectations help to create empathy and global awareness for our students and teachers which with this recent tragedy is relevant.
In my early exploration, I derived that a big part of “digital age” best practices comes from digital citizenship. Moreover, I recently was given the opportunity to speak at the TCEA Global Education Day alongside Dr. Ariel Tichnor-Wagner who is the Senior Fellow of Global Competence at ASCD. From her presentation, I learned how heavily ASCD has invested in creating a vast amount of materials that could influence educators to take on global collaboration. On top of that, when I think about the phrase “digital age” it makes me think of digital citizenship and netiquette which we all talk about in the classroom, but sometimes students feel freer when on a website to cyberbully a classmate or troll them. So, therefore how can I make digital citizenship an important aspect of professional development with adult learners?
To bring it all together, I am going to approach digital citizenship through the lens of global competence. I want to take into consideration the respect piece and know that professional educators are adults who understand at a logical level what should and should not go on the internet. But perhaps they do not feel like teaching these aspects should be a part of their teaching practice. Global competence is a way to connect my two ideas if teachers are influenced to push their teaching onto a worldwide platform by helping their students they will need to in-turn learn some newer components of digital citizenship.
Because the competencies are multi-faceted and can get a bit overwhelming, I want to focus in on one under Knowledge: Understanding of the ways that the world is interconnected. The fundamental connection piece in my mind is the word “interconnectedness” because the only way we will achieve this element is through our modern technology bringing us together. As field trips and vacations are becoming events of the past teachers must reach beyond their four walls. Keep in mind that as Vivien Stewart, in ASCD’s Becoming Citizens of the World says, “To compete successfully in the global marketplace, both U.S.-based multinational corporations, as well as small businesses, increasingly need employees with knowledge of foreign languages and cultures to market products to customers around the globe and to work effectively with foreign employees and partners in other countries.”
Here are the two Digital Citizenship standard sets, the first for Students and the second for Educators. I think it is important to point out the “living, learning, and working in an ‘interconnected’ digital world, and they [students] act and model in ways that are safe, legal, and ethical” (ISTE). While in the Educators standard 3a teachers should actively “create experiences for learners to make positive, socially, responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community” (ISTE). Therefore it is necessary for educators to know how to navigate social actions online with positive interactions. Educators must also know how to demonstrate this social action to their students, connecting back to what Vivien Stewart states in her article that global competence “skills are necessary, of course, but to be successful global citizens, workers, and leaders, students will need to be knowledgeable about the world, be able to communicate in languages other than English and be informed and active citizens.”
What can teachers do?
They can show global competence through action, demonstrations, and global collaboration projects. It is crucial to mention that administrators must back-up teachers who are willing to connect with classrooms around the world and who have the technological wherewithal to reach outside their comfort zone to find these collaborative educators. The undertaking is not easy but with the support of administration, it can become easier and certainly worthwhile for the educators and students. It will help to have a large plan of what you want to achieve, but start slowly, one course or grade level at a time. “Involve parents as well as business and community leaders in planning and supporting international education and world languages. Focus on professional development for teachers, including partnerships with local colleges, so teachers can broaden and deepen their international knowledge.” Use international exchanges, both real and virtual, to enable students to gain firsthand knowledge of the culture they are studying. If it is unfeasible for students to travel, try technology-based alternatives, such as classroom-to-classroom linkages, global science projects, and videoconferences (Sachar, 2004). In the Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State Report, researchers found that the “development and implementation of professional development at the school level impacts student learning” (Lumpe, 2016). These findings help build the body of evidence about the impact of professional learning and potentially adding in global competence to what educators should be taught so they can then go into the classrooms and teach their students.
Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA.
A., & Stewart, V. (2007, April). Becoming Citizens of the World. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr07/vol64/num07/Becoming-Citizens-of-the-World.aspx April 2007 | Volume 64 | Number 7 The Prepared Graduate Pages 8-14
How do you get adults to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their online instruction?
My interest in this question stems from the fact that I want adults to take more interest in the process of their learning. Specifically speaking getting in on personalized professional learning, and in that taking part in the planning and evaluation. This is what educators are taught how to do so why not test it within their own learning. From personal experience from starting the pro-cert process, the assessments and hoop jumping felt insulting when you are in a room full of professional educators.
Uncovering ISTE Coaching Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation b. Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.
Malcolm Knowles, a leading educator studying adult learning, made five assumptions of adult learners (Knowles 1984:12).
In Chapter 1 of Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report – Professional Learning Requires Engaged Leadership it supports the ideas expressed by Knowles in 1984; “the results of the study support the principles of adult learning, indicating that adults value course designs containing options, personalization, self‐direction, variety, and a learning community. Findings also identify some differences in learning emphasis by gender, preferred learning strategies, and previous experience with technology and self‐directed learning” (Pg. 16).
When looking at personalization for our students I found this article by Katrina Stevens Deputy Director in the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education is really a compilation of what several organizations have put together on the topic of personalized learning. Basically, Personalizing the Learning Experience: Insights from Future Ready Schools specifically how “each learner’s performance is measured. The type of learning experience determines the types of data that can be collected. For example, as learners participate in a small-group activity, the teacher might ask them targeted, open-ended, probing questions that will help in upcoming tailoring components of the lesson. When technology is used, performance can be measured continuously in real time.”
What can sometimes get lost in the focus on a consistent definition and process is the potential power and benefits of personalized learning, which are many:
- When the pace of learning is adjusted for each learner, all learners have the time needed to demonstrate mastery.
- When learning is optimized and tailored for each learner, and driven by learner interests, it can be more meaningful and relevant, which can lead to greater engagement and achievement.
- When learners are given more choice, they tend to take more ownership of their learning and develop the academic mindsets, learning strategies, and self-regulated learning behaviors that are necessary for meeting immediate goals and for lifelong learning.
- When learning is supported by technology, learners can receive more frequent and immediate feedback through formative assessments, quizzes, and checks for understanding with results provided to teachers and learners in real time.
- With the right tools, learning gaps that impede progress can be identified more quickly, allowing learners to close those gaps.
- The use of technology to provide teachers with the ability to tailor instruction to individuals allows teachers more time to provide targeted attention to learners who are struggling or who are progressing more rapidly than their peers, rather than being forced to “teach to the middle.”
- When teachers can use technology to identify or modify existing resources more easily, teachers can then build stronger and deeper relationships with each learner and provide more resources for dealing with specific challenges. This can promote a greater sense of belonging among students by demonstrating that there are adults who care that they thrive.
Similarly, ThinkCerca’s blog writer Kelli Marshall wrote recently on Personalized learning and specifically Why is Personalized Learning Important – “in which instructional environments are tailored to the individual needs, skills, and interests of each student – somewhat inverts the traditional teacher/student hierarchy. It gives students choices about how to learn based on their interests, abilities, and teacher recommendations” (2018). I think when teachers/educators are given the opportunity to “tailor” their learning to what they like and know.
Finally, “When applied correctly, personalized learning can move mountains for students. It means that assignments and instruction are tailored to individual students’ interests, needs, and skills. It allows the teacher to bring in more robust, useful, and varied material into the classroom. It opens up probabilities for strategic groupings to allow students to learn better from one another” (ThinkCerca, 2018).
Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA.
ISTE Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards
Marshall, K. (2018, January 18). Why Personalized Learning Is Important. Retrieved February 04, 2018, from http://blog.thinkcerca.com/the-importance-of-personalized-learning
Pappas, C. (2013, May 9). The Adult learning theory – andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles
Stevens, K. (2017, January 18). What is Personalized Learning? – Personalizing the Learning Experience: Insights from Future Ready Schools – Medium (Office of Ed Tech, Ed.). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from https://medium.com/personalizing-the-learning-experience-insights/what-is-personalized-learning-bc874799b6f