Shape Tools – Liberal vs. Conservative — September 25, 2016

Shape Tools – Liberal vs. Conservative

This image is designed to help 8th grade students understand the basic differences between liberals and conservatives when relating to our government.  This graphic will be used early on in the unit of study for the election process because it helps provide students with the basic information they need to understand political parties and the election process.  When considering the complexity of these concepts, I decided to keep my graphic simple.  To try and avoid overwhelming or distracting the students from the basic information.  I used common shapes of the arrows to show the defined lines in the two sides, as well as show connections between the top words and the bottom indicators (Lohr, 250).  I hoped that the simple visual of the arrows will help them to understand how the sides vary and stray away from each other over many topics.  My goal was to show “direction” as it relates to the political spectrum, hence the arrows (Lohr, 254).  

Originally, I used arrows as bullet points for each of the indicators, but found that it was too much distraction on the page.  I also considered showing where different modern political parties fell on this spectrum, but again the graphic became to overwhelming.  I decided the ultimate learning goal of this graphic was to have students learn the basic differences, so there was no need for “extra”.  I will make an additional graphic showing where political parties fall on the spectrum.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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EdTech 506: Personal Introduction Image — August 28, 2016

EdTech 506: Personal Introduction Image

Personal Introduction EdTech 506

I enjoyed making my first image for Ed Tech 506.  It really got me excited about what I will learn from this class.  I love making graphics but as you can see, I definitely have a lot of learning to do!  I used Adobe Fireworks to create my image and spent a lot of time figuring out how the program worked and how to manipulate things in the way I wanted.  I feel pretty comfortable using this program going forward, although I’m sure there is a lot more about it!

I chose to use a corkboard as my background because I feel like I am always using them to hold to do lists and stick things that make me happy, to remind me that life isn’t that crazy!  School starts for me tomorrow so things are about to get crazy again, but I am excited to get back in a more solid routine.  On top of teaching I coach both softball and cross country after school and into the evenings.  I played college softball at St. John Fisher and it was a huge part of my life.  I loved my college and our athletic department so I am always hanging up Fisher Athletic posters in my classroom and my new house.  This past May I got an awesome black lab puppy and along with her came my engagement ring, so that is why there is a wedding planning to do list on this board as well!  My puppy’s name is Nike and she is so much fun!  I will probably plaster my classroom with pictures of her this fall!

EdTech Graphic: Educational Technology Defined — August 7, 2015

EdTech Graphic: Educational Technology Defined

Unwinding the definition.
When I first began this course, I defined educational technology as “using technology to enhance education.”  A simple definition, but I have learned that this field encompasses so much more.

The concept of educational technology is defined as: the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.  This definition dives into all of the parts within educational technology.

The study and ethical practice are essential to the formation of the field of educational technology.  As the technology in our world continues to evolve, it is important to study its growth. Continuous research and reflection are essential in the field of educational technology.  While working in the field, it is important to consider the AECT Code of Ethics.  The act as a guide and a means for evaluation and reflection.

I found the most influential part of this definition to be the idea of “facilitating learning.”  What does it mean to facilitate?  Well, it means to make a process easier or to bring together the resources and oversee the process.  To facilitate learning, is to provide students with the tools, resources, and materials, and allow them to discover, create, and innovate.  Having this as one of the main points within the definition shows the emphasis on how educational technology is enhancing the learning process.  It promotes the idea of instructors taking a step back, and allowing the students to construct knowledge on their own.  As the definition continues , it emphasizes “improving performance.”  This promotes the usability of resources, while motivating learners to become digital citizens and gain 21st century skills.  It guides instructors to creating real world situations for their learners, and creating effective and reachable learning goals.  These two parts of the definition are integral to the concept and practice of educational technology.

In order to successfully fulfill your duty as an educational technologist, you must be able to create, use and manage technological processes and resources. Creating is an extensive process.  It means create learning environments, both digitally and physically, such as computer labs.  It means creating instructional tools, like ThingLink or Socrative for the purpose of promoting learning.  Additionally, it means creating educational systems for teachers to use and follow.  The use of these processes and resources can be complex as well.  It covers the integration of technology to schools, the encouragement of teachers, the selection of best practices, and ensuring effectiveness.  Finally, the management skills of an educational technologist are equally as important.   There is a need to direct operations, manage projects, collaborate, delegate, and implement.

Educational technology is a complex field, that is continuously growing.  While the definition is “jam-packed” is leads to a larger understanding of the field and its purpose.

Creating my graphic.
To create my graphic I used Google Drawing.  I collected images of technological tools for the classroom through a Google Image search.  I used the search tools to find images that were “labeled for reuse with modification” and all of the images I used were from Wikimedia Commons.  In Google Drawing, I created a black background to represent a blackboard with a “callout” shape to symbolize a crack or break in the board.  I then placed all of the technology tool images within the break to symbolize how technology allows us to breakthrough the classroom walls and dive deeper into learning.  I then placed the key terms of the educational technology definition around the chalkboard to emphasize their importance.  Finally, I used ThingLink to add descriptions to each of the terms to help viewers understand how each term works within the definition, as well as how it leads to improved learning environments.

I have used Google Drawing to create images before, and find it a very useful tool when making infographs for students.  ThingLink is also a great resource to add information to infographs.  I have used ThingLink to create interactive maps for my students with links to articles and videos.  I have also used it as an inquiry tool, providing my students with basic information which leads them to question a concept and inquire deeper through research.  While I was looking for a way to create my graphic, I discovered Piktochart, which is a great tool to create infographs as well.  It is definitely a tool I will use in the future to provide information to my students, and I even plan to have my students use it to create their own infographs.

Click here to view a larger version of my EdTech Graphic.

References:
Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Professional Ethics and Educational Technology. In Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary (pp. 283-326). New York: Routledge.

RSS Feed Reader Lesson Plan — July 19, 2015

RSS Feed Reader Lesson Plan

This assignment introduced me to a great resource and also led me to create a practical lesson plan I can use this fall.  While using an RSS Feed reader, like Feedly, can be great for everyday life for staying up to date, it can also be a great tool for a social studies classroom.  Feedly was easy to set up and provides great “starter-kits” for new users.  I was able to find some great education sites to follow, as well as news sites.  I love the ability to view all of these sources up-to-date and in one place.  This helped inspire me to create my lesson plan.  While Feedly can be a great resource for current events, I wanted to make a connection to “past.”  After a lot of thought, I decided to create an “On this day in history” lesson plan.  Students would use provided links to discover events from the past that happened on the day of the lesson.  Then they would use Feedly to access the most current news sources.  After evaluating the events, students would create a blog post in Blogger, titled “On this day in history,” combining what they learned about the past with the current events.  My school uses Google Apps for Education and all students have created a Blogger using their Google Account.  Overall, I can see how this lesson could be a great way to engage students in both content and technology.  Feedly and other RSS Feed Readers will be a great tool to use this upcoming school year.   However, it was challenging to discover a way to incorporate an RSS Feed Reader into a lesson, while still relating to my content area.

I also enjoyed learning how to use Screencast-o-matic.  It was challenging to use at first, but after a couple of “trys” I was able to create a flip video on how to use Feedly.  This will be a great tool as I work towards a “flipped” classroom in the upcoming years.  One thing I would like to learn is how to make the transitions between takes look “smoother” so it seems more seamless to a viewer.

If I had more time, I would have worked on adding more examples to my student worksheet, for students to use as a guide.  I also think that with more time, I might have found another tool for the students to create an “On This Day in History” project.  While I think Blogger is a great way to start, I would have liked to have researched other tools that student could use to combine both content and technology.

Currently, I am unable to test this lesson since it is summer break.  However, I think this would be a good activity for my students to do early on in the year.  It will help introduce them to two new tools, while also getting them excited about the content.