Innovative Learning Blog
ED 791-Session 4-Blog-"Reflect"-Building bridge between my practice, action research, and what I am learning
'1. Blog and respond to others
Continue building a bridge between your practice, your action research and what you are learning. Share what inspires you, observations, reflections, experiences, connections, dilemmas.... FOCUS: You may consider the elements of ‘SITE’ and the needs of your learners or audience(s). How does SITE apply to you as a learner
I think it's important to bridge what we are learning from our Master's program and see the connection to how it applies to our action research project and our own practices. It's important that we apply what we've learned to our own practices.
It was inspiring to read chapters 6-9 from Baggio because I saw how those chapters applied to both my action research and my own teaching. I also saw how those chapters connected with the SITE model, which is also another model useful for the action research and my own teaching practices.
I ended up taking a lot of notes from Baggio because those chapters outlined in depth what an effective visual looks like. The whole time I was reading these chapters I was thinking about how it related to the website/poster I am going to construct and the presentation I will present for my action research project as well as how it relates to me presenting information to my students.
For example, it was clearly stated in Baggio's (6-9) chapters that "less is more" when presenting. If Baggio had a slogan for presenting information it would be something like: MORE CONTENT, LESS TEXT, APPROPRIATE VISUALS, NO BELLS AND WHISTLES.
Baggio wrote, "The more facts you cram onto a screen, the less likely it is that those facts will be remembered". Baggio quoted Tufte (2001,pg.68) who once wrote: "...graphic excellence is...That which gives the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time, with the least ink, in the smallest space."
When presenting my action research or to my students, I will be very intentional in my design of visuals and content information. I will keep graphics to a minimum and make sure that the visuals are solely to enhance the experience of the audience connecting with the content.
I have learned from Baggio, Dervin, and the SITE model that we must "understand the context of learners/users so that we can design products (lessons) that will empower them to engage constructively and productively to accomplish worthwhile goals". We have to not ask ourselves "What content should I present?" and instead ask ourselves "What content does the audience want presented and how do they want it delivered?"
Something new that I learned (from Baggio) was that because we learn reading from left to right (and top to bottom), we should place content on the left and graphics on the right. That is good to know because when I present my website and poster as well as present information to my students I will make sure to be intentional about where I place content and visuals. This made me think of how my school uses GLAD. GLAD are a series of "best teaching strategies". One of the GLAD strategies, Cognitive Content Dictionaries (CCD chart), is something all grade levels do at our school and follows the rule of content on the left and graphics on the right. A CCD chart, is chart paper that has 3 columns. In the first column, a word is written, the next column is the definition of the word, and the last column is a graphic image of the word. A CCD can be extended to 4 or 5 columns depending how in depth you want to analyze the word being defined.
I saw a connection between Baggio (chapters 6-9) and Clark (ch.3) in regards to putting content on the left and graphics on the right. Clark (pg. 48, ch.3 ) wrote that "when (an audience) is learning procedures (they) need a clear display of the steps that make up the procedure, with illustrations as appropriate". The sample display that Clark shows on the following page is a two column chart on "How to Brush Your Teeth" with the content (text) on the left side column and the visual images on the right side column. This is important to know if regards to constructing manuals/instructions for my students as well as manuals/instructions used to present information from my action research project.
From Baggio, I also learned about mirroring content and graphics to grab the audience's attention. Obviously, as a teacher or presenter I have a vested interest in grabbing my audience's attention, and so I may incorporate mirroring into my teaching as well as my action research. It was good to know that Baggio wrote "Mirroring is an effective way to wake up your learners, particularly with PowerPoint, but it works just as well with print layout." In other words, mirroring would be a great way to wake up my audience when presenting my action research using PowerPoint (or another presentation tool) as well as formatting my information on the action research poster that I will have to create.
I also liked how Baggio outlined five simple strategies for aligning visuals and connecting it to the learning objective:
1.) Keep it simple
2.) Keep it clear
3.) Keep it focused
4.) Connect with the content
5.) Connect with the learner
Strategies four and five remind me that an effective presentation "...must have an identity that affects the delivery and affects the emotional dimension of learning in order to make the learniner fell something" (Baggio). Baggio outlined that "Content is the key to getting the information out; it is the message. Form, on the other hand, is what attracts the learners’ attention and holds it. It is what has the greatest impact on your learner and their learning. Form is what first relates to the affective domain or your emotions.”
The last thing I wanted to blog about was the SITE model in brief document that was put as a link on ICARE 4 and how it connect to the last writing prompt (How does SITE apply to you as a learner?) of this blog. On the document ,SITE model in brief, it has a list of questions one should ask themselves when presenting information such as:
2. What values do the learners hold?
3. What will motivate the learners?
4. Which tools, systems, and techniques will assist learners to realize goals or values that are important to them?
These are great sociocultural and informational questions to ask yourself as a presenter and as a learner. For example, I can change the subjects in each question and instead they could be:
2. What values do I hold?
3. What will motivate me as a learner?
4. Which tools, systems, and techniques will assist me to realize goals or values that are important to me?
The SITE model serves as a model for educators to design lessons to meet the sociocultural, technical, and informational needs of the learner, however, the SITE model can be used to evaluate ones' own learning experience.
Please share a tool that you currently use and find useful. Explain why you might use the tool. Outline the tool’s capacity and explain how you use the tool. Please also share (based upon your experiences NOT the product’s website) the strengths and weaknesses of the tool. Be sure to also address the following questions in your post:
As I posted in Blog #1 of Session 3, I currently use and find useful the web based tool Animoto. I use the tool to teach basic computer skills, digital literacy, as well as showcase my second grade student's stories in a non traditional format.
The strengths of the program are that second grade students are able to access it and create digital stories with it. Animoto allows for student choice because students get to select their own background music, their own background style, and they get to personally choose photos (from the internet) to enhance their story. In addition, their work is easily transferable to media outlets such as Youtube and Facebook. At this point, some of their work has been uploaded to Facebook (my school's Facebook page), but I have plans to have them upload their work to Youtube (as soon as I figure out how to do it). Another strength is that the end result is a slideshow video that is entertaining to the audience. The students enjoy watching their videos, sharing it with others, and they are proud of creating something digitally.
A weakness of Animoto is that it is difficult to do voiceovers. I would love to have the ability to easily upload or create a voiceover. I have figured out how to do a voiceover but not without disrupting the flow of the video and I had to use another application to accomplish the task. Another weakness is that the music and background are limited and there are no musical artists that are well known. Lastly, it doesn't have a device to record a video like Photo Booth.
How I use Animoto is by having it be an extension to what I am already teaching. In second grade, one of the main standards is to write a paragraph with a beginning sentence, detail, and a conclusion. I start by having students write a paragraph using pencil and paper that is based off of a reading we do as a Close Read. Students go through a rigorous editing and revising process with me individually and in whole group settings before writing and completing their final draft with pencil and paper. Once they have written their final draft, I give them the option to convert their written work into a digital story using Animoto (every student eagerly opts to convert it to a digital story). Below are the six steps for how a student completes an Animoto project:
1.) Students read a text (informational or narrative) and identify main ideas and key details via Close Read
2.) Students organize main ideas and key details using two column notes (teacher gives feedback before student moves onto step 3)
3.) Students transfer those notes to a paper that graphically organizes their beginning sentence, three main ideas, and concluding sentence (teacher gives feedback before student moves onto step 4)
4.) Students transfer their writing from step 3 onto a lined paper meant to complete the final draft. (teacher gives feedback before student moves onto step 5)
5.) Students transfer final draft from step 4 into Animoto's storyboard to complete a digital story. (teacher gives feedback before student publishes Animoto digital story)
6.) Students publish Animoto digital story, format it and upload it to School's Facebook page
I am not an Animoto expert, however compared to other programs I have tried this one took me very little time to understand how to use it and create videos. In about 5-6 hours I became proficient enough to create something and understand the basic operations of the program. It took me another 3-4 hours until I felt confident I could teach the program to my students.
One thing that didn't work well was how I first approached creating digital stories. I had students create a digital story (personal narrative) using photos from they brought to school from their house. Examples of photos were photos from a student's birthday party or vacation. I told students that they could bring real photographs, or digital photos saved on an external drive such as c.d. or usb. This turned into being a nightmare because many students didn't bring photos. Those that did bring photos, brought c.d.'s, some brought usb's, and some brought real photos. It was hard to keep track of all the external drives, upload their pictures and then transfer it to a source they could access to use for their Animoto videos. The real photos were even harder to digitalize. I realized what worked best is getting photos from the internet.
One thing that has worked extremely well is having students retrieve photos from the internet. Using photos from the internet is great for practicing the skill of searching online information, downloading it, and using it for a project. The internet is a click away from a million images that will connect to a student's story.
I strongly believe that Animoto is the right tool for the job that I am teaching. All my students are jazzed to write stories with pencil and paper because they know once they've finished they can convert it into a digital story. As soon as they hear from me "You're ready for Animoto!" their faces light up and almost all of them jubilantly shout out "Yes!". Animoto is a great extension for advanced level students because it is challenging for them. Also, it is stimulating enough that other students who are less advanced become inspired to write well so they can create digital videos too.
Another way I know that Animoto is working is because I can see that Animoto has improved the student's computer skills and digital video making abilities. I started teaching Animoto to my class three months ago. Some of my home room students are also in my Advanced SLD (Spanish Language Development) class that I teach for a half hour four days a week. I started teaching Animoto to my SLD class a month ago. My home room students who are also in my SLD class produce written work and digital stories quicker than the other SLD students that come from other second grade classes at my school. My home room students' stories are also written with greater accuracy and detail. It's not that my students are smarter. My home room students are more efficient and accurate at producing work because they've had more exposure to Animoto's digital process and the whole writing practice that leads up to creating a digital story.
I'm still becoming proficient on how to best utilize Animoto. I am not an expert, however, at this point I'm less interested in becoming an Animoto master and more interested in learning other digital programs such as MovieMaker and WeMovie. I'm interested in filming and doing voiceovers. At my school, we have a full time technical expert who uses MovieMaker and WeMovie to create school videos and who is willing to teach me the programs. I plan to learn filming skills from him for personal use and to teach my students.
BLOG #1 Please consider the following ideas as you blog this week. We know technology/digital literacy has to be taught (we can’t rely on the theory of the digital native) yet, given your already full curriculum, how will you begin to teach digital literacy?
Given that I have a full curriculum, and given that nowhere in my curriculum is there a lesson that teaches digital literacy, I have decided that the only way to teach my second graders digital literacy is by doing digital lessons that I personally create. The digital lessons that I teach are connected with my grade level content, and serve as an extension to my curriculum.
I have begun teaching digital literacy to second graders via a Web 2.0 tool called Animoto.
Since the students are so young, I have taught them basic digital skills, such as how to capitalize letters, create the @ symbol, log in, log out, create work, edit work, save work, and so much more. Basic digital skills are necessary for digital literacy. In addition, there is constant troubleshooting that arises that I have to figure out how to overcome, which becomes a learning opportunity for the students.
The same way I teach digital literacy to my second graders is similar to how I would teach a high schooler.
To introduce digital storytelling, I model to the students how to create an Animoto digital story using a laptop and overhead projector so they can see me start the whole process from start to finish (open google, type animoto, go to animoto's website, create account, log in, create story, e.t.c).
After modeling, I let all the students attempt to log in and start creating. I always have students explore Animoto's site first without restrictions or instructions. Playing with the website builds familiarity and background knowledge as well as increases their digital skills needed to be digitally literate. It also serves as a sample for their digital palate. Once they've had a taste, they want more.
Once students begin working on their projects, there is a constant cycle of students creating stories, receiving feedback from me, and revising and enhancing their projects until I finally decide they have achieved the objective.
Based off of John Hattie's best teaching strategies and my own reflection on how to increase student achievement, I've found giving immediate whole group and one on one feedback is the key to their success. I use whole group feedback to showcase mistakes that many students are making or advice I want to give to many students. I float around the computer lab giving advice on how to improve their projects, teaching them digital skills necessary to perform the tasks, and troubleshooting glitches that arise.
I look forward to learning more digital tools that I can teach my students such as MovieMaker and WeMovie that will take their digital stories to the next level. My idea of teaching digital literacy is through the exploration of sites that stimulates, challenges, and provides student choices. It is also important to utilize web programs that are accessibly free for students and educators such as Animoto, Powtoon (I'm still learning it).
I want my audience to be my colleagues. I feel that teaching digital storytelling to second graders via Animoto or other Web 2.0 tools is challenging for a primary teacher. I would love to help other primary teachers dive into digital storytelling with their students. Derwin taught me to look at my audience through their eyes. When thinking of my capstone, my focus has shifted from "What do I want to present to my audience?" to "What would my audience want presented if they were teachers interested in teaching digital storytelling to their primary students?"
Having shifted my focus on how I want to present my capstone, I feel that my audience (other primary teachers) would want to know three ideas:
1.) The first idea that my audience would like to know is based off of Clark's reading. I think teachers would want to know the instructional methods needed to teach digital storytelling effectively to primary students.
Clark stated that "Only by using effective instructional methods can we harness this delivery channel effectively." The delivery channel I am currently using is Animoto, and the goal is for students to create digital stories. However, the instructional methods that I use are the key ingredients to ensure student success. This is the area of my action research where I would like to build a template of instructional methods to be presented to colleagues that outline the best teaching practices needed to ensure student success (in regards to digital storytelling). I am still in the process of learning what instructional methods work best, which do not, and I have yet to try other methods, however, by the time I present my capstone project I would like to have a template that other teachers may use to teach digital storytelling to their primary students.
2.) The second idea that my audience would like to know is based off of Baggio's reading. Baggio stated that "Far too often we become enamored of a new idea, theory or technology, and off we go: face booking, podcasting, uploading videos to YouTube." One of my new questions is whether Animoto is the best program for creating digital stories? I don't want to be tied to Animoto because it's what I know and I don't seem to have the time or money to learn other programs. There might be other programs better for teaching digital storytelling. I have already seen limitations from Animoto, one being that it is very difficult to upload voiceovers and do voiceovers. Another limitation is that Animoto has been restricted on my school's Chromebooks because of a district policy limiting end users to access certain web based programs such as Animoto on our school's Chromebooks. If there is a better web based program to use as the channel to teach digital storytelling, than what is it and how will I be trained. This leads me to third key idea that I would like to convey to my audience, which is how do I find adequate training?
3.) Referring back to Clark, training can be a huge waste of time. I think my audience would love to know what type of training would be needed to implement digital storytelling at the primary level, how to receive the training, and the costs of the training in terms of time and money. My goal is to present the training needed, how to find it or purchase it, and the training costs (time and money) that will be suggested in order to have a teacher trained on how to effectively teach digital storytelling to their primary students.
In conclusion, I will ultimately present my capstone project using a website and poster. This homework assignment has helped me define what I want to present to my audience.
ED 702-Class 2-"Reflect"-How can you teach digital citizenship as it relates to digital communicaiton?
Given your student’s grade level and the subject matter you teach, consider how you can teach digital citizenship and specifically digital citizenship as it relates to to digital communication. Please provide 3 specific examples on how you might make learning digital citizenship personal for your students.
Given that I teach second grade, I would be looking to simplify a complex topic such as digital citizenship and how it relates to digital communication. I would simplify the text by using school wide strategies. At our school we use a lot of GLAD and Close Reading strategies to help all learners access the information. We also use those strategies to help personalize the learning process for the students. In my lesson plan, I would teach a hybrid of GLAD and Close Reading strategies in order to simplify and personalize the learning process.
To begin the lesson I would simplify the topic. I would explicitly define certain vocabulary, such as digital citizenship and digital communication. I would use a GLAD strategy, Cognitive Content Dictionary, to help define these vocabulary words to build background knowledge.
Many second grade students have had personal first or second hand experiences with digital communication and some have experienced the consequences of it.
One way I could personalize the learning process is by tapping into the experiences of students with digital communication. I would do this by creating a three column chart and brainstorm ways people digitally communicate, ways that people misuse digital communication, and the consequences of the misuses of it. Facilitating the brainstorming process would serve to further the background knowledge of those students who haven't had much experience with digital communication as well as tapping into the background knowledge of those who have had experience with the topic. The three column chart would visually organize the information for the students and it would also document student's personal experiences with it, either first or second hand.
A second way I would personalize the learning process is to facilitate a K-W-L (Glad strategy). I would create a three column chart (using chart paper) with the K column representing everything the students know about digital communication, and the W column representing everything the students want to know about digital communication. Documenting what the students want to know about digital communication would help me drive and personalize my lessons in regards to their interests.
A third way I would personalize the learning process would be to do Close Reads with "real like" scenarios of people misusing digital communication and to have a classroom discussion about the consequences of each scenario. The close reads would help all students access the text as well as provide a literary piece to spark discussion about the topic. Based on John Hatties influences on student learning, classroom discussion is one of the top ten teaching strategies related to student achievement.
To close out the lesson, I would refer back to the K-W-L chart and document everything the students learned. Having the K-W-L filled out would serve to document the learning process of the students. I would end with a writing assignment where students would get to personally select one use of digital communication, the misuses of it, the consequences of the misuses, and the importance of appropriately using that particular digital communication. The writing piece would be used to assess the learning process and also to reveal how each student personally connected with the topic because typically students choose topics that spark their interest.