Wow... it is the last class already- hard to believe. While this class was less stressful than the last, I am anxious to get back to learning the tools of design now that I have learned some of the theory behind designing for instruction. I am excited because I think what I have planned to develop will continue to be a great project to work on in upcoming classes.
I have really liked the discussion aspect of this class. I enjoyed getting to know people better than I did when I was sitting behind a computer for most of the class. I hope that we continue to take classes together because it is nice to have a mixture of differing backgrounds to gain perspectives from.
Last class, I enjoyed hearing more about the Polar Husky, Go North program and the tutorials for teachers. I have gotten the science teacher on my team excited about it as well (she heard about it already during a CIC-curriculum planning- meeting). We are thinking of using it with students involved in looping (if we get that to go) in a couple of years for sure, but possibly with our students next year as well.
I am looking forward to next week- presenting and hearing what others have been working on for the semester and where they hope to go with their projects. After last week's class, my sister and I were talking about our future in teaching and one thing we concluded was that we really enjoy learning. We love coming to the U once a week and continuing to take classes. We like grad courses in that we feel like we are using what we learn on a daily basis and can immediately relate what we learn to the classroom, and that makes us excited to learn. I hope that this program continues to do that for me because I know it makes me a better teacher.
One of the things I have noticed about any designing I am doing, whether it is lesson/unit plans or instructional technology for my final projetc, I really need a few solid hours of uninterrupted work in order to really get into it.
For instance, I started a really helpful Inspiration document on a tech release day (I get a sub so I can work on technology). When I went back to the document, I couldn't figure out where I left off. It was frustrating to waste time going back to the document and I didn't have enough time to really get back into it. Therefore, I ended up only reviewing what I had done, adding little new information. I also like the idea of working with people, rather than designing on my own. I like bouncing ideas off of our technology integrationist and it makes the project seem smaller when two of us are working on the idea together.
The readings that we were supposed to discuss in class last week were interesting. I was not really interested in distance learning until I was asked to write a high school English class for online/distance learning with another English teacher and our district's tech person... not sure of her official title (who by the way, is being forced back into the classroom next year because of budget cuts- big bummer for district although I am sure she will manage to keep us all afloat in our tech needs!).
I am excited to do this for many reasons. For one thing, the other teacher I will be writing with is an eighth grade teacher who is my age and we never get to see each other because our building is so large, so I am excited we get to work on something together. I also really like our techie-type....
I love the idea of becoming more valuable to the district (and any others...) by writing classes for online learning. No teachers at the high school are willing to do it and I think it will be fun to "teach" high school without actually having to change schools.
Lastly, I am excited to further work within my chosen field of study and have something real-world to connect all of my learning to. I love being able to directly use what I learn in my grad classes in my classroom- it makes learning so much more valuable and fun. I look forward to exploring the distance learning courses that are now being offered through the IST program here at the U- because at first I didn't see how I would be able to use them. I am excited for another new challenge- which this program never ceases to offer me!!
Today we began a discussion on whether or not instructional designers design from one model or perspective. Our reflection topic for today also is based around this question.
I have been wondering about this as well. I realize that when I begin to design for my final project, I plan on using many of the design aids in the book. This will mean that there is a general model (spiral) that I will follow when designing. I think that for now- as a novice designer this is fine. However, I also think that as designers gain more experience, they/we pick and choose what models/perspectives we design around.
I know that I have had courses in education where I have learned various instructional models and perspectives- I don't know how much of the specifics of those models and perspectives that I could come up with now- or to tell you what I use from each one. I am sure however, that I do use these models and perspectives or at least pieces from each one. Each person has their own style- and like Aaron said tonight- there is a leaning towards constructivism, but there are times where styles, information to be delivered or the learners do not fit with that style. I believe that I think I would like to say I am more constructivist, but I also can't model my classroom to that perspective a lot of the time because my students need guidance and structure as well. They need some direction in their learning still.
Now that all of our projects are officially starting, I decided to download each of the design aids so that I might follow along with the book in what I would like to do for my final project... let me tell you - it was a lot of downloading! Sometimes, I think that someday I might like to change careers and get into instructional design outside of the school classroom- but other days I look at that pile of papers and decide that I am just not ready!
I am however, hoping to get involved in training in the business world. My cousin is starting a company in Minneapolis that is based out of Colorado. The company offers large businesses a three in one communication system including long distance, phone and internet through what I think is called a PBX system. It is an enormous board that runs the three and companies buy space on this board. What I may be hired to do this summer, is actually go into the companies to train the employees on how to use this product after they have bought it and it has been installed. I know that they already have a training system in place in Colorado so I won't have input on the training- but it will be fun to see a productive design. I am really excited to learn more!
I think I may have missed some reflection times...
After class on the 8th I should have reflected- and I think we were supposed to discuss chunking and sequencing.
Last week, I began designing my Holocaust unit with another teacher with more experience than I have teaching. She and I ran down the days that we have taught the Holocaust and as we listed activities connected to the Holocaust I listed them out on a sheet of notebook paper. Whenever I design a big unit I have to list the activities I have planned for that unit. That allows me to begin to "chunk" the material together. For instance, I have power points on Anne Frank, character charts, as well as guides to help my students as we read The Diary of Anne Frank play. Before we read however, I need to sequence the background information chunk of materials before the play because my students need to know the background before they read. Chunking and sequencing is already an important part of what I do everyday.
As a teacher, it is interesting to sit in class and listen to and participate in class discussions. When other teachers ask what my class is about, I usually describe it as a class that is re-teaching me how to write lesson plans (although I usually say that these are really involved lesson plans!).
During my undergrad, I was taught to write out lesson plans using a very easy template. I loved the template- it kept me organized and I thought it would be nice just to keep all my lesson plans and materials in 3-ring binders. The lesson plan write-ups lasted about a week when I got a real teaching job however. The time it took to write out quickly was used to grade and quickly jot down lesson plans in my planner for the next day, week or month, depending on how far ahead I was. There was just not time to type out my goals/objectives, enrichments, etc. I knew that I had included them when I did my planning- so what was the point in taking the time to plan them all out?
Unfortunately, I believe that for many, this step becomes almost too automatic. We plan activities that our students will like and learn from, but we really don't think ahead to what we want them to get from them. At least that is what I find. I get so excited about how my students will react to the fun lesson, that I forget to ask myself, okay- what will they get from this - besides entertainment? I know that they will learn... but how do I assess.
This is something that has already been a huge part of my learning in this class. I came into the class knowing that I had material that I wanted to use to design an awesome, engaging activity or set of activities for my students. But I had no place to start.
In one of the case studies for last week, the designer is questioned about "teaching to the test," which is somewhat of a taboo phrase in education. However, when you really take a look at it- we should be teaching to the test. I am not advocating for more standardized test to teach to- just that we should really take a look at the units and what we want our students to learn. When you look at it "backwards" you really get a sense of what to include. I am excited to have a new "template" to work from in designing this activity as well as a place to start. I also think that I am more aware of what I want my students to learn as well as explaining it to them so that I know and they know what I expect which is great.
So far, effectively planning, means starting at the end...what will be the product- is it introduction, practice, mastery? What do I want my learner to know?
As an instructional designer, how do you provide learner analysis throughout the phases of instruction?
Already I have so many ideas of what I could do for my classroom with the design process. I would love to start with a Holocaust project for my students. In the "defining" phase, I woud start out by collecting infomation about my learners. This is fairly easy since I have taught a year and a half of middle school and I interact with them on a daily basis. However, this collection of data is usually contrived so I could have completed this step as I trained for teaching in Ed Psych courses.
In the "design" phase, I could continue to collect learner data by delving futher into a middle school student. Maybe at this point I interview a few previous students to ask them what I could add to my Holocaust unit to make it more interesting and connect with them better. I could also observe other teachers as they taught a similar unit to seventh graders. Then I would sit down with possible acitivities for my project and figure out implications of both (for instance, will the activity be too involved for the student? Will it go over their heads? Do I need more personalized information for them?)
After this phase I will actually test out a prototype. Again, I could rely on past students for this, but most likely for the time constraint I am under, this will be my current students testing out my prototype and giving me feedback for next year's class.
After I receive feedback (and this could be from current or past students) I will field test the product to see its effectiveness in learning. Maybe the first prototype I gave to my past student volunteers and now in this stage I allow my current students to try it out. This way, I have almost the finished product to show them, but am still allowed to make changes before I allow other teachers in the building to use it with their students. As a second year teacher, I want to make sure this product is quality for other teachers to be able to use. After I am satisfied I enter the deliver phase where I deliver it to students and staff to use.
At each point in these phases, I will assemble information, synthesize it into something useable and check my information- whether with other teachers or students.