Course 4, Final Project

Why this unit?

I think this scientific writing unit is a good possibility for my Course 5 project because writing is an area many of our special educational needs students struggle. It would be great if I could find a way to improve upon the unit to make being successful more of a possibility for all our students.

ISTE standards

The ISTE standards I chose were 1-Empowered Learner and 6-Creative Communicator. The standards will enhance the students’ understanding of the content by making the learning more student-driven and giving the students a voice and choice in their learning

ISTE Standards for Students, 1 (Empowered Learner) Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

ISTE Standards for Students, 6 (Creative Communicator) Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

Learning with COETAIL

This unit reflects my learning during COETAIL through synthesizing everything I have been learning about into a plan to incorporate technology to enhance students’ learning. This unit is different from other units I have designed or facilitated because I am not collaborating with others on this project. As a member of a grade-level team at my school and as a member of a COETAIL student team, we have always worked together to design and facilitate units. Not having the others’ expertise to draw from or rely on has been a huge loss for me and reminded me how great working on a team is.

Influence

One concept that has influenced me during COETAIL is the SAMR model. It is reflected in this final project when I created lessons that were not just substituting technology but also augmenting and modifying the work.

Concerns

Some of my concerns about redesigning this unit are my lesson ideas will not really make the writing aspect easier for the students, maybe the lessons are still basic technology substitution, and there is an even better way to use technology to help my students be successful scientific writers.

Pedagogy shift

The shift in pedagogy this new unit will require from me is focusing on using the technology in a way for it to have a positive effect on the learning.  “Technology used without powerful teaching strategies (and deep learning tasks) does not get us very far”(Fullan and Langworthy, 2014). I have to find a way to make deep learning able to happen and I have to make sure the students are not bored but engaged and active in their learning. I am relenting my hold and the students are taking more of a lead with the learning. Also, I am keeping a focus on the assessment for this unit through the one-point rubric and will rewrite it in student-friendly language so the students can use the rubric as a guide to see what is expected of their products.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash
Student attitudes

This new unit will require the students to be active in the learning process. They will not be able to simply “sit and get” but they will need to advocate for their own needs. They will need to question the activities and provide ideas to make them work better.

Outcomes

The outcomes I hope to see when students complete this unit are they will be able to write like a scientist and they will be able to collaborate with their peers to improve upon their work. I will know students have learned these concepts by them demonstrating growth through their scientific journal and conversations with their classmates.

Course 4, Week 5, Putting Deep Learning into Practice

 

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COETAIL course 4 has been about “exploring what it means to be designers and facilitators of learning” and this week has been learning about ways we can do that. The readings included several frameworks, processes, or means of how we can make it happen.

Challenge Based Learning

Challenge Based Learning (CBL) is a teaching framework in which students are engaged and active in relevant learning. CBL has hands-on learning, collaboration, and real-world problem solving using technology (Johnson & Adams, 2011). Students identify a challenge and they follow a framework to overcome it.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are innovative learning experiences that immerse the learner into a creative and engaging environment. Typically the curriculum is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the students use devices like headsets that allow them to see concepts virtually they would otherwise not be able to. This is an opportunity for students to better understand complex topics they are learning (Schneider & Radu, 2018).

Game-based learning

Gamification is creating learning games like Oregon Trail created in 1971 which is an example of one of the only successful educational games ever created. Gameful design is making a game out of what is being taught by using the basic elements of gaming. (Bell, 2018).

Gameful Design Rubric (Bell, 2018)
Project Based Learning

PBLworks.org explained Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. With a traditional project, teachers give students a project to complete at the end of a unit they taught and this can be referred to as a dessert project. The difference with PBL is the entire unit is the students use collaboration, high order thinking skills, and problem-solving to complete a project (pblworks.org).

What is PBL? pblworks.org

There are seven essential project design elements to provide a framework for developing high quality projects: (1.) a challenging problem or question, (2.) sustained inquiry, (3.) authenticity, (4.) student voice and choice, (5.) reflection, (6.) critique and revision, and (7.) a public product (pblworks.org).

There are also seven project based teaching practices to help teachers, schools, and organizations improve, calibrate, and assess their practice: (1.) design and plan, (2.) align to standards, (3.) build the culture, (4.) manage activities, (5.) scaffold student learning, (6.) assess student learning, and (7.) engage and coach (pblworks.org).

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is an innovative process students and professionals from all industries use to creatively solve a problem (Spencer, 2019). The process is not necessarily a linear process but can be an overview of the ways to solve a problem or complete a project in school, work, or life (Friss Dam & Siang, 2020).

Student Achievement

Hattie Ranking: 252 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement is new information for me and I first heard about it during my COETAIL Course 4. I am beginning to understand what his research means and I am starting to wonder how I can use it in my practice. Using research seems logical; however, understanding how to use it is not necessarily intuitive. I noted “hinge point” was a new concept and I searched for its meaning. DeWitt (2016) defined it clearly, “Hinge Point – It has long been agreed upon by researchers over the last few decades that when a given approach has an effect size of .40 it means that the approach can offer, when done correctly, a year’s worth of growth for a year’s input. Anything over the .40 can offer more than a year’s growth. So, if we look at the given approach of classroom discussion, you can see that when done well that can lead to two year’s of growth.”  The implication of hinge point is important in my job working with students with learning differences and students learning English as an additional language. My students typically are  behind their peers academically. I need to know how I can help them make more than a year’s growth.

Assessment of Learning

Fullan and Langworthy  (2014) explained most measures still being used are standardized, content mastery assessments.  Along with the new pedagogies, they told us new measures are needed which would include,

“students’ deep learning competencies: 1) students’ mastery of the learning process, including their ability to master new content; 2) students’ key future skills, including their abilities to create new knowledge using the collaboration and communication skills necessary for high-level value creation; 3) students’ proactive dispositions and levels of perseverance in the face of challenges; and 4) the effect of students’ work products on intended audiences or problems.”

If the “ultimate goal for teachers, as John Hattie has described, is to “’help students to become their own teachers (Fullan and Langworthy  (2014).’” then, teachers will need to provide students the skills to be independently in control of their own learning.

Effective v. Ineffective New Pedagogies (Fullan & Langworthy, 2014)
The bottom line

Students are bored and teachers are not satisfied by teaching bored students (Fullen, 2015). The new pedagogies and the examples of different teaching methods we explored this week could lead to my students and me being excited and engaged with our learning. Some of the concepts I am considering are how do I put this all into practice? I am a support teacher and I have so little time with my students. How can I start implementing little changes now to improve my students’ learning experience? How can I measure the effectiveness of the teaching I am providing for my students?

I might assess and measure the impact of deep learning pedagogies with the use of rubrics. A rubric could clearly outline for the student the goal which they are aiming for and they could see what they need to do to achieve it. I would like to implement deep learning tasks in my practice. It might look like project based learning. I can see implementing PBL with my learning support students and English learners.   

I will support my students in becoming “independent, autonomous learners able to effectively design, pursue and achieve their own learning goals and personal aspirations as well as master curricular learning goals” by laying the groundwork for understanding they can be in charge of their own learning, they can learn about what interests them, and they can make suggestions and help me figure out how to make it more interesting, relevant, and engaging for them.

The learning frameworks and new pedagogies in my school include inquiry, design thinking, and project based learning in the secondary school. I have been learning about using the rapid design cycle the past two years. I have used gameful design elements in the past and I might put them into action in Course 5.

Resources

Bell, K., (7 May 2018). Gameful Design: A Potential Game Changer. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/5/gameful-design-a-potential-game-changer

DeWitt, P., (13 September 2016). John Hattie's Research Doesn't Have to Be Complicated. Retrieved from https://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2016/09/hatties_research_doesnt_have_to_be_complicated.html

Friss Dam, R. and Siang, T., (2020). What is Design Thinking and Why Is It So Popular? Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/what-is-design-thinking-and-why-is-it-so-popular

Fullan, M., (2015). Topic Series 11 - Push & Pull: The Role of Technology. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEO9lmmamy8

Fullan, M. and Langworthy, M., (January 2014). A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. Retrieved from https://michaelfullan.ca/a-rich-seam-how-new-pedagogies-find-deep-learning/

Hattie Ranking: 252 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement. Retrieved from https://visible-learning.org/hattie-ranking-influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/

Johnson, L. and Adams, S., (2011). Challenge Based Learning: The Report from the Implementation Project. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Schneider, B. and Radu, I., (28 August 2018). Using Augmented Reality to Promote Making with Understanding. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2018/8/using-augmented-reality-to-promote-making-with-understanding
 
Spencer, J., (6 April 2019). What Is Design Thinking? Retrieved from https://spencerauthor.com/what-is-design-thinking/

What is PBL? Retrieved from https://www.pblworks.org/what-is-pbl#:~:text=Project%20Based%20Learning%20is%20a,question%2C%20problem%2C%20or%20challenge.