Great project idea - the twist you have identified is a great way to explore the diverse way in which learning can take place. Nice connection of the material on the Wong article to your own design experience paying attention to the details in your project to elevate the quality of the finished product.
My Digital Story
One idea from Wong's article that resonated with me was the idea of interest. I had never really put any thought into the actual idea of interest. Of course I have considered student interests when planning lessons, experiments, projects, and activities, just as any "good" teacher does, but the actual idea of where interest comes from was never a thought. In the article, Wong states that, "Another domain located, in part, in the realm beyond rationality and control is the study of learners’ interest." How true that statement is! While I may be able to guess what may interest a few of my students, the truth is that each child's individual interests are irrational and uncontrollable. So why are we trying to control something that can't be controlled and rationalize something irrational? Rather than focusing on what may or may not interest the students, perhaps we should shift focus to what is interesting to the person teaching the information. When I am interested, excited, and energetic about a topic, I teach better and find that my students are more interested as well. We need to model an interest and excitement for learning if we wish to have students that view learning as a valuable experience.
Subconsciously, affect and aesthetic were of extreme importance to me throughout both projects. During these projects, I've been very conscious of what the end product would look and/or sound like. I wanted them to be pleasing to the eye and ear, if for no other reason than my own approval. The Norman quote used in the explanation of affect and cognition, "The surprise is that we now have evidence that pleasing things work better, are easier to learn, and produce a more harmonious result," seemed especially appropriate for my feelings towards the project, and my viewpoint on my work in all aspects of my life. I was careful to speak slowly and carefully in both projects, which is quite a feat for me as I tend to speak very quickly when nervous! I also tried to include interesting visual and audio elements in the projects. Background music and audio transitions in my audio project, as well as transitions, moving graphics, and introduction and closing music in my digital story, added to the emotion and visual/auditory appeal of each project.
Dupont. (Designer). (2011). HD Back to School Wallpaper 2 [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.dvd-ppt-slideshow.com/blog/hd-back-to-school-wallpapers-and-back-to-school-backgrounds-free-download/
Erickson, E. (Photographer) (2009-2013). Classroom photos[Print]. Available from http://stfran3.com
Royalty Free Music. (Producer) (n.d.). Variety hour[Web]. Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=song&ex=2
"Excellent project! I really liked the use of the text over the images to better provide context of the imagery with your voice over. You also do a great job of leading up to the “twist” of the project and how it was received. The content includes a clear statement of purpose or theme and is creative, compelling and clearly produced. A rich variety of supporting information in the story contributes to understanding the twist for student understanding and/or teaching strategies. The story includes motivating ideas that provide the audience with a sense of the main idea. Events and messages are presented in a logical order. The project is edited with only high quality audio and visual images remaining. Audio and/or visual narration moves smoothly from section to section and transitions are used to create a smooth flow from one section to the next. Digital effects are kept in balance and does not overpower the story's content. The visual imagery is clear and effectively assists in communicating the twist for the story. All video clips fit the storyline. Clips are just long enough to make each point clear. The flow captures audience attention. Finally, the quality of your voice over is excellent."
Online education can bring learners together to create a global learning community!
Image retrieved from http://www.woboe.org
Online learning is, in my opinion, the future of education. I have taken online classes sporadically during my undergraduate work, and exclusively for my graduate work. I have enjoyed online learning from a student viewpoint, and am also interested in exploring the option of teaching online at some point.
The first resource that I found is Diane Ravitch (@DianeRavitch). Diane Ravitch is an education blogger from Brooklyn, NY. While she isn't necessarily for or against technology use in the classroom, she obviously has reservations about the idea of online classrooms. In a blog post entitled "Why the Demand for Virtual Charter Schools" (Ravitch, 2012, July 18), Ravitch states, "The demand for virtual schools is a sure indicator of the dumbing down of the American public and the triumph of American capitalism at its greediest." She worries that for-profit schools will put money before a quality education, which should be a genuine concern when transitioning to this blossoming mode of learning. Ravitch does value incorporating technology into lessons (Ravitch, 2012, July 20), but worries that placing students in isolated environments and leaving them to learn solely online will make it difficult for them to thrive. As a proponent of online learning, these strike me as valuable observations that the online learning community cannot and should not ignore. If we want online learning and technology based education to succeed, we need to be sure that we are addressing student needs in the most beneficial way possible and keeping the motives for online schools in mind when making choices about online learning.
The second resource I found is Andrew Miller (@betamiller). Miller is an online educator and advocate for virtual learning. While he supports the idea that online learning is valuable and effective, he does acknowledge that there are pitfalls to online learning but offers ways to stray from ineffective learning models. In an article for the Huffington Post, Miller states that, "It is important that we venture down the path of blended learning, that we're actually doing blended learning, that we're clear in our model, and that we share common language." (Miller, 2013) Rather than focusing on 100% online learning, he suggests that education takes the flipped classroom approach and integrates both online and brick-and-mortar learning. He also cautions that, "We cannot replicate a broken system, and there are many challenges we need to overcome if we're going to ensure that we do not." (Miller, 2011) This quote struck me as vital when considering online education. Ineffective methods from a traditional classroom should not be replicated online; we need to grow and improve upon methods of learning that are shown to improve student learning.
Finally, the third resource I found is called Digital Learning Now (@DigLearningNow, #DigLN). DigLN is a national movement to improve policies in online education. If I can be honest, I have very little interest in educational policy. I see the value in being interested in educational policies, but it just doesn't interest me enough for me to invest much time in it. To me, it has always seemed like a lot of talk, but very little action. That said, DigLN seems to be a resource that could be an almost pain-free way for me to take steps towards learning more about educational policy, especially since they focus on a topic that is of interest to me. They frequently post articles and research to their Twitterfeed, providing quick tidbits of information that I can sort through easily. Maybe if I dip my toes in a bit more, I might actually come to enjoy educational policy (maybe)!
Miller, A. K. (2011, August 8). Online Education: A Word of Caution. Retrieved June 9, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-k-miller/online-education_b_921666.html
Ravitch, D. (2012, July 18). Why the Demand for Virtual Charter Schools [Blog]. Retrieved June 9, 2013, from http://dianeravitch.net/2012/07/18/why-the-demand-for-virtual-charter-schools/
Ravitch, D. (2012, July 20). The Trouble with Online Education [Blog]. Retrieved June 9, 2013, from http://dianeravitch.net/2012/07/20/the-trouble-with-online-education/
Part 1: Important Lesson
Part 2: Observing Student Learning
"Great posts, you have written a very thorough post covering the Learning About Learning post. Your breakdown of the types of learning outcomes is well stated. The addition of your own personal learning experiences helps to further support your ideas on the subject. You also do a nice job analyzing the Gee piece on learning through video games."
For my topic of study, I chose to learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. In my 5 years of teaching, this is the most prevalent problem that I notice with my students and the one that I need to address in order for my students to succeed. While I have made accommodations in my classroom, I am a strong believer in always trying to do more.
For this study, I chose to specifically look at the problem of handwriting. Handwriting has been a visible issue that I have noticed with many of my students over the years, and after doing some research I found that this is not atypical. In fact, it seems that many students that have ADHD also struggle with handwriting skills. In Marie Racine's article entitled "Handwriting Performance in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder", Racine states that in addition to academic challenges, many students with ADHD also suffer from motor skill impairments. In fact, "The prevalence of motor impairment in the ADHD population has been estimated to be approximately 50%" according to a study mentioned in the article. (Racine 2008) This was particularly interesting to me because previous to reading this, I was under the impression that the poor handwriting was caused due to rushing and carelessness more than to an actual physiological factor. While rushing and carelessness can be a factor, is important not to overlook the motor impairments suffered by some students.
As a writing teacher, it is important that I understand the ideas that my students are trying to convey so that I can help them grow as writers. If I cannot read the child's handwriting, I am missing ideas that the student is trying to share with me. There are a ton of technology resources around that can assist students with their writing, the trick is to find something that allows students to be successful, but still hold them accountable for learning what is necessary. For one of my students who struggles with handwriting because of rushing, I let him type his daily writing entries. Typing forces him to slow down and think about each letter he is writing. Not only do I not have to worry about trying to read his handwriting, but he is also spelling more words correctly, using correct punctuation, and self correcting grammar mistakes.
I hadn't considered motor impairments as a cause for poor handwriting in ADHD students before, but it makes sense. For students with handwriting difficulties caused by motor impairments, simply typing may present more challenges than it is solving. One way to address this would be to use speech-to-text software. This would allow the student to speak what they want written and have their ideas to be presented without the distraction of handwriting, typing, grammar, etc... One of my favorite tools that I found is called "Online Dictation". It is online, free, and simple enough for even the youngest students to use as long as you have Google Chrome 11 installed. To operate, simply click "Start Dictation". When the student is finished, you can copy and paste the text, export it to Google Drive, download to your computer, send it to DropBox, or email it. Like any dictation program, it is not perfect, specifically with names, punctuation, and nonstandard speech, so it is important to stress the importance of rereading the resulting text.
I tested Online Dictation for myself using the first two paragraphs of this blog entry (see image below). I was impressed with the accuracy of the dictation, but would need to go back and add punctuation marks and correct words, such as "Russian" before considering it finished. It is obvious that during my speaking, I was clipping the -g from the word rushing. This may also have an added benefit for students that use this program regularly; it may improve the clarity of their speech.
I think that students with ADHD would enjoy seeing their words turned to text and would also be more likely to reread and proofread because they will want to see how well their words were recorded. I would be cautious about overusing this technology however. Allowing a student to become reliant on speech-to-text software could hinder his or her growth in other areas such as spelling, and will obviously do nothing to improve the actual skill of handwriting. Using this type of technology would definitely need to be used in moderation but could be an invaluable tool when you are looking to gauge a students understanding and ideas rather than spelling and/or handwriting.
Racine, M. B., Majnemer, A., Shevell, M., & Snider, L. (2008). Handwriting performance in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Journal of Child Neurology, 23(4), 399-406. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0883073807309244
I'm Edie - wife, mom, teacher, instructional designer, home renovator,
and lover of nature, travel, technology, and vintage campers!