Thursday, September 21, 2017

Global Collaboration

Global Collaboration is an empowering opportunity for students and teachers to connect and engage in authentic, meaningful experiences.  It is an opportunity for students to learn about people from different cultures and backgrounds.  These connections don't need to be with learners in other countries.  You will find people of different cultures and backgrounds in different states, cities or even down the street.

This Primary Sources video talks about our world without global collaboration.  While this video is an advertisement for the services they offer, it provides a thoughtful opening for our exploration into global collaboration.

Empowering a student to become a Global Collaborator is one of the seven ISTE Standards for Students. This standard includes indicators where students use digital tools to connect with distant learners; they collaborate with others to examine issues and problems; they challenge them to contribute to these collaborative projects, and they use collaborative technologies to explore local and global issues.

You won't have the opportunity to actually engage in a global collaboration project in this course, Ed Tech and Design, but learning about the various projects/strategies, resources and digital tools will help prepare you for turning your students into global collaborators.

Write Our World

We will have to an opportunity to Zoom with Julie Carey at the University of Colorado Denver.  She developed the Write Our World project where she is building a digital library of ebooks that have been written "by kids for kids" that document their languages and culture.  The best part about this project is that the kids write the books in both their own language and English so that it will be a way to preserve their language.

Visit the Write Our World website and read a few of their books. Explore what kids are writing from around the globe.

Global Read Aloud

The Global Read Aloud project involves students around the world reading one or more of a set of selected books during a 6-week period and then they try to connect with other students who have read the book so that they can share their ideas and thoughts. Watch the What is the Global Read Aloud? video and then visit the official website where they have identified a set of 10 books from which they can select their reading material. These books range from picture books to young adult.   Envision how you could do something like this in your future classes. 

What's Possible?

This 13-minute video provides an overview of what is possible with Global Collaboration.

How to Connect with Another Classroom

These ideas are great, but how do you find another classroom of students?  There are many resources but consider Classroom Bridges website. This is a website that was actually created by a classroom teacher, Katie Siemer, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She created an online database where over 250 teachers from around the world have signed up because they want to connect. 

Visit the Classroom Bridges website. Click on the Find a Classroom link and see if you can find a classroom or classrooms that you would probably want to collaborate with when you have your own classroom.   

Here is another website that provides the resources, including several organizations and facilitators of online spaces, that can assist in your future efforts.  

Finally, it is important to know how to manage a global collaboration project. The following graphic gives some ideas about the steps that you can follow for implementing global collaboration in your future classroom.  To fully integrate global collaboration into your classroom curriculum is is not a one-shot process.  It is a process that is most effective if your first project begins at the bottom of the Global Connection Taxonomy (see below) and then your following projects progress up the taxonomy throughout the year. 

Lindsay, J., Davis, V. (2012). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds:  Move to global collaboration one step at a time. Chicago: Pearson Publishing. 

Begin your dreaming here . . . 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Developing Digital Age Learners
To Develop Digital Age Learners, we must first understand what kind of learners they are so that we can create learning experiences that align with their strengths. Once we understand our learners, we need to prepare them with skills that will lead to success in the digital age.

Generation Z 

While many of you are Millennials, those of you who are under 22 years old are at the upper end of Generation Z.  Why should we care about these generations? It's a matter of addressing students' learning needs. Teaching your future students the way you were taught would not be fair to them. They have specific strengths and experiences that can make their learning opportunities more valuable to them if you address their needs. 

Last week we studied Universal Design for Learning. We discussed that the more we know about our students the better we can address their needs and create learning environments that address their learning preferences and make learning available to all students. 

Here are a few comparisons:

  • Millennials are optimistic, but Gen Z s are realistic.
  • Millennials curate and share content, while Gen Zs create new content.
  • Millennials like to collaborate, but Gen Zs want their own workspaces.
  • Millennials like to meet through digital tools, while Gen Zs prefer face-to-face.
It's interesting. The Millennials were the first generation to be born into the Computer Age and the Gen Zs are the ones who are working to strike a balance between offline and online experiences.

Here is a short video comparing the generations. Take note of the differences they describe.  Do you agree with them?  Are they characterizing you and your generation correctly?  What about the "other" generation?  Does this video depict characteristics that you see in your friends and relatives? :

Read this article as it shares The 8 Differences You Need to Know.  

Realizing the differences between your generation and your students' generation is useful, but how do you address it?  How can you design your teaching to better address your Generation Z's specific needs?  Here are 6 Simple Ways to Better Engage Generation Z.

Alpha Gens

Those of you who will be Early Childhood Education teachers (0 - 8 years old) will be working with the Alpha Gens.  These are the students who were born since 2010. It will be important to know about their characteristics as well.  While it is still a little difficult to analyze the learning styles of 7-year-olds, here are some suggestions of what we might expect from the Alpha Generation.  Read Meet Generation Alpha: Teaching the Newest Generation of Students.

Developing Digital Age Learners

Now that we have identified the learner preferences of our students, let's discuss what it takes to develop Digital Age Learners. This is a phrase that is used throughout the education field, but ISTE defined 7 attributes for the Digital Age Learner.  

These attributes are isolated skills for the 21st century learner to master, but rather roles that the digital age learners will assume on an on-going process.

  • Empowered Learner
  • Digital Citizen
  • Knowledge Constructor
  • Innovative Designer
  • Computational Thinker
  • Creative Communicator
  • Global Collaborator

Here is a short rap video about the standards.  It goes through the 7 standards. This format was selected to emphasize that digital age learners will succeed when they are given opportunities to be creative.  

Visit this web page showing the ISTE Standards for Students.  It includes the more specific indicators for each of the standards.  Click on the links so that you can review the complete standards so that you might better appreciate them.

Conforming with Copyright Laws One of the most important parts of the Digital Citizen standard is indicator 2b where it is says that the Digital Age Learner must engage in positive, safe, legal, and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

An important part of this ethical behavior is to follow the Copyright Laws. You know that the copyright laws rule against copying other people's writing or music or intellectual products without permission or without paying for the media's use. As an educator, you MUST model following the copyright laws for your students' and for your own professional well being. We will require you to follow the copyright laws throughout our Educational Technology and Design class.

Watch this video to learn about the copyright laws and what is expected of you as an educator.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Systematic Instructional Design & Universal Design for Learning

This set of Readings, Watchings, Listenings, and Doings (RWLDs) will prepare you for the lecture on "Systematic Instructional Design and Universal Design for Learning." It is meant to help you plan an interdisciplinary thematic unit of instruction.  

Systematic Instructional Design

Identifying Your Destination
The Teaching/Learning situation is not limited to identifying a "coooool" activity and then connecting forms of instruction and assessment to it. To effectively design and develop learning activities, it is necessary to identify the desired outcome first.  This provides direction for your instructional activities.

Your desired outcomes for Iowa classroom activities are determined by the Iowa Core Curriculum (or other relevant standards that you will find on the Assignment page.) The subject-specific standards are organized by Essential Concepts/Goals. Each of these Essential Concepts/Goals is supported by Skills/Objectives that will provide observable  behaviors that can be measured to indicate a student's mastery.

You, the teacher, want to do a thematic unit on Plant Life.  You want to do some experiments with plants (Science), Capture the data with graphs (Math) and create a report on your findings (Literacy).  

You have identified what your students will be learning and now you must design and create a set of lesson activities that will help your students master this skill.

It's just common sense to begin with the end in mind, but this is called Backward Design. If you don't know where you are going, how will you know how to get there?

Here is a video that uses the metaphor of planning a trip to describe Backward Design.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?  If you don't know where you will be going, you won't be able to figure out how to get there.

Backward Design is the basis for an instructional design system called Understanding by Design.

The Understanding by Design framework has 3 parts:
  1. Identify Desired Results
    1. What will students know?
    2. What will students be able to do?
  2. Determine Acceptable Evidence
    1. What performance will meaning-making and transfer
  3. Create the Learning Plans
    1. Learning Plan (instruction)
    2. Learning Activities (experiences)
Bernajean Porter does a good job of explaining the aspects of Understanding by Design. The most significant point that she makes is that starting with the "End in Mind" is just common sense.

Understanding by Design
is a framework which provides direction for unit lesson planning. It begins by identifying the Desired Outcomes and Results and then makes a plan to achieve that outcome.

Universal Design for Learning

Effective Instructional Design can only be successful if you consider the learning needs of your learners. Your learners do not all have the same preferences for ways to learn so you need to consider various ways that new ideas and skills are introduced and how your learners can engage in mastering this content.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a combination of pedagogy and techniques that acknowledge the different levels of needs. UDL uses brain-based research to identify the need for addressing multiple methods of representation, expression, and engagement of learners with information and knowledge. It involves instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. 

The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a leading organization in the field of UDL. Here is a 5-minute introductory video on UDL.

NOTE: This video has been enhanced using EDpuzzle. It includes explanatory voice-overs, multiple-choice quiz questions, an open-ended question and a link to a website.  This EDpuzzle enhancement has been included to demonstrate how you might enhance a video as part of the Interactive Learning Tool that you are creating for your final project. 

This is NOT your final quiz for this module.  You will still have to complete the module quiz as you have been doing all semester.  

An essential part of UDL is to use Multiple Means of Representation. This means that if you learn things better by reading than watching information, you may not have learned much from the video you just watched.  You might do better if you visited this website and read about UDL.  The National Center on Universal Design for Learning has a wealth of information about UDL as well.

You should consider creating instruction that integrates a variety of methods of instruction including written text, speaking, listening, watching, and creating (to name a few.)  This will be discussed further in the lecture on Monday.

Putting It All Together with TPACK

We may have already introduced TPACK, but this Instructional Design is a good place to consider how we can most effectively integrate content, pedagogy (teaching skills), and technology Teaching and Learning through technology is much more than just using Powerpoint and Twitter. The Venn diagram below shows how each of these areas can combine and impact the others.  Certain forms of Technology can be used to support specific teaching strategies (Pedagogy).  That is TPK intersection.  Specific forms of pedagogy (teaching skills) are used to teach specific forms of Content Knowledge.  Ultimately the TPACK educator is interested in teaching in the "sweet spot" in the middle where all three areas are fully integrated.
    Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by
Read more about the TPACK model (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) which we consider a framework that identifies the knowledge teachers need to teach effectively with technology. 
You can also watch this video which provides a brief introduction to TPACK in 2 minutes. 


Prepare for Your Thematic Unit

Find the Thematic Unit Description project requirements in eLearning under Labs (Class Projects). Familiarize yourself with the expectations and resources provided for your first big project in the course.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Building Higher-Order Thinking Skills

Thinking comes in many forms.  

Sometimes it just requires remembering where you put your keys or the capital of Iowa.  Other times thinking is more complex as we decide how to apply the new skills we just learned or analyzing the differences between two approaches to solving a problem. Sometimes thinking requires us to evaluate different opportunities so that we can create something that is uniquely original.

An educator's responsibility is to build these skills in our learners. We need to develop thinking skills that range all the way from remembering a simple fact to creating a complex project. As educators, we need to be aware of these different levels of thinking and mindfully create learning opportunities for our students that will develop thinking at all levels.

The basic level of thinking is called Lower-Order Thinking (LOTS).  This is the level where you memorize fact and poems and equations. You are rewarded by remembering them when needed. Remembering things is useless unless you understand what these things mean. Knowing what things mean is important, but it takes another level of responsibility to actually apply your knowledge to the real world.

The more complex level of thinking is called Higher-Order Thinking (HOTS).  This is the level where you really have to be engaged.  You use what you know to analyze original situations. You evaluate them for good and bad.  You even take on the responsibility to use your background and knowledge to create new and original projects and ideas.

Knowing about these levels of thinking will enable you to create learning experiences this semester that will challenge your students. Basic facts (like the names of planets) are useful, but being able to list those facts is not enough to be valuable in real life.  You will need to provide your students with challenges where they can apply these basic facts in a new and creative way.

Bloom's Taxonomy
These levels of thinking are captured in Bloom's Taxonomy. Developed in 1954 to identify different types of questions, this taxonomy has evolved into a model which classifies the various levels of thinking that we have been discussing.

As we progress through Ed Tech and Design, you will be asked to write statements that define what you want your learners to be able to do to prove that they have learned throughout your thematic unit.  These statements (Objectives) will use observable verbs to define the behavior you want your students to exhibit. The key to success is for you to use the appropriate observable verbs so that your learners will know what to do.  Here is a list of observable verbs that you will be able to use during this week and next week as you learn about instructional design.  This will all be discussed in more detail in this week's lecture.

Examples of Activities that Promote Higher-Order Thinking
This title isn't completely true.  Some of the activities encourage Higher-Order Thinking Skills, but some of them are actually Lower-Order Thinking Skills (LOTS).  Use a copy of Bloom's Taxonomy to identify which are HOTS and which are LOTS.

Higher-Level Thinking in the Classroom - Middle School
Teachers from Georgetown School District demonstrate how they promote higher-order thinking in the classroom. This even includes a principal's perspective on the process.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Nurturing Higher-Order thinking is the basis for developing and rewarding creativity. Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative, popular thinkers takes on-in exhilarating style-one of our key questions: Where do good ideas come from? Johnson provides the story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our education, our society, and our culture forward.

So HOW do we integrate Higher-Order Thinking Skills into our Learning and Teaching?  Here are a few ideas by Sir Ken Robinson.

Collaboration in the 21st Century: Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Robinson explores how education can prepare students for the collaboration they will use in their future lives. This is an inspiring video that explains how collaboration supports innovation.

REMEMBER to watch this week's video by Dr. Z.  You will find it in the Integrating Higher-Order Thinking Skills folder on our eLearning website.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Connecting with the World: Giving Our Students a Voice.

Last semester we were very lucky to have Shannon Miller as a guest speaker for the Ed Tech and Design course.
Shannon is UNI graduate! She is a former teacher librarian and technology integration specialist at Van Meter Community School District. She is now an international speaker that encourages young people and educators to have a voice while learning, creating, collaborating, and connecting with others globally. She speaks and consults around the country on education, librarianship, technology, social media, and making a difference in education and the lives of others. She is a Future Ready Librarians and Project Connect Spokesperson at Follett Corporation.; Buncee's Teacher Librarian Advisor and Cantata Learning's Teacher Librarian Advocate. She is also the author of the award-winning The Library Voice blog.

You may follow her on Twitter at

Before watching the lecture:

Open and analyze the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards for teachers and students. ISTE standards provide a framework for learning, teaching and leading that is amplified by technology.
  • ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. 
  • ISTE standards for Educators  define the new skills and pedagogical insights educators need to teach, work and learn in the digital age. 
Bookmark these standards, we will be coming back to them throughout the course.
While watching the lecture (see Lecture folder in an eLearning) :
  • Try to make a list of the skills and tools mentioned by Shannon. 
  • Do you know many skills and tools to give you and your future students a voice? 
  • What your high, middle, and elementary school teachers did to give you a voice and to connect you to the world outside of your classroom? 
  • What can you do to make your future students learning more meaningful and engaging? 
  • Do you see an echo of ISTE standards in Shannon's teaching
collage from Shannon Miller guest speaking
Shannon Miller guest speaker