EDTECH 513 Week 8 -Worked Example

5 Aug

This week we produced a worked example where we walked or “worked” a user through an example of something they needed to do. Obviously this is a perfect technique for subject areas like: 

  • math 
  • science: physics or chemistry

This is also a great technique for anything that involves teaching a process. So instead I decided to use this example to create a “how to” video for teachers trying to navigate our complex and detailed off-site activity forms. Our school board has multiple forms for different types of trips and activities that students would engage in. These forms help to cover off the duty or care and manage risk. 

Here is a link to the worked example. 



EDTECH 513 Week 8 -Worked Example

5 Aug

This week we produced a worked example where we walked or “worked” a user through an example of something they needed to do. Obviously this is a perfect technique for subject areas like: 

  • math 
  • science: physics or chemistry

This is also a great technique for anything that involves teaching a process. So instead I decided to use this example to create a “how to” video for teachers trying to navigate our complex and detailed off-site activity forms. Our school board has multiple forms for different types of trips and activities that students would engage in. These forms help to cover off the duty or care and manage risk. 

Here is a link to the worked example. 


EDTECH 513 – Week 7 – Digital Story Telling

29 Jul

This is a great week as we get closer to the end of this course. We have been looking at digital storytelling for the second week in a row. I started out in this section of the course a little unsure as I thought that digital story telling was telling a story like a book; I have zero experience in that area. The more I researched digital stories I quickly realized I have been writing digital stories for a long time. When I started working at the an online school I quickly realized that text based instruction online left something to be desired for. I had a lot to say to my students but only one way of doing it. So all of the feedback or instructions I would give students would be pages of text. I then decided I needed to learn how to create videos to do some of this.

Click here for an example of a digital story that I created this May for my students in an online Physical Education course.


EDTECH 513 – Coherence Principle

22 Jul

This week in EDTECh 513 we looked at the Coherence Principal as it applies to developing e-learning resources. The principle simply states that adding any extra multimedia (audio, video, or graphics) that might be engaging for the learner but not directly connected in any way to the learning material will in fact hinder the user’s ability to learn the material. The idea that by adding in stimulus that is not related to the material the learner’s attention is then pulled away from the information they are supposed to be picking up. This extra stimulus can disrupt how the learner is organizing information in their mind to make sense of it. Think about trying to watch your favorite TV and read / learn the installation manual for a device you are not familiar with. It always seems to take longer or at least till the show you are not supposed to be watching ends.

If we take a look at Power Point based training / instruction we can easily apply the Coherence Principle. There are many instances where users of Power Point violate this principle when creating instructional material. Instead of grabbing a few PPT examples of good and bad I thought of sharing this presentation that dives into what common mistakes are and how to fix them. The coherence principle is so big that it can actually hit each of the points in this slide show.


I find it interesting that in our class (EDTECH 513) the starting focus is PPT since it is one of the most widely used (and or misused) formats for creating instructional material. The scary thing is that e-learning software is far more powerful with every iteration and update to existing and new applications. In the past one needed a basic background in HTML code to design and create instructional material for the web. This has changed dramatically, we are now seeing tools that allow just about anyone with any level of experience and expertise to be able to design and create multimedia eLearning materials. Very cool if you ask me, but if you take the lens of the Coherence Principle and apply it  to this new found freedom we have now discovered a whole new way to create learning materials that are not conducive to learning. I think about the way that we design sites like our class website in Moodle. It is easy to add so much more material that is not applicable and actually will detract from the learning. I know I have been guilty of this in the past when I felt like the page needed pictures or audio. Sometimes it is just so easy to add rich media to instructional material that one loses sight of what is important: the teaching and learning.

I like the simplicity of the principle. There are going to be times when you push the limits of the principle but I can’t see myself making changes to it. I know that when I have designed eLearning resources I am always looking for high quality images and or media to integrate into the lessons but not to compete with other instructional material or contrast the material. I think Clint Eastwood said it best: “A man’s got to know his limitations”. Better to do something really well that you know you can do than try to do it all. Over time as I push my own limitations the depth of my skills will grow. But the first step to that is being self-aware of what those limits are and using a guiding principle like the Coherence Model.


EDTECH 513 – Podcasting

15 Jul

This week we examined Podcasting. Now I am not going to sugar coat this my experience with podcasts is limited to none. I took some time as part of the assignment to look for podcasts and listen to one. I came away very disapointed in the medium as a whole it just seems so limiting when one can add visuals and video to a media presentation. Although I am not a fan of the medium I can see the application for this.

As part of this weeks assignment we needed to create a podcast of our own. My direction on this was to create a series of podcasts that would inform people about the work done in the Beakerhead Summer Intensive and how it connects back to the STEM to STEAM  movemment in education.

The other piece of this work was to connect back to a AECT standard. I chose to link back to the Development standard as this is a perfect example of developing instructional materials. I don’t think that this example of the podcast is how I would use this in a classroom setting. The fact that I went through and created one would position me well to provide this oportunity to students VS a teacher lead product.


Here is a copy of my podcast.

Week #3 – Multimedia Instruction

30 Jun

This week we worked on creating a multimedia instruction piece. Now as a PE teacher I thought about how could I do this and still make it meaningful for my practice as well as for my students?

In terms of integrating EDTECH into the classroom / physical education space. My one thought would turn to a mobile device production where students could be in groups each group having an iPad. On that iPad they would access:

  • Instructional content
  • Use the camera / video recording application

Here is my instructional content for “How to shoot a basketball”

Instructional Notes_Basketball_shot


EDTECH 542: Integrated Curriculum & The Role Of The Teacher

28 Jul

This course has taken me through the whole project based learning process from start to finish. You can find a copy of the full project I have been working on by clicking here. My hope is that I will be able to use this project in the Fall (2013) with my students. 

Thinking about integrated curriculum has always been a significant portion of what I have always tried to do. The hard part for me anyway is the delivery. Often we are still teaching “stand alone” subjects: 

  • math 
  • science 
  • language arts 
  • social studies 

Having this structured set up can make it tough to integrate meaningfully without stepping on other teachers toes. So in the past I have just designed student tasks and where there is overlap into other curricular area I do my best to scaffold resources for students but I am not necessarily assessing other areas outside of the subject area I am teaching. I think there are a few different ways to approach integration:

  1. Obviously if it was driven by the administration and time tabled out with this intent this is the easiest as it would position teachers in place where they would need to collaborate. This is a tough one to do for administrators.
  2. The best option is to plan together as teachers. Look at the curriculum across subject areas and identify common themes then plan / sequence from there.
  3. If that doesn’t work you can look at subject areas that lend themselves to one another. For example Math & Science. In some school the math teacher and science teacher are the same person (especially in Junior High’s).  

In my own setting I think the easiest thing to do will be to team teach as the entry point. I teach 4’s & 5’s Science we have another teacher who does Social Studies with the same group. The entry point here is for her to teach the SS and me to teach the Science, then line up what we want to do at the start of the year. The next step would be to co-plan and see where social studies lessons have hands on applications that science can be leveraged into or vice versa.

Either way one looks at this the role of the teacher in any of these models is that of the guide and not the “know it all”. I often think of our roles as teacher in a PBL setting this way:

  • my students are all climbers wanting to climb Everest
  • I am the Sherpa, I know the way, the bumps on the path, the places where people often slip on their journey. So I guide students through the project as a Sherpa would guide climbers up the mountain. It is common for climbers to not make it to the top and often try over and over again.  Each time getting closer to that ultimate in climbing perfection, but each time also accomplishing their best.
  • students working through a project are not much different some will do better than others but each student learns something that is personal to their experience. Getting to the top / completing the project perfectly is not the goal it is the process that is embraced, much like climbing.


EDTECH 542: Week 4 “Project Ideas”

2 Jul

This class is starting to heat up with intensity. In week 3 we started to not only look at project ideas but drill down into the project it self. Here is a link to my project page as the class develops you will see the page linked from here develop.

My only struggle is using the Google Site. I typically build in HTML and have a style sheet that I can modify / customize to fit my needs. I am also used to designing content to be used with a learning management system, so I need to re-think everything I do and the reason for it.

This week has been fun, it has allowed me to re-visit an old idea in terms of a project I have tried and add new things to it / think of the things I wanted to do with it but never was able to. The obvious starting point for me is the program of studies which helps to ground the project in terms of its outcomes. I am excited to see it take shape.

EDTECH 542: Week 2

24 Jun

Welcome to EDTECH 542, Technology Supported Project Based Learning. So far this course has been an introduction to PBL. Anyone that has followed my work so far at Boise State has seen that it has a certain PBL flavour to it! I am very excited to be in this course as I think it will push me in terms of how I use technology to support the PBL process.

This week (week #2) we started looking at some of the characteristics that make up PBL. In the process we examined a number of different projects. I am still not certain what idea I want to focus on.  Last year I worked on a Grade 4 science project called: Waste In Our World. The project had some interesting aspects that engaged students and positioned them in authentic tasks. But the big missing piece(s):

  • Technology support for hands on experiential learning

So far I think this is where I am leaning for the project! Stay tuned to see what I come up with.

EDTECH 541 – Final Week Reflection

7 May

This is it, the final week in EDTECH 541, I am surprised it came this fast but also a little relived I think with the end of the school year and the course ending here I was starting to run out of steam! This weeks posting is a 2 part post. Part 1 is a reflection and Part 2 is a self-assessment.


Part #1

  • What you have learned?
  • How theory guided development of the projects and assignments you created?
  • How the course work demonstrates mastery of the AECT standards? (Note: If you are not in the M.E.T. program, you can omit this.)
  • How you have grown professionally?
  • How your own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching have been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course?  What will you do differently as an educator as a result of this course?

Instead of trying to answer each one independently I am going to attempt to synthesize all of it! This class did what one of my colleagues always says is our jobs as teachers which is: “to push the student into the place where learning happens”. I can’t say that much of the information was earth shattering / new to me. But instead the projects that we engaged in allowed me to do the digging and discovery that I had wanted to do but also needed to do. It is interesting as I reflect back our Evaluation course here at BSU made me a better system support and gave me the foundation to be a solid administrator when it comes to programing. EDTECH 541 on the other hand did 2 things:

  • Made me a better classroom teacher – I learned how to use new skills and found new resources I should have found long ago. It also made me think differently about how to use technology to increase the element of “authenticity”.
  • Developed my skills as an instructional leader. I started to learn how to learn about Project Based Learning (my theme). This in turn allowed me to then put myself in others shoes so I started to develop skills to teach other teachers about PBL, and effective task design.

The AECT Standards are always an afterthought but then when I get right into them I realize how being aware of them actually grounds my practice and provides direction in this case around integrating technology into the classroom.

Part #2 – Blog Posting Self-Assessment = 120/140

As I went through the rubric in our course for this I thought a lot about how I used the blog tool in the course. My posting I feel are rich in content and connect back to the material we study as well as current examples of my own work. However an area that I need to improve on is drawing more information from our sources (readings etc.). I do site my sources in APA format but I need to have more of them. Often I rely too heavily on the experiences I have as a professional and not as much on 3rd party sources. I don’t think I have ever missed a posting or been late with one all semester my hope was that I gave my colleagues enough time to respond / read my work. As far as responding to my peers, this is the area where I was most delinquent. There were times were I did an excellent job on this and others where I just was not able to get to it the way I should have.