All posts by admin

Assessment to Create Innovators or even Innovative Professors?

Again, I am responding to my student responses on Creating Innovators: (its kind of stream of consciousness but reading these books always gets me trying to make connections)

The first thing that strikes me about this book is that some of the politics that are going on with schools and even in the country are a question of innovation.   Is our education system about tests? or is our education system about creating opportunities for students to be innovative and finding new ways to assess them?   Should our assessments be about growth or benchmarks?  Should one assessment lead into the next project?

In the end, I found a lot of my individual comments to student responses being about assessment – because in the end that is the issue. If we allow students to define their own problems, what is the assessment? How can we show that they learned?  How do we avoid falling into that trap where everyone gets the “college of ed” clap because they met the minimum requirements. How do we drive students to go beyond where they are comfortable?
I would say that we need to look at assessment in new ways.  Is there such a thing as a participatory assessment? Yes, there are books written on them, but in practice there are not good guidelines.   They are very prevalent in business.  We ask people all the time to assess themselves, often in business before a raise or an annual evaluation, we ask people to do a self -assessment.   However, this activity has to be really scaffolded.

Looking at Assessment through my own Assessment as a Professor

Let me share an illustrative from my life as a professor.   We are currently doing faculty reviews, and I can talk about my own self assessment – instead of it being a truthful reflective goal setting experience, I will admit that mine is a whiny, justification, excuse riddled piece of work.. (My evals were not as a high as I would like because I was teaching too many classes.. etc.. )  However, in our own faculty reviews, we are not rewarded for honest reflection, and our responses are not reviewed from year to year.   And they should be. The assessment is structured to be an one time measure, and they don’t lead to any feedback on future projects and are not part of a holistic review.  Part of the reason, is  the prompt is backward facing and it is not guiding me to set new goals, celebrate successes and failures and talk about how I will become better in the coming year(s).  It is also focused on the professor as an individual not a community member and does not require 21st century staples to be highlighted such as collaboration, mentorship, empathy, celebrating failure.

So our current prompt is:

In light of the information provided in this annual report, please assess your contributions in the three areas of professorial responsibility. Include any factors or information Committee A should consider as it reviews your work in research, service, and teaching.

It is just screaming out for me to make a whiny justification – the prompt is incorrectly scaffolded.. 

What is we had a prompt like this instead: (3 parts for the 3 parts of my job – scholarship, teaching and service)

Given your last year as reported in this document,  where do you see your career going in the next year or 5 years?  Where are finishing projects and where are you laying groundwork for future work… (ie.. what are excited to be learning about and want to spend more on next year).  Where do you plan to spend your scholarly time in the next year? 

As a teacher,  how are you committed to students in formal and informal ways and where would you like to see to our students be in 1 year or 5 years. What are you doing or plan to do to help make that dream a reality? 

As a citizen, how are you contributing to our community?  How are you supporting others, their interests, and working to create a working and learning environment that will continue to grow, flourish and support its learners and fellow faculty and staff? 

Then I will be revolutionary – besides those awful evals with the bubble sheets – when do we ask students to evaluate us?  What if we triangulated (Yeah, I know using my own professional tools to assess myself) and shared my personal statement about my commitment to students with some…  … wait for it…   STUDENTS ..  Check to see if what I think I am doing, is perceived that way, and find out if students feel supported and mentored.. (Yep Participatory assessment)..

Now those of you that have ever touched a faculty review, then thinks.. are you kidding?  Do you know long those things take? Maybe the question is not do crappy reviews yearly, but meaningful, deep reviews every 3 years.  Faculty could be on a cycle (like post tenure reviews) where they do it every few years and prompts like this scaffold goal setting, reflection on their goals and the mission of the institution, and job satisfaction.

So hopefully from this example, you can see how scaffolding makes all the difference – so in the end good assessment comes back to the prompts and how we get students (or faculty) to think about the work they did.

Why scaffolded reflective assessment matters

I realize I got a little off my topic talking about faculty reviews, but honestly, don’t we want our faculty to grow as much as we want our students to. People engaged in meaningful work, are great colleagues, and raise the organization to new levels.

Now think about this – how could we frame questions for students to get them to be forward looking, self reflective, and use the assessment on one project to set their goals for the next one – what would that look like?  And how could we get community feedback on projects and make it participatory assessment?

My post show that good assessment is as important for the teachers/faculty as it is for the students – and in the end innovators are not inventors – instead they are people who are using creativity and critical thinking to engage in their environment every day.   This kind of thinking drives them forward and makes them better.

 

 

 

My thoughts on DeVos Vote

It is plenty tough to be an educator, especially in Oklahoma.   The pay is bad, the respect is bad, and the confirmation of Devos to Secretary of Education is going to make it tougher.

I have two issues that I think will affect us right away. The pressure to have charter schools in Oklahoma when the state and schools are already broke – is only going to increase with someone like DeVos at the helm.  My husband also talks about “squirrels” or diversions.. The pay for Superintendents is our squirrel and in the end,  even if its a charter school – teachers are not going to be paid well and a business model – just leaves our students behind..   However, expect that momentum to create more charters to pick up in Oklahoma.. its so odd to me though, because I don’t know of any business that buys into something that someone says is not generating money..  I know that Charters are big money, but its all at the expense of our students.

Issue 2: Student loans –  We in Higher education better keep our eyes on this one, folks.. Yikes..

First,  Trump wants to repeal the Dodd Frank Act – which put in place some protections about borrowing.  And with Devos in charge of Education – I only worry that interest rates, and borrowing is going to go up..  And then Pell grants will go down..

I am currently reading Paying the Price by Sarah Goldrick Rab. She is speaking at OU on Tuesday February 21st..    It about student loans and the debt that students rae getting into..

Guys this is the next Subprime mortgage crisis.. One of the senators (Jack Reed RI) was holding the floor last night talked about how Realtors have come to him and said that they cannot sell houses to young people because they have too much student loan debt.   Folks if they can’t spend money,  our economy is in trouble.    Even though she has never had a student loan in her family, I sure hope that people keep their eyes on the economy – if we cripple our young people.. we are all in real trouble.

 

So remember that Betsy Devos is over both K-12 and higher education..

The hardest part for me now is to not lose hope..  I called, I tweeted, and Senator Lankford (especially) and Senator Inhofe – I know you did not value my input, but now I will not go away..  I am watching you, and looking forward to your challengers who really care about Oklahoma students both K-12 and higher education.  And Senator Lankford, I am not going to “move on”

Paying the Price

MITE Conference

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the MITE Conference (http://mite2017.com ) which is Mobile Technologies in Teacher Education. This conference was started by Apple Distinguished Educator Sean O Gradaigh (Twitter @SeanOGraTek) – account at the it was normally in Ireland but now he formed a relationship with CalStateTeach and it was in the US.

This conference was fabulous for several reasons.One I got to see some great friends and mix practice and research.  Two,  it was in LA in January (JK.. ) Three – I got to interact with CalStateTeach which is one of the most innovative teacher education programs in the country.    Four – the speakers were fabulous, in Fact I am talking to Bill Rankin to bring him to OU.

The timing is great because I did not miss class. Next location is not announced but worth watching for.

Participated in my first Zoom Chat

 

Tonight I participated in my first Zoom Chat. I was not familiar with this tool and were some things that I really liked and some things I did not..

This was the event on Accessibility

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sevenzo-live-chat-accessibility-inclusion-social-justice-tickets-30890940635?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=estw&utm-source=tw&utm-term=listing

My experiences with Zoom

All speakers and participants were featured on the same level.  This inclusion made me feel really required to participate – and I had to be logged in and engaged. (This would be different than Firetalk where everyone presenting is at the top and users must use chat)

  1.  I was able to easily mute and unmute myself.
  2. My internet was not great, but I was easily able to both talk and type.
  3. Sound was good.
  4. Every participate was able to screen share – so for teaching it would be good.

I think the Zoom Meeting is a good possible solution for some of our online learning needs. From the participant end it was easy to use and even though I was on a sketchy connection, worked well and was easy to use.

The price was not bad, 14.99 a month to host up to 50 people. Also all chats could be downloaded to be archived.

https://www.zoom.us/pricing/?zcid=1291&gclid=CjwKEAiA79zDBRCgyf2FgeiY-CESJABzr0BMqlmOOpccps-8FnhTaGz3e4pe424zQ7Uo09Bl_4YHthoCNhXw_wcB

I spoke with some others who participated and they talked that they found it more reliable than Google Hangouts.    Since the talk I was attending was on Accessibility, I wonder if Zoom is more accessible than other tools? and what affordances it offers.

 

For the Program at OU that is looking for a blended approach,  Zoom might be a good solution.

 

Upcoming CTE Fellow Workshop: Creativity in the Classroom

I am working with the Center for Teaching Excellence as part of the CTE Faculty Teaching Fellows..

The theme of my series is what will our students look like in 5 years – how do we need to change to be ready for them.. We have two upcoming presentations with one guest speaker that you can be part of..

Tuesday January 24th – we are having a public lecture at 7:15 PM in Room 334 in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education..

 

Rabbi Michael Cohen is known in K-12 circles for his workshops on creativity and sketchnoting.  He will give us all (both K12 and Higher Education) insight on how we can better reach students by incorporating creativity in the classroom.

Read more about him at:  http://thetechrabbi.com/

He is going to do a 1 hour workshop on involving creativity in teaching.

Tap Into YOUR Creative Mind

We are all creative, some artists, musical, and almost everyone even those who can barely get out a stick figure are visual learners. Come learn about how visual learners can be supported through creative projects, especially sketchnoting. Learn the creative end, the research, and most of all come ready to have fun!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | 7:15 PM – 8:15 PM
Room 334 in Collings Hall

If you will attend – please register here: (this will help plan for seating and deliver any parking information).

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tap-into-your-creative-mind-tickets-31064940072

Why this workshop for the CTE Fellow Program 

More and more students are finding the ability to incorporate creativity in their learning.  When they come to OU – will they be hitting a wall and forced back into traditional teaching methods?  Rabbi Michael Cohen motivates and inspires teachers to find ways to incorporate creativity in the classroom – and by understanding what students are doing before college – you can tap those experiences in your classroom projects.

MITE Conference – Just Arrived.

I currently just arrived at the MITE Conference  – Mobile Technologies in Teacher Education   http://www.mite2017.com  I am really excited to be here for a few reasons..

  • I am talking about things that I am passionate about with people who are also passionate.. These include:
  • Preservice teacher education
  • Use of mobile technologies in Preservice teacher education
  • Talking about topics like Coding, Credentialing, (Apple Teacher)
  • I am excited to learn about how they are approaching things and might get some new ideas.

Also CalState Teach is the host. http://www.calstateteach.net/  This is teacher education program that uses a lot of virtual technologies and online education. I am excited to learn some online strategies for use with the 21st Century Masters Program. (http://bit.ly/21stcenturyteaching )   I think I could learn a lot from them.

CalState Teach is also an Apple Distinguished Program and so I would like to see more what they are doing. Currently there are only a few ADP’s in Teacher Education Programs in the country.

 

I have three presentations:

3:00 on Friday about my Preservice Teacher Interning Study with experience sampling.

11:15 on Saturday -About the projects that my students create.

1:00 on Saturday – About a group of College of Education Faculty that I worked with to create digital content to share.

Two of them have iTunesU courses.. there will be a little more polish yet.. but here are the courses.

Preservice Teachers Technology Projects – 11:15 Saturday 

https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/enroll/DSP-XLE-HZE

College of Education Summit Courses 1:00 Saturday

https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/enroll/DXD-JXD-JTA

 

New 21st Century Cohort

I am super excited that we have 14 new 21st century masters cohorts..  it seems like it is one step forward and two steps back though..

I feel as though recruiting and student services is a place for us to really grow and develop and really successful programs invest in that..

I think it is  going a great second cohort as the first group finishes up. We have learned a lot and teachers deserve to have a concierge program as much as executives.

How do schools like Lamar do it?  How do they process all those people and make sure they get a quality education.

 

I took the Badging Plunge – Confessions of a Late Adopter

Okay.. here goes nothing.. I am using Badgelist, I am going to try to convert all of my exploration assignments into badges..   I have set them up as public badges on Badgelist.

Why public?

  1. It is free
  2. It is public and all things about creativity and 21st century learning is about public display.
  3. It is open and Open is what we should be modeling for our students.
  4. It allows for easier critique.
  5. It provides a public data point for our CAEP
  6. Students can link to it as part of their own portfolio and job application materials.

Since I have been so resistant to the idea of badging..  you might find it interesting to follow my first foray into the badging world..

The student badges will found at https://www.badgelist.com/EIPT-3043  

PS.. I did need to pull a few assignments back to Canvas because of Ferpa concerns  but large several step activities were broken down into steps.  For example – DonorsChoose critiques is a badge, but writing your own Donorschoose practice for a classroom you are observing is within Canvas.

Why Apple Teacher has changed my thoughts on Badging.

So at the end of the Fall 2016 semester I earned my Apple Teacher certification for 2016 in iPad, Mac and Swift Playground… I also required my students to get their Apple teacher badges for iPad  and encouraged them to grab more..

I will be honest, when Apple Teacher first came out, I was skeptical. I thought not another badging certification. I see many people talk about being Google Certified but they know the clicks, but not the pedagogy behind it.  I worried that it would weaken the distinction and all the steps that I went though to be an Apple Distinguished Educator but Apple Teacher actually changed my mind about badging in education, especially Ed Tech preservice teacher education and I want to share my experiences to tell you why.

My Skepticism of Badging

So let me give you a quick history. My Dean has been encouraging me to think about badging and credentialing for a few years now.  It was not terribly easy to do (but @Badgelist has really changed that) and I thought it was kind of insulting. would you expect a theories of education class to badge?  then why an ed tech class?   I talked several times to Rick West at BYU about it.. but still did not see its value – and had plenty of other work on my plate.

Apple Teacher

Then in Fall 2016, Apple Released Apple Teacher and I started to see the usefulness of it in a few ways.

1) It was free (a major plus for education)

2) It helped us to document what our students were learning in a transferable way to the real world..(ie.. Administrators got it) and we could help build student resume and portfolios.

3) It linked students to resources available throughout their device- and helped them to be lifelong learners and identify resources they could use in their future careers.

4) To my surprise the questions were both technical and pedagogical. It talked about how but also why you would use tools. In introducing it to teachers and students, it facilitated important pedagogical conversations about using technology for teaching.

So I investigated it further in a few ways..

1) I had one student do all the Apple Teacher certificates as a makeup assignment.  I asked him to review the process, keep track of his time, and tell me what he thought of it.. (This is an important step in that I am pretty knowledgeable on the tools and my time would not equal student time to complete) . He talked about how he had to use the books for some tasks and found himself jumping between devices to test out tools and find the solution.

2). I started taking a few tests myself.

3) I required students to do at least the iPad test after I found out how much time it took (less than 2 hours for each test even if they were unfamiliar with that app to begin).

4) I watched on social media as #AppleTeacher gained momentum – and I saw how  people were excited to share the credential and  how many schools were starting to use it as a personal or building-wide PD goal for teachers.

So what did I find out..

  1. the Apple Teacher questions lead us to a great conversation about assessment in class. . How can you assess skills with objective tests?  How do you support students in taking such a test?  How can 5 questions assess a complex skill.  Great teachable moments for future teachers.
  2. I failed GarageBand in front of my students – Yes humility is good.. and no I was not cheating the questions are randomized and they got different ones..  But it sure made the task more accessible to everyone.
  3. My students felt like they were walking away with something. One student said – It was great to see what I had really learned and how easy it was to complete. They liked that it transferred directly to their resume.
  4. Several students went to take on more tests because they could. I saw several students change their Twitter profile to reflect their accomplishment.

 

So I want to encourage my preservice teacher education educational technology colleagues to consider doing Apple Teacher with their students as a way to document their technology skills and to add to their portfolios and resumes.   You might ask, why I am not making the same endorsement of Google Certified Educator – it costs money – and I will mention it, but really can’t compel students to pay. It is less convenient and the time turn around to pass it, does not work as well with the traditional semester.   Also philosophically my goal is always to introduce to students what they can do, give them a taste, and information to go further. I view that test as an extension to the beginning activity.  My goal as a teacher educator is to get them to value credentialing and badging and then make it their own.

Why it Matters: 

I believe that this kind of badge based credentialing offers the first step in meeting the call to Action by the Department of Education for Teacher Education.  (See page 16 of their report from   http://tech.ed.gov/files/2016/12/Ed-Tech-in-Teacher-Preparation-Brief.pdf  Excerpted here:

This Badging and credentialing is the future of teacher education and this is an easy and free way to engage your students in it today for technology skills.

 

So how has this changed my view of on Badging?

The students liked it, and I realized that many of my assignments, I want students to do, but the paper they have to write is not the goal of the assignment.  I just want them to do it.  In the end the Essay ends up being a collection of disingenuous statements – (I am so thankful that Dr. Cullen made me participate in a twitter chat, now I know i will be a great technology using teacher).

So this Spring, I am going to give badging some technology skills a try.  What am I finding so far.. Badgelist seems easy to use,  and I am actually going to increase what I ask students to do.  I will be asking them to show more evidence of the activities (screenshots, selfies, videos) and will be able to ask them do more skills.   I will be cutting down on the disingenuous essays but increasing the public sharing of their work..

So spring 17 is my test, but I probably would not have tried going to badging had I not seen the positive reaction of my students to Apple Teacher..

Wish me luck!

Terri

VR In Education

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality is when a learner puts on googles and blocks out their reality to experience something in the virtual world. It is different than augmented reality because you block out your surroundings and just interact in the virtual world.

Virtual reality has come down in cost considerably. Most people think of very expensive solutions like Oculus Rift to experiences VR but so many now are accessible using smartphones and holders like Google Cardboard.

Here are some great apps that allow you to use virtual reality in Education

NearPod – Nearpod offers virtual field trips as part of their presentation software. Students can use Nearpod and iPad or a smartphone to explore sites all over the world.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nearpod/id523540409?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-8-43-16-am

 

NYT VR App https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nyt-vr-virtual-reality-stories/id1028562337?mt=8

The New York times has begun to publish virtual reality stories as part of their reporting. This is a wonderful way to bring your students into real world experiences beyond their classroom and geographical location.  I especially like the VR experience for a pilgrimage to Mecca.  You can use this app to help improve student empathy and understanding or larger global issues.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-8-51-35-am

CoSpaces.io https://cospaces.io/

I am very new to playing with this tool but this is one of the ones that I am most  excited about. Co Spaces is a virtual reality app where users can log on online and design their own Virtual Reality Spaces.

So why I am excited about CoSpaces –

I feel like this is the first accessible VR app where students can make their our VR. Also, they have now added JavaScript ability.  I love that this is a great way to take kids into coding.

I am really new at this – they added scripting 2 weeks ago.. (as you can see my birds are flying no where!!) But it is enjoyable, allows for problem solving, and allows for the great “Look what I made” moment. They have a lot of examples that students can use to problem solve and prototype. For example, to make my flock of birds fly, I used 1 bird and then modified the code from their example to make a flock.  Think of the questions I could ask – how do I get them into V formation? How do I get them to fly farther? What do the coordinates mean?

To talk with other educators integrating CoSpaces in their teaching, join their PLC on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/480579362131541/

 

To read more about VR In Education  Check out these articles

When Virtual Reality Meets Education

A research article and meta-analysis on virtual reality and education http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131513002108