Image of journal article

Image of journal article

I’m excited to announce that I have a new article published with my good friend Michael K. Barbour. This is some work that Michael did while he was still in Michigan, and I was invited to do some writing with him to ground the data in existing literature about mobile technologies.

Here’s the abstract:

The iPad is a tool that could change the way in which teachers prepare and deliver instruction in the K-12 environment. But, while proponents tout its capabilities, school administrators run the risk of purchasing yet another tool without understanding its potential impacts on the teacher, students, and classroom environment. This study used iPads to implement a four-month professional development program aimed at helping teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. The iPads were deployed to classroom teachers in the science department at a suburban high school. Professional development was tailored to the teachers’ interests, and was followed by individual interviews by the project leader. Results of the study showed that while teachers are open to new technologies, their focus is more on teaching considerations than on professional development. The study also indicated that teachers have difficulty considering incorporating a single device into a classroom of multiple students. It is recommended that this study be replicated, without the technical problems, on a larger scale and in subject areas beyond the sciences.

If you would like a copy of the article and can’t seem to get access, just let me know.

teacher technology thursdays

Later today, I will be conducting a professional development workshop for teachers in our area and particularly those in the Shelby County Schools district. While I’ve been using QR codes for a while, the augmented reality apps I have only dabbled in.  So, I have spent quite a bit of time working through these to see what’s possible.

Earlier this summer while I was working with some teachers as part of a grant, I found out about the ColAR App, which is just fun.  I’ve also heard of the Aurasma app, but I spent a lot of time researching this to see what was possible, as well as what I could do.  I’m really pleased to see what I was able to come up with.

Here’s a brief description of the workshop and the slides I will be using:

Drop in for this fast-paced and hands-on workshop to see some of the most current and exciting technologies available for teachers and students. We’ll take look at QR codes (those square thingies on signs and posters) and augmented reality, which let’s you merge the real world with the digital one. In addition to learning how to do use these technologies, we’ll discuss how they can be leveraged for teaching and learning, too. Feel free to bring your own iPad or iPhone or I’ll have one for you to borrow.

[slideshare id=27280401&doc=you-gotta-see-this-forss-131017010438-phpapp02]

 

weighting rubric

PBL Rubric
I use project-based and problem-based learning a lot in my own teaching, as well as research it, recommend it, and present workshops on it.  Consequently, I am often asked about assessments and grading that come along with using PBLs and inquiry.  In conversations that I have with teachers and faculty members about using rubrics for grading student products, or learning artifacts, I consistently find there are two challenges that make rubrics not as effective as they could be.

Misalignment

The first challenge that I often observe or hear about is a misalignment between what the teacher or faculty member actually cares about and what is listed as criteria on a rubric.  For teachers, I usually see this as a mismatch between what they have listed on their lesson plans for the objectives or goals of the lesson and then what criteria they have listed in the rubric.

I try to remind teachers and faculty members that the objectives and goals of your lesson should be directly reflected (read as “obvious”) in the rubric.  That is, using the language from Bloom’s Taxonomy, such as “compare and contrast” or “analyze” or “explain,” that is embedded in your objectives or goals should be embedded overtly in the criteria for your rubric.

Often, I find that teachers and faculty members list criteria that are part of the requirements for the artifact, such as number of slides, number of pages/words, or spelling, but they fail to adequately list the very criteria for which they designed the lesson.  So, don’t forget to include criteria that delineate to students the quality you expect in their comparisons, analyses, or explanations.

Weighting

The second challenge I observe when teachers and faculty members use rubrics is inadequate weighting of criteria.  This is evident in a rubric when a student can do average or better (so maybe a “C” or better) with your rubric and still fail to understand the primary course content.

In my research, students told me it was easier to get a good grade with a project than it was on a test.  This calls into question the rigor of our rubrics.

Where I see this most prevalent is when teachers and faculty members use rubric maker tools.  I am a huge fan of tools such as iRubric, Rubric Maker and Rubistar.  I frequently recommend these tools to teachers as a beginning to building their own rubrics (see an overview at Edudemic).  I also always recommend that rubric designers (that’s teachers and faculty members) handle weighting in one of two ways inside of these tools.

Add a Column

The first way to handle weighting in a rubric is to add a column for weighting, such as a percentage or with points.  (I know this seems a little obvious.)  Many rubric tools, however, do not include this in their settings.  So, you have to go in and add this column.  I also encourage you to make sure that you weight most heavily what you care about most.  If the “scientific knowledge” or “analysis” or “articulation of symbolism” is what you care about most, make sure it is weighted appropriately.  Again, I believe that a student shouldn’t be able to do average or better on a performance-based assessment without demonstrating the knowledge and skills of the assignment. There is a great post by Pamela Flash that walks you through step-by-step of building a rubric and weighting is the second step.

Add Criteria

The second way to handle weighting is to add more criteria for the knowledge, skills, or requirements that you care most about.  For example, if you are emphasizing “compare and contrast,” then you may be able to break this down into more criteria, such as “identified…” and “supported…” and then “compared…”  If there is scientific knowledge that you are expecting students to “explain,” then you may be able to break this down into specific criteria.  Again, you’re adding criteria in order to increase the weight for the set of knowledge or skills that you care about.

Bonus Tip!

While I encourage teachers and faculty members to share their rubrics with students ahead of time (as well as consider having students collaborate in the creation of the rubric!), I also think it’s a great idea to turn the rubric into a self-check checklist for the students prior to submissions.

Following Up!

  1. Here’s a great article by Madeline Marcotte about rubrics and the pros and cons of using them.
  2. There’s another great post by John Larmer and the folks at BIE on how to use their rubrics for 21st Century Skills and PBL, so you may want to take a look at that one.
  3. Finally, Grant Wiggins offers up a thoughtful post on how rubrics can be created and how they should be used.  It’s thoughtful in that it offers some philosophical viewpoints about when and how rubrics should be used and what their purposes can be.

I would love to hear your thoughts on rubrics and how they work for you and what you struggle with when using them.  Please share your thoughts and any additional resources in the comments below. Good ideas are always welcome!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Kathy Cassidy via Compfight

Image (cc) from Common Sense Media

In a course I’m teaching this fall for in-service teachers, I majorly upgraded the course content. One of the units is focused on digital citizenship and extends the content in a previous course that focuses on literacy, safety, and ethics. So, I thought I would share 10 of the best starting resources I found on the Web for teaching about and integrating elements of digital citizenship into curricula. These resources represent the most current thinking about digital citizenship and reflect the most recent revisions.

  1. Digital Citizenship: Nine Elements — Brief and quick explanation of all 9 elements of digital citizenship. At the bottom is one of my favorite organizations of these 9 grouped by respect, educate, and protect. Nice overview
  2. “Digital Citizenship Survival Kit” by Craig Badura — Make digital citizenship concrete to teachers and students with these everyday visuals.
  3. “How To Tackle Digital Citizenship During The First 5 Days Of School” by Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith — How to get started without being stressed out.
  4. Five-Minute Film Festival: Teaching Digital Citizenship by Edutopia
  5. Digital Citizenship: Scope and Sequence — See what digital citizenship might look like across different grade levels. Get a sense of what is age appropriate and how a grade band, such as Grades 6-8, might plan across their school.
  6. “Keeping Students Cybersafe” by Anne Mirtschin
  7. “Copyright 101 for Educators” by Wesley Fryer — Understandable and appropriate for teachers. I like the emphasis on being a professional and what that means.
  8. 5 Lesson Ideas from Hoover High School P.A.S.S. — These are 5 everyday situations that students can respond to.
  9. “Chapter 5: Literacy in the Information Age” in Technology to teach literacy: A resource for K-8 teachers. — Shameless, gratuitous plug here: I wrote a chapter in this textbook that looks at media literacy and information literacy, as well as safety and ethics. So, I think it’s a great place to start if you trying to get a grasp on all of the pieces. (Psst. If you would like to see a review copy of the chapter, let me know. I will see what I can do for you.)
  10. “Digital Citizenship” from 21 Things 4 the 21st Century Educator — This is one “thing” inside by Macomb ISD, Ingham ISD, Shiawassee RESD, REMCAM‘s teacher professional development series. This one has some great resources collected together, including ones for bullying and a digital citizenship curriculum.

Bonus! Here’s #11!

Dr. Bill Taylor, a Professor of Political Science at Oakton Community College, wrote a letter to his students regarding academic integrity. I really like this approach about integrity the student-teacher relationship. I think this also feels more personal than speaking to the students (I’m not sure why, though.). Read the letter, and feel free to share your thoughts on Viral Notebook. I would really like to see some examples of this at the K-12 level. Do you know of any that are public?

What Can You Add?

Are there other great resources or ideas for digital citizenship that you can add? I would definitely love to see and share them with my students. Add them in the comments or tweet them out (@michaelmgrant) or Google+1 them out for us.

I wanted to let everyone know that I’m going to be presenting a new workshop for K-12 teachers coming up soon.  This workshop is going to be fun and hands-on.  We’re going to look at some exciting technologies, including augmented reality (AR) and quick response (QR) codes. Specifically, we’re going to look at how these technologies can be used with mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet computers, and I’m betting at least one or two of the things we’ll try will blow your mind.

The date and details are listed below:

You gotta see this!  Augmented reality & QR codes in action

Location // Room 320 Ball Hall, University of Memphis
Time & Date // 4:00 – 5:30 pm, Thursday (October 17, 2013)

Drop in for this fast-paced and hands-on workshop to see some of the most current and exciting technologies available for teachers and students. We’ll take look at QR codes (those square thingies on signs and posters) and augmented reality, which let’s you merge the real world with the digital one. In addition to learning how to do use these technologies, we’ll discuss how they can be leveraged for teaching and learning, too. Feel free to bring your own iPad or iPhone, or I’ll have an iPad for you to borrow.

The space for this workshop is limited, and the registration will open up on September 15th.  (I will send out some info when this goes “live.”)  If you have any questions, just let me know.  Use the comments below or email me.

I know that a number of students are looking to complete their graduate certificate in K-12 instructional computing applications, and due to low enrollment this summer, we had to cancel IDT 7063.  However, we will be offering this course during the fall 2013 semester.     Here is a brief description of the course.

IDT 7063 – Seminar in Instructional Computing
Catalog Description:  Analysis of issues and trends related to instructional computing and instructional technology in K-12 classrooms.
Prerequisite: Six hours of coursework in IDT.
Course Dates: August 24, 2013 – December 12, 2013
Instructor: Dr. Michael M. Grant (me)

IDT 7063 in Fall 2013 will focus on leadership for instructional technology in K-12 schools.  IDT 7063 will align with the tenets of ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for teachers (NETS-T) and for technology coaches (NETS-C). In addition to examining current trends and issues with integrating technology, such as one-to-one programs and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD/BYOT) policies, we will consider broader grade-level or school-level issues, such as digital citizenship curricula, levels of technology integration, funding initiatives through small grants, and teacher professional development.

This course is currently undergoing a major revision and update to reflect the most current issues, trends, and skills appropriate for technology integrators.  So, the syllabus is in flux. If you have any questions, though, please feel free to email me.  I hope you’ll consider registering for this course and please share it with anyone you feel may benefit form this information.

This Mess We're In
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Toni Blay via Compfight

Over the past 5 or so years, a number of colleagues and myself have discussed the research around learning styles.  We have lamented the continuing attention that has been given to learning styles, particularly in teacher education.  This is of great interest to me. My dissertation research focused on the use of abilities and included a review of learning styles research.  As I wrote in my dissertation research:

Some of the strongest support for integrating learner differences into the classroom has the least research to endorse its use.  The intuitiveness of learner differences is a moving factor.  While we recognize individuals in a multicultural view—gender, ethnicity, and learning disabilities, for example—personalizing education to an individual seems as logical as any other accommodation that may be made.

Since my research a decade ago, though, there has been tremendous rigorous analysis of learning styles research. However, I continue to see blog posts by teachers, professional development specialists, and folks with huge followings on Twitter writing about learning styles.

In the past few days, my colleague Dr. Chuck Hodges at Georgia Southern University collated a number of the research resources we have discussed over the years into a Slideshare deck.  I encourage you to read it through and share it.  I’ve embedded it below, too. The slidedeck is pretty easily digestible.  It provides some of the strongest evidence we have about whether learning styles matter.

[slideshare id=18939517&doc=learningstyles-130416140105-phpapp02]

Intuition & Honesty

As a follow up, I completely “get” the intuitive desire and pull of learning styles.  It helps us to explain the uniqueness and individuality of learners — whether they are 8 years old or 40 years old.  As an instructional designer, I understand that it helps us believe we have taken in to account the variety of learners as spelled out by a learner analysis. And to be honest, I teach along side other teacher education faculty, and I know that learning styles as a topic is still being taught inside of our curricula. And again, if I’m being honest, I was an adamant believer in learning styles, previously, because I considered myself a “visual learner.” So, my thinking about this has had to evolve.

Believe me, I get it.

However, I implore you to consider the possibility that it may not matter.
For me, the baseline information is “learner preferences” are not determinants, or absolutes. So, developing content, or teaching in a specific manner, for a specific learner doesn’t make a difference.  Using multiple instructional strategies, multiple examples, multiple non-examples — yes, these will most likely matter.  However, using the same strategy for the same individual continually, just doesn’t matter.

If you’re so inclined, I would love to have your thoughts below.

Our University of Memphis Instructional Design & Technology program has been attending the Mississippi Educational Computing Association conference this week in Jackson, MS, as a vendor to promote our program.  Plus, we are presenting a couple of sessions, too.

Freeways to mobile teaching & learning
In this hands-on session, we’ll take a look at Freeways for teaching and learning that are appropriate for a variety of mobile computing devices and platforms.
Check out the slidedeck in Slideshare

[slideshare id=10523927&doc=mstc-2011-mobile-workshop-for-ss-111208214231-phpapp02]

 

60+ Apps in 60 minutes or less
As current and former classroom teachers, we love to integrate technology into our classrooms. in this fast-paced session, we’ll share 60+ apps (!) that we have found to be helpful for teaching and learning.
Check out the slidedeck in Slideshare

[slideshare id=10508178&doc=60appsin60minutes-111208000146-phpapp02]

 

Midsouth Technology conference header

Today starts the Midsouth Technology Conference hosted by Memphis City Schools. I am proud to say that the UofM Instructional Design and Technology program faculty, students, and alumni are offering 14 presentations over the 2 days of the conference. This is up from last year .

You can see our schedule of presentations inside a Google Docs file at http://bit.ly/mstc2012

Also inside the schedule of presentations, we have linked up our slide decks and resources for the presentations.  We will continue to update this fill with links, so you can get access to them.

childish_Calendar

I just received the announcement and call for proposals for the Midsouth Technology Conference.  It will be December 6-7, 2012, this year and at the Cook Convention Center downtown.  The “Call To Present” will be on the Memphis City Schools website soon (this is the site but it still has the 2011 info), and they would like for you to sign up and register to present at the conference. Once again Memphis City School teachers who present will be provided with a substitute for both days if needed.

As I did last year, I am planning to attend and bring a large number of student presenters with me.  I will again put up a Google Docs document to share with everybody and we can work out what presentations we would like to submit.  Let me know if you would like to be part of the group!