Beyond the Classroom
What qualifies someone to be called a leader is their ability to influence other behaviors to produce change (Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan & Switzer, 2013). To lead others, I used the tools that the Digital Learning and Leading Master’s program has provided to provide teachers with ways to innovate their own classroom. I used components of the 4DX (four disciplines of execution), Influencer, and Crucial Conversations. Putting these resources into action, allowed other teachers to witness how these useful tools were critical in putting an innovation plan into place.
“Change is the end result of all true learning” (Buscaglia, n.d.). To provide an environment where students are not just regurgitating facts, but understanding concepts on a deeper level, we as educators must be constantly changing our After extensive research, I decided the most ideal project to implement would be blended learning with station rotations, combining both online learning with traditional methods (Horn, & Staker, 2015). This access to technology allows students opportunities for differentiation through a wide array of learning activities. Once the plan was developed, I wrote a literature review, and promotional video to further elaborate on my idea. I developed goals to further structure the blended learning model.
Regarding my innovation project of blended learning, I was able to implement the plan the fall of last year. Throughout the year I made several changes and continued to build upon the course modules. Next year we will be using different curriculum, so most likely the lesson videos I created, I will have to start from scratch. I have set goals next year to add more differentiation for students. This will include more flexibility and choice for students when conducting assignments. Creating these menus is quite time-consuming, but I am hopeful that I will accomplish these goals. I will be attending training this summer, to learn how other teachers have provided more opportunities for their students using technology. In addition, I will be using more technology websites, such as flipgrid, and nearpod. I have found that students can get quite bored without constantly revising and using different technology platforms.
If you want to help prepare students for the future, you must teach them to learn how to learn and how to be flexible and adapt to a new learning environment (Harapnuik, Thibodeaux, & Cummings, 2018). If it weren’t for this DLL program through Lamar University and the COVA (Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic learning) model, I don’t believe I would be close to completing a Master’s Degree. It was never something I anticipated on achieving, with a math and science background, I didn’t believe a traditional master’s program with only writing papers would be a possibility for me. The first assignment I remember feeling overwhelmed at first at the overabundance of choice, but then followed by relief. The relief of not being forced to write a paper because I was given the choice to present the information on any platform. I created a PowerPoint which I turned into a video. I had never done a voice-over or written a script, so it was a new endeavor. The thing that I was most fascinated about in making this video was that I learned more through having choices. By not writing a traditional paper, I not only learned about the content of the class but how to use technology to make a video. Looking back this was a very primitive way to make the video, but spending long hours and weekends on this assignment, I felt an accomplishment. To me that is what the COVA model and a significant learning environment are all about, it is not about choosing the easiest path, but combining what you know with what can learn to take ownership of your learning.
The main way I communicate with my PLN’s is through Twitter. I have subscribed to several educational networks that post often. Following these communities on Twitter has provided me with updated ideas to use in my classroom, and innovative technology. These ideas have been beneficial in regards to how to best implement my innovation plan of blended learning. I have been able to get tips and suggestions on how to effectively use blended learning in the classroom. I haven’t been sharing as often this year as years past, so I need to work on that. I used to post student projects that students were currently working on. Next year, I plan to work more on producing ideas versus consuming ideas from other teachers. I also will be attempting to get my blog post published that I have been working on in this class.
When done correctly, using media can be a much more powerful way to engage an audience than just words. The seven C’s: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, courteous, is an excellent way to make your point effectively (Mind Tools, 2019). Specifically, I found clear and concise out of the seven C’s the most important. Often I feel that someone spends too much time emphasizing the point, or they haven’t decided which side they have committed to, which adds to the confusion. Moreover, it is important to make a great impression when pitching an idea. To consider pitching your idea as a blog post, with a strong beginning and then additional clarification (Post, 2017). Making the video for this week, I believe is strengthening our ability to decide the most important parts that we want to address, and how to effectively follow through with our publication. If we start off our idea strong, and then back up with the additional 7C’s the message will be delivered effectively. In addition, research shows that shorter videos are much more likely to be watched (Guerin, 2012). The majority of the audience only has the attention span for a few minutes at best. This lack of focus makes it important to engage your audience at the beginning of the video to encourage the audience to continue watching. I have found that when videos are longer, students may use the technology to watch at a faster pace to get through the content quicker, or just stop watching completely.
I decided to use PowToon for the making of this video. I have decided for future projects if there is any video footage I am embedding, PowToon is not a good choice. Often, the browser crashed when I uploaded videos and I had to problem solve to fix this issue. If this happens to you, clear out your browser history in Chrome, and it should allow fewer glitches. I debated starting over, but I just was too far along. Please let me know what you think!
Video Link: http://www.bridgetsgallagher.com/publication.html
Guerin, E. (2012, August). Adelie Studios. Retrieved from http://www.adeliestudios.com/business-video-length/
Mind Tools. (2018). The 7Cs of Communication. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_85.htm
Post, J. (2017, January 30). Business News Daily. Retrieved from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3937-elevator-pitch.html
Incorporating videos into the classroom using screen capture is an easy way to enhance activities, and allow the teacher to move around the classroom while other students are watching the lesson (Dunbar, 2014). After reading the articles its apparent how rapidly technology is changing. Very few teachers are using the software that Dunbar suggested, and have moved to online options such as screencast-omatic. These online resources are free, easy to use, and lack issues. Every teacher at our campus has a video connected to their computer and can use any free online resource to insert audio and video into their classroom. The videos can be uploaded to the website or directly into YouTube to save space on the district's computers. In addition, when teachers are producing their own content through screen capture there is audio created will less likely violate any copyright infringements. Teachers can spend the time necessary to make a video without the concern or if their source is allowable laws.
I am planning on submitting a blog-style article to Edutopia because I like the informal blogging style, but more importantly, I have used many of their articles to gather ideas for my classroom. I do think I have been a major consumer for the last year and would like to communicate and share what I have learned from this Master’s program. Here are a few articles that I found applicable to my classroom and helpful in shaping my blog.
Putting Learning First with New Tech Tools: https://www.edutopia.org/article/putting-learning-first-new-tech-tools
3 Ways Tech Integration can be Detrimental: https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/3-ways-tech-integration-can-be-detrimental
Blended Learning: Combining Face to Face with Online Learning: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/blended-online-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron
We can not 100% protect ourselves from the government or other organizations from our private data and information. However, we can take steps to ensure our information is not released. One thing we can do is to be alert and conscientious about whom we are sending our information to (Federal Trade Commission, 2012). It is important to store and dispose of personal information such as Social Security card or other sensitive documents. Maintain appropriate security on computers and keep passwords private, to protect against hacking or others stealing information. Lastly, be careful on social media not to overshare or post too much information about yourself that can be easily obtained.
The most valuable action I have taken to keep up with current trends and educational technology tools has been to work on my Masters in Digital Learning and Leading. This Master’s program has provided valuable videos, articles, and other resources. It has been an incredible journey to learn and collaborate with other colleagues. A previous class taught me the importance of becoming part of educational communities. To keep up with the current educational trends I have signed up for a few educational organizations newsletters such as ISTE, and I follow multiple educational resources on Twitter. Staying connected to see what other teachers are doing around the world has been informative and inspirational.