The Change

Education must move with the times. What can be done to reach a technology-savvy generation that relies on media every free second of their time? In order to prepare students for the world we must embrace mobile learning. This will be a major benefit to education by reducing the brick and mortar borders of the schoolhouse and opening opportunities for personalized learning and worldwide connections. Research shows that “Station rotations keep students moving, keep them engaged, and give them more than one way to practice what they know (Creative Educator, n.d.)”. My original plan is to implement blended learning on my campus where students work in several different activities or centers, which includes whole group instruction, small group instruction, peer-to-peer activities, pencil & paper activities, and individual work on a computer or tablet.

 

What Worked?

Implementing the station rotation model has worked for the most part in the 5th grade class. The teacher loves being able to work with small groups and provide real-time feedback, answer questions, lend support, and direct the students to an online resource. The students in the class like the freedom they have as learners in this model. They also like the fact that they the teacher is not hovering over them or controlling the pace of their learning.

 

What could have been done better?

Of course, there are a lot of kinks that need to be worked out. There should be now surprise to know that the technology doesn’t work all the time. Another thing that can be done better is teacher support. Because some teachers are not “techy” they shy away from blended learning.

 

How to Apply Lessons Learned?

My 4dx, innovation plan can be found here. After these past five weeks there are some key things that I know must change in order for my plan to be successful.

 

My main goal was to implement an innovation plan that would incorporate blended learning into the classroom. Here are some of the changes I have made with my plan.

 

Starting at Ground Zero (The Task Force)

I must have a solid foundation. I have to make sure when trying to implement my plan I have key people on my support team: administration, teachers, students, parents, and community. Its not going to just take the support from the teachers and admin as I stated in my earlier plan, but all hands are going to need to be on deck as a support for this plan to be successful. This task force will:

  • Hold focus group meetings distribute surveys, and be mentors for those classes to ease the launch of this program.
  • Provide technical support to all participants.
  • Develop a clear vision for our innovation plan.

 

 

Clear Vision and Increased Collaboration

Originally, I was going to gear my blended learning initiative to one grade level. I think this plan can be implemented in grades K-5 one classroom at a time. In order for this to be successful we have to increase collaboration among the teachers.  “Successful collaborations happen when teachers work together to share the workload instead of doubling their efforts. From the delegation of tasks, teachers are also able to learn more from each other as they come back together to review and assemble their separate assignments into a cohesive lesson plan. (Jones, 18)”. Increased collaboration is essential as we learn from each other and move theory into practice while also sharing successful innovations from one class to another.

 

Professional Learning

“At its core, professional learning is the key component to improving educator practice and providing new perspectives on an ever-changing profession (Marcinek, 2015)”. The problem is that most teachers have not had adequate training to prepare them to use technology effectively in teaching. The lack of professional development focused around technology is a serious barrier affecting the fully implemented classroom with technology. Therefore, professional development for teachers becomes the key issue in using technology to improve the quality of learning in the classroom.

 

In my influencer strategy I stated that grade levels will meet before or after school on a weekly basis to develop ideas, answer questions, voice concerns, and see student progress but that must change. Here is how I would change professional learning.

Start by assessing the basic technology and technology integration skills of the entire teaching staff. Give teachers a self-assessment of what they know about technology, what they want to know, and how comfortable they are with technology at a whole.

Provide once a month training to fill in gaps and give teachers what they want. I feel to have several workshops available that would gear towards the needs of the teachers according to the survey. This will allow teachers to choose to attend workshops only in the areas where they need extra learning.

During the training there will be time allotted for teachers to use the technology. They will create real lessons and activities to use with their students. Doing this will help them see how technology will enhance their classroom.

These training sessions throughout the year will help teachers practice information without overwhelming them. The task force will provide follow-up materials, such as online tutorials, help sheets or short videos so teachers can review the training on their own if they do forget how to do something.

 

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • There will be continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project by the task force. This is necessary so if there are any concerns are improvements it will be identified.
  • Feedback from participating classes will be discussed at focus group meetings. Task group members can also voice their opinions about the plan which will produce collaboration.

 

References

 

Creative Educator. (n.d.). Blended Learning with Station Rotations. Retrieved from http://creativeeducator.tech4learning.com/2016/articles/blended-learning-with-station-rotations

Jones, L. (18, July 2014). The Power of Teacher Collaboration. Retrieved from Teaching Channel: https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2014/07/18/power-of-teacher-collaboration-nea/

Marcinek, A. (2015, June 14). Professional Learning Opportunities and the Teachers They Create. Retrieved from Edutopia: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/professional-learning-opportunities-teachers-create-andrew-marcinek

 

 

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Learning from Past: Literature Review

 

 

Technology innovations are happening around the world everyday. It is no secret that there is a need for an increase for technology in the classroom to be able to provide personalized, student-centered learning. This will also allow for engaging and collaborative learning. I created an innovation plan in 5305 that you can see here that I thought was good to launch. After being in this class and seeing the success and failures of others through research I can now see some changes that need to be made. Globally schools are jumping to mobile learning to equip students with skills they need to be successful in this evolving technology world.  The articles that I researched talk about how technology integration promotes student-centered learning,  the justification for use of mobile devices by students, and how professional development is essential for an any technology implementation to be successful. I have also been able to look at what worked, what could have been done better, and how can I apply these lessons learned to my plan.

What Worked

We all know that ICT (information and communication technology) is being used everyday around the globe to enhance student learning. There are a few examples that I felt work when implementing technology in education.

  • The eSkewla Project- A project that was based in the Phillipines which we all know is an area not flourishing in educational tools and opportunity. This plan to me worked because they didn’t start the implementation process until they had a solid foundation.  The involved parties saw the big picture with ICT. That is simply to make learning “interactive, flexible, and fun with the use of ICT” (p.18).  This project had its hiccups along the way with the training, infrastructure, outside parties that had doubts.  In the end there was community support, involvement and there was mobilization.  Because the focus of this program was the community, the instructional model, and required training made this program successful.
  • MoMath Project- Project based in rural South Africa. This program in my opinion worked because it had support from mobile companies and the community. Mobile learning in this region is small compared to other countries. This project was launched to bridge the gap with mathematics. To me this program worked for several different reasons.
    • Accessibility- This free service is accessible via a mobile phone and it gives students access to several exercises and allows students to collaborate with others, compare achievements and get guidance on forward. Without having to download any app, the service works on any phone and pc and is fully browser-based. It requires students or teachers to sign-up then pick their area of interest.
    • Understanding- Teachers can use the service to better understand their students’ competence and areas they need to improve.
    • Support- Government has completely supported this initiative, 3 top mobile networks support this initiative.

This project is also easily monitored by teachers and students, it curriculum is aligned with its educational standards, and it allows students to excel at their own speed.

Since my innovation plan promotes blended learning I found it interesting that BYOD projects were the most successful in blended learning and distance learning. “Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) program, a movement that has been gaining popularity over the past few years. Schools allow students to use personal devices for curriculum-related activities. The staff often employ rules regarding when a device can and cannot be used, and more often than not, digital citizenship is a hot topic for discussion. Many see the use of technological devices in class as the natural way to move forward and keep up in a tech-dependent world. So far, BYOD seems to be the most cost-effective way for the majority of students to work together using personal tools with which they are already comfortable” (Beach). How schools respond to the growth of mobile devices will affect generations of students and their readiness for college and the workforce. It will also impact how well teachers, administrators, and staff do their jobs. We must all do our best to ensure that accessibility and quality remain top priorities as technology develops.

 

What Could’ve Worked Better

When I think about projects that could’ve worked better the one that sticks out to me is the The IPad “debacle” in the LA Unified School District. There are a lot “wrong” that happened with this project.

  • Poor planning
  • Teachers were not trained enough or not at all on how to use the IPads and curriculum
  • Students learned how to bypass the security features on the IPads and use it at their own disposal to surf the internet
  • Administration and faculty support was not there
  • Too connected to vendors (Apple & Pearson)

Don’t get me wrong I applaud their ambitious effort to provide all its students with IPads. If executed correctly this could’ve really given them a lead in the race to implementing technology.

How can I Apply these Lessons Learned

  • Gain support-If I don’t have support from the administrators and teachers my initiative for blending learning might not get off the ground. I can do this by showing them through my research why implementing technology in the class is a step in the right direction to enhance student learning.
  • Plan- It has been repeatedly found that careful planning is a requirement for the effective implementation of technology.  However, technology is often promoted as the solution for improving learning before teaching and learning needs are even identified. In order to effectively target technology to support teaching and learning it is necessary to engage in planning at the state, school district, school, and classroom level.  (Means, 1993). I need to make sure that I have a solid foundation in place and that can only occur with proper planning. Making sure that my infrastructure is set, materials are in place, support from teachers, etc.
  • Professional Learning– Teacher development is at the core of educational innovation” (West, 2013, p. 13). When trying to push technology implementation we fail to neglect the teachers. Yes, we want our students to be successful and be prepared. How can we do that if the teacher isn’t prepared? We have to provide our teachers with meaningful, fun professional learning. Teachers need training on how best to implement and utilize technology in their classrooms. Great teachers help create great students. In fact, research shows that an inspiring and informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement, so it is critical to pay close attention to how we train and support our teachers.

In conclusion, mobile learning is another gateway for students to get need classroom information. Mobile learning has also open the doors of communication between the students, teachers and even their peers.  There is a growing need for digital content in the classroom. “Technology is a critical part of learning and teaching in today’s classrooms,” commented Alicia Levi, PBS Education. “Teachers today need access to high-quality digital content to keep pace with schools’ investment in interactive whiteboards, tablets and other devices to maximize the educational benefits of technology in classrooms.” (PBS.org, 2013). Embracing mobile learning is growing worldwide as you can see in some of my research articles. “Teachers are integrating digital learning into their classrooms more than ever. Nearly half (48%) of teachers surveyed reported using technology for online lesson plans, and just under half use technology to give students access to web-based educational games or activities (45%). Additionally, teachers use online video, images and articles (43%). Sixty-five percent of teachers reported that technology allows them to demonstrate something they cannot show in any other way.” (PBS.org, 2013).

It is now being seen across the world how mobile learning equips students with much needed skills for the future. Several studies have been done to explain the benefits and some of the issues with mobile learning and how it impacts student performance in the classroom. Yes, the research says a lot, and now I just need to “tweak” my plan just a little to meet the needs of the teachers.

References

Baran, Evrim. 2014. A Review of Research on Mobile Learning in Teacher Education. Retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/17_4/2.pdf

Chambers, Bradley. (2014, August 28). L.A. cancels iPads-in-the-schools program: a failure of vision, not technology. Retrieved from http://www.macworld.com/article/2599988/lausd-ipad-cancellation-is-a- failure-of-vision-not-technology.html

Fritschi, J. & Wolf, M.A. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in North America. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002160/216083E.pdf

Hylen, Jan. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in Europe. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002161/216165E.pdf

Isaacs, Shafika. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in Africa and the Middle East. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from http://tostan.org/sites/default/files/resources/unesco_turning_on_mobile_learn

Johnson, Ben. (2014, September 16). Why Quality Professional Development for Teachers Matters. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-quality-professional-development-teachers-matters-ben-johnson

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NCM Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report- 2015-k-12-edition/

Kamenetz, Anya. (2013, September 30). The inside story on LA schools’ iPad rollout: “a colossal disaster.” Retrieved from http://digital.hechingerreport.org/content/the-inside-story-on-la-schools-ipad-rollout-a-colossal- disaster_914/

Lapowsky, Issie. (2015, May 8). What Schools Must Learn from LA’s iPad Debacle. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2015/05/los-angeles-edtech/

Mahaley, David. (2013, August 11). iPad Educator Professional Development – The Three R’s. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2013/08/ipad-educator-professional-development-the-three-rs/

Means, Barbara, et.al. Using Technology to Support Education Reform. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Research (1993).
Networks for Goals 2000 Reform: Bringing the Internet to K-12 Schools, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL)

PBS.org. (2013, February 3). PBS Survey Finds Teachers are Embracing Digital Resources to Propel Student Learning. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from http://www.pbs.org/about/blogs/news/pbs-survey-finds-teachers-are-embracing-digital-resources-to-propel-student-learning/

So, Hyo-Jeong. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning in Asia. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002162/216283E.pdf UNESCO. (2009).

eSkewla: Community-based E-learning Centers for Out-of-School Youths and Adults, Philippines. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001833/183307e.pdf

Venezky, Richard. (n.d.). ICT in Innovative Schools: Case Studies of Change and Impacts. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/site/schoolingfortomorrowknowledgebase/themes/ict/41187025.pdf

Vracar, Amy. (2015, February 24). 3 Reasons Why Professional Learning Matters. Retrieved from https://www.teachermatch.org/blog/3-reasons-why-professional-learning-matters/

West, Darrell. 2013, September 17. Mobile Learning: Transforming Education, Engaging Students, and Improving Outcomes. Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/09/17- mobile-learning- education-engaging-students-west

Beach, M. (n.d.). How Schools Are Implementing ‘Bring Your Own Device’. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from TeachMag: http://www.teachmag.com/archives/7706

PBS.org. (2013, February 3). PBS Survey Finds Teachers are Embracing Digital Resources to Propel Student Learning. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from

 http://www.pbs.org/about/blogs/news/pbs-survey-finds-teachers-are-embracing-digital-resources-to-propel-student-learning/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix it All Together

Throughout this course, I have been introduced to several studies and videos that give reasons for better professional learning for educators.  In a most recent feedback from my professor it was mentioned that I needed not to be so generic in my outline and goals. I never defined what my professional development was about. That’s one thing I love about this course is the feedback that will make my goals better and understandable by others.  So my professional learning will consist of helping teachers on my campus being comfortable and excited about technology in the classroom. Most teachers on my campus tend to be uneasy when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom.

I had to take a look at how we currently do professional development and see what the research had to say about its effectiveness. I then created a PowerPoint presentation Be the Change: Renovating professional development, that summarized why we should and how we can transform professional learning to increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement using Gulamhussein’s 5 Principles of Effective PD. Next, I created an outline for my PL. Although my outline included too many definitions and not enough details, it did in due course help me formulate the final plan seen below.

Professional Learning Plan

 

Audience & Leadership

My professional learning plan was developed for the faculty so they have the opportunity to participate effective professional development that positively impacts their professional growth which will also enhance student achievement. I intend to lead the sessions with the help of my colleagues.

Goals & Outcomes

The goal for these professional learning (PL) sessions is for all participants to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to begin to integrate technology in their classrooms for collaboration and other learning activities. My Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is that at least one teacher per grade level will adopt blended learning practices and design and implement collaborative activities using technology in their classes.

Instructional Design

3-column table

Learning Plan

 

Duration

The PL sessions will begin in the Fall and span over a 5-month period, October 2017 – June 2018. There will be 1 face-to-face session per month where the participants will meet in the computer lab for 45-60 minutes.

Monthly Sessions: Proposed Schedule

  • October 2017
  • December 2017
  • February 2018
  • April 2018
  • June 2016

*All session times at 4PM, Computer Lab*

Ongoing Support

I will be instructing and leading the face-to-face sessions therefore I will also participate in the discussions, evaluate assessments and provide feedback and support to all of the participants.

 

Active Learning & Modeling

  • The professional learning course includes authentic activities that the participants can create and use in their classrooms.
  • The participants will collaborate and share their experiences whether good or bad in the monthly sessions
    • The participants will get hands-on demonstrations from those with advanced knowledge of technology.
    • Peer presentations/showcase and practice implementation strategies.

 

Collaboration

Participants will collaborate and share during the monthly sessions

 

Resources

  • Desktop computers with internet access
  • Software & apps
  • Videos, articles, and training session resources

 

 

References:

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf

 

Professional Learning Plan Outline for Transforming Professional Development

Professional learning for teachers must evolve in order to make the biggest impact and create significant learning environments suitable for today’s learners. Now that you’ve had a chance to view my presentation and see how we can transform professional learning using the 5 Key Principles of Effective Professional Development, it’s time to plan out how professional learning (PL) should look like here in the organization. The instructional design of Professional Learning (PL) using Big Harry Audacious Goal (BHAG) and the 3 Column Table is in progress; below is an explanation and outline of what our alternative professional learning will do and contain.

PL components: (5 Principles)

Duration

  • Multiple sessions offered throughout the year
  • More time spent on specific concepts and skills

Ongoing support

  • Staff coaching
  • Peer coaching/collaboration
  • Discussions – face-to-face and/or virtual discussions collaboratively with each other, meeting weekly to discuss challenges and solutions

Active learning environments

  • Onsite workshops – hands on, demonstration of implementation scenarios
  • Record different lesson have them available
  • Self-reflection

Modeling

  • Video demonstrations
  • Faculty allowed to observe and interact with other faculty implementation and practices
  • Peer /student feedback

Content

  • Increase content knowledge and attentiveness of constructivist learning and blended learning models
  • Develop supplemental resources to curriculums

Who will lead what components?

  • My colleagues and I will lead the PL effort
  • Transform our traditional workshops
  • Early adopters/lead faculty head up small groups throughout departments and campus

Audience and their needs?

  • My colleagues and administration
  • Understanding of 5 Principles of Effective PD framework
  • Demonstration of the effective PL model using the 5 principles
  • Faculty
  • Training and ongoing support
  • Effective PL designed for their specific needs
  • Learning modules/sessions

 Resources

  • Gulamhussaein’s 5 Principles of Effective Professional Development
  • My 5 Principles presentation
  • Fink’s Self-directed guide to Designing Courses for Significant learning including design phase worksheets
  • Survey for feedback

 

Gulamhussein, Allison. “Teaching the Teachers: Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability.” Center for Public Education. Center for Public Education, Sept. 2013.

Be The Change: Renovating Professional Development

As educators we all know that we need professional development that is effective and lends the right amount of support to educators. Do we actually get this?  WHY is effective professional development is so important? Effective professional development is essential to teacher effectiveness which will produce successful students. So how do teachers feel about professional development?

We all know that the traditional approach of professional development usually is the “sit & get” model. In my opinion this model is ineffective at helping teachers reach their full potential and actually improve their pedagogy. Reading the required readings this week in class it is obvious that we should adopt the new “go & show” model of effective professional learning.

This week’s assignment we were asked to convince our administration and colleagues that this is what our organization needs to do.  So take a look at the presentation below. It provides facts from the research and further explains how we can be the change, break the cycle and transform our professional learning.

Course Design Reflection

Developing an online learning environment is not easy because it takes a lot of thought and planning to make sure the learners in the course reach the learning goals and objectives offered. Applying an instructional design strategy can help you build the course with content, activities, and assessments that engage the learners and enhance the learning process as well. Part of the design process is integrating theories of learning that best support online learning environments. Learning theories such as congnitivism, constructivism, and connectivism are good theories to model when designing online courses for higher education, continuing education, or professional development.

According to Bates (2015), congnitivism focuses on the mental processes that are considered essential for human learning. This means when we get new information we process it by measuring up to our previous knowledge. Bloom’s taxonomy is based on this theory where the cognitive domain is made up of levels of thinking which include: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The idea is that the learner moves through the process from understanding to eventually creating as knowledge develops. This way, the learner is actively taking a part in the learning process, while changing and updating the knowledge they already have. (Dabbagh, 2016).  Constructivism is somewhat similar in that knowledge is processed cognitively and it is constructed not acquired (Bates, 2015). Constructivisms represent more of a social process to learning and understanding through social interaction supported by reflection, analysis, discussion and relationships. Connectivism is consists of a web of connections and the flow of information across them. Knowledge is attained by forming, cultivation, and maintaining connections for continual learning where the knowledge is kept up to date. Connections are made and maintained as needed.

In the instructional design process, it is important to consider that students have different learning styles. Therefore, it is a good strategy to use a combination of learning theories in order to better personalize the learning experience for the students. My course, Blended Learning in a Nutshell, was developed with a combination of these so that the learners could engage with the content and each other while participating in authentic tasks that were meaningful to them.

Throughout my course development, I have referenced my Understanding by Design’s (UbD) Backward Design  (see the original blog post UbD) that outlines the desired results, assessment evidence, and learning plan. Advances in technology have changed the way we learn. As educators, it is important to bring up to date our role in the classroom and the teaching methods we use in order to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need in order to be successful in this technology-filled, digital world. Content and activities that are structured in an online learning environment, whether fully online or blended into face-to-face classes, helps us tap into the wealth of knowledge and rich media content available through online technologies and the Internet. Lastly, online learning environments give the instructor the ability to transform their traditional role as a deliverer of content into a facilitator of learning that fosters peer-to-peer learning and knowledge building.

Overall, studying instructional design for online learning has taught me that online courses and online learning environments can be developed for significant learning to take place. Furthermore, I have learned that no matter how well your course comes together it is always a “work in progress”. Online courses will need to be appraised; revised and updated constantly as time goes on. I believe that  student and peer-to-peer feedback are essential for continuous improvement. In closing, the critical need for instructional design in online learning in the 21st century and beyond is irrefutable.

Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Dabbagh, N. (2016, Nov. 02). The Instructional Design Knowledge Base. Retrieved November, 2, 2016 from Nada Dabbagh’s Homepage, George Mason University, Instructional Technology Program.

 

Let’s Blend!!!

This past week I have been busy entering in the last portion of my course that I outlined in last week’s post, “Almost There”  I completed the discussion board forums and set up all of the assignments for the course. Our discussion forum will be the collaborative piece of the course. All other assignments throughout the course are done individually be each learner.

I can say that it has been fun designing this course and it is not an easy task. Meyer’s Universal Design for Learning – Theory and Practice has really been a valuable tool for planning my course.

You can sign up for my course below.

Link to class: https://www.coursesites.com/webapps/Bb-sites-course-creation-BBLEARN/courseHomepage.htmlx?course_id=_450253_1

In addition to my course I had to think of two courses in my school that I can redesign into online courses.  In the state of Texas students take the STAAR test. The STAAR test is a series of state-mandated standardized tests used in Texas public primary and secondary schools to assess a student’s achievements and knowledge learned in the grade level. Per Texas law, a fifth-grade student must pass the STAAR exam in mathematics to be promoted to sixth grade. Students who do not pass the exam must take an accelerated math class to review concepts and later demonstrate understanding through a retest. Students are allowed three attempts to pass the STAAR exam before being retained in fifth grade.

With that in mind one course that I would redesign in an online course would be Math. I would present an online course for 5th grade math that can be used in a blended classroom. I will also use it for tutorials or Saturday school for those struggling students. I think with the support of math online and to go along with in classroom assignments will allow teachers to give multiple avenues for their students a chance of better preparation for the STAAR test.

Another course I would redesign is Social Studies. Most kids think that history is boring. I think with an online course I would be able to bring history to life with supplemental videos, interactive timeline of events, etc.

 

Summarizing Creating Significant Learning Environment

When improving student learning I feel digital tools are the best to use.  But even with these tools we have to focus on what expressive learning is and how to adopt that in our classrooms. When learning becomes the center of our focus everything else will fall into place. The five weeks in this class I have been able to study meaningful learning and essential motivations to help develop my learning environment.

In my first week, I studied what made for the most significant learning environments. I learned that learning happens naturally in different situations all the time. During  the second week I researched authentic learning and created a learning philosophy. The third week focused  more on the aligning outcomes assessments, and activities that I want my learners to achieve over a year. After aligning goals, assessments and learning objectives in the fourth week I created a learning plan. In the fifth and final week I devoted my studies to Carol Dweck and her research on growth and fixed mindsets.

These past five weeks have given me a chance to reflect on how to create a significant learning environment for my students. Students want to be challenged and successful. Most importantly I have had a chance to reflect on the fact that not only students but even teachers want to learn. Students need to come first when planning learning environments. Teachers need to take the time to learn their students so they can create best learning environment possible.

As I use my innovative learning plan to guide student learning, and sharing my plan with others, I will center my focus on my students and how they learning.  When we get to know our students, we can figure out what digital tools are needed to enhance learning. Out students should always be our focus, and we should provide them with natural learning opportunities.

 

Growth Mindset

Image result for fixed and growth mindsetThere are many people who have had the “I can’t” feeling. I’ve met people who are not good at public speaking, sports, and thinking about myself not good at math. But that is a fixed mindset. After finishing this week of class I will strive to keep and continue a growth mindset. Instead of saying what I “can’t “do I will say I can’t do it “yet”.

Carol Dweck has done widespread research on fixed and growth mindsets. In the video shown in class Dweck describes the difference in each mindset, how they impact our motivations, and how we word our praise can influence these mindsets. A fixed mindset is the belief that we have an intrinsic ability level, and that once we begin to fail we have reached our peak. This mindset can lead to some people not wanting a challenge, playing the blame game when we mess up, and don’t take kindly to criticism. A growth mindset is the belief that there is growth when we make mistakes, and when we have determination and continue to practice we grow. A person with a growth mindset considers failure a step towards success. A person with a growth mindset will take on new challenges, and ask for help and will take criticism. With this mindset, these people will be successful in whatever the put their minds to. A growth mindset is important to have because it can be the difference between overall success and failure. An individual with a fixed mindset, will complain, blame, and possibly quit when they fail because they view failure as a shameful thing.

Dweck offers a great resource to get people started on a growth mindset with four steps.

  • Recognize the “voice” of a fixed mindset.
  • Make the mindful choice to develop a growth mindset.
  • Answer fixed mindset thoughts with growth mindset answers.
  • Live out a growth mindset.

As a person who believes strongly in the power of a growth mindset, I will always encourage my students to build their growth mindsets as well. I will help them work through the four steps that I mentioned above. I will have them voice their fixed mindset thoughts aloud, then answer their thoughts with growth mindset answers while encouraging them to make the choice to have a growth mindset. And finally challenge them to act out their growth mindsets. Making this a practice will eventually become a natural thing for them. When developing a growth, mindset is it must be maintained constantly. It is very easy to fall back into a fixed mindset when we don’t focus on growth and reflection. That is the main reason I will encourage my students daily to continuously develop their growth mindset. When a student feels like he or she has messed up I will keep them focused on a growth mindset that will help keep them strong-minded and become successful.

Another important step that I will use to develop a growth mindset in my students is to introduce them to the word “yet.” I encourage my students to change their thoughts from “I can’t,” to “I can’t do this yet.” I try to start with something that interests my students, and will engage the students.

Developing a growth mindset is a huge part of my innovation plan. When the school year starts, I will help students learn about growth and fixed mindsets, and to help students understand that they have the choice to think one way or the other. I will allow students to reflect and to grow in areas that they demonstrate weaknesses and challenge themselves.  With a growth mindset, our students will be able to self-confidently handle learning and any other challenges that come their way.

References

Dweck, C. (2006-2010) How can you change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. http://mindsetonline.com/changeyourmindset/firststeps/index.html

Dweck, C. (2006-2010) Mindset online. http://mindsetonline.com/index.html