Blog

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Symbaloo

As a college and career advisor for high school students and college students, I assembled websites and tiles to reflect the following categories: College, Career, and Military resources, Financial Aid, Student Accounts, Skill-Building Resources and Study Materials & Test Prep. These are the most commonly addressed topics in my work and the websites I chose are utilized on a daily to regular basis by myself and my students. Since students are to enroll, enlist, or be employed upon graduating high school, the tiles and folders primarily focus on providing informational and exploratory resources. Additionally, the tiles provide tools in further achieving students’ chosen paths through financial means, skill-building and study materials. The college folder is perhaps the most comprehensive since the majority of my students choose to enroll, however, all folders will likely grow over time and much of the content in designated groups overlaps with other categories. These tiles are as much for me as for my students. I can quickly access and share the resources with my students, but I can also utilize them to develop instructional content and stay up to date with application procedures. In the coming months, I plan to continue to add tiles and sub-categories, further extending and highlighting the valuable content each tile represents.

https://www.symbaloo.com/mix/webmix1325

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Technology Proficiency: Popplet

My artifact demonstrates not only the Popplet skills I have developed, but also how this technology tool can further be utilized by myself and my students in and out of the classroom. In creating this particular Popplet, I exhibited learned abilities to make, edit, rearrange, move, and delete popples, change color and text, add images and videos, and connect, interact, and present the popples. I also have visualized the mind-mapping process by expanding the popple web from broad application to specific examples. After identifying the purpose for my popplet, I identified three areas of application: planning, teaching, and learning.

I can use Popplet to formulate short term daily or weekly lesson plans and activities or loosely brainstorm and map long-term curriculum ideas. As I plan ahead for lessons, timing, and content, Popplet allows me to visualize my thoughts and organize, add, and rearrange as necessary. When teaching, Popplet can be used to demonstrate brainstorming and mind-mapping techniques to my students, introduce or review key characters and concepts, and visualize assignment instructions. My examples include a class compare and contrast activity, character web, and journal prompt instructions. Lastly, students can utilize Popplet for learning through independent or collaborative, group Popplet creations and presentations.

One of the most valuable aspects of Popplet is the ability for students to synchronously or asynchronously work together on Popplets and develop presentations. This means in and out of class students can collaborate and easily view what and how their peers are contributing. While some of my examples are more specific and partially portrayed than others, this aligns with the flexibility Popplet affords in the classroom. This tool prompts myself and my students to construct generalizations and progressively develop and build upon our initial ideas and understanding. This is further amplified through the ability to make visual connections and incorporate multiple medias which is why I look forward to integrating Popplet in my planning, instruction, and activities.

You can view an image of my Popplet artifact below or follow the link to interact with the elements of my Popplet: http://popplet.com/app/#/5224037


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Examining the Benefits of Technology

Many factors can contribute to students’ engagement, performance, and learning. Students who develop a sense of agency are more likely to experience academic success (U.S. Department of Education, 2017). When students are presented with opportunities to make decisions about their learning and to practice non-cognitive competencies, their agency for educational capability and self-directed learning is strengthened (U.S. Department of Education, 2017). Technology provides a multi-faceted support for learner agency. The most recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (2018) revealed that ninety-seven percent of 3- to 18-year olds had access to at least one type of device in their home in 2016. The overwhelming majority of students had a smartphone or computer, and the three percent who did not, have access to school, classroom, or library devices. An increasing number of districts and states are adopting 1:1 student-device ratios in schools (McKnight et al., 2016). As students have rapidly expanding access to technology, teachers can and should leverage technology to improve and reinforce student achievement.

McKnight et. al (2016) highlight several key ways technology enhances the educational experience including student accessibility, responsibility, communication, and purpose. With access to technology, students also have access to instruction and content, anytime, anywhere (McKnight et al., 2016). This accessibility also benefits students with special circumstances or needs, increases students’ independence and engagement, and provides a wider variety of topics that can appeal to students’ interests (McKnight et al., 2016). The incorporation of technology gives students more choices and control in their education, and more responsibility for their learning process and performance (McKnight et al., 2016). Technology platforms enable collaboration, polling, performance analytics and progress monitoring, all of which provide ongoing and immediate feedback, as well as, consistent and transparent communication (McKnight et al., 2016). Lastly, by “using technology, students can authentically extend the purpose and audience of their work,” globally connecting, sharing, and learning with others far beyond the classroom walls (McKnight et al., 2016, para. 41). Increased accessibility, responsibility, communication, and purpose by means of technology can contribute to a student’s sense of agency and success.

I do not know if churches need to adopt digital capabilities to maintain a congregational body, but I do believe that the churches that do keep up with technology trends are more relevant and likely to attract members and experience growth. For the same reasons schools are and should integrate technology and learning, I think churches should be digitally capable. By embracing technology, churches can provide accommodations for those with disabilities, share opportunities for growth and service, promote open and transparent communication, and reach a global audience.


References

Mcknight, K., O’Malley, K., Ruzic, R., Horsley, M. K., Franey, J. J. and Bassett, K. (2016). Teaching in a digital age: How educators use technology to improve student learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(3), 192-211. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1080/15391523.2016.1175856

National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Digest of education statistics: 2017 (NCES 2018-070 January 2018). Retrieved from  https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/index.asp

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology (2017). Reimagining the role of technology in education: 2017 national education technology plan update. Retrieved from https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf

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The Social Media Influence

Social networking is currently trending, and while specific platforms may come and go, the general concepts of social media, posting, sharing, and liking, do not appear to be going anywhere soon. “Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram are increasingly integrated into daily life, and frequently extend beyond social interactions to serve as common sources by which people obtain information on news, history, politics, etc.” (Sohoni, 2018, p. 1). Students are actively engaging with social media outside of the classroom and teachers can, and should, harness these relevant, real world technologies for educational purposes. Facebook groups and pages can become central hubs for class announcements, reminders, and discussion. Students and teachers can utilize YouTube as a host for video blogs, instructions, and projects. Blogs like Tumblr, WordPress, and Wix can become collaborative forums for sharing content and responses. Students can use Pinterest to find and collect ideas, inspiration, and images.

Social media is fueled by “the satisfaction of spreading ideas, creations, or resources within a growing network of influence” (Burbules, 2016, p. 561) which fundamentally aligns with many of the core principles of education and learning. When incorporated into the physical or virtual classroom, the dynamics of social media provide opportunities for meaningful connections, feedback, participation, and contribution, as well as, diverse encounters (Greenhow & Lewin, 2015). Additionally, using social media as a learning environment can build upon students’ interests to support the development of influential media creation and distribution and digital citizenship skills (Gleason & von Gillern, 2018).

While the potential benefits of social media in education can be far-reaching and meaningful, there are also challenges and causes for concern. Assignment assessments that involves social media can be difficult to measure for quality and technical support may be inadequate if teachers have little training or experience (Sohoni, 2018). Social media has also been known to be a harmful, but effective forum for cyber-bullying, harassment, and “trolling,” especially when users are protected by anonymity (Burbules, 2016). Social media is a valuable, largely influential tool, with the power to uplift and to demean, and must be exercised with care and caution for both the academic and the emotional well-being of students. Proactive and preventative measures, combined with monitored and regulated actions, can establish a healthy, safe space for academic learning and enrichment.

Lastly, just as there are opportunities and challenges for social media in education, the same trains of thought can be applied to churches’ use of social media. Burbules (2016) appropriately asserted that social media is not merely a one-way tool that we use to, but rather, it can influence and change us. As the Body of Christ, the Church is not something that should be shaped by the ways of the earthly world. However, with intentional and conscientious approaches for accountability, churches can and have found social media to be an effective means of growing and supporting their community of followers.

References

Burbules, N. C., (2016). How we use and are used by social media in education. Educational Theory, 66(4), 551-565. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1111/edth.12188

Gleason, B. and von Gillern, S. (2018). Digital citizenship with social media: Participatory practices of teaching and learning in secondary education. Educational Technology & Society, 21(1), 200+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/apps/doc/A524180840/AONE?u=vic_liberty&sid=AONE&xid=f0f56a3e

Greenhow, C. and Lewin, C. (2015). Social media and education: Reconceptualizing the boundaries of formal and informal learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 41(1). https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1080/17439884.2015.1064954

Sohoni, T. (2018). Harnessing the power of social media in the classroom: Challenging students to create content to share on social media sites to improve learning outcomes. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 30(1). https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1080/10511253.2018.1538420

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Book Chapter Review

Chapter 10: Applying the Segmenting and Pretraining Principles: Managing Complexity by Breaking a Lesson into Parts

This chapter explores two principles, segmenting and pretraining, provides psychological reasons and evidence for each principle, and concludes with what is unknown about segmenting and pretraining. Segmenting is when a continuous lesson is broken down into smaller segments. If a lesson has a large number of concepts that interact with each other, segmenting can help simplify the material so it does not overload the learner. Multiple studies have demonstrated that learners who received segmented instruction performed better than those who received continuous instruction. Pretraining ensures learning comprehension regarding key concepts, including names and characteristics. Like the segmenting principle, pretraining can help prevent cognitive overload when learning complex material. Pretraining allows the initial processing of key terms to be done prior to the start of the main lesson. Several experiments have shown pretraining groups outperforming groups without pretraining in e-learning and multimedia environments. Further research on segmenting and pretraining could yield optimal sizes of segments, where and when to divide a continuous lesson, how extensive pretraining should be, and in what situations should key concepts be taught within the context of a lesson.

When cognitive processing is overloaded, learners are unable to fully engage with and understand the material at hand. However, these two techniques help learners to manage essential cognitive processing by dividing or redistributing the cognitive load. While I previously understood the dilemma of exceeding a learner’s cognitive limits, this chapter provided the appropriate terminology and techniques, as well as, specific applications in distance education and instructional design. Now knowing these strategies and how effective they can be, I can more mindfully and intentionally utilize them to simplify and organize the delivery of complex information. This is relevant to our ISD project design. Understanding that some of the terms and practices in our project may be unfamiliar or complicated for the intended learners, we plan to introduce key terms at the beginning of the module, then break down the rest of the content into digestible parts with simple steps. In any situation where I am explaining or teaching a topic or skill, to a student or peer, I can implement segmenting and pretraining to more effectively communicate the information. By being aware of the complexity of the content, as well as the learner’s prior knowledge, I can instruct or inform them in a manner that will not confuse and overwhelm them.

Reference

Clark, R. C. and Mayer, R. E. (2016). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.