Archive for July, 2013

Ed-Tech Terms

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The intersection of school and technology is littered with buzzwords that are always changing. I am continuously finding myself searching the meaning of new tech words being thrown around. I found a cheat sheet at edtechmagazine.com featuring 24 frequently used terms that teachers and other educators can reference when participating in discussions about the latest trends in educational technology.

Handwriting

Friday, July 26th, 2013

A high school teacher wrote an assignment on the board, white chalk on black slate. When the kid in the back row asked the teacher to read it aloud, the teacher was worried that he might need glasses. After asking, the student’s answer shocked the teacher, “I can see fine; I just can’t read cursive.”
Is handwriting like camera film-so last generation? With the use of keyboards, smart phones, and touch screens at our finger tips, is teaching handwriting important in this day of technology? I ponder that question as I inquire to whether we should be spending the time in class on these repetitive skills?
I’m a teacher so I know my colleagues still teach correct handwriting, including cursive, but students use it less and less as they get older. Technology replaces penned homework, reports, communication and affects every aspect of our lives. Good handwriting is no longer necessary. You really can get by today without having to write much by hand. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a job that still requires good penmanship. We don’t need to write by hand, so we don’t.
Signing one’s name is still used to verify identity and approve documents. Another argument for handwriting is preventative, should you lose electricity or tech device malfunctions, writing is the backup. Some fear that we rely too much on machines that don’t always work.
With the rise of technology, handwriting is becoming obsolete. But should we let it disappear? Or should we spend classroom time teaching and practicing what some call an art?

Graphite

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Majority of teachers and administrators believe it is important to use technology in the learning environment. Many teachers agree they would like to use more in their classroom but demand surpasses usage. The largest obstacles are funding, lack of time to implement, and training. For myself, I also found it’s tough to find good stuff. There is so much out there, the time spent looking for high quality educational technologies is exhausting.
I recently came across a jewel of a website called graphite. It is put out by Common Sense Media, an organization committed to helping kids, teachers, and families manage media and technology. Graphite is a website that objectively rates and reviews educational technologies for learning potential. The team is comprised of early childhood experts, doctorates in education, and teachers with hands-on classroom experience. It is a site created by teachers for teachers with NO ADVERTISING. Another plus for this site is they tag each product for subject, skill, and grade level and then map them to the Common Core. “Rigor with a side of reality” is what they call their secret sauce. Check it out at http://http://www.graphite.org//.

Instructional Design Specialist Position – Marygrove College MAT Program

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Marygrove is currently looking to hire an Instructional Design Specialist for its online, Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) program. This position is primarily responsible for taking course content developed by the MAT faculty and creating the courses in the Blackboard environment. It involves course design expertise so that content is optimized/packaged for usability and a better student experience. 

The Instructional Design Specialist oversees the development (in Blackboard) of new online courses for Marygrove College’s MAT program to ensure consistency with the online learning principles established for the College. This person also provides recommendations on course structure and activities to meet established learning outcomes based upon contemporary principles of instructional design. The Instructional Design Specialist will interface with the MAT Academic Director and other Subject Matter Experts at the College to determine appropriate instructional strategies and approaches to serve multiple learning styles within the online environment. The ability to develop interactive, web-based learning modules as well as the ability to create collaborative and discussion-based learning opportunities within online courses is highly desired. This position will work closely with and coordinate the activities of the course development team at the College. Applicants will be required to submit a portfolio of course development work.This person acts as a liaison between Blackboard Technical Support (CARETECH), MAT faculty responsible for course content as well as the content development designer(s).SPECIFIC DUTIES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

  • Work collaboratively with subject matter experts to identify and determine appropriate learning technologies, content delivery strategies and develop high quality, interactive online course offerings based upon analysis of learning goals
  • Work collaboratively with the program development team to plan, develop, test and deploy custom enhancements to the Learning Management System to realize the online learning goals of the College.
  • Manage course development timelines from inception to completion to ensure delivery and availability of online courses required for students of the College.
  • Responsible for the evaluation of all online course offerings and monitoring of determined success measures
  • Conduct research on emerging educational technologies, especially those relating to online education, and make recommendations for new software solutions as appropriate
QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Bachelor’s degree in educational technology, instructional design or related field required
  • 3-5 years’ experience in web-based course development and/or multimedia development
  • Extensive experience with learning management systems (e.g. Blackboard, Moodle, etc.)
  • Experience and demonstrated competency with both Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Thorough knowledge and understanding of Web 2.0 and associated social media tools and their potential application in supporting the online classroom
  • Extensive experience with principles of contemporary instructional design
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to use instructional authoring tools (e.g., Camtasia, Captivate, Articulate, etc.)
  • Experience with online and interactive simulation development
  • Ability to use online virtual conferencing software (e.g. WebEx, GotoMeeting, etc.)
  • Strong understanding of adult learning theory and how it applies to online education
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and successfully complete tasks according to established deadlines
  • Prior project management experience preferred
  • Strong organization, self-motivation and analytical skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, collaboration and teamwork skills
  • Strong written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Online teaching experience a plus
  • The ability to responsibly handle sensitive and confidential information with discretion
  • Should be committed to a culture of diversity and equality
Applicants for this position should submit a cover letter outlining salary requirements, resume and contact information for three professional references. All applications should be sent electronically in MS Word format to Karen Cameron, Communications & Marketing –  Marygrove College at kcameron@marygrove.edu. For questions, call Ms. Cameron at 313-927-1446An equal opportunity employer, Marygrove College is committed to fostering diversity in its student body, faculty, and staff.

Connecting with Parents

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Communication with parents is vital and considered a necessity for good student/parent/teacher relations. I have often pondered what best practice is (technologically) for parents to be involved and informed in the daily events of their child’s learning.
Here are a few top apps and tech solutions that are trending in the classroom and helping parents get more involved:
Skype: Skype lets parents join in classroom events like story time or special presentations; it can also be great for overseas military parents or parents/grandparents who live far away who can take advantage of being involved without being physically present. Skype can also be a helpful tool for working parents to attend parent-teacher conferences.
Facebook/Twitter: Use social media to keep parents in the “know” regarding their child’s progress, homework updates, project deadlines, school news, or to use as a simple and reliable alert system. Keeping parents up-to-date on class happenings by staying connected is the key.
VolunteerSpot: Eliminate the use of paper notes being sent home and lost. VolunteerSpot is a simple online signup that makes it easy for teachers to set up schedules and activities and for parents to choose an activity/spot that fits their schedule with just a click of a mouse. Auto reminders and calendar syncing help parents keep their commitments.
Pinterest: A virtual pin board for classroom inspiration, Pinterest offers a great way for teachers and parents to build community and share ideas. Invite parents to create and share pin boards with links for educational apps, favorite books, vocabulary games, science fair ideas, etc.
Edublogs: A free and safe blogging platform for teachers, students and school communities. Edublogs lets the teacher easily create and manage the blog with complete control over posts and comments including content filters and password-protected sign-in procedures. Post videos, photos, links, and educational resources – parents will enjoy the current content and feel more informed and connected to the classroom.
While technology is becoming more mainstream in our culture, the challenge I struggle with is what to do with the families that don’t have access to technology or are interested in it?