Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week 8 Part 1

What are, in your mind, two unique or interesting or different or noteworthy ways Instructional Design/Technology has been used in business & industry that you believe could be usefully applied to your own professional work? Explain.

In business and industry, instructional Design/Technology has had to be more aware of the changing social culture factors that prevail in our country. Like business, care should be taken when designing technology in education that will not offend groups of people, but also to try to incorporate things that will make people from different cultures feel more at ease. In education idea of culture must be expanded to include poverty. Just as an environmental analysis may be done to remove cultural elements and localize the instruction, students deserve the same consideration in order to more accurately assess a given task.

Another way instructional design/technology used in business that could have a place in education is with advanced evaluation techniques. By using this evaluation method incorporating stories, teachers could get valuable feedback and evidence that the training they received is making a difference. This model fits right in with the data driven systems that are in place in education these days. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 7 HPI/HPT and Podcast

As I read Chapter 14, the Development and Evolution of Human Performance Improvement, I sometimes found myself thinking about my students in this role and other times I thought about me and my colleagues. I recently sat in on a data conference with my school principal to go over my students’ many test scores as their success is a component of my evaluation process. I don’t know how I feel about this whole process. I know some teachers who have been skating by for a long time. But for the most part, the teachers I know are professionals who care about their craft. I frequently hear, “Teaching is an art! How do you evaluate that? How can business models be used as tools for evaluation?” Whether we like it or not evaluations are in place and we have no say in the matter.

In looking at figure 14.2 something jumped out at me. This same something has been bugging me for the past couple of weeks. Our evaluation is missing an incentive to do better in our job. What upper management sees as an incentive is the sheer fact that we get to keep our job. I feel like some hire-ups took this Human Performance Theory and cut out the parts that did not work for them. I think if schools are going to use business models then they should look at the whole model.

It is not my intent to start spouting off about not making enough money, but knowing you are appreciated by your superiors goes a long way to foster a community based on respect. I think more school systems should look at adopting a full HPT plan. However, I do not believe it should be on the backs of students in the form of merit pay. There has to be ways to show teachers they are respected, valued, and encouraged to remain an active learner for the sake of our students. 

Mike Flanagan, State Superintendent for Michigan has an occasional podcast based on various topics affecting education. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Week 6

Assume that you are trying to teach learners how to calculate and compare the unit costs of various sizes and/or brands of the same product. Select 3 of the theories, describe the nature of the instructional activities that you would design if you were adhering to that theory as you were planning the instruction.
Behavioral Learning Theory
The objective in my lesson is to have students practice their new skill of calculating price per ounce. The students will use an online game in which their goal is to get the best price for the items on a shopping list. As students shop in the store and place their items into their shopping cart either the item will drop through the cart and a buzzer will sound indicating they picked the wrong brand or a cha-ching sound will be heard and the item will stay in the cart. To make sure the students didn’t just guess during their shopping trip, the students will have to submit their price per ounce per item at the check-out.
By having a response to the correct and incorrect answers, the students will receive immediate feedback to reinforce their work. By adding the end component of having to submit their price per ounce per item, hopefully it will deter students from just dropping items into their carts and guessing.
Situated Learning Theory
The objective in the lesson is for students to practice their new skill of calculating price per ounce. Students will take on the role of the purchasing manager for the local food bank in a computer simulated game. They will receive a budget, shopping lists, and 5 stores to purchase the items on their shopping lists. Their goal is to come in at or under budget.
Schema Theory and Cognitive Load

Students will receive instruction on how to figure out price per ounce using an online tutorial showing step by step how the calculation is performed. A narration will follow an animated graphic for solving the equations. As the tutorial progresses the student will have opportunities to interact and practice the steps in a gradual process and progress to just the presentation of the problem.


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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Week 5: Photos and Questions

A.   Describe at least three possible reasons why the project had very little effect on the instructional practices employed by the teachers. Each of the factors mention in this chapter as to why earlier forms of instructional media ( i.e films, radio, television) had very limited effects on instructional practices.
Like many practices in education, schools jump on board without making sure all of the people involved in the execution of the new practice are willing, equipped, and able to go along with the new idea. Teachers, whom typically end up being the front men for the new idea, are not always invested in ensuring a favorable outcome. Another factor may be the prevailing attitude of, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Change is difficult for many people. I am always very impressed when I see a seasoned teacher light up at something new and innovative. This is not a common attitude. Furthermore, when teachers feel like they are forced to try something which is out of their comfort zone or requires additional. Teaching is an art. No artist likes to be dictated to n how to handle their medium.

B.   Describe at least two strategies that could have been employed to help mitigate the factors that you think contributed to the minimal effect this project had on instructional practices. Indicate why you think each of these strategies might have been helpful.
First and foremost I think that getting teachers on board early in the process of researching a new system is important. Many teachers feel they are only called in after things have already been decided, their opinions being only a taken into consideration for show. By having teachers represented early on in the process shows a measure of good faith and allows for meaningful input from those who will be on the front end of implementing the new process.
Secondly, proper training of all who will be using the new system offers more support. Many times a trickle down method is used in training. A few people IT and some administrators get trained, then, to save money they distribute the information to other staff. Eventually, newcomers are left to fend for themselves. Yes, I am living it right now!

Getting all the stakeholders invested early and proper training can go a long way towards building confidence in any new system. 

Photo Sharing:
I have used different photo sharing sites. My first was Photobucket was used to share pictures of my knitting. Later I tried Flickr. I also use Picasa, by Google, to organize my pictures. It also has a feature allowing me to upload pictures and to share them. This made adding pictures to my blog very easy.