Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Essential Questions

Weekly EQ

Week 1 - 1/5 -Where does teaching fit into learning and what is the role of a teacher? A facilitator? An educatinal or instructional designer?

I think that teaching and learning is a shared experience or collaborative learning. The OMET program, as well as researching mounds of literature for my action research project, has given me a new perspective on this subject. The role of teacher and learner is reciprocal wherein both participants contribute to each other’s cognitive growth. Students are taking on more responsibility for the education. As this occurs, the teacher becomes more of a facilitator providing direction rather than mere instruction. Skilled teachers are also motivators, creating learning experiences that enrich the mind and engage student participation.

Week 2- 1/12 - What is backward design and how do we use it promote learning success?

Traditional teaching focuses too much on the mere coverage of a subject but a results-oriented design concentrates on selected, more important aspects of the topic. The textbook becomes a resource and not a syllabus. Backward design, a three-stage model, begins with identifying the desired results, determines acceptable evidence and the plans the learning experience and instruction. This method enables better student performance by defining what we want the student to understand and be able to do upfront. Backward design almost forces the teacher to think like an assessor in order to produce a higher-quality design. The key to backward design is that students understand the big ideas at the core of the subject and are able to demonstrate their understanding because a clear purpose and performance goals have been established throughout their work.

Week 3- 1/12 During the first stage of backward design, establishing goals or intended outcomes is critical- how are these constructed for a course, curriculum and program?he same learning experience, what were your desired results? Why did you choose these results?

The construction of the Goals should not be geared toward student understanding in Stage One of the UbD design template. It is important in this first stage of the design that the teacher has a firm grasp of the performance goals, understandings and essential questions. In order to overcome the challenge of the “Expert Blind Spot” when designing for teaching and understanding is to “see things like a child” (Wiggins, pp.76). It is essential for the teacher to have a framework in order to prioritize and make choices when designing for understanding. By using the three ovals organizer, the teacher can lay out a plan that can help students comprehend the big ideas and also to see their inherent value. The outer oval identifies what students should be familiar with; the middle oval enables the transfer of knowledge by accomplishing key complex performances of understanding; and the inner oval, is where the “Big ideas will anchor the course” (Wiggins, pp. 72).

Week 4- 1/26 How do we use essential questions to provide students with learning opportunities that map back to our goals or intended outcomes?

The best questions, those that lead us to the “heart” of things, spark meaningful connections from prior experiences and cause us to rethink what we thought we understood and ask more questions (Wiggins, p. 107). These essential questions have transfer value and require “core content” that link to prior knowledge (p. 118).

Week 5- 2/2 What role and value do educational standards play in our design of learning experiences, programs or curricula?

Education today demands formal accountability—state standards. Reliable assessments are required need to be aligned with these high standards. State standards provide validity and offer good evidence to stakeholders in judging student understanding of a subject. Only by using backward design--knowing the desired result for the learner, evidence of the student’s knowledge of that desired result and assessments that provide appropriate evidence for those desired results, can we have a true understanding of genuine performance (Wiggins, p.155).

Week 6- 2/16 STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDATIONS One of the key challenges K12, higher education and corporate/government education faces is incorporating industry standards in the development of learning activities, curriculum and training. There is often a debate about whether standards are good or bad for education, and ultimately how we can measure the effective use of emerging technologies through such standards. As one team, you must come to consensus on the appropriate role of standards in education and must provide an example of a “good” standard in K12, higher education and corporate/government education. This may seem simple but there are a couple of rules for coming to this consensus… Rule #1. You final product should be a brief statement (no more than a paragraph) on the appropriate role of standards in education. Do not restate what you know or what is reality; instead create your own team recommendation. You should then list the three examples of standards, I per industry and no more than 2 sentences on why you chose that standard. Rule #2. You must use at least 5 different collaborative technologies to come to this consensus. Rule #3. Everyone must support the final consensus. It may not be every individual’s personal opinion, but each cadre member must feel comfortable with accepting the final recommendation. Rule #4. Everyone must participate.

1. What challenges did you face in getting to group consensus in a short amount of time at a distance? We didn’t come to a group consensus. Basically the earlier session abdicated it position to the later session. We did not have a complete agreement because the final product was not viewed and agreed upon by all. What we did have is mutual trust and respect. Therefore cadre 11 was able to complete the assignment professionally and in a timely fashion. As far as the challenge of shortness of time and proximity, Web2.0 tools and the willingness of the Midwest and East coast cadre members to stay up late overcame these constraints.

2. How did you overcome these challenges? See above.

3. What technologies worked better than others? Why? All Web2.0 tools (TI, Wiki, email, Skype, etc.) were needed to complete the task. Skype worked best for the break out sessions, TI brought us all together in a familiar electronic environment and the Wiki got us thinking.

4. Do you think you truly came to a consensus? was everyone actively involved? If so why? If not, why not? As I said in my response to question #1, no we did not come to a consensus but we did come to an agreement to relinquish editing rights to the last man/woman standing (midnight). But we met the objective of “each cadre member must feel comfortable with accepting the final recommendation.” Everyone, to my knowledge, was actively involved. Thank goodness we have some people that enjoy taking the lead and others who are perfectly willing to follow, but all are thinkers and doers. This allows for a fairly harmonious collaborating environment.

5. And finally, why do you think I did this activity in this way? I am not exactly sure. I think you “designed” this activity in such a way as to combine everything that we have been learning thus far in the OMET program. It was not that “simple” of a task because of the constraints of your four rules. If this had been a standard EQ and handled as individual responses (as we are use to) it would have been a much easier assignment. But instead, you decided, almost last minute, to switch it up. Although this appeared to be a last minute decision on your part, I could tell this was well thought out and a purposeful assignment. I don’t think this activity would have worked this well in early Fall when we were new to the program.

Week 2/23 - How do we assess learning and learners? If everyone could think of one way to assess learning that has not already been shared by someone previously in this discussion, we can create a master list of 24 examples. With you examples include the methods and when/why it is used...

I like the idea of informal portfolios. Portfolios are a body of work (selected by the student) that exhibits a range and quality of work over a specific period of time. I think this form of assessment captures the student's progress and is an excellent tool for teachers to evaluate what the student has learned thus far.

Let's get techie! What is the COOLEST (and you can only name one) learning technology you have ever used. Please include a brief statement as to why it is cool and any reference information about it where people can get further information. We are going to use this information in class next Monday.

I have been introduced to so much "cool technology" since I began the OMET program. The new tools have definitely changed my life. I am going to have to say that SKYPE is by far my favorite and most often used tool. I am actually discovering new things about it each week. I love the fact that you can chat, call, conference, and send documents and URLs quickly. I am pretty sure everyone already knows about it and how to get more information.

Week 7- 2/23 How do we know students are individually meeting our goals or intended outcomes? What do we do if they are not?