Standard 3

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.1 Media Utilization
Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

Artifact: Let’s Learn About Google Apps for Education
Course: Edtech 506 - Graphic Design for Learning
Format: Website

To support our district’s Google Apps for Education (GAFE) pilot initiative, I created a comprehensive website for Edtech 506 that combines elements from multiple projects that were designed within the course. The site is a complete unit of study consisting of three lesson plans that take users from the beginning task of logging in and accessing GAFE, to the ultimate use of creating content and collaborating with peers. This artifact incorporates multiple media formats into a single resource that both students and teachers can use. The success of the final product is the result of a needs analysis that took place during the early stages of the course which identified the resources that would be needed, such as printable posters, rubrics, graphics, assessments, and of course, the detailed unit of instruction. The unit offers an explanation to users as to why our district is making the shift to GAFE, by comparing Google to our current tools and processes, through the use of visuals identified through the needs analysis.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations
Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

Artifact: Backwards Design: Outcomes and Assessments
Course: Edtech 503 - Instructional Design
Format: Video Presentation

In this video artifact from Edtech 503, I discuss the importance of aligning outcomes to assessments and strategies, to build effective instructional content. Maybe it is my engineering background, but I really took a liking to the concept of backwards design. It makes sense to me that before you build something, you need to understand its purpose. In an educational setting, this means identifying the desired learner outcomes and the assessments that will be used to measure student proficiency, prior to crafting a lesson plan. The following from Larson and Lockee (2013) has caused a fundamental shift in my approach to problem solving, “Tell them what they need to know and do, instruct them on what they need to know and do, and test them on what they need to know and do” (p.128). On numerous occasions since completing 503, I found myself saying to peers “We still haven’t identified what the students need to know. Until we do that, we can’t design the lesson or choose a technology to support the lesson.” Backwards design has had a profound effect on my approach to problem solving in all areas of my job. In a recent project, I knew that using a Google survey to record student responses to a standardized English comprehension assessment would be an enormous time saver for one of my teachers. She was accustomed to disseminating about 2,000 data points by hand. I also knew that she would be apprehensive about changing the process which had been in place for over a decade. Our discussion started with the end goal in mind, and then we worked our way back to the best tool for the job, and then determined the process of how we could implement our plan. Had I simply told her of an alternative approach to the process, she most likely would have rejected it, but by using backwards design, she became part of the process and made her own conclusions. The project was a huge success, and not only reduced the time it took to tabulate the scores by over 80%, it also increased accuracy. Having realized the power of backwards design, this teacher has now started to review existing lesson plans from this new perspective, to determine if the lesson indeed supports the desired learning outcome.

3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization
Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.

Artifact: Transitioning to Google Drive
Course: Edtech 503 - Instructional Design
Format: Sribd Document

Guilford Public schools was debating whether or not to switch to Google’s cloud based storage solution known as Google Drive, as a replacement for its in-house Windows based file servers for saving student work. By migrating data to the cloud, students would have easy access to their files from home, which was not possible with the district’s then current system, and a frequent request from students, parents and teachers. The move was also seen as a cost saver for the district, since they would no longer need to maintain and backup file servers among seven schools.  In Edtech 503, I completed a thorough analysis of this project, which included an examination of stakeholders, constraints and resources, and data sources. The results identified specific goals that Google needed to meet to function as an alternative storage solution. The work from this project was used as the basis for creating a Google pilot program to explore the feasibility of making this migration. The pilot was implemented in the winter of 2014, and based upon its success, which was measured by criteria identified in this paper, the district decided to implement Google drive for all K-12 students at the start of the 2014-15 academic year.

3.4 Policies and Regulations
Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

Artifact: Digital Divide / Digital Inequality
Course: Edtech 501 - Introduction to Educational Technology
Format: Video / Slideshow

Guilford is an affluent community, and the school district has made an enormous investment in technology over the past decade. Our classrooms are equipped with interactive boards and document cameras. Students have easy access to laptops, and teachers are provided with new equipment every five years. For Edtech 501, I created a presentation on digital inequality that really opened my eyes to this systemic problem. It is easy to assume in an upper income community that all students have equal access to technology. Perhaps it may even be easier to dismiss the idea of digital inequality in this environment, compared to a district that struggles to obtain technology, because the problem is not as prevalent and therefore easily overlooked.  In my video, I make the argument that when there is a discussion about digital inequality, the definition of “school” needs to be expanded to more than just the building and has to also uinclude a student’s home. Students need to have access to computers and high-speed internet in both locations, as much of the essential learning for a student takes place at home. Rice (2012) mentions “In other words, if individuals do not have access to the Internet, they are missing a substantial indoctrination on emerging social and cultural norms” (p. 240).

The challenge of addressing digital inequality has revealed itself to me in a prominent way this academic year. As our district implements a 1:1 Chromebook initiative (the devices remain in school and do not go home with students) it is becoming apparent that a small population of our students do not have reliable Internet access at home. Teachers have embraced our Google initiative, and are making fewer paper assignments, and moving more towards digital assignments. Students that may have been able to cope with their limited digital resources are now finding it a challenge to meet their course needs. In every class, we are finding one or two students that do not have the resources they need. Our district is working hard to address this need and find solutions that eliminate, or at least minimize, the effects of digital inequality. When teachers discovered this problem, they raced to inform me of the situation. Thanks to my coursework, I was already sensitized to this problem, and was able to provide a list of options and resources for these families. In addition, due to analyses of the Google project in other classes, our administrators were already aware of the situation as well.