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RICHARD STYNER

My ISTE Portfolio

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ISTE Coaching Project

Richard Styner
EDEL 594 Spring 2017

 

Standards and Indicators Addressed:

Standard 2: Teaching, Learning, & Assessments

·         A. Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences addressing content standards and student technology standards.

·         B. Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product, and learning environment based upon student readiness levels, learning styles, interests, and personal goals.

Standard 3: Digital Age Learning Environments

·         B. Maintain and manage a variety of digital tools and resources for teacher and student use in technology-rich learning environments.

Standard 4: Professional Development & Program Evaluation

·         B. Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.

·         C. Evaluate results of professional learning programs to determine the effectiveness on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills and/or increasing student learning.

Project Goals:

The goal of this project was to meet with a group of high school teachers to help them better integrate technology and 21st Century Classroom learning techniques into their instruction.

Mary Murphy

That group decided they did not desire coaching.  I discovered another teacher in need of coaching, however, her name is Mary Styner. She had just transferred to the middle school from high school, and was having difficulties keeping the students engaged and on task. She is a 20-year veteran teacher, but the move to middle school has been trying for her.

Mary and my agreed upon goals were as follows:

    ·         Increase the use of tech in her classroom.

    ·         Encourage collaborative feedback and discussion between students.

    ·         Get students to be reflective of lessons.

    ·         Make it easy for students to keep track of assignments and class announcements

    ·         Keep the environment safe and semi-controlled for students.

Her school does not have a licensed product like Haiku. After

some discussion, I advised focusing on Edublogs. It is a more secured environment than the Google tool, yet has many powerful features that encourage collaboration. It is also affordable and easy to implement (Evans, 2016).

 

Goals Evaluation:

This project was touch and go at times.  I am not directly affiliated with a school, and finding a teacher to coach was challenging. When the first group bowed out, I had to scramble to find someone to work with. Mary is a former colleague of mine, and I found out about her transferring to middle school where she struggled. Once it she agreed to coaching, things went much smoother. She was hesitant about using blogs, as she was nervous about introducing technology, and felt the students would act out more.  We agreed to do a one week run to start. It was not as full of implementation as I had hoped, but it was a start.

The students performed great.  Once the blogs were implemented, they responded with enthusiasm and were more on task for the duration of class. As my research suggested, they felt more attached to the class and more invested in the outcomes. The teacher was very nervous, as she had had many behavior problems, but found this encouraging.  We continued to meet periodically, and she continues to use blogging and is more comfortable with decentralizing her instruction.  Next year she wants to hit the ground running with blogs and learn more progressive teaching techniques for her class.

Work Samples. Click to Enlarge


Topics Page

Student Accounts

Sample Post

Blog Responses

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Weekly Progress

            This project spanned 10 weeks, and involved 6 meetings. The school had a 2-week spring break, and we did not meet at that time.

 

Week

Progress

1

(Feb 5)

Initial meeting with group of teachers to plan coaching for their classes. Begin research

2

(Feb 12)

Initial group of three bows out. Looking for new group

3

(Feb 19)

Contacted by former colleague about bad class behavior. 1st meeting to discuss blogging

4

(Feb 26)

Skype meeting with teacher, instruction in setting up Edublog accounts. Had to reassure teacher and help set appropriate ground rules

5

(Mar 5)

Meeting with teacher canceled, she had students set up accounts. As per my suggestion, students set up own accounts to increase buy in. Some inappropriate account names, but overall successful.

6

(Mar 12)

School on Spring Break, no meetings.

7

(Mar 19)

School on Spring Break, met March 22 to discuss topics for blogs, blogs are to be used for warm-ups. Students are using class iPad cart (first real use this year!) Decided to blog on Digital citizenship. 

8

(Mar 26)

Students blog at the beginning of class ever day this week.  They first blog for 5 minutes on the prompt, then have to find a classmates blog to respond to.  Blogs are mostly appropriate, and student interest is high! Class discusses blogging and digital citizenship Friday. I was not able to attend ( L ) but Ms. Murphy reports the discussion went well and students had positive attitudes towards blogging.

9

(Apr 2)

Students blog this week, but only twice

10

(Apr 9)

Meet with teacher once more, April 13. Discussed project, outcomes, future direction. Discuss expanding tech use, and starting next year with blogging.

 

 

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Literature Review:

Blogs, short for "weblogs," are a popular online medium for self-expression in education at all levels of education from elementary level to post-secondary (Jacobs, 2008; Sweeny, 2010). Researchers note that student's report they are motivated to write when empowered with a choice of topics and if the writing is relevant to their lives and interests (Lenhart, 2008). They further find that students who create their own blog tend to be productive writers in the classroom, and that carries with them to the outside world (Lenhart, 2008). With technology-based blended instruction, there is a blending of new ways of thinking about the teaching of writing, allowing for the integration of information, communication, and technology literacy, transcending the old methods of pencil and paper. (Partnership for 21st-century Skills, 2009).

In the classroom, blogs have many purposes, beyond merely a way to document self-expression. They see it as a place to publish one's writing or and allow for receiving feedback on writing and collaboration (Lacina & Block, 2012). In such a blog forum, students write collaboratively and can serve as mentors as they draft, revise, and edit their writing as a team in a virtual environment. Blogs connect the sometimes disparate worlds of the home to school literacy (Lacina & Block, 2012). Several blog sites are focused specifically on classroom blogging, such as Edublogs. These sites have been designed to make classroom blogging easy, affordable and safe for students (Evans, 2016). Utilizing blogging in classroom writing instruction can engage students and motivate them to participate more fully in the writing process (Lacina & Block, 2012).

Blogging can also contribute to the motivation and buy-in of the student and enhance class participation. Participating in commenting on fellow student's blogs is associated with being more receptive to peer interaction and academic achievement and positive motivation to learn from peers (Yang, C. and Chang, Y.-S., 2011). Blogging can result in the construction of a "common knowledge" base whereby students of diverse background and life experience nonetheless can efficiently communicate and therefore increase participation and confidence in subject matter knowledge when in cooperative reasoning tasks (Alterman, R. and Larusson, J.A., 2013). While content knowledge is obviously very important, blogs can serve as a springboard to create an environment that facilitates learning, add clarity, provide a guideline and more fully engage students (Courts, B. and Tucker, J., 2012).

Positive effects from blogging are seen over a wide spectrum having been shown in English Language Learners (ELL) (Lin, M.H., 2015) and Honors Students (Harlan – Haughey, S., 2016).  Writing and collaboration skills are increased.  However, without proper scaffolding, support and preparation on the part of the teacher, such effects can be blunted (Deed, C and Edwards, A, 2011).  Harlan-Haughley (2016) notes that while blogging can increase both student and teacher satisfaction, many teachers are hesitant to implement unfamiliar tools and technologies. It is also not sufficient to assume that today's "digital generation" students are ready and able to participate in academic-level blogging. Without guidance, particularly in the early stages, students experience confusion about the purpose and express doubts about the efficacy of the enterprise as a learning tool (Deed, C and Edwards, A, 2011). 

In conclusion, blogs are a popular blended learning tool for teaching critical thinking, reading, and collaboration skills. They allow students to respond to issues in an informal way that enhances motivation, comprehension, and satisfaction. It can help heterogeneous classrooms create a baseline of shared common knowledge which facilitates a sense of community. However, it can be intimidating for teachers to initiate and confused in purpose for students.  Teachers pursuing in-class blogging must be properly prepared, provide adequate scaffolding and guidance for blogging to be successful.

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Reflection:

            Ms. Murphy was generally happy with the results of this project.  There were some inappropriate posts and user names (e.g. Jason’s pimp house) , but overall she felt it increased student buy-in. She picked the blogging back up for the semester’s last unit, Human Impact.

I felt the project went well. I had initial problems finding a teacher to coach, and was significantly delayed by the two week spring break, but overall felt that Ms. Murphy was able to overcome many of her fears of using tech in a middle school classroom. I felt the one-on-one coaching greatly contributed to the success she felt.

The coaching sessions went quite well, and Ms. Murphy would like to continue to expand her technology bag of tricks. We have discussed continuing to meet to enhance her use of blogging. As she gains confidence, I believe I can help her expand beyond blogging, to make her classroom more tech-friendly and better use differentiated instruction in her diverse classroom. We will meet again a week before the beginning of her Human Impact unit to discuss future plans.

This semester has been a satisfying capstone to this program. It was intimidating to get out there and put coaching into action, but it worked and was a good experience! Finally we got to put our learned skills into action in the real world, I guess experiential education is good for us too. In many ways this program has been a natural extension to my MAT.  Exactly 20 years ago, we discussed the idea of student-centered individualized instruction and authentic experience, but it was seen as very hard to achieve.  Now with web 2.0, and all of the amazing tools available, the dreams of Dewey and Vygotsky can finally come to fruition. It is beautiful to behold! 

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Literature Cited:

Alterman, Richard, and Johann Ari Larusson (2013). "Participation and Common Knowledge in a Case Study of Student Blogging." International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 8(2), 149-187.

 

Courts, Bari, and Jan Tucker (2012). "Using Technology to Create a Dynamic Classroom Experience." Journal of College Teaching & Learning (Online), 9(2), 121.

 

Evan, K., "Blogging in classroom – How to get started." Retrieved from https://startbloggingonline.com/get-started-classroom-blogging/, December 15, 2016.

 

Harlan-Haughey, Sarah, Taylor Cunningham, Katherine Lees, and Andrew Estrup (2016). "Blogging to Develop Honors Students' Writing." Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 17(1), 271-287.

 

Jacobs, G.E. (2008). People, purposes, and practices: Insights from cross-displinary research into instant messaging. In J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear, & D.J. Leu (Eds.), The handbook of research on new literacies (pp. 467-490). New York: Routledge.

 

Lacina, J., & Block, C.C. (2012). Progressive writing instruction: Empowering school leaders and teachers. Voices From the Middle, 19(3), 10-17.

 

Lenhart, A. (2008). Writing, technology and teens. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and the National Writing Commission. Retrieved March 20,2012, from www.pewinternet .org/~/media//Files/Reports/2008/PIP_ Writing_Report_FINAL3. pdf.pdf

 

Lin, Ming Huei, and Lin (2015). "Learner-centered Blogging: A Preliminary Investigation of EFL Student Writers' Experience." Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 446.

 

Partnership for 21st-century Skills. (2009). Framework for 21st-century learning. Retrieved March 26,2017, from www.p21.org/storage/documents/P21_ Framework.pdf

 

Sweeny, S. (2010). Writing for the instant messaging and text messaging generation: Using new literacies to support writing instruction. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(2), 121-130. doi:10.1598/ JAAL.54.2.4

 

Yang, C, and Y. ‐S Chang (2012). "Assessing the Effects of Interactive Blogging on Student Attitudes Towards Peer Interaction, Learning Motivation, and Academic Achievements." Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(2), 126-135.