Tuesday, February 27, 2007

EME4401 Assessment Article

Johnson, D., & McLeod, S. (2005). Get answers. Learning and Leading with Technology, 32(4), 18-23.

This article discussed how assessment is used in the classroom, and how it can be improved upon by technology, specifically a student response system.
The author states that “Tests, quizzes, papers, and projects are time-honored ways to assess student learning, but they often are time consuming to administer and grade, and there are inherent delays between submission, assessment, and feedback Teachers also use interactive questioning techniques, class discussions, and one-on-one meetings to assess students' knowledge and skills, but these often are neither systematic nor all-inclusive.” It then goes to report how while feedback in the classroom is an appropriate method for assessment there are many hindrances to it, and it is not used frequently in the classroom.
Here is where the electronic student response systems come into play. The student response system is system set up in which the students have access to some type of keyboard in which they can direct comments, questions, and answers to teachers prompts directly to the teachers computer. The students use keyboards with screens, or some type of computer program which allows the teacher access to what the students are doing, and allows the students to send immediate and direct feedback to the teacher. The teacher has power to look through all the students work, questions, or answers and can either reply to it, or display it. These student response systems can be used with class to play games, bring about class discussion, and to allow the teacher to check students work fast.

With this article I really liked the idea behind this technology, and how it can be used across a span of different age levels for multiple purposes. The end of the article contained many great ideas of how teachers had already implemented this software. I really liked the point the author made about how this can build students confidence in themselves, and can encourage students to ask questions and make comments to the teacher, that they might not have made in front of the class. I do see the problem where this technology can be very expensive. I think as this becomes more popular, it may become something that will end up being cheaper to do. It would be worthwhile though, to have some type of program set up like this in the computer lab, so that the teacher could set up lessons around this technology that would be worked on only during lab hours.
Some of these ideas of immediate feedback during writing, or discussions could be worked into using class notebooks or sticky notes, if the classroom could not provide electronic student response systems. While reading a text students can write sticky notes of what they are thinking or questions they have. These could be color coded according to purpose, and then the teacher can easily spot who has questions etc. With notebooks during class discussions students can be prompted to write things they think or questions they have. Later, they teacher can read over the students comments and questions to see what they are getting, and what they still need to know. They teacher may also want to point out good questions and comments so that students begin to have more confidence in themselves and speak out during class.
Overall, I liked the ideas. I think the technology would be simple enough that students would easily be able to learn it, and become used to it. I hope that this type of technology can become more popular in the future, and become something we can see in a everyday classroom. This type of technology really makes you think about how much there is out there that we can use to work with our students and help to increase their learning.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

EME4401 Ohler Article

Ohler, J. (2005). The world of digital storytelling. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 44-47.

What the Author Says:

Digital Storytelling: A form of short narrative, usually a personal narrative told in the first person, presented as a short movie for display on a television or computer monitor or projected onto a screen.
(2004, p. 1)
*Should be used to enhance students’ skills in critical thinking, writing, and media literacy

First Step:
*In the beginning the focus should be on the story. The problem for many students is their focus on the power of the technology rather than the power of their stories.

*The two important components of teaching storytelling are story mapping and practicing written and oral story- telling before bringing in digital elements.

Story Mapping: A storyboard, used commonly in the movie and TV industry, is an ordered presentation of drawings or photos that each summarize a major story event.
+Enable teachers to quickly assess the strength of a story while it is still in the planning stage and to challenge students to strengthen weak story
+Helps students plan the events of a story
+Enables teachers to quickly assess the strength of a story while it is still in the planning stage and to challenge students to strengthen weak story elements.

*essential components:
+A call to adventure. Normal life is interrupted by a significant event, initiating a physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual journey for the main character.
+Problem-solution involving transformation. Characters encounter problems that are solved through a personal transformation of some kind. Transformation can happen in a number of ways, including skill acquisition, maturation, learning, and self-discovery.
+Closure. The story comes to a meaningful conclusion, not necessarily through a happy ending. Often, closure involves the main character's realization of something significant, a moral, or evidence that something or someone has changed.

Written and Oral Storytelling
+The most important tool used in the creation of a digital story is writing scripts and story treatments.
+Oral storytelling is a powerful way for students to develop their own voices and discover what events and details are essential to their stories.

Creating a Tie-In to Academic Skills
The lessons need to be tied to the curriculum and used to strengthen students' critical thinking, report writing, and media literacy skills.

Media Literacy
Creating digital stories is a perfect opportunity to engage students in media literacy, in learning about how the media influence our perceptions of the world

Tapping Dormant Skills
Through creating narratives, students develop the power of their own voices and become heroes of their own learning stories. Most important, digital storytelling helps students become active participants rather than passive consumers in a society saturated with media.

What I say:

While working with these types of projects I think the most important fact to remember is that it needs to be made worth it. These tools needed for projects can be expensive to come up with, so what the student is doing with them needs to be worth it. While using this technology in the classroom can seem fun, the fun cannot take away from the learning. Just like the author said, lessons need to be used that are implanting the curriculum used in class, that are teaching the students’ critical thinking skills, and about technology.

I also agree with the author on the importance of the written and oral storytelling. These parts of the digital storytelling are crucial to the students learning. These are the activities that help students review what information they know, and what they are trying to tell the audience, and then implement that. The students need to work on the writing aspect and practice visualizing what they want to tell, then talking about it, and then transferring it to paper. This can help students learn to vocalize what they know and feel, while teaching them writing skills.

I liked the aspect the author brought up about teaching media literacy, how when the students are doing the projects, to help them see how the media works in our lives, and how they use information to create mind frames in viewers. I think this is an important aspect for students to understand. As students work on these projects they will learn how media can be used to enhance a story and create and draw emotions from viewers. Students need to see how the media does this so that they can know when they are seeing it on TV and in movies.