Digital Portfolios Project

For the past five weeks, I’ve been working on developing a proposal to bring digital portfolios into our homeschool community.  I’ve read some interesting articles, a very engaging book on disruptive innovations and articles on market and technology trends.  I’ve learned a lot in this process from the development of an implementation outline after receiving feedback from fellow classmates who are working on similar projects to creating a presentation video.

The key component is that I am not done with my learning, developing and reviewing this proposal and I have many ideas that I already want to implement once I have the opportunity. I developed an introduction video that I hope to redevelop and have more student engagement as I continue to develop this project.

I hope to determine which software programs available for the creation of digital portfolios will be the best fit for our curriculum and I also hope to understand and address the key concerns with internet safety.

There are many books, TedTalks and other resources that I hope to read and review so that I may continue to engage in the learning process and develop these ideas further.  I really enjoyed reading the book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovations to Improve Schools as it showed how the world needs to be constantly changing and evolving and we can be a part of that change.  I have a couple other books and articles I hope to find the time to read fully including Blended Learning Implementation Guide, A Roadmap for Blended Learning at the School Level and Distrupting Class by Clayton Christensen.

I know that I am barely scratching the surface to the potential opportunities available in developing this and other disruptive innovations in the future within my teaching community but I am finding a lot of positive feedback from parents.  My goal is to continue engaging in these new approaches to teaching to help our students have more control over their learning, have more ownership and pride and  develop future goals that will help our students as they become technology literate.

 

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Should Students create their own digital porfolios?

Looking at market trends and industry models to determine the feasibility of creating a digital portfolio is astounding.  There are not enough hours in a day to gather and process all the information but hopefully I can outline some key things to consider as we evaluate the data and the documentation available.  Through this evaluation, there is enough support to determine we need to provide learning opportunities for our students to build their own digital portfolios.

Students can use a digital portfolio to stand out from their peers. It not only reinforces course work learned, but helps students develop computer skills.  67% of students with high technology scores have greater confidence to use technologies when they start college. (Ecar, 2015)

Students can share their digital portfolios with their peers, expanding on what social media is already doing but being more of a resource for future learning.  Students can have more control of their portfolios compared to the typical social media platform and make it more engaging.  According to the Ecar Report, 50% of students reported that technology helps them to connect to their peers. (Eden, 2015)

One K-12 educator, Martin, decided to instruct his students to develop their own portfolios and saw a rise in the number of his students graduating and attending a college.  One portfolio website had over 500,000 students creating portfolios that connected directly with universities and colleges seeking qualified candidates.  (Smart, 2009)

Educators have started to teach the use of digital portfolios because they “recognize that the process has the power to transform instruction.”  (Danielson & Abrutyn, 1997) The use of a digital portfolio helps students share their passions, academic successes and turns a traditional classroom into an organic learning environment where students are allowed to be creative and free thinkers.

Use of digital portfolios provides for a wide variety of learning styles to be incorporated and can follow a wide variety of formats to meet almost every students need for individuality and creativity.  Teachers using portfolios “argue that compiling, reviewing, and evaluating student work over time can provide a richer, deeper, and more accurate picture of what students have learned and are able to do than more traditional measures.” (“Portfolio Definition,” 2016) (Darling, 2016)

Although students use technology extensively, there is evidence that technologies are not achieving their full potential for academic use. We have seen a growth in technology but the growth within the academic world is slow to rise according to industry trends.  The majority of students say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work. (Eden, 2015)

Therfore, we need to develop a teaching environment to include the use of creating digital portfolios for students to reflect on their learning and have the face-to-face connections with instructors to guide their learning. Digital portfolios are going to be a part of the learning environment and could become a mainstay for college entrance requirements.

Carey, J. (2013, February 5). The Truth about Digital Portfolios. Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2013/02/05/truth-digital-portfolios-college-admissions/

Danielson, C., & Abrutyn, L. (1997). An introduction to using portfolios in the classroom. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Darling, K. (2016, April 20). Blackboard Learn. Retrieved from                  https://luonline.blackboard.com/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_136171_1&nav=discussion_board&conf_id=_110477_1&course_id=_97570 _1&message_id=_3948726_1#msg__3948726_1Id

Eden Dahlstrom, with D. Christopher Brooks, Susan Grajek, and Jamie Reeves. ECAR Study of Students and Information Technology, 2015. Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR, December 2015.

Fast Facts Back to School Statistics. (2015). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Statistics   website:http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

Goodbye PDAS, here comes TTESS. (2015, Winter). The Classroom Teacher36(4), 9-15. Retrieved  from https://tcta.org/node/14211-goodbye_pdas_here_comes_ttess

Meeker, M. (2015, May 27). 2015 Internet Trends — Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Retrieved from http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends

Payne Smart, Maya.  (2009, May 29). Digital Portfolios Pull Double Duty. Retrieved April 20, 2016 from Edutopia website: http://www.edutopia.org/online-student-portfolios-collaboration- admissions

Portfolio Definition. (2016). In The Glossary of Education Reform. Retrieved        from http://edglossary.org/portfolio/

Portfolios for Students & Teachers (K-12) – TeacherVision.com. Retrieved April 16, 2016, from https://www.teachervision.com/assessment/teaching-methods/20153.html

Roscorla, T. (2014, December 16). 10 K-12 digital trends to watch in 2015.  Retrieved April 17, 2016, from Center for Digital Education website: http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/10-K-12-Digital-Trends-to-Watch-in-2015.html

 

 

Reform or Revolution?

Do you endure your work environment waiting for the weekend to come or is what you do almost feel like a part of who you are as a person?

Education can tend to dislocate people from their natural talents.  Sir Ken Robinson shares his thoughts on education in this TedTalk.  He states that we need more than just reform-improving a broken model, but a revolution to transform our current education system.  Innovation is the key to this revolution and it’s so exciting to think about being a part of this change as I continue to learn in my graduate studies.  Sir Ken Robinson is an engaging speaker and can explain this better than I can and let’s face it, he’s funny too.

Enjoy and share your thoughts.  Do you agree or find that he has no clue?

What is Disruptive innovation? Is it scary?

What really has struck a cord with me is hearing the word “disruptive” brings to mind something troublesome, unruly, disorderly and then attaching “innovation” which sparks new ideas, creation and rebirth sounds like a weird connection.  Putting the two words together is best described by “as an innovation that creates a new market and value network displacing previous market leaders”. How is that possible?

The example in the video below about spotting disruptive innovation in a corporate setting was very interesting in reference to the gaming systems.  I have two gaming sons and I tried to keep up learning each gaming system and played some games with the boys.  I even played Pokemon when it first came out!   Whenever I tried to explain the different gaming systems to friends that had no idea what they should purchase for their children, I would always say the wii has the family friendly version that allows for everyone to play and be interactive but if you are a true gamer looking for the best graphics you would want to purchase an XBox or Playstation systems.  As an adult that didn’t grow up with gaming systems other than the old school Atari, having to press A/B, YX, and the up down sticks was much too challenging.  Who can’t handle the wii remote to “swing a bat” versus the very cumbersome method using the Playstation remote? I never really thought about how that little remote was a disruptive innovation that brought more gaming systems into homes that might not have had those systems. What an excellent example of change and growth using a simple idea to answer a consumer’s needs.

How to Spot Disruptive Innovation

I love the examples and videos in our book, Blended; Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.  This book was exciting to read because it supports what I’ve been doing for years as a homeschooler, allowing my children to learn at their pace, pushing them to learn through their own learning environments and allowing access to every tool to enrich their learning environment since we didn’t have school budgets to support that learning.  I’m only part way through the book and I wish I had unlimited time to watch every single video example of the use of “disruptive innovation” within schools, or blended learning.  The examples used in the book have been great visuals that put this whole idea of disruptive innovation into perspective both within education and beyond.

So Disruptive Innovation isn’t about causing “trouble” in the education field but finding easier, cheaper ways of allowing students to have a handle on their own learning experiences.  So why would you want to put a child that is very hands on learning into a “factory” setting education that requires that they sit attentively at their desk and “take tests”, read their textbook or fill out worksheets all day?

I think the biggest challenge will be to bring the changes needed into our education system.  Just last night I read that  there are over 2.04 million students being homeschooled and 310,000 students enrolled in full-time virtual schools.  If you don’t think the government is going to take notice and start enforcing new regulations and restrictions, perhaps you live in Utopia.  So I look forward to learning and applying my class project of disrupting the ways things have been done to bring back the passion of learning to our students and allowing them to have more control in their own education.

 

 

Brian D. Ray, “2.04 Million Homeschool Students in the United States in 2010,” National Home Education Research Institute, January 3, 2011 (http://www.nheri.org/Homschoolpopulationreport2010.pdf)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation

Harvard Business Review (2008, October 20). How to Spot Disruptive Innovation Opportunities.  Retrieved from  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGzXWO_anLI.

Horn, M. B., & Staker, H. (2014). Blended: Using disruptive innovation to improve schools. John Wiley & Sons.

Digital Portfolio Building Lessons

What I have learned in three months of graduate school?  That I have so much more to learn.  I have barely tapped the surface of everything that is available and I hope I never stop learning.  I began my learning journey by creating my own personal reflection video to share about my past, present, and future journey with technology.  I’m slowly learning what it means to be involved with technology in education and how much the world of technology has grown.  I have to remember that I shouldn’t be forcing technology into the classroom environment, but allowing technology to be present and available so the students develop their creativity in learning.

This year I am teaching a Spanish Course where I had the students use a digital tool for assessment and provide me feedback on the use of technology.  It was a fun and engaging exercise so I decided to do a second lesson where the students can work independently to do a book report with a comic book strip app.

Then we evaluated how much education is changing, what we think needs to change and how technology plays a role in those changes through our Learning Manifesto.

What I have learned is how important having a professional learning community or network of peers that can share what has worked, how to find new avenues of approaching desired goals and possible new digital tools. There are so many resources available and hopefully my site can be a resource to home schoolers and others that are approaching developing their digital portfolio for the first time or even just about learning what is available for educators.

These videos and resources are but a beginner’s first approaches and hopefully I will learn to tailor and refine each of these reflections, tools and manifestos to reflect the growth I hope to gain in my future coursework.

 

Church and Technology

Yesterday during our Easter Services, my church rolled out a new program: Connected 3D.  Even churches are starting to address that technology exists but how do we have a healthly relationship with that technology whether it’s our phone, tv, computer or anything else that prevents us from having interaction with the outside world?  My church reaffirms that we were created to have relationships with others and at times our incessant need to be “connected” is no substitute for real-world, face-to-face connections and relationships.

So how is my church addressing this issue?  They have developed a three part plan to establish healthly technology habits.

  1. Disconnect to Connect: Choosing specific times and places to consistently disconnect from ALL devices so that you can develop normal, healthy relationships with others.
  2. Deepen Internal Values: Identifying and setting internal values that act as a compass to guide the “family” when navigating technology decisions.
  3. Develop External Boundaries: Establishing the right safety and accountability strategies for everyone in your home.

What a great approach to being socially conscious of technology and equipping parents and students to open the lines of communications to the dangers and pitfalls of technology but also not restricting the use of technology.

I want to look into incorporating this approach into a school based program and guide to technology. Providing opportunities for the students to use technology in their classrooms but also realizing that there are times that are best suited for personal interactions.

Learning from Leaders

Through my current course in Digital Learning and Leading, I am slowly developing my own digital portfolio to showcase my learning.  I hope to use this portfolio to showcase digital tools that I find interesting or hope to use in the future. I have enjoyed developing my site to be seamless and easy to navigate.

Part of the learning process has been to explore and learn from others that have been through the same experiences and what a better opportunity than collaborating with my peers. We actually developed groups that met to discuss our sites and what requirements we have to meet as part of our assignment.  I have actually enjoyed our meeting and learning how to collaborate through Google Hangouts.  There are still many challenges that I hope to face as I grow and develop this site.  I hope to find a way to promote this site and have more outside input to my posts about my learning experiences.

This site has made we want to explore how to add more personal touches through the sharing of my hobbies and other activities I enjoy other than just learning and technology.

Should Technology be part of Education

Technology is growing, evolving and developing at an intense speed and we need to be literate so we aren’t left behind.  So we should be able to answer the question, should technology be part of education?  From the perspective of a home schooler that wants to provide a protected learning environment, it becomes a larger challenge.

Technology can be a great asset, allowing us to see and do things that we couldn’t have access to before.  From virtual field trips, assessments, games that enhance learning to programs that provide the materials for teaching subjects we aren’t capable of teaching.  As parents and teachers we are always looking for the best programs, curriculum and resources to provide our students the knowledge to be successful in the future.  Unfortunately, many home schooler parents find that technology can be a hinderance to their students social skills, preventing physical interaction with other students and adults. Many home school students only use technology to create papers, research or just to play video games.

I just read a website article that really wasn’t promoting technology in education and yet I feel that we need to move directly head-long in that direction.  Students are going to have to learn how to manage creating e-portfolios, a variety of presentations and group projects.  We would be doing a disservice to them if we don’t show them all these tools and how to use them to make amazing presentations that help them manage the requests of their future professors.

There are so many benefits of using technology in learning and I hope to share some interesting tools and resources through this my eportfolio.  I think the key to moving into a technology filled world is preparing both parents and students to being aware of what is available, possible threats and having a plan of action. Effective use of technology replaces traditional teaching and offers students the freedom to learn at their preferred pace using their learning style and challenges students to grow and want to continue learning which is ultimately the goal of all teachers.

 

 

 

Scott, Andrew,  Should Technology be Part of Your Homeschool Curriculum? Retreieved from: http://www.smarttutor.com/homeschooling-should-technology-be-part-of-your-homeschool-curriculum/

Changing how we look at education

One of the reasons I started homeschooling was because I was told that my son was too young to start first grade and couldn’t sit still.  He could read but that had nothing to do with his abilities according to “educators”.  We started homeschooling so I could teach to his learning style and focused on a literature based program that focused on reading and writing while still providing other subjects like math, history, and science.  It proved to be exactly what my oldest son needed as he thrived in that environment.  He has since graduated high school and went to a major state university with honors.

I still home school my youngest son who is 16 and a sophomore in high school.  He is involved in Culinary Arts, learning how to prepare elaborate meals in a small convection oven and hot pad as well as taking a couple computer programming classes unavailable in traditional school environments.

When I started graduate school for digital learning and leading, I had no idea all the resources available to educators to provide some of these enriching environments.  What I found so exciting was when I found the video below.  Sir Ken Robinson speaks of changing the education paradigms.  If you are a homeschooler, you will find this video refreshing and encouraging.  Most of us that have been doing this awhile understand that we need to allow our students to learn at their own pace, using their learning styles and adapting teaching materials to best allow for that learning. We are constantly striving to help students have a love of learning and what a better way than through technology.

https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms

Learning from Community

I find that although I didn’t think I belonged to a learning community, I do conduct research for different tools and support for teaching Spanish to my home school students. I like to find new activities, games, and resources for my classroom but I didn’t realize that the use of some of these sites were actually considered learning communities.

I found some interesting articles and resources on Pinterest.  This was a pin from a home school parent that actually shares on her blog various teaching tools including many online apps and I found an interesting set of tools for my Spanish program.

http://paradisepraises.com/free-online-programs-for-learning-spanish/

Here I found not only a bunch of resources like handouts and activities, but also actual free programs and workbooks.  I can’t say that I added or collaborated much with her or added any wealth of information to her resources but because I do share these “pins” it allows for others to find these resources for their needs as well.

I also just recently joined ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, through their website, facebook and twitter.  I recently enjoyed an article about a Student Led Genius Bar that they shared on their website.  This really was exciting to see how students are taking their knowledge and learning by applying their expertise with a real-world learning application.  Students are given the opportunity to gain technology experience, develop a mastery of not just simple computing skills, but an understanding of underlying concepts of hardware, software and connectivity.

Again, ISTE was something I just started looking into but the fees are preventing me from really getting connected with a professional group.  But I have used this site for gaining a wealth of information.  I am clearly on a huge learning curve when it comes to using technology in the classroom so I am merely what others might call “lurking” on most sites as I continue to learn and gain confidence in the knowledge that I’m obtaining from all these different learning communities.

There are so many other opportunities to share with other like-minded individuals.  I find that even in our classroom discussion boards I find a wealth of information and I don’t feel that my lack of knowledge hinders my contributions to the community.  We each have our own strengths and experiences that makes our learning experiences unique and engaging.  I so appreciated a classmates post about making a list of resources so much that I’ve started my own list.  Each of us are approaching our classrooms or work environments using whatever resources have been provided by our employers/administrators and it’s been very informative to hear how each of us makes use of those resources.

I hope to gain insightful wisdom from joining a professional learning network and perhaps be able to share some of my own experiences, struggles and successes to others who are finding themselves in similar situation.  I hope to actually search out more homeschool technology groups.  I ran across a website the other day in my research that talked about using iPads for teaching; http://www.homeschooltablet.com/.

There are very few in my homeschool community that would choose to use technology in this way, but I think that we need to become more aware of the resources available through technology and to find new ways of expanding our students knowledge and experience.

I am hoping to find other opportunities or communities like The Homeschool Tablet where I can actually connect with other individuals that homeschool that are willing to explore using technology in education.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to contribute to any one particular community except through Facebook and Pinterest but I do share my knowledge personally with my homeschool community in the hopes of getting more families to be willing to learn and use technology.

Homeschool Teachers Lounge:

Pearland Homeschool Moms:

Pearland HomeSchool Moms

Unfortunately, most of these sites are not active communities that have a lot of participation but I do hear from parents who are looking for information about homeschooling, resources for teaching and other information that I do share with from time to time.  I also work for a homeschool group and am their website coordinator, providing basic maintenance on the website, and sharing information through this site.

Pearland Homeschool Alliance: http://www.phsapearland.com

Even though I don’t have a lot of experience with professional learning communities I do see a great value in communicating with others.  I am looking to see how I can share even a portion of the information I’ve learned on this blog for others to learn and share with as well.