Redesigning Classroom Management Practices in a Digital Environment

Overview:

At the start of next year my district will be fully 1:1 with Chromebooks.  This means that all students above sixth grade will be assigned a Chromebook which they take to and from school during the school year and elementary level students will have access to Chromebooks during the school day.  While this increase in technology accessibility is met with great enthusiasm, many educators are also expressing concern over how to properly manage the technology and student behavior and this new digital atmosphere.  As a classroom teacher I share my colleagues’ concerns and as a technology mentor I have been eager to explore the topic of redefining classroom management in a digital learning environment.  Fortunately, my digital education leadership program through SPU is currently studying ISTE Coaching Standard 3 which states that “technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students”.  Components of this standard require that educators model effective classroom management strategies, coach teachers in online and blended learning practices, and expand choices for online professional development (2016).  In consideration of this standard, I have recently been exploring the question, “how must educators redesign both the physical space of the classroom and their classroom management policies to accommodate a digital learning environment?”.

Through my research I have found a melee of resources relating to my question.  Some resources focus on theoretical aspects of the changing learning environment and offer points to consider when designing instruction.  For example, in “Designing for the K-12 Classroom: ten influential elements to consider” contributor Caroline Bone briefly outlines the flipped classroom and blended learning models as potential frameworks for redefining traditional teaching.  She explains that the benefit of such models is that they “allow for more collaborative, group-based learning in class, with the teacher acting as a facilitator rather than the ‘Sage on a Stage’” (Bone, 2014).  These models, which are being used in more and more classrooms, offer greater opportunities for differentiated instruction and rely heavily on embracing digital education.  Many other resources I came across offered more concrete, “do this”-type advice on how to manage a digital learning environment.  One example would be Edutopia’s blog, titled “Visualizing 21st-Century Classroom Design“ in which contributor Mary Wade offers a detailed infographic of a 21st century classroom.  Along with her visual, Wade explains that the key elements of a modern classroom revolve around accessibility, mobility, inspiration, and respect  (Wade, 2016).

With so much information already available relating to my question, I choose to synthesize my learning into the eight main points I came across when considering how to redesign the physical space and classroom management of a digital learning environment.  These points, outlined in the infographic below, were designed in consideration of a classroom that is in a 1:1 setting where the district provides technology to students.  I attempted to keep the tips general enough so that they could still apply to a BYOD or shared-device setting.  Additional information on classroom management in a digital learning environment can be found in the links under “resources”.

Ideas to Consider when Designing and Managing a Digital Learning Environment:

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Possible Issues and Future Questions:

  • The “points to consider” that I have outlined are met to address current concerns in my district.  How will the digital learning environment continue to change as more educators embrace the flipped classroom and blended learning models?
  • These resources, while good for any classroom, relate more to secondary level. What different classroom management challenges might an elementary level teacher face in relation to technology integration?
  • As my district provides Chromebooks to students and uses Google Apps, I sometimes focus too heavily on tools and tips that only work for those platforms. What other classroom management policies might educators need to reconsider in a district that uses digital tools I am unfamiliar with?

Resources:

B’s Book Love : Don’t Hate, Integrate: How to use Smartphones in the Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://bsbooklove.blogspot.com/2015/11/dont-hate-integrate-how-to-use.html

Bone, C. (2014, October 7). Designing for the K-12 Digital Classroom: Ten Influential Elements To Consider. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from https://designmind.frogdesign.com/2014/10/designing-k-12-digital-classroom-ten-influential-elements-consider/

ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches

Johnson, B. (2015, June 17). How to Manage Cell Phones in the Classroom. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-manage-cell-phones-classroom-ben-johnson

Wade, M. (2016, March 29). Visualizing 21st-Century Classroom Design. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/visualizing-21st-century-classroom-design-mary-wade

Professional Growth and Leadership

Reflection Overview

Each year my school district asks graduating seniors to reflect on three questions: who am I, where am I going, and how will I get there?  Since I graduated from the district in which I am now employed, I too have been asked to answer these questions both as a student and as an educator. I find that, while a bit lofty, they offer a holistic yet simple means for reflection.  So, for my spring quarter for the Digital Education Leadership (DEL) program, I chose to ponder who I am, where I am going, and how I will get there in regards to being an effective instructor and leader in regards to digital education.

To accompany this reflection, I chose to create a mind map as I could not think of a better tool to comprehensively represent what I have learned and to logically connect ideas.  I decided to try out Mindmeister, rather than Coggle, so I could still gain experience with a new digital tool.  I actually really liked this platform because it allows users to add images and videos easily with the free membership.  It was also a bit more user-friendly with it’s simple tool bar and I find the finished product more attractive. An added plus is that it is cloud based and easy to use with students!

Who am I?

Four years ago, I began teaching in a high school with three computer labs 2,000 students.  They were exactly the same as they had been when I graduated four years prior. The rooms were often booked weeks in advance and it was difficult to get consecutive days in a row.  If I was lucky enough to reserve a room, the desktop computers took several minutes to startup and shutdown and, paired with a slow applications, it felt like more class time was wasted then used for learning.  At the time, students saved their work through complicated networks and most assignments had to assume that no technology was available, greatly limiting possibilities.  The end of that year however saw a drastic shift when teachers started receiving Chromebooks and technology training crept into the staff meetings previously dedicated to lock down procedures and evaluation processes.

The following fall was met with greater enthusiasm for digital learning as teachers began discovering new tools and sharing their successes.  As Chromebook carts started showing up in classrooms, students also advocated for the value of technology by demonstrating how they used it to redefine their learning. Seeing how quickly and drastically technology was changing the classroom environment, I realized it was imperative to become a digitally competent teacher myself.  I eagerly attended workshops and trainings offered by my district and tried out tools in my classroom at any chance I got.  This ultimately led to me becoming a technology leader my district.  

With the rapid increase in technology, there has been a high demand for professional development relating to technology.  Because of this, my district has adapted our trainings into online modules which educators can complete at any time for clock hours.  Our tech mentor committee shares ideas through monthly meetings and daily communications in our Google Plus community.  We attend trainings, such as the National Council for Computer Education, and host professional learning opportunities like Edcamp.  Every teacher now has a Chromebook, is able to use their Google Drive, and all students are issues Chromebooks. Boy, have we come a long way!

Going into teaching, I expected my focus would lie on English curriculum and instruction–the notion of being a technology leader did not cross my mind.  Yet, I did not foresee that technology instruction would become so integral to every subject, nor could I have predicted how quickly it would redefine teaching.  My choice to refocus was partially pragmatic, but more so I have learned the field of digital education is full of innovative and enthusiastic educators and endless possibilities.  This is what led me to join the DEL program at SPU, where I have now completed a year of study more valuable than I could have anticipated.

Where am I Going?

Having already found myself in a technology leadership role in my district, I started the DEL program eager to quickly learn how to advance that role.  Instead, and rightfully so, the program started out by having our cohort discuss ethical and moral issues relating to educational technology and online behavior. We then explored the ISTE student and teacher standards before more recently looking into the coaching standards.  This pre-teaching was completely necessary to help me build my foundation as a digital citizen, and a vital step before looking at what it means to be a digital education leader.  With that said, I was very excited when we began discussing coaching standards so I could begin addressing some of the questions I have.  The questions I have are outlined below and the “how will I get there” section details what I will do to begin trying to answer them.  

  • How can the professional development in my district differentiate to meet the needs of various educators, across grade levels, subject areas, and varying degrees of technology abilities?
  • How can we motivate those that are hesitant technology users to “buy in” more?  In other words, what can we do to make sure educators are not feeling isolated or left behind in terms of digital education?
  • How can we create a more comprehensive “hub” for students to access digital tools?  Currently, teachers use various digital platforms which can be very complicated for students.
  • How can I prepare myself as a technology leader so I can effectively work with educators who teach different subjects or grade levels that those that I have experience with?

How Will I get There?

The steps that I will take to reach my goals are as follows:

  1. I will continue to familiarize myself with the ISTE teacher, student, and coaching standards.
  2. I intend to explore the questions outlined in the “where am I going” in the upcoming courses of the DEL program.
  3. I would like to attend NCCE again next year along with one or two other conventions or workshops that involve educators beyond just my district. 
  4. At the EdCamp my district is hosting this summer, I intend on hosting a session on global collaborative projects to begin a discussion about them in  my district and to gather ideas and interested teachers to collaborate with.  Next year, I will conduct another global collaborative project that is indeed more global.  I will also have students revise on all writing assignments and try to arrange that they share their writing with students from several other classrooms.
  5. I will adapt a few projects so they rely more heavily on digital tools.  I will provide opportunities for students to use these tools, with some choice on what they use, and share their work with others.  I think that this will help staff see the value in embracing digital education–students are great advocates!

Resources

20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network – Getting Smart by Miriam Clifford. (2013). Retrieved June 09, 2016, from http://gettingsmart.com/2013/01/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/

Building to Accomplished Practice. (2014). Retrieved June 09, 2016, from http://www.nbpts.org/atlas

Raths, D. (n.d.). 5 Tech Tools That Help Personalize PD. (Vol. 42). The Journal. Retrieved June 9, 2016, from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=8e10a270-5ecc-4527-bea9-b003e0ce98b1@sessionmgr120&vid=0&hid=110&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ==#db=eft&AN=100567184

ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved June 09, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-coaches

Standards for Teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved June 09, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-teachers

Why digital PD needs an urgent overhaul. (2016). Retrieved June 09, 2016, from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/05/31/professional-development-should-make-teachers-feel-urgent/?ps=phil_biggs@lkstevens.wednet.edu-001a000001AdGJZ-003a000001TPvVE

Analyzing Argument in Advertisements: A Lesson Using the ASSURE Method

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Overview:

The ASSURE Model, detailed in the infographic below, is an excellent tool to help teachers develop an appropriate and effective learning environment for their students.

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Using this model, I developed a lesson plan on analyzing argument in advertisements.  What was great about this project was that it not only fulfilled a school assignment for my SPU Digital Ed. Leadership master’s program, but I was actually teaching it to my students at the same time.  This made it very relevant to my teaching and I was able to fine tune the lesson through trial and error.  Additionally,  the lesson combines Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts with ISTE Standards 1 and 2.  While this lesson is intended to be taught in a ninth grade English classroom, it could easily be adapted for a different age group or subject area.

The complete Advertisement Analysis Project Lesson can be found by following the link or it is embedded below.

Reflection:

I found the ASSURE model very useful for creating specific, thoughtful, and thorough lesson plans.  I really liked that it asks you to consider modifications and adjustments so you feel prepared in case anything goes contrary to the plan.  It is especially important to consider this when dealing with technology as it seems like, in navigating digital learning, there is a lot that may not go as planned.  Overall, I appreciated the process but I do think that this model might be a bit too extensive for a day-to-day lesson.  It is very appropriate when planning units, particularly those that heavily rely on digital tools.  With that said, the greatest pleasure I had in teaching this lesson was in the level of student engagement and therefore the quality of the finished projects.  I believe this was in large part due to having to think through each lesson component and possible outcome really helped me address any issues quickly and efficiently.

References:

ASSURE. (n.d.). Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/models/assure.html

ISTE Standards for Students. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-students

Media Literacy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.teachinctrl.org/lessons/mediabetweenlines.php