W6 – Activity 2

Lisa Nielson on 21st Century Educators Don’t Say, “Hand It In.” They say, “Publish It!

 

How does this fit with my pedagogical beliefs?

As a new teacher, who wants to teach marketing/online communications, this fits entirely within my beliefs. I have personally gone back to school in my late ’30s to upgrade my skills in Marketing and every project I did, I kept for my resume and onhand for interviews. I believe that student work needs to be more than just ‘student work’ as Neilson seems to.

Do I buy into what she is saying?

I do buy into what she is saying and believe that today’s student would too.

Do the examples give you some ideas that you might want to try in my own teaching practice?

  • Screencast tutorials
  • Vokis
  • Google Voice Assignment
These are all new to me and I would love to try them out.

Does the “Publish It” philosophy impacts student learning in a positive way?

Yes. It let’s them feel that their efforts and time are ‘valued’ and they are less likely to think it is ‘just a dumb assignment’. It shows them learning about technology, which will give them confidence as well as keep them interested. It shows that their time in school not only helps for the future but can also show impact in their lives now.

W2 Activity Three: UDL Reflections

 Elements of King-Sears & Edyburn UDL readings as they speak to online learning materials I have used, the environment in which I find myself using them and how they address my desired online teaching environment (blended or distance).

The online materials I have used in my work environment.

The online materials I have experience with for my own learning are Blackboard, Moodle, Dropboxes and WordPress. For my role as a communicator/marketer, I am manage the re-design, content generation for selkirk.ca, Selkirk social media  and my.selkirk.ca using WordPress, Drupal, T4 content management systems, along with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

My experiences in web design projects and ongoing communications have me a support of Edyburn’s Prop #1: That UD in education is fundamentally different from UD in the built environment. I see more consistency with Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines (WCAG) that are developed with organizations around the world with the goal of a ingle shared standard of web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations and governments internationally.

In designing the college websites, with the goal of engagement and effective communication in mind, the following principles from Sears-King impacted our design and content generation approach and pedagogy.

  • Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of student preferences and abilities and Proposition 6 (Provide an array of supports in a digital environment that students come to expect.) The design of Selkirk.ca was ‘responsive’ to ensure the content could be displayed on iphone, ipad and typical computer screens as today’s student’s are using their phones more and more. This is part of the WCAG2.0 Design Standards, in particular the Adaptability Standard (Create content that can be presented in simpler layout without losing information or structure.)  Further, to reach the target markets, the research shows that they are all checking social media (facebook, twitter) to learn more about colleges etc, so we have added this medium to our print, email, web, display communications etc to ensure we can reach them.
  • Equitable use of technology to help those with LD & perceptible information by combining visual with written content.    We designed our site to meet accessibility standards as best as possible. These can be found at http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/ and are quite similar (1.1 Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so it can be changed into other forms like large print, braille, symbols; but could easily be improved. 2.2 Provide enough time for users to read & use content etc)
  • Simple & intuitive use to present content in a straightforward manner considerate of students’ background, knowledge etc. In designing our primary navigation and site map, we worked to ensure it was navigable by providing a primary menu based on our organization across the top and a secondary audience-based menu (future students, aboriginal students, international students, parents etc) across the left of our home page. Our footer also had many quick links. All three systems help our users to navigate, find content and determine where they are.

Key factor for my desired online teaching environment…

Proposition 10, that UDL is much more complicated that people think, is a principle I believe important.

Unfortunately, in designing our websites in the past, we only gave ‘lip-service’ to designing for user personas, where you lump groups of users into similar needs/wants/styles etc and create content specifically for these groups needs. We started off with this but have let this drop as we continue forward in the busy day to day.

Wherever possible, I would like to be involved in creating curriculum and learning experiences towards each learner’s learning style preferences (aural/verbal, visual/physical, logical, social/solitary). An example of the Learning Style Test, for streamlining a learner experience, can be found at North Carolina University Index of Learning Style Test.

I believe we should tailor our content/curriculum to provide the preferred options to each type of learner.

 

W2 Activity Two: What Are We Using?

Technology I am using in my work

As a communications professional, I am equipped personally with the following equipment and licensing for software:

  • 2 Digital Cameras
  • 1 Video Camera
  • Creative Suite editing software (Photoshop, Indesign etc)
  • Digital tools like Imovie, Iphone, Pixelator, Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi
  • PC Desktop
  • Macbook Air
  • Iphone

Personal technologies (students) are using to support their learning in the classroom.

As we are a community college, I see all the tools above used by various students but they are on their own to provide. The college will provide IMacs, video screens, green screens, cameras for filming that are required in the Digital Media & Technology program.

Why you/your students are using them, and if your efforts are impacting learning for both you and the students.

Best tools available for our budget(s) that help keep us current and competitive with the markets.

The one piece of technology that you currently do not have access to that you would dearly love to have...

A quick answer would be Ipads in the hands of all my staff or students I have to communicate with. This would move more of the teaching online and away from print ideally. Currently our students are caught 1/2 way in print and 1/2 online.

But honestly, I do not have an answer to this YET. I have been given fairly liberal access to technology in my roles but have found that the linch pin has often been the ability to support it.

W2 Activity 1: Technology Hardware Found In Classrooms

Took a look at the Tech Pictures and feel confident that I find ‘most’ of these things in my workplace.

What we have…

  • Iphones, Airbooks, Blackberries, Cell phones and Laptops (which like to sleep, when not touched every 30 seconds during a presentation) 
  • Speakers
  • Scanners
  • Screens & projectors (also mounted in ways meant to continually challenge, lol) and cameras.)
  • Flatscreens (meant to work for skype-type calls, but have shown to have connection challenges when video is on).
  • JAWS (32-Bit)…a computer screen reader program that allows our visually impaired staff to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a Refreshable Braille display.

What we don’t have…

  • Math Manipulatives
  • Kindle (though will see students and staff with them personally)
  • Slipper (Portable CCTV)

What I am not really sure about…

  • Other assistive technology gadgets

Unfortunately, I am on a vacation away from the college so I have not been able to take the photos of the technology I have available, so making a gallery or slideshow will have to wait until further into my homework. Looking forward to it.

W2 Thoughts about ‘Your Students, Their Technologies’…

Valuable when teaching adults in countries like Morocco or Costa Rica, where they are likely to have access to a cell phone predominantly.

 

Using a technology students are familiar with and have ongoing access to, would increase chance it would be used ongoing or own the student’s own learning time, as well as decrease the time or challenge of focusing on learning to use a new technology.

Might be a challenge with respect to pedagogy as the older cell phones often have more steps to accessing features or are in Spanish/French etc which may not be your ‘strength’.

W2 My Access to Technology

Working for a BC college, we have access to all forms of computers (ipads, laptops, desktops etc), as do our students.

Bandwith

The bandwith can be an issue in the interior of BC with shaw.ca in residential but at the college we never seem to have trouble streaming videos, or uploading with ftp etc. Students are another story though as they will often be using residential connections. We have trouble uploading large videos, presentations, and photo albums.

Technical Support

We we have an IT dept that helps out the faculty and students so that is very helpful. Unfortunately, they are bound by our server and network systems as they are currently formatted (e.g. Not a lot of room on shared drived for storage or access from each campus to the same shared drives etc).

Ongoing PD & Directives

As a college, our faculty have a PD allowance every year and are encouraged to use it. Our Teaching & Learning Institute (http://selkirk.ca/research/tli) often brings in different speakers to help educate staff. We recently hosted a vodcasting workshop (http://selkirk.ca/news/selkirk-college-embraces-vodcasting-technology-teaching)
that was well attended by staff.

Regulatory Environment

As far as regulations go, there are always the privacy issues on sharing of emails from students without direct permission. This has come into play with e-newsletters being hosted outside of our secure network. This is contrary to the BC laws. This limits us in using email systems like createsend.com for student e-newsletters etc.

We have various college policies such as http://policies.selkirk.ca/policy/7110/ around use of electronic equipment, http://policies.selkirk.ca/policy/9300/ for computer assistance, http://policies.selkirk.ca/policy/8630/ for student email usage that will have an impact as well.