Technology Lab: Surveys
Week # 5
I used on line survey only once but as a participant and not a creator and that was when one of my prof. sent us a survey to fill in order to take the results as a base for a certain lecture. It was easy to navigate through. I consider myself a novice in this technology as I have never created or done something similar. In terms of technology, I am not so professional and the things I master are the things that I usually use in my work and these are “word and some power point. I can search the web for different web sites and I can send and receive emails and attach files and pictures”.
It is a great opportunity for me to get to know a new kind of technology every week having to search for information about and watch some videos about on you tube. I went to www.survey monkey.com which was friendly- user site. I read and watched the short videos about how to create one’s own surveys and I knew how there are some sites that can help one to conduct his/her survey, pick the target audience who are categorized in many ways, analyze data and show results in different formats as charts , graphs, crosstabs and being filtered. Using on line surveys enables one to export the results to excel, CSV and SPSS. In a short time with minimal effort compared to the time and effort one used to put in order to conduct such surveys. I think that this site is very easy to navigate especially for people like me whose background knowledge about on line surveys is little.
I am still not sure how I might use this in my work, but I think that when I am better at it I might use it to surveys teachers feedback on the new English curriculum that is currently being implemented in our schools.
It also might be useful for students in higher education for their projects for Masters o Doctoral degrees. It also could be used for projects for students who are in secondary school. People with visionary difficulties might face obstacles using this kind of technology but audio feature might be added to solve the problem.
UDL Principle 2 and Assessment
Week # 5
Assessment as a concept has for a long time been wrongly interpreted and carried out as learner’s knowledge and skills were assessed through one form of standardized tools once a year so, creating unfair competition between learners while not standing on an even platform. This kind of practice was a result and in correspondence to the misconception of the idea of equity and fairness. I believe that before being engaged in the assessment process, educators should answer some questions such as 1- what is going to be assessed? “accumulation of information or the process of learning”. 2- Who is going to be assessed? “Learners of similar or different cognitive, psychological & physical abilities”. 2- How is a learner going to be assessed? “measures, procedures, tools”. The answers of these questions would definitely lead to a better understanding to the concept of assessing as a process that guarantees fair and equal yet flexible and authentic opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and skills.
UDL is interested in making assessment more accessible and without barriers to variety of students including those with disabilities. Many software programs which can help to overcome most obstacles that usually accompany the traditional paper and pencil tests are available now. In the two readings for Rose and Meyer (2002) Teaching every student in the digital age & Ketterlin-Geller & Johnstone Accommodations and Universal Design lots of practical examples for a wide range of available accommodations that help to level the playing field for students with disabilities without changing the difficulty of the test but instead by changing the accessibility to it. I was amazed at the variety of options that are available to make assessment a fruitful experience instead of being a nightmare to both students and teachers as well. The fear of providing necessary support for students who are in need for it list jeopardizing the credibility of the test is how some educators justify this issue. Nothing can justify increasing the pressure on some students and depriving them from the necessary assistance that can make a difference in their performance while maintaining the primary goal of the assessment process. Some students just need to understand the instructions or they only need someone to read them something to kick off.
Thousand et al in differentiating Instruction chapter 6 has shed light different assessment strategies however, they are all based on differentiating the way how students represent their learning “written reports, power point presentation, demonstration etc…” The key point here is the idea of ongoing assessment for students’ performance and measuring their progress related to their own work. I consider this kind of assessment as a true evaluation to the process of learning and how can each individual student monitor his/her progress. This might seem overwhelming and needs a lot of work for teachers who mostly lack the adequate training and knowledge of how students differ in their perception and strategic expression abilities. This is also added to their minimal knowledge of disability issues and how to suitably administer accommodations to overcome the limitations caused by these disabilities. Besides, they lack the ongoing training on using new software programs that would enable them to find implementing differentiating methods of assessment an approachable goal. Even if some teachers found their way through this dilemma still this issue needs more strategic changes from the general education system in order to adopt new approaches of assessment and grading so teachers can benefit from the technical and professional development support.
I think that there is no absolute best way of assessment that can be applied on all kinds of learners as even the same student can perform differently in different occasions and circumstances. So evaluating one’s performance should be an ongoing process. Portfolio system is a good example of formative assessment that can specify different level of proficiency.
Weekly Technology Labs
The demonstration lecture that we have attended last week was my first encounter with the interactive whiteboard. It was interesting to know how many useful applications that this device can provide for teachers as well as students. As I was very interested to know more about it, I surfed the web. There were so many sites that explains how to use it but I think there are lots to learn by just practicing using it on regular basis that no video can teach. The most useful resources that I found useful arehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRbVSbTfEso&feature=related
What I learned are the essential things that get one familiar of the concept and how to navigate using basic knowledge that is available in such short videos. That is great as a first step but I think Teachers have to use these boards to explore and use to their full potentials.
As the future is for this new technology, I think I have to take some extra training on it whenever this is available. This will for sure help me in my lesson plans. It will help me also to engage my students with the kind of material I am introducing. Lots of students will feel more comfortable as they will be able to interact physically while learning the new concepts. The students who are likely to find difficulties in this are students with motor problems and portable designs of smart boards can overcome this obstacle in addition to students with sight barriers might not be able to make use of this kind of technology.
This week’s lab was very good as I was able to watch a live demonstration of smart boards potentials in making learning interactive, easier and more enjoyable.
Week 4 / Reem Ayoush
Chapter 6 in “Teaching every student in the digital age” discusses how present curriculum is designed to one-size-fit all media and methods in teaching which has proved some deficits in reaching all learners. That implies remedial procedures by customizing and individualizing the path of learning through evaluating all material in the light of learning goals, nature of information, characteristics of learners and the curriculum content. That is possible through the suggested detailed template in which information about the learners, curriculum offered and the expected learning barriers, is collected. This will enable us to design instruction that supports the three brain networks which are recognition, strategic and affective learning and accommodate learners differences in those three areas of learning. I believe that most educators don’t think that they are capable of trying new methods and what they only need is a little more proffional development to acquire more confidence in the new strategies. People just have anxiety when they don’t know.
Although using a variety of multimedia tools to ensure easy access to all kinds of learners, curricula with built-in flexibility is another approach which is considered better than remedial solutions and is a subject of future researches by UDL. I believe that it will save educators time, effort and extra resources that are needed to improve the quality of learning. The examples that were introduced in Strangman, N. (2006) Teachers perspectives: Strategy instruction goes digital is what I waited to read about as what was always missing from the discussions is the data collection and surveys that are necessary to prove the effectiveness of using universal design in improving all learners, especially who have some sort of learning barriers, reading and writing skills which in turn have positive reflection across all areas of curriculum. I think such experiences should be generalized so all educators would experience their success especially who are still reluctant.
The chapters 3&5 by Bain, K. (2004). What the best collage teachers do. They were very useful and informative. Although the presented strategies were directed to collage professors, but I thought they apply to all educators of all age groups. Bringing all educators back to the essence of learning as the core issue of teaching, the chapters explained thoroughly how to create a natural critical learning environment through authentic tasks that promote intrinsic interest and curiosity. That brings us to a question and that is: can any digital tool really compensate for good teachers role? Or we should give everything its exact size. Are digital tools just tools to access the material? Or they share t the burden of providing learning with teachers? Or only educators who are responsible for students intellectual, physical and emotional development as a result of a whole learning experience. I think no matter how sophisticated the software is, the need to the direct learning experience through learner-educator interaction is very important and can’t be replaced.
Regarding Balmer, P.J. (1998) The courage to teach, I really enjoyed reading it although in some parts I got confused about the difference between teacher-centered classrooms and what he is calling for subject-centered classrooms. I think the idea is somehow reconciliation between two approaches with more emphasis on the integrity of the subject matter. I think I need to read it again to be fully aware of this new approach and its implications on the learning experience.