Solving Problems of Practice Through TPACK

Getting to know the TPACK Framework is an essential element of our MAET Program. The framework outlines the essential instructional design elements for creating rich and meaningful learning experiences. The Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) Framework focuses on the intentional and purposeful meshing of the context in which an educator is teaching and the following three areas:

  • Content Knowledge- A teacher’s knowledge of the content they need to teach.
  • Pedagogical Knowledge- A teacher’s knowledge about the best pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Technology Knowledge- A teacher’s knowledge and understanding about the purposeful integration of technology in education.

As an avenue to better understand this framework, we worked in partnerships to share and address some of our specific problems of practice. Each person in our partnerships shared a problem with the other that we would like to gain some insight and resources for addressing the issue. We then applied the Design Thinking Process in order to tackle the problem ourselves.

The following is a link to the document I used to plan, organize and address my partner’s problem of practice. In the end, we were both very happy with the ideas we generated and felt that our decisions were well informed. Enjoy!

Problems of Practice Process Document

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#GREAT 17

Our major project for the summer was to plan and successfully run an educational technology conference. As a Year 2 cohort, we decided to approach this hefty task by dividing ourselves into committees. As part of the digital committee, I created, designed, updated and monitored our official conference website.  This consisted of creating pages and links that were critical to conveying all of the appropriate and necessary information to our public and attendees. Although it was my first attempt at creating and running a website, and there was a bit of a learning curve, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I look forward to having the skill GREAT17Conferencefor future professional development endeavors.

 

As if organizing and hosting a conference isn’t enough, we also planned and presented sessions at the conference. We were organized into small groups and given the task of researching a trending topic in education. My group focused on the topic of best practices in educational coaching. Together, we researched the impacts of coaching practices on schools and their implementation practices. We found that schools that approached changes in curriculum and/or other practices had much more positive outcomes than those that did not.

 

 

Further into our research, we began focussing on two main areas of coaching: instructional coaching and peer coaching. We decided to divide and conquer these two topics for our session, which would allow us to deliver more information and resources in a shorter amount of time.

For my portion of the session, I chose to highlight the importance of peer-to-peer coaching. I used Padlet to create a collaborative tool that teachers could use to share ideas and resources with their colleagues. I discussed the fact that there are many tools that can be used to achieve this and that using any of them could be a great step in the direction of implementing a peer-to-peer coaching culture.

Our overarching message, though, was that, regardless of the coaching approach each educator takes, there are common themes amongst all coaching models that make them so effective. Educators who want to “Lead the Way” in the promotion of positive professional learning communities should remember to focus on building relationships based on trust and open-communication. Only then, do we open ourselves up for transformational feedback.

Although a lot of work, the conference and our presentations were a great success and a fantastic learning opportunity. Below is our conference presentation, where you can find more details about our topic and the research that supports it. Enjoy!

Coaching for Succes Presentation

 

Research 101

ibAn important part of being an educator is following trends in education and, more importantly, the research that supports them. This was a big focus in our program this year. One of our assigned readings was How Can You Trust the Experts? How To Tell Good Science From Bad in Education by Daniel T. Willingham. Willingham outlines a shortcut to analyzing research to determine whether it is a reliable source of data. Familiarizing ourselves with this information was extremely useful in approaching one of our largest projects of the summer.

As a way of expanding our knowledge and understanding of various research methodologies and their validity, we designed and conducted our own research projects. In order to do this, we worked in groups to identify a trending topic in education and to formulate a research question that we could actually test with limited resources and time. As our program is an accelerated one, we had only two weeks to conceptualize and conduct our research and analyze the data. Because of this constraint, our question went through an extensive evolution until we finally came upon a question that we could actually address with our given resources and time:

What do teachers perceive as the elements that make up the ideal learning space in today’s environment?

Upon reaching a measurable question, we created a Google Forms survey asking teachers to pick the five characteristics (from a given list) that they felt were most important to creating the ideal learning space. We collected data from more than 200 teachers from around the Midwest and beyond. We then analyzed the top choices in relation to several demographics including teachers from: various types of communities, types of schools, content areas and grade levels.

Although there were many limitations to our research process and the data collected, we did, in the end, conclude that, regardless of any correlation to student achievement or school performance, there is a clear trend of learning space elements that teachers find to be important.

Screenshot 2017-07-20 at 10.42.17 AM - Edited

Here you can see the planning document we used to organize and revise our process. Our bibliography (attached to our presentation) can also be reviewed for a more in depth look at what research says about learning spaces in educational settings.

ClassDojo- Beyond Behavior Management

One trend that we like to explore in the MAET program is using Demo Slams to share ideas and promote growth among colleagues. Demo Slams consist of participants presenting on an app, website, or tool of their choosing. There’s one catch, though, each Demo Slam only last ONE minute.  Not only does the time constraint allow colleagues to share new ideas quickly and concisely, but the format creates a high energy atmosphere as well, which can be very exciting. 

For my Demo Slam presentation, I highlighted my favorite features of ClassDojo. I used Screencastify to capture my Demo Slam. Enjoy!

 

Quickfires… I hate you! No wait, I love you?

This summer, I embarked on an exciting new journey. Not only have I been able to travel around Ireland and see some of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable, but I have gained an amazing new family of friends and a wealth of insight and inspiraMichigan_State_Spartan_Helmet.svg.pngtion for my life and career.

When I heard about the Master of Arts in Education Technology overseas program through
Michigan State University, I immediately knew that it was the one for me. The graduate program consists of three summers (one month each) abroad. I couldn’t wait to start a new adventure and feed my soul the fruits of exploration and enlightenment. And let me tell you, the experience did not disappoint.

I have been pushed to my intellectual limits and I have loved every minute of it… okay, most of them anyway. Continue reading

Wicked Problems

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” –Laurence J. Peter

Ever had a problem? A big problem? How about a wicked problem? In education, we deal with some very wicked problems. What exactly is a wicked problem? An organization called the New Media Consortium (NMC) researches challenges that school systems face and make determinations about what kinds of issues need to be addressed with high priority. They call these wicked problems and define them as “issues that are extremely difficult and even seemingly impossible to solve because of the complex or ever-changing environments in which they arise” (2013). Continue reading

Maker Culture- Making the Future

With advancements in technology and innovation, ever-changing assessments and the constant shuffling of standards and expectations, it can be hard to pinpoint which educational trends will truly enhance your teaching and student learning. Every time I attend an education conference or even search Pinterest, I find myself souring on a breeze of excitement and motivation while, somehow, simultaneously drowning in a sea of ideas, strategies and tools.

Exploring the Maker Culture has been one of those experiences for me. Continue reading

Outsourcing the Mind

One of my most recent tasks was to perform a team teach session with a fellow classmate. We were given the task of reading and analyzing an article and then teaching the highlights to our classmates in a creative and interactive way. Our article was one titled, Outsourcing the Mind, by Gerd Gigerenzer. The article was part of the Edge series, How is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?

The topic of the internet’s effects on our thought processes is certainly one worth exploring and thinking about. Gigerenzer describes a shift in our mindsets that is aMindffecting the way we use the internet and the ways we acquire and retain knowledge. Continue reading

Teachers as Learners and the Technology Mindsets

As teachers, we spend a lot of time thinking about what we will teach, how we will teach it and, of course, why we are teaching it. We pay careful attention to our students as individuals and as a learning community. We come to learn which methods are most effective and how to build off of our students’ unique interests and motivations. We carefully prepare classroom management and other pedagogic strategies as well as Plans B, C, D, and E. So why is it that when it comes time for the educators to learn new concepts and practices, we often find ourselves unprepared and underwhelmed by our learning experiences? Continue reading

Stress-Free Productivity? Yes, Please!

Stress-free productivity. Sounds like a beautiful dream I had once. There’s no doubt, I truly love the feeling of accomplishment. The sense of pride I feel after a productive day is a breath of fresh air, but the stress associated with it, most certainly is not. Let’s face it, it’s hard to manage our lives in the hectic and bustling world we live in. The items on my “To Do” list accumulate faster than I can keep up with. I take on too much. I say yes to everyone. I commit everyday to being the best teacher I can be. And what about all of the dishes and laundry?! So how do we juggle it all? How do we make peace with the fact that the “To Do” list never goes away? Continue reading