Monthly Archives: February 2014

Ed Tech 503 Discussions

As part of Ed Tech 503, each week a different group of students prepares a Voicethread presentation on the week’s readings.  Also, each week, the lead group leads the discussion board comments based on questions that the  group developed on the readings.  Here are the questions, and my initial responses.  As part of the discussions students are encouraged to comment each other’s posts. I did not include any of the follow up posts here.

Ed Tech 503 Discussion 1

Question #1 by Jesús Trespalacios – Monday, February 10, 2014, 11:55 AM  According to the iterative ADDIE Model and the continual improvement streamline principal, Instructional Designers should evaluate each phase of the design model by asking input from subject experts and target audience. As an educator, does this seem feasible in your teaching environment? Why or why not?

Re: Question #1  by caroline cooney – Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 9:39 PM

Some interesting responses especially in terms of collaboration and time constraints.  Karin~ I agree that it is imperative or non-negotiable for teachers to work w/ instructional designers to achieve the educational results that are the goals of the project.

In our school and school district, we do not have any Instructional Design team, and our Technology Dept is maxed out in terms of workload.  The teachers at our school do work collaboratively together to produce and share lesson plans, but that is a far cry from instructional design.  We do meet regularly as a department (Science), and sometimes we have extended professional development time to work together on projects.  An example is we have been working on improving scientific writing at our school, and have been developing a rubric to use that will work across all science classes, and grades.

The reality is that most of the professional development time is spent on  district initiatives such as the new teacher evaluation, or NEASC accreditation, etc.  As a district, if we were to use a “true” instructional design process, we would have to look very carefully  at the amount of time dedicated to the project (s), and how we go about implementing and evaluating.  I think that we do very many things very well at our school.  Providing time is not one of them!  We definitely have collaborative teams, so we could easily build on that collaboration to successfully implement Instructional Design into our school.  Getting feedback from the target audience (teachers and/or students) could be done w/ quick surveys, with occasional meetings.  For me, the biggest issue for getting input from subject matter experts, and formative assessments though out the process comes down to time constraints.

Questions #2 by Jesús Trespalacios – Monday, February 10, 2014, 11:59 AM

As a novice instructional designer, which aspects of developing instruction do you consider to be inherently artistic? Which aspects of developing instruction do you consider inherently  scientific? (Brown & Green, 2011, p.18)

Re: Questions #2 by caroline cooney – Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 9:55 PM

As I was reading about Instructional Design over the past two weeks, I was getting very excited because I teach science, and I see the ID process as scientific especially in terms of the analysis of needs and evaluation of materials, teaching, etc.  I see the actual design as both scientific & artistic because it requires understanding of the analysis and learner needs/goals, but also requires the ability to creatively approach the problem to solve in a variety of ways, and to develop multiple methods to address diverse learning needs.  I see the artistic part of ID as  the implementation process.  Implementing any instruction involves the ability to adjust instruction as needed, to do quick formative assessments to help guide the “on the fly” revisions to instruction.  Being able to adjust instruction is an art that takes practice, but it is helpful to have developed (which is both scientific and artistic) many tools to have at your disposal.

As I read this, I realize that I am having a difficult time separating the instructional Designer role from the classroom teacher role.  The ID uses creativity to develop multiple methods to approach and teach the material.  The classroom teacher will use those multiple methods, and adjust as needed.  Hopefully, the two are in regular communication to help adjust and evaluate the process…an ongoing process.

Ed Tech 503 Discussion 2

Question #1 by Jesús Trespalacios – Monday, February 17, 2014, 11:33 PM

As a classroom teacher, there are several ways I assess my students’ knowledge.  First, if the course has prerequisites, I assume that they have the baseline knowledge. Within the class setting, I will sometimes do KWL chart.  I find that these activate the prior knowledge, and the get the students thinking and curious about the topic.  I like the updated version with “H” for How can I learn. Here is a link to a blog describing it.

Another method is to do a pre and post assessment.  In several classes that I have taken, we have been given pre & post assessments, and I really liked seeing where  I improved, and where I still had questions.   I have only done this once in one of my classes that I teach, as the very first unit in an earth science class, where the material was mostly review.  If the students’ score showed that they knew the prerequisite material, they were able to move on to the next unit of study.   I currently do not employ this method in my classes, but am considering adding a pre-assessment  for each unit (perhaps as part of my ID project) to help my guide my lessons.

Still another method, are the formative assessments that I do daily in class, some are formal, others are done as I walk around the class.

Of course, that response was wearing my classroom teacher hat.  As an Instructional Designer, it is important to know what the students know, so appropriate material is provided as content.  I think that as an Instructional Designer, it is different than being in class, where a teacher can quickly assess if the students know something or not, so the teacher can  either add or take away some of the content depending on how much help they need.  I think as an Instructional Designer, it is important to plan for that. Building redundancy into the lessons to plan for extra help, just in case. Conversely, if the students know the basics, the Instructional Designer can plan the content to allow for the instructor to jump into more complex, and deeper problems and understanding.

A couple areas stand out for me.  The Instructional Designer needs to plan the instruction for future classes where the knowledge may vary from class.  A good way to plan out the instruction is to interview and observe current classes/teachers to get feel for what needs to known before the class, as well as take into account any prerequisites for the class.  As part of the actual class, it might be good for the Instructional Designer to plan for some type of pre-assessment that allows the instructor to gauge the prerequisite skills, and have different jumping off points.  Of course, all the while keeping in mind the end goals for the design.

An example comes to mind (again w/ my teacher hat), but as part of the CP Physics class that I teach, there are certain math prerequisites.  So I assume that all students have an understanding of Sine, cosine, and tangent.  I quickly realized (my first year) that just because it is a prerequisite, doesn’t mean that all students know the necessary math, so I have planned for a variety of lessons depending on the students level of understanding of the content.  I would think that if this course went through the Instructional Design Process, the Designer would plan for that up front.

Question #2 by Jesús Trespalacios – Monday, February 17, 2014, 11:35 PM

a) In case study 7, critique the steps Maya took to identify the needs in the case. What are some things she did well? What would you suggest to improve her practice.

b) In general, is a needs analysis always necessary when planning an instructional design project? Why or why not?

Re: Question #2 by caroline cooney – Thursday, February 20, 2014, 9:10 PM

a. To identify the needs, Maya reflected on the socioeconomic changes in the community, and what effect those changes were having on educational expectations. Maya listened to the classroom teacher explain her perception of the problems.  Maya asked the classroom teacher questions relating to the typical student in class. Maya again listened, noting the teacher’s frustration with the current situation, and during this interview, Maya picked up on other things, such as the teacher’s teaching style.

Next, Maya went to the district curriculum office to research and determine any trends in the students placed in the different levels of math class.  Maya also interviewed other math teachers, the assistant principal, and about ten students.

Last, she researched state standards and how the textbook compared to the standards.

She wrote up all her notes.  Of particular note, was that there was a poor attitude toward education among some of the students.  Maya also noted discrepancies between the current textbook and the state standards.  As part of her report, Maya made some curriculum suggestions to the teacher based on her findings that might help engage the students in more real world thinking and problem solving.

My initial thought was that Maya’ note were very qualitative  While I thought she was thorough in her assessment, I think that she could have backed up her findings and suggestions with data (perhaps from a survey or questionnaire of current students and teachers).  I think that Maya uncovered two issues, and I would think that the Instructional Design Plan should address the needs.

I see the  needs as:

  1. Textbook and state standards are not aligned.

  2. Some students have a poor attitude toward school / teacher believes a more hands on approach will engage the students (I think that this is same problem being looked at from two perspectives, the students, and the teacher).

Maya’s Instructional Design plan should look at ways to address these issues.  First, find content that aligns with state standard.  Second, as part of content, find some hands on approaches.

b. Absolutely necessary!  Needs must be assessed, to determine if the 1. need exists, 2. the need can be addressed through instruction.  If the need cannot be met through instruction, determine how to “fix” the problem.

Ed Tech 503 Discussion 3

My group lead the discussion for that week.  Please refer to Lead Discussion post.

Ed Tech 503 Discussion 4

Question #1 by Jesús Trespalacios – Sunday, March 30, 2014, 10:19 PM

What does it mean to align outcomes, assessments, and strategies according to Larson and Lockee (2014)? As an example, describe how this alignment would be presented in your ID project offering details of each one of these three sections. Please, introduce shortly your project at the beginning to understand better your instructional decisions.

My initial response Re: Question #1  by caroline cooney – Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 5:08 PM

My ID Project is to create/update three hours of classroom instruction on the Rock Cycle, as part of one of our Earth Science classes.  Currently, the way the class is designed, this unit falls at the end of the trimester, and is often glossed over or skipped due to time constraints.  I liked how Larson and Lockee liken the three (outcomes, assessments,and strategies) to a three legged stool.  “Visualize instruction as a stool that supports learning experiences with three legs: the learning outcomes, the assessments, and the strategies (learning activities).  If a leg is out of alignment, the integrity of the design is compromised, and the stool won’t support the learner adequately.”  The three need to be integrated, and support each other.

For my project, the learning goal is:

Students will work collaboratively to interpret the rock cycle from a variety of internet sources.  Students will explain the rock cycle, using both pictures and words, and will describe and identify features of and give examples of the different types of rocks. Students will demonstrate their understanding by creating a fictitious “Rock Band” that releases a new “Rock album / CD” complete with cover art, band member biographies, song list, and lyrics to one song (may be set to the tune of another song).


In this project the outcome as stated is to be able to describe, explain (in pictures and words) the rock cycle and give examples of rocks.

Students will be given a set of learning objectives on day 1.

Strategies include:

Think, Pair, Share as students read and review some US Geological Survey USGS Website including: Rocks, and Rocks 101, Igneous RocksSedimentary RocksMetamorphic Rocks.Students will engage in a partner read of this website, one student reads, while the other asks questions, the reader attempts to answer.  Reverse roles for next page.

Next students engage in two online activities.  The first, is from the online McDougall Littell  On Line Earth Science Text Book,and it helps students to visualize the processes of the Rock Cycle, and shows a couple of pictures of different types of rocks.

The Last on line activity is from on the Rock Cycle.  Students rad through the website, and take the quiz at the end.  Students will print out their quiz scores for the grade purposes.

All of the above activities will enhance students understanding of how rocks form, and the different types and examples of rocks.

Assessments: 1. The on line quiz.

2. Creation of a rock band  and release of an album.  Students will be given the rubric on day one, as well as an example of the project.  Students will use their knowledge of the rock types and rock cycle to creatively explain the process and give examples through a album.  Each band member has a “band bio” is a different rock that has undergone the rock cycle to get to his or her present rock type.

An Example (making this example up as I go, so…) Mary Marble is a magnificent Metamorphic Rocker, but her long career hasn’t been easy.  Mary started her life as a young guitar playing  Molten magma deep inside a volcano.  All was quiet, until one day, her home erupted, and she was literally thrown into the world.  Mary cooled quickly forming an extrusive igneous rock.  She remained an igneous rock for a while, but time slowly crept up on her, and wind & rain began to wash and weather Mary away forming sediments. Her sediments eventually compacted forming a sedimentary rock.  Before Mary knew it, her life as a sedimentary rock was heating up with all the pressure of being a rock star.  This intense heat and pressure eventually turned Mary into the magnificent Marble that she is today!

The album title and cover art will help to show understanding.  The album art must include a drawing of the rock cycle.

It will tight trying to squeeze this into three days of instruction, so will either need to include some homework for students OR I can end this part of the ID process at the on line quiz, and do the Rock band as the next lesson. OR   The last possibilty is to tighten up the rock band rubric, and have students come up  with Rock Band name, album title, rock cycle picture for album cover, and the band bios that show an understanding of how one rock type can turn into another.


Question #2 by Jesús Trespalacios – Sunday, March 30, 2014, 10:21 PM

In your opinion, should anything have been removed from or added to Jackie’s evaluation plan on case study 8? Support your ideas with quotes and/or concepts from the Larson and Lockee chapters.

My initial Response Re: Question #2 by caroline cooney – Thursday, April 3, 2014, 6:37 PM

On Page 117 in Larson & Lockee the authors state:

“1. Define the types of outcomes to be identified and the level of detail to be assessed.

2. Write outcomes that communicate the desired behavior, conditions, and standards.

3. Align outcomes to assessments and strategies.

4. Plan how to convey the outcomes and communicate their relevance to learners.”

It seems to me that # 3 & 4 were not necessarily thought about upfront.  After meeting with her supervisor (after about four months), she was told about the upcoming meeting and need for the evaluation plan.  She went back to the original grant (figure 8-1 on pa 83 In ID Casebook), and re-read about the evaluation component.  I think that perhaps when she was first hired, it would have been a good idea to really review the original grant, to determine where the the project was, and what needed to be done to implement the grant as written.  If that were done, she might not have felt so overwhelmed at developing the assessment and evaluation plan.  If she had done that, perhaps, then all four of the above list would have been considered.  Also, I would like to think that her direct supervisor should have mentioned the importance and the focus of the evaluations and assessment component to her, when she was hired.  Although, ultimately, as the designer, it is Jackie’s job to implement & design for the grant, and implement the learning objectives.

One thing I thought might be interesting would be to survey the students of the faculty who have taken the course to determine what extent the material was covered in the class &/or where they did not understand the material.  The Instructional Design is for the faculty, but ultimately, it is for the students of who are in the classes of the faculty.

Ed Tech 503 Discussion 5

Question #1 by Jesús Trespalacios – Sunday, April 6, 2014, 8:54 PM

 Considering the seven “…essential tasks common to almost all IDT projects” (Larson & Lockee, 2014, p. 223), what is the greatest challenge Scott’s design team is facing on case #1? What challenges, if any, do you see in the makeup of the project teams?

My initial response…  Re: Question #1

by caroline cooney – Thursday, April 10, 2014, 8:02 PM

I think that one of the biggest challenges for the team is # 1 and #2 from the list. “Examine existing materials for use in the project, and Identify  project management requirements.  It seems that the group has read only one brief so far, and is getting bogged down with that one.  I would think they need to read the briefs to get a feel and understanding for the requirements for each learning object, and determine if there is some interplay between them.   Another concern is ability to choose the best 15 briefs out of the 32 learning objects, and revise and develop the briefs w/i the time frame.

It seems that the teams will be working independently, so that could become an issue if there is not clear understanding on all the learning objects.  Another potential challenge for  the group is that they will hand off their part of the job.  Once approved by the steering committee, the project is handed over to the Development team, and the Design team is not longer involved.  This seems to go against # 5,6,7.

5 Manage production and formative testing if instruction

6. Guide implementation and promote adoption.

7. Evaluate and revise for continuous improvement.

Once they hand off their piece, they are no longer involved, so it seems cannot do 5,6,or 7!

Lastly, while this is not on the list of seven on p 223,  it seems to me, the the group has the leeway to change the content as the briefs were  “starting points” (p 22); however, by changing the content to what should be brought on a camping trip, rather than a trip to Mars,  they lost the sub-concepts which are to develop an understanding of “how people contribute to the needs and well-being of the community, and how we all contribute to the community in productive and fair ways.”

Question #2 by Jesús Trespalacios – Sunday, April 6, 2014, 8:58 PM

2 a) Based on the concepts and theories discussed on chapter 10, how do you design and deliver an effective message?

2 b) Thinking in your ID project, what are the most important elements to develop an effective message presentation and flow? As you did in the previous discussion, introduce shortly your project at the beginning to understand better your instructional design decisions.

My Initial Response  Re: Question #2
by caroline cooney – Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 7:45 PM

According to Larson & Lockee, “there are two primary characteristics of an effective instructional message: accessibility and support of your overall design plan.” 

To me, this means that  all learners must be able to access the curriculum (content,and how it is delivered-the message) in terms if both the physical structure and unique needs of all students, including individualized education plans.  Furthermore, the message and its delivery need to support the overall goals of the Instructional Design.

My project’s goal is:”Students will work collaboratively to interpret the rock cycle from a variety of internet sources.  Students will explain the rock cycle, using both pictures and words, and will describe and identify features of and give examples of the different types of rocks.”

To create an effective message as the designer, one that tunes out the extraneous load, it is critical that I find sources that are both factual and engaging for high school students.

In terms of the content message and delivery, the Earth Science classes have a wide range of student abilities, and always include several students on Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s).  As a result, it will important to design a message that helps to pair the visual with verbal, as well as create opportunity to review, repeat, and dig deeper, and chunk the content (all in three hours!).

Students will access the websites from one of two places. 1. The Mansfield High School Library website or the classroom website (some of the teachers use class websites, but others do not.)

Student will work together in pairs, and partner read information on rock types from US Geological Survey.  The partner read will give students the chance to read aloud to each other, and ask questions of each other, helping to increase their comprehension.

The websites are USGS rocks, USGS Rocks 101, Igneous RocksSedimentaryMetamorphic.  Students will be asked to take notes and create a concept map to help make sense of the information.

Next students, with their partners, will review two interactive websites. McDougall, Littell and

The last website has an interactive quiz that students will take to assess their knowledge.  They will show their teacher their score, and have the chance to print out their quiz results if they would like a copy.

Students will take a traditional paper and pencil assessment to evaluate their  learning.   This next section, the “rock Band” will demonstrate how students apply their knowledge in a new way to show depth of understanding of the rock cycle processes, as well as rock types and examples.  Students will use their new rock knowledge to create a “Rock Band”, complete with band bios, song list, and cover art.

My Follow up to peer question
The plan is that the student partners work through the material  at their own pace.  I think it should NOT take any more than two class days. In terms of the partner read, you are right,it will be difficult to manage the cognitive load w/ all those people reading.  I will encourage them to find a quiet corner, and use appropriate voice level.  I really like to do the partner read, especially if there are any English Language Learners in class.  Yes, they will swap reading roles.  Depending  on the student, will depend if they listen or read along and listen.

Thanks for making me consider all these things, that I might not have thought of!


Ed Tech 503 ID Job Description

The first assignment for EdTech 503 was to create a job description for an Instructional Designer.  Before taking the course, I told a peer that I was taking an Instructional Design Course.  The response back was, “oh you will learn to create comprehensive lesson plans”.  After reading the syllabus, and completing this first assignment, I understand the Instructional Design involves creating lessons plans, but goes far beyond the scope of a lesson plan for a classroom.

To start the project, I did a Google search for Instructional Designer.  I was amazed at how many positions came up!  I looked at some corporate openings, including one for Apple, another for Google, and yet another for local company, Talbots.  I then decided to look at openings in the field of education, and in particular, those in the Massachusetts/New England area.  There were plenty of higher education positions available, but not so for local school districts.  I decided to create a position for an Instructional Designer for a typical Massachusetts public school district, since I am interested in learning how this class will apply to my teaching.  Moreover, my goal for this entire program, is determining how to utilize technology, and the skills and learning from the MET program to a classroom, and how I can share that knowledge with my peers, and district.

First, we had to create a fictitious job description, second, we reflected on the similarities and differences to teaching, and last, we included the link to  three actual job openings.

Here is the link to the document.

Here is the embedded document.

I chose the following AECT standards

2.3 Computer Based Technologies: Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.  I chose this because Computer-based technologies were used  to produce and deliver materials.

3.1 Media Utilization Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.  In this assignment, I used a variety of resources, including, but not limited to  researching job openings, and reviewing the expectations for learning.

3.4 Policies and Regulations: Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology. I chose this because in this assignment, I learned about the rules and societal expectations for Instructional Designers.

3.4.1 Identify and apply standards for the use of instructional technology. In particular, this standard because it speaks directly about the standards for Instructional Designers.