While it may seem to be a strange choice, there is a good reason for this photo to be featured with my EDTECH 503 reflection. Those who read my EDTECH 501 reflection may recognize the “pile of rocks” theme that is continued in the image for this post. The rocks represent all the tools that I need to learn to build my virtual foundation/rock wall – my M.E.T. degree. I still have a big pile of rocks to build with (tools to learn), but they are a bit more organized now that I have completed EDTECH 503.
Instructional Design was unknown to me before taking this class. I now feel like I know exactly what it is, thanks to Dr. Aprille Black and BSU. In order to design effective instruction, one must complete a lot of research and understand how people learn, among many other things. One of the most important skills an Instructional Designer must have is the ability to play well with others. The most skilled designer will fail in many projects if he can’t work with the stakeholders of a project, guiding them through the instructional needs and following them through their needs.
Course Challenge? Not really.
The part of this class that was the most challenging for me was finding a team to work with. All the teachers on staff are very busy, as are the administrators. Getting the needs analysis survey completed wasn’t too difficult because it was a short survey that only took a few minutes to complete. Finding a Subject Matter Expert was another story altogether. Only one person on staff felt qualified to serve as SME for Google Slides, and she wasn’t sure she could call herself an expert. She could, of course, and she did very well in her analysis and suggestions. I didn’t know of anyone outside of the school who could help with the project, either. Was this a big problem? Not at all, and it isn’t really even related to the class itself. Since it was the “biggest” challenge I could think of, I’d have to say that this class presented a lot of learning opportunities without presenting insurmountable challenges.
Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that the class isn’t challenging and interesting. It is. But that kind of challenge is something completely different. That kind of challenge is expected and appreciated. If it hadn’t been challenging and interesting, I would have been disappointed.
One person did step up to act as SME, so there wasn’t really any coping needed. Had she not volunteered, though, that may have been a different story.
Without a doubt, my favorite artifact for this class is the final project. Specifically, it is the Evaluation Slide Show for the project. I started the project with a simple Google form in mind for the final evaluation, but that was boring. When the time came to finalize the evaluation aspect, I happened to have a creative moment. I ended up with an evaluation tool that I think would be a lot of fun for teachers. Several of the people who have seen this tool agree, which is always nice. (Just because I like it doesn’t mean anyone else will.) The slide show gives participating teachers a chance to utilize all of their newly-acquired skills in order to complete the evaluation. Rather than simply writing their answers in a form, teachers move smiley faces to form a pictograph, fill in colored text boxes to form a Tetris-style game board, and insert their own graphics, transitions, and slides. Take a look at the sample slide show to get an idea of how the completed evaluation will look.
It is very easy for me to see how much I have learned during this class. After being introduced to the AECT Standards in EDTECH 501, it is also easy to relate this class to each and every one of the AECT Standards. I need to evaluate and assess much more thoroughly than I have been doing in the past. I have led professional development sessions for over two decades now. Never have I done as much formal preparation as I did for the final project. From the needs analysis all the way through the summative evaluation, this is a much better PD session than I have ever presented for educational technology. I look forward to using these skills in the future because I anticipate that the training sessions will be more successful.
There is a deeper reflection that is part of the final project. It gets into more detail, even including a metaphorical definition if Instructional Design. It is too lengthy for a blog post. Instead, I’ve included in the final project (linked above) and on this page.