Coleman's expressions

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Curriculum Unit - UBD: Introduction

My first dilemma in scaffolding for our major assignment was to focus on one area (I vacillated between my chosen content, career research & decision making, college success skills, and developing a ‘model’ for use in the community college class).

I intend to teach EME 2040 part-time again in the Fall, so I reviewed my previous experiences and student evaluations and decided that the course outcome, “Evaluate/review ethical, legal and social issues regarding technology in the classroom” was probably the unit most in need of revision. This unit is generally last in the sequence of semester modules and priority. I think it is a good example for UBD as the vast amount of content mimics many of those K-12 classes where teachers sometimes feel obligated to mention all of them in a superficial way – thus, very little understanding occurs. I’m a little nervous about assembling all of the necessary parts, especially in our short time frame – but my attempts will be positive (and realistically, it will be continually tweaked as it is tested with students).

In order to commit myself to this topic, I’m blogging an introduction now and hope to develop my thoughts more fully in a future blog. So here goes…

Content area: EME 2040 – Introduction to Educational Technology

Title: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues

Audience: Community College students (heterogeneous student composition varied in age range, technology skills, teaching experience, college level) preparing to be pursue a major in Education (though I’ve also had students take this course as an elective for another major).

Desired results: The desired results (Stage 1) are a compilation of established goals (gathered below, but not yet “unpacked”), understandings, essential questions, and key knowledge and skills (the remaining of which I will develop in more depth by the end of the week)
Students understand the social, legal, ethical and human issues surrounding the use of technology in PK-12 schools and apply those principles in practice.
  • Model and teach legal and ethical practice related to technology use.

  • Apply technology resources to enable and empower learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics and abilities.

  • Identify and use technology resources that affirm diversity.

  • Promote safe and healthy use of technology resources.

  • Facilitate equitable access to technology resources for all students.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2005) National educational technology standards (NETS) for teachers - VI. Retrieved March 25, 2006 from

Uses appropriate technology in teaching and learning processes.
  • Demonstrates awareness of and models acceptable use policies and copyright issues.

  • Models and teaches legal and ethical uses of technology.

  • Uses accessible and assistive technology to provide curriculum access to those students who need additional support to physically or cognitively access the information provided in the general education curriculum at each school site.
Florida Education Standards Commission. (2003). Educators accomplished practices: Teachers of the twenty-first century - 12. Retrieved March 29, 2006 from

Methods of gathering evidence (assessment) for learning: The assessment evidence cannot yet be specified until my big ideas are fully developed, but I envision using problem-based learning with a rubric evaluation tool as a primary and culminating performance task. I also want to incorporate a “pre-test” and “post-test” of basic concepts, formative checks for understanding, and a quiz.

More later…

Saturday, March 25, 2006

8,000 educators & technology

Just returning from Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) and sifting through the variety of presentations, vendor products, and networking opportunities – these events are invigorating and simultaneously tiring, both positive and frightening, and the contradictions don’t stop there – such is our way of life!

With 8,000 attendees, the variety was representative of levels, subject areas and technologies. Due to my diverse interests, I tried to sample a bit of everything. Podcasts presentations were probably the most popular from individual classroom applications to Apple’s sales pitch. After exploring this concept in 5405 last term, I was already “hooked” on the technology, but wanted to further my exploration. Unfortunately, the sessions were all SRO and spilling out into the hallways upon my arrival. Thus, I moved along…

Interestingly, some of the sessions I attended were podcasted (to be posted at so be on the lookout, if you’re interested), including David Thornburgh’s Visual Learning and Generation M. Among other things, he talked about the need for doing different things versus doing things differently, i.e., the need for metamorphic, rather than incremental, change. There was definitely an atmosphere of reform in the air…unfortunately, I feel like I’ve been hearing that for two decades and have seen little evidence of the metamorphic transformation. He reminded me of a wonderful website, Visual Thesaurus and shared a new one Grokker (once you submit, use the zoomable map) for visual representation. Before I leave this visual learning train of thought, David Warlick also shared an interesting website, Buzztracker, depicting a map of the daily news.

John Kuglin based much of his transformative thoughts on the 21st Century Skills (high school reform) to include core subjects, 21st century content (global awareness, financial/entrepreneurial literacy, wellness awareness, etc.), learning and thinking skills, ICT literacy, life skills, and 21st Century assessments (i.e., more than standardized tests). He encouraged us to “change the way we think.” I enjoyed his examples of integrating digital technology in the learning environment with the use of search engines (a new and free search portal is Answers, which includes citation references at the bottom) and Google Earth with various overlays.

One more…at least for now!
Chris Dede’s NeoMillenial Learning Styles focused not on the typical view of learning styles (i.e, sensory-based, personality-based, aptitude-based), but on what he calls: media-based. He describes this as either mindlessly accumulating information or seeking, sieving, and synthesizing information; as either superficial, easily distracted data gathering or a sophisticated form of synthesizing new insights. This is interesting to ponder as we think about learner’s needs for curriculum models – often so different from the digital immigrants’ view.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Models of and Technology in Curriculum

Though I’ve had a number of years of formal education and hands-on teaching experience, I’ve never taken a class specifically in curriculum development, so the models of Tyler, Taba, and Wiggins/McTighe are new to me. However, all of them have elements that are demonstrated in my educational experiences.

Since one of my focal points is “learner-centered,” I was immediately drawn to Tyler’s recommendation of incorporating learner’s needs when selecting objectives. Tools such as pre-assessments and KWL can offer valuable insight in developing curriculum at the classroom level. Focus groups and surveys at the school, district or community level can offer similar opportunities.

Selecting objectives is one of the first steps of all three models – and an important one. As a teacher focusing on teaching activities and instruction, the objectives (the “desired results” as described by Wiggins & McTighe) are often a second thought and do not get the needed attention. I believe that most teachers think about objectives, but don’t necessarily develop them or articulate them to the degree that includes the six facets of understanding and the essential questions.

Integration among traditional content areas and with “unintended consequences” involves an additional view of curriculum models. Whether it be done in a thematic sense, an interdisciplinary approach or as problem based learning, I’m a firm believer in
curriculum integration. That appears to happen rather naturally at the elementary levels, but is much more difficult to reproduce at the secondary and post-secondary levels. And that is a shame, since not only does integration increase the likelihood of learning, but it is more representational of our reality. If you throw the ubiquity of technology into the mix, curriculum integration is even more vital.

My experiences of infusing technology in the curriculum have been productive and fun – though, like most, I’ve had to modify them after the first go-round! Some of the ways:
  • Integrating productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentation tools, and publishing software is almost a ‘given’ anymore. For example, in an integrating technology lesson plan, The Keys to Your Dream Car, students developed decision-making skills, filtered web-based information, applied math skills in determining fuel costs, and used a spreadsheet for organizing information in a chart format in selecting their “dream” car – and found out the costs of car ownership! This was part of a large unit on Career Research & Decision-Making.

  • Use of web-based multimedia programs, such as the Interview game for practicing tips on job interview skills and Career Key for self-assessment tools.

  • Created and used WebQuests and online Filamentality Scavenger hunts: Show Me the Software is in need of a make-over, but much of the content is still acceptable and Hunt for Integrating Technology was used to demonstrate their use to a EME2040 class, as well as give them a review and application of a textbook chapter.

  • Taught a face-to-face class with online support through WebCT as the platform tool – utilized assessement tools, assignment drop-boxes, and discussion boards and developed content modules

  • I tried blogs as a communication tool for a Problem-Based Learning project in my Intro to Educ Tech class a few years ago – It was not terribly successful, but knowing what I know now about blogs, I would revamp it entirely!

  • As well, I tried to get an e-mentoring group of high school juniors when I was a high school guidance counselor. The goal was to mentor incoming 9th graders and help them adjust to the high school environment and responsibilities. It didn’t get off the ground, but I still think it has validity, especially if incorporated within curriculum (most likely English) and classes with teachers willing to embrace!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

So, What is Curriculum?

Curriculum is content, in simplistic terms. Then, what is content and is curriculum really limited to content? Content is the substance or meaning of our learning, but I do think that narrowness of just “subject matter” is limiting and tunnel-vision. The definition that suits me best is (naturally!) a combination: Curriculum is “the weaving together of subject matter (“both intended and unintended” – from Sowell, E.), the statement of the ends (objectives/goals), sequencing of content, and preassessment of entry skills required of students when they begin the study of content.” – from Gagne, R.

This definition is more reflective of my teaching and learning as it includes a
  • wholistic view (looking at more than traditional content, including that inadvertent information or environmental/social influences)

  • a systematic approach (I’ve always included standards/objectives and being fairly linear, mapped out a trail of some sort – even if there are diversions – though I don’t always like the ‘prescriptive-like’ nature), and

  • the scaffolding needed to try to meet diversity while still instructing groups (a learner-centered model, though not pure by any means).

Upon further review of Gagne’s Conditions of Learning, I realize that he is somewhat eclectic, as well. His work stretches across behaviorism, cognition, and constructivism! Although he doesn’t appear to tap into the social side of constructivism, he does represent a bridge among realism, idealism, and pragmatism – at least from my perspective!

Self-assessment is an effective starting point for considering one’s own philosophy on education. Each time I take those tests, I’m finding something else to reflect upon. My “types” ended up pretty much the same as they always do, but I always re-discover an area of myself that I’ve neglected for awhile, so it brings it back to focus. It occurs to me as I write this post that my formal educational background in psychology and counseling and that my experiences in education (both teaching and learning) indeed influence my philosophy and views on curriculum. There is a solid underpinning, but due to my nature of change, I’m indeed flexible to incorporate new ideas and concepts!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Philosophical Reflections

Philosophy is sometimes construed to be negative due to its abstract, indistinct and broad nature. I would not argue with that…and being a very practical and application-oriented person, I often disregard philosophical discussions. But they are important – connected to our core values and beliefs. In education, our philosophy serves as a foundation for our teaching, thus, inextricably tied to the essence of our day-to-day career.

I’ve always been an eclectic one – not sure whether that is because I truly do interconnect the various (and some seemingly opposite) views or because I just can’t commit to one or two!?! My actions and experiences indicate that I’m definitely more in the pragmatism camp than either the idealism or realism. I draw heavily from progressivism for three tenets: 1) learner-centered approach; 2) social issues and action (for me this is reflected in continual growth and change and not as singly aggressive as reconstructionism); and 3) active experiential learning – that of experimentation and practical application. That stated, I’m not a believer that the scientific method and other systematic approaches should be the sole emphasis in schools (though I am a proponent of problem-based learning) nor that the relevance should be limited to work and society’s needs.

Existentialism (though not in our presentation) is another general philosophy from which I draw, primarily because of the elements of social interaction and the humanist concepts of developing the human potential, intuitive personal understanding and responsible choice. In addition, Paulo Freire’s work is intriguing (again I’m not congruent with all of the radical decrees) - I agree with his concept of “banking” as a negative influence on education and with the relationship of teacher-student as well as student-teacher in learning. Constructivism and social constructivist theories fit well with my beliefs, as well.

My post on Curriculum views will follow … Part 2

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Introduction to EME 5207 community

For those who already know me from EME 5405, not much has changed in the last couple of weeks, so my posting is repetitive to that of January, except for the addition of "experience with curriculum" which is that I have had experience being on curriculum committees at the college level, developing curriculum content for a 9th grade Career Research and Decision Making class (based on State standards, of course, but no textbook), and designing content for EME 2040. I have also been involved with inter-disciplinary curriculum writing teams (high school level) with an emphasis on technology integration and/or career focus.

I am delighted to once again be participating in an Educational Technology online course (completed four, so far!) through UF!! I look forward to interactions and learnings that will provide continual challenges in my ongoing journey of life...

Unlike many (probably even most) of my classmates in this course, I am "old" (at least in chronological years)...I have been in the business of education for almost 30 years. My experience ranges from teaching to counseling to administraiton with a variety of ages/levels: 9th grade through adult (both basic education and graduate teaching). I currently work full-time (not in the classroom) for Collier County School District in Naples, FL at our post-secondary technical center, which will offer a on-site high school with a career education emphasis, beginning next year. I also usually teach EME 2040, Intro to Educ Tech at our community college, but not doing so this semester.

I earned a doctorate in Educational Administration nearly 20 years ago and have continued to learn via formal or informal education settings since - the epitome of lifelong learning - it works for me! My master's was in Guidance and Counseling and my bachelor's in Psychology, so teaching is something I added on with certifications.

Using as much technology as I can on a daily basis, I consider it a necessary and vital tool - how did we live without it! I am always interested to learn more, but time is often an obstacle. Thus, this class, I hope, will help me to focus on pursuing additional educational technology integration and applications. Focusing on the curriculum design with technology infusion will be a great foundation for me as I work with teachers and students alike.

Between work and classes, there's not much time for other priorities, but I do volunteer at our Neighborhood Health Clinic and am in the continuous mode of remodeling the house. Sheitan, my 14-year old Husky, and wellness workouts are part of the daily routines. As a result of blogging in the last two months, I took it to a rather large and dispersed extended family for a virtual reunion blog - it's catching on!!