Rationale Paper

Aligned With the Non-Traditional

Russell Nash
Boise State University
A Rationale Paper for the Masters of Educational Technology Program

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My name is Russell Nash. I currently work as a district executive for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). I have changed employment twice since I started the Master of Educational Technology program (MET) at Boise State University in 2011. When I started the MET program, I was teaching at a religious seminary operated by Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2012, at the end of my sixth year of employment with S&I, I left my seminary position and opened a photography business. To supplement the photography income, I joined the executive staff at the Snake River Council of the BSA in January 2013.

Prior to enrolling in the MET program, I studied for three years in a Master of Science program in plant pathology at Oregon State University. During those three years, I completed all of my coursework and part of my thesis research. However, by the close of the third year, my thesis work had fallen behind schedule and my funding was depleted. After consulting with my major professor on my options, I decided to not finish the program. Prior to this challenging experience in Oregon, I received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Plant Science from Utah State University in 2001.

I consider myself to be a non-traditional educator. In my MET graduate coursework at Boise State University, I have focused my elective courses on emerging technologies. In the future, I hope to provide technical support in product development to non-traditional or online educational ventures, whether in home-school settings, among charter schools, or in higher education. I have an especial interest in situated learning approaches.

My wife and I are home-school parents. We have an affinity for principles taught in the Thomas Jefferson approach to education (TJEd), which emphasizes classical leadership education, and have been heavily influenced by the Charlotte Mason method. My wife has initiated a number of learning projects at home and in our community that build on these educational philosophies. I have consulted with her on these projects and coached her on matters related to instructional systems design, program evaluation, technology utilization, and social network learning.

This paper demonstrates my level of mastery of the 2005 revision of the AECT Standards and provides a rationale for the learning artifacts I selected to demonstrate this mastery. In the paragraphs that follow, I describe the projects and learning artifacts that demonstrate my mastery of these standards.

Standard 1 – Design
Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

Standard 1.1  – Instructional Systems Design
Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

The project that best exemplifies my mastery of this standard is my final instructional design project for EDTECH 503. This project is titled, Journey to Excellence Training for Unit Commissioners. Januszewski and Molenda state, “The essence of the systems approach [to design] is to subdivide the instructional planning process into steps, to arrange those steps in a logical order, then to use the output of each step as the input of the next” (2008). This is how my project approached the design task. 

The need for my instructional design arose in 2011 when the BSA implemented a new quality improvement program titled, Journey to Excellence (JTE).  Prior efforts in our local BSA district to train Scout leaders on the purpose and implementation of the JTE program had not resulted in an increase in usage (personal communication with Robert Evans, Sawtooth District Executive, September 2011). I was a volunteer leader who attended one of those training sessions. After the training, I experienced ongoing confusion about JTE concepts and their procedural implementation.

In designing a new training for volunteer leaders tasked with implementing the JTE program, I started by analyzing reasons why leaders were not using the program. In this analysis, I used paper- and web-based surveys and found that most of the leaders who responded were hesitant to implement the program because they believed that persons in their Scouting units would not support the effort. They also did not understand how to make reports and what to report.

Subsequent design stages were informed by these survey results and by feedback from subject matter experts in the district. These later design stages ultimately led to the creation of a generative training (Lohr, 2008, p. 131) that employed a slide-based presentation and group discussion strategy.

Learners who participated in the first implementation of the training reported increased understanding of the purpose of the JTE program and expressed several ideas about how to promote implementation. Additional instructional design work the following year led to the development of tools, worked-examples, and hands-on practice. Utilization of this later work, combined with the first design, resulted in a 25% JTE implementation rate in the Sawtooth District in 2013.

Standard 1.2 – Message Design
Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

Message design is the layout of image and text to help learners focus on important features and to understand and remember key ideas (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008; Lohr, 2008). A project that reflects my culminating mastery of the message design standard is a screencast created for EDTECH 533 and titled, “Principles of Visual Literacy in the BSA.”

In this screencast, I explored the five principles of gestalt outlined by Linda Lohr (2008, p. 161) and used visual images and message formats familiar to an executive in my organization. I created this screencast to teach a colleague how to lay out visuals in a manner that helps viewers select the most important and relevant information on the page. This screencast is an audio-visual presentation that employs alternate representations and worked examples to present and analyze design problems and solutions in a supplantive manner (Smith & Ragan, 2005).

My colleague reported that the screencast helped him recognize deficiencies in his work. He has been working steadily since that time to honor gestalt principles in his work, and has regularly sought feedback on his work as well as additional instruction on integration principles.

Standard 1.3 – Instructional Strategies
Instructional strategies are specifications for selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson.

An assignment that demonstrates mastery of this standard is the YouTube playlists assignment created for EDTECH 533. These video playlists combine existing informational videos on YouTube with lesson outlines written in the playlist notes. These lesson outlines guide learners to discover answers to questions about concepts and relationships taught in the videos.

The cognitive playlist lesson scaffolds the learning process by guiding learners in a generative manner to discover concepts and relationships pertaining to time management. Scaffolding supports cognitive processing to allow learners to process complex ideas that they might otherwise not learn on their own (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 130). This playlist lesson’s primary strategies are guided discovery, question and answer, and reflection. In this lesson, there is a culminating discovery that is not explicitly summarized in the learning activities, but which learners may find if they complete the activities carefully.

Affective domain strategies are support and self-motivational skills that influence a learner’s active engagement in a learning task while maintaining a psychological attitude conducive to learning (Smith and Ragan, 2005, p. 244). The affective domain playlist which I created for this assignment supplantively presents a problem—high-impact outdoor usage—and a solution—the Leave no Trace initiative—as well as positive individual experiences with this solution. The lesson invites learners to develop fun ways to teach this solution to others. It also invites learners to take a pledge in support of the solution. In this manner, the playlist lesson maintains a positive learning attitude that is conducive to the instructional objectives while simultaneously engaging learners in self-motivating activities.

Procedural learning is characterized by unambiguous steps and requires both declarative and conceptual learning. In other words, learners should know the steps and be able to apply them (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 188). A serial skill that can be learned in a progressive manner is a form of procedural learning (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 275-76). Learning how to tie knots in a rope is a serial skill that can be learned in a progressive manner.

My third playlist lesson is mapped to the psychomotor domain. It helps learners employ both massed- and spaced-practice strategies as they learn to tie the knots required to earn the BSA’s First Class rank. The other lesson strategies used in this playlist lesson include observation (for learning what the knots are and how to tie them), verbal rehearsal of the steps to tying the knot, and comparative evaluation of learners’ final products with the knots demonstrated in the videos.

Standard 1.4 – Learner Characteristics
Learner characteristics are those facets of a learner’s experiential background that impact the effectiveness of a learning process.

A learning artifact that reflects my mastery of relating to learners’ experiential backgrounds is an educational remix video made for EDTECH 533 and titled, “Why Are You in Scouting?” This video demonstrates mastery of this standard because it targets learners’ perceptions of locus of control. Locus of control is considered to be a stable difference among learners, regardless of individual circumstances (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 64). This is significant because our BSA council does not have substantiated information about changing characteristics among our volunteers, making it necessary for us to rely on stable characteristics when designing training.

This video’s focus on locus of control is also important because it is common for BSA volunteers in our area to report that they serve in their positions because of external influences. Traditionally, leader positions are filled by volunteers who select their position and tenure of service. In our council, our predominate chartering organization fills these positions by giving assignments. Those who are given these assignments have the option to turn down the position, but do not usually get the chance to choose the type of position or length of tenure. As a result of this arrangement, I have observed volunteer leaders serving because of external, rather than internal, reasons.

 

The title of the video, “Why Are You In Scouting?” hints at the purpose of the project, which is to share words from Scouting’s founder, Robert Baden Powell, as well as images and video clips from Scouting events throughout the history of the organization, and do it all within the context of a reflective learning environment. The video attempts to reinforce—or help learners discover—an internal locus of control in their Scouting service. Colleagues and volunteers who viewed this video expressed positive feelings about the Scouting movement and its purposes.

Standard 2 – Development
Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

Standard 2.1 – Print Technologies
Print technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials, such as books and static visual materials, primarily through mechanical or photographic printing processes.

One of the learning artifacts that demonstrates my mastery of this standard is my Contrast-Alignment-Repetition-Proximity (CARP) project from EDTECH 506. This project was designed as part of the second JTE instructional design project mentioned previously. When viewed as a complete set, the JTE standards are extensive and can be overwhelming to beginners. My CARP project is an information summary sheet designed to minimize cognitive overload while learning these standards. The primary actions used in this project are chunking and effective use of white space. According to Lohr (2008, p. 199), these are the CARP actions most substantiated by research.

Besides these two actions, My CARP project also incorporates repeated text boxes and colored-image underlays. The colored images are designed to convey meaning about the relationship between the text boxes. The project was created for use on printed pages. It was developed in Adobe Fireworks at a resolution of 300 ppi with 8.5 x 11 inch dimensions. It was saved in the .jpg file format so it could be easily imported into common office software applications.

Another project that demonstrates mastery of this standard is my figure-ground design project. This design was also produced for EDTECH 506 as part of the second JTE training mentioned previously. According to Lohr, three characteristics of a visual impact information selection, and thus cognitive load: concentrated, concise, and concrete. Concentrated means that key points are emphasized, concise means that visual information is as basic as possible, and concrete means that elements of the design make it easy to visualize a concept (2008, p. 102). The design of my figure-ground visual emphasizes key points through different font sizes, information chunking, and contrasting tones. It is concise because it summarizes the information on official BSA forms into a more basic presentation, and it is concrete because the tones used for structure also guide the eye through the page.

Standard 2.2 – Audiovisual Technologies
Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.

According to Clark and Mayer, the cognitive theory of multimedia assumes that humans have two channels—auditory and visual—for processing information and that cognitive overload can be reduced by using both channels to present learning materials. This is referred to as the modality principle and means that if multimedia learning materials contain visual images or diagrams, then text should be replaced with verbal explanations to avoid overloading the visual channel (2011, p. 122).

My interactive video project from EDTECH 533, “Basic Photo Edits,” demonstrates my mastery of the audiovisual technologies standard and the theoretical principle outlined above by Clark and Mayer. My video is a basic photo-editing tutorial that presents viewers with common photos edits that I employ in my photography workflow. Because the procedural information in this video requires some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and the editing concepts can seem complex for beginning learners, I used the modality principle to help learners process the information presented. My use of video editing software and YouTube features, as evidenced by video itself, also demonstrate mastery of this standard.

Another project that demonstrates my mastery of the audiovisual technologies standard is my EDTECH 513 podcast titled, The Sawcast. This name is a combination of the words Sawtooth (the name of the Scouting district that I supervise) and podcast. The impetus for creating this podcast arose when a representative from one of our district’s chartering organizations asked for information updates in a podcast format.

I recorded my first edition of the Sawcast using an iPad and clip-on lecture microphone. In the podcast, I interviewed both executives and volunteers to gather information about upcoming events and initiatives of importance to my district’s volunteers. I compiled the audio clips and produced the podcast using Audacity. The advent of the 2013 summer camp season and year-end membership drive delayed further production of this podcast, but it remains part of the Sawtooth District’s long-range plans for enhancing communication with volunteers.

Standard 2.3 – Computer-Based Technologies
Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

One of the first learning artifacts generated in my EdTech coursework that demonstrates my mastery of this standard is my EDTECH 502 homepage. This webpage is a collection of hypermedia resources. According to Alessi and Trollip, hypermedia is a good methodology for constructivist learning environments as well as for the integration, extension, and improvement of other media in the electronic domain (2001, p. 140). This webpage was produced and published using Adobe’s Dreamweaver software.

Another learning artifact that demonstrates mastery of this standard is the final mobile app that I created in EDTECH 597. This app is titled, “Cattle Tales.” This app was an experiment with designing and developing a picture book on a mobile platform. The concept was intended for use by speech and language pathologists in need of narration tools for clients.

At the time when this app was developed, I was in the process of transitioning from teaching seminary to building a stock photography business, and my interests were centered on marketing my photographs. At that time, I had been working on a stock photography project with a local ranching operation and had many photographs of livestock, facilities, and persons in the operation. I was also consulting with two subject matter experts—a speech and language pathologist and a special needs educator—about the possibility of developing picture books with specific built-in narration features to help therapists who use mobile devices in their work with clients. Mobile app development seemed to offer a promising solution for my business aspirations.

Shortly after completing this project, I joined the BSA as a district executive and, by reason of employment contract terms, have indefinitely delayed the picture book venture.

Standard 2.4 – Integrated Technologies
Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

My digital story project for EDTECH 533, “Separation,” demonstrates my mastery of this standard. This story is a reflective piece about the effects of my youngest brother’s death on my life. The story uses video and picture resources, audio-voice over, and background music to deliver the message. It is showcased on YouTube. The story is intended to encourage viewers to reflect on their own perceptions of death and the separation that comes with it. For members of my family who knew my little brother, this purpose was fulfilled in an especially acute manner. 

The interactive photo-editing video described previously also demonstrates my mastery of the Integrated Technologies standard. In this project, I employed screencasting technology, video recordings, voice-overs, hypermedia features on YouTube, and visuals generated with photo-editing software. 

Standard 3 – Utilization
Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

Standard 3.1 – Media Utilization
Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

The first project I selected for demonstrating mastery of this standard is my EDTECH 543 curation, BSA Volunteers. I used Scoop.it to make the curation. Like many other learning artifacts in my portfolio, this one was created for my work with the BSA. Though our council is not yet ready to embrace connectivist learning approaches in an online setting, this curation has been created in advance of progress toward any such approach.

According to George Siemens, the ability to synthesize and recognize new connections and patterns is important, especially in learning environments where knowledge increases rapidly and needs to be processed (2005, p. 3). In researching a subject for curating, I found rapidly increasing information in social media channels for organizations that need help recruiting volunteers, but I didn’t find connections and patterns in this information specific to the BSA. This was my rationale for creating BSA Volunteers.

Another project that demonstrates contemporary media utilization is my EDTECH 502 WebQuest. This webquest was made for seminary students at the Kimberly, Idaho seminary. It follows the ASSURE model presented in 2004 by Heinich, Molenda, Russell and Smaldino (as cited in Januszewski and Molenda, 2008). The ASSURE acronym stands for analyze learners, state objectives, select methods, media, and materials, utilize media and materials, require learner participation, and evaluate and revise.

I did not have a chance to use this webquest before I left my seminary position because I did not have the technological resources to allow students to engage in the webquest during class. I also didn’t have permission to assign students to complete the activity outside of class. I have continued, however, to look for opportunities to set up additional webquests and expect to find them through our TJEd outreach to the community.

Standard 3.2 – Diffusion of Innovations
Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

According to Everett Rogers’ preface to the 4th edition of his book, Diffusion of Innovations, subjective evaluation of an innovation is usually sought from near-peers through exchanges within interpersonal networks (1995). Rogers writes, “The diffusion of innovations is essentially a social process in which subjectively perceived information about a new idea is communicated. The meaning of an innovation is thus gradually worked out through a process of social construction” (Rogers, 1995).

A learning artifact from my portfolio that reflects my mastery of this concept of standard 3.2 is my personal learning environment diagram, “Connectivism, CoPs, and PLNs.” This diagram demonstrates my perspective on the interactive networks that allow each of us to evaluate information gleaned in connectivist learning situations. In this diagram, I define a personal learning environment as that learning space in which persons filter rapidly increasing information and select content for redistribution to other persons or resources with whom they have consciously chosen to network. In this visual, I further define a community of practice as the sum of such networks.

In reviewing and evaluating this diagram, one of my peers suggested that my concept of a community of practice was too limited. I understood his feedback to mean that because the representation of community in my diagram was defined by intentional filtering of content, it didn’t allow for outside networks or communities to inspire learning inside consciously chosen network(s).

After a lengthy discussion with my peer, I chose to leave the diagram unchanged because I concluded that his suggestion was simply a macro-application of the concept already portrayed in the diagram. I explained that my diagram did not preclude interaction with other networks or communities, but simply emphasized a principle of conscious choice in acting on and redistributing the information they generate.

Standard 3.3 – Implementation and Institutionalization
Implementation is using materials or strategies in real (not simulated settings). Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.

Because I have essentially held three different jobs in my three years of study at Boise State University, finding learning artifacts in my portfolio that show implementation and institutionalization is difficult. Additionally, cultural constraints within my first organization (S&I) discouraged or prevented me from using non church-produced learning resources. Even with these limitations, I was usually able to incorporate my graduate coursework into some aspect of each of my jobs.

The work environment which I found to be most conducive to implementation and institutionalization was the BSA. The BSA Web Resources page in my learning log summarizes the work products that best showcase my mastery of this standard. The products linked from this page are outlined below along with a discussion about the MET courses where I developed the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to create such materials.

Internet Webpages

Though I did not set up or build the basic structure of the Snake River Council website, the vast majority of today’s site content, including menus and graphics, are my work products. In EDTECH 502, I learned the basics of coding XHTML and CSS and I use these skills regularly when working in Joomla to update and maintain this site’s content. In my EDTECH 597 class on blogging, I learned how to embed video and audio resources into a webpage. Our council website showcases several examples of video embeds, a few of which are available to view on the homepage.

In my EDTECH 506 course, I learned how to work with Adobe Fireworks. I still use this program heavily as I design graphics for pages on the council website.

Facebook Pages

The Snake River Council Facebook page, like the council’s website, is another online resource that I did not set up, but which I have exclusively maintained for the past year. Since taking over maintenance of this page, our number of likes has climbed 14%. To the best of my knowledge, all of those likes have come from our target audience: our customers.

The Ma-I-Shu Lodge Facebook page is a relatively new social media resource which I set up in January 2014. The creation and growth of this page demonstrate my skill and disposition to establish and use social media networks. Many of the standards that I have used when selecting content for these pages are explained in my EDTECH 543 social media use policy.

Another very recent example of my mastery of this standard is the Kiwanis of Hailey Facebook page. I was added as a contributor to this page on March 15, 2014 and began promoting its use among club members. Within the two to three weeks that followed, our number of likes climbed by approximately 15%. I started a recurring feature—a biweekly post called “Bob’s Weekly Wisdom and One-Liners”—to drive traffic to our page and obtained permission from the club to start a second feature—an recurring editorial feature called “Autumn Reflections.” I expect to see this feature launched in April 2014. Our club’s reach during the last week of March jumped from 46 to 399 persons (a 767.4% increase) and the number engaged jumped from 5 to 33 (a 560% increase).

Print Resources

The “2014 Day Camp Registration Packet” and “Sawtooth Klondike Derby 2014 Troop Guidebook” are print-based resources that reflect my implementation of design principles learned in EDTECH 506. Both of these resources were created to enhance readability (over previous publications) through adherence to selection, organization, and integration principles (Lohr, 2008).

Cloud Collaboration

Google Drive is a resource that I discovered in my graduate coursework and which I have used at work to make several improvements in our communication protocols. These improvements include (a) the manner in which we communicate campsite availability through our website in real time, (b) the manner in which teams of volunteers who are geographically scattered far from our office communicate and prepare for events, (c) our process for internal reporting within the council office, (d) the manner in which we disseminate event information, (e) the manner in which we send out financial campaign updates, and (f) the manner in which we provide agendas and administrative documents to key volunteers within various council organizations. Dozens of associates are now using Google Drive because of our institutionalization of this resource in the council.

The Snake River Council’s Dropbox account has also been instrumental in disseminating event information to employees and volunteers. Once I set up our account and linked it to each of our office computers, colleagues expressed excitement and relief that resources generated by different people were now centrally archived and perpetually available regardless of what happened to the computers used to create the original documents.

Standard 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.

The first MET project that helped me develop mastery of the this standard was the EDTECH 502 fair use scavenger hunt. This project required that I research fair use definitions and conventions and compile the results of that research into one location. 

A more recent example of my mastery of this standard is my social media use policy for BSA volunteers and employees. As mentioned previously, this policy was created to guide the institutionalization of social media technologies in our council. This policy reflects policies and regulations passed down by our parent organization as well as copyright laws and ethics. It addresses conventions and best practices in social networking.

A third project that demonstrates mastery of this standard is my digital story project from EDTECH 513. The background music that I originally selected for this project was flagged by YouTube’s copyright bots shortly after sharing the video. I had selected the music on assumptions of fair use, but rather than disputing the flag from YouTube, I removed the video from their servers. Subsequent efforts to secure permission from the music publisher were unsuccessful, so the video was produced again with a song obtained from incompetech.com. The song I used in the revised video is available on this site under a creative commons attribution license.

Standard 4 – Management
Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.

Standard 4.1 – Project Management
Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.

A learning artifact that demonstrates my mastery of this standard is a social networked learning mini-unit developed for EDTECH 543, Health, Nutrition and Culture 100, or NUT 100. Various resources were used to create this mini-unit, including the primary hosting platform: Edmodo. Those who review my portfolio will have access to the join URL and group code for the course (see learning log post) until the end of April, 2014. Reviewers will need a personal Edmodo account.

Siemens noted that an important management implication of connectivist learning environments is the realization that knowledge cannot exist in the mind of one person only, but that diverse teams with varying viewpoints are critical for completely exploring ideas (Siemens, 2005). This statement provides a rationale for the collaborative nature of the NUT 100 project and for the self-instructional, inquiry-based learning strategies included in the lesson activities. The diverse team that collaborated on this project consisted of a doctor, high school strength trainer, financial aid officer/IT specialist, and executive in a non-profit organization.

My management roles in the NUT 100 project varied from collaborator to content developer to platform administrator. In the design phase, my primary project contribution was a list of learning objectives and a suggestion that we follow a backwards-design model for refining our objectives list. I suggested this because it appeared to me, while monitoring group contributions, that our efforts to brainstorm objectives had actually produced a list of learning activities. I felt that we were not, at that time, fully aligned with the specifications we had received for the project (Donaldson, J., Smaldino, S.,  and Pearson R.  in Januszewski and Molenda (Eds.), 2005).

As development began, I set up and roughed in the basic content of most of the technical resources on Edmodo and Google Drive and then opened them to my peers for continued collaboration and refinement. As mentioned above, two of my peers had health and fitness backgrounds and served as key subject matter experts in developing the depth of thought contained in the learning activities. As the platform administrator, I learned how to use Edmodo and set up the NUT 100 classroom. I continue to maintain it today as a learning artifact for members of this group.

Standard 4.2 – Resource Management
Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.

My final app design for EDTECH 597 shows my ability to manage a resource support system. In this particular case, the system was MIT’s App Inventor. My learning log post for this final app contains design documents, screenshots from App Inventor, and a link to download the .apk file.

Before building the app in App Inventor, I made a written plan for the project and generated simple visual representations of the design and behavior of the app. In developing the app, I designed the layout and set up the interface in the component designer and then planned and built the interactivity of the app using the blocks editor. The ongoing process of debugging and revising the app demonstrates my ability to monitor and control the system.

Standard 4.3 – Delivery System Management
Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ … [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner.

In my EDTECH 543 course, I was asked to develop social media use guidelines. This set of guidelines documents my ability to plan the organization of materials distribution. The guidelines align with standards from our parent organization as well as with copyright laws and best practices in social network learning. As mentioned previously, these guidelines have been used and continue to be used to direct social media outreach in our council.

Another design project that demonstrates my mastery of this standard is my Journey to Excellence Leader Packets training, created for EDTECH 506. This training combines a blog platform with visual graphics, all of which were designed to reduce cognitive load and adhere to the five principles of integration (Lohr, 2008). As outlined previously under AECT standard 1.1, this training resource has contributed to increased JTE implementation in the Sawtooth District.

Standard 4.4 – Information Management
Information management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.

The best way to demonstrate my mastery of this standard is to point to a system that I use to manage information. That system is the website on which this paper is published: russnash.meThis website serves multiple purposes and is home to most of the information generated in my MET coursework. It has been a valuable tool in managing this information. In my management efforts, I am careful to employ site features such as category classification and article tagging and content features such as disclaimers and visual elements that positively influence readability (font type, contrast, alignment, and white space).

The original blog I created for EDTECH 597 is nashrualive.wordpress.com. In an effort to better manage information generated in my MET coursework, this and other blogs have recently been brought together into one location here on russnash.me. With approximately 140 backdated learning log entries that link to over 150 learning artifacts, russnash.me now houses my ongoing academic and professional documentation and reflection.

Another learning artifact that demonstrates my mastery of this standard is my EDTECH 504 learning theories synthesis paper. In this paper, I compared the educational philosophies of the Thomas Jefferson approach to education with various learning and child-development theories found in research literature. The research required to write this paper catalyzed a turning point in my understanding of the role of learning theory. It also spurred development in my personal feelings about the TJEd approach to learning. After completing this project, I became more supportive of my wife’s home-school efforts and community outreach. I also developed a better understanding of how academic writing helps the field of educational technology manage information.

A final learning artifact which demonstrates mastery of this standard is my curation checklist developed for EDTECH 543. This checklist specifically addresses information processing in a connectivist learning environment. It is based on research and best practice and is designed to ensure quality curation content. I have found that a simple checklist can be a valuable method for managing information.

Standard 5 – Evaluation

Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

Standard 5.1 – Problem Analysis
Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.

My EDTECH 505 evaluation report demonstrates competency with all subdomains of standard 5. In this section, I will explain alignment with standard 5.1.

In the spring of 2013, I was invited to conduct an evaluation on the Jerome Statesman and Leadership Academy (JSLA). The academy was a commonwealth co-op developed for families with children, ages 3-13, in the south-central region of Idaho. My wife founded the commonwealth as part of her community outreach mentioned previously. Another couple in our community volunteered as teachers and co-administrators with my wife. 

Before proposing this evaluation, I had frequently heard the three stakeholders mentioned above express concern about student performance and parent perceptions of commonwealth activities. They were uncertain about the value of the JSLA to participants and were questioning the future of the program. They were also unsure of participant commitment to TJEd learning philosophies.

To help them analyze the problems they faced, I consulted with these stakeholders and developed written statements of the program’s objectives. From these statements, I developed criteria for measuring the success of the program. Those criteria are summarized in the Executive Summary of my evaluation report. I later used a rubric and observation and interview strategies to gather data to analyze the JSLA’s problems. These activities are outlined below in greater detail.

Standard 5.2 – Criterion-Referenced Measurement.
Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learning mastery of pre-specified content.

After developing criteria for measuring the JSLA’s success, I translated these written statements into a rubric that I used to evaluate student performance. I also translated them into a survey tool that I used while interviewing moms in the commonwealth. These written criteria became my primary reference in measuring the success of the JSLA in achieving its objectives.

I will continue discussing, in the sections that follow, how this evaluation had to be adapted to give summative rather than formative reports to the JSLA. Before I do that, though, I will mention another project that details my approach to criterion-referenced measurement. This project is my EDTECH 504 learning theories synthesis paper.

In this paper, I compared the principles and core assumptions of the TJEd learning approach to various learning theories found in research literature. The assumptions of the TJEd philosophy derive largely from theories about learning and childhood development taught by psychologists such as Erik Erickson and Lev Vygotsky. While the founders of the TJEd movement explain these derivations in their book titled, “Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning” (DeMille & DeMille, 2010), they do not properly cite their research. This indiscretion contributed to my rationale for comparing the TJEd philosophy with literature from—or related to—the psychologists mentioned above. Proper citation and transparency in editorial works in education are essential for criterion-referenced measurement. 

Standard 5.3 – Formative and Summative Evaluation
Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.

In returning to a discussion about my evaluation of the JSLA, please note that my project was originally designed to be a formative evaluation that would inform key stakeholders about the success of the commonwealth in its first year of operation. These stakeholders planned to hear the evaluation results before deciding the fate of the academy the following school year. Personal factors in the lives of the stakeholders, however, forced this decision early, making it necessary for me to adapt my plans and provide a summative report.

Boulmetis and Dutwin described the situation that my evaluation project faced at this point when they observed that organizations in the first year of a multiyear program cycle may have time to implement formative evaluation findings, but organizations with only a couple of months left in the program cycle are best served—practically and ethically—by a summative evaluation (2011, p. 217). The simple fact that my evaluation project was able to plan for a formative evaluation, then switch to and deliver a summative evaluation, is evidence of my mastery of this standard.

Standard 5.4 – Long-Range Planning
Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning. Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.

By the time my JSLA project had been changed to a summative evaluation, decisions about the long-term future of the academy had already been made by the three stakeholders mentioned above. However, other co-op formats were being discussed in an attempt to continue delivering services to the participants of the academy.

Leigh stated that needs assessment is usually a first step in the strategic planning process and that it prepares for the process of selecting appropriate solutions to challenges while building shared commitment in an organization (2006, as quoted in Januszewski and Molenda, 2008). My evaluation report on the JSLA contributed to the needs assessment that would ultimately lead to the newest TJEd outreach initiative in our community, the Accountability Mentors Program. Needs assessment for this program continues today as long-term plans for the development of the program’s colloquia, course content, and technological resources are being established.

Another project that demonstrates my mastery of this standard is my digital footprint plan, “Twelve Thinks.” This plan strategically lays out the steps I intend to follow to ensure greater success in my professional efforts and social network outreach. Key components of this plan include: (a) consolidating scattered and fragmented learning artifacts and associating scattered technological resources together, (b) creating context to brand my contributions, (c) continuously defining learning environments and communities of practice, and (d) maintaining balance between online and offline contributions.

Conclusion

This paper documents my mastery of the 2005 AECT standards. In presenting a rationale for the selection of each artifact, it demonstrates my knowledge, skills, and dispositions to create content that aligns with these standards. As a non-traditional educator working outside of public and higher education settings, I have found many opportunities to design and develop instructional materials and learning support resources that contribute to student learning, organizational goal achievement, and the betterment of the communities of practice and learning networks to which my learners and I belong.

 

 

References

Alessi, S. & Trollip, S. (2001). Multimedia for learning: Methods and development (3rd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon

Boulmetis, J. & Dutwin. P. (2011). The ABCs of evaluation: Timeless techniques for program and project managers (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Clark, R. & Mayer, R. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer

DeMille, O. & DeMille, R. (2010). Leadership education: The phases of learning. Alpine UT: TJEd Online. ISBN: 978-0-9671246-4-3

 Donaldson, J. A., Smaldino, A., & Pearson, R. (2008). Managing. In A. Januszewski & M. Molenda (Eds.). (2008). Educational technology: A definition with commentary. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group

Januszewski, A. & Molenda, M. (Eds.). (2008). Educational technology: A definition with commentary. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group

Jonassen, D. & Land S. (Eds.). (2000). Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Leigh, D. (2006). SWOT analysis. In A. Januszewski & M. Molenda (Eds.). (2008). Educational technology: A definition with commentary. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group

Lohr, L. (2008).  Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations (4th ed). New York, NY: Simon and Schuster

Seimens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10.

Smith, P. & Ragan, T. (2005). Instructional Design (3rd Ed.) Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

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