EDTECH: 542 PBL Week 9 & 10 Reflection

In a project based model of learning other educators and administrators don’t see the the students as “learning” because the teacher isn’t standing in front of the classroom “doing” the modeling of each and every step in the process.  The student centered approach to learning has not been the “preferred” methodology in most of the schools I have worked during my educational career.  Most educators, I have found, are more comfortable using scripted programs, fill in the blank worksheets, and canned curricula.  This seems to be more prevalent at the elementary levels than the middle and upper grades.  The thought of looking at the standards and using that to drive instruction rather than the teachers manual to many is intimidating.  With this said as an I.C.T teacher there isn’t a one size fits all curricula with a teachers manual.  Project centered learning with the teacher as a facilitator, coach, and problem solver is the nature of my position.


What I find eye opening is that this philosophy is embedded into my position as a specialist, with learning that is project centered on process, quality, and product seems to be an ongoing contradiction to the philosophies ingrained in elementary classrooms.


How do we as educators respond to criticisms about project based student centered learning?  That is a great quadry.  I find that I am backing my instruction by using the standards and pointing out to others the shift in the language.  For example many of the K-2 ELA standards use the phrase “with adult assistance students will”.  This phrase appears a lot less in the 3rd grade and is almost non-existent come 4th grade.  The language changes to “students will create, publish, type, cite, etc.”  The shift in the standards indicates a shift in instructional strategy from being teacher centered instruction in K-2 to that of student centered in grades 3 and up.


An effective classroom facilitator knows when to coach, engage, and directly instruct given the needs of students.  When acting as a facilitator rather than a teacher on the stage one tends to have smaller more meaningful conversations with students given the current phase of the process they are in.  As a facilitator you need to be flexible and be able to change direction with the changing needs of the students as they work their way through the project based learning tasks moving towards the culminating end result.


Students will even in a project based learning environment develop the skills and competencies need to be successful.  In the positive digital footprint project students are gaining valuable skills of organization, research, citing sources, uploading files, editing an website, and reflection upon learning.  All of these 21st century skills are an integral part of being a great digital citizen in what is become a global economy.  Students need to recognize that their internet presence is visible and they need to put their best foot forward by showcasing their skills.


In order to be an effective facilitator in my PBL unit, I will create screen-casts of how to use the various digital tools available to students in the project.  As these are needed, I will push these resources out to students in Google Classroom so they can access them when needed.  We will have students give status updates in classroom along the way so classmates can give feedback and as the facilitator I can monitor progress and jump in when students may need additional assistance and guidance along the way.  Paper copies of resources will be organized in a central location of the classroom and digital copies of these will be available in Google Classroom as well.

This week additional refinements have been made to the PBL unit on Creating a Positive Digital Footprint.

EDTECH 513: Coherence Principle

The Coherence Principle


According to Clark & Mayer, the coherence principle may be the single most important of those presented.  In summary, it basically states to not over do it with extra unrelated graphics, sound, and media.  This principle appears to bring all those discussed up to this point together in a cohesive form.

  • make sure for those with little prior knowledge there are relevant graphics presented with word (these must be connected)
  • Audio narration of animation (if this is done; don’t use music too)
  • Avoid extraneous graphic as they can be disruptive to the learning process (Clark & Mayer, p. 159)
  • Avoid graphics and media that create distraction, disruption, & seduction
  • Keep images simple
  • Short concise narration is best
  • Use signaling such as: headings, bold, italics, underlining, capital letters, larger font, color, white space, arrows, and related techniques to draw the learner’s attention to specific parts of the display or page. (Clark & Mayer, p. 173)


Coherence in Action

In my own practice as an elementary educator, I have made the most use out of signaling to draw the learners attention to key information.  When creating step by step directions for students I make actions bold on the page.  Any screenshots showing students where buttons are in a software application have arrows pointing to where they need to look on the screen.  Give the fact that students are using these tools for the first time, I include a lot of screenshots embedded into project directions so students always know what the next step looks like.  I have also found video modeling to be very helpful.  Initially, I recorded a project as one long video file.  I found this was too long for students to track.  As a result, I now chunk the video modeling into chunks of about 3-5 minutes.


As for the acquisition of new vocabulary into working memory with younger students, I find using digital flashcards that have pictures and words very powerful.  Just last week I was using the interactive whiteboard as a whole group lesson on shapes using Quizlet.  We first previewed the shape vocabulary with word and image showing as phase one.  For phase two students matched the image with the correct work using the word using the scatter game.  It made for a great whole group lesson using digital tools to support learning.


Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2008). Applying the Coherence Principle. In E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.


Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(7), 611-623


Moreau, R., & Mayer, R. (n.d.). IMEJ Article – A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://imej.wfu.edu/articles/2000/2/05/index.asp

Creative Commons License
EDTECH 513 Coherence Principle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://joannamarcotteedtechlearninglog.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/edtech-513-coherence-principle/.

513 Multimedia – Podcast Assignment

Episode 1 Podcast

This podcast episode centers around using technology to support social studies in the classroom.  I have discussed using Google Earth vs. Google Tour Builder.  In the second portion of the podcast, I discuss various flash card application such as GFlash, Study Stack, Quizlet, and A+ Flash Card App.

EdTech 513: Podcast Critique

  1. Select one podcast you would like to share and discuss with your classmates.

Google Educast # 143

  1. Critique the podcast based on the following criteria:
    1. interest (does it have wide audience appeal?)
        • This particular podcast appeals to technology teachers that want to stay current with new Google apps, products, etc.  Or teachers that enjoy using technology
    2. quality (was the audio clear),
        • The quality of the audio was clear even with the speakers being in a variety of locations.
    3. speaker voice (did the speaker’s voice project well?),
        • All the various speaker’s voices projected well
    4. format (did the podcast flow easily and hold your interest?),
        • The podcast was enthusiast more like I was listening to several technology having a conversation rather than being more for others to enjoy listening to.  Personally I did not find this model engaging.
    5. music (did the music match the theme of the podcast and make sense?),
        • The introduction music was good but then led into an advertisement asking for donations.  I felt that this was a bit lengthy
    6. and anything else you can think of.

Because I didn’t find this particular podcast very engaging in comparison with other’s I am evaluating a second podcast.

  1. Select one podcast you would like to share and discuss with your classmates.


  1. Critique the podcast based on the following criteria:
    1. interest (does it have wide audience appeal?),
        • The podcast appeals to any teacher looking to integrate technology into their instruction.
    2. quality (was the audio clear),
        • The audio quality was very clear
    3. speaker voice (did the speaker’s voice project well?),
        • Both the speakers projected their voices well.  They had more inflection in their voice than the other podcast I listed to
    4. format (did the podcast flow easily and hold your interest?),
        • Even though the format of this podcast was similar as far as listening to the presenters have a conversation, I felt that these presenters gave more practical application in the classroom than the previous podcast
    5. music (did the music match the theme of the podcast and make sense?),
        • The introductory music and opening words work well to introduce the podcast.
    6. and anything else you can think of.
        • These podcasts are great and have real world application that you can often institute into classroom instruction easily given the recommendations the presenters make.  I wish they were still making podcast.

EdTech 513 – Multimedia Design Dilemma

Design Dilemma:
Your school principal has asked you to explain why you don’t include text to match your narration of multimedia instruction. (S)he cites different learning preferences as being the reason, along with adding additional modalities to improve learning. How would you answer?

According to the Modality Principle it is helpful to have printed words on a screen concurrent with graphics when you have a student that is hearing impaired and therefore can’t access audio or when bandwidth, sound cards, headsets are not available or up to par within the learning environment creating more of a hindrance with using narration. (Meyer, p. 120) Given the bandwidth concerns and digital divide within the community when we are designing multimedia instruction we need to be cognizant of the factors as they will make our overall network slow if we use these in all classrooms simultaneously on a regular basis. It can be helpful to have labels in conjunction with graphics when the graphics are complex or the flow of the instruction is fast paced in nature. When providing audio is not possible then we should limit the text to only that which is necessary as to not overload the viewer of the multimedia instruction. Presentations should be concise and not be lengthy when possible. The attention span of the end user needs to be considered when designing multimedia presentations. When students are viewing images and there is text also present they are taking in both the graphic representation and the text in through their eyes this will overload the visual portion of the brain actually decreasing the students ability to process information. This is the case when the text is present as a portion of the written words an instructor says. However, if we use audio narration with the visual image and limited labels this will actually increase students retention of the content because the instruction will not be over stimulating the visual pathways. Learners also need time to process content so it needs to be chunked into digestible bites.

The Redundancy Principle states that in certain circumstances it can be helpful to have both text and narration (Meyer, p. 143). I appreciate your concerns about ESL students and those students that may have auditory processing issues. For these students we could have a different presentation they access without the audio that has the text present. These particular learners are the exception to the rule of multimedia best practices under the present circumstances as they would benefit from having the narration in a written form rather than in an audio form. Having these options available would assist us in making sure that we are 508 compliant.

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2008). Chapter 6 & 7. In E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

EdTech 513 – Audacity Audio Recording

Audacity Audio Recording

I’ve attended workshops about Audacity use in the classroom, however, this is the first instance where I’m using it myself.  I found this free tool for the creation of audio files very user friendly.  To make my sound recording I use Chester Creek USB headphones with a build in Mic.  I found the sound quality to be very clear.  As a result of the ease of this experience I can see using Audacity more often in the future to create sound files, podcasts, and narrations in the future.

EdTech 542 – Week 5 Digital Reflection

Throughout this week the focus has been on creating an essential driving question and sub-questions.  I began my process using the BIE Driving Question Tubric 2.0 create my essential question for the Digital Footprint unit.  I reviewed the reading material while I continued to wordsmith my essential question.  However I kept focusing on the outcome more that the broad overarching goal.  After attending the webinar offered by Dr. Kerry Rice, I had a better understanding of the essentials of the driving question.  From the portions of my driving questions that were too detail oriented I generated several subquestions that student will explore to get them towards the end result.  The questions and subquestions have been added to the project overview on the PBL site for the Digital Footprint unit.

The next phase was to take a look at various visual planning tools.  Of those tools presented as options there were only two that I have not used before.  I chose to use Padlet to create my visual mapping for my project.  I am using this tool to organize ideas and resources around the sub-questions developed.

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