Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Institutional Changes for Career and Technical Education

Does Career and Technical Education need to make institutional changes that will make them better able to prepare students for the real world? I would say YES without any doubt.  The following three changes are critical to our quest for equipping students with the skills they need for the future in CTE programs:
  1. Culture of Networking 
  2. Multiple Pathways to Postsecondary Education and Careers
  3. Pedagogy and Curriculum
For the purpose of this article, I would like to focus on the Culture of Networking with the industry that the students are being prepared to go into. First, students should learn on the actual site of a business organization of their program at least once a week as a coop intern. These organizations foster development of the skill they need while making their educational experience relevant to the world they will experience as adults. This will give answer to the universal complaints of students about learning things they will never use. Application learning makes formal education relevant. 

Secondly, bringing in industry experts to connect with the students both physically and virtually through Skype, Google Hangouts or other online means could prove very rewarding. These students get a chance to meet and interact regularly with experts from the field of their study.  This will enable these experts offer real world examples of industry problems and challenges for students to resolve, and often supplement instruction be adding their industry expertise to the materials covered by CTE faculty.

Finally, networking with other students and collaborating with them is also crucial. Good and inspiring ideas are often born and nurtured through networking with others. When students work together, they learn from each other, they learn to cooperate with each other, and they share the responsibilities for assignments. Therefore, more practical efforts should be dedicated to bringing students, even from other technical centers, together so they can share ideas with one another.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that these practical changes that will encourage an active blending of the students with the real world, will ultimately lead to success in cultivating the 21st century skills needed for a world not yet known.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Educational Technology Course Reflection

There is an undoubtedly huge growth in my learning, having completed the Educational Technology Course at Marlboro College of Graduated and Professional Studies. My learning style is clearer to me than ever before. I am more aware of my own biases about learning and learners in general. Knowing these assumptions about the other's mind is critical because it plays into my instructional style and design. Openness is key to helping my students as we journey together towards acquiring knowledge.

Our dive into the big 4 learning theories helped to widen my understanding of how people learn. Here is a brief overview and the one I gravitate towards:

Behaviorism is concerned with observable behaviors, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion. Observable (i.e. external) behavior can be objectively and scientifically measured. Internal events, such as thinking should be explained through behavioral terms.
Cognitivism focuses on how information is received, organized, stored and retrieved by the mind. Learning is not about what the learners do but what they know and how they acquire knowledge.
Constructivism equates learning with creating meaning from experience. Learning takes place when there is an interaction between the learner's experience and their idea or concept, we learn by doing.
Connectivism recognizes how technology has changed the process of teaching and learning. The focus is guiding learners on how to find the information for themselves.
I gravitate to constructivist theory and this is evident in my mini~course. It is designed to support knowledge construction and engage learners in the actual use of Google sites in real world situation.

My instructional design model is based on situated learning where learners become involved in a "community of practice" which embodies the behavior to be acquired. As my learners move from the periphery of creating Google sites to the core of mastering its use, they become more active and engaged and hence assume the role of experts in Google sites.

The assessment I incorporated is performance-based which consists of samples of learner's work on Google sites, It recognizes that the best test is to support the needs of learners which, in my case, is proficiency in Google sites. My mini~course promotes exploration rather than just "getting the right answer". Learners create their sites and customize it in any way, shape or form that best suits their imagination and creativity.

Using Bloom's Digital Taxonomy, I can measure the impact and levels of learning my use of technology tools will have on my learners. Tools like YouTube and Google Apps assist them to remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create a usable classroom website.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mini~Course Reflection


I have always wanted to encourage instructors in my school to create a program website for their classes. Knowing the benefits this would have for the teachers, students, parents and indeed the entire school community, I conducted a survey to know how the idea would be received. I discovered that most instructors welcome the idea but worry that they lack the necessary technology skills to do so. They just do not see themselves able to build and manage a website. Therefore, I decided to use this opportunity to create a mini~course that would be responsive to their concerns by showing them how simple creating a Google site can be. You really do not need advanced technology skills.


My learners will first explore the benefits of Google site as an effective educational tool. They will be able to educate their colleagues on the advantages of using classroom sites. Realizing how effective this tool can be in the classroom will motivate interest in learning how to create it. This is my second goal for this course. Learners will be able to create a classroom website and incorporate rich media such as videos and photos to it. Finally, they would control who can view their class site.


The mini~course is about teaching and learning with and about Google sites, so I consider it appropriate to use it as my delivery platform. Google sites have all the flexibility that I want for my course. The interface is good for collaborating and connecting with learners. Most importantly, it is good practice for my learners to see and connect the theoretical knowledge they are gaining, to a practical knowledge-able experience through learning with Google sites. This is a clear example of "learning by doing". I also incorporated YouTube tutorials so my learners would see and possible practice alongside with it.


In exploring all the big four learning theories, I find myself leaning towards constructivist theory. I am a believer that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. My mini~course was guided by the following constructivist principles:

  1. "Instruction must be concerned with the experience and contexts that makes the student willing and able to learn." This is why I started with examining the benefits of Google sites. If my learners realize that having a class website would actually make their work easier and more effective, they will be motivated to learn more about how to create one. 
  2. "Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student." I already know that my learners are apprehensive because they feel that they lack the necessary technology skills to create a website. My lesson then alleviates this by being simple and ordered so as to make the process smooth and straightforward. I also provided opportunities to practice as we learn because the best way for students to learn is for them to actively participate in the learning process. 

My lesson incorporated the ADDIE model in it's design. Here is a step-by-step breakdown.

Analysis Phase: I identified my learners and proceeded to establish the need for program websites and it's effectiveness as a tool for education. I surveyed my learners for existing constraints and found out their apprehension about lack of technology skills. 

Design Phase: The learning objective is to have my learners create their own Google site. I developed a systematic and specific set of strategies targeted for attaining this goal; first, explore the benefits, then go ahead and show how it can be done with minimal technology skills. 

Development Phase: Here is where I created the course and the individual units aimed at addressing the information I gathered from the analysis and design phases. This becomes my solution to the performance gap uncovered. 

Implementation Phase: The course is then delivered using Google site platform. This gives learners a practical sense of learning. This is the actual training of the staff on Google site because learning is doing. "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand" ---Confucius

Evaluation Phase: This phase has two aspects: Formative evaluation which occurs throughout the process of implementation specifically, at the end of each unit. Summative evaluation comes at the end of the course and measures the new skill gained by learners to determine if the performance objective was achieved. Learners were required to show their new skill by the Google site they created.

Thanks for reading through my reflection and here is the Classroom Google Site Lesson. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Evaluating Yourself

I find this article on tips for evaluating your own teaching very thought provoking.Teachers are always evaluating their students, grading and assessing what the students are able to achieve. But I wonder how often teachers evaluate themselves to determine areas that need improvement. Time always changes and a teacher who evaluates himself is sure to keep up with the changing situation. Remember, "a good teacher, teaches and learns".

In my school, we have a practice of teachers visiting their colleagues classrooms to observe and give input on the teaching methods. I find this helpful because fellow teachers get to help one another to improve their teaching in a non judgmental manner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Designing My Mini Course

As part of the course on educational technology, we are required to design a mini course using an instructional design theory of our choice. I am designing a mini course on how to create a classroom website for showcasing class activities. My target audience are the teachers I work with at Central Vermont Career Center. I have identified my performance objectives and instructional goals for this course and now outlined the skills a learner need, in order to benefit from this course. Our discussions in class about ADDIE and Dick & Carey models of Instructional Systems Design has helped in shaping my methodology. At the end of the course, my learners are able to create a simple classroom Google site, embed all kinds of media such as podcasts, videos and photos and share it with a targeted audience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The SAMR Model of Instructional Systems Design guides teachers through the steps of integrating technology in the classroom. It describes four various levels of using technology to support learning in order to maximize student's success.

How are you using technology in your classroom?