Virtual School Meanderings

February 9, 2017

EDTECH Moodle: Dr. Kerry Rice in the Spotlight!

This might be of interest to readers.

Professor, publisher, Fulbright Scholar — One of EdTech‘s stars!

Kerry Rice

Kerry Rice

August 15, 2016

EDTECH537 – End Of Course

Seven weeks ago I posted an entry entitled EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom that described a course I have been teaching for the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University this summer semester. During that time I have posted weekly messages to describe what I was asking the students to do and the readings I had assigned.

I have also posted entries for all of the activities I have asked of the students:

I have also posted sample blog entries for each of the different types of entries that I have asked of the students.

Finally, during Week 5 I asked the students to participate in blogging in three different formats (and posted a sample entry for one of those):

This year I also made a point of highlighting things in the monthly statistics entries for my EDTECH537 students.

I always post this summary message for those folks who haven’t been following along for the past seven weeks, as I suspect this will be the closest I ever get to one of those # days to a better blog series.

August 10, 2016

EDTECH537 – Blogging Plan

As I mentioned in the Week 7 entry for my EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom course, I mentioned that today I would be posting a sample of a blogging plan.

While I have done this in the past (see list below), I wanted to post a single month plan today to provide a model for the students.

As with previous models, I used Google Calendar to create my blogging plan for the months of August and September.

august-2016

september-2016

I know that I’ll have a lot more content throughout these two months.  For example, including this entry, thus far I have planned for 22 entries this month thus far.  As of this morning, I had almost 70 entries published.  This should tell you than much of my content is generated as it occurs (i.e., I can’t plan for it).  In fact, the only items I can plan for are those that are weekly or monthly items or those that provide my own voice on this blog – as opposed to the many relevant items that I re-post for my readers.

August 9, 2016

EDTECH537 – Guest Blog Entry: Is The Tried And True “Read and Discuss” Assignment Still Relevant For Teachers?

As I mentioned in the Week 7 entry for my EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom course, students are asked to post two entries of their choice this week. To conclude my model blogging, I wanted to post another sample of a guest blog entry.

This is a guest blog post by Jason Siko is an assistant professor of educational technology at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in K-12 technology integration. In a previous life, he taught high school biology and chemistry.

As I embark on another semester of teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses (and my teaching load is entirely online), I am facing a bit of a crisis in the area of reading assignments. As an early career faculty member, I still keep my experiences of my time in the trenches as a guiding force for instructional decisions, as I taught for 13 years and completed my doctorate while working.

Obviously, I plowed through a ton of the academic literature, but my K-12 colleagues didn’t spend much time searching the university databases.  Further, many of them did not belong to any professional organizations, state or national.  This concerns me.  First, why do we spend time as instructors having students read the literature?  Much of it is poorly written and provides little in terms of brass tacks that can be applied directly to a K-12 teacher’s day-to-day existence.  In addition, outside of the academic program and some capstone project, they will more than likely never read another academic journal article.

So why do we do it?  Why do graduate classes assign something like the discussion prompt below:

After reading Author (20XX), post your thoughts to the discussion board.  Be sure to comment on the posts of at least two of your classmates.

As much as we hate to acknowledge it, perhaps it’s because we teach the way we were taught….

OR…are we creating a supply for our own publications, making it a requirement and necessity to facilitate reading of journals?  Or is there something inherently self satisfying about assigning our own work to ensure that maybe, just maybe, more than a few people will see our work?

Those things aside, the main problem still remains why are we assigning things that basically serve little to no purpose?  Before my inbox fills up with anecdotes of how meaningful this practice is, ask teachers who are NOT your students and/or do not know who you are to discuss what they felt about journal reading experiences, or even their grad school experience in general.  If they remain in K-12, did they suddenly go out of their way to find scholarly articles to read, or, like most teacher, rely on “journals” like Edutopia and the like to inform their practice?  

This brings me to the second issue.  Research is important, and fields advance from theory to practice because of it.  So, do we need to reimagine the way in which it gets pushed to the front lines?  I think so, but where’s the incentive?  I do not earn much credit toward promotion and tenure by publishing in practitioner journals.  I earn even less for blogging, Tweeting, and other interactions on social media.  On the flip side, educators are incredibly busy during the school year, so distillation is important.  However, distillation can miss nuance, which can lead to one-size-fits-all thinking.  Finally, states like mine are requiring less and less graduate work from teachers in order to maintain and advance their certification.

Given that this course is on blogging and social media, I’d like to throw out a few questions for discussion.  

  1. What are your thoughts on improving the process of reading academic work for a graduate class?
  2. What do you do to stay current on research, or what do you plan to do to stay current after matriculating through your degree program?
  3. How can researchers and practitioners better connect with one another to meet each other’s needs?

This is a guest blog post by Jason Siko is an assistant professor of educational technology at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in K-12 technology integration. In a previous life, he taught high school biology and chemistry. As is the pattern here at Virtual School Meanderings, this will be the only entry posted today.

August 8, 2016

EDTECH537 – Image Entry: VISCED

As I mentioned in the Week 7 entry for my EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom course, students are asked to post two entries of their choice this week. To conclude my model blogging, I wanted to post another sample of an image entry.

Specifically, I wanted to post some information about the largest initiative designed to examine K-12 online learning on an international scale.  Most of us in North America are aware of the International Association of K-12 Online Learning reports:

However, the most comprehensive work done on K-12 online learning internationally was conducted by the now defunct VISCED initiative.

You can access their work at:

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