Final Thoughts.

First and foremost, it feels good to have the project done and turned in. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this program.That said, I have enjoyed the instructional design class and what I have learned.

The job of an instructional designer is:

1. To decide if instruction is actually needed.

2. To analyze the learners or those who would be receiving the instruction.

3. To design the instruction according to what was discovered in the analysis and according to the objectives of the design.

4. To create the instruction and assessment tools for the instruction.

5. To evaluate every step of the process and improve the flaws that are discovered.

Now, if anyone asks me if I know that an instructional designer does, I can tell them.

One thing that I have really appreciated about this course is it has made me re-evaluate how I teach. I’ve always been just barely one step ahead of my students. Mainly, because I wasn’t really trained or taught how to prepare for the concepts I’m supposed to teach. I think generally, I have a good knowledge base on what I teach. I’m constantly trying to increase my knowledge base. But I don’t think I was taught how to create instruction.

I think the hardest thing for me to do in this class was these blogs. After we watched one of the videos in class and we talked about how people are filling up there time, I remember thinking that I really don’t have time. When I’m not working, I’m at school. When I’m not in work or school, I was either preparing for work (getting instruction ready, grading papers, the other things teachers do these days) or I was reading and working on homework for my classes. Blog sights are blocked at work, so I couldn’t keep up with them there. My wife and son have barely seen me in two months. (At least she understands why I’m doing this and is willing to cut me a break.) So, I guess the blogs became the very last thing on my mind. I know that I’m probably not the only one who has run into this problem. It’s been kind of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of thing. Hopefully, I can do better and figure out my schedule so I don’t run into this problem again.

Thoughts on the overall project.

I now have a better understanding of what an instructional designer does. As we have been going through the process of creating our instructional projects, I can see the importance of each step. During both the analysis and design process, we really were getting down to some of the silliest questions. Then we had to decide if those silly questions were all that silly. We had a lot of second guessing going on. Now, I know that our instruction probably wasn’t perfect, but I feel a lot better about it after doing all the work to get it ready. I actually think that I could do another project successfully.

I also see why it is best to work in a group. By myself, I don’t think that I could have come up with all the ideas that we were all throwing out and contributing. Each member brought strengths to the table that made the process manageable.

Throw the old system out the door!

I wonder if it would even be possible to do what Theodore W. Frick suggested could happen. I know that technology has changed education quite a bit over the last twenty years. But, it still feels like we are still using the same methods that have been used for decades. Only, now we has some cool new toys to do them with.

I agree with both Frick and Elizabeth Steiner that there are many dynamics that effect education. There  cannot be any complete or lasting change made if you only address one part of the system. How do you go about changing an entire system? How can you completely change the way that people educate, are educated, where they are educated, what they are taught, and their overall environment.

In certain areas of education, it would be interesting to see some of these changes. Teachers and students without the classroom. For me, it would have been great to have had an individual education plan based on my learning style. I could see classes like math and the sciences doing very well completely technology based if you can get the students to understand how it applies to them. As my students continually ask me, “How does this relate to me? Where am I ever going to use this?” I think that simulations (if they are designed very well) can help students understand where they would use the concepts being taught.

Olympic Park Visit

This was the first time that I’ve visited the Olympic Park since the Olympics. My first thought was “This is it?” I expected more considering how big the Olympics were. It was nice, but as many in class pointed out, those who actually were here during the Olympics appreciated the park for the memories that it brought back.

We were there to look for design flaws or for the design purpose. I’m awful at finding things right away. I’m better if I have time to look at it for awhile and really taking it in. For me, it’s like playing Scatagories. I just can’t think of things real quick. It wasn’t until we were sitting in class discussing the experience that I could see the problems. I wonder if there is a way I can work on that so I’m a little faster.

I wonder if you get to a point where you’re looking for flaws in everything. I know that music teachers sometimes forget to enjoy listening to a piece of music because all they listen for are the errors. Is it unhealthy to find flaws in everything and think that you do it better?

The Design Document

It amazes me the number of hours it takes to put all this information together. Wade, Matt (group members), and myself spent a lot of hours at Murray High School (where Wade works) putting this document together. A lot of those hours were us trying to figure out what was actually going to go into the instruction that we would be creating. The chapter about writing objectives in our reading was the chapter I reviewed the most during the course. Also, I spent a lot of time looking at Dr. Monson’s power point on objectives. For me, it was getting the correct language for the objectives that felt crucial. We knew what we wanted the learners to be able to do, but trying to say that became difficult at times. Bloom’s taxonomy list of words helped out a lot.

The other frustrating part was trying to create assessments that matched the objectives. I guess part of my problem is I don’t want to duplicate assessments for different objectives. But if I don’t, I think I would run out of assessment ideas. I’m in the high school teaching mode of testing I don’t think that these assessments need to be exactly like that.

Web 2.0

In my own words, Web 2.0 allows for people to use the internet to communicate, share, explain, teach, learn, etc., etc…

This is awesome. Technology has made the world smaller (figuratively). Just about anything I want to learn about, I can with a click of the mouse. I remember doing country reports in fifth and sixth grade and having to go to a library to borrow encyclopedias and books that were accurate at the time they were written, but not neccessarily accurate at the time I was looking at them. Now, I can find out the population of a country now and have it be accurate. I could find videos and pictures depicting a country’s traditions and culture. I can know in a matter of minutes who the political leaders of a country are. I have access to more information than I am ever going to need.

At the same time, this much information on the Web can be scary. Especially with facebook, myspace, and other social networks. If I am not careful with what I post, other people can learn more information about me than I would ever want them to know.

Media vs. Method? Is that the debate?

In this weeks class discussion, we are discussing the arguments  between Robert B. Kozma and Richard E. Clark over the influence of media on learning. As I’ve been reading and discussing these points of view, I’ve been wondering if they are even arguing over the different sides of the same coin or if they are arguing over two different sides of two different coins that are completely unrelated. It seems to me that Clark is arguing over mere instruction. To him, media cannot teach. Media can be created by someone for the purpose of enhancing a lesson. That would make it part of the method of instruction, but not the actual instruction. I can see Clark’s point in this. Any instruction that is presented by way of media was created by someone for the purpose of teaching. Therefore, it is part of someone’s method of instruction.

On the other hand, can information be learned by means of media where no intention of learning is present? Are there things that you can actually learn from media that is not part of other instruction?

I have been working on my drumming using the website www.freedrumlessons.com. Now the question is, am I learning from media or was the media created by someone as their method of teaching? I’m getting confused on these ideas.