Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 4 Publishing Presentation Project

Link to Presentation: Motivating Teachers to Incorporate New Technologies in a Classroom

During the course of the past 11 months, I have engaged in a Challenge Based Research Project during my studies in the EMDT program at Full Sail University. The goal of this project was to research teacher motivation to infuse technology into their classroom. Throughout my research, I found that three things were very important in the success of technology use in a classroom:
  1. The availabilty of the technology
  2. Teacher motivation
  3. Continued training for teachers on how to use the technology
The goal was to present new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom to my department of teachers, allow them to explore the implemenation, and then have them collaborate together to find new and consistent uses across our entire department. The following presentation "Motivating Teachers to Incorporate New Technologies in a Classroom" has been prepared in hopes of speaking at EduComm 2012.

Week 2 Think Out Loud PPP Post

Week 3 Think Out Loud PPP Post

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Week 4 Comments on Michelle's Blog

Michelle's blog can be found here:
Found in Translation

Wk 4 Reading: The Art of Possibility Chapters 9-12

So here is the last blog post for the Art of Possibility (Zander & Zander 2000) and I must say that it has been a very good read. It’s definitely going to be in a few Christmas stockings this year. I was particularly inspired in chapter 9 when the author spoke about working in the inner city schools. Newham is actually the first local authority I worked for and where I got started on the road of education. As a teacher it is almost a per-requisite to inspire, not only those we instruct but also those I work with. Empowering those around us in life to allow them to find their inner flame, facilitating a safe space to radiate their gift to the world, which is their individuality! How poignant, we are all co-creating the reality we experience around us! It’s never really just you or me. Just think about how dependent we are on electricity. Could we harness that power without someone turning that switch on? Another point to be mindful of is the choice we have over the quality of our experience. Once we take responsibility for our lives in this manner, we are then master of circumstance rather than victim. One thing I try to remember is this; imagine you start your life as a cup filled with water. After a while you need change the water. Putting in what you choose, dirty water or clean water. All of these fundamental truths have so nicely been put together in this book. It is easy to read, not too abstract and can strike a chord with so many different people. A Wonderful song for life.

Shawn McKeown said...
Great way to sum up the entire book, Michelle! It was also interesting to hear about your connection to the school district that was talked about in the book. While some of the book seemed a bit broad to me, and the topics could have been narrowed down more, I think that overall the meaning and the themes behind this book are universal to many.

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Week 4 Comments on Jennifer's Blog

Jennifer Williams' Blog can be found here:
Although the idea of reading a self-help book as the culmination of a masters program has completely tweaked me out, I decided this week to apply these 4 chapters to the next step in my life.  My robe came in the mail, the tassel is hanging on my computer, I’m contemplating the perfect shoes to wear, (so I won’t trip across the stage) but really my biggest concern is what happens when there’s not a group of people, a program, or a set of assignments to guide me and the gravitational pull of that downward spiral, that is sometimes more like a bureaucratic, educational black hole, exerts its grip.

A revenge creature!!
Remembering my initial forays into the field of education, I was na├»ve, optimistic and completely certain that I would not only light a spark but also ignite a fire.   And while some of the “no’s” I’ve heard along the way should have been an “invitation for enrollment”, many of them were completely earned due to a limited, unrealistic vision of what it takes to educate a community of children.   I hope that my re-discovered optimism is more tempered by realism, a larger picture of success tempers those manic tendencies by those on the eve of success, and my zeal is tempered by the now-glimpsed multitude of complexities that are human development.  However, I am grateful to Full Sail for re-igniting the spark.

Chapter 11 of The Art of Possibility, entitled “Creating frameworks for Possibility” stirred many options for me. Of the things I have learned in my 15 years of teaching, one of the greatest is that learning seldom, very seldom, happens in giant leaps.  It’s the daily grunt, the daily practice, the daily head banging, and the persistence (on the parts of student, teacher, parent, administrator, community members) that make it happen a little bit every day!

This past year at Full Sail has taken me from an educator who meets the challenges teaching serves up, to one who can design the stage on which her students and colleagues can learn.  Yet, for continued advancement, a framework of possibility is needed.  One that attends to those details of educating students.  One that attends to the need of perfection in the daily grind.   At the brilliant suggestion of a fellow conspirator, and the encouragement of my iPad donor, I will create a wiki as a means of charting progress and, hopefully, as a means of creating a “WE” story, for all of us who are trying to find our way through the unchartered waters of appropriately educating the next digital generation.  Here’s a link to its humble beginnings.   Care to join?


Shawn McKeown said...
Jennifer, I have also wondered what will happen when we graduate and don't have the assignments and support structure that we currently enjoy. Will I still be driven to innovate my educational practices? After reading your post, I will say this: While we won't have the assignments to fall back on, we will have each other and the staff who has guided us for the past 11 months. We have all be enlightened, and while we won't have the amount of contact that we currently have, I hope to continue to use you and the rest of our classmates as my sounding board, as well as support when things go awry. I know this may sound very much like it did in high school, you know the old "Hey, we'll keep in touch". But honestly, I don't see how we can't. We ventured into the EMDT program as strangers, but have developed into a tight knit group of professionals with common goals, as well as created friendships along the way. We may not have the weekly wimba sessions, but I still feel that in a field of limited "experts", I have access to valued opinions of those, such as yourself, who have been taught to think in a new way.
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Week 4 Reading Reflection

I loved the concept of enrollment, defined in the book as “generating possibility and creating a spark in others”. I discussed in a previous discussion board post about, involving the way that music has impacted my life, the most memorable concert that I ever attended. I’ve made it a point on the first day of my course to ask my students this question “Why are you here? What inspired you to find a career in the Show Production field?”. I start by discussing what first inspired me, and it was August 4th 1988 at the Philadelphia Spectrum (RIP). The band Aersosmith was the headliner, and an up and coming new group called Guns and Roses was the opening act. To this day, I remember the curtain dropping, and Aerosmith ripping through the song “Toys in the Attic”, and at that moment, I saw a concert from an entirely different angle. Instead of just watching the show, I wanted to be a part of that show.
Now, I’m not just spouting this off to my students to relive past glory, but to show them that I was in their shoes, and that they can make it into this business and be successful if they remember what brought them into this in the first place. In other words, make them remember what inspires them, don’t think of this as school, but more of as a pathway to reach their dreams. That is the same idea as “sharing the spark”, and having my students enrolled, not just “attending”.

The chapter on “Being the Board” was, honestly, way too broad in its discussions. The point that I took away from it was to not make judgments, or place blame, without first asking “why” to yourself. While this is, in my view, good practice, the authors tried to enforce this point so much that it became generic and cloudy. The anecdote about he violist named Cora would have sufficed to explain the idea of looking at the big picture before rushing to judgment, while the anecdote about the drunk driver seemed unnecessary. Yes, we can look at the big picture, but we also must understand that there are things in life that we do not have control over, and this is the reason that we have laws and government to help protect us from others’ behavior.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 3 Thinking Out Loud - What type of presentation?

Last week that I decided to do a presentation proposal, instead of a paper, due to the extremely interactive and collaborative nature of my subject. I just don't think that a  paper can do justice to the topic of using technology in a collaborative classroom environment.

I found that Educomm is accepting proposals for presentations for their 2012 conference, and entries must be submitted through their website by December 11, 2011. (just in time!)

There are a few different topics that Educomm is looking for, and you must select one of the following:


Teaching and Learning is definitely the way to go, as my presentation is all about motivating teachers to incorporate new technologies into their classroom. The website submission also asks for a 200 word (max) description, as well as what type of presentation it will be: Visionary Thinking, Problem/Solution, or  Demonstration. I think it would be best to address this as Problem/Solution, with a bit of demonstration mixed in.

Next up - crafting the presentation!

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Week 3 Wimba Post

Unfortunately, as most of my Wednesday nights are tied up, I had to miss this past week's Wimba session. I love the interaction of our class, and it's a bummer to miss out on good quality discussion between them, but here's some of my thoughts....

Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art Gallery

When discussing the “Art of Possibility”, I loved Rick’s comments about being present, yet we have multiple people in a room on their devices (such as computers, smartphones, etc) Yes, we may be present physically, but are we present mentally and emotionally. Yet on the other hand, through technology, we are able to be present emotionally and mentally even if we can’t be present physically.

I do like the way the book is presented, because as Joe put it, it is not all “Polyanna”. It does show the downsides, while reinforcing the positivity and methods to surround you with like people through positive attitudes. I believe that much of this book reinforces some of the themes presented throughout the EMDT program, so since they have been demonstrated to us already, it is much easier to see the meaning behind this book.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 3 Comment on Wayne's Blog

Week 3 Reading: The Way Things Are

The Zanders wrote that sometimes people are confused between physical realities and abstractions (creations of the mind), and these abstractions prevent us from being wholly present with the way things are. We believe things that are not true and these things prevent us from growing and living in the present. I think also coincides with living in the past. We get caught up in dreaming of what could have been rather than dreaming of what could be and how to get there. We waste a lot of time putting out fires rather than living the dream. I'm not sure if maturity and age have anything to do with it, or if at some point in life you just have to say "quit taking yourself so seriously" and live. For me personally, I was tired of dealing with those who think they no what's best for me, so I quit them and took a chance on an education from Full Sail University. As I keep focused and see my dream of teaching in a university, I continue to work toward that goal and keep aligned with like-minded people. It's difficult to stay positive if you surround yourself with negative people. All anyone can do is keep plugging along and make the dream happen.

Shawn McKeown said...
Wayne, I love your comments on this, as I see the reading has hit home for you, as you are following your own path to your dreams. After I spend hours lecturing or in meetings during a day, I get home to my kids who remind me daily that life is not all about work, and I don't have to live my life off of a checklist. Sometimes you have to throw the "rules" out the window, have fun, and do it your own way.

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Week 3 Comment on Jeff's Blog

Art of Possibility

The section I would like to comment about this time is that of "The way things are".  What an interesting, peaceful, and intriguing perspective the authors shared.  The authors shared a mixture of stories and points of view which all have the basic theme of being in control of one's own emotions and inner self by opening the mind to possibilities beyond the obvious, beyond any preconceptions.

Ben's story of having conducted one of Mahler's symphonies was intriguing.  The first horn player apologized for his performance because he had made a few small mistakes.  Ben was astonished because he thought that he had done a fantastic job.  In fact, Mahler had intended for the symphony to be played by those willing to take risks with the technique.  It was intended to be vulnerable and emotional...something that one who plays the piece perfectly as written would have a hard time doing.  The whole point of this is, our world is so focused on perfection.  Anything less than perfection is regarded with disdain and is scoffed at.  But, herein lies the point:  So many times, our humanity can be defined by our weaknesses and mistakes.  Perfection sometimes leads us to being cold, unfeeling and, well......less human.  In fact, learning from our mistakes and trying harder the next time and succeeding in our hard work is the crowning jewel of humanity.

"The risk the music invites us to take becomes a joyous adventure only when we stretch beyond our known capacities, while gladly affirming that we fail.  And if we make a mistake, we can mentally raise our arms and say, 'How fascinating' and reroute our attention to the higher purpose at hand" (Zander & Zander, p. 103).
Shawn McKeown said...
I agree with your statements and views on perfection. Especially in an educational environment, we tend to focus on the A+, not the growth of an individual and their journey along the way. Striving for perfection is a human characteristic, but we should not be disappointed when we do not reach perfection, we should be encouraged by how far we got.
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Week 3 Reading Reflection

The reading this week, once again, was a big reinforcement for me on some quality issues. As a teacher, I love the idea of students teaching other students, as was explained during the anecdote about the student symphony orchestra that visited Cuba. It’s not only “teachers” who can teach, and sometimes the message gets lost when the connection is not there. Lessons can be more valuable from peers who are viewed to be in the same situation.

I must say, though ,that Rule #6 – Don’t take yourself so goddamn seriously, is so simple it’s brilliant. On a daily basis, I need to remind myself of this. I need to hang this sign on my front door, my office door, and my classroom door. There’s so many ways to go with this, but I’ll use my personal life. I have two sons, and 8 year old and a 5 year old. After dealing with the stresses of work all day, I come home to my family, and forget that it’s not always about the structure of a daily routine, that sometimes we just need to laugh and have fun. After the homework is done, the dinner is over, and dishes are cleaned, there is little time left to have fun. Some of the most amazing nights are when we, as a family, just say “forget it”, and figure out how to let go and have fun. Eat a simple meal, leave the dishes go, and have some fun.

In the seventh chapter entitled “The Way”, the authors tell us to “Include mistakes in our definition of performance.” As a lighting designer for live productions, I can only think back on a few memorable productions over my years that have been A+. In my mind, for a production to be flawless, it has to include everyone and everything- The artist performance, the sound, lights, even the audience enthusiasm plays a role. Many times I’ve finished a show, and out of the thousands of lighting cues that I triggered that night, I walk away thinking “I was late on cue 5 in the verse of the third song”. It amazes me that one bad cue can ruin my night, and the view of the production that night in my mind, but it does. While I strive for perfection on a nightly basis, I must also realize that one missed cue did not destroy the show for the thousands of people in attendance that night. It’s tough, because we want to be perfect, but it is such an unattainable goal, that we must not make that the only criteria for success.


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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wk2 Think Out-Loud PPP post: Presentation or Publication?

While I do believe that my information can be transmitted through either written or presentation forms, I really feel that an interactive style of presentation would be much more effective. My CBR project was based on motivating teachers to utilize new technology to enhance their classroom, and in-person demonstrations of this procedure would really be able to hammer home the points that I am trying to make. Being able to show the technology, and interact with attendees through this technology in a live presentation environment should be able to reinforce the point that these methods can be useful in a classroom environment.

As of right now, the conference that intrigues me the most is EduComm. While the 2011 conference was held in Orlando, the 2012 conference will be held in Las Vegas. But hey... a trip to Vegas is not a bad thing! The deadline for submitting for presentations is 12/11/2011, so I will have time to get the basics of my presentation together in order to submit on time. As of now, I think this will be my course of action.

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Week 2 Comment on Mike's Blog

From Michael Dunn's Blog:

Wk 2 Reading: Shiny Eyes

Wow! What an entertaining presenter Benjamin Zander is, certainly a multi talented individual with a unique and powerful view of the world. I'm impressed with the choice of text this month because it reaches a message or thesis that is deeper than education or media, a message that speaks to the essence of life and possibility. Through Zander's presentation I was reminded of the universality and unspoken language of music. Musician Bobby Ferrin makes a similar point in the video below:

Zander closes with a heartbreaking story about the power of words but what sticks with me now and possibly forever is the "shiny eyes". Zander comes to the relevation that a conductor is silent and that success lies in the shiny eyes of his or her players. This simple statement hit me like a sledgehammer. We are often selfishly unaware of our influence, as educators we have a powerful responsibility. I immediately related to Zander's example and I have seen those shiny eyes first hand when a subject simply "clicks" for one of my students.

In his book "The Art of Possibility" Zander goes on to speak about different ways we perceive the world and situations around us. Sometimes simply changing a point of view can open up new possibilities. A theme I have found throughout is that the answer often lies inward. How much can we change by simply adjusting our approach? While our answers can lie inward out influence is to those around us and our contributions to others. In this sense Zander offers a practical guide to being a conduit of good to those around you.

Here is a quote I will leave you with by French Novelist Marcel Proust:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)

Shawn McKeown said...
Mike, After posting my own thoughts, and reading the thoughts of some other classmates, I started seeing a small trend. I think many of us are aware, to a certain extent, of our influence over others, but the readings and video this week really provide a good summary for all of us. The impact that we, as teachers, have on our students can not be understated, and that's the point that the Zander's bring home to us. I agree with you, that the "shiny eyes" example is stunning. After watching that video, I spent Friday in my lecture trying to focus on the students, to see if there were any shiny eyes, looking for the spark inside of them. For all of the curriculum design that we do, I really think that the spark is something that we can quickly look to for non-verbal feedback of how we are doing as teachers.

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Week 2 Comment on Rosetta's blog

From Rosetta Cash's blog

MAC Week 2-BP1: Art of Possibility

Zander & Zander (2000) Art of Possibility, put into words several concepts and ideas that I have not been fully able to express. I believe in thinking outside of the box. A concept often quoted but never fully realized by those of us who use that term. But I have, for quite awhile thought outside of the box, which is why I do the things that I do the way I do them. Zander & Zander (2000) stated, “all life comes to us in narrative form; it's a story we tell.” This is how we learn, from the stories that we are taught about the past, the stories that we hear, the stories that we tell others and ourselves. Zander & Zander also stated, “It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.” I like this statement so much, and I think it’s a wonderful way to look at life. I also liked the idea of the paradigm shift, shifting the framework to allow for the outcome that you want.

On the first day of class, I express to my students as we review the syllabus that they all start out with A’s and they decide if they will maintain them. It works for a shore time but the students still begin to be stressed over assignments and grades. I appreciated how the “A” concept was articulated and feel even more confident that I can relay the “possibilities” to my students so that they are empowered. I thought that the exercise of having the student’s write a letter from the future was brilliant. To gets students thinking about themselves in a different way, they write the script, and this gives them more control. It gives students the opportunity to verbalize the best of what and who they are. Zander & Zander also stated, “The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.”

All of this leads to the chapter on “being a contribution.” Deciding, making a conscious decision that you “have worth” and have something significant to contribute to the world changes how you function in the world. Understanding that your presence makes a difference in the world. It reminded me of George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. Clarence the angel who had to earn his wings shows George what the world would be like without him. We often feel that if it’s not some front page, 10 pm newsworthy thing that we do, it’s insignificant. But I have found that just saying hello to someone you pass on the street makes a world of difference. “The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.”
 My Comment:
Shawn McKeown said...
Rosetta, I think you summed up my ideas about this book so far when you said that it "put into words several concepts and ideas that I have not been fully able to express." I think we have been spoiled by our experiences so far in the EMDT program, as these concepts seem to have filtered through to us over the past 10 months, even though they may not have been specifically defined for us. The ideas put forth by Zander and Zander in the book almost seem to universal themes throughout our journey through this program, but it was nice to have them pointed out to us in a concrete way. We, as students in this program, are setting forth to change education, and the readings this week really drive this home.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 2 Reading Reflection

 Reading  "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander was enlightening, yet a repeat of ideas that teachers should base their classes on. Maybe I've been spoiled by 10 months of interaction with teachers and students in the EMDT program, but the ideas presented so far in this book seem like no-brainers to me.

Image from Microsoft Clip Art Gallery
In the section about Giving an A, the authors discuss the need to remove measurement from the equation, and thus take the fear out of failure in the students. While this type of idea is not well supported by our current education system, due to everything being based on graded outcome, this idea should be at the heart of all educators: Allow your students to flourish, teach them that mistakes are part of the process, and allow them to concentrate on the person that they become through the knowledge that is gained, not the grade on the test.

Edit: Sorry, apparently in my "copy/paste" I somehow only grabbed only the first two paragraphs, so here is the rest:

I love the idea of "line up with her students in their efforts to produce the outcome, rather than lining up with the standards against these students." In my lighting course, my final project allows the students to choose a song, and create a lighting design for that song using the technical programming skills that they have learned in my course up to that point. For years I struggled with this project, as it could very easily become a grade based on my expectations, rather than the students' efforts and growth in their abilities. About 4 years ago, I introduced the idea of "concept" into this project, where the students must submit their overall vision for the project, as well as what they hope to accomplish through this, prior to them beginning work on the actual show. I use this concept, much like the authors used the "Why did I get an A" assignment, to establish the expected outcomes from my project, and see which students push themselves to reach and possibly exceed their own expectations. This really has taken me out of the picture, removing any preconceived notions that I may have as to what the final design should look like, and allows me to grade students based on their progress and accomplishment of their goals.

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