TPACKing for a Wonderful Educational Trip/Group 7

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Norman Borlaug Community School District
Norman Borlaug Community School District Logo

Introduction[edit]

Overview[edit]

We are Norman Borlaug Community School District (NBCSD), a school district of 1400 students located in northeastern Iowa. NBCSD is a combination of three surrounding towns, Rice, Hampton, and Turkey. We have four different schools, Oat Elementary, Wheat Elementary, Barley Middle School, and Corn High School. Out of the student enrollment, 92% of them are Caucasian, 1% are Chinese, 2% are African American, and 2% are Hispanic. In addition, over 80% of the students maintain a free and reduced meal status.

Norman Borlaug Community School District 1:1 Program Plan

1:1 Program[edit]

In terms of technology, the NBCSD is a fairly sophisticated and technology infused district. The superintendent and school board have consistently supported technology integration and have made a number of upgrades to the network infrastructure, wireless, and servers in advance of the impending 1:1 Program. By next fall, all our students in grades K-6 will have an iPad and in grades 7-12 they will have a MacBook Air.

TPACK Assignment[edit]

This specific assignment will cover specifically the Corn High School, and more specifically grades 11 and 12, as we focus on 21st Century Skills. All of our teachers have an updated computer and depending on their grade level also an iPad so that they can begin planning for the technology rollout. Students are not expected to have prior knowledge of the topics, themes, and information covered in the lessons, but they do have basic computer skills (including Internet, typing, and core productivity suite applications) that they have learned from their use of the many mobile and stationary computer labs spread throughout Corn High School. These TPACK lessons were created with the mindset that they will take multiple 55 minute class periods to complete, but if more time is required they can work on the material at home with the district provided LMS/CMS.

Thinking about our school district as a whole and considering a specific subject area to take a look at, as a group we determined that the 21st Century Skills would be the best fit. It is a subject area that all three of us have in common and can easily write about, speak about, and form lesson plans on. In addition, 21st Century Skills usually gets a bad rap as being "integrated" within a 1:1 Program. We firmly believe that this skill set is something that we cannot take for granted. Just because our students grew up in the 21st Century does not mean that they possess these skills. Instead, 21st Century Skills must be integrated, demonstrated, and focused on in our classes. In order for this to actually happen more effectively our group decided to look closely at these skills so that they can be outlined, demonstrated, and understood before any other integration of TPACK knowledge in the other subject areas can occur. We hope that leading by example our group will promote the use of 21st Century Skills and the integration of TPACK throughout the NBCSD.

Standards and Benchmarks[edit]

TPACKing at NBCSD is based on the Iowa Core Curriculum and in particular the 21st Century Skills. There are many skills present in this section of information, but for this project our group decided to focus on Civic Awareness, Employability Skills, and Technology Literacy. Having taught or interacted with students in the NBCSD before, we understand that these three areas of 21st Century skills are essential and important. In planning future professional development for our staff, we thought that we would lead by example and create lessons that fit into these key areas.

The framework for our individual lessons is based on the lesson activity types for each of the main benchmarks for our focus areas. Below you will see an outline of each of the main benchmarks for our three focus areas:

1. The development of civic awareness to effectively add to society - Civic Awareness
2. The ability to hopefully at one point be employed - Employability Skills
3. The awareness of how technology can help them be successful both today and into the future - Technology Literacy

Civic Awareness[edit]

I. Understand the rights and responsibilities of each citizen and demonstrate the value of lifelong civic action.

A. Activity / Technology: The class will break apart the rights and responsibilities of each citizen and then produce a video based on Jay Leno’s Jaywalking segment where they interview people about those characteristics. This will provide students with the ability to interact with digital media, real people, and all the challenges that go along with interviewing and editing a video with a team. They will share their final product and process work at a selected movie day in the future. The most creative and highest rated entries from the students will appear at an evening short film festival in the spring.
B. Activity / Technology: Students will spend some time in a creative and artistic venture of their choice (typical responses will be photography, comics, short stories, etc.) where they will describe the value of lifelong civic action by reflecting and planning what they hope to accomplish in the future. This activity will allow students to be reflective on exactly what they want to accomplish later in life, while at the same time being creative with exactly what type of media they would like to produce. There will be a rubric provided that allows for breath of the expression and depth of the answer, but does not limit on the specific format.

II. Understand how the government established Constitution embodies the enduring values and principles of democracy and republicanism.

A. Activity / Technology: In small groups students will spend a very short and frantic time researching and then producing a two minute presentation of any kind or format - as long as it covers how the government established the Constitution and everyone in the group must say at least four sentences. This activity will provide students with the real life experience of working in a group and under a significantly tight deadline. In addition, groups have free reign to produce their final product in whatever format that they desire so grading may be difficult for the instructor, but it will provide a great foundation for the discussion later on in the class.
B. Activity / Technology: Individually students will spend the evening reflecting on the activities in class today in two specific formats. One, they must write a short reflection of their experience and what they learned from it and post it to the instructor’s online dropbox. Second, they must participate (post three new comments and add three comments to others’ postings) in an online class discussion in the CMS/LMS where they are to discuss the values and principles of democracy and republicanism. This activity will force students to be reflective of their class activities in addition to furthering the discussion and collaboration among each other as they factor in what they know, want to know, and have learned about these two concepts.

III. Understand the purpose and function of each of the three branches of government established by the Constitution.

A. Activity / Technology: The entire class will be broken into three different groups, one for each branch of the government. Then the entire class will be put through a simulation of passing a law, hearing a supreme court case, and providing aid to a foreign country. As soon as the activity is complete students will be asked to discuss with a partner their thoughts, feelings, and reflections of the three branches of government. This discussion will be documented through a cell phone camera, camera on a computer, or an audio recording - all of which will be submitted to the instructor through the CMS/LMS before the class period is over. This activity will allow students to actively participate in the three branches of government, see how they interact with one another, and then reflect on the process with one individual. This activity as a whole will provide a good idea of the students’ understanding of the Constitution and their use of either video or audio recording will allow the instructor to document that information.

IV. Understand the differences among the complex levels of local, state and national government and their inherent, expressed, and implied powers.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will form a group of three and then document through a mind mapping or creative mapping software of their choice (Keynote or PowerPoint being the default choice if they can’t decide in two minutes) the multiple levels of local, state, and national government. Then in their short, three minute (one minute per person) they are to describe their map as well as the inherent, expressed, and implied powers of each section. Through this activity students will work together, collaborate using a software of their choice, and ultimately be provided with the option to dive deep into the material and enhance their own presentation skills. The specific media and presentation type are up to the students, but a rubric will be provided for the content.

V. Understand strategies for effective political action that impact local, state, and national governance.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will craft either a poem, rap, or short political speech for a cause that impacts either a local, state, or national cause. They are forbidden from using technology of any kind for this project. This should focus them on their content and not the expression of that content. In addition, providing multiple ways of producing and then presenting this material will allow students to express their information in a broad and explanative way. This activity should force the students to think critically about the message they want to portray, the way they want to do that, and the process to which they arrive at that decision. This activity will be recorded so that students can produce a self critique as part of the overall assessment.

VI. Understand how law and public policy are established at the local, state, and national levels of government.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will individually research one law that has been presented and voted upon by either the local, state, or national bodies. They will then work by themselves to improve the law to make it better in hopes of obtaining more votes or in hopes of passing it through. They must then represent this law to the class as an individual would at each level of government. This activity will allow students to research a number of laws that impact them - either indirectly or directly. Students will then have the ability to work through the law and understanding the jargon and information that goes along with it. They will have to dig deep into the information and determine what to change or modify in order to represent it to the class. This activity also will improve upon their presentation skills in addition to their research and writing skills.

VII. Understand how various political systems throughout the world define the rights and responsibilities of the individual.

A. Activity / Technology: Students in groups of two will complete a templated activity where they will research a developed and then an undeveloped country and determine the rights and responsibilities of the individuals in those two countries. Then at the time of submission the CMS/LMS the students must also post a short entry outlining some of the most stark differences between the two countries they researched. Students will be provided with a base set of websites for the research, the template they are to use, and the group member they will be assigned to work with. Outside of that, time and direction will be given and the rest will be up to the students. This activity will encourage them to work with a partner, determine through research the differences and similarities, and then produce a short, collaborative writing piece. A rubric will be provided before the activity begins and the submission of the final work will be on the CMS/LMS.

VIII. Understand the role of the United States in current world affairs.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will individually research the role of the US State Department and the World Affairs Councils of America. They will then prepare a set of questions and a short reflection on the role of each organization. Then the best questions will be provided an opportunity to ask their question live via Skype to a member from each organization. The rest of the class will be live blogging the event and discussing the information that is being discussed. After class is over a short reflection will be required to be posted to the instructor at his or her LMS/CMS page. This activity will promote the critical thinking and role of the United States in a variety of world affairs. In addition, it will bring the idea of civic action to the forefront of what they have been working on and learning about. Discussion points, reflection points, and question points will be awarded to the students throughout and after the activity is complete.

Employability Skills[edit]

I. Communicate and work productively with others, incorporating different perspectives and cross-cultural understanding, to increase innovation and the quality of work.

A. Activity / Technology: Students in the 9-12 classrooms will participate in class presentations using presentation software such as Haiku Deck, Google Presentation, or Prezi. They will also hold meetings with a community college class via videoconferencing such as Tandberg. Students will work in both small and large groups, research topics, hold informal debates, and work collaboratively to create informational videos about various communication and teamwork topics. Technology that may be used includes presentation software, video conferencing, word processor, discussion forum such as blog or wiki, digital camera, and video creation software such as iMovie.

II. Adapt to various roles and responsibilities and work flexibly in climates of ambiguity and changing priorities.

A. Activity / Technology: In groups, students will be given a specified task to complete. As the students work through the tasks, the teacher will change the rules. This continues for a length of time with frequent rule changes. Afterwards, students will discuss how they adapted to the change of rules, how their roles within the group changed as the rules changed, and how priorities changed and why. Working in pairs or small groups, students will create various work-related scenarios using Google Docs or other collaborative tools. Students will role-play the various scenarios and focus on the different roles and responsibilities and how circumstances change often, many times with little or no warning. As a culminating activity, students will create digital storybooks (e.g. Storybird) describing how they could effectively deal with changes in the workplace.

III. Demonstrate leadership skills, integrity, ethical behavior, and social responsibility while collaborating to achieve common goals.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will participate in a teacher-led class presentation (presentation software, video clips) about leadership skills, integrity, ethical behavior, and social responsibilities in the workplace. Students will research ethical issues in the workplace and share links on a class wiki. Students will work in small groups to come up with their own definition of “workplace ethics.” Each group will share their final definition on the class wiki. Students will be presented with various workplace ethics case studies. Breaking into small groups, students will work through each case study using the four step process introduced earlier in the lesson. For each different scenario, a different student will act as group leader. At the conclusion of the lesson, each student will create a blog discussing the decision-making process as well as his/her role as group leader.

IV. Demonstrate initiative and self-direction through high achievement and lifelong learning while exploring the ways individual talents and skills can be used for productive outcomes in personal and professional life.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will complete an online career assessment tool to explore possible career choices. Once they have chosen a career path of interest to them, the students will conduct an online search of various businesses/companies that fall into their area of interest. Using a notetaking app such as Evernote, students will compile information about their chosen career and the company websites they examined. Information will be used in a future assignment.
B. Activity / Technology: Students will explore social media and its use in business. The teacher leads a Prezi presentation and discussion on social media in the workplace. This lesson ties in nicely with other lessons involving business ethics. Students brainstorm a list of advantages and of risks associated with social media. Students explore and complete Cyber Smart! online activities (Common Sense Media).

V. Demonstrate productivity and accountability by meeting high expectations.

A. Activity / Technology: In small groups, students discuss what accountability means to them personally and for on the job. Students brainstorm possible consequences from lack of accountability. After compiling a list of accountability issues and possible consequences on the Smartboard, each group chooses one topic to research and create a short presentation presenting the accountability issue, possible consequences, and its overall cost to the economy (e.g. absenteeism).

Technology Literacy Skills[edit]

I. Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

A. Activity / Technology: Students develop an eportfolio individually to showcase their professional growth in learning. They use image editing tools, computer, iMovie, google apps for education, and web 2.0 tools to host and showcase their portfolio.

II. Use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

A. Activity / Technology: Students in classes work together in small groups to collaborate and explore different web 2.0 tools for creating an eportfolio. This portfolio will showcase to a larger audience for the students to show their professional growth in learning.

III. Apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

A. Activity / Technology: Students use web 2.0 tools to collect and choose the documentation that will provide their professional growth of learning for the senior capstone project. There senior capstone project will be evaluated by using a rubric.

IV. Demonstrate critical thinking skills, using appropriate tools and resources, to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions.

A. Activity / Technology: Students gather and collect documentation to showcase within the eportfolio. In the design of an eportfolio students will troubleshoot different areas to figure out how images, videos, and documentation can be embedded into the hosting site.

V. Understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

A. Activity / Technology: Students learn how to paraphrase information for creating research documents to avoid plagiarism. Students will develop proper note-taking, appropriate paraphrasing of information, and how and when to cite sources for their eportfolio. Students who are researching may need additional help to avoid plagiarism while using web resources.

VI. Demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.

A. Activity / Technology: Students will publish their senior capstone project to larger audience for evaluation on their technical details into the design of the portfolio, key skills learned throughout their course work, and how they are prepared for the real world experience before graduating.

Individual Lesson Plans[edit]

Randon - Civic Literacy[edit]

Research, React, Rewrite, and then Re-vote!

Amy - Employability Skills[edit]

Employable? Maybe, Hopefully, Sometime!

Heather - Technology Literacy[edit]

So You Think You Know Tech? Prove It!

Conclusion[edit]

Decision Process[edit]

In order to TPACK out our lessons for this assignment the group members really needed to think critically about the three very different, but related, areas of TPACK: Technological Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, and Content Knowledge. Each of these three areas presented its own unique, but challenging aspect when trying to come up with out lesson plans. The first thing that we all did with this assignment was to determine which of the many content areas we were going to focus on as a group. We quickly determined that the 21st Century Skills area would be the best fit for our group composition. After this hard decision was made we began to look a bit more critically at the specific areas of this subject area on the Iowa Core Curriculum website. After determining and looking through each of the five framework areas we thought it would be best to pair up individuals with their strengths and teaching background. It was natural to pair Amy up with Employability Skills, based on her teaching background and the same went for Heather as well and the Technology Literacy area. The tough one was Randon and his background in English/Literature, but after looking a bit more at the standards and benchmarks we determined that civic literacy would be a nice fit for him as he had done a lot of co-teaching with that framework area in the past.

Standards and Benchmarks[edit]

Once the specific framework areas of the 21st Century Skills subject area were determined we decided to begin work on a Google Document that would keep all our thoughts and ideas as a group contained and in one place. Then we decided the next course of action was to put in all the essential concept or skills for our framework area, basing this knowledge on the information that we noted from previous example groups. This included a lot of copying, pasting, and then finally re-formatting. However, this was only putting in the information from the Iowa Core Curriculum, at this stage of the game we had no overall integration with TPACK and the activity types based on the Harris/Hofer article and the William and Mary School of Education Wiki. Then collaboratively we were able to take a look at these, and with the assistance of other group members really narrow down and determine, using the previously noted information as a guide, the activity / technology for each of the standards and benchmarks in our framework area. We understand that this was a lot of work and something that may or may not have been necessary, but in order to really prepare us for our own individual lessons we really wanted to address all the essential concept or skills. This decision, we believe, would pay off when we went to complete our own individual lessons as we would have a more holistic view of TPACK and 21st Century Skills, but more specifically the relationship of these two to our individual framework area.

Individual Lessons[edit]

Then we moved on to our individual lessons and creating those to the best of our ability. This involved us really taking a closer look at the Harris/Hofer article in addition to the William and Mary School of Education wiki to help us guide our lesson planning. We were able to pair that knowledge with our own previous teaching experiences and lesson plans. This allowed us to align our lessons to the content (CK) and pedagogy (PK) that we already knew and then pair it easily with the integration of technology (TK) so that all three sides of TPACK were brought together. We firmly believe that we have put together three quality lessons. Furthermore, we hope that these lesson plans that can be used for our colleagues at NBCSD so that they can contextualize TPACK and 21st Century Skills effectively as part of our future our 1:1 Program.

Final Thoughts[edit]

There were a number of challenges that we faced when completing this assignment. First, we had to overcome the obstacles of not teaching in the classroom on a regular basis, as our individual jobs focus on different portions of the teaching profession or do not find us in front of students on a daily basis in a high school classroom. Second, we were working with a specific portion of the Iowa Core Curriculum, 21st Century Skills at the high school grade level, that we each did not have any individual experience with. This proved difficult at times to overcome, but in the end we pushed through. Third, our group had to think critically about the specific activity types that were necessary for this assignment, because this specific content area is not listed on the William and Mary School of Education wiki. Finally, as a group we wanted to think a bit outside of the box for this assignment. After deliberate thinking and lots of percolating, we determined that the best course of action was to complete the assignment as written. This was frustrating and for a short time did prove to be a challenge as we did not know how best to complete this project. However, once we were set on the right track we were off and running!

In addition to the challenges, there were a number of realizations that happened throughout this project. Probably the biggest one for us as a group, one that we all had individually at some point in this project, is that we do this stuff all the time. The planning of our lessons, pairing activity types, looking at the eight corresponding continua, and then integrating that with TPACK all at once seemed normal to us. That is not to say that we are experts at this, but we typically integrate these activity types and continua selections without thinking or even considering them. The structure that was imposed upon us for this project at moments seemed unnatural and a bit too structured for our liking. Part of this realization may have been the number of years that we each have been teaching or maybe our holistic/district/higher education view of teaching and learning. Either way, we believe that “we do this stuff without thinking.” That is a good thing! Our other realization for this project is that students need to have options when completing the format for submitting a project. Providing an open format for submission has its benefits, but also its drawbacks. The same conversation can be had, though, for restricting the submission to one individual format. This realization was partly compounded by the fact that submitting our material onto the Wiki Book was a bit like learning a second language. It took time, effort, and research to produce a product that appeared presentable to the whole world and specifically our instructor. We strive, individually, on providing our students with relevant and limitless ways of completing projects in the format that works best for them. At some points it is helpful to restrict this, but for this individual project we spent significantly more time working on the submission than the creation of the content. We all struggle with this balance in our own classrooms, but we saw it here firsthand. In the end, we love that we learned a new way of submitting work and are excited to see that everything is together and posted on one page in a Wiki Book for the world to see - and more specifically for our staff at NBCSD to learn from in the future.

Thanks!

-Amy, Heather, and Randon