Instructional Design Job Description

My assignment was to create a fictional instructional design job description based on actual job descriptions I saw online.  I chose to create an instructional design position at USLacrosse, the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse in the United States.  After I created the job description I reflected on the following three questions:

  1. How do the roles of teachers and instructional designers differ?
  2. In what ways do the responsibilities of teachers and instructional designers overlap?
  3. In a comprehensive paragraph, please connect the relationship between these two roles to your own personal experiences. If you do not have any personal experiences to draw on, create a hypothetical example that clearly illustrates the relationship between teachers and instructional designers.

Finally, I included links to three postings I found while searching for jobs in the instructional design field.  The links are shortened using

Click on the image below to see my fictional job description, reflection, and links in Microsoft Word format.


Click on the image below to see my fictional job description, reflection, and links in Adobe PDF format.


EDTECH 501 Course Reflection

Taking EDTECH501 and EDTECH 502 simultaneously in a shortened summer semester was challenging because I had to manage my time very efficiently.  Beginning my master’s degree in educational technology is something I knew I wanted to do, however this was my first experience with taking online classes.  It took me a while to get used to the format of online classes, not from a user friendliness standpoint, but just figuring out “the routine” for each class.  I found myself enjoying the Google+ Community set up for EDTECH501, the collaboration with my cohort was fast, easy and simple.  I found the assignments in EDTECH501 to strike a nice balance between level of difficulty and practicality of use in the future.  If I had to choose one assignment in particular that challenged me the most I would have to say it was the “Annotated Bibliography” simply because it had been a few years since I did scholarly research and I wanted to make sure that my formatting was correct with my paper.

Anytime I came across a challenge in EDTECH501 I would post my question on our Google+ Community to see if any of my classmates were experiencing the same problem.  I found the Google+ Community to be extremely useful and effective for collaboration and problem solving within my cohort.  My classmates assisted me when I had a question and I returned the favor when I could.

While I gave my best effort to every assignment, I feel like my “Tech Trends” presentation was my best.  I enjoyed this assignment because it combined research on an emerging use of technology in the classroom which to me is the whole point of getting a master’s degree in educational technology.  I created a presentation on using discussion forums in the classroom.  When I began the project I knew what discussion forums were, however I did not realize until I really got into the project how effective discussion forums could be in my classroom.  I actually had to take off slides after I was done because I did not read until the end that I could only have so many slides (I think it was 10) on my subject and that my voice presentation had to be three minutes or less.  I would like to present my findings at a professional development session if I am able to this upcoming school year.

I plan on using a number of things I learned in this course in my classroom this year.  I would like to use my RSS lesson plan in the beginning of the school year to show students an easy way to find current event homework assignments.  I am working with a technology teacher in my building on using discussion forums in class.  Lastly, while I might not be able to do it every day, I would like to institute the “flipped classroom” model as much as possible.  I am happy with how much I learned in EDTECH501 during a short summer semester!

EDTECH Definition Graphic

Educational technology is defined as; “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” by Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).  What does this definition really mean to me though?  Sure, I have completed a bunch of projects this summer by reading different materials, watching videos and observing examples of past projects…but what was the meaning behind them?  Every project I’ve worked on for EDTECH 501 this summer has been aligned to the AECT Standards.  The AECT Standards stem from the definition of educational technology and include; creating, using, managing, ethics, and method among others.

I created an “EDTECH Definition Graphic” using and images from Google that were labeled for reuse.  Canva’s website is extremely user friendly and allows anyone to create professional, high quality pictures that can be saved as either an image file or as a PDF.  My graphic is actually 3 pages saved into a .pdf file.  If possible, I always try to save my work as both the file type I’m working with and in .pdf format.  For example, a student may not be able to open a document, spreadsheet, or presentation from my teacher webpage without access to Microsoft Office.  The .pdf format is nice since Adobe allows anyone to download Adobe Reader for free.

The pictures I obtained from Google searches represent different areas of the definition of educational technology.  A picture of a young man studying in the library can be found underneath “The study” for instance.  A picture of Socrates is underneath “ethical practice” and the list goes on.  I found a cool picture to represent “improving performance” that has the appearance of a planet with a ring around it.  The ring has four steps; plan, do, check, and act.  When I though about how we improve performance using technology in the classroom (or improve performance with pretty much anything) the picture made a ton of sense.  A teacher plans a lesson, teaches the lesson, checks student learning somehow, and improves the lesson for next time based on the class results.  Some people might not understand the picture under “managing” is a photograph of Connie Mack.  Connie was manager of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team for years and has the most wins of any manager in professional baseball.  The picture underneath “technological processes” is a neat drawing of a waterwheel operating bellows for a smelter in Yuan dynasty China.  I think the men working at the smelting furnace are great examples of early “educational technologists”!

My EDTECH Definition Graphic is available to view by:

Clicking here to view my published work using


Clicking here to download in .pdf format.

School Evaluation Summary

Evaluating my school using the “Technology Maturity Model Benchmarks” from the Technology Use Plan Primer by Peter H.R. Sibley and Chip Kimball was not difficult due to the simple layout of the “Maturity Benchmarks Survey Sheet”.  The survey sheet, along with the benchmark rubric, made the process of evaluating East Delco Middle School an efficient process.  The benchmark rubric is divided into five filters; administrative, curricular, support, connectivity and innovation.  Within those filters are different categories and two types for each category; behavioral, and resource/infrastructure.  The behavioral type deals with how students and teachers use or access technology relating to the specific category.  The resource/infrastructure type pertains to the programs, networks and hardware available for students, staff and administrators to use.  Each category type on the rubric is given a score using four stages including (from least to greatest); emergent, islands, integrated, and intelligent.  The survey results for East Delco Middle School are available here.

Not much surprised me when I looked over the results of the survey as I was able to complete most of it from personal knowledge.  As I worked on my summary I began to feel some pride in my school and my district.  We did not score perfect on the “Maturity Benchmarks Model” and there is no question that our school in particular needs to improve in overall regular access to technology for students, however when you take a look at our student population numbers I believe we do a very good job of using the resources available to us.  My summary evaluation includes detailed numbers and percentages on our large student population.  With a population as large and diverse as ours, it makes immediate student access to technology a challenge.  More resources will always help, however I take pride in the fact that our school and our district scored very high when it came to having the infrastructure in place.

The summary evaluation of East Delco Middle school is available here.

Tech Trends: Using Discussion Forums

While reading the “2015 Horizon Report:  K-12 Edition” from New Media Consortium, I found myself interested in a number of technology trends in education.  After going back and forth a few times, I settled on the topic of using discussion forums in the classroom.  As a history teacher, I thought research into this topic could benefit my professional development in a number of ways and most importantly, help me better serve my students.

My first experience with discussion forums came when I was in ninth grade.  As I began my high school athletic career I began to read forums on the LaxPower and District I Wrestling websites.  I found forums were a quick and easy way to stay informed of anything going on in the world of southeast PA athletics.  The thought of using forums in the classroom never dawned on me until I saw the article “Ten Ways to Use Discussion Forums to Promote Digital Citizenship and Academics” by Michael Gorman under the “Further Reading” section of “Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches”.  New Media Consortium determined this idea fell under the “Mid Term Impact Trends” which means they believe the idea will have impact for the next three to five years.  Overall, they believe that using forum discussion is a key trend accelerating technology adoption in K-12 Education.

After reading Gorman’s article I began work on a presentation that I would like to share with the rest of the staff at my school when we go back in the fall.  At the very least I will post a link to my presentation on our “community page” where other staff members will be able to download and view it.  I wouldn’t mind presenting the benefits of using discussion forums for class in person as a professional development session either.  As I read through Gorman’s article I thought of different ways to incorporate his suggestions for using forums in my History class.  I never used Google Groups before, however as I was doing some research on forums I experimented with it and found the interface very user friendly.  Teachers in my district could easily use Google Groups to set up discussion forums since every student (and teacher) is given a school issued Google account.  Teachers are able to directly add students into groups, most I imagine would group students according to class period however the opportunity to group students according to academic level is there as well.  Perhaps the coolest thing about using discussion forums for class is that I could easily use it as a hub for a “flipped classroom” environment which I plan to implement as well.  It was nice that the research I did for this assignment complimented the research I did for my “annotated bibliography” assignment.

To access New Media Consortium’s 2015 Horizon Report: K-12 edition, click here.

To view my presentation on using discussion forums in the classroom, click here.

EDTECH Research Paper

The research articles I found on the “flipped classroom” have honestly made me want to try it in my History class this upcoming school year.  To be honest I knew very little about the “flip” before I began this research assignment and I wanted to learn more about the pedagogy.  I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot the past few days.  I buy in to the idea that the millennial generation, in general, have less patience for long lecture and need an active learning environment to keep their keep their interest.  It makes sense.  I think back to when I was in school and how much more fun I had doing group work, projects, labs, etc.  The “flipped classroom” concept is becoming a better option for teachers world wide with the exponential growth of technology and the availability of high quality educational video online.

While the “flipped classroom” is an extremely exciting concept, as an educational technologist I must take a step back and realize some of the potential problems.  The most obvious problem a teacher could face while trying to implement this classroom system is adapting to the needs of students who do not have access to the internet at home.  While this is becoming less of a problem every day, teachers must be mindful of how it could hinder the effectiveness of their classrooms.  The other challenge teachers could face has to do with ELL (English Language Learner) students.  I believe with apps like Google translate and VoiceThread, teachers could work around language barrier issues if they put the time in.

The APA formatting portion of this project was my least favorite if I’m honest.  I was familiar with APA formatting in college and it has been a few years since I used it but it came back fairly quickly.  The formatting does make sense when you stop to think about it and with a little practice anyone can use it easily.

In conclusion I’m glad I researched a topic I knew nothing about.  It sparked my interest after becoming familiar with the basic set up of the pedagogy and when I consider student needs along with available technology, I would be doing a disservice to my students if I did not make an honest attempt to implement it for them.

To see my “Annotated Bibliography” click here.

RSS in the Classroom

Besides learning what RSS stands for, I learned how it works and how incredibly valuable it can be as a tool for students in my history class.  While I was becoming acquainted with the Feedly website I realized quickly how user friendly it is.  It occurred to me that my 8th grade students could easily use this website at home or at school to complete current event homework assignments.  I firmly believe that establishing routines in middle school aged children helps avoid confusion and allows students to feel more comfortable with the classroom.  The lesson plan I created allows my students to use their school provided Google accounts in order to access Feedly’s easy to use RSS reader.  The lesson also provides students with guided instruction and practice in adding RSS feeds and sharing and editing documents using Google Drive.  I wouldn’t characterize this assignment as difficult, the only time consuming part was creating the lesson plan and making sure I had all the necessary steps in place to ensure student understanding.  I will definitely use this lesson and I can’t wait to try it early on during this upcoming school year!

To view a short and simple method to login to Feedly using a Google account click on the embedded video below.  To view my RSS Lesson plan and the Current Event assignment that gets shared, click on the appropriate links below the video.

RSS Lesson Plan

Current Event Assignment (called for in lesson plan)


Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

As I sit and write this post, I think about all the steps involved leading to my final product.  I learned through many attempts to keep visuals and narration as simple as possible in order to best articulate your point.  While it’s tempting to put a ton of information and visuals on a presentation slide, the viewer can become bored or lost.

The difference between “digital divide” and “digital inequality” is subtle, but important.  I learned to think of “digital divide” as access to the Internet and “digital inequality” as the human interaction with the web.  “Digital inequality” has a number of moving parts to it; available equipment, autonomy of use, skills, social support and purpose.  Available equipment refers to the quality and competency of the technology being used.  If the technology is not able to perform the necessary tasks needed then what good is it?  Autonomy basically means; how much control do people have over their web use?  How far do they have to go to get it?  When can they get it?  With more autonomy comes a greater benefit of the Internet.  Skill is an important factor to consider when thinking about digital inequality.  While most users only need a basic understand of how the internet works, the required knowledge needed to obtain the full benefit and enjoyment of the internet is ever growing.  Social support refers to the ability to get help with the Internet when you need it.  Whether the support comes from friends, family, colleagues, or professionals, personal satisfaction with the online experience correlates with increased usage and skill building.  Lastly, purpose refers to what users are using the Internet for.

The three issues of “digital inequality” pertaining to my school included; the technology available to us is spread too thin, sometimes the technology we have does not work properly, and lastly the need of a service plan for when our technology becomes old.  I learned about numerous programs, some federal and some private, that donate computers and other electronic equipment to schools when they upgrade their systems.  There are also websites similar to GoFundMe where teachers can describe technology they would like to have for their classrooms and private donors give money to help make their dream a reality.  I plan on doing a little more research before I decide on which website to use to fundraise for my classroom…a class set of Chromebooks would be nice!

I found the possible solutions to my issues aligned with Principles 5 and 7of Section I and Principle 6 of Section II of the AECT Code of Ethics.

To view my brainstorming outline click on the first link below.  To view my  presentation on “digital divide” and “digital inequality” using Google Slides, please click on the second link.  To view my presentation with narration through VoiceThread, click the third link.

Presentation Outline

Presentation in Google Drive

Presentation using VoiceThread


EDTECH 502 Project List

The link at the bottom of this post will send you to a project list I developed while taking EDTECH 502- The Internet for Educators.  The links will be updated as I submit my assignments for the summer.

What I’ve learned so far…

1.  The “Project List” website is actually the culmination of two projects; the plain 502 page and the 502.css.  I experimented with HTML when I was younger but I had not written code for over 10 years when I began the plain 502 page.  Many of the basic HTML elements came back to me quickly, however I learned new code that I hadn’t seen before and I experimented with the set up of Adobe’s Dreamweaver CC program while creating the plain 502 page.  Before taking EDTECH 502 I hadn’t heard of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).  Cascading Style Sheets work in collaboration with a HTML documents and allow webpage designers to style one or more pages in a clean easy to use fashion.  As I learned more about CSS I became excited about the opportunity of creating professional looking websites using the CSS language and Adobe’s Dreamweaver program.

2.  The “Netiquette Page” is a webpage I designed using HTML code and a linked CSS sheet in Dreamweaver.  “Netiquette” is a term for proper etiquette online.  I teach in a middle school setting and I made this website with my students in mind.  I did my best to write the suggestions so a middle school student would understand how to follow the rules and stay out of trouble online!

3.  The “Accessibility hot links page” is another webpage I designed using HTML code and a linked CSS sheet in Dreamweaver.  For this assignment I researched information on the topic of how color blindness affects the online experience of those who suffer from it.  While researching the topic of color blindness, I found websites that actually allow you to see what a webpage looks like to someone who may not see blues, reds or greens.  An author of a webpage could use some of the helpful links on my “Accessibility” page to ensure a color blind person would actually be able to read his or her page.  I believe the most helpful advice I found about creating color blind accessible webpages was to choose a color scheme of no more than 4 colors.

EDTECH 502 Project List Page:

Code of Professional Ethics in Educational Technology

As I reflect on the topic of professional ethics I must say that I learned more than I thought I would.  The structure of AECT’s “Code of Ethics” makes sense and is a thoughtfully written set of guidelines for educators who use technology.  The fact that the code has undergone many changes since it’s inception reflects not only changes with technology, but also changes in our society as a whole.  As I read, I realized that I already do or attempt a number of the principles written in the code already.  The true value of my research is that I am now more aware of issue of student data privacy within my district.  Throughout my research I wondered if I had unknowingly broken any rules, or worse, accidentally put sensitive student information at risk.  As I conclude with this topic I am curious to see what happens when I bring my suggestions to the IT department, perhaps one or both of my solutions will be added to my district’s “Acceptable Use Policy”.  Read my Professional Ethics Scenario Paper here.