Archive for 1.3 Instructional Strategies

EDTECH 506: White Space

The activity for white space clarified my vision of the course appearance. This portion of the assignment solidifies the main tenets of the activities, so I decided that keeping it simple and clean reinforces what my students are learning in the course’s printed materials and face to face skills practice. I allowed a generous amount of white space around the text to help the readers access the more “personally relevant” information (p. 274), and I placed the navigation buttons on opposing sides of the page to create a symmetrical appearance and help to balance the page (p. 275). Initially, I kept the circle that I had developed previously intact. My reviewer daughter suggested that I somehow emphasize the step I am on in the diagram, so I enlarged the yellow quadrant and agreed with her opinion. I will keep her change. I might also change the “Step 2 – Assessment” position to the center to further balance the white space.
ACEPAT1Click here for full size

WhiteSpace Full SizeClick here for full size

Leave a Comment

EDTECH506: Picture This

My adult learners are often fatigued when they come to my evening classes. Despite thier lack of energy, I need for them to be alert. To provide an energy boost and give them some mental stimulus, I choose to use patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme (p. 265). Not only does each color stimulate their senses, each color represents an aspect of pre-hospital care that few see. Red represents blood, blue represents courage, and white represents cleanliness or purity. I chose hues with contrasting values – the bright (high intensity) red and the deeper (lower intensity) blue. My assignment is a cardiac label that will be used to indicate blood flow, identify electrical impulse areas, and identify structures of the heart. For a representation of reality (p.254), I chose to use blue font to represent the unoxygenated blood returning from the peripheral systems. I then chose to use red to indicate oxygenated blood flow.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Retrieved 2012

Leave a Comment

EDTECH 506 – Natural Selection

There are many factors to providing critical prehospital care. EMTs must gain the skills necessary to quickly determine if a patient is in immediate need of advanced care. I wanted the design of the critical care page to be comprehensive, yet clean. As students enter their practical skills, they need to easily remember the information presented. There is a lot to remember in this section, so the design demands that a lot of information is concentrated in each section. I enhanced the text with contrasting colors for cohesiveness, but the sheer volume of text still needed something more to make the steps more concrete. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I am seeking representative images to further solidify the different steps.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. (Second.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Critical Care

There is a lot to remember in this section, so I concentrated a lot of information in one spot. In doing so, I also designed it to be concise and concrete with the white text dominating the field. The generous white space offsets the high contrast of the blue and red.

Leave a Comment

EDTECH 506: CARP is not a fish

CARP design elements are used to better communicate a lesson or message through visual representation. Contrast. Alignment. Repetition. Proximity. Each of these elements impacts learning, and a good design will improve the course content. I chose grey-scale for my design, planning a contrast punch with black and white text and graphics. I chose the organized feel of rectangle shapes and symmetrical rows and columns they create, while using repetition to lighten the tense lines in the image. Each row a different color, but the proximity of clone like text boxes reveals the concepts therein are connected. In the end, I’m pleased with that decision feeling like I have met the first course goal – “to apply principles of visual literacy o the design of instructional messages.”

Leave a Comment

EDTECH 506: The Shape of Things to Come

Sample of Unit page

Unit 3 – Bleeding Control and Shock Management

One of the first lessons I learned in elementary school was the use of shapes in art. Like many of my classmates, I happily drew triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles intermingled with lines of all lengths and thicknesses to represent happy families, houses, flowers, trees, and the bright shining sun. As time passed, I used ovals and more lines to practice the alphabet and numbers 0-9.

Shapes and lines continue to play an important part in my hobbies of photography and drawing. My eyes seek out and find shapes and patterns everywhere I look. This chapter has been by far a favorite as I gain new insight to some of the visual characteristics of shapes and how they communicate unity, emotions, or organization. I was intrigued by the examples Lohr sets forth in Figures 10-2 through 10-6 (pp. 251-255) and noted that I am usually drawn to those layouts that depict unity and those that separate and define. Therefore it was no surprise that I chose to use those elements in my own layout for my unit. I chose to use simple rectangles to organize the information on a standard computer display. Other units can be quickly accessed on the lower ribbon links. I like the way rectangles highlight and organize the information with clean lines. My use of color parallels the colors we use on our local EMS logo and ambulance. When my daughter pointed out that my page looked a little bit “cluttered” I added the broken circle in an attempt to unify the page elements and a solid line of a different color to separate and define the other units. I am pleased with the results, but knowing my penchant for revision, left the layers intact for future editing.

Leave a Comment

EDTECH 504: Building a Framework for Lifelong Learning

I like to think of myself as a constructivist teacher, but state mandates, pressing schedules and demanding standards often cloud my purpose. I agree with Vygotsky, Bruner (to some extent), Maslow, and Gardner, but I find Piaget’s four stages of cogntive development (Leanord, 2007) rather confining in application. I am also a proponent of brain-based learning, and have spent years researching how our brains anaylyze, accomodate, and evaluate new information.
One way I expand students’ understanding is to make their thinking process visible. Students demonstrate different thinking processes by mapping their problem solving aloud or on paper. When they are learning new thinking operations, I provide scaffolds by utilizing process worksheets and cues. Exercising quality thinking and providing meaningful purpose motivates the students to improve their thinking and provides better cognitive skills to apply toward subject-matter learning, or the content of the lesson. To make sure I plan activities that develop quality thinking, and to better develop my constructivist teaching approach, I try to consistently practice reflective assessment. Students write in journals and think about the processes they used to gain a new skill. Unfortunately, this reflection is sporadic, and oftentimes is used as an afterthought to more objective forms of assessment.
I am happy to say that I have been commended for creating a secure community environment where students take thinking risks and accept the risks taken by their peers. Risk-taking is evident by the quality of interaction between me and my students, and between my students and their fellow classmates. I envision extending that level of secure classroom to promote the different intelligences within that community. Ideally, learning is concentrated on higher levels of thinking, such as understanding, analysis, application, and synthesis of ideas and skills. That learning is reinforced with the ability to practice reflective thinking.
At risk of contradicting Phillips position that I as a teacher “treat the curriculum of an educational institution as vehicle for furthering the socio-political interests and goals of a ruler or ruling class” (Phillips, 2009) besides development of quality thinking, I also plan situations for social interaction to take place and further develop communities of practice (Barab, 2000). The first element of interaction is the implementation of rules, or guidelines, with specific and reasonable consequences for breaking those rules to be applied consistently. Even after ten years of classroom experience, I find myself inconsistent in applying consequences for minor infractions. Once rules are established, I promote social interaction with active classroom discussion on controversial or value-based topics. For example, I posed to my seventh grade math class, “ethical standards are necessary in a school setting” and randomly divided the class in to two groups; one for pro, one for con. The groups had five minutes to research online and come up with an oral argument for their assigned position. Being able to argue for something one believes in is a skill; being able to argue for something one does not hold true is an art.
When the groups have completed the assignment the concept of ethics will not only have been learned, but experienced. At that point, I guided reflection of the groups as to what processes they put into practice to arrive at the level of learning they achieved. In the future, I would like to add a self-reflection on how the groups did in arriving at the level of the class as a whole, and determine what actions could be taken next time for even further learning.
As a teacher, I have the responsibility to provide experiences that scaffold future learning. Furthermore, I must be a reflective practitioner in order to keep growing. In my classroom, I expect my students to learn and to recognize different thinking processes to fall back on when they encounter an unfamiliar situation or problem. They will learn how to interact with others through good communication skills and respect for diversity, and learn to draw off each other’s strengths to complement individual weaknesses. They will develop self-esteem and take pride in their accomplishments. It is my goal to fulfill my teaching responsibilities and to motivate students to fulfill their learning responsibilities. My actions in planning, delivery, and assessment will be based on those aspects, and I will continue to strive for personal and professional development to achieve my goal. I would like to define education as that which is gained upon application, synthesis, and reflection of an experience. I have a duty to teach students how to inquire, think, and know – and then how to analyze, apply, synthesize and evaluate so that they, in turn, can contribute to organizational, social, and global values.

Barab, S., & Duffy, T. (2000). From Practice Fields to Communities of Practice. In Jonasson, D. & Land, S. (Ed.), Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments (pp. 25-55). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrencw Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Leonard, K., Noh, E.K., & Orey, M. (2007). Learning Theories and Instructional Strategies. In M. K. Barbour & M. Orey (Eds.), The Foundations of Instructional Technology. Retrieved from
Phillips, D.C., “Philosophy of Education”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Leave a Comment

EDTECH 501: Technology Use Planning Overview

The National Educational Technology Plan (2010) offers a non-prescriptive means of achieving the goals set forth by our nation’s educational leaders. Using it as a referance point provides a common lens through which to view our own objectives and progress towards those goals. In our district, technology planning committee members print out key segments to research and discuss at committee meetings. This blog features the main categories within this post to define how technology planning, implementation, and evaluation impact instruction and student learning.
Innovate and ScaleTeaching: Our district is miniscule. With 57 students in our junior/senior high school, technology offers students a competitive education that would be unavailable without synchronous and asynchronous online learning. Teachers are isolated in their subject areas, teaching six different flavors of their content area daily. Thanks to technology, the days of one person spewing forth knowlege are gone. From cutting-edge industry practices to details of ancient museum pieces, content delivery is supplmented with the vast resources of the Internet that brings a world of knowledge and ideas into the classroom.
Prepare and Connect: I am part of a team of instructional technology leaders made up of teachers, administrators, and other stake holders. Currently we are in the midst of developing a three-year tech plan to replace the existing plan that has met its useful life. Our past technology plan was designed for five years, as the State of Idaho had requested at the time. We have found it to be insufficient to address our expanding use of technology, even though it was beneficial in guiding our newly formed district in the path we are currently taking (our district is in its fifth year).
Infrastructure: Access and Enable: Previous to working in education, I worked in business management. One of the mantras of the day was to think/plan/act/evaluate with the end in mind. I believe that guideline rings true today. Even though we are designing a written technology plan, it’s the structure of our organization’s mission and vision statements that drives the adjustments needed when a new route or detour presents itself.
Assessment: Measure What Matters: Our committee recognizes that the planning stage is ongoing and needs flexibility as technological advances continually change the educational landscape. Because of this elasticity, we believe our tech plan should be designed for not longer than three years, which is in agreement with See (1992). I also am in agreement with See’s comment that “effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology.” Our committee strives to evaluate the effectiveness of current technological practices and endeavors to use technological and traditional methods to measure student achievement. The following example is how teachers in our dstrict have implemented student reponse pads, or “clickers.”
Productivity: Redesign and Transform After a committee determination that our district, teachers, and students would benefit from student response pads, we purchased a set for every classroom. The grant was written in such a manner that professional development for the integration of the devices was paramount to the technology. The first year, contracted trainers worked with teachers and teachers worked with one another redesigning their delivery and assessments to accomodate the devices. We experienced great success, with 75% of the teachers actively using their response pads and using the resulting data to steer their instruction. Students reported especially liking the instant feedback aspect of the systems. Three years later we have one teacher regularly using the response pads. What happened? Two key factors came into play resulting in technology without application: 1) administrative changes; 2) staff retirement, relocation, and replacing. The new staff does not have ownership in the decision, so they are reluctant to implement the devices because they do not see the added value. The unused clickers are waiting to shine, and Karen Roberts (1990) has provided me with 13 ways to bring them out of the storage closet and back into the hands of the students.
The National Education Plan (2010) and the articles provided at the National Center for Technology Planning have added insight and inspiration to the planning process that we are currently undertaking at our district.

Robertson, K. (1990). PROMOTING TECHNOLOGY: 13 WAYS TO DO IT. Retrieved November 3, 2011, from National Center for Technology Planning:
See, J. (1992, May). Developing Effective Technology Plans. Retrieved November 8, 2011, from National Center for Technology Planning:
U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. (2010). National Technology Plan 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2011, from

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »