ISTE Standard #4
Coaches model and support educators to design learning experiences and environments to meet the needs and interests of all students.
ISTE Indicators for Standard 4 4a. Collaborate with educators to develop authentic, active learning experiences that foster student agency, deepen content mastery and allow students to demonstrate their competency. 4b. Help educators use digital tools to create effective assessments that provide timely feedback and support personalized learning. 4c. Collaborate with educators to design accessible and active digital learning environments that accommodate learner variability. 4d. Model the use of instructional design principles with educators to create effective digital learning environments.
Presentation: Distance Education Learning Experience
ISTE Indicators Addressed:
4a & 4c
This presentation encapsulates a media arts and English Language Development-integrated project that I taught online. Specifically, this Distance Education Learning Experience occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to all schools in the region switching to a digital learning environment in the form of remote instruction. The presentation includes a description of the project, student work samples, student feedback, and a reflection.
I collaborated with a fellow educator (teaching artist) on a graphic design unit as part of the Designated English Language Development courses that I taught. I was in charge of the ELD content, while my partner teacher focused on the media art components. Since many of the students were English Learners, we kept the language requirements simple but encouraged the more intermediate ELs to include more text. This made it a linguistically authentic and accessible experience (4a, 4c). We focused on having students apply key vocabulary in graphic design, thus working toward mastery of basic visual design principles along with English proficiency (4a). Everything was done in a digital learning environment, with instruction delivered over Zoom (4c). All student work was done and submitted digitally, with accessibility and student agency being fostered through the use of Google Classroom as well as allowing them to make their own design and authentic subject matter choices (4a, 4c). Google Classroom and Zoom also allowed for learner variability because students could attend class and submit their work from any location, so long as they had internet access (4c). My partner teacher and I required our students to actively participate in discussions as part of our online instruction (4c). Students demonstrated their competency through color, typography, and other elements of visual design (4a). Their design choices also deepened their mastery of the primary course content (English Language Development), since they accompanied graphics with text in English (4a). This learning experience was part of a three-year pilot program in which I participated. At the beginning of the second year, I also joined a select committee within the program that focused on technology and distance education. Within both the committee and the entire program, I shared the successes and challenges of this project. Doing so informed everyone’s second unit, which integrated photography with content areas.
As mentioned above, this experience was shared within my pilot program, which included administrators, teaching artists, teachers at my schools, and teachers at other schools. The variety of roles and backgrounds allowed for rich and interesting collaboration between many types of educators (4a, 4c). My teaching artist partner and I combined brought to the table experience teaching all grade levels, learning multiple languages, teaching multiple languages, and working in the creative arts. Therefore, we were able to design a digital learning experience that we were proud to share with other educators, board members, and additional members of the community. That said, the impact was limited, since shortly after completing this unit, my administrators adopted other, traditional curriculum for Designated ELD and therefore stopped me from continuing with the pilot program. That meant that I could not integrate media art or continue to teach with my teaching artist partner. There was a national education conference and professional media arts conference that I would have attended and likely presented at if administration had supported it. However, I plan to continue exploring and promoting project-based learning that integrates various content areas and builds vocational skills at the same time. That is something I am very passionate about.
Game Prototype: Around the World with Spanish Verbs
ISTE Indicators Addressed:
4a 4c, & 4d
This is a drill-and-practice software prototype that I developed with a group of educators at various schools. It targets basic verb conjugations in Spanish through the use of a travel theme, where the user explores three different Spanish-speaking destinations. It is leveled like many games, with a badge earned for every level. There is a “quick practice” round to get the user acquainted with the functions and design, followed by two practice rounds and an assessment.
My team and I collaboratively designed this software prototype specifically for use at the school site of one group member, with his content/department in mind. Our goal was to deepen content mastery (4a) for beginning Spanish learners. With all of us being Spanish speakers, we were able to contribute ideas as a team and build off each other’s suggestions. We truly dove into instructional design with this prototype because we went through the entire ADDIE process (4d). Collaboratively, we designed and developed an accessible and active digital learning environment that accommodates learner variability by responding to user input (4c). Specifically, the user gets feedback on every answer choice. Also, much of the directions and feedback are given in both Spanish and English. We designed an immersive, authentic learning experience by taking the user on a series of “flights” to Spanish-speaking countries, sprinkling in traditional music and facts about each destination (4a). We kept the theme consistent throughout our drill-and-practice, modeling intentionality with our design choices (4d), even down to matching the flag colors with the answer buttons in each level. We were able to effectively model instructional design principles because I created a style guide for everyone to decide on consistent typography, font sizes, and a color palette (4d). In terms of pedagogy, we included buttons on every screen to navigate to the homepage, the instructions page, and the help page; an introduction that shares the purpose of the game; another screen that explicitly states the learning objectives; and the ability to control how fast the user moves through the game (4d).
The impact of this software prototype was shared by my group member; one of his colleagues used it in her class and reported observations back to us through him. Students enjoyed it overall, but there was insufficient data to determine whether students had sustained improvement with verb conjugation. Furthermore, only a small number of students played it, and they were given less than fifteen minutes with it. I would like to see more educators try out our entire game in their classroom and report that data to my team and I so that we can ensure a meaningful and effective digital learning experience. One factor that I see as crucial to its impact is that it should be utilized as extra practice that supports what learners are studying in class. For example, the vocabulary in our software prototype is based on real-world classroom situations. Therefore the users would be best served if they are currently studying or reviewing that vocabulary; it should not be brand new to them. I believe that if I were to directly coach educators on this point, then our prototype would be more likely to have a lasting impact on learning.
I have made considerable progress toward competence in Standard 4 “Learning Designer.” I have done well with implementation of indicators 4a, 4c, and 4d, as detailed above. Many aspects of the Distance Education Learning Experience and the “Around the World with Spanish Verbs” software prototype demonstrate how I have collaborated with educators to design effective digital learning environments that account for student agency, mastery of content, and learner variability, with instructional design principles in mind. I have not yet focused on helping educators use digital tools to create effective assessments that provide timely feedback and support personalized learning. However, that will be something I work on in the near future. Part of what I want to do as an instructional designer is explore gamified learning, particularly when it comes to assessments. Once I can broaden my impact with this indicator as well as the others, I will be fully competent in Standard 4 “Learning Designer.”