I wrote this report after reviewing a position for an educational technology coordinator. One of the duties was to implement a campus wide instructional technology plan to improve student achievement and faculty productivity. It was interesting to write the report and to think about the work from a different perspective.
The purpose of report is to describe campus-wide plan to implement instructional technology in Honolulu Community College to improve student achievement and faculty productivity. The proposal assumes that classes are currently conducted in a traditional face-to-face manner and a primary goal is to have both students and faculty have more online presence in their interactions.
Important would be an assessment to better understand faculty’s characteristics (course goals and objectives, instructional activities, current knowledge and use of technology including their use of LMS). An examination of students’ previous performances would also be needed. Selection of tools were based on the assumptions using following criteria:
- Ease to learn and use
- Flexibility: easy to integrate in a variety of courses offered at Honolulu Community College, easy integration of other forms media available on the internet, and be accessible through mobile devices
- Having the ability to apply different principles known to develop and apply critical thinking and enrich a symbiotic relationship of cognitive, social, and instructor presence. Tools that would allow for: self-direction, reflection, social interaction, and assessment
The instructional technologies chosen were WordPress, Voicethread, and Google Forms. WordPress allows for students to maintain a blog as a way to document a personal development of learning. The blog is directed by the individual, but the instructor has a strong influence by directing the topics, perspectives, and feedback. Blogs can also be a social tool by having classmates make meaningful comments or having the ability to create a network beyond the individuals in class. The second tool, VoiceThread, is a discussion tool that enhances social relationships by providing an easy way for users to share thoughts using their voice or video. The advantage it has over a discussion board is that it allows the learner to leverage resources from the internet such as images and video and tools inside their computer such as PowerPoint to present information in a more engaging way. Both of these tools focuses on the learners using and learning the tool to demonstrate and apply their knowledge. Google Forms, however, is more instructor controlled. This tool allows instructors to perform assessments in real time to make adjustments while teaching to better address the needs of the students. Assessments are sent via mobile devices which allows students to participate in a low-risk manner. It can be used as a poll to learn about opinions and beliefs, which can then be further explored through discussions as a class or in small groups. The data from each of the assessments are automatically stored and available to further study at a later point. Students can also use it as a way to collect data on any projects they may be working on. Google Forms was chosen because University of Hawaii has a partnership with Google which would allow for additional support and an easy integration of other Google apps. In reference to Laulima, these tools will most likely be added as links, which will redirect them to their respective sites. If Laulima, has similar extension tools it would be worthwhile to check those. Among the three, VoiceThread has a licensing fee associated with it. A further analysis would be needed to determine justifiable costs.
The initial training for faculty could be done in 4 weeks before implementing into their classes. It could be done asynchronously to better meet faculty preferences and schedule. All learning materials would be organized in a social networking site or learning management program for them to access and interact with at their own time within specified deadlines. Using a software training program like Lynda.com might be good option to explore. They have professionally created tutorials that concisely explains the functions of a program. Each week would focus on how to use the instructional technology. Learners would research the tool and interact with one another using a discussion board to understand how the tool facilitates cognitive, social, instructor presence. The final week faculty would create a lesson to present and make available online. Continuously on going would be individualized support to provide technical assistant or answer other questions related to instructional technology. This could be done live online using Skype or in-person. A collection of tutorials would be organized and made available online using a Google+ or Laulima for faculty to refer to at any future time.