Issuu on Google+


2

The Use of Online Learning to Improve Math Instruction Kimberly Caise

A Capstone Presented to the Faculty of the Teachers College of Western Governors University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Education in Learning and Technology

Date: September 14, 2010


3

Abstract This capstone reports the design, development and formative evaluation of a Moodle course created to provide professional development to teachers. Teachers often have difficulty effectively teaching the skills necessary for students to solve word problems or equations in mathematics. The Moodle course will target math teachers and demonstrate how to create video tutorial lessons, called „mathcastsâ€&#x; to teach students to become better problem solvers. Teachers and students will post mathcasts to the Moodle course and discuss effective ways to solve problems with students. A formative evaluation will be conducted with reviewers critiquing the Moodle course for improvements. The evaluation will consist of three phases designed to identify weaknesses in the Moodle course and determine if the course objectives were met.


4


5

Table of Contents CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM ………………………………..….4 Introduction ……………………………………………………………………..…...4 Problem Statement ………………………………………………………………..…9 Description of Stakeholder Groups …………………………………………….…..10 Formative Evaluation Questions and Goal Statement …………………………...…11

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ……………………………………………..……13 Introduction …………………………………………………………………..……..13

CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY ………………………………………………….……...22 Learner Analysis …………………………………………………………..………..22 Formative Evaluation Instruments………………..……………………….…….…..27 Special Populations ………………………………………………………..….…….30 Materials …………….. ………………………………………………………..…... 31 Performance Objectives ………….……………………………………………..…..31 Learning Theories and Instructional Strategies ………………………………….....32 Procedure …………………………………………………………………….……..53 Technology Used in the Curriculum …………………………………………….....55 Data Analysis ………………………………………………………..……….….....56 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS.…………………………………………………….………..…..57 Report of Results ……………………………………………………………….….57 Recommended Revisions ………………………………………………………….62


6

CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION ……………………………………………………………..63 Discussion ………………………………………………………………………….63 Implications………………...………………………………………………………66 Limitations……………………………………………………………………,……68 Critique …………………………………………………………………………….71

References ……………………………………………………………………..…...73 Appendix A …………………………………………………………………..…….77 Appendix B ……………………………………………………………………..….82 Appendix C ……………………………………………………………...………....83 Appendix D . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . ..88 Appendix E . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .93 Appendix F. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 98


7

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM Introduction What I Did Teachers often lack the skills and knowledge necessary to implement lessons that demonstrate how to strategically solve word problems. As a result, I created an online Moodle course to provide professional development to fifth through eighth grade math teachers. The course was designed to assist math teachers in acquiring the necessary technology skills to better teach students to use technology tools and be effective problem solvers. The course was developed based on the concept of „mathcasts‟, by the creator Tim Fahlberg of http://www.mathcasts.org, and is designed for the teacher new to integrating technology tools or struggling to teach problem solving. Why I Chose This Project I have been in education and served as a campus instructional technologist teaching teachers and students how to use and integrate technology for over 20 years. Much of the collaborating I did with teachers was in the mathematics content area. I also taught middle math for several years and could relate to struggling to find innovative ways to teach students to be skilled problem solvers. It was important to me to develop a project that would benefit teachers in the area of technology and mathematics. I am not teaching on a campus as I have been working on obtaining a master‟s degree full time and needed a way for teachers to be able to participate in my project course so I decided to create an online learning experience. I co-host a weekly session in Elluminate called, “Classroom 2.0 LIVE!”. Our show focuses on ways teachers can use technology tools with their students in the classroom. One of


8

our guests was Tim Fahlberg, and he shared how and why he created mathcasts with and for students. His website has a very large database of over 500 mathcasts for all levels of students. Some of the mathcasts in the online database were created by teachers and some dby students. I saw the value of having access to this large database as a classroom math teacher and wanted to create a course where teachers created similar mathcasts and integrates technology tools into their teaching. Why It Is Important When teachers lack the skills necessary to teach technology and problem solving, students will not be adequately prepared for life after high school graduation. Teachers are busy with families and teaching responsibilities and have difficulty getting to professional development sessions after school and on Saturdays. Time is limited and an online course can assist teachers in acquiring necessary skills to effectively prepare students for the 21st century. Online courses allow teachers to access the course anytime, anywhere. Flexibility and convenience in participating in course modules is crucial to success and meets a critical need for teachers. Teachers can still take care of their families, focus on teaching responsibilities and be able to participate in the Moodle course at a time that is convenient for them without having to leave home or spend long hours after school and Saturdays for workshops. Additionally, an area that students struggle in academically is mathematics. Students are very weak at solving word problems and equations and mathcasts are great ways to visually demonstrate complicated algorithms or math processes. Students can see the math processes demonstrated in the mathcast and apply that knowledge to the current problems students are completing. For teachers that struggle to help students understand math concepts, having access


9

to the database of mathcasts can be a real lifesaver. Students can access the videos at home or school and greatly improve their math skills. Having teachers and students understand the process of creating mathcasts can enhance math instruction and clarify concepts for struggling or special needs students. Integrating technology into math instruction is one way to increase rigor and relevance. Research has shown that when students create a product for others outside of their classroom, the quality of student performance is increased (“ebowenLitReview.pdf,” n.d.). When students have an outside audience, they become much more aware of the quality of their work and think much more critically when completing assignments (“What really motivates middle school students?,” n.d.). For this reason, I knew I wanted the online course to incorporate math and technology components. How It Relates To Appropriate Theory For Your Discipline In 2007 and 2008, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) refreshed their national standards for technology. The standards are referred to as NETS for National Education Technology Standards and have been developed to outline necessary skills for students, teachers and administrators. The NETS focus on critical thinking, creativity, and the skills necessary to be successful and help prepare students in the 21 st century. Many of the NETS for teachers and students are integrated into the Moodle course I designed. Math is one of the areas that students express having difficulty and do not feel successful. This is the reason that I strove to be an effective math teacher. I wanted to help make math interesting, fun and successful for my students. I read an article about a study in England that implemented new math programs and strategies. At the end of the school year, students


10

expressed that they felt that they could be successful in math and were more confident about their math abilities. The integration of technology was one of the key factors that were cited for the boost in students‟ self esteem and increase in math achievement (Prabhu, n.d.). The Moodle course has both math and technology components that will help teachers teach students to be better problem solvers and feel more confident in their math abilities. Students will be interested and motivated to participate in the learning activities that feature an integration of technology into math instruction. Student achievement will increase because of the skills learned from participating in the Moodle course. How The Project Fits Into Teaching And Learning In Your Field The Moodle course was designed based on the best practices found when researching articles for the literature review. The articles discussed strategies to incorporate that make online learning effective for course participants as well as components of efficacious math instruction. Technology is considered a key factor to assist in increasing rigor in math instruction and improving the quality of student performance (“Technology adds to students‟ math comprehension | eSchoolNews.com,” n.d.). The course was designed to meet the needs of busy math teachers by providing a way to acquire new skills anytime, an place. When teachers are skilled at demonstrating math concepts and using technology tools where appropriate, students are better prepared for life after high school graduation. The Moodle course focused on emphasizing to students that there are multiple ways to solve word problems. Technology tools are used to create mathcasts demonstrating ways to solve word problems and equations. The specific skills or algorithms explained in the mathcasts will be up to the participating teachers. Teachers will have flexibility in selecting skills and individual math concepts that are meaningful and relevant for their particular students. The course provides


11

specific step by step directions to create mathcasts using VoiceThread and Jing using the content selected by the participating teachers. This allows teachers to create technology products that are beneficial to their students and ones hopefully that the teachers will use repeatedly. Problem Statement Teachers struggle to effectively teach the skills necessary for students to solve word problems and equations in mathematics. For students to be successful in school and as an adult, students need experience collaborating, opportunities to share strategies for solving word problems and think creatively. Technology can assist educators to design and deliver lessons that effectively engage students in a variety of simulated real world and concrete experiences. Professional development is the primary means teachers acquire the skills needed to effectively integrate technology into their teaching. The people that design professional development programs limit the growth and acquisition of technology integration skills of classroom teachers by implementing ineffective programs that do not include best practices for designing effective professional development. Many of the current professional development programs available to teachers are inadequate in providing instruction for teachers on designing and delivering instructional opportunities for students that seamlessly integrate technology into their teaching. Thus, students do not receive adequate instruction or develop the skills necessary for success as problem solvers in mathematics in the 21st-century. According to the article written by Guskey (2002), evaluations of professional development support the statement that teachers feel that most professional development programs are ineffective. Guskey states two factors are needed for professional development programs to be considered effective. The first is determining what motivates the teachers to


12

actively engage in the professional development sessions and the second factor is to determine the process by which lasting change in teachers occurs. These two factors are missing from many professional development programs. In the article written by Lee (2005), a teacher commented, “Just once I wish our staff development days could be used to meet some of my needs, there are so many areas where I need help.” Lee continues that this teacher‟s comment is a typical response after an in-service or workshop and reports that decreasing enrollment in professional development sessions and a lack of teachers‟ motivation for staff development was a result of the session not meeting teachers‟ needs. Improvement in instruction is difficult without effective professional development programs. According to Birman, B., Desimone, L., Garet, M., Porter, A., & Yoon, K. S. (2001), teachers stated that professional development is more likely to be viewed as effective in improving teachers‟ knowledge and skills if the sessions are built upon previous skills and form part of a coherent program for teacher learning. Effective sessions built on content teachers have already learned or are familiar with, emphasizes content aligned to current standards already in use and supports teachers in building support systems to communicate with other teachers also trying to improve their teaching in similar ways presented in the professional development sessions are viewed as effective professional development sessions. Description of Stakeholders The stakeholders for this project are the future teachers and their students as well as their administrators. The students in the participating teachers‟ classes and their parents are also


13

stakeholders. Additionally, the members of the school boards of the teachers‟ school districts are stakeholders associated with the participants of the Moodle course. Formative Evaluation Questions 1. Was the instructional goal achieved? 2. What features are lacking that the learners will need to successfully complete the course? 3. Which activities need revision because they are incomplete or not clear? 4. Which directions were not clear? 5. What areas of the course might a learner need additional support beyond the items included in the course help resources and documents? 6. What errors were found in the course? 7. Which learning activities were out of sequence? 8. Which course modules were too easy or too difficult? Goal Statement Based on the data gathered from the needs analysis the following goal statement was written: Given an inclusive classroom setting, fifth to eighth grade teachers will use technology, such as VoiceThread, to create video tutorial lessons, a “mathcast”, that will improve students‟ ability to solve word problems in mathematics. A mathcast is a screencast with audio demonstrating mathematical processes or algorithms (Fahlberg, Fahlber-Stojanovska, &


14

MacNeil, 2006). Responses on both the survey and questionnaire indicated the lack of collaborative activities and experiences with technology as reasons for studentsâ€&#x; weak and ineffective problem solving skills. Additionally, literature review sources support this reason for weak problem solving skills (Wilburne, 2006).


15

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW Due to the nature of the instructional problem, current sources were needed to find timely information about online courses and ways to structure effective online professional development about technology integration. As an elementary and middle math teacher, math teachers seemed to struggle the most finding ways to integrate and use technology tools in math instruction. As a result, the desired content area to focus on for this capstone project would be math instruction. Several aspects of online learning, math instruction and creating Moodle courses to deliver professional development to teachers were researched. Each of the sources listed as references and used for the literature review were appropriate for later use in developing the instructional unit and writing the capstone project. All of the articles were from credible and reliable sources supported with the authorâ€&#x;s contact information and extensive reference lists or bibliographies. Every article accurately depicted factual containing objective information with many articles listing the pros and cons of delivering professional development online. The articles contained great insight into elements of online learning that are necessary for learners to be successful and improve math instruction using technology. For example, articles listed in the reference list were selected from the prestigious and reputable journals American School Board Journal (Rivero, 2006), American Educational Research Journal (Birman, Garet, Desimone, Porter Yoon, 2001) and Phi Delta Kappa (Christie, 2009). Additionally, several articles were found in the Technology & Learning periodicals. Many of the leading educational technologists write for this publication. Also chosen were two


16

articles from a periodical published by the International Society for Technology entitled Learning & Leading with Technology. Each article had information that contributed greatly to some part of the process of the capstone project or research process (Van 'T Hooft, 2008) and (Vanides, 2007). Factors that Influence Human Behavior Many factors influence the teachersâ€&#x; behavior related to integrating technology. Teachers are sometimes intimidated and embarrassed to admit to colleagues and students that they do not know how to use technology, computer equipment or create learning activities that integrate technology components. Additionally, teachers often have negative attitudes towards using technology (Guskey, 2002). Technology is seen as something „newâ€&#x; or not doing things they way they have always been done in the past. Early adopters are often met with great resistance from veteran teachers who are ignorant of the potential and ways that technology can easily be incorporated into their repertoire (Knobel and Lankshear, 2009). According to Lee (2005), professional development is best delivered over a long period with a longer amount of time to implement the skills learned in the professional development sessions. Teachers need time to implement the skills learned and reflect upon their practice. They need feedback and time to process what was learned. Effective professional development takes time to fully implement. This will be one of the key elements for consideration when developing the instructional unit for teachers. Another factor that influences human behavior with regard to online professional development is the structuring of the grouping of the participating teachers. Birman et al (2001)


17

state, “Professional development designed for groups of teachers has a number of potential advantages”. When teachers are grouped by grade levels, departments, campus or other designed grouping, collaboration and conversations occur by the teachers that are much more meaningful and relevant regarding the campus‟ student population. Birman et al (2001) say that grouping teachers who share the same students develop a common understanding of campus improvement plans, objectives, goals and cultures and have greater influences over student achievement and improvement in instruction. This factor is essential when creating online courses. Creating a sense of community that fosters collaboration and sharing of ideas, resources and modeling of how to implement the skills in the classroom is a key factor to designing effective online professional development (Frederick, 2009). Barriers to Success There are several barriers that prevent successful online professional development sessions and influence human behavior with regard to professional development. Effective professional development requires connections built upon previous curricular activities and those connections must be part of a cohesive program for teacher learning (Birnam et al, 2001). When sessions are not created with content that is connected or aligned to the teachers‟ current curriculum, the effects of the professional development sessions will not be long lasting. Additionally, teachers need be able to communicate with other teachers about their learning. They need to be able to reflect and have extended time to implement and practice the skills learned in the professional development sessions (Lee, 2005). Teachers have meetings and parent conferences during the day making it difficult to meet collaboratively and practice technology skills learned at workshops and training sessions. Travel to locations for workshops


18

cost a loss of time and productivity (Pittinsky, 2005). Online professional development helps meet the growing demand for technology training for teachers. Too often, teachers avoid using technology because they do not know how to use certain software applications or pieces of computer hardware. As a result, teachers have great difficulty creating learning activities using technology or computer equipment due to a lack of experience and knowledge (Van 'T Hooft, 2008). Teachers quite often display ignorance and are intimidated when integrating technology in the delivery of instruction in their content area(s). Continued reduction of technology courses and personnel to train teachers continues the problem of ineffective professional development (Pittinsky, 2005). Without qualified personnel to train teachers, perpetuation of this negative cycle continues and teachers continue without training and students graduate without 21st century skills. Attrition rates and layoffs are rising and trained personnel that are skilled at effectively integrating technology are declining. To combat this, online effective professional development can alleviate this burden if the sessions are properly designed and delivered (Graham, Cagiltay, Lim, & Duffy, n.d.). Teacher groupings need to be structured to foster a community and prevent isolation throughout professional development sessions. Sessions need to be extended in length and must be ongoing with feedback provided throughout the process (Bishop, 2006). In order for the session to be successful, teachers need to be grouped in the sessions as a cohort or team to foster communication and support for one another as well as implement the skills learned. (Appleton, DeGroot, Lampe, & Carruth, 2009) Without this structuring, the sense of community will be lacking and the cohesiveness needed for teachers to interact and have in-depth conversations about the technology integration skills presented will not occur (Guskey, 2002).


19

Best Practices After reading through each of the articles, several things were presented as a means to create an effective professional development session and presented as a best practice when designing professional development sessions. The first was to begin with a clear idea of what was to be presented in the session (Sawchuk, 2009). Clear, laid out plans of a professional development session and knowledge of which teachers will participate, session objectives, facilitators, groupings and course resources are important considerations and having those planned out in advance are essential to the effectiveness of the session. Several of the articles mention the importance of training mentors or facilitators on the functions and duties of their role (Bishop, 2006) and (Vanides, 2007). Sawchuk (2009) recommends, “Provide training for online course facilitators so they know how to support teachers‟ learning, guide an online discussion, and follow up with those teachers who aren‟t engaging in discussions”. According to Sawchuk (2009), the „facilitated‟ type of online professional developed is the preferred method as it is most flexible and convenient for teachers to access and allows teachers more opportunities to reflect on their practices with subject matter experts, campus/district colleagues or fellow teachers participating in the professional development session. Facilitated sessions were preferred over live sessions as a facilitated session can be accessed at a time convenient to the teacher and a live session often limited the flexibility of the online course. The grouping of the participants is essential for success and is another best practice to consider when designing professional development sessions. According to Rivero (2006), “Teachers should be in teams, working collaboratively around problems identified in their


20

schools that are related to their students…”. Sessions should be developed around valued and authentic real world problems focused on the organization‟s culture or student population. This makes the learning more meaningful and relevant allowing in-depth conversations to occur with a natural support system developing. According to the article by Signer (2008), “… teachers need guidance and support to effectively participate in online discussions about teaching and learning.” It is critical that online courses incorporate a discussion forum for teachers to share comments, ask questions and interact with one another. This fosters a sense of belonging and community and is a necessary element for courses to be successful and positively impact instruction in the classroom. Many times students in face to face classes monopolize the discussion and do not allow everyone to contribute as a participant in professional discourse (Groves, 2010). Creating a welcoming environment that fosters a safe venue to share and comment on the topic of discussion without fear of being judged or laughed at is a necessary component for online learning. When the conversation gets out of balance and is dominated by a few students, creativity and expression of ideas are thwarted. Successful courses that follow best practices incorporate ways for the participants to interact with one another (Maikish, 2006). In the article by Groves and Pugh (2010), the authors state the following about teachers participating in online courses, “Many have commented on the benefits they gain from learning from others in class and everyone gets to join in the discussions.” Effective online learning sessions structure learning activities that allow everyone an opportunity to share and contribute throughout the course (Branzburg, 2005). Another best practice to incorporate in a professional development session is the element of professional communication. Communication and feedback needs to be ongoing, structured by


21

the facilitators by fostering a sense of community so the teachers feel comfortable responding to one another and taking risks professionally (Calvani, Fini, Molino, & Ranieri, 2010). Within these communities, when teachers feel comfortable, a professional exchange of ideas, curricula and best practices for their classrooms occur (Fenton and Watkins, 2007). The quality of instruction and student achievement increases and the efficacy of the professional development sessions also increase (Pittinsky, 2005). Teachers can connect with other teachers around the world any time of the day or night and participate in discussion forums as well as private conversations. Carefully planned and structured professional development, with properly constructed communities, allow teachers to try out classroom practices and new skills and return to the communities to pose questions, leave comments, share work samples or reinforce professional learning (Bishop, 2006). This best practice must be present in professional development sessions to be effective and impact learning. Engaging activities foster student satisfaction and retention of content when course modules allow for interactivity among participants thus helping students to be successful when applying newly acquired skills in new situations. In the article by Lewis and Hamid, “Informal conference areas allowed students the opportunity to build on interactions that were developed in other areas of the course.� The informal conference areas allowed students to interact and to get to know one another. When concerns arose in an online course, students were more skilled at seeking help and participating in discussions as a result of previously interacting with other course participants (Good and Weaver, 2003). Whether the discussion was on topic or not was not a concern among course participants. As long as students were engaged and interacting, students were more satisfied and felt the online learning experience was more effective.


22

A final best practice that must be present pertains to the content of the professional development session. The content must be directly aligned to state or content standards. If the content is developed by a third party, a requirement that the work be research based and aligned to content standards must be present (Bishop, 2006). Connections must be made for each of the learning activities featured in the professional development session. Learning activities should build upon previous activities with follow up learning activities and feedback occurring in a natural progression. Without the connections to current standards and the current curriculum, the content will not be meaningful or relevant for the teachers and the sessions will be deemed ineffective and poorly attended (Fontichiaro, 2008). Participating teachers must find the course content meaningful, relevant and connected to what they are learning in the online course as well as what they are currently teaching in their classroom. For this reason, this best practice is a core component that is probably the most important when designing a professional development session. If this element is missing, the session will fall flat and be of little value. Therefore, when designing professional development, it is best to design with the end in mind and ensure that the connections to current content and standards are present before proceeding with the design of the session. Outlining the content with specific objectives and ensuring that items are relevant and directly aligned to the teachersâ€&#x; current curriculum is an important first step to ensure that content will be relevant and meaningful to participants (Lunenberg and Willemse, 2006). Once this has been established and the foundation set with the content and connections, the rest of the best practices can be incorporated in the design. This one best practice is extremely important in order for learning to occur and for the professional development session to be effective and impact instruction in the classroom.


23

Conclusion Online learning should not be just an extension of a face to face class or simply watching a video posted online of a lecture session with no interactivity or engagement from the students. The article written by Merrill (n.d.) states that, “Effective online courses use interactive instructional strategies and learning events that flow from and support course learning objectives. The activities for students are engaging and relevant to course objectives.” Communication is one of the key components that must be structured into online learning activities. According to the article written by Merrill (n.d.), “The facilitator needs to be able to weave an effective learning experience from these interactive elements that is appropriate for the specific online audience.” The article continues to say that effective online learning is student – centered with clear expectations communicated to course participants. Activities that foster communication among participants and offer opportunities to engage in course modules are viewed as effective online learning experiences by course participants (Merrill, n.d.). There are many articles about online learning and creating effective learning experiences for students. Development of best practices is essential when planning and designing online courses. Learning activities should enrich and enhance online courses (Padmanabhan, 2009). Putting worksheets online is not a method for creating effective online learning although some may view this as an acceptable learning activity. Adhering to the recommendations found in this literature review and other articles similar to those included here will enable any course designer to create a truly magnificent course with high student satisfaction and leave a lasting impact on classroom instruction.


24

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY Learner Analysis To obtain information about the background experience on the respondents that participated in the needs analysis, two instruments were created and administered online. One was an open ended survey and the other a questionnaire. After some of the respondents had completed the survey or questionnaire it was recognized that initially questions that would generate demographic information were not included. As a result, the demographic information for each respondent is extremely limited. Requests for respondents to participate were solicited through several microblogs and social networks allowing a large representation from all over the United States. Demographic Information The first tool to gather data was a questionnaire made using Google forms. Twenty teachers responded and each of the 20 respondents was a fifth through eighth grade mathematics teacher in a public or private school. All respondents were from the United States except for one teacher who was from Australia. Fifteen of the 20 respondents had 11 years of teaching experience and years of experience teaching mathematics. Seventeen of the teachers use technology with students and 18 of the 20 respondents indicated they use technology with students for at least one to two hours per day or more. Eighteen of the 20 respondents indicated they had participated in online learning to acquire technical skill(s). The second instrument was a questionnaire embedded in a wiki page with four questions asking about technology integration to teach problem solving. Six teachers responded to the questions on the questionnaire asking about technology integration to assist teaching problem


25

solving in mathematics instruction. Four of the six teachers used technology integrated into their mathematics instruction to solve word problems and all six teachers have used technology to support various parts of their mathematics curriculum. The teachers that responded taught sixth grade math, PS-8th grade math, 5th grade math, 7th grade math and K12 math with the number of years of experience ranging from one to five years to 21 or more years. There was a great variance of experience in the number of years of teaching with the six respondents. Requisite Skills and Prior Knowledge Participating teachers are expected to be able to navigate to a website on the internet. They will need to be able to type a minimal amount of words per minute; probably around 20 – 30 words per minute. Access to a digital camera will be required for some parts of the instructional unit. Prior knowledge of how to retrieve the pictures from the camera will be helpful but not necessary. The process of importing the pictures will be demonstrated within the course modules but with so many different camera models and cables the processes can vary a bit and may look different possibly causing concern for those new to using this technology. Various activities to support math instruction to strengthen student problem solving skills will utilize the internet and digital pictures. Target Audience’s Prior Knowledge and Skills Related to the Topic Not all of the respondents have participated in online learning to learn technology skills or are well versed in integrating technology into their mathematics instruction. Most had participated in online learning sessions about math. Supplementary resources explaining ways the teachers could maximize learning in an online session about technology are available for those who need it.


26

The content of the technology activities will be mathematical skills or objectives self selected by the participating teachers. This will allow teachers to focus on acquiring the technology integration skills and create activities as resources that are relevant, meaningful and applicable to the current courses the participants teach. Attitudes and Motivation Towards Topic As for the respondents‟ motivation for learning, definitive answers for each person‟s motivation are not available. Questions related to each respondent‟s attitude or motivation to use technology in their mathematics instruction were not asked on the online questionnaire. Questions were asked on the needs analysis whether teachers were using technology in their classroom and if they were willing to participate in online learning about integrating technology to create a mathcast. Most teachers indicated they were using technology that indicate they are supportive of technology integrated projects and that they would participate in online learning sessions about creating mathcasts and are supportive of this online learning initiative. Although the questions did not ask about teachers‟ attitudes or motivations directly, the questions can lead to certain presumptions by the respondents‟ positive answers. Additionally, teachers were asked why they felt students struggled when solving word problems in math. On the Google form survey a question was asked of the respondents to indicate why they believe students struggle solving word problems in mathematics. The answers that received the most votes from the 20 responding teachers were „lack of experience with real world activities for students‟ and „lack of experience with real world activities for students‟ respectively. This leads me to believe that teachers‟ attitudes about using technology to support


27

math instruction is valued among the respondents and considered an important component in the teachersâ€&#x; classrooms. Accommodations for Unique Characteristics of the Respondents Each of the respondents that participated in the survey or questionnaire was a math teacher that used technology to some degree. Although not all used technology to teach problem solving to students, helping teachers to see the power of using technology to extend learning activities and increase the level of critical thinking will be the ultimate outcome of the project. The teachers will have different backgrounds, levels of technology integration, varying technical ability levels and the process of creating learning activities that into account all of those variables will be a challenge. The goal was to design learning activities that allow participating teachers to add to their repertoire of instructional strategies and knowledge for teaching students how to approach problem solving. Teachers will learn ways to integrate technology into mathematics instruction to improve student learning. Multiple ways to solve a word problem or equation will be shared as students create a VoiceThread or a mathcast demonstrating their solution to a word problem or equation. Ways to facilitate a discussion about multiple approaches to problem solving and creating screencasts to visually display and narrate mathematical processes or algorithms will be presented in an online learning experience in the Moodle course. Students will view, give feedback about othersâ€&#x; problem solving strategies, discuss and reflect upon multiple ways to solve a common word problem or equation after creating their own VoiceThread or mathcast. Teachers will participate in technology integrated activities to assess and reflect upon items presented in the online course and implemented with teachersâ€&#x; students in their own classroom.


28

These activities will be presented in a manner that all users can be successful regardless of past experience and skill level using and integrating technology into math instruction. Moodle allows for a variety of different types of content, media and information to be presented with a vast number of activities and modules to implement. This allows for different ability levels and learning styles to be addressed in the Moodle course fostering active engagement and successful achievement of unit instructional goals. Learning Styles and Orientations Of the 15 questions that did not relate to demographic information for each respondent, only one question asked about preferred learning styles. The question asked if the respondents preferred online learning, face to face or a combination of both. Four of the 45 respondents indicated they preferred online learning, five respondents indicated they preferred face to face, and the remaining 36 indicated they preferred a combination of face to face and online learning experiences. According to the research found in the literature review and conversations with educators in preparation for this project, most people prefer the convenience and flexibility of online courses. They also want to participate in conversations similar to those experienced in face to face courses. For this reason, I included live online meetings in Elluminate to provide the participating teachers an opportunity to interact with one another or ask questions about the content of the course modules. Combining opportunities for participating teachers to participate in synchronous and asynchronous learning activities will enhance instruction and enrich the learning experiences.


29

Cultural Characteristics None of the questions on the survey or questionnaire pertained to cultural characteristics of the respondents. Formative Evaluation Instruments As a measure to ensure that the Moodle course units, content and format course were accurate and meaningful for course participants, a formative evaluation was conducted. Evaluation questions were created to address the three phases of the formative evaluation process that course reviewers will answer. The data collected from the reviewers was used to make sure the course objectives were met and to improve the course before implementation. Instruments Used for the SME Phase Several questions were developed for the subject matter experts (SME) phase reviewers to answer regarding the components of the Moodle course. The questions were posted on a Google form and used to interview the SME reviewers. The reviewersâ€&#x; responses were transcribed onto the online Google form. A checklist was completed during the SMEs interviews. The interview questionnaire contained six questions that asked for demographic data and eight questions focused on the content of the Moodle. This was where the reviewers identified course weaknesses and made suggestions to improve the Moodle course. Instruments Used for the One-to-One Phase Two instruments were completed for the reviewers of the one to one phase to complete. A post test and questionnaire were created for the reviewers to complete. The post test was administered once the reviewers were finished reviewing the course. The questionnaire was a Google form and all reviewers were sent the link to the questionnaire and to view the Moodle course. The reviewers completed the questionnaire and post test online. The online questionnaire


30

had six questions to gather demographic data from the one to one phase reviewers. There were eight questions asking about the course content allowing the reviewers to make suggestions to improve the course. Instruments Used for the Small Group Phase A post test and survey were created for the reviewers to complete. The survey had six questions to gather demographic data from the small group phase reviewers. There were eight questions asking about the structure, content, and sequencing of the items found in each course unit. The following table demonstrates the evaluation questions that were asked of the reviewers of each phase.


31

Table 1 Formative Evaluation Questions and Instruments Formative Evaluation Questions

Data Collection Instrument(s)

Source(s) of Information

1. Was the instructional goal achieved?

Interview (I) Questionnaire (Q) Survey (S)

SME 1 to 1 Small group (SG)

2. What features are lacking that will be

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

4. Which directions were not clear?

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

5. What areas might a learner need additional

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

6. What errors were found in the course?

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

7. Which learning activities were

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

I, Q and SE

SME, 1 to 1, and SG

needed to successfully complete the course? 3. Which activities need revision because they are incomplete or not clear?

support beyond the items included in the course help resources and documents?

out of sequence? 8. Which course modules were too easy or too difficult? Data Collection Instruments and Sources for Answering Formative Evaluation Questions


32

Table 1, shown on the previous page, indicates which questions each phase of reviewers were asked to address on the Google form. The reviewers responded to the questions on the Google form, except for the subject matter expert reviewers, and consented to share their suggestions for improving the Moodle course with the researcher. The researcher completed the online checklist while interviewing each subject matter expert. Special Populations Each of the course participants will be a math teacher that uses technology to some degree. Although not all of the teachers will have used technology to teach problem solving to students, helping teachers to see the power of using technology to extend learning activities and increase the level of critical thinking will be the ultimate outcome of the project. The teachers will have different backgrounds, levels of technology integration, varying ability levels and creating learning activities that takes each of those variables into account will be a challenge so that all participating in the capstone project add value to their repertoire of instructional strategies and knowledge of teaching students how to approach problem solving. Teachers will learn ways to integrate technology into mathematics instruction to improve student learning. Discussions with students will occur in the teachersâ€&#x; classrooms about multiple ways to solve a word problem or equation after students create a VoiceThread or a mathcast demonstrating their solution or explanation on how to a word problem or equation. Students will view, give feedback about othersâ€&#x; problem solving strategy, discuss and reflect upon the problem solving approach used to solve a common word problem or equation. These activities will be presented in a manner that all users can be successful regardless of past experience and skill level using and integrating technology into math instruction. Moodle


33

allows for a variety of different types of content, media and information to be presented in an online learning experience with a vast number of activities and modules to employ to use when implementing an online course. This allows for different ability levels and learning styles of students to be addressed in the Moodle course fostering active engagement and successful achievement of unit instructional goals. Materials To successfully participate in the Moodle course, a computer with internet access will be essential. Teachers and students will need to use a digital camera or scanner to upload the images for mathcast video or VoiceThread. The teachers will select a math concept of their choice from their district/campus math curriculum for topics of the technology projects. Additionally, teachers will create an account at VoiceThread and Screencast.com as well as download the Jing software from the Jing Project site at http://www.jingproject.com. Performance Objectives 1. Given the introductory materials located in the online Moodle course about using VoiceThread, Jing software and websites to create a „mathcast‟, the learner will review and read the materials with a 100% completion rate. 2. Given the introductory materials presented in the online Moodle course, the learner will write a reflection piece about and post it in the Moodle discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 3. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate.


34

4. Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate. 5. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%. 6. Given a VoiceThread video created about problem solving, the learner will post the link to the VoiceThread creation in a new post in the Moodle lesson two discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 7. Given a mathcast video that was uploaded to the Jing/Screencast.com website account, the learner will post the link to the mathcast in a new post Moodle in the Moodle lesson three discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. Learning Theories and Instructional Strategies Since the Moodle course is online, I copied and pasted each unit below. At the end of each unit/lesson is a discussion about one of the nine events identified by Gagne that applies to that lesson. Much of the course exhibits traits of the constructivism and cognitivism learning theories. The learning activities that I created allow participants to be creative and use critical thinking skills when creating technology products based on a problem solving search or strategy to a word problem or equation. In the article by Yang and Cornelios (2005), the authors state that an online course, “… requires the instructor to design collaborative and problem-based projects which will involve students to think critically, actively, and deeply.” The introduction to the exportable unit starts below.


35

Math Problem Solving – Moodle Course This Moodle course about Math Problem Solving was created to enable teachers to acquire technology integration skills to assist students to become better problem solving in mathematics. Teachers struggle to effectively teach the skills necessary for students to solve word problems in mathematics. For students to be successful in the 21st-century, students need experience collaborating, opportunities to share strategies for solving word problems and think creatively. Teachers often lack the skills and knowledge necessary to implement lessons that demonstrate how to strategically solve word problems. Technology can assist educators to design and deliver lessons that effectively engage students in a variety of simulated real world and concrete experiences. Participants will learn how to create VoiceThreads and mathcasts to teach students to be better problem solvers. Teachers will participate in weekly lessons featuring strategies for students to create these items to explore multiple ways to solve problems in mathematics. Reflection activities to summarize the learning that took place as well as ways to improve student learning and teaching will occur through professional discourse via blogs and wiki pages. Be sure to check out the News Forum for the course outline and overview. News Forum Welcome to the Math Problem Solving Moodle Course! This course will help you create a VoiceThread video and 'mathcast' allowing you to enhance your mathematics instruction with your students. When students know they have an audience, the quality of their work increases. Students become motivated and excited about learning and more critical in their analysis and thinking on classroom assignments. Course Outline:


36

Lesson 1 - Course Overview/Elluminate Conference Lesson 2 - Using VoiceThread to demonstrate how to solve a word problem Lesson 3 - Using Jing to create a video to explain how to solve a word problem Elluminate Conference Lesson 4 - Teach students how to use VoiceThread to demonstrate how to solve a word problem Lesson 5 - Teach students how to use Jing to create a video to explain how to solve a word problem Elluminate Conference Lesson 6 - Analysis of student technology video products and student discussion You will have the opportunity to participate in live Elluminate web conferences to share experiences and concerns throughout the course. During each conference you can also share the products you and your students created to teach students how to solve word problems and how to be more effective problem solvers. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at kcaise@gmail.com. I appreciate any feedback you can give me regarding the outline or lessons of this course. Thanks, Kim Caise Unit One Performance Objectives: 1. Given the introductory materials located in the online Moodle course about using VoiceThread, Jing software and websites to create a „mathcastâ€&#x;, the learner will review and read the materials with a 100% completion rate.


37

2. Given the introductory materials presented in the online Moodle course, the learner will write a reflection piece about and post it in the Moodle discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 3. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcastâ€&#x;, with a 100% attendance rate. Unit 1 - Overview of Technology Integrated Activities in Mathematics Instruction Lessons that integrate technology can be great motivators and visually stimulating to students. Many times students struggle with word problems in math as they have difficulty conceptualizing and visualizing the problem. Lessons that incorporate technology can assist students see the problem solving approach used to solve a word problem. As you watch the videos and listen to the podcast below, keep in mind how technology impacted the level of instruction.

Math VoiceThread Example Mathcast Video Mathcast Presentation Podcast: "Mathcasts, Clickers and the Future of Education" (interview between Jon Udell and Tim Fahlberg) Mathcast Article "What is a VoiceThread?" Video (optional resource) Week 1 Reflection


38

In your opinion, why do lessons that incorporate technology increase student achievement more so than lessons without technology?

Procedures

Direct the participating teachers to the following link: http://caisefiles.edumoot.com/course/view.php?id=11 and click on „Math Problem Solving. This will take teachers to the main page of the „Caise Files Moodle Course.‟

There are several courses in the Moodle course and teachers needs to click on the Math Problem Solving‟ course.

They will need to do this each time they login to the Math Problem Solving Course.

Inform the teachers that they will need to create an account for the course. After clicking on the Math Problem Solving course for the first time, the teachers will be taken to the following


39

screen.

The steps to create a new account are listed above the button to „Create new account‟. An email will be sent and will require the teacher to confirm by clicking on the link in the email.

Once confirmed the teacher will need to enroll in the course. The teachers will need to scroll down the page until they see the heading „Administration‟ in the left menu. The teachers need to click on „Enrol me in this course‟ (The person who designed Moodle is from Australia and their spelling is a bit different from ours in the USA). Once this has been completed, the teachers will be back at the main view in the Math Problem Solving Course.

Participating teachers will review and watch the


40

instructional videos and documents in Unit 1. Upon completion of reviewing the introductory materials, teachers will respond to the Week 1 Reflection topic by clicking on the Week 1 link. They will then click on „Add a new discussion topic‟ to open the text box to create and write their reflection post as shown below. When finished, they teachers click on „Post to Forum‟.

Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a live webinar in Elluminate (http://www.elluminate.com) to discuss the course objectives, expectations, materials and reflection posts. The exact date and time will be shared with participants upon completion of Unit 1.

Unit Two

Performance Objective: 1. Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate.

Unit 2 - Creating a VoiceThread

The focus this week is to create a digital product to demonstrate how to solve a word problem or equation for your students. You can draw a picture, write out the equation, take a digital picture or scan in multiple images to demonstrate the solution to your posed math problem.


41

Steps to create a VoiceThread video:

1. Create an account at the VoiceThread website. You will want to create an education VoiceThread account. See directions below. 2. Create the images you will use in your VoiceThread video. 3. Scan and upload the images to your VoiceThread account. 4. Add the audio explanation for each step of the solution to solve the word problem or equation. (Note: Be sure to add narration for each image if you are using more than one image.) 5. Copy the URL to your video and post in the discussion forum for others to view. 6. Be sure to leave comments via text, voice or cell phone on other participants' VoiceThread videos.

Educational VoiceThread account creation directions PDF document

Geometry VoiceThread Example (VoiceThread Examples posted in the online course) VoiceThread video in the Classroom - Will Richardson VoiceThread YouTube Tutorial Adding Comments to a VoiceThread VoiceThread Discussion Forum Please post the link to your VoiceThread video with your reflective response to the discussion question of: "How can using VoiceThread enhance math instruction?"

Digital Product Wiki


42

Procedures

Participating teachers will set up a VoiceThread account (http://www.voicethread.com) and review the steps to create as their first VoiceThread. Teachers will select a math concept/topic of their choice to demonstrate in the VoiceThread.

After creating an account at VoiceThread, teachers will create a VoiceThread and upload images/illustrations to demonstrate how to solve a math word problem or equation. Once the images are uploaded, the teachers will record an audio narrative comment explaining each step to solve the word problem or equation.

Upon completion of the VoiceThread, the teachers will post a reflection piece to the discussion forum and share their link or embed their VoiceThread on the Digital Product wiki.

Unit Three Performance Objective: 1. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%.

Unit 3 - Creating a Mathcast

The focus this week is to create a digital product to demonstrate how to solve a word problem or equation for your students. You can draw a picture, write out the equation, take a digital picture or scan in multiple images to demonstrate the solution to your posed math problem.


43

Steps to create a mathcast:

1. Select the word problem or equation to use in the mathcast. 2. Create an account at http://www.jingproject.com to post recordings. 3. Install Jing. 4. Plan the storyline tone of images and script for the explanation demonstrating the problem solving approach. 5. Record your mathcast using Jing. 6. Copy the URL to your video and post in the discussion forum for others to view. 7. Be sure to view one other participant's mathcast and leave a positive comment.

Mathcast website Creating a Mathcast Tutorial Pencasts "Let's Make a Mathcast" Presentation = MACUL 2009 Mathcasts Tools Mathcasts Examples Mathcast Discussion Forum Please post the link to your mathcast with your reflective response to the discussion question of: "How can using mathcasts enhance math instruction?"

Procedures Participating teachers will set up a Jing account (http://www.screencast.com) and review the steps to create their first screencast or mathcast. Teachers will select a math concept/topic of their choice to demonstrate in the mathcast.


44

After creating an account at Screencast.com, teachers will create a mathcast and upload images/illustrations to demonstrate how to solve a math word problem or equation. Once the images are uploaded, the teachers will record an audio narrative explaining each step to solve the word problem or equation.

Upon completion of the mathcast, the teachers will post a reflection piece to the discussion forum and share their link or embed their mathcast on the Digital Product wiki.

Elluminate Conference

Performance Objective: 1. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcastâ€&#x;, with a 100% attendance rate.

Elluminate Conference It is time for an Elluminate web conference! The link to the designated Elluminate room will be posted here just prior to the conference with proposed dates and times.

Procedures

Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a live webinar in Elluminate (http://www.elluminate.com) to discuss the course objectives, course expectations, reflection posts and experiences using VoiceThread and Jing. Teachers will share the VoiceThread and mathcast videos created. The exact date and time will be shared with participants upon


45

completion of Unit 3. Unit Four

Performance Objective: Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate. 1. Given a VoiceThread video created about problem solving, the learner will post the link to the VoiceThread creation in a new post in the Moodle lesson two discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%.

Unit 4 - Students Create and Share VoiceThread Videos

The focus of instruction for this unit is to have students create a VoiceThread demonstrating their problem solving approach to the same word problem or equation.

1. Select problem for students to solve. 2. Group students into pairs or trios. 3. Show students VoiceThread examples. 4. Demonstrate to students how to create a VoiceThread and leave a text, audio or cell phone comment. 5. Post the URL to each group's VoiceThread emphasizing multiple problem solving approaches to the word problem or equation. VoiceThread Discussion Forum


46

Procedures

Teachers will now demonstrate to their students in their own classrooms how to create a VoiceThread. Students will be divided into groups and all assigned the same math word problem or equation to explain in the VoiceThread. Student groups will decide the best way to solve, explain and demonstrate in the VoiceThread. The students will upload images and then add their audio comments to explain each step of the problem/equation just as the teachers did. Upon completion, student groups will share their VoiceThreads and discuss the various ways the student groups chose to solve the word problem or equation. Discussion with students should focus on the fact that each student group had the same problem but may have used a different problem solving approach or oral explanation to solve a common problem. Upon completion, teachers will create a journal entry to the topic of, “Share your experiences about your students creating VoiceThreads.”

Unit Five

Performance Objective:

1. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%. 2. Given a mathcast video that was uploaded to the teacher‟s or class‟ Jing/Screencast.com website account, the learner will post the link to the mathcast in a new post Moodle in the Moodle lesson three discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%.


47

Unit 5 - Students Create and Share Mathcasts

The focus of instruction for this unit is to have students create a mathcast demonstrating their problem solving approach to the same word problem or equation.

1. Select problem for students to solve. 2. Group students into pairs or trios. 3. Show students mathcast examples. 4. Demonstrate to students how to create a mathcast using Jing. 5. Post the URL to each group's mathcast emphasizing multiple problem solving approaches to the word problem or equation.

Mathcast Discussion Forum

Procedures

Teachers will now demonstrate to their students in their own classrooms how to create a mathcast. Students will be divided into groups and all assigned the same math word problem or equation to explain in the mathcast. Student groups will decide the best way to solve, explain and demonstrate in the mathcast. The students will upload images and then add their audio narrative to explain each step of the problem/equation just as the teachers did. Upon completion, student groups will share their mathcasts and discuss the various ways the student groups chose to solve the word problem or equation. Discussion with students should focus on the fact that each student group had the same problem but may have used a different problem solving approach or oral explanation to solve a common problem.


48

Upon completion, teachers will create a journal entry to the topic of, “Share your experiences about your students creating mathcasts.” Elluminate Conference

Performance Objective: 1. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate.

Elluminate Conference It is time for an Elluminate web conference! The link to the designated Elluminate room will be posted here just prior to the conference with proposed dates and times.

Procedures

Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a live webinar in Elluminate (http://www.elluminate.com) to discuss the course objectives, course expectations, reflection posts and experiences using VoiceThread and Jing. Teachers will share the VoiceThread and mathcast videos created. The exact date and time will be shared with participants upon completion of Unit 5.

Unit 6 - Course Culminating Activity

The Math Problem Solving Course is coming to a close. Throughout the past units, you have learned to create and comment on a VoiceThread and demonstrate to students how to create their own VoiceThread video. After creating VoiceThread videos, you created a


49

mathcast using Jing and guided your students to create their own mathcast using a common word problem or equation. Lastly, you discussed with your students how word problems or equations can be solved multiple ways. As the final activity, you will embed one of the mathcast videos into a wiki page within the Math Problem Solving Course Wiki.

Steps to embed the mathcast into the Math PS Course wiki page:

1. Copy the embed code from the selected mathcast video from your Jing account at http://www.jingproject.com. 2. Click on Wikis under Activities. 3. Click on the Digital Product Wiki. 4. In the textbox of the wiki page entry, type the title of the mathcast and your name. 5. Press the enter key to go to the next line. 6. Type the letters 'aaa'. This will serve as a placeholder for the embed code. 7. After typing 'aaa', click the '<>' icon in the toolbar at the top of the wiki textbox window. 8. You will now see the HTML code instead of the plain text of the title you just typed. 9. Locate the 'aaa' in the textbox. 10. Highlight the 'aaa' and paste the embed code over the 'aaa'. 11. Click Preview or Save when finished. Make sure you click Save when finished with the process. 12. You should see the title of the mathcast, your name, and the player to play the


50

mathcast. 13. Congratulations!

Procedures

This is the final activity of the Math Problem Solving Moodle Course. Teachers will embed each of their students‟ VoiceThreads and mathcasts to the Digital Product Wiki. The steps to embed each video is listed in the Moodle course and pasted above. Teachers can create class wikis or blogs and embed the technology videos on those websites in addition to the Moodle Digital Product Wiki. Teachers can share the steps with students and have the students embed their videos on designed websites if they choose.

The teachers will then lead the final discussion with students stressing the process of developing a step by step approach to problem solving when solving word problems or equations. Emphasize the key point that there is more than one way to solve a word problem or equation but all problem solving strategies must yield the correct answer. Have students share their experiences creating a VoiceThread and mathcast to solve problems and question students if the technology helped them to solve problems more effectively.

Elluminate Conference Performance Objective: 1. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate.


51

Elluminate Conference It is time for an Elluminate web conference! The link to the designated Elluminate room will be posted here just prior to the conference with proposed dates and times.

Procedures

Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a live webinar in Elluminate (http://www.elluminate.com) to discuss the course objectives, course expectations, reflection posts and experiences using VoiceThread and Jing. Teachers will share the VoiceThread and mathcast videos created. The exact date and time will be shared with participants upon completion of Unit 6.

Learning Theory Using Gagneâ&#x20AC;&#x;s nine events of instruction, unit one was designed to set the stage for the learners and get the students ready for learning. The students and the participating teachers will review the introductory materials in the online Moodle course to prepare them for the assignments in the course. After gaining their attention by reviewing the introductory materials, the participants will be informed of the course objectives through a post in the news forum wish is the second event of instruction of Gagneâ&#x20AC;&#x;s nine step process. The participants will be directed to review and read the news forum post to help them become familiar with the forum and other features of the Moodle. In the first unit, students will view documents and videos that inform students and show examples of the two technology products they will be creating in upcoming lessons in the Moodle course. After viewing the documents, students will participate in a live web conference


52

to discuss concerns and ideas for the upcoming technology participating teachers and their students will create. Upon conclusion of unit one, the teachers reviewing the documents and videos, the teachers will participate in a live webinar in Elluminate (http://www.elluminate.com). Teachers will be able to ask questions about the course objectives, my expectations as the course designer or course activities. I will also give feedback as well as solicit feedback from the teachers as I would like to be able to offer this course to additional teachers outside of this core group of participating teachers. Teachers will write a reflection piece in the discussion forum of Unit 1 and will serve as discussion starters in the Elluminate conference as well.

Unit Two includes several examples of VoiceThread videos are included in Unit Two to stimulate prior recall of how to create a VoiceThread and what a VoiceThread and how VoiceThreads are structured. New content is presented for those who do not know how to create a VoiceThread as well as learners are guided in creating a VoiceThread with lots of examples and help resources representing the fourth and fifth events of instruction identified in Gagneâ&#x20AC;&#x;s theory of learning. The participating teachers also put into practice what has been presented in the Moodle course by creating their own VoiceThread demonstrating how to solve a math word problem or equation. This depicts the sixth event of instruction.

Unit Three contains resources and examples of the process to create a mathcast video. The resources include in the unit are there to stimulate prior recall of how to create a mathcast and what a mathcast video consists of including how the mathcast is structured. New content is presented for those who do not know how to create a screencast, or mathcast, as well learner guidance is provided to the participating teachers as they create a mathcast with examples and


53

help resources representing the fourth and fifth events of instruction identified in Gagneâ&#x20AC;&#x;s theory of learning. The participating teachers also put into practice the new learning presented in the Moodle course and create their own mathcast demonstrating how to solve a math word problem or equation. This depicts the sixth event of instruction.

In between some of the course units I have scheduled an Elluminate web conference. This is the only synchronous event scheduled throughout the course. Participation in the Ellluminate sessions are an opportunity for me, the Moodle course designer, to give feedback to the participating teachers and answer questions in a live webinar held in Elluminate. The teachers will receive specific feedback as to whether they have met the course objectives so far and with additional guidance or support provided to the learners as necessary. Providing feedback to the learners is the seventh event of Gagneâ&#x20AC;&#x;s nine events of instruction.

The fourth and fifth units require the teachers to teach their students how to create a VoiceThread and mathcast. The teachers will apply what they have learned in the previous units of the course. Performance will be elicited from the teachers and their students to create a technology product similar to what they created emphasizing the comparison of problem solving strategies used by students. The teachers will guide their students to elicit performance from their students. Feedback will be provided to the students and teachers and performance will be assessed using a rubric and discussion question post in the Moodle course discussion forum for units four and five.

Unit six serves as the culminating unit of the Moodle course and is the most important unit. This unit is where all of the puzzle pieces fall into place for the students. The mathcast videos and VoiceThreads have been shared in the teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x; classrooms with different ways to


54

solve a common word problem or equation discussed after viewing the technology products. In the discussion with students, teachers present the idea that there are multiple ways to solve problems and discuss features of the different problem solving strategies that were particularly effective. The main purpose of this unit is for students to take what they learned throughout this course as means to enhance the retention of the skills learned and transferring those skills to new problems or settings (â&#x20AC;&#x153;TIP: Theories,â&#x20AC;? n.d.).

Procedure

For the purposes of conducting this formative evaluation, three phases of reviewers were selected and asked to complete questionnaires sharing suggestions to improve the Moodle course. The content, course structure, and learning activities were examined for areas that need revision. SME Phase For the subject matter expert phase, colleagues were contacted that are experts in technology and familiar with math standards at fifth through eighth grades. The main focus of the SME phase was upon the technology tools and learning activities. Each reviewer was invited to complete an online questionnaire after viewing the Moodle course. This was one of the first things done as part of the formative evaluation process. The formative evaluation began the first part of May 2010 with the expectations that the reviewers would respond within a week on the Google form. Each reviewer was interviewed and responded to each question on the questionnaire. The researcher completed the interview checklist during the individual interviews with each subject matter reviewer. One to-one Phase


55

For the one to one phase, colleagues were contacted that were experienced in teaching math and using technology. The researcher desired participants that were representative of the target audience for the Moodle course. The main focus of this phase was to determine if the actual teachers participating in the Moodle course will be able to successfully complete the course and use the technology tools featured in the learning activities. Reviewers were asked to complete the online questionnaire after viewing the online course. The questionnaire asked the reviewers to focus on specific aspects of the supplementary materials, sequence of learning activities and thoroughness of the content and directions. Upon completion of the Moodle course, the reviewers completed a post test based on the content of the course. Implementation of this phase was one of the initial things done to begin the formative evaluation process. The start date of the formative evaluation was originally scheduled for the beginning of May 2010 with the expectation that the reviewers would respond within a week on the Google form. The timeline was not adhered to as hoped by the researcher and the evaluation was delayed several weeks. Small group Phase In the small group phase, colleagues that were math teachers and relatively new to integrating technology were asked to participate as a reviewer in the formative evaluation. This is the target audience for the actual course. The teachers that will participate in the Moodle course in the future will be expert math instructors at fifth through eighth grades. The main focus of this phase was about using the technology tools in the learning activities. Each reviewer was asked to complete the online questionnaire after reviewing the online course. The questionnaire asked the reviewers to focus on various aspects of the course


56

paying particular attention to the learning activities and clarity of the course content and directions. This part of the formative evaluation began around the middle of June 2010 after making some of the changes that the SMEs and one to one reviewers suggested. The timeline was delayed several weeks while waiting for reviewers to agree to evaluate the course and complete the questionnaire and post tests. Eventually reviewers responded resulting in only six small group reviewers. As with the one to one phase, upon completion of the Moodle course, the reviewers completed a post test based on the content of the course Integrity of the Data The questionnaires were online and the reviewers‟ responded and submitted their answers online. The researcher was the only person that viewed the responses from each phase of reviewers. The reviewers did not view one another‟s submissions thus preserving the integrity of the data and responses from the reviewers. Permissions and Anonymity The reviewers of the small group phase responded to a final question on the Google form asking if they consented to share their comments and suggestions with the evaluator by indicating consent with a „yes‟ or „no‟ answer and typing their name in the last field on the questionnaire.


57

Timeline Below is a tentative timeline indicating when each task will be implemented. Activities

May

May

May

June

June

June

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

2010

SME review and Informed Consent period Data Analysis and Revisions One-to-One Evaluations Data Analysis and Revisions Small Group Evaluation Data Analysis and Reporting Figure 1. Projected Timeline for the Formative Evaluation

Technology Used in the Curriculum Description and Rationale The Moodle course is itself a technology product. I added several Portable Data Format (PDF) documents of instructions and supplementary resources for the participating teachers to use for help, clarification or further explanation. The PDFs and course units contain graphics and images that explain the expectations for each unit and the process required to successfully complete the learning activities. Short videos and VoiceThread examples were added to the course to serve as a model for the technology products the teachers and students will create. Several websites were included as resources along with a podcast of an interview with the mathcast concept creator, Tim Fahlberg. The teachers are able to select any or all of the


58

resources they deem necessary to successfully complete each learning activity. The inclusion of synchronous live web conferences in Elluminate will allow participants to interact, engage and discuss the resources or learning activities found in the course units. At the end of each Moodle course unit, participants are asked to complete a discussion forum post reflecting upon the content learned and the technology products created. Additionally, throughout the course, participants will have the opportunity to join live webinars to interact with other course participants and engage in professional discourse about the course content and materials as well as the course learning activities. These items were included in the course to help foster a sense of community among the course participants. This is one of the best practices that will help participants be successful mentioned in several sources of the literature review. Participants can develop professional relationships and serve as advisors or sounding boards for ideas when creating VoiceThreads or mathcast videos. According to the literature review sources, this will create a sense of belonging and community among the participants (Lewis, 2006).


59

CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS The questionnaires for each group of reviewers to complete were created using Google forms. All of the instruments were stored online allowing all data to accumulate in a spreadsheet. This made it easy to access and disaggregate the data. Similar questions were on each of the data collection tools. The researcher combined data from the phases and broke things down into qualitative and quantitative data versus analyzing and representing the data from each phase independently as many of the suggestions from the reviewers from all three phases were very similar. The data was more manageable and easier to understand, present and interpret in this manner for the researcher. Below are the results presented in narrative and table forms. Qualitative Data Analysis Each course unit that reviewers mentioned needing improvement or revision was examined by the researcher. One area in particular cited by the reviewers referred to the directions for creating a VoiceThread. Although some changes were made after each phase, the directions were still not explicit or specific enough for teachers new to technology according to the reviewers. The skill level of the reviewers of the one to one and small group phases decreased as well as familiarity of using Moodle for online learning and their comments seemed to reflect this notion. This was fantastically eye opening and extremely helpful as it brought to light issues that were relevant to the target audience for the actual course. The comments allowed the researcher to drill down on course details for teachers and focus on items necessary to provide assistance to teachers that are inexperienced technology users.. Additionally, several reviewers suggested changing the order of the course units. Instead of having teachers create a VoiceThread and then a mathcast with their students following the


60

same process, some suggested having the teachers create a VoiceThread followed by their students doing the same before switching to using Jing to create a mathcast. The reviewers stated that continuing with VoiceThread before moving to Jing to create mathcasts would make better sense to the lesser technically skilled teachers and enable those teachers and students to be successful if the technology products were created with the same tool back to back instead of switching back and forth between tools. Quantitative Data Analysis Much of the data collected from the formative evaluation was qualitative in nature. The reviewers of the small group and one to one phase reviewers were asked to take a post test after reviewing the course. Each reviewer surpassed the cut score of 80% with a score of 100%. Table 1 Formative Evaluation Post Test Scores Reviewer Phase/Number

Score

Small Group Phase Reviewer 1

100

Small Group Phase Reviewer 2

100

Small Group Phase Reviewer 3

100

Small Group Phase Reviewer 4

100

Small Group Phase Reviewer 5

100

Small Group Phase Reviewer 6

100

One to One Phase Reviewer 1

100

One to One Phase Reviewer 2

100

Number of Reviewers Meeting Cut Score of 80%

8


61

Discussion of Quantitative Data in Table 1 As noted in the table on the previous page, all reviewers successfully met the cut score of 80%. All of reviewers of the one to one and small group phase reviewers were able to correctly answer each question on the post-test. Table 2, shown below, demonstrates the average number of years in education for the reviewers of the subject matter expert, one to one and small group phase reviewers. A table was created to compare the number of years in education among the reviewers. Demographic data for each reviewer was examined and the average number of years in education was calculated for each of the three phases of the formative evaluation. Table 2 Average Number of Years in Education for Each Phase of Reviewers

Phase

Average Number of Years in Education

Subject Matter Expert Phase

31.5 years

One to One Phase

19 years

Small Group Phase

18.5 years

Discussion of Table 2 As you can see, the average number of years in education varied greatly for each phase of the formative evaluation. It is interesting that the more years in education for each reviewer, the more data the reviewer shared with the researcher.


62

Table 3 Revisions Suggested from Reviewers of Formative Evaluation Phases

Revisions Suggested Typo in goal statement and wording of reflection question for

Phase Subject Matter Expert (SME)

unit 1 is awkward Directions not clear about posting URLs for mathcast videos

SME

Clarify wording of directions for embedding videos in wiki

SME and Small Group

Remove HTML coding

SME

Clarify purpose for Elluminate conference

SME

Duplicate embedded video

SME

Clarify purpose and reason for inclusion of additional resources

SME

Clarify process for posting to the course discussion forums

SME and 1 to 1

Add videos to demonstrate how to use Jing and VoiceThread

1 to 1 and Small Group

Add course objectives to course overview

SME

Clarify purpose and procedures for posting to Moodle course

SME

digital product wiki Share additional resources/ways to use Jing and VoiceThread to

Small Group

create mathcasts Indicate approximate lengths of time to complete each unit

Small Group

Add each external resource so that it opens in a new window and

Small Group

not the same window to help ease navigation issues


63

In Table 3, shown on the previous page a compilation of the data from field notes and comments shared on the Google form spreadsheets. Data from all three phases of the formative evaluation of reviewersâ&#x20AC;&#x; suggestions to improve the Moodle course were included. As you can see in Table 3, there were several areas the reviewers indicated that needed clarification or further explanation. It was suggested that an explanatory â&#x20AC;&#x17E;getting started with Jing and VoiceThreadâ&#x20AC;&#x; video be created or located online and embedded into the Moodle course for teachers to use when working with both technology tools. This was a great suggestion since the course is designed for teachers relatively new to using and integrating technology. Methods of Triangulation of the Data Collected The researcher triangulated the data by comparing the data collected across all three phases. This gave the researcher a more cohesive and comprehensive look at the suggestions made to improve the course. The data was easily reviewed and grouped by categories and proceeding in this manner prevented suggestions from being overlooked. Items that the reviewers mentioned more than once were grouped together thus helping identify areas of large concern. Additionally, demographic data of all three phases were compared after the researcher noticed the amount of information shared from the individual reviewers seemed to be correlated the number of years in education. Demographic data was submitted on each form from the reviewers and this information was compared and analyzed across all three phases of the formative evaluation. The number of years a reviewer had been in education was correlated to the amount of suggestions each reviewer submitted on the Google forms.


64

Recommended Revisions from the Reviewers At the conclusion of each unit of the Moodle course, the researcher would like the future participating teachers to share the digital products they and/or their students created and post the Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) or embed the videos into the course digital product wiki, blog posts and forums. Several reviewers suggested the directions to use Jing and VoiceThread be revised to provide clarification and assistance for the participating teachers that are inexperienced or new to integrating technology. Since the researcher is familiar with using both Jing and VoiceThread, it was hard for the researcher to gauge the complexity of the procedures and directions laid out in the course units. This issue was mentioned by several reviewers so it will definitely be a large focus throughout the revision process. Modifications to the course were made but were apparently not explicit enough to assist teachers just beginning to integrate technology. Several reviewers mentioned clarifying the purpose and nature of the Elluminate conferences to include demonstrations of how to create a VoiceThread and use Jing in addition to the resources listed in the Moodle course. The researcher found this to be an excellent suggestion and will add details about the purpose of using Elluminate throughout the Moodle course. Some of the reviewers suggested changing the order of the course units. The researcher will review the directions for each unit and explore the possibility of changing the order of the course units to provide continuity and clarify for the participants of the course. The researcher will further examine this suggestion before determining if this is a necessary change.


65

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION Discussion of Capstone Project Project Description A Moodle course was created for to assist teachers to teach students to be better problem solvers using technology. Teachers will learn to use VoiceThread and Jing to create a math tutorial video called a screencast. Teachers will learn how to use both tools and then model the same process for their students. All video products created throughout the course will be available in the Moodle course resources to share with the other course participants and their students. Teachers of mathematics for grades five through eight are the targeted audience for the Moodle course. Participating math teachers will select a word problem and have each student or student group create a mathcast using VoiceThread and then Jing demonstrating the student groups‟ math solution. Mathcasts created by the participating teachers‟ students will be shared within the teachers‟ classrooms and the Moodle course. The teachers will use the students‟ mathcasts to emphasize that there are multiple ways to solve problems and explore with their the solution featured in each mathcast. The teachers will lead their students in a discussion featuring the individual steps and word problem solution presented each mathcast. The content of the mathcasts will be up to the individual teacher as they are the experts of the curriculum they are responsible for teaching. Throughout the discussion, the teacher will emphasize the fact that there are several ways to solve a common word problem. This will assist students to identify that there is more than one way to a solve word problem and enable them to acquire a wealth of problem solving strategies featured in the mathcast videos.


66

The mathcast videos will demonstrate the explanation to solving a common word problem. Students will see and hear the explanation. Research has shown when students present information for their peers, they learn the content at a higher level (â&#x20AC;&#x153;What really motivates middle school students?,â&#x20AC;? n.d.). Additionally, research has shown that online learning can significantly impact learning when students create content to share with an audience larger than their teacher and classmates. The quality of student work is greatly increased resulting in students being more focused when working with teams and the use of online content makes the information more accessible for everyone. Students can learn how to solve word problems or equations with the use of mathcasts that focus on current content presented in class after school hours and play the mathcast as often as needed.. Overview of Formative Evaluation Findings A Google form was created featuring similar questions for all of the phases. The researcher recognized that although the questions were similar, the background and experiences from the participating reviewers would influence reviewer responses. The results were similar among all three phases of the formative evaluation although some differences were present in each phase. The reviewers commented that the clarity of the directions explaining how to create a mathcast using Jing and VoiceThread needed to be improved. The reviewers felt that the directions were not explicit enough for future participating teachers. The target group of teachers includes educators that are new to using and integrating technology. If the resources or content directions are not clear, it is essential that this issue be addressed and the directions improved. Teachers that are inexperienced at integrating technology may not have the skills of using


67

VoiceThread, Jing, uploading images or scanning pictures for use in mathcast videos and will need simplified instructions to be successful. If the directions are confusing or not understood, teachers could become overwhelmed and frustrated and not complete the course successfully. This is another issue was mentioned by more than one reviewer over all three phases of the formative evaluation and evident that this is a critical area needing attention. The formative evaluation reviewers also mentioned the presence of the supplementary resources of each unit. It was suggested that the number of resources be reduced or to group the resources together and move to a sidebar in the course. Teachers new to integrating technology may be easily intimidated or overwhelmed by the presence of several resources. Teachers inexperienced at integrating technology may have difficulty focusing on the content necessary for them to complete unit tasks and may not be able to disregard resources that are not helpful or needed to successfully complete course learning activities. The resources may be viewed by some as too many or give the impression that every single resource has to be read or utilized instead of just using the resources as needed. This finding will help make the course appear less daunting for teachers new to Moodle, online learning and using technology with their students. All of the reviewers correctly completed a post test created by the researcher. The researcher attributes this to the quality of the resources available in the courses coupled with the learning activities. Not all of the reviewers felt there were an excessive amount of resources and indicated the resources and content of the individual course units needed only cosmetic revisions. This conclusion tells the researcher that teachers will be successful when completing the post test after participating in the learning activities of the Moodle math problems solving course. While there are several areas that the reviewers suggested for improvement, the overall framework,


68

with revisions, will help teachers acquire technical skills necessary to create mathcasts and teach their students to the same. Implications Creating effective online courses can be challenging. There are best practices to consider when designing and delivering online content ensuring the content is meaningful and relevant to the students. The approach and delivery of the content is different but there are similarities to providing students with a quality education regardless of whether the course is administered online or offline.

The Moodle course reflects many of the best practices for online learning as referenced in the literature review. Teachers will participate in live web conferences in Elluminate to foster a sense of community and allow the participants to demonstrate skills or ask questions. Creating a learning environment that is welcoming of teamwork and sharing content and resources with one another is essential to the success of any online learning initiative. This Moodle course reinforces the need for creating an online learning community or cohort. When there is support for one another from the learning community, teachers are more apt to take risks, ask questions and try new things. This Moodle course demonstrates the power of a strong learning community to encourage teachers to take risks and expand their knowledge base. This course could serve as a model for other teachers to create online courses.

One of the primary benefits of online learning is that the participants can interact with the content anytime and anywhere they have a connection to the Internet. Online learning is accessible 24 hours a day and is much more conducive to a teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x;s busy schedule outside of the school day. The Moodle course designed by the researcher allows teachers to view, access


69

and interact within the Moodle discussion forums. This course demonstrates the need and desire for professional development to be interesting, relevant and available at a time that best fits an individualâ&#x20AC;&#x;s schedule. The best time for the individual may not be at the same time as a scheduled presenter. This is the main reason teachers choose online learning over offline workshops. Although the Moodle course has synchronous Elluminate sessions, much of the learning activities of this course are asynchronous. This flexibility that online learning is a great motivator for teachers to participate in continuous learning outside of school hours. Convenience and flexibility are prime motivators for teachers to participate in online learning courses and this course demonstrates this benefit to teachers interested in creating professional development for teachers. The Moodle course created for this capstone project exhibits many of the best practices for online learning found in the literature review. Teachers can use this course as a model for creating interactive learning activities where the participants have a sense of community through the features of a Moodle course. Administrators will know that money and time invested in online learning will be rewarding for the participants after reviewing the course or as a participant. Professional development providers recognize that they often have to provide just in time training for the individuals in their organization. Online learning can be used more than just a means to provide just in time training. Moodle courses can also serve as a repository of examples, references and provide assistance that the participants can refer to 24 hours a day. This is not possible with workshops presented offline. It is impossible to present course content that reaches a group of people, fosters teamwork within a community and offers access to resources 24 hours a day. This Moodle course exemplifies this very aspect and can serve as a model for educators to create and implement with their own students, faculty or organization.


70

Limitations One limitation discovered was the difficulty of finding educators to serve as reviewers possibly resulting in limited data collected from the reviewers. The researcher offered monetary incentives to anyone that was a fifth through eighth grade math teachers to entice them to participate as a reviewer. After waiting several weeks, the formative evaluation began with only two subject matter experts, two reviewers for the one to one phase and six reviewers that participated in the small group phase. The data collected from the existing group of reviewers was extremely helpful but a larger group of reviewers for each phase may have generated additional recommendations to improve the Moodle course. It is difficult to tell if the data collected from a larger pool of reviewers would have generated additional suggestions from what was collected from the current group of reviewers although it is possible that new items would have resulted. It is evident that the reviewers took time to thoroughly evaluate the course, review each of the resources, videos, and help documents in each unit of the Moodle course. As the researcher, it is noted how important it is as to collect a wealth of informative during the formative evaluation. The researcher understands how time consuming reviewing the course was using the questionnaires that were created using Google forms. The researcher originally expected reviewers would systematically review the course by examining all of the course documents and work through each module step by step. After going through this process, it soon became evident that this was an unrealistic expectation as educators are extremely busy and do not have time to review the course beyond answering the questions on the questionnaire. It is possible the number of questions and time it required to adequately answer each question was too much to ask of fellow educators.


71

If I were conducting another formative evaluation in the future, a thorough review of the questionnaires including the amount of time it takes to complete the online tools would be a primary consideration. Perhaps if the questionnaire were shortened additional reviewers would have participated. Questions could possibly be combined to lessen the number of questions to address regarding the course content. Perhaps observing a teacher that is just starting out using technology and well versed in the curriculum complete all or individual course modules would assist with this issue. The observation would give me great insight into what a teacher experiences participating in the course learning activities.

Strengths of the Math Problem Solving Moodle Course One of the main strengths of the Moodle course identified by the researcher is the fact that the participating teachers will walk away with newly acquired technology integration skills. The supplementary resources, content posted in the Moodle course and discussion forums will contribute to the successful acquisition of new content and skills for future participants. These skills can then be applied to future lessons in a variety of content areas to enhance the teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x; toolbox of teaching strategies. The teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x; students will be better prepared as a result of their teachers incorporating technology skills into their math lessons. This is essential for success as a student in the 21st century and workforce as an adult. Creating mathcasts for students is a valuable skill to develop and refine over time. Gaining the knowledge of creating mathcast tutorials and videos to enrich learning will greatly benefit teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x; current and future students by helping create a solid foundation and understanding of math concepts or algorithms. Students that are visual learners will benefit from seeing complex algorithms, equations or word problems solved in a manner that addresses their preferred learning style.


72

A second strength is the content featured in the course. The researcher carefully considered the resources for teachers to use as a guide and share with their students ensuring the resources would help explain or demonstrate how to create quality mathcasts. The content shared is research based and there is a wealth of information about the benefit of creating and using video tutorials with and for students. The researcher attributes the successful performance of the reviewers on the post test to the resources, activities and forums available in the Moodle course. Resources to serve as models for a creating a VoiceThread and mathcast video have been posted to the Moodle course for the teachers and their students to refer to as examples. The researcher spent a great deal of time finding quality resources to post in the course to assist the teachers in acquiring new technology integration skills to improve mathematics instruction. Weaknesses of the Math Problem Solving Moodle Course As a result of the formative evaluation, several areas were identified that needed revising. One of those areas is in unit two. Unit two introduces the participating teachers to the technology tool, VoiceThread (http://www.voicethread.com). The reviewers indicated the directions for creating a VoiceThread were not clear or explicit enough for teachers new to using VoiceThread. It was suggested that a getting started video showing teachers how to use VoiceThread be added to the course. Additionally, the reviewers recommended that demonstrating the process of creating a new VoiceThread and adding comments to an existing VoiceThread become a focal point of the Elluminate conferences. The addition of these suggestions is considered valuable by the researcher and believes this will improve the Moodle course and enhance the content of the course for the teachers and students.


73

A second weakness identified from the formative evaluation process referenced the steps for uploading images for use in the VoiceThread or mathcast created with Jing. Several reviewers mentioned that teachers new to using technology may not be familiar with how to upload or scan in images for use in their digital products. There are directions in the course but are viewed by the reviewers as limited. The reviewers suggested the directions be revised and more detailed since the target audience for the course is teachers new to using technology and integrating technology components into mathematics instruction. Critique Throughout my time spent as a Western Governors University (WGU) student, I learned a great deal about the research process. I have been an educator for over 20 years and was already well versed in writing curriculum and integrating technology. I lacked experience in the area of educational research and learned a great deal about conducting needs assessments, gathering data and employing methods to effectively analyze the data collected. After completing a literature review for this capstone project, I learned the importance of incorporating best practices for online learning when designing courses that are to be administered online. There are several aspects to include ensuring that students will be successful and actively engaged. My original intent for seeking a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x;s degree was to teach online at the college or university level. I still want to teach online but I am not sure that I want to teach higher ed. I am exploring the possibility of teaching for the Texas Virtual School Network. I enjoy the convenience and flexibility of teaching and interacting online synchronously and asynchronously. I believe obtaining a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x;s degree in learning and technology will give me credibility and knowledge to be successful in any offline or online position where I design and deliver


74

course content. Creating course content that is research based, engaging and relevant to students is a challenge for any course designer and the experience I gained from participating in this program will be invaluable for any position I undertake in education. (â&#x20AC;&#x153;What really motivates middle school students?,â&#x20AC;? n.d.)


75

References

Appleton, K., DeGroot, D., Lampe, K., & Carruth, C. (2009). How Rural School Librarians Stay Connected. School Library Monthly, 26(2), 14-16. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Birman, B., Garet, M., Desimone, L., Porter, A., & Yoon, K. (2001). What makes professional development effective? American Educational Research Journal, 915-945.

Bishop, A. (2006, November). Online professional development get the facts. Technology & Learning, 27(4), 8-11. Bowen, Elizabeth (n.d.) Student Engagement and Its Relation to Quality Work Design: A Review of the Literature . Retrieved from http://teach.valdosta.edu/are/ebowenLitReview.pdf Branzburg, J. 2005. "Use the Moodle course management system." Technology & Learning, August, 40.

Calvani, A., Fini, A., Molino, M., & Ranieri, M. (2010). Visualizing and monitoring effective interactions in online collaborative groups. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 213-226.

Christie, K. (2009). Professional development worth paying for. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(461-463). Fahlberg, T., Fahlberg-Stojanovska, L., & MacNeil, G. (2006, August 25). Whiteboard math movies. Teaching mathematics and its applications.


76

Fenton, C., & Watkins, B. (2007). Online professional development for K-12 educators: benefits for school districts with applications for community college faculty professional development. Community College Journal of Research & Practice, 31(6), 531-533. Fontichiaro, K. (2008). Planning an online professional development module. School Library Media Activities Monthly. XXV, 30-31.

Fredrick, K. (2009). Stay the Course: Managing Online Presence. School Library Monthly, 26(2), 33-34. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Good, J., & Weaver, A. (2003). Creating learning communities to meet teachers' needs in professional development. Journal of In-Service Education, 29, 439-450. Graham, C., Cagiltay, K., Lim, B., & Duffy, T. (n.d.). The Technology Source Archives - Seven Principles of Effective Teaching: A Practical Lens for Evaluating Online Courses. The Technology Source Archives. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from http://www.technologysource.org/article/seven_principles_of_effective_teaching/ Groves, F. &. (2010, January). Discussion, Using Syncrhonous Online Instruction to Promote. Online cl@assroom; ideas for effective online instruction , 3-5. Guskey, T. (2002). Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 8(3/4), 381-391. Knobel, M. & Lankshear, C. (2009). Digital literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. 52, 631-634.


77

Lee, H. (2004/2005, Fall/Spring). Developing professional development program model based on teachers' needs. The Professional Educator , XXVII (1 & 2), 39-49. Lewis, C. (2006). Implementing Effective Online Teaching. Innovative Higher Education , 31 (2-), 83-98. Lunenberg, M., & Willemse, M. (2006). Research and professional development of teacher educators. European Journal of Teacher Education, 29(1), 81-98.

Maikish, A. 2006. "MOODLE: A free, easy, and constructivist online learning tool." MultiMedia & Internet@Schools, (3), 26-28.

Padmanabhan, P. (2009). Goal-based Scenarios: An Approach to Online Instruction and Training. Technical Communication, 56(2), 132-136. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Pittinsky, M (2005).No Teacher Left Behind. T H E Journal. 32, 32-34. Prabhu, M. T. (n.d.). Technology adds to studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x; math comprehension. eSchoolNews.com. eSchool News, School Technology News and Resources for Today's K-12 and Higher-Ed Educators. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2010/03/17/technology-adds-to-students-mathcomprehension/

Rivero, V. (2006). Teaching your staff. American School Board Journal, 193, 54-55.

Sawchuk, S. (2009). Teacher training goes in virtual directions. Education Week. 28, 22-24.


78

Signer, B. (2008). Online professional development: combining best practicies from teacher, technology and distance education. Journal of In-service Education , 34, 205-218. TIP: Theories. (n.d.). . Retrieved from http://tip.psychology.org/gagne.html

Van 'T Hooft, M. (2008, March/April). Envisioning the future. Learning & Leading with Technology. March/April, 12-16.

Vanides, J. (2007, May). Online professional development that works. Learning & Leading with Technology. 11-14. What really motivates middle school students? (n.d.). . Retrieved August 30, 2010, from http://www.middleweb.com/StdntMotv.html. Yang, Y. & Cornelios, L. (2005). Preparing Instructors for Quality Online Instruction. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration , 8 (1).


79

Appendix A

SME Phase Questionnaire Please take a moment to review the Moodle course I created for my capstone project as part of the Master's of Education in Learning and Technology graduate degree at Western Governors University. You may login and view the course as a guest at http://caisefiles.edumoot.com/course/view.php?id=11. If that link doesn't take you directly to the course, click on the Math Problem Solving course from the list of courses in the main menu. Please review the materials, learning activities and course content for accuracy, clarity and appropriate sequence of materials and activities. The questions below are the questions that I will ask of you after you have viewed the Moodle course. You do not need to fill in your responses to each question as I will do that while I interview you. Performance objectives: 1. Given the introductory materials located in the online Moodle course about using VoiceThread, Jing software and websites to create a „mathcast‟, the learner will review and read the materials with a 100% completion rate. 2. Given the introductory materials presented in the online Moodle course, the learner will write a reflection piece about and post it in the Moodle discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 3. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate. 4. Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate. 5. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%. 6. Given a VoiceThread video created about problem solving, the learner will post the link to the


80

VoiceThread creation in a new post in the Moodle lesson two discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 7. Given a mathcast video that was uploaded to the Jing/Screencast.com website account, the learner will post the link to the mathcast in a new post Moodle in the Moodle lesson three discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. Goal statement: Given an inclusive classroom setting, fifth to eighth grade teachers will use technology, such as VoiceThread, to create video tutorial lessons, a “mathcast”, that will improve students‟ ability to solve word problems in mathematics. A mathcast is a screencast with audio demonstrating mathematical processes or algorithms (Fahlberg, Fahlber-Stojanovska, & MacNeil, 2006).

* Required

Name and Email Address *

Number of years teaching *

Number of years teaching math *

Current position *

Grade level currently teaching (if n/a please enter N/A) *

Location (City, State or City, Country if outside of USA) *


81

1. Were the instructional goals met? Why or why not? *

2. What features are lacking that the learners will need to successfully complete the course? *

3. Which activities need revision because they are incomplete or not clear? *

4. Which directions were not clear? *


82

5. What areas of the course might a learner need additional support beyond the items included in the course help resources and documents? *

6. What errors were found in the course? *

7. Which learning activities were out of sequence? *

8. Which course modules were too easy or too difficult? *


83

Are there additional comments or concerns that you have about the course that you would like to

share with me?


84

Appendix B

Checklist for SME Phase

* Required

Reviewer's name and/or email address *

Date and time of interview *

What areas did the reviewer have a concern or difficulty with throughout the interview? * 

Clarity of the directions in the course modules

Sequence of learning activities

Quality of resources

Ability to create a VoiceThread and/or comment on a VoiceThread

Ability to create a mathcast video

Understanding of what a mathcast is

Posting reflection pieces to course module discussion forums

Other:

What specific questions did the reviewer ask during the interview? *


85

Appendix C Subject Matter Expert (SME) Phase Questionnaire Please take a moment to review the Moodle course I created for my capstone project as part of the Master's of Education in Learning and Technology graduate degree at Western Governors University. You may login and view the course as a guest at http://caisefiles.edumoot.com/course/view.php?id=11. If that link doesn't take you directly to the course, click on the Math Problem Solving course from the list of courses in the main menu. Please review the materials, learning activities and course content for accuracy, clarity and appropriate sequence of materials and activities. Performance objectives: 1. Given the introductory materials located in the online Moodle course about using VoiceThread, Jing software and websites to create a „mathcast‟, the learner will review and read the materials with a 100% completion rate. 2. Given the introductory materials presented in the online Moodle course, the learner will write a reflection piece about and post it in the Moodle discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 3. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate. 4. Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate. 5. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%. 6. Given a VoiceThread video created about problem solving, the learner will post the link to the VoiceThread creation in a new post in the Moodle lesson two discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 7. Given a mathcast video that was uploaded to the Jing/Screencast.com website account, the learner will post the link to the mathcast in a new post Moodle in the Moodle lesson three


86

discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. Goal statement: Given an inclusive classroom setting, fifth to eighth grade teachers will use technology, such as VoiceThread, to create video tutorial lessons, a “mathcast”, that will improve students‟ ability to solve word problems in mathematics. A mathcast is a screencast with audio demonstrating mathematical processes or algorithms (Fahlberg, Fahlberg-Stojanovska, & MacNeil, 2006).

* Required

Name and email address * Reviewer number * Number of years teaching *

Number of years teaching math *

Current position *

Grade level currently teaching (if n/a please enter N/A) *

Location (City, State or City, Country if outside of USA) *


87

1. Were the instructional goals met? Why or why not? *

2. What features are lacking that a learner will need to successfully complete the course? *

3. Which activities need revision because they are incomplete or not clear? *

4. Which directions were not clear? *


88

5. What areas of the course might a learner need additional support beyond the items included in the course help resources and documents?

6. What errors were found in the course? *

7. Which learning activities were out of sequence? *

8. Which course modules were too easy or too difficult? *


89

Are there additional comments or concerns that you have about the course that you would like to

share with me? Do you agree to participate in an Elluminate conference to discuss your responses with other reviewers? * Please type Yes or No and your name in the field below.


90

Appendix D 1 to 1 Phase Questionnaire Please take a moment to review the Moodle course I created for my capstone project as part of the Master's of Education in Learning and Technology graduate degree at Western Governors University. You may login and view the course as a guest at http://caisefiles.edumoot.com/course/view.php?id=11. If that link doesn't take you directly to the course, click on the Math Problem Solving course from the list of courses in the main menu. Please review the materials, learning activities and course content for accuracy, clarity and appropriate sequence of materials and activities. Performance objectives: 1. Given the introductory materials located in the online Moodle course about using VoiceThread, Jing software and websites to create a „mathcast‟, the learner will review and read the materials with a 100% completion rate. 2. Given the introductory materials presented in the online Moodle course, the learner will write a reflection piece about and post it in the Moodle discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 3. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate. 4. Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate. 5. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%. 6. Given a VoiceThread video created about problem solving, the learner will post the link to the VoiceThread creation in a new post in the Moodle lesson two discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 7. Given a mathcast video that was uploaded to the Jing/Screencast.com website account, the learner will post the link to the mathcast in a new post Moodle in the Moodle lesson three


91

discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. Goal statement: Given an inclusive classroom setting, fifth to eighth grade teachers will use technology, such as VoiceThread, to create video tutorial lessons, a “mathcast”, that will improve students‟ ability to solve word problems in mathematics. A mathcast is a screencast with audio demonstrating mathematical processes or algorithms (Fahlberg, Fahlber-Stojanovska, & MacNeil, 2006).

* Required

Name and Email Address *

Number of years teaching *

Number of years teaching math *

Current position *

Grade level currently teaching (if n/a please enter N/A) *

Location (City, State or City, Country if outside of USA) *


92

1. Were the instructional goals met? Why or why not? *

2. What features are lacking that the learners will need to successfully complete the course? *

3. Which activities need revision because they are incomplete or not clear? *

4. Which directions were not clear? *


93

5. What areas of the course might a learner need additional support beyond the items included in the course help resources and documents? *

6. What errors were found in the course? *

7. Which learning activities were out of sequence? *

8. Which course modules were too easy or too difficult? *


94

Are there additional comments or concerns that you have about the course that you would like to

share with me?

Do you agree to release your comments and/or suggestions for the purposes of a formative evaluation conducted by Kim Caise? * Please type Yes or No and your name in the field below.


95

Appendix E Small Group Phase Survey Please take a moment to review the Moodle course I created for my capstone project as part of the Master's of Education in Learning and Technology graduate degree at Western Governors University. You may login and view the course as a guest at http://caisefiles.edumoot.com/course/view.php?id=11. If that link doesn't take you directly to the course, click on the Math Problem Solving course from the list of courses in the main menu. Please review the materials, learning activities and course content for accuracy, clarity and appropriate sequence of materials and activities. Performance objectives: 1. Given the introductory materials located in the online Moodle course about using VoiceThread, Jing software and websites to create a „mathcast‟, the learner will review and read the materials with a 100% completion rate. 2. Given the introductory materials presented in the online Moodle course, the learner will write a reflection piece about and post it in the Moodle discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 3. Given a live Elluminate conference, the learner will participate in the webinar to review and share experiences about creating a screencast, or „mathcast‟, with a 100% attendance rate. 4. Given the use of the VoiceThread software and website, the learner will create a VoiceThread demonstrating the problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a100% completion rate. 5. Given the use of the Jing screencast software and website, the learner will create a mathcast demonstrating the individual steps to a problem solving strategy used to solve a word problem with a completion rate of 100%. 6. Given a VoiceThread video created about problem solving, the learner will post the link to the VoiceThread creation in a new post in the Moodle lesson two discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. 7. Given a mathcast video that was uploaded to the Jing/Screencast.com website account, the learner will post the link to the mathcast in a new post Moodle in the Moodle lesson three


96

discussion forum with a completion rate of 100%. Goal statement: Given an inclusive classroom setting, fifth to eighth grade teachers will use technology, such as VoiceThread, to create video tutorial lessons, a “mathcast”, that will improve students‟ ability to solve word problems in mathematics. A mathcast is a screencast with audio demonstrating mathematical processes or algorithms (Fahlberg, Fahlber-Stojanovska, & MacNeil, 2006).

* Required

Name and Email Address *

Number of years teaching *

Number of years teaching math *

Current position *

Grade level currently teaching (if n/a please enter N/A) *

Location (City, State or City, Country if outside of USA) *


97

1. Were the instructional goals met? Why or why not? *

2. What features are lacking that the learners will need to successfully complete the course? *

3. Which activities need revision because they are incomplete or not clear? *

4. Which directions were not clear? *


98

5. What areas of the course might a learner need additional support beyond the items included in the course help resources and documents? *

6. What errors were found in the course? *

7. Which learning activities were out of sequence? *

8. Which course modules were too easy or too difficult? *


99

Are there additional comments or concerns that you have about the course that you would like to

share with me?

Do you agree to participate in an Elluminate conference to discuss your responses with other reviewers? * Please type Yes or No and your name in the field below.

Do you agree to release your comments and/or suggestions for the purposes of a formative evaluation conducted by Kim Caise? * Please type Yes or No and your name in the field below.


100

Appendix F

Formative Evaluation Post Test Thank you for reviewing the Math Problem Solving Moodle course and participating in the formative evaluation process. Please take a moment to answer the following questions.

* Required Name and email address * 1. What are the ways a person can leave a comment on a VoiceThread? * Select all that apply 

Cell/telephone

Create an audio file using computer microphone

Typing text

Webcam

All of the above

2. The creator of the VoiceThread cannot re-order comments posted to a VoiceThread. * 

True

False

3. What media file types can be uploaded to a VoiceThread? * Choose 5 answers. 

PDF documents (.PDF)

Word documents (.DOC, .DOCX)

PowerPoint presentations (.PPT, .PPTX)

Picture files (.GIF, .JPEG, .PNG)

Publisher files (.PUB)

Excel spreadsheets (.XLS)

Web pages (.HTML)


101

4. There is no time limitation on video files or screencasts created using Jing. * 

True

False

5. There is no limit on the amount of storage available at screencast.com for uploaded videos. * 

True

False

6. Jing can record screencasts and take individual screen shots. * 

True

False


Online Instruction to Improve Math Instruction