Rationale Paper


Doug Wolfe

Masters of Educational Technology Candidate

Boise State University

Spring, 2014


My journey in educational technology goes back to the beginning of my career. Fresh out of grad school with a teaching credential in K–12 mathematics, I stumbled into a summer job writing storyboards for computer-based math lessons for a start-up company that was selling integrated learning systems. I learned instructional design through on-the-job experience and the mentoring of my supervisor, Nancy Lockwood. I moved from there to a technology development group within one of the major educational publishers, where I served as Director of Software Design, supervising the Instructional Design, Art, and Audio/Video Production departments. Our group created CD-ROM and online products to support the publisher’s K–12 print programs. Following a corporate downsizing that closed our office, I spent several years doing freelance instructional design and content writing for various companies in K–12 education. In 2005, I was hired by my current employer, a publishing services company, to form a new Editorial department. In the first few years, our projects were about 80-90% print, and 10-20% digital. However, in the last few years those numbers have reversed, and now about 80-90% of our work is digital.

I enrolled in the M.E.T. program because my informal, on-the-job training had left gaps in my knowledge that I wanted to fill. I wanted to build a more solid foundation, learn about emerging technologies such as distance learning and mobile technology, and learn more about college and adult learners. I have been pleased that my program has allowed me to attain those goals, as you will see demonstrated below.

The purpose of this paper is to document my mastery of the AECT standards (Earle & Persichitte, 2000) through reflections on selected artifacts that I created in my coursework at Boise State University. The paper is organized by standard. For each standard, I discuss the artifacts that I have selected to demonstrate mastery. You will also find a link to each artifact discussed.

Standard 1: Design

1.1 Instructional Systems Design

Instructional Systems Design is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

The description of instructional systems design given above is a quote from Seels and Richey (1994, p. 31), and is often referred to as the ADDIE model of instructional design. Gustafson and Branch elaborate on this definition:

...instructional development consists of at least five major activities: (1) analysis of the setting and learner needs, (2) design of a set of specifications for an effective, efficient, and relevant learner environment, (3) development of all learner and management materials, (4) implementation of the resulting instruction, and (5) both formative and summative evaluations of the results of development (Gustafson & Branch, 2002, p. 15).

My Instructional Design Project from EdTech 503 best displays my mastery of this standard. This was a semester-long project in which I developed a three-hour training module to meet a real-life need at my workplace. The project included all phases of instructional systems design. I conducted an extensive analysis of the need, the context, the learners, and the tasks; identified learning objectives and created assessment items tied to those learning objectives; developed appropriate instructional materials for both the learners and the instructors; implemented the instruction in my workplace; and conducted formative and summative evaluations of the training. I specifically chose a training problem at work that had eluded solution: how to train staff and freelancers to write specifications for interactive learning tools. I chose a challenging problem because I wanted an authentic test of whether instructional systems design methodology would really work in a case where I had no idea at the outset of what a training solution might look like. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the methodology worked well, especially in the area of task analysis, which allowed me to develop a complete and logical breakdown of the subtasks associated with writing specifications for interactive learning tools. This in turn made the task of developing the training materials much easier and resulted in more effective materials.

A second example of my mastery of this standard is an online course I developed for EdTech 512 called Bible Study 101 Online Course. This was another semester-long project in which I worked through all five steps of the instructional systems design process. Much of this work is documented on the course planning website which I also developed as part of the project. The documentation includes the analysis, evaluation planning, design stages, implementation plans, and summative evaluation plans. The organization of those materials on the planning site reflects the Web-Based Instructional Design (WBID) model we followed, which is an adaptation of the basic instructional systems design approach to Web-based course development. The WBID model arranges the steps of the classic ADDIE model a little differently, moving Evaluation Planning much earlier in the process and integrating Formative Evaluation into an iterative Concurrent Design phase along with Design, Development, and Initial Implementation (Davidson-Shivers & Rasmussen, 2006). I appreciated the more flexible iterative approach of the WBID model, as it more closely reflects the development environments I am used to, which are much more fluid in their processes. I also observed a good deal of personal growth in doing this project; I took it a year after taking EdTech 503, and I found that working through the steps of an instructional systems design model came much more easily and naturally the second time around.

1.2 Message Design

Message design involves planning for the manipulation of the physical form of the message.

Message design involves applying “principles of educational psychology, communications theory, and visual literacy” (Earle & Persichitte, 2000, p. 17) to the development and selection of educational materials and messages. The artifacts selected to illustrate my mastery of this standard function as a related pair. The first is my final Learning Theories Synthesis Paper from EdTech 504, and the second is a Worked Example Screencast created for EdTech 513. The paper discusses cognitive load theory (CLT) as developed by John Sweller and his colleagues (Sweller, 1988; Sweller, van Merrienboer, & Paas, 1998) and the cognitive theory of multimedia learning (CTML), developed by Richard Mayer and his colleagues (Mayer, 2005). Cognitive load theory states that working memory is limited, and overloading working memory impairs learning. Therefore, instructional designers need to be cognizant of working memory constraints as they design instruction. Mayer’s work on CTML extends CLT by identifying a number of principles, verified by research, for addressing working memory concerns in the design of multimedia instruction. My synthesis paper not only examines these theories, but also asserts that CLT and CTML can be applied as overlay theories on top of instruction based on almost any other learning theory. For example, a lesson could be primarily based on constructivist theory, but the lesson will be more effective if the instructional designer addresses the limitations of working memory in the design of the activity.

The Worked Example Screencast is an application of CLT and CTML to a particular piece of instruction. Worked examples are discussed by both Sweller and Mayer as effective instructional techniques that help to manage working memory limitations. In worked examples, learners are supported with scaffolded assistance that is gradually withdrawn. For example, my screencast contains three examples. The first example is completely worked out for the learners. The next two require learners to do more of the work themselves. The concluding activity requires learners to do some exercises on their own. The screencast also adheres to most of the principles of CTML, especially the multimedia, contiguity, modality, personalization, and signaling principles.

These cognitive learning theories are ones that I have followed in my work for many years as rules of thumb. My coursework in the M.E.T. program has given me a stronger theoretical foundation for them, an enhanced understanding of them, and a clearer and more precise vocabulary to use when discussing them with peers.

1.3 Instructional Strategies

Instructional strategies are specifications for selecting and sequencing events and activities within a lesson.

I have selected two quite different artifacts to illustrate mastery of the Instructional Strategies standard. One is more traditional, the other is more innovative. The first artifact is the Gettysburg Diary WebQuest that I completed for EdTech 502. WebQuests are an instructional strategy developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March at San Diego State University (Dodge, 2007). WebQuests provide a structure for inquiry learning that incorporates Internet resources. They provide an opportunity to create projects that involve students in higher-order thinking skills, such as the Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating levels of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001). The WebQuest I created asks students to create historical fiction diary entries for a Union soldier and a Confederate soldier. The intent is to have students understand not only the battle, but also the impact of war on individuals and families, as well as the importance of diaries as primary source documents. The WebQuest provides both structure and freedom in the task, which assist students in completing these higher-order tasks. Creating this WebQuest helped me to think much more creatively about the types of assignments that I might design for students in the future.

The second artifact for this standard is a project I completed for EdTech 532, Circuitous Game and Reflections. EdTech 532 (Educational Games and Simulations) is an interesting class in that the entire class has been “gamified.” Part of the course is in 3D Gamelab, and part of the course takes place in Second Life, an online virtual world. As part of the 3D Gamelab portion of the course, I completed a series of quests that required writing a number of reflections leading up to the development of a concept for a game called Circuitous. The underlying instructional strategy of most educational games, including Circuitous, is to use the inherent motivational properties of games to engage students in learning. Some aspects of games that can be harnessed for education include

  • the fact that failure is to be expected and overcome—it is not judged or penalized;
  • players will work very hard and try over and over until they master something;
  • games follow the acquire-test-master model; players have autonomy and control;
  • there are reward systems;
  • and games provide avenues for curiosity and exploration (Stuart, 2011).

For the development of Circuitous, I followed a methodology based on the work of Chris Crawford (1982). In this methodology, you start with a story idea, which provides context for the game. To this you add a toy, which is some sort of interactive widget that will gain the attention and interest of the player. The next step is to develop a puzzle that uses the toy. Finally, by adding an overall goal, you have the outlines of a game. For Circuitous, the purpose of the game was to develop engineering design skills. The story involved the player being trapped on an alien world and trying to find a way home. The toys were electrical circuit components such as switches and wires. The puzzle component required players to assemble the electrical circuit components to successfully open doors and power equipment that helped them advance to the next level. The overall goal of the game was to proceed through the levels in order to find a way to get back home.

Although games are not appropriate for all types of content and all types of learning, I came away from the project with a much greater understanding of the potential power of games as a learning tool. This has led to discussions with colleagues at work about pursuing more game-based projects and developing our game design capabilities.

1.4 Learner Characteristics

Learner characteristics are those facets of the learner’s experiential background that impact the effectiveness of a learning process.

Understanding the characteristics of learners is key to creating effective learning activities. Smith and Ragan state, “It is critical that designers consider their target audiences, as this knowledge will be important in designing instruction that is effective and interesting to learners” (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 58). Performing a needs analysis and a learner analysis are important steps in the instructional design process that assist in understanding the target audience.

The Analysis Report from my EdTech 503 Instructional Design Project (described in more detail in 1.1 above) demonstrates my mastery of standard 1.4. To create the report, I conducted a survey of target learners (freelancers who write storyboards for interactive whiteboard activities for my company). Smith and Ragan state that “the most important factor for a designer to consider about the audience is specific prior learning” (2005, p. 69), and so the survey focused heavily on the prior knowledge of the target learners. The survey addressed current knowledge, skills, experience, and attitudes/motivations of the learners. I analyzed the survey results, and supplemented them with demographic information from my company’s freelance database to get a more complete view beyond those who responded to the survey. I used the resulting analysis to assist in the selection of appropriate learning activities, learning strategies, and motivational strategies.

Another artifact demonstrates my mastery of standard 1.4 from a somewhat more theoretical point of view. The Adult Learners Reflection in EdTech 522 required us to study general characteristics of adult learners (“andragogy”), discuss some of the criticisms of andragogy, and state our own position on the issues surrounding andragogy. Although the assignment concerned general characteristics of adult learners rather than the characteristics of a particular group of adult learners, it was quite helpful for me since so much of my career has been focused on K–12 learners. I learned a great deal about adult learners through the assignment, and being an adult learner, I was able to see myself reflected in many of the principles discussed.

Standard 2: Development

2.1 Print Technologies

Print technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials, such as books and static visual materials, primarily through mechanical or photographic printing processes.

Print technologies have been an important part of learning for thousands of years. And even though digital technologies reduce our dependence on print, it is still a simple, flexible, and useful learning medium. My primary artifact for this standard is a set of Bible Study 101 Online Course Handouts from the online course I developed for EdTech 512. The course as a whole is discussed above. The print handouts were an important component of the course. I used some of them, like the Old Testament Structure handout, to present information and serve as a reference for students. I used others, like the Topical Study Recording Sheet, as a graphic organizer to help students record their Bible study notes. Finally, I created the Bible Book Flashcards to help students memorize the books of the Bible. I linked the various handouts within the course at point of use, and also cross-linked many of them in a Resources page within the course. I supplied all documents as PDF documents. Those that were intended to be filled out by students were also available as Word documents so that students could enter information electronically into the files if they wished.

Print materials tend to be relatively easy for me to develop, as I have been developing them for years as part of my job. To briefly illustrate, I am including a State Test Prep artifact from my professional practice. This was from the first project I completed at my current job (back in 2005). The project involved creating a pair of 80-page practice workbooks (160 pages in all) for helping Arkansas students prepare for the state end-of-course exams in Algebra and Geometry. (To stay within reasonable fair use standards, I am only including 5 pages from one book.) Most of the writing was done by freelancer writers I contracted and supervised, but I did all of the content editing, some of the copyediting, and all of the production editing. My company's production department completed the art and composition work based on rough sketches and specifications that I supplied. I also served as project manager for the books. The project timeline from start to finish (final files delivered to the printer) was two months, which was considered a very aggressive schedule at the time. (Now that kind of schedule has become typical in the industry.) My ability to successfully complete this project (and many more over the years) demonstrates my mastery of print technologies.

2.2 Audiovisual Technologies

Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.

Audiovisual presentations can be powerful ways to connect with your audience. When done well, they are motivating and stimulate interest. For standard 2.2, I have two artifacts to present. The first is a Math Maniacs Podcast that I created for EdTech 513. The educational purpose of the podcast was to convey topics in the history of math in an engaging manner. I researched the topic, wrote the script, recorded all the voice narration in Audacity, and used Audacity to edit in theme music, sound effects, and short clips from movies to enhance learner interest. While recording, I took care to reduce background noise and echoes from the room with sound dampening techniques. Finally, I used various filters and tools in Audacity to improve the quality of the audio.

The second artifact is a Digital Story Video that I also created for EdTech 513. Digital storytelling is a means of making a point in a compelling and memorable way that makes a connection with the listener. For this project, I edited together images of the neighborhood where I spent the first ten years of my life. The visuals focused on the houses in the neighborhood, but the voiceover focused on the people who lived there and their connections to me and to others in the neighborhood, ultimately touching on the meaning of community. I used Audacity to record the voiceover and edit in the background music. I used Corel VideoStudio Pro for the video editing. As I developed the video, I incorporated the Seven Elements of digital storytelling as described by Joe Lambert (2003). This video was not overtly educational in nature because I chose to focus on the process of creating a video that would make an emotional connection. However, the techniques used could easily be adapted to creating videos that serve as launching points for discussions, writing activities, a call to action, or simply a motivational opening to a topic.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies

Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

Computer-based technologies can enable students to experience things that would be impractical or cost prohibitive. The Gettysburg Virtual Field Trip website that I developed for EdTech 502 is such an example. My inspiration for the website was a 10-mile day-long hike around the Gettysburg battlefield where I learned the important role of the geography to the battle. Realizing that few students would ever have the opportunity to walk the battlefield and see the geography for themselves, I incorporated diagrams, maps, photos, and panoramas into the site to help tell the story of the battle through the geography. I created the site with Dreamweaver and used Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 for image editing. The project was an application of all the HTML and CSS I learned in the course, and it proved to be a turning point where I felt like I finally mastered the coding. I have since been able to build Web pages with confidence and fluidity.

Computer-based technologies have come a long way since the AECT standards were written. The concept of computer has become much more varied and fluid. In particular, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have rapidly become one of the primary forms of computing devices. My next artifact is the Ocean Dash Mobile Game that I developed for EdTech 597 (Digital Game Design for K–12 Classrooms). I programmed it using Corona SDK, which allows you to compile your code into apps for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Nook. The video shows the game running in Corona’s iPhone simulator on a desktop computer, but the app also runs successfully on iPhone and iPad. Consideration had to be given in the development to the limitations of screen space, screen resolution, and memory capacity on the target devices. In addition to learning the Lua programming language and Corona SDK, I learned to use Texture Packer to create sprite sheets, Physics Editor to create physics bodies, Audacity for audio editing, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 for image editing, and Flash to edit a clip art boat animation. As the project progressed and the code became more complex, I created a Mercurial code repository on Bit Bucket for version control. Finally, to display the math equations I needed, I had to write my own math display library, which also required customizing an open source font using Font Forge.

Creating a mobile game has given me much greater confidence in pursuing mobile game projects with my company’s clients. I have already shown the game to several clients (being clear that this was a project done as part of my personal M.E.T. coursework) and it has generated a good deal of interest and discussion. I have had positive discussions with our General Manager about perhaps upgrading the graphics and content in the game to turn it into a demo for the company to share with clients. I also hope to add more content to the game, polish a few things, and then offer it as a free app in the Apple App Store (and perhaps later, as an Android App through Google Play).

2.4 Integrated Technologies

Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

Modern technologies have made it relatively easy to mix and match different forms of media and even different technologies to produce a more robust learning environment. For an assignment in EdTech 522, I created a Rich Media Presentation that wove together a PowerPoint presentation, video, use of a webcam, screensharing, a mobile device, and remote control of a computer into a single video tutorial. I used Screencast-o-matic to simultaneously capture my computer screen and my webcam as I demonstrated the use of the screensharing service Join.me. Combining regular screencasting with the use of the webcam allowed me to more effectively demonstrate the use of Join.me by being able to show the screen of an iPad that was linked to the Join.me session. It also enhanced my social presence and teaching presence in the tutorial, which has made me much more inclined to include a webcam view along with screencasting in making learning resources.

Another example of integrated technologies also comes from an EdTech 522 assignment. In this assignment, I created an online lesson in Moodle called Using Office Productivity Apps. (Note: you can log in as a guest. Or, watch a brief tour on YouTube.) This lesson focuses on finding, evaluating, and using iPad apps that help with productivity tasks such as word processing and spreadsheets. The lesson provides activities and resources in a wide variety of formats: Web links, print resources, electronic documents, video, and mobile app resources. Moodle makes it relatively easy to weave these resources together into a seamless whole.

Standard 3: Utilization

3.1 Media Utilization

Media utilization is the systematic use of resources for learning.

Media utilization includes the selection and use of instructional technology resources in learning situations based on instructional needs. My first artifact for this standard is the Mobile Learning Activity activity I did for EdTech 502. The activity is a wildlife field observation exercise designed to work on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The activity includes links to websites that can be used as preparation before the field observation activity as well as links to wildlife identification sites that students can use during the activity. Students take their devices into the field to record wildlife they observe using an embedded Google form that collects the observations into a spreadsheet for later analysis. The activity seamlessly weaves together Web-based reference material, Web-based forms, and a Google spreadsheet with a dynamic website that utilizes three different CSS files to optimize the site for mobile devices, desktop devices, and printers.

My second artifact is the Accessibility Web Links page that I also did for EdTech 502. This page is a resource page for website developers to assist them in learning about and facilitating screen reader use on their websites. The site uses a variety of media, including links to video, screen reader simulations, screen reader utilties, and screen reader tools. The videos and simulations help developers to see and understand the challenges faced by users of screen readers. The tools help developers build and test their own sites to be as friendly as possible for the visually impaired.

Finding and assembling the links was a learning experience for me. I knew that screen reader software existed, but I had not previously seen it in use. After watching video of a blind person explaining the use of a screen reader, and trying some of the simulations and software myself, I have tried to make my own websites friendlier to the visually impaired.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations

Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

Standard 3.2 deals with strategies for pursuing the adoption of innovations. The artifact that best represents my work in this area is a group project called Digital Inequality Presentation. My group of five was asked to imagine that we were members of a task force hired by a state superintendent of instruction to examine alternatives for using $50 million in seed money to address digital inequality in the state. (We chose to use Texas as our state for the assignment.) The group met via Google hangouts to coordinate our work. We divided up the alternatives, researched them, devised a plan, then presented our findings via a VoiceThread presentation. This project addresses the standard on at least two levels. First, the plan we devised was a strategy to bring digital resources and skills to those who had little access to them, and hence was an example of diffusing innovations. Second, the presentation itself was part of a strategy to gain adoption for the recommended plan. I learned a great deal from this project about the problems of digital inequality, and the difficulty of addressing those problems. I learned that it takes a comprehensive effort to truly make a difference. As our group noted, simply providing access to hardware or access to the Internet does not address other gaps such as digital literacy.

3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization

Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.

As noted in the introduction, I work as a senior manager for a developer of educational materials rather than as a classroom teacher or trainer. Clients typically dictate the design of products, and while I do get to provide some general input on projects, much of the hands-on development is done by my staff or by freelancers we hire. Because of that, implementation and institutionalization opportunities are much more limited for me and tend to take an indirect form. However, I have had some opportunities to implement and institutionalize innovations in my personal and work situations.

My first artifact for this standard is the Bible Study 101 Implementation Plan that I developed for my EdTech 512 project, discussed in depth above. As mentioned, the course was developed to provide Christian education opportunities to busy people who might not be able to come to a live class. I received approval for the course from the board of my church, and plan to offer the class in the near future. But in the meantime, I have developed the implementation plan. The implementation plan includes all of the elements identified by Davidson-Shivers and Rasmussen (2006): implementation personnel, budget and time allocations, initial learner contact, technical requirements, communication plans, online skills training, facilitation, and management.

My second artifact for standard 3.3 is a short series of Screencasting Training Videos created by my staff at work.The artifact here is not so much the videos themselves. The fact that they exist serves to demonstrate a successful implementation and institutionalization of an instructional innovation. In this case, after learning about screencasting in my M.E.T. program, I shared the concept and some examples with my staff and encouraged them to use the technique as part of the training of freelancer writers, editors, and instructional designers. From project to project, the cast of freelancers is constantly changing, and the project workflows are also constantly changing, meaning we have to do quite a bit of training. My staff enthusiastically embraced the concept of screencasting and created a number of videos, which we have used for several different projects. It has been a significant timesaver, as we can now point freelancers to the videos, and the freelancers can watch them (and rewatch them) whenever it is convenient for them to do so.

3.4 Policies and Regulations

Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

Throughout the Boise State M.E.T. program, instructors constantly remind students about the importance of obeying copyright laws. However, outside of academic circles, many people are ignorant or misinformed about copyright laws. Churches in particular are often quite naive about copyright. Budgets are tight, and churches are nonprofits, so people often assume (wrongly) that they can use almost any image they find online. That problem inspired me to focus on copyright issues for churches when I created my Copyright Scavenger Hunt for EdTech 502. This artifact is an activity that leads learners to several websites where they get an overview of copyright law, learn about fair use as it applies to churches, and discover inexpensive stock photo and free photo sources. The activity can be used to help church staff and volunteers learn to lead in the area of copyright observance.

Standard 4: Management

4.1 Project Management

Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.

Project management is a key skill for educational technologists. Whether you are a developer like I am, or a technology coordinator, or a classroom teacher, there is always a need to plan, monitor, and control projects. An example of this from my program was the Response to RFP assignment in EdTech 505. For this assignment, we were to take the role of a professional evaluator and develop a response to a fictitious request for proposal (RFP) for a training program evaluation. Developing the response to the RFP required analysis, planning the evaluation method, developing a schedule, and developing a budget for the project. Developing responses to RFPs is an important part of my job, and completing this assignment was quite similar to what I do when I develop RFP responses at work.

The Program Evaluation project in EdTech 505 is another artifact that demonstrates my mastery of the project management standard. This project required us to perform an actual evaluation of a real program. I evaluated my church’s summer day camp program, which is the biggest single program the church does all year. Our church of 170 members hosts over 200 children for the week, along with 100 middle school and high school volunteers and another 100 adult volunteers. The evaluation involved analyzing existing records, conducting and analyzing a parent survey, conducting interviews with staff, and presenting the completed report to the leadership of the church. This required planning the evaluation methods, developing and monitoring schedules for the completion of all tasks, and coordinating with the day camp and church staff.

Finally, though confidentiality rules prevent me from showing something tangible, I also do a lot of project management at work. One of the current projects I am managing is the development of a series of skills videos with accompanying quick reference cards, worksheets, and teacher’s guides. The project is near completion, and I have managed it from the beginning, including the bidding phase. I have had to develop the budget and schedules, recruit, train, and supervise writers and editors, coordinate with the client’s managers and staff, and ensure the timely delivery of all components to meet a critical completion deadline.

4.2 Resource Management

Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.

Resource management can encompass many things, including technology resources, personnel, and budgets, among others. I have already noted above in 4.1 that I have extensive work experience in dealing with personnel and budgets. I typically have a fairly modest involvement with technology resources at work. However, the School Evaluation assignment in EdTech 501 gave me an unusual opportunity to make a significant difference in our use of technology resources. The assignment required us to evaluate the use of technology resources at our school or business using the Technology Maturity Model Benchmarks Survey (Kimball & Sibley, 1996). Although the survey was designed for school contexts, I was able to readily adapt it by mapping the survey’s defined roles of administrator, teacher, and student to reasonable analogs in our work context, such as upper management, mid-level managers, and workers. The survey noted a number of strengths, but also some weaknesses. In particular, the top-down way that technology decisions were made resulted in an inefficient allocation of resources. Some workers had hardware or software they didn’t need while others were limping along with inadequate technology resources. I had the opportunity to share the results with the company president at a critical moment when we were in need of major technology upgrades. Based on the survey results, he not only authorized significant upgrades, he also changed the decision making process to include meaningful input from all stakeholders, which resulted in a much better match of resources to need within the company.

4.3 Delivery System Management

Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . . [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner.

In planning my Bible Study 101 Online Course project for EdTech 512, the choice of a delivery system was a key consideration. I expected learners to span a wide range of ages and technical abilities. Therefore, the course needed a user-friendly learning management system (LMS) to support learners with limited technology experience. In addition, the LMS needed to allow enough flexibility to support a clear structure and navigation scheme, and allow for cross-linking of materials in multiple locations so they could be available at point of use. I chose the Haiku Learning management system because it provided a medium and method of usage that addressed these design considerations. As a bonus, the discussion feature in Haiku Learning was more user-friendly for casual learners than many others—it was more akin to what one might find on a site like Facebook than on a traditional discussion board. The implementation of the course on the LMS also followed a consistent, clear, logical structure, and incorporated additional cross-links where needed to help learners find the materials and course sections they needed.

My 597 Ocean Dash Mobile Game is an example of a completely different aspect of delivery system management. As a mobile game, the platform itself is fairly clear: mobile devices (and specifically iOS for my project). However, in planning the coding of the game, I wanted to make it easy to create and change the content without having to delve into the program code. So the game content is all specified in simple text files that are placed inside a “levels” folder within the game’s working directory. (Sample level files: Parts of Speech, Integer Exponents.) There is one text file for each level, and one text file (levels.txt) that lists all of the other level files and the order they are played in the game. Additional levels can be added to the game by adding more text files and adding an entry for each one to the levels.txt file. The order of the levels can be changed by changing the order in which they are listed in levels.txt. The game simply reads the text files when it loads to set up the levels within the game. This architecture also provides a means for easily adding support later on for teachers to create their own levels. Teachers would be able to specify a URL that contains their own level files, and the game would use that information to load the teacher’s levels. Thus the game employs both a medium and method of usage to present instructional information to a learner.

4.4 Information Management

Information management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling the storage, transfer, or processing of information in order to provide resources for learning.

In EdTech 501, we completed a pair of assignments about information management tools that have become a regular part of my toolset. In the first assignment, RSS for Education, I explored RSS feeds and assembled a collection of EdTech feeds in an RSS reader (Google Reader at the time; now Feedly). I have since added additional feeds to my personal collection. Collecting the feeds in a reader provides personal time savings by allowing me to quickly peruse the latest posts from many different blogs. It also allows me to easily share collections of RSS feeds with others. This provides a convenient way to share or distribute learning resources.

The second assignment, Zotero Group Library, has been even more helpful. Zotero is a combined service/browser plugin/application that organizes scholarly research. As part of the assignment, we had to add a number of journal articles to a shared group library in Zotero. This demonstrated an easy way to share and organize learning resources or resources for a group project. I continued to use Zotero for all of my research throughout the program, and now I have a substantial library of citations and journal articles, all organized by course and/or topic, and all searchable. I plan to continue using Zotero to organize my future research and resources. You can view the library that I developed over the course of the program at this link.

Standard 5: Evaluation

5.1 Problem Analysis

Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.

In my M.E.T. program, the most in-depth problem analysis that I did was as part of my Instructional Design Project (described in more detail in 1.1 and 1.4 above). As previously noted, I chose to address a real problem with my project: the difficulties we were having at work in trying to get staff and freelancers to write acceptable storyboards for interactive learning tools. Because it was a vexing problem, I was motivated to apply a wide array of information-gathering tools to understand the nature of the problem. The project included conducting a needs assessment survey, gathering existing data, analyzing the learning context and the transfer context, conducting a learner analysis, and conducting task analysis. These activities addressed the primary domains of analysis: Context, Learner, and Task (Smith & Ragan, 2005). The analysis revealed a lack of quality training as one of the key problems, along with several other contributing factors. It also provided a wealth of information that helped shape the development of the training module I created.

A second example of problem analysis is the Digital Inequality Presentation group project from EdTech 501, described above in standard 3.2. Much of the project was focused on analysis of the central problem: how best to address issues of digital inequality in the state of Texas with a budget of $50 million. The main problem had a host of subsidiary problems: with a limited budget, how should we narrow the scope? what forms of digital inequality were present in Texas? what options were available? how much did each option cost? what would be most cost-effective? The group worked together to define the problems, identify directions for research, and brainstorm solutions. We divided up the actual legwork. I addressed two of the seven options we considered, and also contributed to the analysis of our group’s proposed alternative solution.

5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement

Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learner mastery of pre-specified content.

Criterion-referenced measurements are a form of assessment that attempt to determine if a learner has mastered a specific set of content. They are distinct from norm-referenced measurements, which compare a learner’s knowledge to others in a group. Criterion-referenced measurements can take many forms, including various types of tests and rubrics. An example of a rubric-based criterion-referenced measurement is my Gettysburg Diary WebQuest Evaluation Rubric. The full project is discussed above in standard 1.3. One of the project challenges was how to evaluate students. The product that students create is a series of historical fiction diary entries. After struggling for a while trying to determine suitable criteria, I found a rubric template on Rubistar for assessing stories that I was able to adapt to the fictional diary entries. The template provided ideas for the critical aspects of the assignment to assess, such as the focus of the content, accuracy of the facts presented, and character development. As employed in the WebQuest, the rubric is used for self-assessment, peer evaluation, and by the teacher to assign a final grade.

5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation

Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.

The terms formative evaluation and summative evaluation are applied to both instruction/instructional products and also to more general program evaluation. The concept is identical in each case. In the context of instruction, Davidson-Shivers and Rasmussen provide the following definitions:

Formative evaluation is the process of evaluating the instructional product during its design and development. The purpose of formative evaluation is to review the instruction for weaknesses and make the necessary revisions to correct errors and enhance effectiveness before implementation...Summative evaluation is the study of the effects of the instruction that provides information to the stakeholders on how well it has worked within the organization (Davidson-Shivers & Rasmussen, 2006, p. 133).

In the context of program evaluation, Boulmetis and Dutwin offer the following definitions:

Evaluations that focus on examining and changing processes as they are happening are called formative evaluations; those that focus on reporting what occurred at the end of the program cycle are called summative evaluations (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011, p. 16).

In both contexts, the focus of formative evaluation is to shape something that is in progress, while the focus of summative evaluation is to look back after it is complete. Two artifacts highlight my mastery of this standard.

The first artifact highlights the instruction/instructional product context of evaluation. For my Bible Study 101 Online Course Evaluation Plan for EdTech 512, part of the Bible Study 101 project discussed above, I developed an extensive evaluation plan for the course. The plan included both the formative and summative components, with a particular focus on effectiveness, appeal, and efficiency. I carried out much of the formative evaluation plan as I developed the course during the semester, including the review by a subject matter expert, peer review, and instructor review. I used the feedback from these reviews to improve the course. As far as the summative evaluation portion, I have not yet had an opportunity to teach the course, but hope to before the end of the year. As part of the course, I plan to carry out the summative evaluation activities noted here.

The second artifact highlights the program evaluation context of evaluation. For EdTech 505, I completed a Program Evaluation of our church’s summer day camp program (described above). The evaluation was primarily a summative evaluation, as the summer 2012 program had concluded before I even began the evaluation in fall 2012. However, I presented the evaluation to the leaders of the program (as well as other stakeholders), and because the program recurs yearly, the leaders used the results of the evaluation to improve the program for 2013 and 2014. This brought the evaluation into the full program cycle (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011).

5.4 Long-Range Planning

Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning. Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.

Long-range planning, the final standard, is concerned with mapping out a strategy for an organization for a period of time. Although I have not done very much long-range planning, I learned a great deal about it through my Technology Use Planning Assignment for EdTech 501. One of the aspects of long-range technology planning that I found particularly interesting is the question of how far ahead one should plan, given the rapid pace of technological change. John See argues for fairly short technology plans (See, 1992). However, I came to the conclusion that there is value in plans of up to five years, though plans beyond two years should be held loosely, with the understanding that they are likely to change. If I find myself in a position to develop a long-range technology plan, I will aim for a general framework with a five year time frame, with specific and concrete plans for the first year or two, and looser, more flexible plans for years three to five. I would also review the plan at least once a year and make changes as circumstances dictate.


My EdTech journey has been rewarding. As demonstrated through the artifacts discussed above, I have solidified my foundations, learned a great deal about new technologies like distance learning and mobile technology, and learned about older learners. But more than that, I feel like I have been equipped with tools and knowledge that will help me as I move forward in my career. The education world is changing rapidly, and I believe I now have not just technology knowledge (which is destined to become obsolete), but also processes and frameworks that will serve me well in my career and in my outside interests as well. I am grateful to Boise State University for the opportunities I have had.


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