Monday, September 19, 2011

My adventure last week was into the world of interactive surgery.  These simulations were created by the crew of Clearly Trained...headed by Eric Bort.  Amy and I are very interested in having Eric look at our ideas and see if we can come up with something created especially for Vet Tech students. 

We love the ideas contained in Edheads and Surgery Squad, and hope to combine both concepts and design in our interactive virtual suturing simulation. 

Surgery Squad is an online interactive simulations for several surgical procedures.  It was designed to explain what goes on when a patient goes under the knife so to speak.  Two virtual physicians, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Suzi help guide us through liposuctions, tonsillectomies, dental procedures, tatoo removal, hair transplant and laser hair removal,  and so much  more. 
But the participant needs to remember that these are not medical calls to mind the "Pretending" element that Marc Prensky talks  about in his article Interactive Pretending.

The format is user friendly and starts with beneficial information that is informative for the patient.  It goes through phases with buttons that enable you to repeat or skip ahead.  The graphic detailing is suberb.  The tool useage is very basic, and our simulation would require much more indepth manipulation...but all of the basics are there for a fact filled, fun simulation. 

I highly recommend for anyone who wants to play doctor, or just needs some information on an upcoming surgery. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My first attempt at Star Shooter

Ok - a gamer I am not...but fortified with a Hershey bar and the will to succeed...I downloaded my first video online game.  I chose this game, because I had read in my research that Star Shooter helped promote eye-hand coordination in surgical med students.  Since Amy and I are interested in suturing skills, we are always looking for games that will promote needed skills.  So if Star Shooter can enhance visuo-motor skills then it might be a recommended game for vet tech students to try. 

I was immediately fasinated with the colorful 3-d like graphics, and animations.  There was soft music in the background (I was sure to calm my nerves), and it appeared that I was seated in a cockpit of a plane.  The soft melodic tones were interrupted by gunfire and before I knew it an enemy plane was coming towards me with flashing guns. 

Where were the instructions?  How do you play?  What do I push?  There were no instructions, directions, coaching tips...Nothing.  So I imediately began to bang my mouse in hopes that my guns would begin to fire.  Within the minute I was destroyed by enemy fire.  I took a moment to catch my breath, sigh deep, and try again.  This time I manipulated my mouse right away, and was not so focused on the beautiful artwork on the scene.  In time and practice I learned how to zero in on incoming planes and planet destroyers.  I am too embarassed to really share my highest score, which only took me to level two, but I did learn the game by playing it.  I did feel a sense of accomplishment when I finally made it through the novice piece.  But my newfound pride was quickly defused with new challenges in level two.  Things moved quicker and there were more to destroy. 

I felt totally glued to the screen, and my sense of competition enabled me to continue time after time of being destroyed by enemy fire.  It did challenge my depth perception, reaction time, and my manipulation of the mouse. 

In all fairness and complete disclosure...I had to ask Kyle, my twenty-two year old son to play the game, so that I could view what happened at other levels.  He was completely engaged.  Although he shared a bit of dismay at not understanding how to manipulate the mouse, and complaint that there was not a controller like he was used to, he figured it all out in less than a minute and stayed completely engaged for forty-five minutes.  He was determined to be the high scorer and to reach the top level (whatever that is).  I was able to witness increased graphics and challenge with each upward level. 

I highly recommend the game as it was free, and could provide hours of enjoyment if you like blowing up planes, ships, and keeping the planet safe from aliens.  As far as educational value - I would not play it for knowledge content, but it did promote problem-solving, critical thinking and decision making.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Instructional Design and some of my random thoughts.....

 Instructional design should be all about helping students to learn better.  That puts a pretty "broad" concept out there.  Broad is the key word here - obviously what works for some, does not work for others.  Today’s classroom is a broad chasm of disarray...where some grab the rope to climb out and enter the "light". Some don't know how to use the rope to climb out, and others can never even find the rope.  (You knew that I would use some "physical anomaly" to convey my thoughts...)

The purpose of instructional design should be to engage all learners (the educational buzz word of today)

The purpose is to know and understand the reason for learning, the goal, it's relevance; to take their learning and apply it to something beyond their classroom walls.

It should give students an opportunity to use, to practice, what they are learning with the appropriate tools.

When I think of Instructional Design - I think of analyzing data, learning styles, students needs and goals.  I think of creating educational materials that give meaning and purpose to the process.  I associate the need to understand how people think, learn and solve problems.

It should "speak their language" - so they are motivated, engaged and invested...otherwise why bother?

So obviously there is a lot of trial and error involved. It will need to be evaluated, revised, and in a constant state of flux.  It should be as individual as every learner is.  Perhaps every learner needs an IEP –RTI -  that will be evaluated yearly (hhhmmm - I want more thought here), and changes as the individual grows.

There will be commonalities - state mandates, limitation of resources and tools, budget constraints, and I could go on and on.  When the design is for the masses - many considerations are left behind - gender, class size, environment, individual beliefs just to name a few. 

The purpose of instructional design should be to engage all learners (the educational buzz word of today)

The purpose is to know and understand the reason for learning, the goal, it's relevance; to take their learning and apply it to something beyond their classroom walls.

It should give students an opportunity to use, to practice, what they are learning with the appropriate tools.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day Four EDD800 - Summer residency

I feel two things with the week being over: relief and a bit of sorrow.  It was such a joy to finally meet everyone face to face in my cohort.  I know that we will always share a sense of kinship..because of the struggles and the joys.  When one of us is sick, the others feel for that as well.  It is amazing how "Technology" has brought us together.  Oh don't let the P-12 track hear!!!!  LOL..

We started the day with Janet Cline informing us about the grant writing procedures.  We ended the day with Jennifer Little who navigated us through the research engines that the Camden-Carroll library has to offer.  I am brining this up - to thank these two women...and let them know what a fabulous respresentative of Morehead State University they are.  One of the things that sets this University apart is the level of assistance that EVERYONE at the University gives to students. This sets them apart and above the other state colleges. Janet has already established an account so that I can begin my grant writing search.  Jennifer took our names, gave us her personal business card pledging assistance to us at any time.  Our professors answer our emails and questions within the hour, give us feedback and critique, and provide assistance whenever we need it...  Is that service?  Is that dedication?  Is that servant leadership?  This is Morehead State...

The body of the day was with Dr. Phil  Harris and Pat Miller.  Dr. Harris spoke to us on Instructional design issues and challenges.  There were lots of hands on collaborations, so we were very engaged...  He had many thought provoking examples...and I will use my "get around tuit frequently.  Although no one in Indiana will get that slang!!!!  One of the exciting things for me was to learn more about PBS and the streaming opporunities that lie ahead.  As she talked, I was thinking what a cool job it would be to screen video offerings and write curriculum for teachers on the videos.  Obviously someone has that job...just another career option.  I also put the PBS app on my Ipad2...Yahoo for technology! 

So a good week...a memorable week...  My thanks and love to Amy who put me up in her home and treated me with the respect for a mother, a friend, and colleague.  So glad to have Lisa back in the fold today...we cannot lose any sheep from the flock.  How thankful I was to really get to know Rachel Ipad2 advisor... And what a joy to learn the personal side:  Della - my motorcycle heroine, Martha and her beautiful garden, and Rhonda (bless your heart) hang in there - Take the I for now - and let yourself get caught up to life....  We are all connected for life...enjoy the rest of the summer.  much love

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day Three EDD 800 - Summer Residency

Day Three was actually very emotional for me.  As I sat in the luncheon, I did think about my journey so far with the doctoral program, the people who have assisted me, and the relationships that I am forming.  It made me sad, when we did the exercise about listing the three people you cared about the most…all my life I can remember putting Paul’s name down as the most important person in my life…the one who supported me the most.   Dr. Barnett reflected on keeping your relationships in the forefront of importance as you journey through the process…life is short…and you want it all to be worthwhile and meaningful in every way.  I often visualize myself walking across the podium to accept my diploma, and wishing that Paul would be there to share one of the greatest joys of my life, but I know that the journey must be for my own self-satisfaction.   I feel an important part of a Morehead “first” and honored to be contributing back to the University with my capstone project.  That was part of the reason that I wanted to share in a project that would actually give back to the students of Morehead.    I feel like it is part of a small “pay it forward” act on my part.  And even though I did not create the idea for the program, I will get to help formulate it with my feedback and opinions.  This was a major reason that I wanted to be in the first cohort – so that I could contribute and be a part of something being created for the first time.  I could participate in a small part of history – something that would be meaningful to someone and myself.

Today Craig Robertson shared these thoughts on Generative Leadership.  The purpose is to develop spiritual leaders who model community that learns and leads together.  It is important to create environments that foster transformation…one that establishes processes that produce fruit.  That is how I feel about our cohort…we will be a team that produces fruit. 

His take on groups and teams were interesting…and the importance of Trust and Unity to promote change and growth.  His various stories and quotations illustrated the importance of rebirth, reinventing, and revitalization - the importance of radical change and the methodology of discover, develop and deploy.  He also touched upon the importance of building that operational trust through love, learning, and leading. 

The entire theme of the day centered around relationships, community, and the “We not I concept”.  It did make me reflect on the importance of being connected and relational.  Being here with the other members of my cohort reminds me that I am not alone in the process and though miles separate me from them, we will be bonded forever because of the journey.  We are like the explorers of old, blazing new trails, experiencing trial and error in the process, and claiming new territory for ourselves.  Until tomorrow Trail Blazers…

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day Two EDD800 Summer Residency - Dr. Joseph Murphy

     The day was filled with the expertise of Dr. Murphy - Closing Achievement Gaps: Research Based Lessons for Educators.  I learned through a witty, researched based presentation  that the gap has shifted from being an indicator of eduational inequality to a direct cause of socioeconomic decline.  Important points that I have taken away from today:

1.  Schools don't cause achievement gaps.  1/2 of the achievement gaps walks in the door as they enter public school in Kindergarten.  50% of the gap grows there and 25% more transitions from middle school.  There is a huge loss during the summer and summer school for K-5 WAS RECOMMENDED. 

2.  Schools cannot close achievement gaps alone.  Society must take responsibility.  We must re-allocate our resources.  Lower income and minority students are more school-dependent than their mnore advantaged peers and here is where the potential for schools to help solve the problem lies. 

Structure will not not change the gap.  There needs to be a focus on both out of school and in school factors.  Students do not need "different" types of interventions...they need INTENSE support.  There must be trust in the school climate. We must provide an OverAdvantage for our Lowadvantaged.  All components must be in place.
1. Preschool
2. Cooperative instructional strategies
3.  Smaller class size
4.  Quality instruction
5.  Co-curricular/extra curricular activities
6.  More rigorous courses
7.  Placement in high SES schools

I loved his anaology of the "train passing us by"  leaving the station without us.  It made me think of our In-school suspension policy.  Most of the kids that are in that are low-performing students, troubled, bored; feeling like the train has left without them.  And what are we doing - we are keeping them out of instruction for another day..and letting the train pass by them again.  I believe that my school needs to re-think what we are doing here. 

Of course like anything else..the concern for cost was brought up, but Dr. Murphy shared that bold, fearless leadership would be able to find a way, regardless of the hard decisions that would have to be made.  Cost as well as benefits of gap reduction strategies need to be weighed.    Student Under achievement is the problem to be solved.  Each child needs to be looked at - one individual at a time...their level of achievement, equity, and value added.  He ended with the point that we need to help parents to do at home what we want our student to be able to do at school.  We all have an investment to enable students to open 75 doors at the end of their high school careers and look forward to the future...

We ended the day with a seminar on Publishing.  There were several points to consider as we venture into publishing either in journals or in book format.

1.  Research
2.  Contact editor of journal
3.  Review formattingrequirements
4.  Have a colleague edit
5.  Don't freak out if you don't get published the first time
6.  Meet deadlines
7.  Don't have to agree with editor feedback - it is Your Work!
8.  Be patient - could take up to 4-5 months
9.  Take time off before writing your next piece

We heard from several people who had self-published and went through a publishing house.  I could see the passion in Kelly Middleton's presentation and the humble pride in Dr. Wallaces'.  I felt encouraged and know that if and when the time for me to publish rolls around I will have a lot of support in the process. 

Long head is swimming with ideas and information...headed to Amy's for her yummy crock pot dinner and an instructional design to complete.  Ah..the life of a doctoral student...see you tomorrow!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day One EDD800 - Summer Residency

     The day started with an inspirational charge from Dr. Kathryn Polmanteer.  We are part of the "Great Experiment" - an innovative approach to the doctoral program.  Dr. Karla Hughes followed up with a great directive to "rekindle curiosity and creativity".  I think this sums up my journey so far with the program.  I am humbled by how little I know, and inspired by all that I am learning.  I find myself engaged in conversations with other professionals at a higher level of thinking and feeling my confidence rise daily as my ideas are valued and shared. 
     Our keynote speaker was Stepnen Downes of the National Research Center of Canada.  We listened to his thoughts on open educational resources and personal learning environments.  His out of the box thinking drew many points to my mind that I would like to discuss here.  Although a lot of what he said was in a "NEW LANGUAGE", I do agree with him on his philosophy of knowledge output. "The more sense you make of something - the more you will remember it"  What we do NEED TO REMEMBER - is the case in point here.  The Induction Model allows the flow of information to influence another thought to another and another; in otherwords -  One thought leads to another.  It is data in and then processed with activities that makes sense of it all, to the putput of knowledge or Knowledge Remembered.  The Act of Experience is the growth of learning. 
Stephen Downes is a proponent of Connectivism.  There is no real curriculum.  The product is the Learner.  Knowledge is so complex  - so it needs to be navigated.  That is where the teacher comes be connected is to be engaged.  The process is aggregate, remix, repurpose, and feed forward.  The learning is immersive and complete for the individual and how that is done is on an individual basis.  That is why he believeds in open eduational resources and repositories.  This environment provides phases of openess:
                                                 Learners can access courses
                                                 Open support - academic volunteers
                                                 Open assessment
                                                 Credit for degree
                                                  Receive a degree
     He talked about Learning Management Systems and how they support physical instruction in a classroom.  Our school system uses Moodle and I have become familiar with Blackboard through MSU.  He shared about Grasshopper as a course tool that utilizes RSS feeds or input from the user:  All types of input and organizes it the way that the USER wants. 
     I see open resourcing being totally used in higher education, but I feel that I would use it cautiously on the middle school level.  There would be instances where such open ended resourcing and thought would provoke good conversation, critical thinking and problem-solving on the part of my students.  I don't know how "mature" some of this thought processing would go, but it would be worth the venture.  Just experimenting with the "Language" that middle schoolers have would be a window to a much wider community.  Administrators would have to make things possible, remove constraints and open up access to these resources.  Right now our school corporation is very filtered and the learning environment is not open, but very closed in my opinion...but that is due to fear.  The fear of too much information.  Growth needs FLOW - that constant activation and interaction. 
     He ended with Defining the four measures to weigh openess against.  Is it diverse? (lots of information from lots of different people - proves diversity.  Is there openess?  Is there Autonomy?  Does each individual manage their own growth in their own way?  Is there Interactivity?  I love the autonomy factor and feel that this is really what the doctoral level is all about.
     Lunch provided a time of free-flowing conversation and comment about the presentation and a chance to catch up quickly on each others lives. The afternoon was filled with numerous and interesting capstone projects.  Amy and I were in a group with P-12 administrators and it gave us an interesting perspective on the many issues surrounding each of their school systems.  I continue to learn more and more about Kentucky education and the communities in the eastern Kentucky area.  I feel that I made some new networking contacts and hope to share some ideas with these gentlemen in the future. 
     But for now - my future involves discussion board comments and an Instructional Design that needs my finishing until tomorrow...