Sunday, March 17, 2013

           The first thing that came to mind when I began reading about surveys was the sound of a game show host exclaiming, “Survey says?” The reality is that in order for an instructor to understand the uniqueness of the interests, intelligences, and learning styles of a student, there is a need to gather definitive data to better prepare instruction for student learning.  Determining and meeting the needs of the diversity within the classroom begins with pre-assessment of student characteristics student records and conducting surveys. Four formats reviewed this week included, interest, learning style, multiple intelligences, and Learning profile surveys.
            Growth in information technology has brought opportunities for the instructor to establish an effective course for instruction and use of supportive technologies (Bray, Brown, & Green, 2004, p. 46) that enhance and advance student learning.  With the access and growth of technology comes the necessity for review of appropriate and available means of evaluation to determine its validity.
Research conducted by my collaborative group and myself was an eye opening experience. The results provide a wide range of opportunity for information gathering, some free, some with fees, some with easy access, others tied to scams, or malware.  Examples of sites reviewed and posted on the groups Wiki site include, an Interest Survey entitled “Road to Success Inventory”, ( I chose to review this site because of the basic wording used to collect data of student interests.
            The Learning Style Survey entitled “What is Your Learning Style”, ( was chosen for what it provided beyond the survey itself. Though the survey was adequate in providing feedback on learning styles at the secondary and College level, the focus for a site like this seems more on drawing the viewer into the resources of this commercial education site.
            The Multiple Intelligence Survey:  “Assessment: Find Your Strengths”,
( provides the viewer with a survey, feedback, extensive resources related to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. This site is user-friendly targeting Secondary or College level instruction.
            The last site reviewed was a Learning Profile Survey, “Responsive Teaching, Best Practices in Differentiation Instruction:  Learner Profile Cards”
( This site presents survey types focusing on, expression style, modality preference, multiple intelligence, Triarchic Theory of intelligence, and Array interaction. Though somewhat extensive, the site provides data and resources in visual arts content area that would assist in developing a more accurate view of a student’s overall profile.  
            From collaboration and study of the resources, I developed a student survey at The survey consists of 40 prompts with three possible responses. Each set of five focuses on a multiple intelligence with wording identifying interests and learning styles. I chose this emphasis because of its importance on understanding student cognitive and learning strengths, and the profile that it presents. These strengths provide for development of effective differentiation of digital tools, and learning strategies within visual arts content, and for “Success” in the classroom (Bray, Brown, & Green, 2004, p. 2)


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Problem Based Instruction and a Digital Narrative

Eyes alight with sudden insight, as one student’s verbal narrative becomes a visual one for peers in one physical classroom and others at a distant location. Student interactivity instantly becomes infinitely closer to a real, time and space conversation that might not be achievable within any other context.  The integration of social networking in problem-based instruction broadens the student’s learning experience providing for creative and cognitive growth, across a broad range of options technical and instructional opportunities within independent and collaborative settings.
My thoughts have begun to move from visual art instruction focused on higher-order thinking and fine art image development on an individual basis, toward integration of digital and interactive means for enhancement of creative expression. While visual art creation is noted, for being a solitary self-directed pursuit, integration of student dialogue into the digital arena provides access to a creative voice that contributing to deeper understanding of art and art making. This benefits both, the individual and the community of artists, providing for a disciplined approach to image development, construction, setting the student artist in a good position for the world beyond the classroom.
These last 7 weeks have been focused on instructional goals for enhancing self-directed practices for the student artist within an active learning experience. Within this context, Problem Based and Inquiry methods take the predominant spot in establishing standards for student learning. The Actions that I have incorporated to meet these goals are three problem-based learning experiences that include, establishment of a blog for interaction by Advanced Art students, and a more extensive experience for, critical review of Advanced Placement portfolio development between peers. A third learning experience is the development of a concept mapping experience in which students use technology to gain understanding of the value of the art museum as a resource for student learning.
The first blog activity consists of a social networking opportunity that adds another platform in which a student can dialogue with peers and develop a more literate voice for establishing, and sustaining aesthetic discourse in the fine arts. This can be a stepping off point for a continued conversation beyond the classroom.
The focus for the second blog plan is on the development of criticism that has direct application to the physical development of visual art. This social networking opportunity advances the student beyond blog use for the purpose of aesthetic discourse. The student is using the blog for interactive dialogue that relates directly to the search for, physical and visual solutions to image development. The results of critical dialogue will be used by the student to advance the quality of the image produced by the student for their Advanced Placement Studio Art Portfolio’s.
The third plan consists of incorporating concept-mapping software into a lesson based upon a virtual and a physical field trip. While the product for this lesson does not consist of a physical product, the process of developing an understanding of the making of art from an authentic historic and aesthetic viewpoint provides the student with a metacognitive learning experience that will benefit the student on a number of levels. The process of using software to create a virtual field trip prior to a physical visit presents the student with a more realistic view of the physical visit. The use of concept mapping assists the student in establishing the goals necessary for a productive learning experience that makes for easier documentation and assessment. The software also presents the student with the virtual visit from which to gain a more learned view of the museum if a physical visit is not feasible for reasons of financial difficulties or distance.
All three approaches are directed toward understanding the problem of how the study of, and making of art can be enhanced and advanced using higher end creative thinking skills. This using well developed reflective practice within a technology rich learning environment.. All three incorporate a mix of Whole Class, Small Group. Distance, and Self Directed learning experiences, providing an adaptive learning experience for students that might have different learning strengths.
I will need to address a number of considerations for more effective results.  I am very pleased with the quality and depth to which students have participated in the lesson work. The positive aspect is that the students involved are advanced art students.  They have had experience writing, and with hand written, verbal, and group critiques. These have provided favorable results once students became accustomed to the task. Where I can see difficulty would be with a group of students that have mixed creative and cognitive abilities. Here I believe is where the strength of collaborative efforts and provision for usage of a wide array of reflective tools will be of benefit to the students. Beyond this, the use of an instructional game plan, monitoring student and assessment, giving greater consideration for formative assessment and review, and the choice of an appropriate technology, will benefit the student’s ability for reflection, critical dialogue and articulation, individually or as a group.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

 With grading finished, and a new semester opening, and winter playing its cat and mouse with the tease of a delay here, a little ice there, this week has been a busy one.  The development of the GAME plan that I will soon need to put into play with my Visual Arts students has been as hectic and busy. To date my goal of using an online blog space as a strategy for advancing the learning experience for my Advanced Placement Students has been somewhat short of meeting my expectations.  Positive events have been that the students have been developing, both visual images for their Advanced Placement “showcase” portfolios (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 151), and the higher level thinking skill sets for critical dialogue. Students have uploaded visual work in digital form to folders on the blog site and students now await the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on their portfolios using this medium that Dr Helen Bartlett, has identified as both “process and product” (Barrett, 2010, p. 2). 
Drawbacks include the difficulty in bringing the technical and logistical pieces together in order for this type of blog activity to begin allowing distance learning to occur for a specific group of students and peers. This week the pieces are coming closer to a point where there will soon be resolution of the activation problems. What has brought this about has been interaction with my peers at Walden University, my PLC peers at my high school, and IT personnel with in my school system. The result of this dialogue has been acquisition of the procedural information for establishing proper networking connections that will allow for successful implementation of the social networking strategy. Soon the Activity part of the GAME can begin.
As the concerns for the technical problems lessen, questions about assessment formats have come into focus. This week’s review of assessment formats has brought renewed interest in providing the best means for student assessment. The recent addition of, Netops Vision , ( to classrooms with in my school system has increased the ability for instructors to assess student performance across a wider range of formats. Netops Vision is digital classroom management software designed for networking computers for presentation and oversight of computer operation has proven to be a much-needed asset for assessment.  The software provides the instructor with the ability to interact with students, monitor and record ongoing progress of digital assignments in a formative as well as summative manner. The ability to incorporate this software based program and others like it, within the matrix of digital technology presents the student with an instructional platform in which they can gain immediate feedback by peer and instructor. This feedback can follow incorporation of Open-Ended Response Format, text based entry opportunities through, Journal Writing, and Blogging activities such as my GAME plan will employ.
A second positive aspect of the incorporation of software applications such as I have described is with the ability to incorporate Forced-Choice assessments formats into the student learning.  I am coming to see the positive aspects of the inclusion of a more Forced-Choice type of assessment formats where Visual Arts assessments tend to lean toward open-ended response, performance and project-based formats.  What has changed my thoughts on this are the new trends in testing software design that ease the process of test development, implementation, and review. Having a means for data evaluation, the ability to load a quiz, or test, to have students self assess, have responses reviewed, and receive immediate feedback is of great benefit for both the student and instructor. The technology helps streamline instructional development, implementation, and data collection to a point where it becomes part of “monitoring and evaluating student success” in meeting their instructional goals (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2009, p. 162). Though the format makes it more difficult to accurately assess higher-level cognitive skills and knowledge it allows the instructor a more varied approach to student evaluation.
What I have gained from this experience is that, as in the learning experiences that we design for our students, the benefits of a collaborative relationship can be a very productive means for advancing our learning potential and experience, and in the manner in which we reflect and assess our participation in the learning process.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bringing my GAME plan into focus… And the questions…

This week I move closer to implementation of a project based lesson, for advancing the learning experience of my Advanced Placement art students through blog interaction.  The design of this lesson meets ISTE NETS-T Standards 1.d., 2.c, and d. ( Before-Class Preparation includes student access to the blog site that I intend for them to work with, and setting the stage for loading images that they will post for critical reflection by their peers. This follows prior development of fine art imagery, digitizing the works of art, gaining facility in use of methods of critical review in verbal and written critique.  Once an interschool link is established, students are practiced and ready for uploading specific images for peer review, and critique. This plan’s use of technology provides a continuum of sorts from low-tech means of creation and critical evaluation of visual imagery through and to digital and social networking opportunities for interactive dialogue.
The resources that I have in play will be adequate for the present.  They consist of digital cameras, lighting, and associated lighting and imaging equipment, Adobe Photoshop CS6 software loaded onto student and instructor laptops, and management software Netop Vision software ( This software is one that provides the students and instructor with the ability to be flexible interacting with each other, in monitoring student progress, providing reinforcement, resources, and conducting formative and summative assessment as needed for student learning.  
The issues that have come up are in the nature of the blogging experience itself. Because of a desire to limit student dialogue to provide the necessary learning environment, and to provide a safe environment for this active learning experience I have not yet found resolution to the question of how to limit the blog interaction to those students assigned to the task.  Dialogue with PLC peers, and IT personnel have to date provided limited success. The lack of an adequate fix for this concern has raised questions as to what alternatives might bring accomplishment of the student outcomes. Though originally designed to provide flexibility for the students learning experience, the inflexible nature of the use of the technology, and the systems and regulations in place within the school system have made the need for a back-up Plan, or an alternative solution very important. The next step in the process is in finding resolution to the technical issues, or an alternative approach that will still meet the students learning needs.  Therein lies the question that needs answered. Would any of you in my Walden online learning community have a thought, or response that might provide an answer to this dilemma?  I would enjoy hearing from you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Developing Your personal GAME Plan

Developing Your Personal GAME Plan
I have spent the better parts of this week in deliberate review of the NETS-T, or, International Society for Technology in Education Standards.  Two areas of the standards that I have been reflecting upon and incorporating into the coursework that I teach are NETS-T 1.d., 2.c, and d. ( One area (NETS-T 1.d.) is with the facilitation and inspiration of student learning and creativity.  A second area (NETS-T 2c and d.) deals with   designing and developing digital learning experiences and assessments.
Within the context of these standards, I have begun to establish the Goals, and develop the Actions, that will provide an engaging learning experience that will advance the learning experience of the Advanced Placement Art Studio students that I teach.  

Three areas where I would like to improve student learning is, first with student ability to be creative developers of  original art work at the high level expected for Advanced Placement students (NETS-T1b.).  Second would be to raise their ability to provide critical reflection of their work and their peers using a variety of, face-to-face, written, and digital means of communication (NETS-T2b.).   Following this the goal is for students to be better able to analyze and synthesize questions concerning the quality and breadth of their expression and develop solutions that will advance their work on as broad a scale as can be achieved (NETS-T4c.). (

Actions that I plan to implement are in two parts. One part includes the development of verbal and written skills that advance the student’s ability to communicate to others about their visual expression. These include written reflection, one-on-one and group, peer and instructor lead critical analysis. The second involves the use of a student blog site in which students will present and receive critical review of their visual expression at a peer level from beyond the classroom setting. The instructor(s) will monitor student involvement for, content, and the quality of the literacy and critical reflection of the discourse. Assessment on a broader scale will be comprised of, pre, formative, and summative means that will include evaluative criteria across the student’s reflective practices, initial image development, critical review across digital and analogue means, balanced against the students visual results. Assessment from a professional standpoint as an instructor will include Self-Assessment, Peer content review, and Peer review from platforms such as this blog space.  What do you think of these initial steps in my GAME plan? Where in the structure that I have presented do you think I need to strengthen, or not…? I appreciate your comments.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology: Final Reflection
 “A student enters my room with three expectations. The first expectation is to enter with an open mind and be ready to think and create, to create with all senses being open to the many ways that the hand, eye, and mind can use, and to reflect on learning, in the same fashion.” I return to these words that I wrote a while back upon reflection of the reasons and directives for instruction. My expectations have not only been strengthened through current coursework taken at Walden University, the course entitled, Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology has placed a wide array of instructional tools and strategies into my hands that will expand my ability to teach more effectively.  As in industry, in order for growth to continue, there is a need to “retool” The shiny new toolbox that I have come away with is one that will not only contain tools that I will now use but one’s that will be shared.
As a journeyman teaches an apprentice, the learning that takes place is both active and interactive, making best use of the technology at hand to increase production in the development of, an art product, and the learning experience of the “apprentice”. Tools that my students have already begun to use include computer, and digital imaging equipment in the production of digital imagery as a form of creative expression, and as a means of advancing cognitive abilities that relate to literacy and critical thinking. Tools that I have begun to use on an instructional level are interactive software, instructional software such as Voice Thread, Virtual Field Trip, and an array of digital devices for presentation of content.
Tradition in the classroom has been focused on incorporation of a diverse range of classical methods of art making.  There is and will always be the need for, the face-to-face, hands on instruction found in a traditional approach. What I can now include from my retooling experience is the learning opportunity that students gain from peer based interaction of social networking situations, and expansion of student centered, peer collaborative experiences.
This new learning has provided technological advancement that will increase the opportunity to provide students with the ability to take greater ownership of their learning experience, and be able to extend the student’s ability to think critically beyond the insular quiet of a studio experience to a more social setting. I believe that it is within these two areas that I, with more time and practice can provide for a more effective learning experience on the student’s arrival at my shop door.  
A further note, would be to thank Dr. Susan Krauss at Walden University for being an "apprentice" in her "shop".

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Constructionism in Action
It has been a week of project building, reflection, & assessment. It has been a week of learning.  Images of the week include students manipulating ink onto paper side by side with those manipulating pixels using Adobe Photoshop software. These students were working in the classroom while others were in the hallway staging artwork and lighting to document their work digitally for AP Studio Art Portfolios and My Big Campus blog critique. Image development and critical review occurred at the beginning, during, and at the conclusion of activity that in some cases extended into the night (Or, during student learning in other content areas). 
The students though appearing at first glance to be loose and less than constructive were engaged in their learning process.  The preplanning and understood expectations set the stage, along with constructive and instructive guidence The combination of collaborative and introspective, hand built and digital investigation methods appeared to be on track for a successful learning experience. The tie in for continued success for this constructive experience is with continuation of the process of learning reinforced by the dialogue that will take place between students and peers seated next to and across from each other via social network. The collaboration that follows will create the “promotive interaction” (Pittler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Melonoski, 2007, p. 140) of a social environment were the students can support both personal and group advancement within their creative and cognitive development.
Now if I could only get the students to do a thorough cleanup of physical and digital workspaces before they move to different work locations.  …. Artists!
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Cooperative Learning. In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (pp. 139-154). Denver, Colorado: MCREL.