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I have learned over the past week about evaluation has to do with “media study comparison.”  It seems that they are not that helpful and can only be applied in very strict terms.  It also helped me understand what I need to do with my final project.  I cannot focus on comparing what students learn using iPads compared to what students would learn just using a book.  I need to focus on measuring changes in 21st century skills and the overall opinions of the students that are in the class.  The data on using the last new technology compared to the old technology has always been proven to show any improvement in results.  I can see how it would be temping to want to compare one medium to another medium.

I also read up on norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests.  It is interesting that they are completely different in what they test, but yet I feel that people in the educational field really don’t understand the difference.  We in the state of Iowa uses norm-referenced test to report out for No Child Left Behind.   NCBL is suppose to show proficiency for students, yet the stat uses a norm-reference test were 40% of the children will always be below proficiency because it is a norm-referenced test.  It makes not sense.

I’m looking to forward to finishing my last class in the EDTech program.  I just now need to finish my final project.  It is going to be an epic project for me, because I really do think that I’m going to struggle due to my project being different from the others.

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After working with my partners on the second stag of the project, I had a much better idea of what a proposal should look like.  It is a much easier to understand the process through working with the other members on the project.

I’m looking forward to reading the proposals the other students selected.  My selection was called an evaluation, but I don’t really meets the requirement of an evaluation in hindsight.  It is much like the research vs. evaluation, people label a study an evaluation but it is more of a summary report of what people thought.  I assume that this was caused by the people in charge only thinking about evaluating after the years has gone. Now they need to justify the money they spent on a new project, so lets write an evaluation.

Cycling jerseys I designed on less than famous models

I wonder if there is a divide among evaluators over qualitative vs. quantitative methods?  I thought about this when I was reading over the qualitative methods pieces by Weiss.  There is a perceived (at least by me) divided by educational researches about their preferred method of data collection.  I wondered if this translated over to evaluators?  I would think that evaluators would used a mixed method most of the time, but that is probably only a reflection of what I would do.

On a side note:

I have come to correlate cycling training to evaluation.  I have all this great data I collect on heart-rate, calories burned, total accent, miles, etc.  Which tells some of the story.  My legs the next day can tell a completely different story, because outside factors such as sleep, food consumed, etc.  It got me thinking about what outside factors could effect an evaluation of a program, which an evaluator would never think to ask about.  What if the person running the program covering up problems at home, or a person in the program has a drinking problem?  Is this common?

I have learned the parts of an evaluation proposal.  I’m not sure that I correctly handled the evaluations methods section in the proposal.  I struggled to put into words the goals and methods.  I understand that the evaluation request had to be generic, but for me that made it hard to gasps real situations that I could design an evaluation around.  I also found myself wanting to solve a problem I saw with the DIP program.  Why not make it digital and save the print cost.  I then remember the lecture by Professor Perkins on problem analysis, and realized I was trying to solve a problem that I was not asked to solve and may not need to be solved.  I can see where it would be hard for an evaluator to not just jump in and say this is obvious, you should just do this.

I read through Posavac & Carey to try to get a better understanding of how to write a proposal, and found it to be helpful in understanding evaluation.  It was the same basic information as Boulmrtis & Dutwin, but is a slightly different point of view.  Posavac & Carey will be helpful to me as I start researching for my final project.

I’m looking forward to writing my rubrics for measuring success for my iPad program, and at the same time worried about time management of such a large project during a busy time of year.  It will be nice to have something I can use right away from this class this fall at school.

The vocabulary assignment helped me to understand the concepts behind research, evaluation, and data collection better.  I always assumed that research and evaluations are carried out in objective manners, but the vocabulary that I defined was obsessive about objectivity and reliability of the data collection.  That is the way it should be, and I guess I would be surprised by how much research is comprised all the time by the lose of objectivity.

I believe that final project is going to be more difficult that I thought.  At first, I thought would be easier to do because I have to do a quasi-evaluation for the grant.  Now that I’m faced with the project, I think it is going to be harder because almost everyone else will go through the steps of doing an evaluation.  I will be doing a lot more research to prove my methods and instruments for evaluation.  I’m not saying that data collection is easier, but I always think it is easier to take on smaller chunks to make the whole, then have one beefed up area to make up for the lack of other areas.  It should be interesting and helpful.  Otherwise, I would scramble during the school year to make instruments to measure the growth of students.

I have been wondering as I have read though the class materials, how do evaluators help to make sure that the “impact” program is still measured in the future.  I assume that most outside evaluators are contracted by the sponsor, so with end of the evaluation the evaluator is no longer connected to the project.  Impact to me is the most important of the three things measured in the evaluation process.  I believe the impact is rarely though of, because we are a society of the right now.  It amazes me that the training can be effective, but the impact of the training can be minimal.

I have a link here the fake new site The Onion which has an article on placebos, which is fun to me after reading research.

I was interested in EDTech 505 because it is a class on evaluation. I have to come up with an evaluation plan for a grant I received to start an iPad programming/business class this Fall.  I have learned a good deal more about evaluation since the class has started and some of it is more of a refresher of what I learned in research writing class I took for my MA at Iowa State University.  First off, evaluation should not be confused with research.  They have different aims, all though they both collect data and appear to be very similar.  I would say that evaluation it more practical in a school setting than research, and often districts say they are conducting research when they are really conducting an evaluation.

What has struck me the most about the reading on evaluation is the idea of measuring impact.  In my experience of being on the district leadership team and planning professional development, we often taught about the effectiveness of the last PD and some about the cost or efficiency of the PD.  We never really talk about measuring the long-term impact of PD.  Impact is lost somewhere in the shuffle of consummation of the data from the last PD.  We do look at the overall impact of PD at the end of the year, we are already moving down the tract to a different focus and so the impact is never measured.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the nuts-bolts of writing the plan, because it will help me to better understand how to make my grant more efficient, effective, and have impact.  The plan I write will be the foundation to better understanding my program.

Having just had a meeting on technology professional development this morning, and having read last weeks assignment. I have pondered what makes good technology professional development when it comes to teachers. I think what is important is more frequent development meetings over long meetings once a month meetings. Give the teacher a tool for the classroom that they can make in the learning session, and also an opportunity to get feedback from an administrator or peer. Too often we instructor teachers in a way that not consistent with what we would expect out of a classroom teacher. I also think that the teacher need choice or voice in what they need for the classroom. Mandating a skill that not everyone needs for the classroom, or has already mastered is a waste of time. You need baseline data on where you are in order to figure were you what to go. Lastly, someone needs to make sure that everyone is sticking to the plan, and focuses the attention towards the end goal.

The basis for most of the traits and skills for an educational technologist are based on searching various job lists at careerbuilder.com, monster.com, Association of Educational Communication and Technology (AECT) Job Center, and Educause Information Technology Jobs.

Here are some of the common skills/experiences that are needed, as listed by employers:

  • Adobe Dreamweaver/web publishing
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Learning management systems
  • Instructional design training
  • Online teaching
  • Networking management
  • Communication skills
  • Integration of technology into the curriculum

The common traits an educational technologist should have are the following:

  • Organizational skills
  • Self-starter
  • An ability to work with both “tech” people and the customer
  • Customer service skills
  • Communication skills (both written and verbal)
  • Ability to train others
  • Integration of technology into the curriculum
  • Both hardware and software experience

Educational technologists work in a variety of settings and carry out different functions. They might do one or more of the following jobs in a university, school or business: design instruction, manage resource collections, and produce instructional materials. (Ely, 2000) Educational technologists might also find themselves in charge of the more traditional role of IT person or technology coordinator for a business or school.

Most educational technologists would at least have a BA/BS degree in a field like Information Technology. Most K12 districts, universities, and colleges wanted someone with a MA or higher degree in education technology or a closely related field.

Educational technologist is an emergent field. Most of the research and job titles were for educational technology, educational technology instruction, educational technology resource collection, etc. Educational technologists are expected to be able to, not only manage the technology for a district, but also work with teachers/instructors in enriching their practice with the use of technology. (Jugovich, & Reeves, 2006) More institutions are looking for educational technologists because it is not enough for schools to simply have the Internet up and running and assume teachers are getting the most out of the technology. Many institutions are expanding their expenditures on technology, and they want a person to direct the system as a whole. They want someone who can ensure that teachers are integrating technology into the classroom and curriculum. (McClure, 2007) Another reason is that educational institutes have started to outsource the infrastructure of the technology because it is cheaper and leaves the technology specialist more time to focus on educational issues. (McClure, 2007)

The salary range for an educational technologist varies greatly, depending on the title, educational background, and who is doing the hiring. Here is a sample of two positions an educational technologist might have from http://www.salary.com/salary/index.asp.  A Instructional Technology Specialist make between $34,000 to $62,000. Technology Research Manager makes between $79,000 to $130,000.

Helpful Websites about Education Technology as a Career:

This is an ERIC Digest by Donald P. Ely on what educational technology and educational technologists are. There are a lot of links to other sources. http://www.ericdigests.org/2000-4/2000.htm

ERIC link:

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/simpleSearch.jsp;jsessionid=+syLl8RLGSgPwmZJ3Y7bgA__.ericsrv002?newSearch=true&eric_sortField=&searchtype=keyword&pageSize=10&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED438807+&eric_displayStartCount=1&_pageLabel=ERICSearchResult&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no

The Department of Education website, that has related studies and research on educational technology: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/index.html

Wikipedia entry on educational technology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_technology

Specific websites for jobs in education technology:

Association of Educational Communication and Technology (AECT) Job Center

http://www.jobtarget.com/home/index.cfm?site_id=136

Educause Information Technology Jobs

http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?page_id=1219&bhcp=1

North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) Job Postings

http://www.nacol.org/forum/index.php?showforum=7 (it does cost to join)

Center for Online Educators Job Board http://www.educatoronline.org/jobboard.htm/

References:

Ely, D. (2000). The Field of Educational Technology: Update 2000. A Dozen Frequently Asked Questions. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED438807)

McClure, A. (2007, December). Technology spending survey ’08. Retrieved from http://www.universitybusiness.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=960

Jugovich, S, & Reeves, B. (2006). It and Educational technology: what’s pedagogy got to do with it?. EDUASE Quarterly, 29(4), Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/ITandEducationalTechnologyWhat/157431