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AECT Standards: Artifacts Rationale Paper

Kelly E. Anderson

Boise State University

Introduction

The AECT defined the concept of educational technology as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (Definition and Terminology Committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 2008, p. 1). Each word within this definition is a critical component of the concept. And each word is also interconnected within the full complex process that is educational technology.

This definition is highly visible in the set of standards the AECT has established for professional education programs (AECT, 2012). To earn a Master of Educational Technology from Boise State University, each candidate must demonstrate mastery of the full concept of educational technology by demonstrating mastery of each standard and its indicators.

In this paper, I illustrate my expertise in educational technology by connecting each AECT Standard (2012 version) and my relevant artifact that provides evidence of my mastery. The indicators for each standard are presented with a discussion of the artifact. Throughout the paper, the artifact names have been hyperlinked to the actual artifact to allow for a close examination and review of my work.

STANDARD 1 - CONTENT KNOWLEDGE
Candidates demonstrate the knowledge necessary to create, use, assess, and manage theoretical and practical applications of educational technologies and processes.
Indicator: Creating
Candidates demonstrate the ability to create instructional materials and learning environments using a variety of systems approaches.

The task for the 532: Contextual Transposition project was to repurpose a commercial game to create an instructional lesson. My project used the game, The Settlers of Catan, for a professional development workshop focused on the influence of culture in business dealings. To complete this project, I used a systematic approach to create an instructional design plan and a representative presentation poster.

In Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, create is a measureable verb that is associated with a high level of complexity of thinking in the cognitive domain (Hodell, 2011). The 532: Contextual Transposition project required the complex integration of knowledge, resources, processes, and skills in the creation of the lesson and the materials. After identifying an instructional topic and appropriate game, I followed the ADDIE model (Gustafson & Branch, 2002, p. 2) and developed an instructional design plan. This demonstrates my knowledge of game-based learning and the systematic instructional design process.

After developing the instruction plan, I captured the essential elements of the lesson in a visual poster, which I uploaded and embedded in a Second Life object for presentation on the virtual Spaceship Prometheus. To create a meaningful poster, I used a systematic approach as I considered the content, context and audience for the poster session presentation.

Indicator: Using
Candidates demonstrate the ability to select and use technological resources and processes to support student learning and to enhance their pedagogy.

The topic of open content, as discussed in the NMC Horizon Report – 2013 K-12 Edition (Johnson et al, 2013), was the prompt for my 501: Tech Trends project. To more deeply explore open content, I used an open platform, Assistments, to experiment with using open content from various sources. The results were captured in a paper, a Clarify artifact, and a blog post.

This artifact demonstrates multiple levels of selecting and using technological resources and process. After studying the NMC Horizon Report – 2013 K-12 Edition and choosing the identified emerging technology, open content (Johnson et al., 2013), I tested the feasibility of actually using open content in instruction. To accomplish this, I used Assistments, an open platform resource as my foundation. I then selected open content from Open Stax College, Connexions, Siyavula, and the Khan Academy to include in a lesson about the ecosystem. I was very pleased to find that high quality content was available and easy to use.

To capture and share the results of my experiment, I created a visual presentation using Clarify, a free product that allows the easy collection of screenshots. This allowed me to document how high quality open content can be used to support instruction. I then linked all of the resources in a blog post and shared it with my small discussion group. I found that, in addition to using open content, I could effectively use open resources to share what I had discovered.

Indicator: Assessing/Evaluating
Candidates demonstrate the ability to assess and evaluate the effective integration of appropriate technologies and instructional materials.

My 512: Online Course Critique (QM) artifact is an evaluation of the online Coursera course, Child Nutrition and Cooking, using the Quality Matters™ rubric. It is essential that the quality of the instructional tool and the quality of the learning be assessed and evaluated (Ternus, Palmer, & Faulk, 2007). This project provided practical experience and an excellent perspective on how to approach the assessment and evaluation of instructional materials and technologies.

The structure of the Quality Matters rubric, using a point-based analysis and verbal commentary along eight diverse standards, helped me to fully grasp the importance of organization and objectivity in the evaluation process. The combination of quantitative and qualitative evaluation that is incorporated in the tool encouraged duality in my thought processes. This experience has provided me with a strong foundation for the future evaluation of courses, including any that I may design.

Indicator: Managing
Candidates demonstrate the ability to effectively manage people, processes, physical infrastructures, and financial resources to achieve predetermined goals.

The United Way of Treasure Valley online grant proposal guidelines served as a foundation for this 551: Grant Proposal artifact. The proposal includes a needs assessment, goals, objectives, and a narrative, a budget, and an evaluation plan. “The simple factors for success in grant writing are knowing your organization, knowing your funding source, knowing your clients, and knowing your grant proposal” (Yuen, Terao, & Schmidt, 2009, p. 8). Writing this United Way grant proposal required that I effectively manage the communications with all stakeholders and direct the documentation of the organization’s processes, structure, and financial resources to comply with predetermined goals of the grant writing process.

To develop this proposal, I began with understanding the organization, the people, the financial resources, and the client needs. I then researched the relevant issues, developed a program concept with clear goals and measurable objectives, and searched for an appropriate grant opportunity. With knowledge of each of those elements, I then managed the process of collecting information and writing the proposal to meet the pre-established requirements of the United Way of Treasure Valley.

Indicator: Ethics
Candidates demonstrate the contemporary professional ethics of the field as defined and developed by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. 

My 501: Elements of Educational Technology artifact is a response to the AECT’s definition of Educational Technology (Definition and Terminology Committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 2008). In the discussion they stated, “Our definition considers ethical practice as essential to our professional success, for without the ethical considerations being addressed, success is not possible” (p. 3). In this paper, I discussed each element of the definition and identified Ethical Practice as one of the most important to the profession. This artifact demonstrates my deep commitment to the professional ethics of educational technologists.

STANDARD 2 - CONTENT PEDAGOGY
Candidates develop as reflective practitioners able to demonstrate effective implementation of educational technologies and processes based on contemporary content and pedagogy. 
Indicator: Creating
Candidates apply content pedagogy to create appropriate applications of processes and technologies to improve learning and performance outcomes.

The 503: Instructional Design Project is a design plan for a short lesson to assist adult learners as they prepare for the Extended Response tasks in the new 2014 GED™ test. The plan includes a rationale, full analysis, goals, objectives, assessments, strategies, instructor guide, learner materials, and evaluation. This project applied content pedagogy and included a variety of activities in a full lesson designed to improve the learners’ performance outcomes on the 2014 GED™ test.

To create this artifact, I followed the Smith and Ragan model of the instructional design process (Gustafson & Branch, 2002), which is an adaptation of the ADDIE Model. Because the target learners face a variety of obstacles to learning, I worked closely with subject matter experts from two local nonprofits to identify appropriate content pedagogy. The resulting plan and materials presented in this artifact provided an effective instructional resource for both organizations and demonstrate my mastery in creating appropriate content pedagogy.

Indicator: Using
Candidates implement appropriate educational technologies and processes based on appropriate content pedagogy.

Using the Adobe Flash software program, the 511: Interactive Courseware Project is an interactive learning experience, which introduces business professionals to various models, frameworks, and initiatives leading to more conscious and sustainable business practices. This artifact uses a hyper-media format, which includes a course map, user guide, multi-media resources, and self-assessments. Reflective of Vygotsky’s constructivist activity theory in which technology serves as the mediating artifact between the learner as subject and the task or goal as the object (Devane & Squire, 2012), the hyper-media structure of the 511: Interactive Courseware Project gives the learner control as they choose their own path in their exploration of the collection of various multimedia resources. Based on the sound pedagogy of activity theory, this approach demonstrates my effective use of an appropriate educational technology, multimedia, in an interactive process.

Indicator: Assessing/Evaluating
Candidates demonstrate an inquiry process that assesses the adequacy of learning and evaluates the instruction and implementation of educational technologies and processes grounded in reflective practice.

This artifact, the 505: Evaluation Report, presents the information gathered in a full evaluation of the application, screening, and assessment process used by a small nonprofit organization in their adult GED™ education program. The report includes a summary of the program, a description of the evaluation method, an analysis of the results, and a final discussion.

This project is an example of a formal evaluation, defined as the “systematic process of collecting and analyzing data in order to determine whether and to what degree objectives have been or are being achieved” (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011, p. 4). I designed and implemented the formal inquiry process to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology and processes used in the program’s application, screening, and assessment process. The reflective practice used in this project can be effectively applied to many educational programs and has prepared me to conduct informative evaluations in the future.

Indicator: Managing
Candidates manage appropriate technological processes and resources to provide supportive learning communities, create flexible and diverse learning environments, and develop and demonstrate appropriate content pedagogy.

The 532: Educational Game Model artifact includes my presentation slides and narrative for a game concept I designed to assess financial literacy in a small nonprofit organization involved in homelessness prevention. The presentation describes the need, presents the research and evidence that supports the feasibility of the project, connects the approach to learning and game theory, and then explains and models the game concept.

After working with JTI to write a grant proposal, I realized that assessing the clients’ financial literacy is critical, yet challenging. The non-threatening and engaging elements of game design seem to provide a possible solution to the difficult task. My research revealed that games are effectively being used in financial literacy education (Maynard, Mehta, Parker, & Steinberg, 2013). However, the use of games for assessment seems to be new territory, and I found minimal work being done in this domain.

As I developed the concept, I emphasized the importance of personal involvement, pervasiveness, self-initiation, and meaning for the individual learner. This is a humanist perspective, based on Roger’s significant learning theory (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, p. 283). This concept models a unique learning environment that supports the needs of the target learners, while introducing effective and appropriate content pedagogy. Creating this model required that I manage technological resources and processes, such as Adobe Flash for interactive courseware design and the integration of games concepts in education, to develop a meaningful financial literacy assessment. I believe the concept model I created offers real potential to the field of financial inclusion and I’m enthusiastic about the possibility of developing a working prototype at some time in the future.

Indicator: Ethics
Candidates design and select media, technology, and processes that emphasize the diversity of our society as a multicultural community.

In the 501: EDTECH Research project, I built the foundation for a new approach to addressing the issue of financial capability in financial literacy education by researching the potential of narrative learning and digital storytelling. The annotated bibliography includes an instructional objective, pre and post-research discussions, and annotations of five relevant academic articles. My research explored the potential of using technology to facilitate transformational learning through storytelling (Butterwick & Lawrence, 2009). This takes a holistic approach to expand on knowledge based financial literacy education. The goal of this research was to integrate educational technology and adult learning theory to encourage financial inclusion for marginalized populations. This work demonstrates my use of technology, new processes, and contemporary content and pedagogy in an educational approach that honors the history and culture of learners in our diverse society.

STANDARD 3 - LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Candidates facilitate learning by creating, using, evaluating, and managing effective learning environments.
Indicator: Creating
Candidates create instructional design products based on learning principles and research-based best practices.

The 511: Design Proposal for my Interactive Courseware Project includes a general overview of the proposed project, a program description of the target learners and the instructional objectives, a multimedia map of the project, and a complete storyboard with screen layouts, text outline, and the rationale for each screen. This was the foundation of the interactive course that I developed in Adobe Flash. The process of creating this design document solidified my concept, clarified the rationale for each element, and tied each component to appropriate learning principles and instructional strategies. This led to the creation of an effective learning environment.

The different elements within the instructional design document demonstrate the use of learning principles, instructional strategies, and research-based practices. The multimedia map served as an organizer. A final version of the map was linked in the interactive course to serve as an advance organizer that facilitates the learners’ encoding and retention. The rationale and objectives on each screen of the storyboard identify the strategic use of instructional principles designed to “enhance motivation, encoding and retention of the knowledge, or use of the knowledge” (Alessi & Trollip, 2001, p. 165).

Indicator: Using
Candidates make professionally sound decisions in selecting appropriate processes and resources to provide optimal conditions for learning based on principles, theories, and effective practices.

This 512: Design Document artifact is the instructional design for a five module online course. It includes a full analysis, instructional standards, the course goal, desired outcomes, and specific learning objectives for each module. The design and planning sections map the outcomes and objectives with the assessment, activities, and interaction type. Motivation, content, social interaction, design justification, and evaluation are also addressed in detail. Each element of the plan demonstrates the use of appropriate processes, activities, and resources that result in a learning experience that effectively achieves the stated goal and objectives. Relevant learning principles, theories, and practices guided the selection of each process and resource used in this instructional design plan.

This is a large project, but identification of a couple of the key decision points will illustrate the process. The analysis considers the target learner, their existing knowledge, and the desired learning outcomes in terms of Gagné’s domains and Bloom’s taxonomy of objectives (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p.78 – 82). Activities, social interaction, and assessment were then aligned with the outcomes and objectives. And the ARCS model (Keller, 1987) was used to consider learner motivation. These are just a few high-level examples of the approaches I used to provide an optimal learning experience based on sound principles, theories, and effective practices.

Indicator: Assessing/Evaluating
Candidates use multiple assessment strategies to collect data for informing decisions to improve instructional practice, learner outcomes, and the learning environment. 

The 505: Evaluation Proposal artifact is an evaluation proposal created in response to a request for proposal (RFP). The proposal document follows a realistic format, however it is based on a hypothetical scenario for the purpose of gaining experience in the evaluation proposal writing process. This artifact demonstrates the use of multiple qualitative and quantitative data collection approaches to provide the information and analysis needed to inform decisions and improve the instructional program. “Gut feelings, perceptions, innuendo, and anecdotes are comforting, but they are not convincing to the people who require more objective evidence” (Boulmetis & Dutwin, 2011, p. 14). Assessment and evaluation strategies such as this provide the objective evidence needed to determine achievement of identified goals.

Indicator: Managing
Candidates establish mechanisms for maintaining the technology infrastructure to improve learning and performance.

The 501: School Evaluation Summary involved analyzing the technology use plan of an educational organization. This required the completion of a maturity benchmark survey, and evaluating and summarizing the results in a well-written report. The process demonstrated in this artifact is an example of implementing a valuable management tool that effectively maintains the technology infrastructure needed to support learners and their learning environment and thus improve learning in our digital age. The survey and resulting report established a mechanism for ongoing review and improvement of the organization’s technological systems.

Indicator: Ethics
Candidates foster a learning environment in which ethics guide practice that promotes health, safety, best practice, and respect for copyright, Fair Use, and appropriate open access to resources.

The 502: Web Accessibility Hot Links artifact is an instructional web page designed to introduce novice web developers to issues related to digital inclusion and accessibility. In our times of exponential expansion of the Web, these are important ethical issues. Everything from educational programs, job application processes, medical records, and social interaction are now housed on the Web. Failing to consider inclusion and access when designing for the Web may deny many individuals access to essential services and information. Open access to all, regardless of the challenges they face, is a moral imperative. This instructional page creates a learning environment, which raises awareness and guides the learners towards the ethical practice of developing accessible and inclusive Web resources.

Indicator: Diversity of Learners
Candidates foster a learning community that empowers learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities.

As the Web expands, it brings our diverse global citizens together in many new ways. The development of online learning communities is one example of this. From formal education programs to the new massive open online courses (MOOCs), people from all over the world are meeting in online discussions. The 502: Netiquette Page provides tips to guide diverse adult e-learners in their online communications. Establishing these shared norms for web-based communication in communities of diverse learners is a proactive approach that will minimize miscommunication and increase the potential benefits of positive and supportive interactions. This instructional page empowers diverse learners to communicate effectively and maximize the many benefits of online learning communities (Hill, 2012).

STANDARD 4 - PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Candidates design, develop, implement, and evaluate technology-rich learning environments within a supportive community of practice.
Indicator: Collaborative Practice
Candidates collaborate with their peers and subject matter experts to analyze learners, develop and design instruction, and evaluate its impact on learners.

My 512: Final Project is an open, online course that is the result of applying the full instructional design process in a highly collaborative environment. A supportive, small group of my classmates formed a community of practice (Hoadley, 2012) and critiqued the project as I went through each core stage of the instructional design process, as illustrated by the ADDIE model (Gustafson & Branch, 2002, p. 2). In addition to my peers, I used outside subject matter experts in the formative evaluation process. The high quality of this five-module course demonstrates the quality of instructional design that can be realized when working with skilled learning communities and subject matter experts, as described by Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development theory (Hill, 2012).

Indicator: Leadership
Candidates lead their peers in designing and implementing technology-supported learning.

In EDTECH 512, I worked with a four-member team to summarize and reflect on each module’s reading assignments. We each took several turns as the project lead, which provided the opportunity to choose the format, design, and implement a technology-supported collaborative project. My 512: Team Collaboration artifact is the final result of one of the projects that I led. The prompt was a chapter on using multimedia in e-learning (Clark & Mayer, 2011, Chapter 4). I set up the project as a shared Google Slides presentation, which allowed each member to contribute and create appropriate graphics to visually illustrate and practice the principles we had studied. My team was enthusiastic about this approach and our final project was well received by our classmates.

Indicator: Reflection on Practice
Candidates analyze and interpret data and artifacts and reflect on the effectiveness of the design, development and implementation of technology-supported instruction and learning to enhance their professional growth.

Reflection can be defined as “encouraging students to connect the course content with their prior knowledge and lived experience” (Langan, Sheese, & Davidson, 2009). The 503: ID Reading Quiz was probably one of the most effective and unique reflective exercises I have experienced. For the assignment, I first read, analyzed, and reflected on assigned material, which introduced key elements of instructional design. I then interpreted the essence of the information, selected meaningful visual metaphors for each concept, and briefly discussed the concept and explained its connection to the visual metaphor. Each concept metaphor and short discussion was presented in the form of a postcard, using the technology of a Google Slides presentation. The somatic learning involved in the interpretation of the concepts and the selection of fitting images engaged multiple dimensions of my mind and body and enhanced my understanding (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007, Chapter 8).

Indicator: Assessing/Evaluating
Candidates design and implement assessment and evaluation plans that align with learning goals and instructional activities.

Plans for assessing achievement of the learning goals and objectively evaluating the instruction were two important components in my 503: Instructional Design Project. This project was a full instructional design plan for a writing lesson for students preparing for the 2014 GED™ test. The assessment and evaluation plans included in the instructional design plan were designed to be congruent with the goals and instructional strategies. Evaluation provides critical guidance and feedback in the iterative design process, and helps the designer determine “how we’ll know when we’re there” (Smith & Ragan, 2005, p. 8).

Indicator: Ethics
Candidates demonstrate ethical behavior within the applicable cultural context during all aspects of their work and with respect for the diversity of learners in each setting.

Given the assignment to create a 502: Interactive Concept Map, I chose professional ethics as the subject of my instructional page. In my professional work as an accountant, ethical issues have always been one of my primary considerations. This assignment allowed me to explore and present the core elements that may guide ethical decisions across all professions. This demonstrates my focus on ethical behavior for all types of work and in diverse settings and contexts.

Two of the key elements that I identified in my instructional page are particularly relevant to this standard. ‘The Code’ section discusses the governing codes that apply to a particular situation. The AECT has developed a Code of Ethics for its members (AECT, 2007), confirming the important contribution that a professional code makes in guiding decisions for any profession. A second consideration is ‘Philosophy and Values’. In this section, I identified the important role that diversity of the underlying values in religion, culture, and other established norms play in ethics.

STANDARD 5 - RESEARCH
Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize, and apply methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance.
Indicator: Theoretical Foundations
Candidates demonstrate foundational knowledge of the contribution of research to the past and current theory of educational communications and technology.

To fully understand the foundational roles that research, theory, and underlying philosophy have on current practices, I explored activity theory and communities of practice to create my 504: Learning Theories Paper. My research dug far into the past and looked at the roots of empiricism and rationalism (Ertmer & Newby, 1992), and then followed the philosophical continuum that influences research, theory, and practice today. This research artifact demonstrates my understanding of the foundational influence that philosophy, theory, and research have on the development of current educational technology theory and practice.

Indicator: Method
Candidates apply research methodologies to solve problems and enhance practice.

The task for the 532: Personal Learning Theory project was to select from existing learning theories and create my own learning theory mash-up and a representative graphic. The purpose was to connect my personal perspectives about learning to the game-based learning concepts that I was studying. To approach the task, I applied the literature review methodology of research to identify connections between learning theories and core elements of games for educational purposes. This allowed me to explore new material and also reflect on my previous exploration of learning theory (504: Learning Theories Paper) to find the theoretical foundations that support the value of applying game concepts in learning contexts.

I was already intrigued with the potential for game concepts to enhance instruction, and this process fueled my enthusiasm. I was particularly inspired by the way that the motivational elements of games (Becker, 2007) intersected with the theories that my mash-up drew from. This work has turned out to be pivotal as I’ve explored the direction that I will take after earning my M.E.T. After graduation I’ll be developing and facilitating a series of financial literacy workshops for troubled teens and young adults for a local nonprofit. After presenting information about the range of potential offered by game-based instruction to the program sponsor, the leadership has requested my assistance with several instructional programs.

Indicator: Assessing/Evaluating
 Candidates apply formal inquiry strategies in assessing and evaluating processes and resources for learning and performance.

Using the 504: Annotated Bibliography project as an evaluation process, I reviewed scholarly work to explore the concept of openness in education. I was seeking information that would support or refute the idea that open education has the potential to make significant improvements to education on a global scale. The generative strategies involved in a literature review and annotated bibliography facilitated construction of knowledge and deep learning while engaging with a complex topic (Smith & Ragan, 2005, pp. 141-142). The results of this formal inquiry process to evaluate the potential contribution of openness in education created a collection of resources that served as a foundation for further work in this area.

Indicator: Ethics
Candidates conduct research and practice using accepted professional and institutional guidelines and procedures.

The purpose of my 504: Final Synthesis Paper was to explore and connect ways that learning theories support the potential of open education to advance education throughout the world. This involved a literature review, which is an important step in academic research (Creswell, 2008, Chapter 4). The literature I reviewed included topics about open education, educational technology, and learning theory. The paper followed the APA Style (American Psychological Association, 2010), which is the established professional standard for the Boise State University Department of Educational Technology. My research methodology and application of the APA style demonstrates ethical practice under this standard.

 

 

References

AECT. (2007). Code of professional ethics. Retrieved from http://www.aect.org.

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Ternus, M.P., Palmer, K.L., & Fault, D.R. (2007). Benchmarking quality in online teaching and learning: A rubric for course construction and evaluation. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 7(2), 51-67.

Yuen, F.K.O., Terao, K.L., & Schmidt, A.M. (2009). Effective grant writing and program evaluation for human service professionals. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.