Category Archives: 1.4 Learner Characteristics

EDTECH541 – Final Reflections and Self-Evaluation

Part 1: EDTECH 541 Final Reflection

Although this is only my second semester in the EDTECH program, this has probably been my favorite class so far.  It has given me the opportunity to explore and learn about the vast number of resources available to educators.  I’ve read and heard about many of the resources but have not taken the time to delve into many of them.  This course finally forced me to try things like creating a wiki, social bookmarking, screencasting, collaboration, and multimedia presentations and applying them to classroom curriculum.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have learned about using Web 2.0 tools to promote 21st century learning skills.  I’m beginning to truly grasp their importance and most of all the importance of sharing this concept with my colleagues, most of whom, like myself, have not understood the role technology must take in education. 

Initially, I came at this course as a Computer/Technology teacher, attempting to integrate classroom curriculum into my technology lessons, the opposite of what was being asked of me.  Through practice and discussion with Dr. Gerstein I have now come to the understanding of what it means to integrate technology into the classroom.  Going into the new school year I will work at finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom curriculum and will strive to work with classroom teachers to share my newly formed knowledge in how to effectively integrate technology into their teaching.

As I look back through the course and reflect on the AECT Standards, I realize how much this course has impacted my ambition of mastering many of the AECT Standards.  The following standards have been met through the EDTECH541 coursework.

Standard 1 Design:

Each of the projects this semester involved an aspect of design.  In order to maintain maximum effectiveness and efficiency of technology integration I had to consider the characteristics of my learners along with the objectives of the instruction.  This information was then used to plan activities that engaged and motivated learners.

Each of the projects this semester involved an aspect of design.  In order to maintain maximum effectiveness and efficiency of technology integration I had to consider the characteristics of my learners along with the objectives of the instruction.  This information was then used to plan activities that engaged and motivated learners.

Standard 2 Development:

The nature of this course required the development of materials using each of the technologies in standard 2.  From the creation of worksheets and how to guides, to the use of Web 2.0 tools to create screencasts, podcasts, and interactive presentations, each of the 4 areas of development were achieved.

Standard 3 Utilization:

With so many resources available and new ones coming available every day, it was vital that I evaluated material before using it in instruction.  Throughout the course I have made decisions about which tools and forms of technology best fit the learning situation.  I have compiled a list of useful resources I have found over the duration of the course and plan to use them with students and share them with colleagues.

AECT Standards

Standard 1: DESIGN

Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

1.1 Instructional Systems Design (ISD)

Within the application of this definition, ‘design’ is interpreted at both a macro- and micro-level in that it describes the systems approach and is a step within the systems approach. The importance of process, as opposed to product, is emphasized in ISD.

1.1.1 Analyzing: process of defining what is to be learned and the context in which it is to be learned.

1.1.2 Designing: process of specifying how it is to be learned.

1.1.3 Developing: process of authoring and producing the instructional materials.

1.1.4 Implementing: actually using the materials and strategies in context.

1.2 Message Design

Message design is embedded within learning theories (cognitive, psychomotor, behavioral, perceptual, affective, constructivist) in the application of known principles of attention, perception, and retention which are intended to communicate with the learner. This sub-domain is specific to both the medium selected and the learning task.

1.3 Instructional Strategies

In practice, instructional strategies interact with learning situations. The results of these interactions are often described by instructional models. The appropriate selection of instructional strategies and instructional models depends upon the learning situation (including learner characteristics), the nature of the content, and the type of learner objective.

1.4 Learner Characteristics

Learner characteristics impact specific components of instruction during the selection and implementation of instructional strategies. For example, motivation research influences the selection and implementation of instructional strategies based upon identified learner characteristics. Learner characteristics interact with instructional strategies, the learning situation, and the nature of the content.


Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

2.1 Print Technologies

Print technologies include verbal text materials and visual materials; namely, text, graphic and photographic representation and reproduction. Print and visual materials provide a foundation for the development and utilization of the majority of other instructional materials.

2.2 Audiovisual Technologies

Audiovisual technologies are generally linear in nature, represent real and abstract ideas, and allow for learner interactivity dependent on teacher application.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies

Computer-based technologies represent electronically stored information in the form of digital data. Examples include computer-based instruction (CBI), computer-assisted instruction (CAI), computer-managed instruction (CMI), telecommunications, electronic communications, and global resource/reference access.

2.4 Integrated Technologies

Integrated technologies are typically hypermedia environments which allow for: (a) various levels of learner control, (b) high levels of interactivity, and (c) the creation of integrated audio, video, and graphic environments. Examples include hypermedia authoring and telecommunications tools such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web.


Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.1 Media Utilization

Utilization is the decision-making process of implementation based on instructional design specifications.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations

With an ultimate goal of bringing about change, the process includes stages such as awareness, interest, trial, and adoption.

This course coincides with Boise States Department of Educational Technology mission and the College of Education’s conceptual framework.


Part 2: Assess Performance


Proficient: 85 points

I feel my responses were thoughtful with connections to my thoughts and experiences.  I do not consider myself good at elaboration, interpretation and analysis so some of my comments may be considered somewhat brief and superficial.

Readings and Resources

Proficient-Basic: 25 points

This is probably the area I struggled with most.  I feel like I used knowledge and information from the course readings to form a basis for my comments and I referred to this indirectly but very seldom recall quoting and citing texts directly within my responses.


Outstanding: 25 points

My responses were made in as timely a manner as possible.  I tried to respond early to my classmates and attempted to select those with few previous comments.  This was not always possible as one had to wait for initial postings.

Response to Other Students

Proficient: 25 points

I believe that I made the required postings for all the assignments with the exception of one.  I was out of town for a week and looked over the requirement and failed to make comments. The responses I did make were of sufficient detail to address and respond to the post.

 Total: 160 points


Artifact #2: Classroom Gamification Through Badges×202.png

Following my reading of Developing Effective Technology Plans by John See, the touch typing portion of my instruction may need revamped in order to integrate it more effectively into the curriculum (See, 1992).  This itself may help motivate students to take typing more seriously, but for now I’ve taken an approach to motivating students under my current model of instruction.  In this artifact I plan to highlight the research of gamification in the form of badges to increase to student motivation.  More specifically I will describe how earning achievements/badges have motivated my students to learn and perfect their touch typing skills.

As I began my first year as a computer/technology teacher, I followed the plans laid out before me from a colleague that’s had a chance to work through numerous strategies and ideas to help students along with touch typing.  I moved through the semester employing her methods and found they just didn’t fit my style and under my direction, I was not seeing the progress I wanted.  Often times, I would catch students doing whatever they could to stall from opening the typing program.  When they were typing, I caught students peaking at the keys or blatantly ignoring my requests to have their fingers on the home row keys.  I frequently attempted to communicate the importance of typing skills to their future in education and in their careers, but this hasn’t worked either.  Nothing I could think of was motivating my students to put forth more effort.

Upon returning from the Ohio Educational Technology Conference in February, where I first encountered the term gamification, I took a different direction in an effort to spur progression through their touch typing lessons.  I listened to Dr. Sean Dickers (S. Dickers, personal communication, February 12, 2013) talk about students spending hours playing video games where they received little to no reward aside from personal satisfaction in overcoming a challenge and earning achievements to increase their score.  This point hit me.  I went back to school in search of motivational ideas and strategies to encourage a more focused effort on their touch typing.

The Research:

In this search I came across a reading about in one of my RSS feeds.  The idea sounded appealing so researched further before implementing the idea with my classes. Here is what I found and experiences so far:

My primary aims for beginning a badge system were to give students a clearer picture of their goal and their progress toward the goal.  Research has shown that badges are successful in establishing clear goals to be achieved (Antin & Churchill, 2011; Siering, 2012).  By creating badges for my classroom I’ve established clear goals for students to examine and work toward achieving.  Many of my typically unmotivated students can tell me about the hours they’ve spent trying to beat a video game.  And for what?  What do they get?  A virtual trophy? More coins? An achievement icon and points to add to their gamer score?  Essentially nothing, but it doesn’t matter to them.  They beat the challenge and they have the record to prove it.  They are the type of people who as Ling (2005) puts it, “consume” goals (Ling, 2005).   Their primary interest is achieving the goals, and they put time and effort into doing so.  Their reward is satisfaction in achieving the goal and overcoming the challenge set forth before them (Antin & Churchill, 2011).

Badges also allow users to track progress toward a larger goal (Antin & Churchill, 2011; Siering, 2012).  Fortunately, the typing program I use has a built in feature to allow students to see progress toward their initial goal, but it does little to recognize an achievement once the goal is reached.  This is where the badge system provides that little extra push.  For students motivated by grades and being at the top of the class, badges provide that status symbol (Antin & Churchill, 2011).  I’ve established badges for those wanting to go above and beyond the expected goal.  Earning this badge gives these students bragging rights for their higher achievements without having to brag.  Their badge speaks for itself.

My secondary goal is to get students to spend more time practicing typing.  When using the computer at home students easily revert to old habits and forget all they have been taught, earning a badge provides the extra motivation and reminder to keep practicing their keyboarding skills no matter where they use a computer.  Earning badges has been shown to increase the amount of time one spends on an activity (Koo, 2012).  As you will soon read my badge system has been effective in at least creating the desire to spend more time engaged in typing.  In the future I would like to implement an online practice area that allows me to track time students spend on typing it home.  (In hindsight, it would have been beneficial to research to implement this before the badges program and see if use increased.)

To pilot this project this year, I started out with my third grade students.  In second grade these students began touch typing by learning their homerow keys.  They spent the entire year on this lesson as it is the most difficult because of the number of keys they learn in one lesson.  Touch typing is exciting at first and students love it, but for many the excitement fades quickly in second grade when the newness fades and they aren’t seeing progress.  They lose the desire and motivation to continue learning.  I saw this with my third graders and wanted to start something to create a challenge with an attached achievement.  Something that would also allow them to track their progress and provide some form of extrinsic motivation, albeit in the form on an electronic badge.

Students were excited about the program upon the introduction.  They wanted to see the badge and wanted to get back to typing to try and earn the next, or possibly first badge.  I usually begin class with ten minutes of touch typing, which is typically greeted with moans and complaints.  Since implementing classbadges, students are quick to login and start typing.  Rarely do I hear the complaints and groans unless it is because they just missed a lesson and were close to passing.  I have also seen a desire to practice more.  Numerous students have approached asking how to use the program at home, which sadly they cannot.  I have directed students to the numerous sites available for free though to practice typing on line.  Before school lets out, I will try to put together a list of sites I recommend for typing practice over summer break.

I know badges are not the answer for all students and it will take some more time to judge its effectiveness, but so far I feel a more positive attitude toward the time spent practicing and I’m hearing more desire to type correctly.  I also like the ability I have to easily track progress and provide means for students to check and show off their own progress as motivation to continue typing.  Badges and insignia have been used for years in the military to denote rank, skills, qualifications, missions, etc.  Just looking at a uniformed military member with numerous badges and insignia respect is commanded for the authority they have gained in the time, training, and experiences they have encountered to earn their badges.  I see class badges in the same light, although at a much different level.  When students reach a specified benchmark or have mastered a specific skill they deserve some recognition and for some, a badge is just enough to push the student on.  They will know that when others look at their badges they will know the time and effort put forth to obtain it.


Antin, J., & Churchill, E. F. (2011). Badges in social media: A social psychological perspective. Retrieved from

Koo, G. (2012, March 7). Games, badges and learning valuable games. Weblogs at Harvard Law School. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from

Ling, K., Beenen, G., Ludford, P., Wang, X., Chang, K., Li, X., … & Kraut, R. (2005). Using social psychology to motivate contributions to online communities. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 10(4), 00-00. DOI: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2005.tb00273.x

Siering, G. (2012, March). Gamification: Using game-like elements to motivate and engage students. Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from

Research in Educational Technology

Although this assignment took considerably more time than the previous ones I found it useful in getting back into the mindset of an active researcher/learner. Having been out of school for only a few years I couldn’t believe I had forgotten as much as I did about researching and citing sources. It was good to get back into the swing of locating scholarly research and learning about the many fresh new ways to do so with the advances in technology and the number of publications now found online.

In order to stay relevant to my students and in today’s society and in order to prepare my students for the 21st century I must stay current on today’s technology, educational and otherwise. Growing up a “gamer” and still enjoying a good video game, this research intrigues me. Despite some gray areas such as what to do about topics needing covered for the current format of standardization tests, I see great potential in video games leading to deeper, student centered learning, while promoting many of the skills contributing to their future success.

Finally, throughout my journey in this course I’ve found and subscribed to many useful resources, of which I can now add Google Scholar email alerts. Now, if I only had time to read even a small portion of these!

Link to Wentworth C – Annotated Bib