Week 1: Defining the Field

1. How do the definitions in the first chapter compare to your own definition of instructional or educational technology?
One thing I found very interesting is how long instructional technology has been in existence.  My definition or my first thoughts of instructional technology begins in the mid-90’s.  One thing I have observed through my experiences with technology is how quickly it changes and becomes obsolete.  The definitions of instructional technology have also continually adapted and changed since its inception during the 1920’s to reflect current trends and philosophies.  Until 5 years ago, my definition was about the media and the medium in which it was delivered (CDs, DVDs, internet-based, films, and video).  Since I began teaching technology courses, I have seen the importance of including instructional design procedures to benefit the learner’s performance.
What experiences or other influences have shaped your definition?

A major influence on my definition of the field of instructional technology stems from an opportunity I had last fall to assist in the redesign of World Geography and History GEO courses last fall.  GEO (Garland Education Online) is open-source software from Moodle online Learning Management System (LMS).  The focus of GEO is to compliment and reinforce learning through-out the district at the secondary level for both students and faculty/staff.  The district uses the Moodle software to develop, maintain, and manage online courses.  I have been using GEO for 4 years and I see how it can be a valuable resource for both educators and students.  I am gaining a better understanding how instructional technology and design needs to be continually evaluated and a tool to drive the learner’s performance.
How has your definition changed from examining the definitions in the first chapter of this book?
The definitions in the first chapter of the book allowed me to see how instructional design and technology is more than simply using technology media in the classroom.  The definition encompasses 5 domains: design, development, implementation, evaluation, and management.  These domains drive the instruction and learning in both education and the workplace and are all interrelated in non-linear methods.  I use non-linear video editing all through the year and I like how the domains all compliment and support the others in any order that is appropriate.  One thing that I have learned is to not focus solely on the media but rather the design and process in which the learning is taking place.  This definition reaffirms my belief in the constructivist approach in which the learning is student-centered.  
2. Next, think of a lesson or unit of instruction that you have developed. Or if you haven’t ever taught or developed instruction, think of one that you have received. How does that lesson adhere or fail to adhere to the six characteristics of instructional design? 
A couple of lessons come to mind when deciding on a lesson use.  The first is a capstone (end of year) project I created for a Webmastering course I taught last school year.  The objective of this lesson was to create a “real world” scenario in which students designed, implemented, and maintained their own web design company for a fictional client.  The second lesson is also a capstone project I created for my Digital Video & Audio Design (DVAD) students this school year.  I decided to use the DVAD project for the reason I am teaching this class again next year.
For the DVAD project, students were to create a short film in which the objective was to display the knowledge and skills they had acquired throughout the year.  This project was an class wide project with all the students participating in different roles and responsibilities.  The first goal was for the students to select a film company name and film genre.  The purpose was to create a project that was student-centered with each class assigning roles ranging from producers/directors, writers, storyboard artists, editors, camera crew, and on-camera talent.  Before the production of the film could begin, each class selected two students to represent the class and submit a project pitch to me, the executive producer.  Students were excited to have a project that was to be their own creation from start to finish.  The instructional design began to fail to adhere to the student-centered learning characteristic.  This breakdown was evident when students did not have enough responsibilities/tasks to keep each student actively engaged about half way through the project.  Some students were off task and allowed their classmates to do the majority of the work.
The instructional design was goal oriented throughout the life of the project for those students who took pride and leadership in the project.  The objective of the project was to follow the production lifecycle: pre-production, production, and post-production to complete the short film.  Each class followed the production processes, drawing upon knowledge that had been taught and discussed throughout the year using a variety of online instructional media, lessons, and hands-on learning.  Meaningful performance began to break down and failed to be present throughout the project.  As mentioned earlier, all the students were excited and engaged when the project started but the performance level dropped as the project moved through the production lifecycle.  The authentic performance measures were easily identified with the complex skills needed to complete the project.  Although, each class did complete their short film, the meaningful performance was not evident for every student throughout and quality of the production suffered.
The outcomes of the instructional design adhered to the objectives of the project to create a short film using the production lifecycle.  The assessment technique was to observe how the short films followed the shot compositions, camera techniques, and editing principles learned throughout the year.  The validity and reliability of the project was easily measured as the final short films depicted many of the techniques and skills learned throughout the year.  Each class displayed iterative as they would have to find work arounds for absent students and other obstacles that presented themselves as the productions progressed.  The classes had to uncover self-correcting strategies to complete their objectives when faced with adversity.  It was encouraging to see students working as team just as a real-world production company would produce a short film from beginning to end.  
How would you redesign it to better adhere to the six characteristics? 

I knew it would be difficult to design and create a project that would involve each student during the production lifecycle.  In order to better adhere to the six characteristics, dividing the classes in half or thirds would be a process to keep the students more engaged throughout.  One other method to adhere to would be, bring more attention and focus to the grading rubric and provide intermediate feedback on the intermediate objectives.
3. In the 3rd chapter, Reiser distinguishes instructional media from instructional design, excluding teachers, chalkboards, and textbooks from the definition of instructional media. 
Reiser distinguishes instructional media excluding teachers, chalkboards, and textbooks from the definition.  Instructional media are supplementary teaching tools to provide instruction and knowledge for a variety of learning styles.  These tools provide educators options from the traditional lecture and textbook help to direct learning as student-centered.
Would you consider teachers, chalkboards, and textbooks instructional media?
I have difficulty putting teachers, chalkboards, and textbooks in the category of instructional media.  Instructional media from the definition in the book moves the instruction to student-centered.  Chalkboards and textbooks are not a student-centered in the learning style.  When the teacher is providing the instruction, the student is passively learning.  Instructional media provides students with an active role and responsible for their own learning.  
Is the purpose of instructional design to incorporate media into instruction?
Instructional design allows for the awareness of instructional problems and the methods to develop solutions to solve these problems.  Instructional media is the not the fix but rather a resource used when designing and implementing instruction.  The purpose of instructional design is to uncover the methods students learn and what motivates them.  Research in instructional design has led to the theory that learning should be student focused and what instructional methodologies will stimulate and motivate student learning.
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