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Research Results

Impact of the IMYM Project on Grade 8 Pilot Teachers: A Follow-up Report

May 2001

Prepared by Distance Learning and Information Technologies Unit, Program Development Branch, Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth


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2.0 Discussion of Guiding Questions

IMYM8 pilot teachers were divided into twelve small groups and asked to discuss, and then to share with the large group, their thoughts on the following guiding questions

Part A:

  1. Which OLE and ICT learning experiences do you feel should be removed from the Systems and Interactions unit?
  2. Which OLE and ICT learning experiences should be added to the unit?
  3. Describe how well the Big Picture learning experiences set the stage for the module work.
  4. Describe how well the Investigation and TLE software allowed students to achieve the outcomes of grade 8 Math data analysis.
  5. Of the six modules, which worked well, which presented challenges?

Part B:

  1. What impact did the number of teachers in your IMYM teaching team, the number of modules you did simultaneously, and the scheduling arrangements have on the success of your IMYM pilot experience?
  2. What evaluation and assessment solutions worked for you in your IMYM classroom?

Part C:

  1. What hardware and software are IMYM "classroom essentials", "school essentials", and "division essentials"?
  2. What would you recommend as additional "nice-to-have" components of IMYM hardware/software?

Part D:

  1. Reflecting on the ICT surveys you completed in April 2000 and April 2001, how would you design an ICT skills and competencies technical training program for IMYM teachers?
  2. How would you design a professional learning program for IMYM teachers, using as a guide, the IMYM Teacher's Rubric for Indicators of Pedagogical Skill in Integrating Information and Communication Technologies with Curriculum and Classroom Practice?

 

Part A

Which OLE and ICT learning experiences do you feel should be removed from the Systems and Interactions unit? (n=12)

  • none should be removed - teachers should use their own discretion as to when and how OLEs & ICTs are used (n=4)
  • all of the OLEs and ICTs were valid and valuable experiences in my classroom!
  • collaborative learning should be optional, since not all classrooms may be capable of working that way

OLE

  • OLE 7: Speak Yea! Hear Yea!(n=8)
  • OLE 2: Daily Edit(n=7)
  • OLE 4: Reading Circle (n=6)
  • OLE 8: The Learning Equation (TLE) (n=6)
  • OLE 1: Binder Reminder (n=3)
  • OLE 3: Daily Estimation, Mental Math & Problem Solving (n=3)
  • OLE 9: Issues and Perspectives (n=3)
  • OLE 5: Share the Learning (n=2)
  • OLE 6: Electronic Collection
  • OLE 10: Collaborative Learning

ICTs

  • ICT 4: Conversation Station (n=12)
  • ICT 1: IMYM Bingo (n=7)
  • ICT 6: Roam Your ROM (n=5)
  • ICT 9: Scavenger Hunt (n=4)
  • ICT 5: Webzine (n=3)
  • ICT 8: What's Your Logo? (n=3)
  • ICT 2: Searching the World Wide Web (n=1)
  • ICT 3: What Makes a Good Website Good? (n=1)
  • ICT 7: Inspired (n=1)
  • ICT 10: Creating a Graph (n=1)

Which OLE and ICT learning experiences should be added to the unit? (n=12)

  • none (n=10)
  • integrate ICT's and OLE's into the grade 8 curriculum (n=2)
  • digital camera/digital video learning experiences
  • web authoring learning experiences
  • inventory of basic computer skills for students- provide a rubric for students to self-evaluate and determine their skills and the instruction needed
  • introduce 2 or 3 different methods/styles of working with a class

Describe how well the Big Picture learning experiences set the stage for the module work. (n=12)

  • the Big Picture was a valuable tool - helped set the stage (n=10)
  • the Big Picture was too cumbersome - too much time is spent setting up the Big Picture, it should be simplified
  • good overview - include a crossword software program instead of a puzzlemaker
  • did not like the Big Picture at all!!

Describe how well the Investigation and TLE software allowed students to achieve the outcomes of grade 8 Math data analysis. (n=12)

  • difficult to develop surveys to meet the grade 8 data analysis outcomes (n=8)
  • TLE covered all the grade 8 outcomes (n=4)
  • TLE is a great supplement to classroom instruction (n=2)
  • TLE worked well but its length did not correspond to the length of the interdisciplinary unit
  • teachers need to take ownership in assisting students to develop survey questions that will achieve grade 8 data analysis outcomes
  • TLE must be in French for a French Immersion class
  • TLE is not sufficient in itself, however it makes a great supplement
  • keep math out of the interdisciplinary unit entirely

Of the six modules, which worked well, which presented challenges? (n=12)

Worked Well

  • Flood of Information (n=8)
  • Fountain of Youth (n=4)
  • Thirsty for Knowledge(n=4)
  • Royal Flush (n=3)
  • Ocean of Dreams (n=2)
  • Go with the Flow (n=1

Presented Challenges

  • Ocean of Dreams (n=4)
  • Fountain of Youth (n=4)
  • Go with the Flow (n=1)

General Comments

  • most of the modules were very detailed and offered excellent teaching suggestions
  • all had some excellent learning experiences
  • anything involving video editing made us crazy!!

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Part B

What impact did the number of teachers in your IMYM teaching team, the number of modules you did simultaneously, and the scheduling arrangements have on the success of your IMYM pilot experience? (n=12)

IMYM pilot teachers and teaching teams developed a variety of classroom structures within which to implement the IMYM interdisciplinary unit. There were from one to four teachers involved in each IMYM teaching team.

  • single teacher n=6
  • teacher partners n=12
  • 3 teachers in a teaching team n=5

IMYM teachers said that the advantage of one teacher teaching a single class all four core subjects, is the ease of planning, and the ability to make changes quickly. The disadvantage is that all the organizing is born by that one teacher. Teaching partners seem the most satisfied, as they have a "critical friend" to rely on. However, partners have to develop effective communication skills and methods to ensure a coordinated approach. More than two teachers teaching in a teaching team appears to require a high level of organization and interpersonal skills to ensure success. In all cases, teaching teams recommended that the principal schedule common preparation time for team members.

There are six modules in the Systems and Interactions interdisciplinary unit. Teachers chose to run either 1, 2, 3, or 6 modules simultaneously. One module at a time provided the most linear structure, with most students working on the same task throughout the unit. Two modules at a time allowed teachers to change collaborative groupings three times within the unit, while three modules at a time allowed two group changes. Six modules at a time provided a true jigsaw approach and required the least amount of duplicated learning resources but the highest level of organization and collaborative learning skills.

  • two teachers, six modules at a time -- worked well (n=3)
  • one teacher was great! I could do/adapt as I please. However, it would be nice to have a partner with whom to plan and share learning experiences, ideas, and assessment. (n=3)
  • three teachers coming in and out of the classroom made it difficult - time, scheduling, and collaboration. We chose to do 3 modules at a time and that worked well! (n=2)
  • having three teachers, two classrooms, and three groups of students (total of 65) proved stressful. Personally, I would have preferred a middle years classroom, where I taught one group of students all subjects.
  • having three teachers was difficult because we're all so different in style - learning to collaborate with teaching partners is tough, and so is giving up total control!
  • more teachers in the IMYM team was better than being alone - one module at a time was best for facilitation.
  • having one or two modules running at a time provided the most control - students are more or less on the same task.

What evaluation and assessment solutions worked for you in your IMYM classroom?

IMYM teachers report using a variety of formative assessment strategies that include observation checklists, rubrics, mastery tests, portfolios, and performance assessments. They also use a combination of assessors including student self-assessment, peer-assessment, and teacher assessment. The focus of IMYM assessment includes knowledge, reasoning, skills, processes, and products.

IMYM teachers feel it is important to inform students, colleagues, administrators, and parents of the nature of the authentic assessment of interdisciplinary products, and of how components of each product are assessed to produce marks in different subject areas. They suggested that teaching teams coordinate assessment and plan the assessment task carefully to match the curricular outcomes.

IMYM Assessment

  • used observation checklists to keep track of skills development (n=5)
  • used evaluation rubrics provided in the unit (n=4)
  • used student self-assessments and peer-assessment, combined with teacher assessments (n=2)
  • shared the assessment process with the parents in advance of the evaluation and reporting period
  • used a self-guided tour as a performance task for 1st term evaluation/portfolio for parents and students
  • identified specific areas in the student products, to come up with marks in separate subject areas
  • created authentic assessments such as electronic portfolios organized into webpages with self reflections
  • used peer group work evaluation sheet to assess development of collaborative learning skills
  • made assessment process clear to the students at the start of each new learning experience
  • each one of three teachers took two modules to create learning centres, mark, and assess mastery tests
  • divided the work assigned into Math/Science and ELA/Social Studies and each teacher partner marked those subjects in all modules

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Part C

What hardware and software are IMYM "classroom essentials", "school essentials", and "division essentials"? (n=12)

The experience of IMYM teachers leads them to believe that the information and communication technology should be located in their classrooms, with occasional access to computer labs or library computers. Many teachers prefer tables rather than individual desks to facilitate collaborative groupings. They also recommend that wiring and electrical services be placed around the room rather than altogether in a row. This flexibility enables teachers to use learning centres to make the most effective use of their classroom technology. In addition, students and teachers require some type of display device, a digitizing device such as a scanner, a digital still or video camera, and a printer for output. Essential software includes word processing, concept-mapping, and multimedia presentation.

Classroom Essentials - Hardware

  • Multimedia Computers (n=12)
  • Scanner (n=12)
  • Large Screen Television (n=12)
  • Printers (n=10)
  • Digital Camcorder (n=9)
  • Digital Still Camera (n=9)
  • VCR (n=9)
  • Digital-Analog Converter (n=7)
  • CD Burner (n=5)
  • Internet connectivity (n=3)
  • Telephone/Cell phone (n=3)
  • Firewire (n=2)
  • TV Cart (n=2)
  • Access to School Network (n=2)
  • DVD Drives (n=2)
  • Data Projector (n=1)
  • Cable TV Hookup (n=1)
  • Computer Tables (n=1)

Classroom Essentials - Software

  • Concept-mapping (n=8)
  • Word Processor (n=6)
  • Video-editing (n=6)
  • Multimedia presentation (n=6)
  • Electronic Encyclopedia(s) (n=6)
  • Internet Browser (n=5)
  • Web Page Developer (n=4)
  • The Learning Equation (TLE 8) (n=3)
  • The Water Planet (n=2)
  • Spreadsheet (n=2)
  • Cartopedia (n=1)
  • EBSCO (n=1)
  • More reference CDs (n=1)
  • Paint (n=1)
  • Red River Raging Video (n=1)
  • email (n=1)

School Essentials

IMYM teachers are willing to share/borrow extra hardware within their school, such as a digital video camera, data projector, and occasional access to a computer lab.

Hardware

  • Digital Camcorder (n=3)
  • Computer Lab (n=3)
  • Portable Multimedia Laptops (n=3)
  • Data Projector (n=2)
  • Digital Still Camera (n=2)
  • VCR (n=2)
  • High Speed Internet (n=1)
  • Colour Printer (n=1)
  • Large Screen Television (n=1)
  • Classroom Network Set-up (n=1)
  • Classroom Electrical Ugrades (n=1)
  • CD Burner (n=1)

Software

  • Video-editing (n=1)
  • Photoshop (n=1)

Division Essentials

IMYM teachers also require divisional supports such as technical assistance, and access to web servers and the Internet.

Hardware

  • Technical Support (n=4)
  • Networking Support (n=2)
  • High Speed Internet (n=2)
  • Larger Server (n=2)
  • Divisional Web Server (n=1)

What would you recommend as additional "nice-to-have" components of IMYM hardware/software?

Nice-to-Have Components

Hardware

  • Data Projector (n=10)
  • More Multimedia Computer learning centres (n=4)
  • Second Digital Camera (n=4)
  • Cable TV (n=3)
  • Additional Laptop(s) (n=2)
  • Cellular Phone (n=1)
  • DVD Drive (n=1)
  • Network Access (n=1)
  • High Speed Internet (n=1)
  • Dependable Technical Help (n=1)

Software

  • Microsoft FrontPage (n=3)
  • Adobe Photoshop (n=2)
  • Microsoft Publisher (n=1)
  • DVD Software (n=1)
  • More Reference CDs (n=1)
  • More video editing software (n=1)
  • Multiple copies of software (n=1)

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Part D

Reflecting on the ICT surveys you completed in April 2000 and April 2001, how would you design an ICT skills and competencies technical training program for IMYM teachers? (n=12)

In May 2000, before the start of professional development, the Grade 8 IMYM pilot teachers completed the IMYM Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Rubric at their orientation session. This was the Entrance Assessment. Pilot teachers were asked to self-assess the competency level of their skills in various information and communication technology areas including

In each of these ICT areas, pilot teachers selected from a rubric of four competency levels: a) Beginning, b) Developing, c) Accomplished or d) Exemplary. The complete rubric is found in Appendix B. Pilot teachers repeated this self-assessment at the conclusion of their professional development in May 2001. This was the Exit Assessment.

IMYM8 pilot teachers used their self-assessment to help them, along with their Productivity Tool Training Person and their IMYM Project Team Contact Person, to develop an individualized plan for their ICT professional learning. Each school division Productivity Tool Training person was responsible for training their IMYM8 pilot teacher on basic computer operation, file management, networking, and on word processing, database and spreadsheet applications. The Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth IMYM Project Team concentrated on providing support in graphics/animations, information searching, Internet research, email, hypermedia, videography/video editing, and interdisciplinary pedagogy.

Pilot teachers also used this self-assessment tool to determine the areas in which they could continue to learn and practice their ICT skills in a self-directed manner. Finally, the IMYM Project team used the results from each teacher's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Rubric to organize the IMYM8 professional learning model for the 2000-01 school year.

IMYM8 pilot teachers received 12 days of classroom release time for professional learning related to the project. The first two days were an orientation to the Interdisciplinary Middle Years Multimedia (IMYM) Project and interdisciplinary pedagogy. During the orientation, pilot teachers were introduced to IMYM Project Team members as well as to each other. Sharing and networking among teachers and schools was facilitated. The IMYM classroom was modelled, by providing a variety of learning centres on Computer Guided Learning (CGL), digital camera use, electronic portfolio, PowerPoint, interdisciplinary pedagogy, Inspiration, video capture and web page design. The IMYM8 pilot teachers also received more intensive training in each of these areas over the subsequent ten professional learning days.

One of the remaining ten professional learning days was designated as a self-directed day. Pilot teachers used this time to obtain personalized training in any particular area in which they wanted to strengthen their skills. The final IMYM8 professional learning day took place in May 2001 as a follow-up sharing session. The 12-day IMYM8 Professional Learning Model is outlined below.

IMYM8 Professional Learning Model
Dates Professional Learning Length
May 2000 IMYM orientation/modelling two days
June 2000 hypermedia/PowerPoint half-day
  CGL/The Learning Equation full-day
  interdisciplinary pedagogy half-day
July to December 2000 school division training on basic computer operations, productivity tools, and classroom network management as req'd
September 2000 concept mapping/Inspiration half-day
  digital camera half-day
  web page creation half-day
  interdisciplinary pedagogy half-day
October 2000 CD burning half-day
  videography half-day
  web painter half-day
  interdisciplinary pedagogy half-day
December 2000 Conversation Station half-day
  web page creation half-day
  Excel half-day
  interdisciplinary pedagogy half-day
May 2001 follow-up sharing session full-day
Date Optional self-directed professional learning day full-day
Total   12 days

 

  • survey teachers to discover what they know, what they want to know, and what they need to know
  • provide more training on word processing, spreadsheet, and multimedia presentation software (n=3)
  • provide a variety of sessions from which teachers can choose to ensure everyone gets training in the areas and at levels they need (n=6)
  • introduce application software using examples from the interdisciplinary unit (a lot of time needs to be spent on this!)
  • keep training sessions similar to what we received, but ensure teachers have handouts of instructions for software and hardware
  • divide pilot teachers into groups by platforms (Mac/PC) for training
  • spend 2 days on web development; 2 days on digital camera and video editing; 1 day on digital camera
  • provide more training on how to use educational software
  • provide one-day sessions focussing on one or two topics instead of two-day sessions focussing on four topics
  • provide self-guided learning booklets, online tutorials, and in-class learning experiences
  • provide training on how to use the hardware/equipment and software before the school year starts (software programs can be learned independently if school or divisional support is available)
  • break up training with more time working on developing ICT skills (with support!)

By the end of the IMYM8 year, all 31 teachers reported being at the Accomplished or Exemplary levels in the areas of basic computer operation, file management, Internet research and word processing skills. The most dramatic increase in the ICT skills reported by IMYM8 pilot teachers occurred in the areas of basic computer operation, hypermedia, videography/video editing, web page creation/design and use of email.

All pilot teachers identified improvement in their Information and Communication Technology Literacy skills after their participation in the IMYM8 professional learning model.

How would you design a professional learning program for IMYM teachers, using as a guide, the IMYM Teacher's Rubric for Indicators of Pedagogical Skill in Integrating Information and Communication Technologies with Curriculum and Classroom Practice?

  • provide more assessment idea and evaluation strategies - how to collect assessment data and evaluate student progress (n=5)
  • provide overview of the interdisciplinary unit (Big Picture) and how to plan/structure implementation of the unit
  • provide time for teachers to read through the interdisciplinary unit themselves and discuss it with their colleague, and ask questions
  • include overview of content/goals of interdisciplinary unit
  • provide suggestions on how to structure/organize/plan interdisciplinary instruction and collaborative learning
  • provide information on software to be used in each module, Big Picture, and the Investigation
  • practice pedagogical skills, i.e. using educational software, assessing student performance, individualizing instruction, using adaptive technologies, researching and evaluating the use of technology in education
  • provide time and opportunity to talk with other teachers who have already worked through the IMYM model
  • pair each pilot teacher with an experienced IMYM teacher as a mentor and for classroom visitations

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