Measuring Appy Hour
The idea of “Appy Hour” came to me one night when I was looking on Twitter. I saw someone mention something similar and I though to myself “Yes! Professional development in technology can be the worst!” It was then I decided to tackle the idea of exposing the teachers of Moore Elementary, a school in the suburbs of Houston, to the idea of using apps and technology both outside of school and in their classrooms.
I feel like if we aren’t out there, changing the way we are teaching and expecting the same from our students in the way they are showing learning, we are losing valuable opportunities to give these kids real life experiences. In what job market are we going to let kids come in with no soft skills or tech skills and function in a job? Not many, I can only assume. Technology is changing our world faster than ever. “The only way to prepare for the radical changes in the future workforce is to ensure that we recruit, select, and support teachers who are highly talented, innovative, and well suited to growing students’ critical thinking skills. (Fraynd, 2014).
My “Appy Hour” idea has changed over the last nine months, going from just an informal meeting to more of a mentoring idea. I still believe that exposing teacher’s to apps for both home and school will increase their likelihood of using technology with their students in the future.
Now I am looking at how am I going to measure my “Appy Hour” idea and what am I going to do with the information. First, I had to understand that anything can be measured. After I got that through my head, it was all about figuring out what I really want to measure and what I want to learn from it.
I went pretty simple when I created this presentation. If I have learned one thing over my time working with “Appy Hour” is to keep it simple, like the idea itself. I created a simple Powerpoint and then dropped it in to a Slideshare. Nothing too fancy but hopefully effective enough to get my ideas out there. I also have enjoyed working with the Mix add on with Powerpoint, but for this I wanted the reader to be able to advance the screen themselves to read at their own speed.
I hope you have enjoyed my jump into measurement. My next post will address the literature that I looked at to come up with the presentation and also my final measurement plan!
And The Literature Says…
When I was looking at the literature that I have accessed over the past 10 months, I had to focus in on ones that actually addressed issues that I am focusing in on with my “Appy Hour” idea. Although there is an abundance of research on 1:1 implementation and blended learning, I wanted to look at the research that focused on my three areas of measurement.
The research was by no means abundant in terms of teacher comfort, or of their use in technology for their own learning. Most of the research addressed different professional development models and teacher perceptions of their abilities. I had to read through many articles and find the small section where my issues were addressed specifically. There were multiple articles that I have been assigned or read over the last few months that just did not apply, such as the ones on mobile learning worldwide. Some of those did have a small discussion on professional development, but not really addressing what I am interested in measuring.
When looking at the literature, as it relates to measuring “Appy Hour”, I began to see some trends that helped me formulate what I wanted to focus on. Because “Appy Hour” is more focused on the teacher’s than the students, the measurements that I want to look at are:
- The teacher’s level of comfort with technology.
- Teacher’s use of technology for their own learning.
- Is “Appy Hour” changing behaviors in the classroom?
The literature overwhelmingly states that if teachers are not comfortable with technology, they will be more hesitant to use it in their classrooms. In a study by the University of Washington, Giacomini, Lyle, and Wynn (2012) find that teacher proficiencies may impact the choices that teachers are making of their use of technology in the class (p. 5). When teacher’s do not feel comfortable using technology, whether it be a computer, iPad, or other existing technologies, they are less likely to use them in instruction. Stansbury (2011) states that as teachers use technology for personal purposes, their comfort level will increase in the workplace. This seems like common sense, but so many administrators overlook the ideas that teachers who are hesitant to have new technology at home, such as a smart phone, are going to be the ones who struggle with implementing technology at school. Venskey states that teacher’s pedagogy and beliefs must be addressed for successful ICT innovation to take place (p. 15). If teachers did not have sufficient ICT skills themselves, they were not likely to change the pedagogy to include ICT skills or change their beliefs about the usefulness of ICT in the classroom. Mundy, Kupczynski, and Lee report that teachers need to use technology at a basic level before they are comfortable using it in the classroom (p. 3).
Looking at the teacher’s use of technology in their own lives and learning is another factor that we need to measure when looking at “Appy Hour” and its success or failure at Moore Elementary. The Horizon Report for 2015 shows that a trend in pre service professional development is that it is more of a teacher’s responsibility to go out and see what they need in regards to technology (p. 25 ). Teachers who use technology outside the classroom to further their own learning, whether about technology or just teaching in general, are more likely to transition to having their student’s use technology for their own learning. Zogheib states that once teachers can use technology for general purposes, the transition is easier to the educational setting (p. 14). So it makes sense that teachers that are out there using, for example, Twitter to expand their own personal learning networks, are more apt to have students using tools such as Twitter to expand their own learning. It is also important to look at how much teachers are using technology, specifically computers, to teach in relation to how much they use it in their everyday lives. Kumar, Rose, and D’Silva state that a teacher’s usage of computers is determined by how often they use computers for teaching, learning, and personal needs (p. 154). A teacher who uses technology in their daily lives, to learn and to grow, is a teacher that is more apt to use it in the classroom.
The final factor that we need to look at when measuring “Appy Hour” is the change in behaviors brought about by attending. ” We cannot expect students to change what they do if we are content for teachers to continue doing what they have always done” (Harwell, 2003). If teachers are not in their classroom trying new technology and exposing their students to it, are we preparing our learners for the future? Harwell states that when teachers take time to “interact, study together, discuss teaching, and help one another put into practice new skills and strategies, they grow” (Harwell, 2003). And the entire idea of “Appy Hour” is for teachers to grow so their students can also grow. By measuring the change in behaviors, we can show that the “Appy Hour” idea is a format that has teachers learning from each other in a non-threatening environment about new technology and apps that can be used in everyday life and hopefully transferred to the classroom. A whitepaper by Common Sense Media states that peer-directed, collaborative learning with an emphasis on hands-on learning is the key to professional development that shows student success (p. 13). I cannot think of a better way to describe our “Appy Hour” experience.
When looking for surveys to model my own measurement after, I found two of particular interest to my first two measurements. The TPACK survey, found in the research project by Schmidt et al., addresses some of the comfort questions, but also gathers information on teachers use of technology both for their learning, and for use in their classrooms. The second survey, by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology addresses the teacher use of technology for their own learning. Some information can be ascertained about the level of comfort from some parts of that survey also.
In the future, I have more research to do on the mentoring model that I am going to chose to add to my “Appy Hour” plan next school year. I have read many articles about mentoring and how teacher’s really prefer that method, but I need to explore if there are different kinds of mentoring out there to play around with.
Giacomini, C., Lyle, H., III, & Wynn, W. (2012, October). Developing a Context-Specific Measure of Technological Expertise: The University of Washington. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2012/10/sei1204-pdf.pdf
Harwell, S. H. (n.d.). Teacher Professional Development: It’s Not an Event, It’s a Process. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://www.cord.org/uploadedfiles/HarwellPaper.pdf
Horizon Report 2015 K-12 Edition. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf
Innovative Professional Development Helps Teachers Use Technology to Tackle CCSS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://www.techlearning.com/portals/0/Graphite_WhitePaper_ProfessionalDevelopment_040214.pdf
Kumar, N., Rose, R. C., & D’Silva, J. L. (n.d.). A Review on Factors Impinges Computer Usage in Education. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://thescipub.com/PDF/jssp.2008.146.157.pdf
Mundy, M., Kupczynski, L., & Kee, R. (2012, March 13). Teacher Perceptions of Technology Use in the Schools. Retrieved from http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/03/05/2158244012440813
Stansbury, M. (2011). 10 ways to change the minds of tech-reluctant staff. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/11/18/10-ways-to-change-the-minds-of-tech-reluctant-staff/
Venezky, R. (n.d.). ICT in Innovative Schools: Case Studies of Change and Impact. Retrieved May 01, 2016, from http://www.oecd.org/site/schoolingfortomorrowknowledgebase/themes/ict/41187025.pdf
Zogheib, S. (n.d.). Factors Affecting Preservice Teachers’ Computer Use For General Purposes: Implications For Computer Training Courses. Retrieved June 26, 2016, from http://ets.sagepub.com/content/43/1/35.full.pdf
Measuring Appy Hour Plan
My measurement plan for “Appy Hour” has went through sort of an evolution throughout the past few weeks. With help from my collegues, I have narrowed my focus on what I want to measure at this point. At first, I was struggling if I was going to measure the student outcomes of “Appy Hour” or the teacher perceptions and changes. I finally decided on looking at the teachers first. My decision is based on my idea that I have to get the teachers participating more and then the student outcomes can become a second form of measurement after I have maximum participation.
I will begin measuring the teacher perceptions and usage using a variation of the TUPS survey that can be found here. My survey can be found at this google link. By looking at the teacher’s usage and perceptions, I can begin to see if the teachers are using technology and what they feel like their strengths and weaknesses are. Using that information will be helpful in planning future professional development during “Appy Hour”.
My second survey is based on a TPACK survey, and can be found at this google link. The original survey was created for pre-service teachers, so I left off the questions that dealt with current classes. The original survey can be found here. I plan on using this survey to further strengthen my choices of topics to use during “Appy Hour”.
The third survey can be found at this google link. I created this survey specifically to measure if Appy Hour is changing teacher behaviors. By administering this at the beginning of an “Appy Hour” cycle and at the end, I should have data that shows if teachers are changing their behavior based on “Appy Hour” topics and interactions.
I plan on sharing the results to all my surveys with the administration and my computer tech apps teacher to help drive future staff development ideas. With this information, hopefully they will see the benefit of presenting technology training in a more hands-on, interactive way. By putting the results into an excel spreadsheet, to show the different percentages for each of the answers on the scale, I think we will be able to get a more accurate view on where the teachers at Moore stand in terms of comfort, use for their own learning, and if “Appy Hour” has helped them transfer skills into working with the students.
I couldn’t find much information about the validity and reliability of either survey. I will have these done anonymously to help with the “honesty” part of any survey. All three surveys will also use a Likert scale format, if possible, to show a wider range of answers. Finally, after hearing that many surveys are compromised by not having a “N/A” option from my professor, I added that to each question where it was appropriate.
Final Thoughts on Measurement – Appy Hour
When we first began this class, I can promise you I was not a happy camper. I am not a numbers girl and while trudging through the text and getting caught up in all the math, I was becoming very afraid for my measurement “career”. As usual, about week 3 to 4, the clouds parted and everything began to really make sense. Once I got the big ideas from the text, I was really able to focus down my questions.
After input from Dr. Harapnuik and the other’s in my cohort at Lamar, I began to really see a plan coming together. You can see the beginnings of my plan in my presentation. I did have to go back and edit it to be less reading and more something that I can use in a large group setting. I plan on giving it a test drive in August when I present my “Appy Hour” idea to other teachers at a district technology session. Look over my presentation in the following post and let me know what you think.
The next step was the literature review. I really enjoyed the extra amount of time we were given to pour through the literature but I also find myself buried in the sheer number of things that are out there to look at. I really need to work on a way of organizing my information in a better format for me to access when I need it. I sometimes miss the days of being given what to read, but I am enjoying the new hat I’ve added to my arsenal as “researcher”. Enjoy reading what I found out in the following post.
Finally, I started to put together a more detailed plan for my measurement ideas. Some of the ideas I had put in my original presentation, and later removed to cut down on wordiness, so they weren’t as hard to come by. But, other aspects of my plan I feel still need some work. Over the next few months, I can see changing many of the parts of my plan based on my first run through. The following post includes what is sure to be one of many drafts of my plan.
As far as measurement courses go, I feel like we really had the best one that I have heard from all my friends who have went through various master’s programs. The way we are tying all our classes back to our original “innovation” idea is making this program a very enjoyable and valid process for me. I hope you are enjoying reading about it.