Project Management for Educators

1. Project Management Document

  1. Why is this project needed? This project will help students discover the importance of the food chain and biomes.
  2. What is this project about? (a brief description) Students will get into groups of about six people per group. Each group will receive a “letter” from the city environmental department describing the sudden problematic mosquito infestation near at pond which is near a subdivision. The students must research to find what could be causing the sudden influx, and then must come up with environmentally safe ways to try and combat the overabundance of mosquitos.
  3. What is the goal of this project? To help students understand what a delicate system biomes are and how the food chain helps to maintain biomes and the environment.
  4. What will be the end results of the project? (the “deliverables” in business terms) The students will present a report of their findings and theories as to why this phenomenon has occurred. They must also present their ideas for dealing with the problem.
  5. What will this project not do, even if it could be done easily? It will not be a rote memorization project on what makes up each biome or drawing a food cycle.
  6. What type of project is this? (inquiry, design, debate, expression; prescriptive exploratory; or a combination) This project is inquiry based.
  7. What is the driving question, problem, issue or personal perspective that motivates the work in this project? The driving question is how can the influx of mosquitoes harm the environment, and what can be done to solve it?
  8. When will the project need to be completed? This project will be done over the course of a week.
  9. Where will the project be done? The project will be done both in class and at home if more time is needed.
  10. What resources are needed to successfully compete the project? (equipment, tools materials, funding, technology, online resources, books, etc.) Students will use their ipads for internet research. They will also need access to a computer, printer, and paper to produce their report.
  11. How will the project be evaluated? (quality of the project work and end results, the learning outcomes, the effectiveness of the project methods) The project will be evaluated on their correctness of biome and feasibility of their solutions.
  12. What risks are involved in the project? (events or conditions that may delay or impact project work) Time could be a big factor if for some reason they are not able to connect with the resources they need to do their research. If there is someone on the team not pulling their weight that could lead to time management issues as well as personality and congeniality issues within the group dynamic.

2. Team Agreement Document

  • Who will be involved in the project, and what is each person’s role or roles? Students will be involved in the project. There must be a project manager who is in charge of making sure everyone is doing the job assigned. There will also be researchers, statistician, and a person or persons who is the presenter.
  • What are each team member’s strengths, expertise and preferences? The project manager must be someone who is able to get along, lead, delegate, keep up with progress and hold group meeting. The researchers must have good internet skills and be able to understand the difference between reliable and unreliable sources. Each students in the group will be a researcher. The statistician must be someone who is very capable in math to double check any computations that are needed. The presenters must be able to speak in front of a group with confidence.
  • How and how often will the project team communicate with each other? They should communicate daily to recap on where they are in the project.
  • How will outside experts, coaches and advisors be used in the project? If possible, an environmentalist would be a good person to bring in and discuss with the students how important a proper balance of different environmental variables are in maintaining the environment.
  • How will decisions be made? An outside group (parents, other teachers, administrators, and environmentalists) will be brought in for the presentations and their input will be taken into consideration over the different proposals.
  • How will project changes be handled? The project manager will go back to the group and changes will be discussed.
  • How will disagreements be resolved? If disagreements can not be managed by the project manager or the group in itself, the teacher will step in to resolve the issues.

3. WorkPlan Document

  • A list of project deadlines for each phase of the project work (when each of the Define, Plan, Do and Review phases should be completed) Day 1: Define.    Day 2:  Plan.  Day  3: Plan.  Day 4: plan.  Day 5:  Do.
  • A list of project tasks in the order they need to be performed: Students will be assigned a powerpoint to watch at home to introduce the topic of food chains and biomes to give them prior knowledge. 1. The problem will be presented and students will have their roles assigned to them. 2. Research of the problem will begin.  3. Once a consensus about the origin of the problem is reached within the group, they will plan their solution for the problem. 4. Once a solution has been decided on, the group will begin to work on their presentation. 5. The group will present their findings and prospective solutions to individuals outside of the classroom.
  • The project owners for each of the tasks: will be the students
  • The resources needed for each task (materials, tools, funding, expert advice, etc.) They will each use their iPads to help with researching, a computer for their presentation, possibly the use of the SmartBoard if they choose to use a visual presentation. A printer for printing out their report. Possibly and environmentalist to act as yet another resource for information.
  • Time schedules for each of the tasks (start and finish dates) Since I do not have “dates” I am estimating 6 days to complete the project. Day 1: Introduction of the project  Day 2-4: Research and gathering their information. Day 5: Creating their presentation. Day 6: Presenting their findings to a “committee” of administrators, other teachers, and subject matter experts.
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Reflection and Assessment

My Class Reflection

In reflecting on my past few months in this course, it hit me exactly how much I have learned. For instance, just because technology is available, does not mean you should always use it just to use it. You must Asses your lesson and decide if technology use can make it better. I think that is the most important thing. People can get caught up using technology with no beneficial results just for the sake of using it. I also have learned about many great websites and software that help with technology in the classroom both from my own research and through the wonderful work of my classmates, as well as how to implement them in my classroom. It has been a true learning experience.

AECT standards are mastered through the coursework by teaching how to design the use of technology according to the needs of students. (Standard 1) This class also has taught me how to combine different forms of technology such as video, media, written word, and the Internet to create a well-rounded lesson. (Standard 2) I have also learned how to integrate media as well as how web based instruction through different lessons such as using the web for research and information. (Standard 3)  I have also learned how to pace and manage time when using technology. We must allow time for technological delays or extended learning time and that we must have some flexibility and make sure that we plan for what is needed all the while making sure we are meeting standards. (Standard 4) Assessment to me is one of the most important reasons to use technology. With immediate feedback in both summative and formative assessments, adjustments can be made as needed and help can be given in a timely manner to better help in the learning process. (Standard 5).

I have grown professionally by learning from the coursework as well as my classmates. I have also learned from my own mistakes.  I have had to go back a few times and reexamine a lesson that I thought was fine, but ended up being lackluster because I would overlook something or there was a better tool that I neglected to use. By looking at what I am use to doing and then looking at my classmates work or by my instructor gently leading me to a better idea or tool, I have learned to look in all areas and think outside the box.  It will be these things that I have learned that I will take to my classroom with me. As I stated earlier, I think the biggest thing that I learned was if a lesson isn’t broke don’t try and fix it with technology.  Through this course I have learned how to use technology in an effective way that will benefit the classroom and engage students while meeting standards.

Theory is important when developing lessons and assignments. It is important that as an educator I must remember the reason for utilizing it. Technology is suppose to be a tool that enhances learning for all types of students and creates opportunity for higher order thinking skills.  While creating assignments I will look to see if the software and technology leant itself to higher order thinking or addressed special needs. Technology needs to be a tool to help students of all learning types succeed by being able to differentiate and give students that one on one instruction time some so desperately need. It is individualized for the individual student. This is why using technology effectively along with standards is the key to successful students. That is what I have learned these past few months. It has really made me realize the benefits and pitfalls and has taught me how to identify the difference.

Assessment of Blogs

Content Score: 150/150

I really enjoyed the blogs. This is the first time that I ever blogged and it really was a great way to explore a topic. I always took my time when writing the blogs. Especially since I knew others would be looking at it. I took the time and did the research for each blog, it took me a couple of time before I found my own voice and veered away from writing it like an English paper, but I always believed they were up to standards.

Sources Score: 28/30

I wish I could say that I always had sources with my blogs with exception of my first. I did not cite sources there. I overlooked that criteria. My mistake.

Timeliness Score: 25/25

My blogs were always turned in in a timely manner.

Response Score: 45/50

This was my weak area. I tried to leave responses that were insightful and added to the blog, but sometimes I felt like I fell short. Although I tried, I felt like I could have dug deeper and gave better responses for some replies. Not all, but some.

Total: 248/255

Obstacles of Using Technology in Physical Education

When asked to choose a content area where there are obstacles for using technology, Physical Education seemed most obvious to me. There are several reasons for this. One is that Physical Education most of the time does not take place in a traditional classroom. Classes usually meet in a gym or on a field. In most cases there are not desks and chairs, especially in elementary and middle school. Another is how to integrate technology into P.E. What is the purpose? Why do it? Does it help in teaching Physical Ed? I believe it does.

A paper entitled, “Are we teaching the Use of Technology in Physical Education?” by LM Waugh which was presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference. It approaches the topic of the lack of technology use in P.E. What was most shocking was the answers to a questionnaire given to teachers. Seven out of nine participants did not use any technology in their class. Some believed it wasn’t beneficial and that it was just thrown in as another standard they had to meet. Others did not understand how to implement technology in their P.E. class.

What I believe is the main obstacle for technology in any content area is lack of teacher training. In an article entitled, “Can Teacher Technology Integration Training Alone Lead to High Levels of Technology Integration?” states that most of the time training deals more with administration and less about how to use it as part of the curriculum. The paper states that 58% of teachers still do not use technology in the classroom and that after “training” the number does not improve by much. So I believe it is not the lack of training, but the type of training. Teachers need the type of training that makes technology use both relevant and authentic to them, terms that we use when we describe using technology for student learning. If the type of training used can’t convince teachers who teach core subjects, how can it be used to convince those who teach Physical Education?

Maybe if training was geared to be more individualized. Maybe more schools should have a full-time technology coordinator who is able to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom. I worked at a school were each classroom had a  smart board, but only about half were used. Most teachers used it as another white board, or were so intimidated and lost they never used it. This included the Physical Education department. If Physical Education teachers could be shown how to implement technology into their class, they would be more apt to use it. There are great websites to give P.E. teachers inspiration such as A Hotlist on Physical Education. Unfortunately, some teachers have no idea that information such as this exists.

If more technology is to be used by teachers in all subject areas, there must be better training geared toward making it more relevant and personalized so that teachers can see the benefits and how it can apply to their classroom. Otherwise, it will be viewed as the one P.E. teacher believed, another thing they have to do. Another standard that needs covering.

Resources:

Zhao, Y, & Bryant, F. (2010). Can teacher technology integration training alone lead to high levels of technology integration? a qualitative look at teachers’ technology integration after state mandated technology training. Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education,5. Retrieved from http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume5/Zhao.pdf

Waugh, L. (2010). Are we teaching the use of technology in physical education. Retrieved from http://aahperd.confex.com/aahperd/ 2009/webprogram/Paper12659. html