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Diversity, Families, and School Collaborations in K­12

Self in Context

A look into me

Opposite ends of a spectrum dictate religious beliefs, disabilities, intelligence or personality types. Our society continues to categorize ourselves in social contexts, political beliefs, and class. Some choose to wear visible labels while others hide the societal or self-imposed labels under their skin. Some choose to allow the labels to define themselves. I strive for self-definition. I am proud to label myself as a teacher, a climber, a naturalist, a carpenter, and a student. As proud as I am to define myself using labels, I refuse to allow those labels to define me. I exist comfortable in the spectrum of me set by bounds of technology and simplicity.
– Self In Context

School Interview

Interview on Diversity and Gender inequalities in AP Computer Science

Jobs continue to demand digital literacy and the creators of the content require a sense of competencies far past what high schools are teaching.  A wealth of information exists outside of traditional classrooms and the learning environment mimics its students “always on” nature.  At the core of this revolution of knowledge lies computer science. Typically computer science is considered an under taught subject and Pennsylvania slightly trails national trends.  One of the few nationally offered Computer Science courses, AP Computer Science A (APCS) offered by the College Board reigns in the most students.  Nationally, 2013 saw 22,273 students reflecting almost double as compared to 2003 (AP Report to the Nation Home).  While APCS has grown, it remains as the second least tested Math and Science exam and in Pennsylvania it ranks as the least with only 639 students testing in 2013.  Further concern is the lack of minority representation especially in the Black and Hispanic populations. 83% of 2013 APCS students were Asian or White. Additionally, the poorest performing group is consistently Black students scoring an average of 1.98 while White and Black score 3.34. Coupled with race, an increasing gap is gender. Females accounted for only 19% of 2013 APCS students (AP Report to the Nation Home).
– Interview

Field Experience

ESL Experience

A typical school year for teachers always shows mixed emotions.  It serves as a reboot, a new beginning and some degree of uncertainty.  Typically my school district begins the Thursday before Labor Day.  Professional staff is assigned in service days beginning on Monday.  Typically Monday serves as a district wide welcome with messages from the Superintendent and other key administrative personnel.  The remaining days prior to school serve as professional days where teachers prepare classrooms, receive special assignments and class lists.  Teachers collaborate on incoming students, IEPs are distributed and the focus shifts from teacher to student as the first students walk through the door on Thursday.
– School Experience APA

Neighborhood Walk

A project to inject diversity into a Computer Applications course

Cities have tons of culture. Towns have diversity. All you have to do is look! Using Google Earth, record a virtual tour to embed directly on your website. Allowing your users to experience the town/city virtually will show potential visitors the best culture spots.
– Tourism Site

Teacher Resource Project

Potential professional development for diversity and inclusion

In an effort to create an engaging and collaborative piece of training, Adobe Captivate was used to create a collection of resources.

Reflection of Learning and Process

Creating a professional development piece that is easily transferrable and effective is a challenge.  I chose to use Adobe Captivate as my multimedia tool.  Using Captivate, I am able to control the flow of the user. For instance, I can force user to stay on certain pages for extended period of time. I can allow users multiple attempts on quizzes, track their progress and customize their experience based on their login credentials.  Captivate creates an e-learning piece called a SCORM.  This can be deployed in many LMS systems such as Lehigh’s CourseSite (Moodle), Blackboard and SCORM Cloud.

The content serves three sections all focused on including an increased level of education pertaining to diversity. The first portion of the training is reserved for awareness of self.  Users are given surveys and other collaboratively activities that highlight personal awareness of bias and cultural diversity.  The second portion focuses on collaboration on what the user group (school, camp, etc.) needs to include in their organization.  The collaboration is done using www.padlet.com but remains in the Captivate shell.  Finally, users are asked to create an Action Plan or lesson that they can present to their students.  A sample is provided that shows a lesson plan and sample media.

I anticipate that the training portion will take two hours leaving the remaining day to develop curriculum.  In my opinion, in service days offer little towards lesson development.  Big ideas are routinely discussed but rarely implemented. Using a format that follows awareness, collaboration, creation and finally implementation will provide teachers with tangible products to share in the classroom. Providing educators the flexible Captivate file, it is my hope that they may customize and expand my brief program.

Creating online curriculum must use a limited amount of necessary multimedia. Finding a medium of presentation that is accessible on all devices is crucial in staff development.  Using Captivate, the end user can view the curriculum on virtually any multimedia device including mobile devices.  A larger downfall may be on the customization of the Captivate file.  The creator must have Captivate installed requiring a financial commitment of around $300.  Many school districts are starting to purchase E-Learning software and Captivate is included in many software packages.  Alternatives do exist, such as Articulate Storyline, but are higher priced and may not be as powerful due to Adobe’s stronghold in the computer design realm.

Adobe Captivate Working File