The projects in this showcase owe their creation to my dual roles as a teacher and life-long learner over the last five years. Inspired by my teaching career, first in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) abroad and now in the States teaching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), and my experiences as a student while attaining my Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) and a Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design at Michigan State University, I created a number of artifacts that simultaneously demonstrated and expanded my professional knowledge. The following are those of which I am most proud. They are divided into three themes: embracing the maker movement, technology integration challenges, and organizational practices. If at any time you have additional questions regarding these projects, please do not hesitate to get in touch for more information. Enjoy!
Embracing the Maker Movement
Humans are innate tool builders, and this especially includes children. Creative thoughts provide sparks of innovation, but the act of building is what brings domains of science, technology, engineering, art, math and language together. I use the artifacts documented below as inspiration for my students’ own maker projects as they too learn collaboration, problem-solving and patience through making.
- Make More, Discover More – This is a worthy challenge for anyone, and it served as my introduction to the maker movement. The goal: use and repurpose only appropriately licensed Creative Commons materials to create a one-minute video remix. This artifact best displays me as a responsible 21st-century learner becoming personally invested in the learning process through the creative manipulation of digital tools and content.
- DIY Makey Makey Game Console – This was my first adventure bringing tinkering into the classroom. Although I built the game console, my students witnessed its design, iteration and creation. Makey Makey and the game consoles we built for it became endless conversation pieces around which to generate language learning. This endeavour pushed my learning goals past content to recognize growth in life skills like persistence.
- Maker Education: For the Good of the Global Community – This infographic displays how maker education, through its use of the constructivist approach in teaching STEAM skills, paralleled with the communicative approach for EFL instruction, can open doors for people around the world to contribute to the global community. Representing my research with effective design choices, this project remains the foundation driving my advocacy for STEAM and ELL education.
- EFL Foundational Grammar Decks – As a culminating synthesis of my studies in game design and my interest in the maker movement, it was only fitting that I created my own EFL card game. The game highlights interactivity and is grounded in Piaget’s learning theory of assimilation and accommodation. This project displays my successful ventures in game design from the application of theory and playtesting user experience, to constant iteration and marketing.
Technology Integration Challenges
With some imagination and resourcefulness, there are many digital tools at our fingertips waiting to be integrated or repurposed. Doing so with a clear purpose is the key!
- Speaking Homework with Google Voice – Grounding technology integration in learning theory helps ensure digital tools are truly integrated and not simply used. This screencast illustrates my critical eye for tech tools, as I apply linguist Stephen Krashen’s theory of the “affective filter” to repurpose Google Voice for more effective EFL speaking homework.
- Integrating CAD and 3D Printing in Educational Contexts – This professional development aims to assist teachers in integrating computer assisted design (CAD) and 3D printing into K-12 educational contexts. I followed a project-based learning model to provide participants with a learning experience and insight into teaching pedagogy that directly incorporate ways in which these technologies can be integrated effectively in the classroom while keeping the subject content as the main focus.
- Travel Itineraries with the Present Perfect Tense – Incorporating pair work and collaborative task-based learning in the EFL classroom increases engagement and opportunities for every student to receive and generate the target language. The following lesson plan demonstrates my ability to realize these learning goals as I utilize Google Earth to engage EFL students and build their knowledge of the present perfect tense.
- Rocketry – This project-based learning curriculum on rocketry is designed for a 4-day STEAM camp. Teams construct rockets from soda bottles and 3D-printed nose cones, then measure their rockets’ altitude with DIY clinometers and the help of some trigonometry. This step-by-step lesson plan for Day 1, shows my strength in developing curriculum for project-based learning.
Teaching can be a solitary profession for some, but I believe all educators are obligated to look beyond their own classrooms and weigh in on the policies that affect them. It is the best way to truly affect our professional culture.
- Know Your Community of Practice – Understanding the potential of social capital within a department or organization, allows individuals to locate support and groups to solve problems more effectively. Using Google Forms, I collected and analyzed technology integration practices within my school’s EFL department to effectively guide professional development and inform future technology investment.
- Assessing Curriculum with Research – Textbooks play an influential role in any classroom ecology. If a textbook is not being used in its intended context, then its deployment should be monitored for positive and negative effects. As an EFL department coordinator, I undertook this research action plan to guide quantitative and qualitative research methods assessing a K-6 language arts textbook from a major US publisher being used in an EFL environment in Taiwan.
- Mandatory Computer Science: A Thorny Issue – Blanket policies from high above are rarely made with a clear understanding of the realities for implementation. In this blog post, I advise schools ill-equipped to offer computer science to instead integrate cross-curricular computational thinking as a low-tech stepping-stone. My work here serves as a model for analyzing and finding interim solutions for such thorny issues in education.
Adafruit Industries. (2015, March 16). Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson (Online image). Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adafruit/16702881707
Tramp, Ghozt. (2010). Business Communication (Online image). Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ghozt_Tramp_-_Business_Communication_Duplicat_model.jpg
ZyMOS. (2010). Google Voice (Online image). Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Google_voice.svg