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 reach out 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 togther. 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 task is difficult, but the creative manipulation of tools, in this case digital movie editing software, is what makes people personally invested in the learning process.
- 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. Perfect for an EFL classroom!
- Maker Education: For the Good of the Global Community – This infographic shows a few ways in which 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. This directly addresses concerns of labor shortages predicted over the next few decades.
- 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. This project included all aspects of game design from the initial conception and playtesting user experience, to constant iteration and marketing. The game highlights interactivity and is grounded in Piaget’s learning theory of assimilation and accommodation.
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 explains how linguist Stephen Krashen’s theory of the “affective filter” in EFL learners guided me to repurpose Google Voice for more effective 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. Following a project-based learning model provides participants with a learning experience and insight into teaching pedagogy that directly model 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 utilizes Google Earth to engage EFL students building their knowledge of the present perfect tense.
- Rocketry – This project-based learning curriculum on rocketry was designed for a 4-day STEAM camp. Teams constructed rockets from soda bottles and 3D printed nose cones. Students also made clinometers, which, with the help of some trigonometry, they used to measure their rockets’ altitude. Here is the step-by-step lesson plan for Day 1, and this Prezi takes you through the whole curriculum.
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 only way to truly effect our professional culture.
- Know Your Community of Practice – It is important to understand the potential of social capital within a department or organization, so individuals can locate support, and groups can act to solve problems more effectively. Using Google Forms, I collected and analyzed technology integration practices within my school’s EFL department to help guide professional development and inform future 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 coodinator, I wrote this paper 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.