Draft proposal presentation


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This is the presentation I made to my committee for my proposal for research. I am focusing on creating Personal Learning Environments for two students with special needs. I am using their IEPs to design an on line learning environment to supplement their curriculum from school. For my doctorate, I would like to implement the PLEs into their school day and possible replace some of the activities they are doing with the intervention specialist. Any feedback will be helpful. However, please keep in mind that I have to work with and around the school's firewall system. Thank you, Sharon Shaffer

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Draft proposal presentation

  1. 1. BUILDING PERSONAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS for STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDs: LEVERAGING WEB BASED APPLICATIONS to ENCOURAGE SELF-DIRECTED and MOTIVATED LEARNERS<br />By: Sharon A. Shaffer<br />Bgsu,2011<br />Master of education:<br />Learning Design<br />Building Personal Learning Environments for Special Needs Students<br />
  2. 2. Part One of the Problem<br />Technology and social networking sites are offering more choices for individualizing curriculum and learning.<br />The challenge is developing a strategy to combine the individual needs and goals of the special needs students with technology and social networking sites to create a personal learning environment (PLE). <br />
  3. 3. Another side to the problem<br />Another aspect of this challenge is to encourage educators to embrace the addition of technology and social networking in their classrooms. <br />
  4. 4. Part Three of the Problem<br />The third aspect of this challenge is that students have very little voice in the choices of activities, methods or instruction that is used for them. They are often reluctant learners faced with disabilities and challenges due to their conditions. <br />
  5. 5. Introduction: Context of Problem<br />Educators know some students struggle with content, curriculum, the delivery techniques of teachers, their own ability, the level of the learning platform, suffer from comprehension difficulties, distraction and attention issues and so much more. <br />
  6. 6. Statement of Problem<br />The problem of this study is to create two networked personal learning environments, one each for two different students, to better understand if using PLEs for special needs students can benefit both the student and the teacher(s) involved. <br />
  7. 7. Significance of Study<br />There are approximately 280,760 students with disabilities enrolled in Ohio public schools. (ODE, 2011, Data) )<br /> Depending on what their specific areas of disability are, accommodations must be made and Individual Educational Plans written. <br />
  8. 8. Significance of Study; continued<br />Being able to create learning environments that can be personalized to the special needs population would give educators another tool in their arsenal to help mitigate overwhelming curriculum, achievement tests, distracted and uninterested students, not to mention time constraints. <br />
  9. 9. Significance of Study 3<br />PLEs should offer another venue for cooperative learning. Students outside of the physical classroom can be members of the PLE, therefore, members of the cooperative education process.<br />
  10. 10. Learning From Each Other<br /> “We live in societies, of course; but more fundamentally perhaps, it is our participation in social communities and cultural practices that provides the very materials out of which we construct who we are, give meaning to what we do, and understand what we know.” (Wenger, 1991, p. 2) <br />
  11. 11. From Consumers to Creators<br />“The PLE allows the learner not only to consume learning resources, but to produce them as well. Learning therefore evolves from being a transfer of content and knowledge to the production of content and knowledge”. (Downes, 2006, p.15)<br />
  12. 12. What the Heck is a PLE...?<br />“What the heck is a PLE and why would I want one?” (Cann, 2011) He gives the following reason, along with many others: “(A PLE) helps learners take control of and manage their own learning.”<br />
  13. 13. My Hypothesis<br />If personal learning environments can be created using multi-media resources for special needs students, then their learning will be more motivated and self-directed. They will have a built in support and guidance system with the other members of the networked PLE.<br />
  14. 14. To What End?<br />With options for presentation, creation and sharing of material for which the students will be taking more responsibility, teachers should be able to step to the side to monitor and facilitate the learning rather than prescribe and drive it. The end result: higher achieving, academically successful students, with better self-efficacy.<br />
  15. 15. Objectives<br />The goal of this study is to provide answers to these questions: Can a PLE be created for special needs students that will increase achievement; make the student less reluctant and more involved while meeting the needs of the teachers without requiring excessive preparation time?<br />
  16. 16. Objectives, continued<br />Can a networked PLE meet the individual needs of the student as outlined in their IEP goals?<br /> Can students learn in such an environment and, along with other students of similar needs and abilities, become a “community of practice”? <br />
  17. 17. Overview<br />Students with special needs are required by law to be administered accommodations and modification of the curriculum and teaching methods specific to their particular disability and goals. A PLE will further support this plan and also allow the student to have input into the content, structure and administration of the plan. This researcher believes that a networked PLE must include traditional materials as well as social sites and web based educational sites.<br />
  18. 18. Overview, Continued<br />With this study there is the additional goal of educating special education teachers of the value of a PLE and that the implementation of the PLE is an asset to their classroom. Gaining the support of these professionals is essential to effective implementation and use of PLEs.<br />
  19. 19. Background<br />Researchers such as Downes, Wenger, Cann, van Harmelen, Wilson and Milligan, among others, offer definitions and models for PLEs as well as theories and evidence for the appropriateness of their use.<br />“A PLE (personal learning environment) is: a system that helps learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to set their own learning goals, manage their learning, manage both content and process, and communicate with others in the process of learning.” (Cann, 2011)<br />
  20. 20. Stephen Downes<br />“Through 2005 and 2006 in thinking about e-learning 2.0 the concept of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) began to slowly take form in the educational technology community, coalescing with a 'Future VLE' diagram released by CETIS's Scott Wilson (Figure 1)”. (Downes, 2007, p. 3)<br />
  21. 21. Figure 1: Future VLE-Scott Wilson<br />
  22. 22. Research Says<br />“Personal learning suggests learner autonomy and increased self regulation<br /> However, increased responsibility and control on the part of the learner do not necessarily equate to learner motivation.” (Atwell, 2007; Aviram et al., 2008) <br />
  23. 23. Research Says<br />Educause Learning Initiative, (May, 2009) explains, “While most discussions of PLEs focus on online environments, the term encompasses the entire set of resources that a learner uses to answer questions, provide context, and illustrate processes. As used here, the term refers not to a specific service or application but rather to an idea of how individuals approach the task of learning.”<br />
  24. 24. Personalizing Education<br />Personalized education will become the norm as technology becomes more prevalent, accessible and portable. Technology will not teach the material but will manage learning. Based on such educational models as programmed learning and constructivist learning, this personalized learning is driven by the student’s capabilities to access and comprehend the material. Students will proceed through the topics at a pace dictated by their need and abilities, as well as their interests. <br />
  25. 25. Individualizing Education<br />“Topics will be selected by student interest, student aptitude and educational level, and societal need. The menu of available topics presented to any given student will be determined by the student's demonstrated prior learning, by parent input and control, and by legislation governing education in that student's political jurisdiction. Selecting an educational topic, for a student, will be like selecting a channel on television. A student's daily menu will be varied and constantly changing, building on each day's achievement.” (Downes, 1998)<br />
  26. 26. Communities of Practice<br />Wenger observed businesses as they conducted their normal procedures and discovered that groups of people working together spontaneously formed communities of practice. “Through exchanging questions, meeting in hallways, telling stories, negotiating the meanings of events, inventing and sharing new ways of doing things, conspiring, debating, and recalling the past, they complement each other‘s information and together construct an understanding of their environment and work.” (Wenger, 1991, p. 2<br />
  27. 27. Learning by Sharing<br />By becoming a part of a group, department, club or class with a common function, job or goal one becomes a part of a community of practice. A natural outcome of belonging to this community is a process of sharing information and teaching and learning from each other. <br />
  28. 28. Etienne Wenger<br />Wenger’s learning theory based on communities of practice has many of the same elements that are adherent to a PLE: membership in a group with a same goal or interest, the sharing, contributing, discussing of information, constructing meaning from information, security to take risk and explore, support from the group members and an evolution of the process as well as the focus as information is understood and new content or methods are sought.<br />
  29. 29. New Look at Old School<br />So then why do we limit the interaction between students in schools? Doesn‘t it make sense to allow them to form communities of practice based on their interests and allow them to “exchange questions, meet in hallways, tell stories, negotiate the meanings of events, invent and share new ways of doing things, conspire, debate, and recall the past” (Wenger) to construct meaning, learn new concepts and invent new meaning?<br />
  30. 30. Limited Research<br />Based on the literature reviewed there is a wealth of information about development and benefits of PLEs in general. No specific research was found regarding the use of PLEs in regards to special needs students. There were articles on the use of technology and mixed media with this population. <br />
  31. 31. PLE Creation<br />There is abundant research on special needs students and how to teach them, curriculum models, learning theories and more. A survey of the information leads one to the conclusion that, the more individualized, the more one-on-one time, yet inclusion in the general population, the more successful the students. <br />
  32. 32. The PLE<br />To develop the PLE for each student the researcher will gather information from any teachers involved with the subjects, the documentation of their specific learning disabilities, standardized tests used to date, and their parents. <br />Wendy Drexler (2008) offers an excellent example of “the networked student”. This will be used as a template for creating the PLEs for this case study.<br />
  33. 33. The Networked Student<br />
  34. 34. Participants<br />This researcher plans to create a separate PLE for each of two specific, special needs, identified students. Due to privacy issues, confidentiality laws and the need to keep these students from being exploited, the participants were chosen because of the relationship they and their parents have with the researcher. Because of this relationship, the parents and students were willing to participate in the study without reservations. <br />
  35. 35. Research Method<br />The method of research used in this study is “design research from a technology perspective”. Thomas C. Reeves outlines this approach in Education Design Research (van den Akker, et al. 2006). Reeves states, “It is proposed that progress in improving teaching and learning through technology may be accomplished using design research as an alternative model of inquiry.” This statement, among others, is the reason for choosing this method of research.<br />
  36. 36. Summary<br /> This study seeks to challenge traditional teaching methods by creating an environment that is driven by student choices and facilitated by the classroom teacher. By reviewing the students’ IEP goals, examining their specific disabilities, their learning weaknesses and strengths, a PLE will be put together that will allow the student to have more input into the way they learn. If personal learning environments can be created using multi-media resources for special needs students, then their learning will be more motivated and self-directed. The end result: higher achieving and academically successful students.<br />
  37. 37. References<br />Attwell, Graham (2007). The Personal Learning Environments - the future of eLearning? eLearning Papers, vol. 2 no. 1. ISSN 1887-1542.<br />Aviram, A., Ronen, Y., Somekh, S., Winer, A. & Sarid, A. (2008). Self-regulated personalized learning (SRPL): Developing iClass's pedagogical model. eLearning Papers, 9. http://www.elearningpapers.eu/index.php?page=doc&doc_id=11941&doclng=6<br />
  38. 38. References<br />Cann, A. J. (2010). What the heck is a PLE and why would I want one? Retrieved from http://www.microbiologybytes.com/tutorials/PLE/index.html.<br />Downes, S. (1998). Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume I, Number 3, Fall 1998 State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center<br />
  39. 39. References<br />Downes, S. (2006). Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge. From it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/paper92/paper92.html .14-18.<br />Downes, S. (2007). Learning Networks in Practice. National Research Council of Canada. Originally published in Emerging Technologies for Learning (David Ley, ed). 2007. <br /> NRC 49275. <br />
  40. 40. References<br />Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy.Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 2010, 26(3), 369-385. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/drexler.html<br />Educause Learning Initiative. (2009) Seven things you should know about personal learning environments. May 2009. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7049.pdf<br />
  41. 41. References<br />Ohio Department of Education. Enrollment Data. October 2010. Retrieved 8-9-2011. http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=390&ContentID=12261&Content=104167 <br />
  42. 42. References<br />Van den Akker, J. (1999). Principles and methods of development research. In J. van den Akker, N. Nieveen, R. M. Branch, K. L. Gustofson and T. Plomp (eds). Design methodology and Developmental Research in Education and Training (pp. 1-14). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.<br />Wenger, E. (1991). Communities of practice: where learning happens. Institute for Research on Learning. http://www.ewenger.com/pub/pub_benchmark_wrd.doc<br />