David Sheakley-Early | Blog

Reflection on my Digital Story

December 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Reflection on my Digital Story 
For the Master of Arts in Teaching program that I am in, I had to produce a digital story for part of the Education Technology class. When thinking about I might want to do, I wanted it to be meaningful to me but also informative and educational to others. One subject that I know that needs more attention is the Lingít language revitalization. It has been slowly picking up steam but it can use all the help that it can get. It took me a long time to come up with a story that combined history and a personal journey but I think that I was successful. The title of my digital story is Lingít Language Revitalization Journey. It covers a little bit about government boarding schools in Alaska and the challenges the Lingít language had to go through. The story is also a personal journey for me. 

I started with a story map that Jason Ohler Ph.D. had suggested and that was the skeleton of the story. A copy of this story map is published in a previous post in this blog. As I was producing the story and coming up with photos, video and, narrative, I keep with the main points of the story but had to edit out some of the content to keep it simple and more effective. Overall, I think that the changes were a good choice to keep the flow of the story going. There are other elements that I had originally hoped to put in but maybe I can create another video in the future that will have a different approach and plot that I can include those ideas in. 

Since this video was in part about a personal journey, I ended up looking into my past, present, and to the future. I did some reflection on what I have done in regards to the Lingit language and it made me proud, but it also made me realize that there is a lot that I have to do. Producing this video and the completion of it was emotional for me and I felt grateful that I picked this topic and that I went down this path. 

Going through the process of making this digital story made me aware of the elements that a good story needed. I was much more conscious of what I was doing and why I was doing it. This Education Technology class and the process of creating the assignments has helped me get a better understanding of the elements that make up good storytelling. I am ready to create more and tell more stories. 

I hope you enjoy my story.

David Sheakley-Early

View on YouTube here:  Lingít Revitalization Journey - Digital Story  


Individual Learning Project

December 16, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Individual Learning Project

For my Individual Learning Project, over the course of the semester, I have tried a few different online technology resources that I can use with my classes. I have designed and implemented some of these digital learning and teaching aids. I have evaluated and reflected on my findings below.

There are two technology classroom applications that I will write about in this essay. The first is Google Forms, and the other is Kahoot. I have designed material and used these in my classes this year. There is a learning curve and some limitations but overall they are great teaching tools.


Google Forms (docs.google.com/forms):

This application can be used for many different content areas. The idea is that one can make a document that can be used as a questionnaire, quiz, test, or used as an exit ticket. The results are live and the quizzes can be auto-graded. Each question can be weighted with different points and individual sections can be set to be required to fill out before moving on. Each section can have a different type of response which includes giving a short answer, paragraph, multiple choice, checkbox, or a drop down list. This variety is nice and within a form, one can choose different types of responses within the entire form. For example, I can have the first 5 questions be multiple choice, the next requiring short answer, back to multiple choice for two more questions and then finish with a set of drop down answers. It is nice to have a variety of tests and makes it more engaging for students.

There are at least a couple of drawbacks that I can see using Google Forms. One is that each student must have a computer to take it which means that each student has access to the internet. It would be easy enough for a student to not know a question and flip over to the web browser to look up an answer and then jump back to the test. One of the other disadvantages that I can see is that the form is made public for students to see and take. This can be done by adding it to Google Classroom and then students can access it and take it. Making it public also allows other students to see it that may not have taken the test yet and look up the questions and find the answers to the test or quiz. Overall I see these as workarounds that I may have to accept or find a way around the issue.

I can see this online tool as being a time saver for grading certain tests that have the one or a few answers to choose from. It is also nice to have responses typed so that I can read their writing. Some students have nearly illegible handwriting.

Students will be able to have more assessments with quicker results which will result in more focused instruction from the teacher.


Kahoot! (https://getkahoot.com):

“Create, play and share fun learning games for any subject, for all ages, for free!” Kahoot is an online tool that I have used more of this semester and so far I like it. This teaching technology lets students use their phones in class and anytime they are allowed to use their phone is a plus for them. When I tell kids that I have a Kahoot planned, they are happy and excited. I think because it is more of a game with a winner, it gets them more into it.

Kahoot is an interactive game that needs one computer to show the question and answers and the students answer multiple choice responses and can be done with a phone, computer, or tablet. Just as with any multiple choice assessment, there is some time that goes into setting up the questions and the different answers. Kahoot is no different. It takes some time to set up the questions and answers but it is a lot more fun to take for students. Each potential answer corresponds to a color and shape. This makes it a little easier for some students to answer on their device.

At the end of the quiz, results can be published to an MS Excel spreadsheet for easy assessment later. The game can be set to have a clear winner that is posted after each question or not. It can be set up to act as a survey to get information too.

This new tool that I came across is by far the one that kids enjoy the most. They can have fun while learning and some students want to keep playing it after it is over. Having a quick response to the class and their understanding can help the teacher focus on ideas and concepts a little more if the quiz reveals that it is necessary. I will use more of this online technology in my future classes.


Reflection Summary

The learning environment for young students is changing so fast that if one does not keep up with it, they will be phased out and passed up quickly. Physical books are becoming a thing of the past. Online learning is moving in more and more. Flipped classrooms are being more common and nearly every student has a smartphone in class with so much information at their fingertips. I intend to try to keep up with the fast-moving technology explosion so that my students are learning with up to date methods and techniques. Tools like Google Forms and Kahoot are some of the digital instruction vehicles that are successful and necessary to stay in the game of teaching. I look forward to learning more digital teaching tools that can help me be in the game and stay in the game.

The images below are from Kahoot and Google Forms

Flipped Classroom

December 14, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Flipped Classroom Reflection


When I first heard that I was required to make a flipped classroom, I did not really know what that term meant. I have used flipped classrooms as a student in others classes but I didnʼt know thatʼs what they were called. I think that they are very useful and necessary in some cases to proceed with the lessons in the classroom.

I made a unit on ceramic slab building and for one of the lessons I created my first flipped classroom. The guidelines were to make it 2-4 minutes but as I was planning it out but, I needed more time. Putting in the extra time creating the flipped classroom now will save a lot of time in the clay studio classroom with my students.

To start this lesson, students will watch a flipped classroom video the night before so that they have some of the steps in their heads. The instruction for this lesson is much longer than normal so the flipped classroom is essential in allowing students to spend as much time working on clay in the class. Also, in the flipped classroom, students will hear Lingít words and phrases. This integration of the Lingít language and ceramics is more holistic.

I will make many more flipped classrooms in the future for all of my classes. Thank you, Dr. Jason Ohler!  

Here is the Flipped classroom that I created: https://youtu.be/Vj1Gc-szWrI 

Here is my unit plan that made with the inclusion of the Flipped Classroom: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bya1bRu06msGajNiajl3bmU0Xzg/view?usp=sharing 

Digital Citizenship

December 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Digital Citizenship

The exact term “Digital Citizenship” is a new term for me. As I learn more about what it means, I believe that it is an important concept and one that everyone should be more familiar with. As I unpack what digital citizenship means today, I define it as a way to be mindful of what is published online in the many social media sites as well as what shows up in emails to friends, family, cohorts, and students.

Just as one is a citizen of a town, state, or country and has interactions with others from day to day, people are a citizen of the internet. In the case of the internet, things can go around the world in minutes or hours. I see a problem on the internet and it is not a new one. People who interact within the internet on sites and blogs are much more removed from the audience than if they were to walk down the street and talk to people face to face. This lack of face to face interaction leads to a higher feeling of protection that is not present in personal contact. This false sense of security leads many to do and say things that they wouldnʼt in person.

This digital shield that many hide behind can be detrimental to teachers, students, and administrators in the school system. Many have been suspended, fired, or sued for material and interactions they have been posted online. Internet manners and digital citizenship are important to be aware of and to be more familiar with so that we can all be good citizens of the digital world. Schools have policies about online and digital use they have not had to deal with before. It is all a fairly new and moving target to hit.

The Juneau School District Student Safety and Internet Conduct policy lays out six pages of rules and regulations to teachers, students, and parent about how to not get in trouble when it comes to the internet, phones, emails, and other digital tools and media. I understand that this is necessary for the school district to have in place for legal reasons but I wonder how many students were involved in the development of this document. A professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, Dr. Jason Ohler produced a compelling video (https://youtu.be/jlxS2Blb2Cg) that argued that students should be involved in making the rules regarding digital technology use in and out of school. Ohler points out that students are far less likely to break the rules that theyʼve been a part of making than if a group of adults were the only ones making them up. Students are smart and more in-tune with what's happening online than most adults. It is also partially their fate that is being decided and because of that, students deserve to be included in the planning process. At the end of the day, the policy is there to protect students and teachers. Therefore, as a new teacher, I would like it to be complete, adequate, and fair. I will error on the side of caution when it comes to my interactions online with students.

I recently watched a news clip of a teacher who was forced to resign based on photos and comments that were on her Facebook page. From my perspective, there was not anything terribly bad about the photos were not bad enough to warrant her termination. I have heard from many teachers that they do not “friend” any student on facebook while they are still in school. I will follow this strategy to be a good digital citizen to my students, their families, the school. There are sites that I do use with students for work assignments which are separate from personal social media sites.

One should be more aware of the consequences of their Digital Citizenship footprint- the trail we leave whenever we go somewhere online. If we all slowed down a little and had more face to face interactions we might realize that on the other end of the computer, phone, tablet, or other digital devices, there is a human and a neighbor.

David Sheakley-Early


New on-line community for me.

December 11, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I found another online community that I can use to help further my knowledge of teaching. The name of the facebook group is NGSS biology teachers which stand for Next Generation Science Standards. This one has to do with Biology teachers that are primarily in high school but there are some info and lessons that would fit into the middle schools easily as well. Within the group, there are biology teachers from around the country that help each other with standards, lessons, ideas, textbooks, labs, and lots of other great resources.

I find this very helpful for as a new teacher or a teacher that wants to mix things up and add different material. I plan on asking questions and then helping others when I can as I learn more. This expands the learning community from just the school and town that I live and teach in, to a much larger scope of assistance.

Below is a screen shot of the group.

January February March April May June July August September (2) October November (1) December (5)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December