Ed Tech @ SSU: MA Student Projects in the Schools

The graduate students in the Ed Tech emphasis have the opportunity to pursue the interests and issues that matter most to them and their learning communities. Read about our recent graduates and current students and their projects with an Ed Tech emphasis.

MA Graduate Projects with an Ed Tech Emphasis

Johnathan Wright
Spring '12

The Media Literacy Classroom

Johnathan's thesis, The Media Literacy Classroom, is a curriculum plan incorporating media literacy and social media into a Language Arts classroom. The 21st Century Student has an expectation of a certain level of technology in his or her life, and teachers miss an opportunity to engage them in compelling and accessible learning activities by ignoring this. Even the most basic internet-capable computer lab can give young learners access to a powerful set of student-centered tools. This curriculum uses progressive education techniques, emphasizing critical thinking on the part of students to create a media-literacy classroom, which maps the tools of analyzing and understanding the student's own media landscape onto more traditional forms of literacy. Just as a traditionally literate student produces written work to demonstrate content mastery, so to will a media literate student produce audio and video productions to demonstrate their understanding. Many traditional language arts texts, such as the works of William Shakespeare, lend themselves to this form of analysis. The goal of the media literature classroom is to empower students to turn their analytical minds from the classroom into the media landscape itself, and to demonstrate how they can have a voice in the world.

Gary Brunet
Spring '12

Educational Technology Certificate: Merging Instructional Technology and Emerging Technologies

With an ever-increasing adult student population seeking to update and improve knowledge, skills, and abilities it is vital those in the instructional technology field integrate emerging technologies more thoughtfully into instructional technology settings. Understanding the conflict or disconnect between emerging technologies and adult education and training environments will lessen or mitigate the divorce between instructional technology and participatory culture and learning. The venue to link those in the instructional technology field with the emerging technologies of our digital technology age is an Educational Technology Certificate through an educational lens. My cognate project “Educational Technology Certificate: Merging Instructional Technology and Emerging Technologies” is an opportunity for those in the instructional technology field to nourish a vision and ideological sense to learning, knowledge, and literacy in our emerging technologies digital technology age.

Laura Bradley
Spring '12

The NaNoWriMo Project: How Internet-Connected Laptops, an Online Writing Community and Effective Writing Instruction Can Improve Middle School Writing:

Laura analyzed the impact of Internet-connected laptops, an online writing community and research-based writing instruction on her students' participation in a significant writing challenge. She observed her 8th grade students as they participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), writing their own novels in the month of November. The students wrote in class every day, using laptops that Laura purchased through grants from the Petaluma Educational Foundation. Using Google documents and the NaNoWriMo online writing community, 87 of her 91 students successfully met the word-count goals that they had set for themselves. At the same time, they learned digital media skills necessary for online writing, appropriate participation in social networks and e-mail for academic purposes. Her students are now publishing their novels (through CreateSpace.com), and many are selling their novels on Amazon.com. Laura created a website for teachers, sharing how they can implement NaNoWriMo in their classrooms: http://nanoteacher.weebly.com/ . The local news visited her classroom to interview her students: http://petaluma.patch.com/articles/teacher-scraps-all-classwork-homework-and-tells-students-just-write. The end result showed that when students are given choices in their writing content, control over their writing goals, access to word processing, and an online writing community, their attitudes, behavior, effort and writing improve.

Kaki McLachlan
MA Fall '10

Using Digital Media Tools Within a Scientific Investigation (West Marin):

Kaki's research analyzed the benefits of and potential obstacles to integrating digital media tools into a science curriculum in a middle school in West Marin. Drawing on theories of new media literacies and experiential hands-on learning, her study revealed how the use of digital media tools allowed for learning to be enhanced through peer-based observation, documentation, organization, reflection and sharing of information. In order to share her research findings, she created a short documentary film that was then shared with her SSU peers, the middle school members at the school, and the West Marin community at large in order to generate understanding and support for the experiential, integrative program.

Kelly Lister
MA Spring '10

Blogging to Increase Student Participation in a Sixth-Grade Classroom (Rincon Valley):

The focus of Kelly's cognate project was to create a more democratic classroom in Rincon Valley, where students were accountable to their peers, using a classroom blog. Through the use of private, student blogs, Kelly moved the boundaries of the classroom outside of the time limits of the school day and the spatial limits of the school grounds. Kelly used the blogs to facilitate online discussions with her students and they became more aware and appreciative of the multiple perspectives within their classroom community.

Mary Lynn Bryan
MA Spring '10

Paper Dolls: An Integrated Art and Humanities Project Designed to Explore Identity in Early Adolescence (Napa):

Mary Lynn's study explored the implementation of an integrated art and humanities project entitled Paper Dolls at the middle school level. The curriculum relied primarily on Andrade’s theory (as cited in Murray, 1999) of how the reality of our beliefs, values, and perspectives are socially constructed by gender, media, family, and other social relationships. Mary Lynn's students reflected on how their values and perspectives might have been formed and how both have contributed to their identity and/or sense of self. The culminating portion of the project had students create three paper dolls that represented students' beliefs about gender, media, and ethnicity, and how these social constructs helped create who they are today. The curriculum was also designed to provide students with the opportunity to reflect on how their perspectives may have impacted how they viewed and treated others. Pictured on the left is an example of one student's Paper Dolls.

Current Student Projects within Ed Tech Courses

Sean Keating
EDCT 552

Democratic Writing: Google Docs as a High School Writing Platform (Napa):

As an English teacher, Sean is always looking for ways to improve student writing. When Sean's students began drafting, revising, and publishing their literary analyses using Google Docs, an online space to create, edit, and share documents, the teacher-student and peer-to-peer relationship changed. This change was evident with a massive shift in student motivation to pre-write and obtain feedback from both the instructor and their peers. The Google Docs writing platform was also used for class note-taking, creating a living document that students continued to access and revise outside of daily face-to-face meetings. In Sean's opinion, students need their voices honored. Using social media in the classroom honored the space teens are increasingly carving out for themselves beyond the purview of teachers and parents and provided a communally-rich activity for students to compose and share their written work.

Donna Reed
EDCT 557

Online Communication: Researching Affordances and Constraints of Introducing New Media in the Science Classroom (Petaluma):

Donna has always enjoyed making connections between the concepts being taught in science and students' experiences with digital media outside of school. As a graduate student in the Ed Tech program at Sonoma State University, Donna has recently been given the opportunity to work on a project that connects students in Petaluma with students in Norway, China, and New Zealand though an online learning environment. Students are reading scientific articles and analyzing data derived from research from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC). Students will have the opportunity to collaborate on a global scale while maintaining the intellectual integrity of the classroom. One of the goals of the CELL (Climate Exchange with Language and Literacy) project is to foster student awareness of their impact on the planet at a local and global scale.