YouTube & Digital Storytelling Educational Technology Tool Review #3

Description and Explanation of YouTube.com

YouTube is a user-friendly video sharing application that provides a platform for users to create their own video channel. In the past, only television networks had the ability to broadcast video content on a large scale. However, with the creation of YouTube, novice to expert video producers now have a platform to edit and share their video content with an international audience via the internet. In addition, mass access to mobile devices also allows viewers to access videos anytime and anywhere. This convenience is a new aspect of the digital age and should be maximized by educators and learners.

Optimizing YouTube in Educational Settings

YouTube has unique features that educators can optimize to share, organize and enhance videos. Each YouTube user has the option of creating a customized video channel with graphics and a theme that adhere to a specific industry in education. Therefore, educators and trainers can create a tailor-made channel page that appeals to the theme of videos and to engage viewers. In addition, YouTube has large digital storage capabilities that allow educators to share and organize an abundance of videos in one convenient location. Educators typically have a variety of courses with various learners. YouTube offers a solution for this by featuring the option to create more than one channel. Each channel can be devoted to particular themes, specific courses or specific students. Then, another layer of organization is offered by YouTube, which is the ability to create playlists on each channel. The playlists are similar to folders, since they allow you to separate and organize videos into various categories. These features are great to keep educators organized for access, sharing and grading purposes.

In addition, YouTube offers a Creator Studio, which provides educators and learners with additional features to optimize video creation. One component of the Creator Studio is YouTube’s built in analytics feature that can be extremely beneficial to educators. The analytics feature provides educators with access to robust data that can assist with instructional decisions. The data shows the number of views that a video has, the length of time that viewers watch videos, as well as the average length of time that videos are viewed. This data is particularly important to educators since it provides an overview of how learners are accessing instructional videos. For instance, in a flipped classroom setting, an educator may decide to use digital storytelling as an instructional tool. Therefore, they would need to ensure that all students are completely watching videos to be prepared for in class instruction. If students do not seem prepared, the analytics feature can help instructors to discover why, and reinforce the importance of it to students.

The Creator Studio also has a catalog of music that can be added to video to enhance digital storytelling. YouTube’s built in video editor offers the ability to merge various videos into one video. So, if an instructor creates different digital storytelling videos for a unit of study, the videos can be seamlessly merged together for instruction. Conversely, educators can remove portions of video that do not directly relate to objectives for student mastery to improve learning efficiency. In addition, the dashboard in the Creator Studio offers educators the ability to correspond with students via comments or messages. Therefore, if students have particular questions regarding instructional videos, educators can have a convenient way to provide scaffolding and guidance to students.

YouTube also offers a plethora of other features to maximize video sharing. One feature is the option to “unlist” videos for privacy purposes that may be required in some educational settings. Therefore, you can specifically share videos with viewers by providing them with an unlisted link, as opposed to random viewers finding and accessing videos via a search on the world wide web. However, some trainers may prefer the listed options as a way to market and provided online training for businesses, which will maximize views and offer limitless viewing opportunities for learners. YouTube also offers a “live” option, which is accompanied by a chat room. This is an optimal solution for world-wide collaboration of instructors and learners via video. In addition, dynamic videos that appeal to multimodal learners can be presented with graphics, text, photos and music. These features provide educators with pedagogical strategies to enhance learning acquisition of learners with a variety of learning modalities.

Digital storytelling is a dynamic and multimodal approach to traditional storytelling that has gained popularity among digital aged learners. It typically incorporates video, text, images, photos, music and a script. Digital storytelling initially began as a video that people could use to share personal narratives as opposed to writing or giving a speech. The narrative aspect of digital storytelling offered digital storytellers a platform to share their important experiences, which led to a more powerful voice and autonomy, since videos could potentially reach the masses. Over the years, digital stories have evolved and expanded to various domains of learning. As a result, instructors and learners can both use digital stories as instructional tools or as assignments for learners. YouTube offers a video sharing platform that can be leveraged by instructors and learners to share digital stories. Instructors in K-12 and higher educational settings can design videos in a digital storytelling format that can convey abstract STEM concepts, historical events, and language arts, among other options. In addition, instructors can assign learners digital storytelling projects to present knowledge in a collaborative format that adheres to the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students can work in teams to present skills that they learned from a unit of study. Since, digital storytelling is in a video format, students can apply divergent thinking skills and convey concepts through writing a script, dance, art, a play, singing, music, visual photos and graphics. All of these components can engage a variety of learners. Thus, optimizing learning acquisition. Uploading these videos to YouTube, then offers another level of collaboration with other students or on a social media network. Instructors and viewers can provide feedback by “liking” a video or adding comments.

YouTube is a dynamic educational technology tool for corporate settings as well. Corporate trainers can use digital storytelling to create customer service training videos regarding the appropriate way to correspond with customers in the field. Adding problem and solution aspects to the digital story can further enhance mastery of objectives. In addition, computer based training in a digital storytelling format can be uploaded to YouTube. This remote video option is great tool for distance learners that need to access to pertinent trainings.

YouTube and Implementation of ISTE Standards

The ISTE Standards provide K-12 instructors and learners with a framework of skills that should be implemented to ensure that digital aged learners have optimized educational technological learning experiences. When digital storytelling is incorporated into YouTube, the majority of the ISTE Standards can be addressed in this one activity. The ISTE Standards promote writing, speaking, listening, research, digital communication, creativity, higher order critical thinking skills, innovation, safety with technology and collaboration. Incorporating digital storytelling with YouTube’s video sharing capabilities maximizes all of these standards and the application of instructors’ technological pedagogical content knowledge.

One pedagogical strategy that can be leveraged via YouTube is incorporating higher level questioning from Bloom’s Taxonomy to promote critical thinking among learners, which is a significant component of ISTE standards. One way to facilitate this is to use YouTube’s video text feature to embed critical thinking questions throughout a digital story. Another option is to add critical thinking questions in the comment section for students to collaborate and answer the questions there. Students can also add annotations to digital stories that they produce. An instructor can provide a rubric with particular components that must be added to a digital story and students can annotate their digital stories with headings that indicate categories from the rubric. The Creator Studio and various other features of YouTube can assist in creating dynamic digital stories.

YouTube Critique & Suggestions

YouTube is a dynamic educational technology tool that can be leveraged in a variety of educational settings to optimize learning. The video sharing ability provides novice to expert educators the opportunity to incorporate enriching technology integration that can appeal to K-12, higher education and corporate training settings. In addition, YouTube facilitates collaboration on a broader scale for digital learners that was unimaginable prior to the digital age. YouTube is also a fun and engaging tool for digital aged learners and instructors. This helps to increase novelty in instruction and appeal to variety of multimodal learners, especially with the facilitation of digital storytelling. Therefore, YouTube in combination with digital storytelling is a best pedagogical strategy that should be implemented as frequently as possible.

YouTube provides a variety of features to enhance video production. Since educators are moving towards using YouTube for instructional purposes, perhaps adding an option to provide class participation points to specific students for viewing digital stories in their entirety would be beneficial to educators and learners. This enhancement can help YouTube to appeal to more school districts. Overall, YouTube offers a variety of exceptional video sharing components that incorporates digital literacies and engagement of digital aged learners. Therefore, it should be prioritized as instructional tool that can lead to higher student achievement.

Reference:

Support.google.com (2017) Manage Your Channel with Creator Studio.

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6060318?hl=en), in

particular the ability to remix existing video content?

 

Motivating Online Learners Via Motivational & Encouraging E-Mails

Huett, J., Huett, K., & Kalinowski, K. & Moller, L. (2008) Improving the motivation and retention of online students through the use of ARCS-Based e-Mails. The American Journal of Distance Education. pp. 159-176.

This article explored how providing motivational and encouraging emails to undergraduate students in an online computer course can improve the motivational levels and retention of students. The study revealed that instructional designers may assume that technology based courses will automatically motivate students because technology usually captures people’s interests. However, computer assisted instruction must also be designed with the best online pedagogical strategies and have additional motivational techniques to motivate students consistently. The motivational emails used in this study were structured around Keller’s ARCS Model. J. Huett, K. Huett, K. Kalinowski and L. Moller (2008) describe the ARCS model in the following excerpt: “To stimulate and manage student motivation to learn, Keller (1987a, 1987b, 1987c) created the ARCS model of motivation. ARCS is short for (A)ttention, (R)elevance, (C)onfidence, and (S)atisfaction and serves as the overall framework for the motivational mass e-mail messages used in this study.” (p. 160) This study was designed to determine if ARCS based emails would improve motivation, retention and ARCS of online students. Course interest surveys and course completion data were used to determine the results. The results revealed that students’ attention, confidence, satisfaction and motivation were significantly higher after receiving the motivational emails. However, the relevance factor of ARCS was not higher since the emails were not designed to tell whether the course benefitted students’ professionally or had substantial relevance in their everyday lives. In addition, the students that received motivational emails had higher retention rates, and less withdrawal and failure rates. This study concluded that implementing motivational and encouraging emails with instructional reminders and supportive resources are viable options that can promote higher levels of motivation and retention of online students.

When institutions of higher education take the initiative to provide an extra layer of support to students via motivational emails, students feel a better sense of connection to their schools and higher levels of confidence because the emails show that someone cares about their success. Students who are extrinsically and intrinsically motivated to achieve can both benefit from the emails because they offer helpful reminders of assignments and due dates, as well as points of contacts that can help students with various concerns. This keeps students well-informed of how to navigate through online courses with success and organization, which leads to high levels of motivation and retention. These are important factors to consider when facilitating online education.

As a current doctoral student, I receive motivational emails from Central Michigan University’s online administration and from my professors. The emails help to keep me motivated by offering course announcements, assignment updates, encouraging messages and pulse checks to ensure my success. This extra layer of support helps me to feel like a member of an online learning community, which is encouraging and enhances my learning acquisition.

Related Article:

Bawa, P. (2016) Retention in online courses. Exploring issues and solutions – A literature review. Sage Publishing.

Learner Active Participation & Online Learning Success

Hrastinski, S. (2009) A theory of online learning as online participation. Computers & Education. pp. 78-82.

This article emphasizes the importance of online learners taking ownership for their success in online courses by exhibiting active participation. Active participation is a pertinent aspect of online learning because group discussions, inquiry based learning, problem solving and collaboration are significant components that are required to make online learning a success. These teaching strategies require active participation for high levels of cognition to occur. Online learning best practices include the implementation of interesting and engaging assignments and also require collaboration. Therefore, learners should prioritize cultivating supportive and successful relationships with peers and instructors to maximize active participation and the online learning experience. Hrastinski (2009) explains the importance of collaboration for learner achievement and cognition in the following quote:

“Based on three studies conducted over 5 years of 26 online courses at the     New Jersey Institute of Technology, it was concluded that learners who participated in collaborative or group learning were related with as high or higher learning outcomes as those in traditional settings. However, when “simply receiving posted material and sending back individual work, the results are poorer than in traditional classrooms.” (Hiltz, Coppola, Rotter, Turrof & Benbunan-Fich, 2000 p. 120) (Hrastinski, 2009, p. 79)

This reveals the pertinence of collaboration as opposed to an individualistic approach for ensuring that achievement outcomes are equal to or higher than traditional brick and mortar classrooms. The online learning experience involves a complex learning ecosystem that leverages synthesis and critical thinking skills that will thrive when learners demonstrate high levels of active participation. When learners are passive and cavalier regarding online learning, then their potential for success is limited.

Hrastinki’s (2009) theory of online participation provides pertinent data that is needed to advance educational technology research and online learning. This research emphasizes the importance of leaners’ active participation and how critical it is to ensuring that high levels of cognition, learning achievement and success occur. This information is important for learners who are considering online learning as an option for them, so that they can be prepared for the kinds of high level participation that will be required of them. In addition, Hrastinski’s Theory can assist learners with determining if online learning fits their needs and styles of learning to make the best decision regarding online and traditional learning options.

As an online learner and online learning developer, I recognize the importance of active participation in maximizing online learning. Therefore, I enjoy active participation as a learner, since it enhances higher cognition and learning acquisition. As an online learning designer, I implement engaging learning and content that includes prior knowledge activation, real world scenarios and critical thinking that results in learner active participation. Active participation is paramount to online success and must be prioritized by learners to optimize learning.

Related Article:

Carr, R., Hagel, P. & Palmer, S. (2015) Active learning: The importance of developing a comprehensive measure. Active Learning in Higher Education. pp. 173 – 186.

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK)

Gillow-Wiles, H., Niess, M. & van Zee, E. (2010) Knowledge growth in teaching mathematics/ science with spreadsheets: Moving PCK to TPACK through online professional development. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education. Vol. 27

Gillow-Wise, Neiss and van Zee researched a framework to assist in the educational technology professional development of teachers in this article. Teacher education has always focused on Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). However, this article explores expanding PCK to Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK.) TPACK was developed as a result of a need to place more emphasis of educational technology and how it must be effectively interwoven into content and pedagogical knowledge to optimize student achievement in the 21st century. Some educators may feel more comfortable instructing students in the they were taught, which may include instructionism, with minimal to no technology integration. Gillow-Wise, Neiss and van Zee recognized that this is evident in some instructional practices and needs to be addressed in order to differentiate TPACK according to educators’ educational technology experience. Therefore, Gillow-Wise, Neiss and van Zee discussed the following spectrum to classify teachers: “With the lens of four TPACK components (Niess, 2005), the analysis describes teachers’ development from recognizing to accepting, adapting, and exploring TPACK levels.” (Gillow-Wise, Neiss & van Zee, 2010, p. 42). These are pertinent classifications, which provide a baseline for educators’ educational technology integration skills and assist in scaffolding educational technology professional development accordingly. The goal is to assist educators with evolving on this spectrum, which will lead to higher level cognition, student centered technology instruction and optimize student achievement. In addition, this article focuses on using technological spreadsheets as a method to facilitate algebraic thinking, inferencing and inquiry based learning in math and science instruction. It explores teachers’ integration of spreadsheets and analyzed student learning outcomes from spreadsheet instruction.

This article provides valuable information in the field of educational technology because it addresses that educators are on various levels of the spectrum of TPACK. There are some educators that prefer PCK as opposed to TPACK, which is demonstrated in how they instruct learners. Therefore, educators can benefit from explicit TPACK professional development that is specific to their domain of education. I also believe that showing the application of successful TPACK, instead of telling educators that it is needed, would provide more progress in the field of educational technology. This article focuses on the use of spreadsheets as an effective technology tool. However, there are many other educational technologies that students can benefit from, such as digital storytelling, Digital Game Based Learning (DGBL) and an assortment of other educational technologies that should also be emphasized in effective instruction.

As an educator, TPACK provides me with a better understanding of the complexity and interwoven nature of educational technology integration into instruction. It explains how traditional PCK becomes more robust when TPACK is implemented, since teachers must consider technological content knowledge as well as technological pedagogical knowledge, and how to best integrate it into their domain of instruction. Therefore, thoughtful and meaningful planning must occur to achieve the best results of TPACK in instruction.

Related Article:

Howrey, S. (2016) Preparing pre-service teachers for TPCK in the reading content area: Insights from an action research study. Literacy Practice & Research.

Digital Storytelling Success in College Humanities Course

Benmayor, R. (2008) Digital storytelling as a signature pedagogy for the new humanities. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. Vol. 7. No. 2 (pp. 108 – 204)

Rina Benmayor explores and researches the significant contribution of digital storytelling in the humanities and how it is an extremely beneficial pedagogical strategy for students. This study specifically explores how digital storytelling can greatly enhance college students’ abilities to think creatively and apply critical thinking skills in autobiographical digital storytelling. According to Benmayor, “As an assets-based social pedagogy, digital storytelling constructs a safe and empowering space for cross-cultural collaboration and learning.” (p. 188). Benmayor observed that digital storytelling created a voice for students who would not typically share deep and meaningful autobiographical discourse in a traditional classroom setting. However, digital storytelling is an engaging tool that allows students to dig deep and resulted in transformative writings and understandings of other students’ history, cultures and plights. Digital storytelling encouraged students to analyze other stories, which facilitated the knowledge of cross-cutting themes across various students’ lives. This resulted in higher level cognition, self-reflection and connections among the instructor and students. Benmayor summarizes the digital storytelling steps as follows, “Making a digital story involves the skills of conceptualizing, writing, performing, selecting, imaging, integrating, and signifying.” (p. 195.) She also encouraged students to incorporate music and make the digital stories aesthetically pleasing to increase motivation and engagement. Benmayor highlights digital storytelling as a best practice in pedagogy that can definitely have a great impact on humanities’ instruction.

Benmayor’s students have created over 200 digital stories, which were used as data for this research. Therefore, Benmayor was able to determine the instructional validity of digital storytelling across various types of students in different settings. She discovered consistency in the creative and analytical processes that were incorporated into digital storytelling, as well as the meaningful discourse that it created. Benmayor realized the potential for digital storytelling approximately twelve years before she conducted this research. Therefore, her enthusiasm for elaborating on this pedagogy led her to have an excellent instructional tool that promotes transformative and enlightening experiences for her students. This can lead to success in other domains of learning as well.

Digital storytelling is an excellent instructional strategy in the humanities. I also reflected on how it can be used to promote success of elementary students in the area of math problem solving. Math problem solving requires high level thinking and possibly abstract thinking for students to complete the process. Digital storytelling can be incorporated to increase student engagement, technology incorporation and cognition of mathematical concepts.

Robert Kozma’s Views on Technology Influencing Education & Current EdTech

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning?: Reframing the debate. Educational Research and Development.

Kozma’s 1994 article is a response to Richard Clark’s article, Media Will Never Influence Learning of 1983. Kozma’s article was written approximately ten years later and explores his opposing views regarding Clark’s arguments. Kozma is a proponent of technology influencing learning and provides research and substantial arguments that prove that technology can and will assist in advancing education in the future. As a result, Kozma urges educators and educational technologists to get more involved in the surge of technological advancements to ensure that it benefits the field of education and not just entertainment or commercial entities. Kozma also emphasizes the importance of educational technology exhibiting a collaboration of effective technological media design with best instructional design methods to maximize learning. Kozma recognizes the pertinence of instructional design incorporating opportunities for cognition, social learning and active learning. These components lay the foundation for impactful learning in traditional classrooms and must also be incorporated into educational technology for it to thrive. Kozma also emphasizes the importance of incorporating the best instructional strategies of activating background knowledge, real world application, synthesis, evaluation, group activities, and scaffolding, which will facilitate cognition and social learning. Thus, maximizing learners’ attainment of skills and achievement. Kozma used B. White’s Thinker Tools as a prime example of educational technology maximizing learning and surpassing the achievement of students taught in traditional classroom settings. Thinker Tools was designed to teach Newtonian Theory to 6th grade students. The design of the technology medium incorporated all of the best cognitive and social learning practices while also using the media visuals of Thinker Tools to replicate and provide hands on instruction regarding Newtonian Theory, which assisted in the success of this educational technology. Kozma advocates for various research methodologies to be used to conduct research that will further confirm his beliefs and enhance the performance of educational technology. He also discussed the fusion of cable television, telephones and video that would eventually have powerful impacts on the use of educational technology, which would lead to educational technology being a significant catalyst for higher lever cognition, educational collaboration and social learning.

Kozma provides compelling arguments in this article as well as provides a framework of how educational technology can powerfully enhance education and training. The ideas that he expressed have been the catalyst for much of the online learning, computer based training and various other educational technology tools that have indeed enhanced learning since his article was written. Therefore, Kozma’s ingenuity and support of educational technology were substantial views that have impacted the success of current educational technology. I definitely agree with Kozma’s views that educational technology must include the best instructional design methods to maximize its effectiveness, and it is the not the technology medium alone that will lead to learner cognition and achievement. Educational technologist must consider this theory in the development of learning applications that incorporate cognition through the use of real world application and problem solving, tactile activities for differentiation, synthesis, evaluation and collaboration. All of these components will further advance the field of educational technology.

As an elementary school and adult educator, I noticed that technology was not as effective in isolation, but was successful when facilitated using an integrated approach to learning. Educational technology was used to enhance a lesson plan by offering media to engage or hook learners at the beginning of the lesson, videos to bring text alive and reinforcement of skills that I taught through direct instruction. Therefore, technology integration should be thoughtfully planned out to elicit cognition, problem solving and real world scenario applications. Instructional design is paramount to ensuring that educational technology maximizes learner achievement.

 

Implications & Effectiveness of Educational Technology Research

Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Educational technology research that makes a difference: Series introduction.

This article discusses educational technology research and its implications on validating technology integration as an effective instructional tool in classrooms. Educational technology is consistently evolving and many school leaders and educators are proponents of the use of technology in education. However, other stakeholders in education believe that technology is not a necessary component of classroom instruction and may only be used because it is the popular thing to do. In order to evaluate the pros and cons of educational technology integration, there must be substantial, quality research conducted that builds on previous educational technology research to ascertain the effectiveness of educational technology in schools. Currently, there is not enough highly organized educational technology research that validates the effectiveness of technology in classrooms over extended time periods. Since technology is expensive and also requires funds to train educators, it is imperative that there is a return on its investment in education. Roblyer looks at educational technology from two perspectives which include the instructional design that is needed to implement technology effectively and the actual technology tools, such as computers or mobile devices that are selected to implement the use of technology. According to Roblyer (2005), “Despite Kozma’s (1991) insightful proposal that research should focus on technology-enhanced instructional designs, rather than the technologies themselves, research of the kind he proposed has been almost nonexistent.” (p. 193). Therefore, educational technology research should move towards focusing on how educators should design meaningful technology instruction that maximizes student success.

This article provides great insight regarding how educational technology can progress in research efforts, which will improve the way that technology is integrated in schools. Roblyer provides valid arguments on the ineffectiveness of how educational technology is currently being conducted, and provides solutions that can be beneficial in maximizing educational technology in schools. I agree that research should shift towards how we can implement better instructional design for technology integration, since this will ensure that educational technology implementation is related to specific objectives, appropriately provides instruction to meet student goals, is rigorous, differentiated and incorporates real world application. The implementation of Roblyer’s findings can have a positive impact on educational technology research, which will lead to improved student performance regarding the use of educational technology.

I have implemented educational technology in elementary school settings as well as in adult training. I discovered that technology integration can be beneficial in both settings. However, it must be well thought out and geared towards meeting specific objectives with meaningful technology activities. Educational technology should correlate with specific goals and not be used to simply occupy time or entertain students. The same components that are utilized to create a framework for lesson plans in other subjects should also be applied with technology integration into education to ensure student success.

 

Constructivism Versus Direct Instructional Guidance

DeSchryver, M. & Spiro, R.J. (2009) Constructivism: When it’s the wrong idea and when it’s the only idea.

This article analyzes and evaluates the pertinence of two instructional approaches including constructivism and direct instructional guidance. Although these learning techniques are quite different, they each have major proponents in the field of education. This article compares and contrasts the impact that these approaches have on student achievement. The findings in this article can be applied to K -12 education, higher educational settings and to the training of adult learners. Constructivist approaches to education seek to facilitate learning by holding the learner highly accountable for their own learning through the use of questioning, experiments, and minimizing scaffolding and the sharing of expertise that direct instructional guidance provides. Constructivism does not follow a specific routine or framework for the facilitation of knowledge. However, direct instructional guidance is more organized and maximizes student achievement through the use of clearer, explicit teaching, specific scaffolding techniques and structure. Constructivism and direct instructional guidance are classified as well structured domains or ill structured domains in this article. According to DeSchryver and Spiro (2009), “The success of well structured domains (WSDs) cannot extend to ill structured domains (ISDs), in principle, because of the very nature of those domains.” (p. 106). This is due to the disconnect in the approaches. Constructivism is considered to be more of an ill structured domain and direct instructional guidance is considered to be a more of a well structured domain. This article concludes that direct instructional guidance techniques that incorporate a thorough explanation of skills should be incorporated into learning to maximize learner achievement.

This article provides an excellent analysis and evaluation regarding the pros and cons of constructivism and direct instructional guidance. The use of ill structured domains and well structured domains to classify these approaches assist in evaluating the effectiveness of each approach. This information is crucial to educators in K-12 settings because most students lack the background knowledge to effectively master skills in a constructivist educational setting that does not use additional learning approaches. Also, many fields that require precision and mastery of skills such as healthcare cannot rely fully on a constructivist approach to learning. They must receive explicit direct instruction that will allow them to perform their jobs precisely, correctly and within compliance. A combination of both approaches may fit various educational settings. Therefore, educators must use their expertise and common sense to apply the delicate and effective balance of these approaches as they facilitate knowledge. The findings in this article are pertinent to the advancement of education and should be used to determine the best instructional practices that will meet the needs of students.

My experience as an educator includes ten years as an elementary educator and an instructional leader, corporate instructional design and corporate training. Therefore, I have been able to apply my knowledge as an educator in various educational arenas. The effectiveness of the constructivist approach and the direct instructional approach both stood out to me as I reflected on my years as an elementary educator. Based on my reflections, it is apparent that direct instructional guidance is pertinent to the mastery of skills for elementary students. They require explicit scaffolding of instruction that will lead to a foundation of success. Scaffolding is a tool that can be used to incorporate a constructivist approach that will assist with integrating the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I believe that learning should primarily include a direct instructional approach, which will help students to master concrete concepts. After concrete concepts have been mastered, constructivism can facilitate higher levels of abstract learning, synthesis and evaluation.