Development: Professional Experiences

Assistant Executive Director, e-Learning and Government Partnerships, National Science Teachers Association

Development has been a key area of my professional career in education. Suffice it to say as a middle level physical science teacher early in my career, I have assembled and created numerous printed lesson plan and curriculum support units in science education, as well as multimedia presentations using both PowerPoint, simulations, and probeware to support my science classroom teaching. I also acquired development expertise during my curriculum and instruction master's degree in Science Education from Virginia Tech when I took my first digital audio and video production courses. These skills served me well working at NASA as an Aerospace Education Specialist for the Goddard Space Flight Center where I was able to embellish, augment, and evaluate educational materials, web sites, and programs as part of my professional development responsibilities at NASA.

My Ph.D. coursework in instructional design and media enhanced these skills with additional training in digital video and audio production, web-based instruction and advanced instructional design for distance learning. I utilized all these skills to assist in the development and delivery of the resources and opportunities within the NSTA Learning Center. All of the e-PD resources and opportunities started as individual projects I initiated or managed, which then grew into self-sustaining programs working in concert with each other:

  • SciGuides: aggregating and sorting of web-based resources for classrooms: web site design and NSF professional development teacher training workshops
  • SciPacks and Science Objects: asynchronous on-demand learning: instructional design production manual, design templates built off ID, Inquiry, and media design literacy and research
  • Symposia: face-to-face teacher training workshops that were templated and expanded into a full suite of conference offerings with both asynchronous and synchronous follow-up via listserv and web seminars respectively
  • Web Seminars and Podcasts: stand alone delivery technology: permitted learning and interactivity to occur from a distance bridging place barriers and transactional distance inherent in online learning
  • Online Short Courses: aggregating resources into comprehensive package of learning resources and facilitated coherent deep learning via moderated teacher cohort, bringing in proven strategies for online course design such as critical web buddies, discussion starters/wrappers, project and problem-based learning tasks, etc.

I also worked on and lead the development of the early development of print, web and CD-ROM multimedia projects for the NSTA Learning Center and its related e-PD resources. We now have a full fledge marketing department within NSTA that does a tremendous job of crafting tight, concise and compelling messages presented through well designed marketing campaigns. It is extremely helpful to have this expertise in-house and full time at NSTA. This portion of my portfolio will discuss several of these areas in more detail and present several products I developed during my Ph.D. studies at Virginia Tech.

NSTA Learning Center: Marketing Awareness and Development

  • Intimately managed and produced the design and delivery of both marketing CD-ROMs for the Learning Center that included a print insert, outside jacket cover and multimedia Flash presentation. These pieces are also intentionally re-purposed for delivery via the web, thus greatly extended the consumption of the intended message. The first and second Learning Center Flash pieces are available online. You may also view the original production pieces via this still camera shot PPT file .

  • Drafted initial messaging of text and improved its clarity and placement in the NSTA Learning Center web site as well as selecting and editing many of images and screen snap shots for the web site:

    Just beginning to systematically use Google Analytics as part of methodical e-strategy plan to create, track and improve the effectiveness of the site, in addition to the focus groups that occurred during its early development and the standing volunteer "Give Us Feedback" survey on the web site.

SciPacks and Science Objects Development

Utilized acquired development skills to establish the initial ADDIE ID production model for SciPacks, and Science Objects. This necessitated creating a) early ID templates, b) aggregating appropriate design simulation literature, c) creating a "How to" Guide for SciPack Development, d) hosting a boot camp workshop with over 24 invited consultants to jump start production, and e) establish an agreed upon production timeline based on funding. I aggregated all this in single "no frills" web page.

I managed and participated as the lead instructional designer in the first SciPack produced, Force and Motion that was also later formatively pilot tested across three districts and with numerous focus groups to ensure we were on the right track with the necessary features and interactivity. I helped forged the first Scope Design Document for Force and Motion applying the UBD method of 'unpacking" the standards to determine the key ideas and evidences of understanding related to the topic. We also began to address the research with respect to the pedagogical implications related to teaching Force and Motion in the classroom. Early inquiry templates were created to facilitate consistency and application of the inquiry-based instructional strategy for learning. The Force and Motion Science Objects and all 57 completed Science Objects are freely available to all:

 

NSTA Symposia

The first NSTA symposia were done exclusively with NASA on the topics of Aerospace Technology and Space Science. I created a symposia design template that ensured learning goals for the workshop were established at the outset, linked to national standards, and learning outcomes were established for each component of the workshop (See Aerospace Symposium Agenda). This allowed us to create pre and post assessments for teacher learning in addition to the teacher feedback surveys captured at the conclusion of each experience and reported after each experience (See Mars Final Report). We also partnered with the University of Idaho to offer graduate credit if teachers completed an action and lesson plan based on the learning experience once back in their classroom (See Aerospace Action Plan and Aerospace Lesson Plan).

This program has grown in many ways since its inception in November of 2003. Soon after the first several symposia, I migrated the symposia to a blended e-PD experiences that combines on-site with online follow-up, thus avoiding the challenge of "one-shot" experiences addressed in the current literature on high quality PD. I was awarded a $250,000 NASA grant from NASA Explorer Schools that allowed this program to have a full time director, which is now lead by Mr. Flavio Mendez. He as done a tremendous job maintaining the quality of this program and growing its presence on the web with a rich archive of symposia experiences, as well as the web seminar archives. His team also maintains evaluation reports for all Symposia and Web Seminars. The program is now in its sixth year and has garnered continued support from NOAA, NSF, FDA, NASA, Sally Ride Science and now NIH. A third party evaluation conducted in 2008 confirmed the value and impact of these experiences.

 

NSTA Web Seminars

I was first exposed to this synchronous delivery medium while at NASA, working with their "Live From" series and NASA Quest projects out of the Ames Research Center. But, it was during my Ph.D. graduate coursework at Virginia Tech, during an internship with the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning where I gained intimate knowledge of the possibilities of this technology. I observed many Centra Symposium and VTEL video conference courses and helped train professors in the appropriate application of these technologies.

Given the "transactional distance" inherent in distance education, it is imperative to apply different interactive strategies to engage the distance learner, e.g., polls, surveys, screen mark-up, application sharing, small break-out group spaces, webquest and file sharing, etc. I was fortunate to gain a trial application to this software at NSTA and then design, plan and implement a live web seminar called the "History of Winter" in Lake Placid (See Video and Final Report). A third party evaluation by NASA's Classroom of the Future confirmed the power of the technology and NSTA's ability to use it effectively with teachers and students. This set the stage for a series of seminars sponsored now with NSTA by NASA, NOAA, NSF, NIH, Sally Ride Science, and the NSDL.

We are now on our third iteration of software and I was intimately familiar with AVACAST and HorizonLive (prior to Wimba release) serving as the lead instructional designer and online moderator for the first series of seminars across both platforms. I also helped review, draft, and secure the contract for our existing tool, Elluminate Live. Finally, I've presented several Web Seminars using our current tool discussing the benefits of the NSTA Learning Center as the "guest speaker" with Flavio Mendez serving in his role as moderator. A rich history of archived web seminars delivered by NSTA is also available with their accompanying evaluation reports, generated using the template I initially designed.

 

NSTA WebWatchers SciGuides Development

Lead the project at the beginning of year 2 under the executive management of Tyson Brown to accomplish goals of the grant, which were to create a cadre of specially trained teachers called webwatchers on how to better integrate the internet into their classroom. This cadre, selected for their expertise in science education and technology application in the classroom developed a coding process that would help identify high quality web-based materials, and engage in professional development that would teach them how web resources could be correlated to the national science standards and tagged along key features unique to the Internet, e.g., interactivity, communication and collaboration, inquiry, multimedia, etc. This would all be shared via an interactive web site when completed, now called SciGuides.

  • Designed overall workshop template with daily evaluation metrics, sequence and type of PD experiences to be delivered, e.g., advanced search and implementation strategies for differing levels of classroom Internet access (one computer classroom, portal carts, computer classrooms).
  • Created pre workshop participant planning web site and on-site research web site with selected materials to help increase the effectiveness of the target goals and learning outcomes for the project.
  • Created WebWatchers Summer Workshop CD-ROM that allowed participants access to completed SciGuides via a web-based site (which I designed), as well as PowerPoints and QuickTime movies during the workshop. CD was a cross-platform Mac/PC Hybrid CD that had auto play interactive multimedia .ini files that would auto launch on both platforms. Used TOAST and Flash for the auto play file. Used auto-detection script to determine version of QuickTime installed and recommended URL link to update if needed.
  • Managed production process that created new front end web site and back end WYSISYG content development system to create SciGuides with distributed peer-review mechanism and eight 3-level analytical rubrics.
  • Created text, stills and editing of RoboDemo self-paced tutorials to guide the development of SciGuide production. Outsourced and managed project initially and edited as content arrived from vendor.
  • Managed the external launch of SciGuides as a new NSTA e-resource for educators. Managed and produced project to create cross-platform 2.5 minute Flash multimedia overview of SciGuides resource on small Mac/PC partition Flash Drive. Drafted script, secured images, managed budget, and external media and reproduction company.
  • Developed WebWatcher SciGuide Help Desk System that also includes Quality Assurance Checklist and Customer Survey feedback loop. It was the design of this early system that set plan for NSTA Learning Center Help Desk System.

 

Selected Virginia Tech Graduate Project Development

Below is a listing of several projects I designed or worked with a team to design while completing my course requirements. These again demonstrate my ability to select, edit and create all forms of learning across various media:

Centra Symposium Web-Based Collaborative Software

Centra is a company that develops a suite of products that allow multiple online users to collaborate via audio of the web via a JAVA applet. In addition to audio, application sharing, collaborative web surfing, white board, and visual communication tools are built into this product. The end-user product is called Symposium and can be found at: http://www.saba.com/products/centra/

I was charged with assisting faculty in the training and use of Symposium and Agenda Builder and in developing user guides for Virginia Tech Symposium DE students. I created a How To Guide that discussed installation, quickstart procedures and glossary terms related to the software.

H.323 ATM Compression Review

During my internship with the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning at Virginia tech they used several products or modes to deliver distance education opportunities. Their primary mode at the time was compressed video over an ATM or ISDN line using proprietary interactive video conferencing (IVC) equipment.

While this mode of DE allows the high fidelity transmission of audio and video, the scalability of this solution is very expensive (each IVC room can cost anywhere from $80,000 to $10,000 dollars). As such, Virginia Tech was exploring alternative desktop solutions that are significantly cheaper and provide adequate fidelity during transmission. In this was the ability to increase the number and location of collaborative sites. The answer to interoperability between different desktop video conferencing solutions lies in the H.323 international standard. I was charged with creating a H.323 report that would compare various hardware solutions.

Distance Delivered Lesson: 3-2-1 Pop

I drew upon my experience at NASA and enhanced a lesson for delivery via both synchronous video conferencing and asynchronously via an on-demand web site. I completed the instructional analysis and selection of media attributes to facilitate the same learning outcomes in both environments. I worked with a partner to deliver this lesson and completed the asynchronous web site myself.

Spring Semester 2000 CD-ROM and Interactive Web Sites

I incorporated skills learned from my advanced time-based authoring classes in Director, as well as taught myself Flash to create a multimedia CD-ROM with autostart file that showcased my coursework during the semester via an interactive web site. At the time Mission Impossible was very popular film. Some of the external links from 2000 have changed, but all the internal links to course files are viable.

The time-based Director authoring class allowed me to work with two other graduate students (David Halpin and Todd Smith) to create an interactive web site about the Universe in support of one of NASA's Education programs. We all worked collaboratively on images, Lingo coding and the instructional design in support of the web site. It was fortunate to be nominated to appear in a "best of" web site. Learning the metaphor of Director with a "stage" allowed me to easily learn Macromedia Flash with a similar metaphor.

Fall Semester 2000 Interactive Video-based Web Sites

Attempting to support NASA with projects created through my Ph.D. coursework since they funded my graduate studies, during an advanced digital video course I created an interactive web site that supported NASA's Connect program, which sought to inspire elementary students to pursue careers in STEM education. I conducted the instructional analysis, produced the web site as well as all the video (planning, set-up, shot list, script, and post production for the web considering bandwidth recommendations at the time).