Professional Development

5 Basic Principles Of Instructional Systems Design

There are five fundamental principles of instructional systems design that should be kept in mind when designing your course. These principles include:

1. Purpose and Audience.

2. Structure and Sequence.

3. Delivery and Tools.

4. Learning Strategies.

5. Assessment.

The first principle is to consider the purpose and audience of your course. Why are you designing it? What do you want students to learn? These questions should help you design the content and structure of your course.

The second principle is to structure and sequence the material. What are the steps students should take to complete the course? How will the material be presented? These decisions should be based on the purpose and audience of your course as well as the students’ abilities and learning styles.

The third principle is to deliver the course material. What methods will be used to teach the material? What will be the pacing of the course? How will the material be graded? These decisions should be based on the purpose and audience of your course, the students’ abilities and learning styles, and the amount of time and resources that are available.

The fourth principle is to use learning strategies to help students learn the material. What activities will be used to help students understand and remember the material? What methods will be used to scaffold the material so that students are able to learn it easily? These decisions should be based on the purpose and audience of your course, the students’ abilities and learning styles, and the amount of time and resources that are available.

The fifth and final principle is to assess the students’ progress and success. How will students know if they are learning the material? What measures will be used to determine if students have learned the material? These decisions should be based on the purpose and audience of your course, the students’ abilities and learning styles, and the amount of time and resources that are available.

Subject Matter Expert (SME): Everything You Need to Know

A subject matter expert is a term used to describe someone who is vastly knowledgeable about a subject, typically an educator. This person is useful in both the designing process and in delivering e-learning programs. While it’s common to find subject matter experts in technical disciplines, they can exist in all disciplines and functions. Many professionals are cross-trained in their specific functions, but some situations call for specialized knowledge of SMEs. These include:

·         Information technology professionals call upon different SMEs for insights into fixing bugs, integrating new software applications, or anomalies discovered during testing.

·         Project teams engage SMEs when their generalized knowledge of a topic is insufficient for a problem.

·         Engineers and architects call upon SMEs when considering new design approaches or building technologies.

·         Companies often invite SMEs as instructors when training in certain areas or use them to help develop training programs.

SMEs are crucial to helping groups solve very specific problems where their general expertise becomes insufficient. For example:

·         An expert on a specific operating system might help a company review whether a new software application is compatible with others.

·         A data management specialist might help a team learn how to extract and format data for a marketing project.

·         An expert on autoimmune diseases might be a frequent speaker at medical conferences and a leading contributor to medical journals related to the subject.

·         A social media marketing SME might train the members of a digital marketing team on building social media campaigns.

Typically, SMEs have gained their expertise in their specific discipline after a great deal of immersion in the field and over a long period of time. Many SMEs have pursued advanced degrees in their particular areas of specialization. Additionally, these experts maintain a program of continuous study in their disciplines. This helps to ensure they maintain complete and current knowledge of their particular area of expertise. Many SMEs are active as authors and have published articles or books on their areas of expertise. Others serve as educators in universities and colleges. Becoming an SME takes time, experience, intense research, and study.

The specialized knowledge of the subject matter introduces some problems when SMEs deal with broader systems issues. For instance, while someone may be the expert on a specific type of software application, the person may not understand how it interacts with newer applications outside of his/her expertise. Or, a technical support expert might not be familiar with how a product works in particular environments or situations.

So You Want to Attend Graduate School: The 411 on Grad School Admissions Tests

Applying for admission to professional and graduate schools is no less competitive than college/undergraduate admissions. If you’re planning to pursue a degree in business, law, medicine, or graduate studies, you can bet that one of the essential requirements would be to take a standardized exam.

Although school records and grades from your undergraduate studies will be considered, you might be wondering why your diploma and college transcript might not be enough. This is because your aptitude for learning needs to be compared against the applicants from all over the country and abroad.

Examples of Standardized Exams

Each type of program will require you to take a specific standardized exam. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for graduate studies, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for business school, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for law school, and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) for med school.

Each type of test will measure specific abilities and skills needed for the program you’re applying for. The GRE and GMAT measure verbal, analytical, and quantitative abilities. The LSAT measures reading, writing, and logical reasoning, while the MCAT measures the sciences’ mastery.

The GRE and GMAT have similar components (some business schools accept the GRE!), confusing those who intend to take it. To be safe, make sure to check the requirements of the program of the school you wish you apply for.

How to Prepare

To help students prepare for the exams, some schools and learning institutions offer review classes. Not only do they go through the subject matter to be tested on, but the review classes also prepare the students by teaching them practical exam-taking skills.

Some exam takers have seen the benefit of taking formal review classes because it helps them brush up on some knowledge and skillsets that might have become dormant during college. For example, a Journalism graduate might need a thorough review of math concepts in preparation for taking the GMAT.

Independent learners and those who have tight schedules may opt to buy review books to study on their own. Most of these review books contain sample tests to be used for practice.

Exam Scores and Other Requirements

You have to aim to get a high score on the standardized test. Some schools use the scores to filter out which candidates to choose to continue in the admissions process. You can expect that the ivy league schools will only consider applicants with the highest scores.

High scores in the standardized tests will broaden your options for schools. Having a high score may also make you eligible for grants, financial assistance, and scholarships. If you’re one of the late bloomers who had lackluster grades in college, a high score on the standardized test might boost your chances of at least getting admitted. It shows growth in your potential to learn.

Standardized exams, interviews, recommendation letters, and the admissions essay will give schools an idea of how well you will fare in graduate studies. Of course, this is just an approximation because once you are admitted to a school, the more significant challenge would be to complete the degree.

EU project CATAPULT offers opportunities for Internationalisation, profiling and lifelong learning for LSP, L2, MFL and CLIL teachers

One of the results of the CATAPULT Project (Computer-Assisted Training And Platforms to Upskill Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) Teachers) is LinguaCoP, a Community of Practice platform.

With its resource bank, blogs and forum Linguacop supports knowledge development and practice sharing by language, LSP and CLIL teachers.

It also hosts ‘LinguaClick’  to support (freelance) LSP, but also L2 and MFL professionals to offer their services, also internationally. View this short presentation video to see what this online Community of Practice has to offer.

Furthermore the project also offers a free online course (MOOC, released on October 12, 2020) based on the project’s LSP competence framework.

It supports LSP teachers wanting to update their teaching skills and those language teachers interested in developing competences specific for LSP teaching. Watch this video to get a sneak peek at what course participants can expect.  Those interested can register here

For more details about these and other project developments see the online version of the latest Newsletter

Project website: Twitter: @ProjectCatapult

From Ton Koenraad on behalf of Catapult partner TELLConsult

Professional Development Apps, Tools, and Resources That I Would Use If I Were Still in the Classroom

Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners.

When it comes to professional development, teachers don’t have to attend boring lectures given by guest speakers who are out of touch with the classroom, and who have nothing of value to add to the participant. Nowadays you can engage in professional development anywhere, by using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to log in to your choice of providers. You can find enriching professional development sessions on every topic from classroom management to pedagogy to mindfulness. If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these professional development apps, tools, and resources:

EdWeb Webinars: Teachers never stop learning, but many of them lack the time and resources to attend a college course. With the webinars offered by EdWeb, educators can take advantage of free continuing education credits from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Even better, a large percentage of their topics pertain to edtech and building digital skills in the classroom.

Teach Boost – Teach Boost is a platform for teachers and administrators to assist with providing feedback and teacher evaluations. It is designed to foster effective educators and improve student outcomes. There are three segments in the Teach Boost program: Observations and Evaluations, Coaching and Mentorship, and Professional Development. Observations and Evaluations allow administrators to customize forms, rubrics, and observation cycles and streamline the overall evaluation process to fit the needs of the school. Coaching and Mentorship help develop sustainable coaching and mentoring programs through customized coaching engagements. It helps eliminate paperwork and simplifies scheduling. The Professional Development segment is a hub for schools to manage, document, and share professional development resources.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Do you need more help on a handful of topics, but you don’t have the time to read a book? The ASCD webinar archive can be a powerful resource with an ever-growing list of previous topics. It’s a convenient way for teachers to access material they need at the perfect time.

Teacher Vision: Teacher Vision® helps you become a more efficient teacher. It includes lesson outlines and worksheet templates that you can use in your classes. The content is both flexible and relevant to your needs as an educator. With this app, you can spend less time preparing for class and more time teaching.

Discovery Education – Discovery Education is a big player in EdTech. The company has established itself as the leading provider of digital curriculum resources, digital content, and professional development for K-12 classrooms. Around 5.6 million students across all 50 states and Canada are currently using Discovery Education. Discovery Education Streaming Plus, the comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas, was recently the winner of the EdTech Digest’s Cool Tool Award in the Content Provider Solution category. Discovery Education Streaming Plus supplements instruction materials for all K–12 curricular areas. The supplemental materials include lesson plans, instructional strategies, and other content. Every possible source of content is available to students, including primary source documents, books, tapes, audio files, videos, podcasts, interviews, images and more.

EzTraxx – This software is designed to offer professional development, graduate study/tuition reimbursement and online training and teacher evaluation processes. This app saves time, slashes costs, and enables data-driven decision-making.

PebblePad– PebblePad is designed to act as an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio). It is a Personal Learning Space used in diverse learning contexts such as schools, colleges, universities, and professional bodies. It is useful for students, teachers, and testers for personal development planning; continuing professional development; and learning, teaching, and assessment. PebblePad was created with everything set to revolve around the student. It provides a framework to help users save records of learning, achievement, and goals. It also has a reflective structure underlining all its core elements.

BetterLesson: Are you hoping for more a class to push your career further along? BetterLesson offers live one-on-one coaching with their unique methodology that encourages teachers to make classroom changes. They help to make sure that all new strategies get implemented in the classroom and help evaluate the results.

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