CMS.594 | Spring 2019 | Undergraduate

Education Technology Studio

Lecture Notes

This page includes a description of each class, the session activities, and the corresponding slides for each class. At the end of each class, students are asked to complete an exit ticket (PDF) which is the same for each session.

Class 1: Introduction and welcome

As an introduction to the course, the first 1.5 hours will be focused on a simple design thinking exercise. The remainder of the class will be centered on providing an overview of each unit and expectations for the course.

Session activities:

  • Design thinking exercise.
  • Personalize your design journal.
  • Mini-lesson as intro to each unit (Practice Spaces, Learning Analytics, Accessibility, Final Project).

Before you leave class:

Take the Welcome Survey (PDF) so we can gauge your motivation for taking the course, understand more about your interests and technical experience, and make informed decisions about partner formation.

Class 1: Introduction and welcome slides (PDF - 1MB)

Class 2: Introduction to learning analytics and educational data mining

This class will explore learning analytics as an emerging field of research. Learning analytics leverages educational data to improve learning and the context where it occurs. We will talk about the learning analytics process and cover different research studies that highlight the diversity in learning analytics research. During the first class, we will provide an overview of the feature engineering process that is frequently the first step in solving any data-driven problem. We will explore the dataset that will be the basis for Mini-project #1.

Session activities:

  • We will review the dataset, brainstorm about feature engineering and potential

    learning analytics applications.

  • Students include brainstorm notes, images, or code in their design journals.

  • Unit 1 group formation (based on common schedules and interests).

  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 2: Introduction to learning analytics and educational data mining slides (PDF)

Class 3: Playtesting your analysis and visualization

During this session we will discuss the use of visualization and dashboards in education. Each team will ideate and prepare a set of analyses and visualizations before class and we will informally share and playtest them in class. Each team will work to implement feedback and make design improvements.

Session activities:

  • Informal share out of the visualizations and analysis that you completed for the class assignment. Feedback from instructor and peers will be provided.
  • Individual or group work in mini-project with time from instructor to solve questions for the mini-project due the following week.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 3: Playtesting your analysis and visualization slides (PDF)

Class 4: Final demonstration of your data-driven work

During this session, each team will present the visualization project that they have created to the rest of the class and propose potential applications in an educational setting. We will discuss each prototype in terms of usability, privacy, and its potential to become a real data-driven product in an educational environment. In the end of the class we will introduce the next unit.

Session activities:

  • Each mini-project will be presented in front of the class with time for Q&A and feedback.
  • Students will write a reflection in their design journals on what they would do if they had four more weeks to work on mini-project #1.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 4: Final demonstration of your data-driven work slides (PDF)

Class 5: Introduction to practice spaces

Practice spaces are learning experiences inspired by games and simulations which allow educators to reflect on important decisions in teaching. In this class, students will learn about the role that practice plays in teacher learning and develop an understanding of how to identify a setting and problem around which to design practice spaces.

For mini-project #2, you will develop a practice space for an educational setting of your choosing. The practice space will need to be designed to help users practice specific teaching skills that an educator would use in an educational setting. The practice space can be designed for any type of educational setting; it does not have to be specifically designed for K-12 teachers. You can also iterate on an existing Teaching Systems Lab (TSL) practice space. You should have a clear of idea of your intended user, setting, and the specific skills that you want the user to practice.

Session activities:

  • We will begin class by playesting some existing TSL practice spaces. The instructor will provide a brief introduction to the philosophy behind practice spaces and how to identify an appropriate setting and problem for a practice space. Students will then have an opportunity to use work-time to create their own practice spaces.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 5: Introduction to practice spaces slides (PDF)

Class 6: Designing practice spaces

Designing a practice involves a number of different design considerations that affect the user’s experience in practice spaces. In this class, we discuss the design considerations when developing a practice space. Students will have an opportunity to get feedback from the instructor and peers about the proposed designs for their mini-project #2 practice space.

Session activities:

  • Following a lecture and discussion on design considerations in practice spaces, students will playtest and receive feedback on each other’s prototypes from peers and the instructor. Students will have time at the end of class to work on their prototypes.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 6: Designing practice spaces slides (PDF)

Class 7: Demonstrations of practice space mini-projects

This class will provide students with opportunities to present their revised practice space and get feedback on their practice spaces from their classmates to inform subsequent design cycles.

Session activities:

  • Depending on the number of students in the class, we will either playtest the prototypes as a whole class or break out into groups. Students should take notes while people are playesting their prototype so they can make improvements for subsequent iterations.
  • Students will have time at the end of class to work on a design journal entry from this mini-project about what they would do if they had four more weeks to work on this project.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

No slides for class 7. 

Class 8: Choose a UDL principle and a learning environment to improve

This class will explore accessibility from a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) perspective. UDL considers how to design up front to consider the variability of students, including students with disabilities. UDL is organized by three principles on the how , what , and why of learning. The UDL guidelines map what we understand about educational neuroscience in terms of how the affect network, the recognition network, and the strategic network relate to learning. The UDL guidelines provide a translational framework that aims to frame what we know from neuroscience into design guidelines for learning. In this session we will look at two example technologies: Book Builder, and the game You Make Me Sick .

Session activities:

  • Using the UDL guidelines version 2.2: For the mini-project we will self-organize into three groups that focus on the How, What, and Why of learning. Based on the group you select, your group will focus on one of the principles of UDL. You will be provided the UDL guidelines 2.2 which has checkpoints beneath the three principles of UDL. Your group will choose 1-3 checkpoints from the principle you selected (How, What, or Why) and illustrate the influence of the checkpoints(s) on educational technology.
  • Working individually or in small groups, students will compare Book Builder with another technology. Students will select the comparison technology from the curated list of free online books. Alternatively, students may consider one of the mini-projects from previous sessions in this course.
  • After considering how UDL can improve the comparison technology, we will discuss what we saw in terms of features available in Book Builder and the comparison technology.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 8: Choose a UDL principle and a learning environment to improve slides (PDF)

Class 9: Playtest

We will discuss how current assessment practices may not be ideal in determining the impact of UDL. In the reading for this week, “UDL in the middle school science classroom: Can video games and alternative text heighten engagement and learning for students with learning disabilities?”, there is a brief discussion about students’ perceptions of UDL and assessment. We will use those student reflections to discuss how we might assess the impact of the proposed changes.

Session activities:

  • Short lecture followed by opportunity to give feedback on each other’s prototypes. Students will work on their mini-project #3 prototypes in the remaining class time.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 9: Playtest slides (PDF)

Class 10: Refine and final demo

This class will provide students with opportunities to get feedback on their UDL prototypes from their classmates.

Session activities:

  • Depending on the number of students in the class, we will either playtest the prototypes as a whole class or break out into groups.
  • Students should take notes while people are playesting their prototype so they can make improvements on future projects.
  • Students will complete a short design journal writing about what they would do if they worked on this for four more weeks for the final project.
  • The last 30-60 minutes of class will include a preview of the structure for the final project unit.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 10: Refine and final demo slides (PDF)

Class 11: Problem finding—empathy/stakeholder interviews

Working individually or in pairs as deemed appropriate, students will identify an extension of their mini-project that will become their final project. Students will identify a problem of practice to which their technology provides a potential solution and context for their innovation. Students will prepare for conducting an interview with a potential user/stakeholder.

Session activities:

  • Part 1: Identifying a problem of practice: In your design journal, working in your final project pairs (or individually), use the template to create four slides as follows:
    1. Problem of practice: state the educational problem of practice where your innovation provides a potential solution. You may include links to supporting evidence of the importance of this problem of practice (e.g. articles, blogs, media), images, and/or other supporting data;
    2. Existing solution: how have others addressed this problem?
    3. Proposed solution: describe how the proposed extension to your select mini-project can help with the problem of practice in a way that addresses limitations of or adds value to existing solutions. You may include sketches or images that can help others visualize your idea;
    4. Proposed learning objective: what specific objective should your proposed solution accomplish for the user?
    5. Potential user: brainstorm what a suitable context would be for testing your innovation. Who would be the end user? You may suggest specific partners or contexts if it helps conceptualize your innovation;
    6. Justification for use of technology: Why is your medium the optimal one? Note that if you choose to elaborate on a mini-project for your final project, your final project must clearly reflect a substantial extension of the mini-project work.
  • Part 2: Drafting empathy interview questions: As a group, we will discuss best practices in stakeholder empathy interviews. Time permitting, students will begin to draft questions for a potential stakeholder/user of their proposed innovation and complete their protocols outside of class.
  • Part 3: Final project overview. The instructor will provide an overview of the elements of the final presentation which include: (1) project prototype, (2) final presentation, and (3) a written product.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 11: Problem finding—empathy/stakeholder interviews slides (PDF)

Class 12: Ideation and prototyping

In this class, students will share key takeaways from their stakeholder/ empathy interviews with a focus on implications for specific improvements they plan to implement for their final project. Most class time will be devoted to working on the final project, including the development of a rubric that will be used to evaluate the final project.

Session activities:

  • Students share learnings from empathy interviews that generate classwide common design principles for the final project.
  • The majority of the class is devoted to ideation and prototyping with opportunities for support from course instructors and peer feedback.
  • Complete an exit ticket.

Class 12: Ideation and prototyping slides (PDF)

Class 13: Playtesting

The first part of this session will be devoted to students playtesting their final project EdTech innovations (e.g. practice space, data visualization, UDL proposal) with attention to refinements to the final product. The second part of the sessions will be devoted to meetings with the instructor about improvements and work time to implement improvements. The last 30 minutes of class will be devoted to outlining expectations for final projects and creating templates for the final project.

Session activities:

  • Playtest and debrief
  • Instructor meeting time and project work time
  • Expectations for final project presentations
  • Create a template for your final project presentation that links to your design journal with the following slides:
    1. Project title and team members
    2. Problem of practice
    3. Existing solutions
    4. Innovative solution (i.e. your innovation) and justification for use of technology
    5. Intended user/context
    6. Learning Objective
    7. Playtest results (data should be presented in form of effective visuals)
    8. Next steps (if you had another two months to work on this, what would you do?)
    9. Discussion questions for the audience
    10. Acknowledgments
  • Prepare for your final project products
  • Complete an exit ticket

Class 13: Playtesting slides (PDF)

Class 14: Final project presentations

Students will present their final projects to an audience comprised of Teaching Systems Lab staff, student guests (including potential partners and users), classmates, course instructors, and associated MIT faculty. Treat this as “real world” presentation to stakeholders (either internal to your future workplace or external such as clients or partners) where you might (depending on the workplace) be expected to dress up for a presentation and would certainly be expected to have rehearsed and feel comfortable with the content of the presentation. Invite at least two guests to your presentation. Potential users of your innovation are encouraged. Please ensure guests RSVP to the invitation (forthcoming) so that we can ensure proper space.

Session activities:

  • Students will formally present their final presentations individually or in pairs. Each team will have 15 minutes to present and 5 minutes for discussion with the audience. Students will use the slide deck template created at the end of the previous class to structure their presentations.

No slides for Class 14.

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