Client Discovery Focus Board

I am currently the customer and designer of my course, Tech 4 Admin, but I wanted the experience of interviewing, designing, and sharing a focus board.  I ask the Coordinator of School Partnerships and Clinical Experiences at UCO if she would be interested in being my client for this activity, and she said yes.

My client is currently revising a three-hour seminar on the Oklahoma teacher certification pathway. She has a desire to move away from the “sit and get” workshop, to a model that is more experiential. The following is the focus board we generated during the meeting.

Her feedback regarding the process was wonderful.  She was thrilled to get the opportunity to discuss, think, and align her goals for redesigning this project. She said it helped her articulate what she would like to see in the future seminar and how she might go about getting to that goal.

Getting Focused – First Focus Board

The focus board was a very helpful tool.  It focused my thoughts on what skills and knowledge my students would need to complete the evidence for the course successfully.

Moving forward with the design of Technology for School Administrators, I think this tool will help me be more intentional about the learning environment activities and how they support the outcome.


Blending Learning: Create, Facilitate, and Mix

Design and Facilitation Challenge

I teach Technology for School Administrators and have recently started the design process to develop it as an online course. I often use the instructional strategy, Think, Pair, Share & Pair Squared, in my face-to-face class because it allows students an opportunity to process their understand of a concept by communicating that information to others.  It also allows for peer feedback and information during the sharing portion of the instructional activity.

I created a short media presentation using PowToon’s to describe how this strategy would work in an asynchronous online environment.

This past Monday night, October 10, I facilitated this design pattern in my face-to-face classroom.  I had my students watch the video, I choose C, and then “pair, share” a reflection question regarding 21st-century learning and learners. After processing their thoughts with their paired partner, I had them pair square with two others in the room, and repeat the reflection and feedback process.

At the cumulation of this activity, I showed my class the LEM pattern and asked for feedback on how to enhance this activity and make it relevant in an online environment.


Here is the feedback from my class:

Benefits of the Strategy:

  • Introduces several different viewpoints from your group, how to use other’s knowledge into your own answers.  It provides a wealth of knowledge provided by the group as opposed to the singularity of an individual’s limited experience.
  • Provides the opportunity for hearing other points of view. Gives students a chance to converse with someone that they might not normally choose.
  • Expands our thoughts and gives us a different point of view in a safe environment.


  • Students need to prompt each other with more questioning techniques, and engage each other back and forth. Have a tete a tete!
  • Ask students to create ideas instead of just sharing opinions.
  • Have students pose the questions of relevant interest.
  • Make the students come up with the topics.

Portfolio Activity: Discover Interview Reflections

In my classroom, I use the following empathy techniques to gauge the learning, interactions, and interest of my students.

Post-It Note Reflections:  At the end of each class, I ask the students to reflect on what they liked most about the class that evening and what they would change if we had
to do the class over.  I call it their Groundhog Day moment of the night.  The reflections are done anonymously, on a post-it note, and left on the window of the door as they leave.  I get real, honest, feedback about how they feel, what they liked, loved, and even loathed. Based on their feedback, I work to change my instructional approach for the next class.

Active Listening and Observing:  Not only do I listen to my students regarding their feedback about the class, but I like listening to their sidebar conversations and observing their interactions. During collaborative class activities, I often join a group so I can get a better understanding of their learning and opinions.

Relationship Building: I try to get to class at least 30-45 minutes early each night, so I can sit casually with those that come early and talk about their work day, their families, and their lives.  I learn so much about who they are and what things they value.

These are just a few examples of the different techniques I have used to help me build empathy for my students.

“Listen” image by hindersights, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Portfolio Activity: Designing the Design Space

Sherry and I share an office right now, and because of its size, it is not conducive to holding a meeting.  If I were to hold a LEDx meeting, I would have it in our department conference room.  As you can see in the picture, there is plenty of space in the room, chairs for flexibility, and areas on the walls to hang chart paper and post-it notes to start the LEDx process. design-experience-1


Portfolio Activity: Planning a Learning Environment Design Experience

Here is my original design for an activity in my class.  This activity helps students properly communicate their vision and purpose of school technology through storytelling.


After applying the LEDx Framework for diagnostic purposes, I discovered that my students needed more time to reflect on peer feedback before posting their thoughts/assignment on their class blog.  I also determined that the instructor feedback would have more impact if placed later in the learning model.


Portfolio Activity: Applying the LEDx to BIG Design Challenges

Design Challenge #2: Biking with Friends

Step 1: Discover
discoverAs with any design process, we need to understand the expectations from everyone involved.  If I were biking with a group of friends, I would start out with learning what everyone’s goals are regarding biking.  Are they wanting to train for a big race, work to get in shape and loose a few pounds, or just get out and enjoy spending time with friends.

Step 2: Understand
understandAfter we have discussed our goals we would work through the previous experiences our group has had with biking and how they see our experience going.  We would talk about time commitments, routes, and distances.  We may also discuss nutrition, heart rates, and pacing.  This would allow me to better understand the goals set by the team.


Step 3: Envision
envisionMy next step would be to sketch out a tentative design of our bike ride addressing the desired outcomes of the group. I would present my draft model to my group and get their feedback on our “plan.” We would also do a test run of my model.

Step 4: Build
 If there were no changes, I would finalize the plan in electronic format and email it out everyone.  Happy riding!

Portfolio Activity: Different or Similar?

I feel like I have been in design for a hundred years.  I can remember learning about all the old, and I mean old, models of Dick and Carey (1978), Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956), and Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction (1965).  These were the tools I use at the beginning of my curriculum design/development and teaching career.  My first job as a content and technical document writer required me to use the ADDIE model (1975) for design.  I think this model is simple to understand but LOOOOOOOONGGGG, without a place for feedback until after implementation.  Very frustrating!  My team started to move to the SAM model when I left, and I hear they liked it better, but I haven’t development any content under that model.

My first job as a content and technical document writer required me to use the ADDIE model (1975) for design.  I think this model is simple to understand but LOOOOOOOONGGGG, without a place for feedback until after implementation.  Very frustrating!  My team moved to the SAM model right after I left, and I hear they liked it better, but I haven’t developed any content under that model.


photo credit:

Later in my teaching career, I was trained in what they called Backward Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2000).   The process was super simple and became my default design model for classroom instruction.

Stage 1: Identify Desired Results
Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence of Learning
Stage 3: Design Learning Experiences & Instruction

Image result for backward design model
photo credit:

I often used backward design with the NEW Bloom’s Taxonomy (2002), to develop my content and lessons.

Image result for new blooms taxonomy

LEMx has similarities and differences among these models.  What I like about LEMx is how easy it is to understand and how the process encourages designers to think about other aspects of the design process, like environment, innovation, and feedback.