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DreamIT III (Fall 14)

DreamIT Phase III: Focus Group + Teaching Demo


We ended our DreamIT document in summer with the following:



  • Conduct Focus Group +Teaching Demo (deliver 1 to teachers and 1 to students) by October 19, 2014.
  • Short report on Focus Groups (what changes were made to DreamIT and what were not): October 26, 2014
  • Implement one round of DreamIT (through fall semester)
  • Report on Ist Round Implementation of DreamIT: December 1, 2014
  • Proposal around DreamIT submitted to CPS Technology conference: TBA
  • Documentation of process: Ongoing on your website



This Focus Group + Teaching Demo assignment builds upon the work you completed in Phases I and II of your DreamIT project.

  • PHASE I (Aug 8): Draft of DreamIT Project Description with key big ideas to teach, initial multimodal explorations of these ideas, performance goals for students and your plan for getting there (including your pedagogical approach, technology’s role, and your TPACK expectations)
  • PHASE II (Sept 7): Completed Plan and Teaching Demonstration in which you identified desired results, determined acceptable evidence (performances of understanding), and planned learning experiences and instruction (addressing context, content, pedagogy, technology, and integration of these 4 components)

Now that your project description, curricular plan and teaching demonstration are complete, it is time to share them with your professional community as a prototype of your ideas.


You will conduct two focus groups, during which you will perform and gain feedback on your teaching demonstration (or some other way you have developed to share your ideas) before October 19.

  • one with a small group of teachers
  • one with a small group of students


Focus Groups 101

Focus groups will help you:

  • Test your assumptions inherent in your DreamIT project plan
  • Encourage discussion about a particular topic
  • Provide an opportunity to learn more about a topic or issue from others’ perspectives

Before The Focus Group:

  • Clearly define the specific purpose and objectives of the focus group
  • Identify and invite your participants (strive for at least 10) to your planned focus group time and location
  • Prepare necessary materials for your Teaching Demo and Focus Group data collection
    • Notepads and pencils, computer with presentation, flip chart, markers, name tags, refreshments
  • Generate the questions (one or two warm-up questions as well as more serious questions that get at the heart of the purpose)
    • Focus group questions should be open-ended and move from the general to the specific.
      • For example, after asking “What do you like about ______?” you might ask, “If you could build a new ______ from scratch, what would you include to make a better one?” or “Do you have any suggestions about what ______ should look like?”
    • Once you have a list of questions, look at your purpose statement again. Eliminate questions that are not important and that do not qualify for your purpose.

Deliver Your Presentation (or Teaching Demo) + Conduct the Focus Group:

  • Before participants arrive, arrange seating around one large table, or place chairs in one large U-shape
    • This will encourage discussion and equal participation
  • “Set the tone” for a comfortable discussion with positive hellos
  • Welcome the group, introduce the purpose and context of the focus group, explain what a focus group is and how it will flow, and make the introductions
  • Deliver your Teaching Demo (or other method of sharing your ideas)
  • Ask your questions
    • Keep the discussion on track
    • Encourage each participant to voice their ideas
    • Encourage answers to be elaborated for deeper feedback
    • Ask spontaneous questions that the discussion inspires
  • Take copious notes (and record audio and/or video), and try to highlight the participant comments/questions that get the most positive reactions from other participants
  • Your wrap-up should include thank you’s to the participants, an opportunity and avenue for further input, an explanation of how the data you collected from them will be used, and an explanation of when the larger process will be completed

Interpret and Report the Results after the Focus Group:

  • Transcribe notes from audio/video (and go over missing areas of your notes immediately before you forget comment wording)
  • Write a summary of the focus group in your own words
  • Analyze your summary
    • Look for trends (i.e., repeat comments) and surprises (i.e., unexpected comments that are worth noting)
    • Pay attention to context, tone, and emotional responses (also pay attention to comments that triggered many other comments)
  • Write the report! Include:
    • The background and purpose of the focus group
    • Details of the sessions
      • Remember to put the focus groups’ comments in the context of your purpose statement
    • Results and conclusions
      • Highlight the main themes, issues, problems, or questions that arose in the focus groups. Discuss and record how you will address these.
    • Implications


You should continue documenting your process on the DreamIT Project section of your teacher website. If you have not done so yet, upload an update to your site (this update could take any form you feel is appropriate — a Twitter widget with daily updates, a blog post about your experiences in this process, a video update, etc.).

Next, you will submit a Short Report (2 to 4 pages) on the two Focus Groups you held. This document should NOT be emailed to us but rather should be posted onto your website. This document should include:

  • What feedback you received from teachers (including all suggestions for changes to your DreamIT plan)
  • What feedback you received from students (including all suggestions for changes to your DreamIT plan)
  • What changes were made to your DreamIT plan (and why)
  • What changes were not made (and why)


This Short Report is due on October 26 as well.

With the goal of consistently documenting this process on your own website in order to share your experience with others at every step, consider adding an update to your site after adding your report. This update could act as a reflection activity in which you share your thoughts and feelings related to the DreamIT project at this point. This project has been with you since July. You have been thinking about it, tinkering with it, and now you will have tested it out in the classroom (or some other space) for the first time. How has this experience changed what you think about your teaching? What you think about your students? Your colleagues? What do you hope to accomplish with the final implementation to come (1st Round Implementation of DreamIT, to be completed before Dec 1, 2014)?


After you have completed (1) your Focus Group + Teaching Demo, (2) your Short Report, and (3) your site update, here are the next DreamIT Project goals to keep in mind:

  • Implement one round of DreamIT (through fall semester)
  • Report on Ist Round Implementation of DreamIT: December 1, 2014
  • Proposal around DreamIT submitted to CPS Technology conference: TBA
  • Documentation of process: Ongoing on website