Taking a look at online learning, on the surface, it seems as though just about all the best practices for face-to-face teaching and learning are the same. What this course highlighted for me was taking a look at how the medium and delivery are different and that different methods and strategies for core principals are needed. As always with the use of any technology, familiarity with the features and limits of specific tools is necessary for effective presentation and use. As I found out during my demo teaching with Collaborate, I was not able to screen share my OpenOffice documents. Had I had a chance to work with Collaborate beforehand I would have known. Luckily, I had a plan B in the wings and was able to show a video demonstration I had prepared of what I wanted to do with the screenshare live. Screensharing over the Internet itself seems to be a bottleneck and probably needs a couple of years for the technology & hardware to catch up.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be an online teacher in a a K-12 school but If I ever get a position as Instructional Technologist/Technology Integration Specialist, I definitely want to conduct some of my teacher training/tutoring online.
Something tells me that full on K-12 online learning will hit a big bubble in the years to come. And then after the studies start getting published we’ll realize that something is wrong. Maybe because nobody did a total radical overhaul of how K-12 online learning should be and what is needed to fill in the gaps to give students everything they need and should have. Will there be the infrastructure in the community for additional/alternative socialization, hands-on and physical activities. Yes, there are these kinds of things already, but often, many are for paying clients. Those who can’t afford will be left out once again. Free education online! Ok! $200 for 3 months of pottery class? Maybe we can afford it next year honey. Also, with the added numbers of online students, will the community infrastructure be able to handle the potential extras? Sorry, soccer league is already full and we can’t find any more coaches. What’s career day like for an online sophomore? Is there a counselor to advise about studying abroad/student exchange junior year? There are potentially lots of little things that happen in traditional schools that I think will be overlooked in the first big round of K-12 online education. Personally, I think that some kind of blended model will be one that works out best as opposed to 100% online.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
My ouija board tells me that I’ll be working more with teachers directly than students. If I have my way, I’ll be an Instructional Technology Coordinator or a Technology Integration Specialist somewhere. My training will include a website/portal for teacher technology training. I’ll have my teachers get involved in some Personal Professional Development and Personal Learning Networks meaning I’ll give them the tools and resources to start finding and following relevant subject and grade specific information on the web as well as technology information and technology related issues and policies.
I’d also begin formal training face-2-face but would gradually wean them off into holding group, individual, formal and informal help-desk sessions online, even if a teacher might only be two rooms away. This would be so that they will become more and more confident with using technology so they could better help their students regardless of the form or amount of technology use.
The greatest impact this will have is that if my teachers are more prepared to use, interact and teach with technology, they will in turn be better able to help students do the same whether or not it is in an online/blended context or not. Chances are, that at some point in time, many of the students who have a solid grounding in the use of technology for learning will eventually do some online learning because it is becoming more and more prevalent.
Formative Assessment Web2.0 + Mobile
I found a students response system about a year ago when I got my first Android phone, Socrative which is a great alternative to expensive clicker systems for student response. I never really investigated it or played with until now and it seems just the right thing. It's built for education , unlike several other audience response systems available on the web and best of all, it's free.
Socrative uses a teacher login to create polls and quizzes. Students log onto the teacher account/vroom using a numerical code - done! There are single question spur of the moment polls as well as pre-made quizzes available and the best is the end of class wrap-up Exit Survey where students are requested to summarize some thoughts on the lesson.
The teacher interface is available through modern browsers, Andriod, iOS and Blackberry. Students may access through a browser or Android device with iOS and Blackberry coming soon. Optimal use scenarios include 1:1 programs, Bring Your Own Device schools or classes held in a computer lab because the program relies on live questioning and answering. As long as the teacher has made a question, quiz or exit survey live, students could also take turns on classroom computers to complete an item throughout the course of the day/period.
Single stand alone questions will have no name attached to the response and are best used for overall group assessment. Quizes and Exit Surveys will have student names associated with responses making it possible for individualized feedback and action.
Monitor the Response:
Responses are live in real-time and can be projected for all to see via the teacher login if desired. An Excel file of responses can also be downloaded or emailed for further analysis.
Diagnose the Response:
An Excel file of responses can also be downloaded or emailed for analysis.
Share Feedback Based on the Diagnosis:This step is probably the one that is the most important but least used. For a formative assessment to be effective, students will need to know what's going on, what they are doing well with and what they need work on. Socrative offers no means for giving individual feedback so the teacher must do this by some other method.
I think with starting out simple and getting into the habit of using such a system, you and your students would gradually develop a good system for formative assessment. With practice, you would begin to start asking questions that address your objectives and in return, find out if those objectives are being met. With regular and consistent use and in turn feedback to students, you would have another tool to help you with formative assessment.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Like spiders in boots, on-line instructors wear 8 shoes.I don't think the roles for on-line teaching are any different than for F2F teaching. The context and delivery are different. The strategies and tools are different. But the roles are the same. Like a green teacher just off the boat and thrown into a class of 25 screaming kids, there will be a lot of learning as you go and mistakes made. I also know that after a few rounds, the comfort level increases dramatically and the quality increases exponentially.
I know I'll have a lot to learn if I ever wear that headset for a paycheck but I'm confident I'll be able to have a pretty good start and go up from there.
I thought I'd try a Popplet once.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
F2F - Blended - On-line K-12 Education
I wasn't sure where to start while making this comparison so I started in the middle which gave me some things to think about. I'm beginning to think more and more that Blended Learning in one form or another is going to become huge in the not too distant future. F2F schools are increasingly using technology as well as content and activities available on the Internet from either dedicated vendors or self-made curriculum. I just have a feeling about this.
Another thing I was thinking about was social interactions and more specifically, bullying. I searched for anything I could find about bullying happening or beginning in a K-12 virtual environment but I couldn't find anything yet. I know cyber-bullying is rampant in unmoderated social venues and between people who know each other in the physical world. I just wonder about the kinds of cliques that are formed in virtual K-12 schools where the physical relationship aspect is non-existent (until/unless programs and activities are formed for students). Are there nerd, jock, Barbie, doper, "most likely to go to Ivy League" and freak groups in virtual schools as well? I don't know. I suspect it is much harder because students have limited contact only with students in their classes. They don't know about or interact with the "rest of the school" so they don't get a chance to either cling to or be repulsed by other students, forming opinions and participating in group behavior as happens in, on and around brick and mortar.
Blended models don't provide my perceived "bully free" sanctuary because there is physical contact. In order to be a bully, you need to exert threats of some kind of physical nature. In an on-line only school, distance as well as privacy severely limit physical threat. In addition, student interaction may be easier to monitor, being able to flag and deal with potential incidents.
My comparison was created using Conceptboard, a nice collaborative space. Teachers need an account but students can join in as guests, no account needed.
Open this in a new window. Log in as a guest (or your real name). Add to it if you want (I can't lock it unless I have a paid account). If you add to it, use the comment tool with an arrow pointing to a specific area.