Is there a place in education for online learning? For some the answer might be a straight up no … not a chance. But the reality is it has been here for a while and continues to pick up momentum. There is a lot of research that would boldly say that an online environment can be at least effective as a traditional environment. For some this would be seen a blasphemous statement. That only a teacher in a classroom conveying knowledge to the students in a face to face environment is effective. But if an online environment is well organized has rich content delivered in an engaging manner with assessment opportunities, how different is that from a typical traditional classroom?
In fact, an online environment could provide many opportunities that a traditional classroom just can’t afford. One such advantage would be the ability to work at one’s own pace. Let’s face it, traditional experiences are bound by that beginning and ending bell. Where learners are supposed to be able to learn at same pace and only have that designated time to ‘learn’ that concept. On the other hand, if you are ‘catching on’ to things quickly the class can seem to drag on and motivation can dwindle to boredom or loss of interest. An online experience could alleviate this anxiety and the learner could dictate the pace of learning as needed and move forward with confidence and conviction. The ‘physical’ aspect of traditional classroom can also limit or deter learning opportunities. Health concerns, extracurricular opportunities, classes not offered where you are located, credit recovery, sustained travel, and more are examples where an online solution can provide a learner with the opportunity to take that class or get that credit that would not physically be possible in a traditional only system. With technology improving the online experience can become very robust with online forums that are open 24/7, video conferencing to provide synchronous interactions, formative assessment with efficient and effective feedback, increased accessibility, and other options that can be lacking in traditional settings.
Of course there are ‘pitfall’ that are present in this environment. A disorganized online course can leave a learner confused and frustrated especially if there is no one to turn to. Many 'Aha!' and teachable moments that occur in a face to face setting (which are very powerful) can be lost in an online setting. Student motivation and procrastination can be harder to monitor and correct when the learner is not in a teacher’s presence. Of course, there are always the questions of who submitted or what was the academic integrity of assigned assessments? These questions are also pertinent in a traditional setting, but the anonymity of the online environment make academic integrity an extra sensitive topic in this setting. Not seeing your students faces and building those crucial relationships can be more difficult in an online environment, but not impossible. There are unique challenges that an online environment can offer such as tech issues like bandwidth and other specs, but all of these challenges can be overcome and provide a rich learning opportunity for those who want or need this option.
As with any learning opportunity it takes effort from both the instructor and the student. A teacher can design and deliver an online experience with the same passion and drive as they can in a traditional setting and in fact might have more tools and time to differentiate instruction and meet learners’ needs. Classroom management definitely takes on a brand new look. Students will need to employ self-discipline and self-regulation, but will have the flexibility and freedom to choose their own learning path. There are many institutions that offer online opportunities, not only in the field of Education but in other sectors. There are a plethora of online course already available that cover a vast array of topics. I feel that students should at least have blended opportunities as the progress through K-12 education to help students feel comfortable in these situations and acquire the skills to learn in an online environment. The online learning world will only continue to grow. We are preparing students for a world that is and will have drastic and dynamic change. Understanding and being able to thrive in an online learning setting will only grow and become more necessary, as we head into these uncharted water.
Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts? Feel free to reach out to me @vendi55
This week's vlog gets two students' perspective on the pros and cons of online learning.
For this week's entry, I looked at the readings and prompts and was excited to delve into this week's assignment. After reading Bates' Chapter 7: Pedagogical differences between media, I reflected on some of the approaches and tools I use in my own class and how I approach content, content structure, and skills. I love Three Act Math Plays (click here for a list) and I agree with Dan Meyer's take on why these are effective (click here to watch his TED Talk). I appreciate the simplicity of the videos he creates and how they get students engaged, predicting, and playing with math.
I feel that these Three Act Math Plays illustrate many of the points Bates made in section 7.4 Video
- Video is a much richer medium than either text or audio, as in addition to its ability to offer text and sound, it can also offer dynamic or moving pictures.
- demonstrate ways in which abstract principles or concepts developed elsewhere in the course have been applied to real-world problems;
- demonstrate practical activities to be carried out by students, on their own.
- enabling students to analyse a situation, using principles either introduced in the video recording or covered elsewhere in the course, such as a textbook or lecture;
- adding substantial interest to a course by linking it to real world issues;
- students often reject videos that require them to do analysis or interpretation; they often prefer direct instruction that focuses primarily on comprehension. Such students need to be trained to use video differently, which requires time to be devoted to developing such skills.
I also feel that these the Three Act Math Plays would promote a connectivist approach as laid out in Bates Chapter 7.7. I would love to introduce Three Act Math Plays into an LMS and have students create there own Three Act Math Plays to show understanding, collaborate with others, and create rich learning opportunities.
Another point made in Bates Chapter 7.4 Video was:
- the use of low cost cameras and free editing software enables some forms of video to be cheaply produced
(I also think this would be a great way to use cell phones in the classroom as a powerful too a thread that was mentioned in a few Tweets posted to #ECI834 hashtag - twitter.com/mackeyshelby21/status/1091197747254972416 )
This made me examine the tools that were suggested which lead me to explore and create with a tool I have, but haven't used for a long time - Apple Clips (www.apple.com/ca/clips/). I found a few good tutorials online like this one (click here to see). But I had to explore it a little more myself, so I made a Vlog on explaining how Apple Clips works in Apple Clips (Vlog covers the prompts - provide an overview of the tool as well as a review of the tool, including its strengths, weaknesses, and potential for teachers as a content creation tool.). Then I created (it was a bit cold but we got it done) a video of a Three Act Math Play and also put that into a great tool I use called Go Formative (where students can watch the video and perform and share all three acts - while providing the teacher with valuable data and students with effective and timely feedback - check it out at https://goformative.com/clone/PREHXF ) I would follow this up by having students create their own Three Act Math Plays. I would create a hub where students would be able to access and learn by watching and completing each other's plays. I think this would be very powerful. This activity would create a great repository of learning, provide constuctivist way to learn, and maybe even share on social media. I had a great time with this week's assignment (will be using in the classroom for sure) and I look forward to any comments and feedback.
A Profile of A WA 20 Blended / Online Course Offering
As a connected educator in my division and one that has a passion for infusing technology into my classroom, this opportunity will let me explore current practice that I employ and look towards offering an enhanced learning environment. I will draw upon my experience with flipping lessons, providing students with online resources such as wikis and One Note, posts from classmates in ECI 834, access to teachers currently providing online experiences in my division, and personal learning experiences. I have also did some research on the internet and found a very good site that had research information, online/blended learning considerations and references - https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blended-and-online-learning/ (used headings to create my profile checklist below).
I currently teach math (amongst other teaching assignments and responsibilities) at Archbishop M.C. O’Neill Catholic High School. One math class that I have taught and will continue to teach is Work Place Apprentice Math 20 (click here for the curriculum - https://www.curriculum.gov.sk.ca/webapps/moe-curriculum-BBLEARN/CurriculumOutcomeContent?id=161 ). I have infused technology in this class since I began teaching it and as a RCSD Connected Educator have access to a 1 on 1 laptop learning environment. I plan on using this project as blended learning opportunity in my classroom. Our division also has online school offerings and uses Moodle to deliver these experiences. I might also have an opportunity in the future to deliver a class in this method, so I am also fortunate to gain valuable feedback and experience through ECI 834.
Subject – Workplace Apprentice 20
Audience – Grade 11 (16/17 year olds)
Units – Slope and Graphical Representation
Blended Course – Face 2 Face / Flipped / LMS – Moodle (One Note)
I have taught a class called Communication Media in the past. In this class, I taught the three stages of creating a multimedia project. I used these stages to plan out my course profile. They are as follows:
Pre Production (consideration and planning of the course)
Production (the creation of the course)
Post Production (providing attributes and functionality that will provide the learner with opportunities to success engage and complete the learning objectives on the course)
Slope and Rate of Change (WA20.1) (WA20.9)
I think I have a solid profile in which to build my course. I am also lucky because I will get a chance to utilize this next semester in a blended learning environment. I will use it to flip instruction, help with formative assessment, and provide activities based on the outcomes that required for the unit. I also had a great discussion with a colleague on this type of learning and submitted as this week’s vlog.
6.2 A short history of educational technology
I think an educational technology is a skill, tool, or craft that helps people learn about themselves and the world around us. So I feel this would encompass skills like writing to maker-spaces, tools like the abacus to computers, and crafts from lectures to multimedia presentations. I think that using blended and online learning is part of the evolution of education technology.
Beyond the LMS
I found this an interesting read. I think LMS are part of education technology and offer innovative learning opportunities. I think these opportunities have evolved since this article was offered. I think LMS has evolved beyond the original LMS.
What does the research say about flipped learning
Blended and Online Learning
Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning
How to Succeed in Your Online Courseshttps://www.chartercollege.edu/news-hub/how-succeed-your-online-courses
Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI)
What's Your Learning Style? 20 Questions
Digital Citizenship Instruction in Saskatchewan Schools
Students: How to use Moodle
I'm super excited to start my Master's Journey. I have followed my path and advice of being a life long learner. I have been involved in educational technology through out my teaching journey and I continue to try to understand how to learn and teach with it (I'm pretty sure this will be a lifelong journey for sure). I am currently the Math/Science Leader at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. I am very interested in learning more about online and blended learning in this course. I am also excited about connecting with others and growing my professional learning network. Of course learning a class from Alec is an experience I am very interested and excited about. Have I mentioned how excited I am about this??? I may have an opportunity to teach an online course in the near future so the timing for this is perfect. I am interested in:
1)How to design a robust online/blended experience
2)Want to find out how to motivate learners online
3)Differentiate lessons online
4)Teach digital citizenship in this environment
5)Best harness the power of social media to enrich and engage learners.
I believe that online learning is here to stay and will continue to grow. I am excited to be a part of this exciting (there's that word again) course and learning experience. Over the past few years I have really turned to Twitter as a major source of my professional development. I am scrolling, reading, and commenting on Twitter basically daily plus adding my own content usually sticking to sharing my happenings in my class or projects I'm working on or have been a part of. I enjoy twitter chats and do a weekly chat on Mondays from 6:30-7:00 PM called #formative chat and have been involved in nation and global Tweet Meet ... here's a blog and Twitter Moment I created on this experience https://deanvendramin.weebly.com/blog/tweet-meet-is-sweet I also love compiling Tweets for my school (run O'Neill's Twitter Account) and myself ... for this I have Wakelet very useful here are a few compliations I have put together for myself - https://wakelet.com/@vendi55 You can follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/vendi55 or to learn more about me visit my eportfolio deanvendramin.weebly.com
Checking in to ECI 834 on Zoom w/ Dr. Alec Couros.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.