Week 12 – Reflections

The 5141 course gave me the opportunity to realize my teaching philosophy, coupled with my teaching style and best practices can, when successfully designed, all amalgamate together to form an effective online course. In turn, EDDL 5141 gave me a second opportunity to discover and explore a variety of effective facilitation strategies.

As you can see in my Wk5KWLchart  the ‘what I know’ section to ‘what I learned’ section demonstrates my learning that took place in regard to online facilitation and online facilitation models.

I do not believe my philosophy towards online or face-to-face teaching has changed throughout this course however, it did give me a chance to reflect on my beliefs as a teacher and review whether my teaching practices are productive and effective enough for my students to take ownership in their learning and become lifelong learners themselves.

I found the online seminar assignment in the EDDL 5141 very helpful as a window into what it would be like to facilitate an online course. I also really enjoyed participating in all the different topics of seminar put forth by the other participants.  I thought each of their seminars were interesting and very informative.

This is my fifth and final course in this program. When I receive my online teaching and learning certificate I will present it to my principal, who already knows I’m participating in these courses and has signed me up to prepare several PD days based on what I have learned for the staff at my school.

I have learned many new and exciting things on the way to obtaining this certificate. I believe it is a program that you get out what you put in terms of effort and reward.

I would like to thank Michelle and the other participants in this course for making this another enjoyable learning experience.

Cheers,

Arlene

FABIAN’S ASSIGNMENT


 

 

ASSIGNMENT 1

In a previous post to my EDDL 5141 blog I posted my manifesto which stemmed from my online teaching philosophy.  I could not just copy and paste my manifesto to my WordPress blog so I had to save it as a JPEG and then add it as media. After working through Fabian’s seminar I was able to upload it straight from MS Word into this blog post.

ASSIGNMENT 2

Here is a link to a source about the importance of technical support in online learning environments. I found it quite informative and it touches on whether this support role should be taken on my the facilitator alone or with a full team of technical support staff.

http://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=2627756

Sue’s Assignments – Vital Signs

I really enjoyed the games attached to your seminar. I felt that I learned a lot more about vital signs then I ever knew.  I personally enjoy playing games to learn new things and especially ones that challenge me because I find I retain more knowledge that way. My favourite are ones that give my brain a good workout.

ASSIGNMENT 1

I found that the “reward” at the end of the assigned games was interesting to say the least. Some beautiful pictures, however not enough to inspire me to keep playing. What did inspire me to continue playing was the challenge of learning new and interesting terms and facts about the human body as well as challenging myself to see how much faster I could accomplish the tasks.

ASSIGNMENT 2

I found this link on game based learning, it’s a great read:

http://www.newmedia.org/game-based-learning–what-it-is-why-it-works-and-where-its-going.html

She explains how people learn differently though the use of games in and out of the classroom as well as how this is actually and ancient way of gaining knowledge. I myself use plenty of games on the Smartboard with my students whether it be math or science, it helps to motivate and engage my students in a F2F setting but I think it lends itself to online learning environments as well.

 

 

Cyberbully Assignment 2

These two videos speak volumes about the topic of cyber bullying, however the first one is trying to make a point about how hurtful reading mean things about you can be where the second one actually addresses how to deal with modern day bullies.  I think that the second video relates to the approach I take with cyber and or regular bullying in my classroom. I teach students to focus on the situation and find ways to resolve issues and problems before they escalate too far.  In the past kids used to talk behind each others backs and now they use all sorts of technology to say mean things about each other.  I think either of these videos is supportive against the anti-bullying campaign.

Jen’s Assign 1

 

Your information footprint on the internet is like your body in the real world: it defines your identity. Like seeing some part of your body, seeing some part of your information footprint – like the location of the device you’re posting from or the pattern of your language – may make it possible for someone to uniquely identify you even when there is no name or other explicit identifier attached. For example, your IP address is always transmitted, and when you’re browsing the web, your browser transmits information about the browser’s configuration to the website server. These details can be combined together to serve as a unique identifier. My advice, don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in public.

Teaching Manifesto

After writing my essay this is my teaching manifesto that emerged.  I've never written a manifesto for anything before but I gave it a try.

Manifesto: Some guidelines I follow as a teacher in my face-to-face learning environment and will employ as an online teacher:

Manifesto

Text:

Manipulatives in a face-to-face classroom translates to technological tools in an online one.

Diverse learners and their different learning styles must be considered and addressed in both learning modes.

The learning environment should foster inquiry, exploration, experimentation, production, and reflection.

Such theories as constructivist, cognitivist, behaviourist, and connectivist should underpin the design of online and face-to-face learning environments.

Learners should always have the opportunity to participate in authentic real-world activities.

Develop opportunities for students to have a personal investment and take ownership of their learning.

Technology for the use of enhancement and engagement not as a replacement.

Be a lifelong learner.

Instill critical and higher order thinking skills.

Teaching is not a one way delivery of knowledge.

Lessons taught don’t end when you leave the classroom or step away from the computer.

Students must be encouraged to develop strategies and select tools that work individually to help them understand the concepts that are being taught.

Teaching is a complex social activity.

Students come with a wide variety of life experience that can affect their learning in many ways.

Student’s prior knowledge should be valued and embraced not suppressed.

Problem solving is one of the most important skills to master.

Students need to interact with fellow students as well as the teacher.

Reflection isn’t looking back its examining new knowledge gained.

Feedback should be directive not summarizing.

Assessment should be authentic and ongoing not a final report on learning.

Always create a safe and supportive learning environment for your students.

Guide students to make good choices.

Always have high expectations.

Modify and differentiate the conditions of learning so all students are able to reach their learning goals.

Set individual, achievable learning goals with your students not for them.

Student input should be valued not dismissed.

Nourish student’s creativity.

Exhibit a love for learning.

True characteristics of a teacher are being proactive, positive, approachable, and responsive.

Critical Factors for Ensuring Student Success

As a face-to-face teacher there are several factors to consider when ensuring success for your students. In September when I am faced with a new set of students there are critical factors I must consider; the students individual learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic), what prior knowledge they have of major concepts across the subjects, what form of communication and collaboration will work for each student as well as the form of feedback that will work for a diverse group of students.

Through my experiences as an online student I have observed that these same critical factors with the addition of; technical competency of instructors and how comfortable students are with the various tools and technologies, must also be considered when ensuring student success in learning.

I also think such critical factors as; instructor technical competency and student comfort with these technologies create a significant difference between the online and face-to-face teaching modes.

In a face-to-face learning environment a teacher must spend a great deal of time observing their students reactions to a variety of ways of presenting material in order to determine the diverse learning styles of each of their students and then create customized learning activities. I think it would be easier as an online teaching instructor to develop a picture of the different learning styles of their students by offering the opportunity for them to try a variety of technical tools to complete assignments and explore resources, students could then have the ability to customize their own learning activities. This also allows the student to take ownership over their learning.

It is very important in both teaching modes to gauge student’s prior knowledge in order to effectively plan and execute an inclusive learning environment. In an online teaching situation instructors should communicate with students at the very beginning of a course to get a sense of their previous use of technology in order to structure their level of technical support accordingly.

Teaching online provides an opportunity to use asynchronous and synchronous communication tools to encourage and develop collaboration skills between students. The difference between these two types of communication tools are: with synchronous, students are all logged in and communicating at the same time (often audio or video based) and with asynchronous, students log in and communicate at different times depending on what is most convenient to them (most often text based). I think they are both equally useful when teaching and learning online depending on the resulting outcome the learner or instructor is aiming to achieve. However, synchronous communication does not afford as much time for reflection as asynchronous communication. It would be beneficial to use email, blog and wikis (asynchronous tools) to provide reflection and feedback on student’s assignments and learning and Blackboard Collaborate, Skype and Microsoft Lync (synchronous tools) to structure group brainstorming, host guest speakers, introduce new topics, and question and answer sessions. By using a combination of these tools I can strive to ensure optimal participation and collaboration results in my online teaching environment.

A final critical factor to ensure student success in an online learning environment would be to encourage constant interactions between students as well as between the teacher and students. In my online learning environment I would encourage teacher – student interaction by focusing on student responses to activities through asynchronous or synchronous tools and implementing learner-centered activities that keep students involved while providing consistent feedback that helps the student navigate their way through the course material. To encourage student – student interaction I would; provide guidelines for group participation and group roles, a system to monitor group interaction to ensure that students are equally contributing to the assigned project, provide suggested steps and guidelines for completing work as a group with clear goals for the group assignment. As well as creating activities that require authentic opportunities (constructivist activities) to communicate and encourage shared goals and cooperative learning.

Another form of interaction within the course would be to invite experts to share their ideas and knowledge of certain topic areas which helps students to connect with the information and topics covered in the course curriculum. As well, as an online teacher you can team teach or invite IT support people, faculty and program designers to play a role to create a cross level learning structure to further students networking opportunities.

I’m not sure if I’ll be teaching in an online environment in the near future but so far through my online learning experiences I have developed an incredible understanding and respect for both online instructors and the tools and techniques used to execute this form of teaching.