Personal Philosophy of Online Learning

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When developing my philosophy for online learning I took into consideration that technology has and is enhancing student learning in both face-to-face and online teaching modes. I also based it upon the understanding that online learning today is just as collaborative and communicative as face-to-face learning when mediated by the right technological tools.

Nussbaum-Beach (2008) suggests that good teachers will only enhance and develop student centered learning through the use of technology and not be replaced by it.  I thought deeply about this when developing my philosophy mind map and added pedagogical focus because the basis for good teaching is developing curriculum that meets the different needs of your diverse learners. This can be accomplished through such pedagogical approaches as constructivism and connectivism while still following best teaching practices and with the addition of the right technological tools great online teaching can be achieved.

Stacey & Wiesenberg (2007) talk about the globalization of learning through the use of internet resources, this resonates with me because even in my face-to-face teaching mode I have Sykped with experts on various subjects in my classroom. The study also suggested that online teachers must plan ahead, be highly organized, communicate with learners in new ways as well as be accessible to their students, and play the role of facilitator or mentor in their interactions with learners. After reading through these teaching practices I realized that with the aid of many technological tools these practices could be more easily met through online teaching compared to the face-to-face mode so I included them in my philosophy.

Finally I wanted my philosophy mind map to portray the fact that as the times are changing teachers need to adapt to new technologies in order to better their students learning experiences.  However, making sure that the learner and their best interest is still at the forefront of online teaching.

References

Nussbaum-Beach, S. (2008, June 2). Letter to my colleagues. Message posted to http://www.21stcenturycollaborative.com/2008/06/letter-to-my-colleagues/

Stacey, E., & Wiesenberg, F. (2007). A study of face-to-face and online teaching philosophies in Canada and Australia. Journal of Distance Education, 22 (1), 19-40. http://www.jofde.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/7/465

Manifesto Response

After reading through the manifesto and reading some responses I found that I did identify with a few of the principles stated. Even though I don’t teach online I do use a number of online technologies to connect, assess and provide feedback in many ways to my students. I teach a specialized program in my grade five classroom called Literacy and Learning. The students are grade five age however many of them read and write at a grade 1-2 level with a variety of learning disabilities and a lot of traditional face to face classroom techniques for connecting and providing feedback don’t work for them.

I identify with the principle in the manifesto that states “by redefining connection we find we can make eye contact online” because I often use asynchronous tools with a visual aspect to build a relationship with these students rather than having a teacher-student conference that would challenge them to have an intense discussion with me.

I also identified with the principle that stated “feedback can be digested, worked with, created from. In the absence of this, it is just ‘response’” because most of my students have trouble reading and understanding feedback that is written or discussed with them so we have a new tool that was developed through the Calgary Board of Education called IRIS that I can use to provide feedback in creative ways.  It is a reporting tool for teachers but is also a place where students can set learning goals and post work that teachers can provide a variety of feedback with traditional text comments as well as responding in other ways.  I like this tool because it allows me to provide students with feedback even during the process of problem-solving, allowing for self-paced, incremental progress toward their learning objectives.

Even though I am not an online teacher I think some of the manifesto principles can also be good building blocks for many forms of teaching.

Introduction

Hi,

My name is Arlene and I am a fifth grade teacher in Calgary, Alberta.  I have been teaching for 6 1/2 years and in that time I have had the privilege of working with all elementary grades from K-6.  I started my career in Brisbane, Australia where I taught for 2 years and the rest of the time I have spent in Calgary.  This is my fifth and final EDDL course, I have enjoyed all of them so far but am looking forward to completing the program.  I am also looking forward to meeting all of you.