Fabian’s Assign #2



While I don’t think this is exactly what Fabian had in mind, I find it a very interesting blog about teachers’ reluctance to incorporate online teaching in their classes. I see the same resistance in my school from teachers much younger than I and often wonder why those feeling prevail even today. I do know most educators have little time to add new facets to their F2F daily routines, however, I strongly believe it is in the students best interests to expose them to this type of education as early as possible. Not only because it’s available, effective and motivating, but simply because it’s the future.

Go to Why Tech Training for Faculty is a Waste if Time

Final Project

http://www.mlesl.com/

I don’t think the link works, but if you type it in, it should. Please try and let me know. Xie Xie (Thx)

Philosophy of Teaching Online



Learning to be a Better Teacher

Being and online learner is much more difficult for me than being in a classroom. I suspect the same will be true as an online facilitator versus a classroom teacher. This is only my second course online and the information, resources and tools are somewhat overwhelming. My biggest issue has been the lack of connectivity and on-again, off-again reliability of certain software. My first course dealt primarily with the creating of practical online resources as well as developing a website. My frustration level grew to the point I lost interest in producing a high-quality product. Once an attainable solution was given (ie buying a website and placing my objects), I was able to focus on my lessons and not on the technology of lack of my technological skills. I believe my own experience in such situations will make me better relate to my students when they find themselves in such situations.

Developing an Online Course

As I deal primarily with high-school aged students in a foreign land, much of my philosophy is derived from this exclusive face-to-face environment. My goal is to attempt to transfer these motivational and practical experiences into a somewhat online environment in order to better prepare my students for future courses.

Many of the practices I currently use are based on my ability to reach my students in a face-to-face environment. I am engaging as a speaker to the class as a group, creating a bond through knowledge of their culture but also by introducing them to mine, and I also make time for one-to-one chats about their progress, problems and general interests. By creating this open and caring environment, the impact on my students’ desire to be successful has been significant. While curriculum and goals are always at the back of my mind, my students’ confidence, security and different learning styles are my priority. With these factors as a background, I can be successful in applying other, more traditional ideas of teaching methods. My classroom environment is one of mutual respect, individuality and comfort in learning. How would I recreate this environment in an online situation?

In Caplan’s and Graham’s The Development of Online Courses, the outline of the Seven Principles for Good Practice by in Undergraduate Education Chickering and Erhann is given as a set of standards – one I agree with. I chose to focus on the two I believe I am very successful with in a classroom, and wonder how to implement them online. Encouraging contact between students and faculty is one I do each day whether in the classroom, after school or via QQ (IM chat program). However, my students are reluctant to use the QQ method as they feel their English proficiency is not good enough to convey without facial and physical expressions. I have started an after-school program where we are in the same classroom environment but all communication must be done via QQ. I hope to establish a high comfort zone of online communication in English with my students so that they will use it when at home or on vacation. If I can achieve this, I believe students will be more forthcoming in questions regarding activities, projects or simply ideas.

Chickering and Erhmann then updated their standards to include online learning. A great example of this in their article, Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever:

“Professor Norman Coombs reports that, after twelve years of teaching black history at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the first time he used email was the first time a student asked what he, a white man, was doing teaching black history. The literature is full of stories of students from different cultures opening up in and out of class when email became available. Communication also is eased when student or instructor (or both) is not a native speaker of English; each party can take a bit more time to interpret what has been said and compose a response. With the new media, participation and contribution from diverse students become more equitable and widespread.”

Active Learning techniques are ones I strongly try to introduce to my classes. Chinese Education theory is one of passive memorization. The difficulty in showing my students the benefits of active learning is a long and difficult road. I would think this would be even more so in an online environment. However, supplying a list of many useful and easy-to-follow websites with interactive games and testing strategies could very well encourage a more active-learning mindset than teaching flashcards in a classroom environment.

Academia.edu has a paper that I found most helpful – “Online Vs. Face-to-Face Learning” (Barrera, Ho, Garcia, Traphagan and Chang). In it, they put forward the idea that it need not be one or the other but a combination of the two. This is the ideal I plan to put forward this semester in my classes. By combining the already familiar F2F with online activities and learning, I hope to reach my students in a way that was not possible before.

“Everyone will lose if traditional face-to-face and technology-enhanced learning environments are pitted against each other.” (p. 2).

While it may not be specific to an entire online course, I do believe it raises the issues I have been struggling with. In today’s world, with the multitude of multimedia tools, creating an online face-to-face – as a group or individually – need not be a problem. As most teenagers already use one form or another of video chat, this method should not interfere with their comfort zone. It could also, make them more at ease as they could decide “where” to meet with me rather than in my office or another school location.

Great Moments in Teaching

The challenges of teaching and the long hours of preparation and assessment can sometimes be overwhelming. However, these are easily outweighed by witnessing a student’s “A-ha!” moment. It is the moment that keeps teachers teaching, especially me. I get great satisfaction when I have brought student to this point and know they are going to be fine in the next level. It is my greatest achievement and most rewarding time that I have ever had. Whether it is a simple as understanding a word or a concept, this is what teaching is about. This is one aspect of online teaching that I still have no idea how to recreate – and perhaps can’t. However, as technology advances perhaps there will, or already is, a tool that would allow for the student to share such a moment as quickly as possible. I currently use a tool called QQ which is China’s IM. I have spent many hours with one or two students going over concepts until they do finally understand. Using a variety of methods including graphics that I upload, we do somewhat recreate a feeling of intimacy and the A-ha! moment is there, I’m just not physically present for it.

The Future

I believe my future with online learning and teaching requires much more knowledge of the tools available. I do use a variety of software in my classes as well as teach my students how to prepare basic audio/visual presentations, but I need to do more. The other challenge is getting the students onboard to this type of approach. This is extremely difficult in China because education and the teacher is very traditional still and the idea of allowing students more freedom towards their own educational goals is still a long way off. I am going to attempt an online segment this semester where students will need to receive and upload their assignment through Moodle. As I believe that their future is directly linked with using such technologies, I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce them to such a notion. It should be quite a challenge and I’m sure I will learn a lot about what was successful and what was not. As I mentioned above, the slow introduction of student/faculty meetings via QQ, using Moodle for a specifically-designed unit, and encouraging the use of email for homework assignments will hopefully bring my students and I closer to an online environment enhanced by F2F.

“Online and face-to-face learning can no longer be regarded as two separate and distinct approaches to learning. Rather, what is called for is a fundamental rethinking of our approaches to learning and education. We need to change our mindset and reorganize our thinking about the process of teaching and learning. Instead of following traditional paradigms that have the instructor firmly in control, we should adopt entrepreneurial and innovative approaches to learning. Such approaches would permit students to become independent learners, and, at the same time, give the teacher the important role of guide throughout the learning process.” (Online Vs Face-to-Face Learning, p 7).

RESOURCES: The Development of Online Learning, Caplan & Graham
Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, Chickering and Erhann
Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever, Chickering and Erhann (http://www.tltgroup.org/programs/seven)
Online VS Face-to-Face Learning, Barrera, Ho, Garcia, Traphagan and Chang (www.academia.edu)


Response to Arlene’s Assignments 2 and 3



I have sent these to Arlene as I will not be able to connect with her synchronous meeting as I have class on Tuesday morning. I thought I would share what I have here, as well.

It’s extremely dificult to find completely online classes for K-12. One site I found that is interesting,though, is Education World that has some great ideas for teaching online ethics, but not online. It’s a good read, though.

Here are the others:
Slide1

Slide2

Slide3

chart of tools

Role of Facilitator


By reading the models posted for this course as well as searching online, I realized how many models have already been researched and implemented. However, they all come down to standard teaching basics which I feel Zane L. Berg, PhD., outlined in the clearest manner.

Well-Designed Lesson Plans

Berge’s emphasis that, no matter if online or in a classroom, the primary cause of instructional success relies on “well-designed learning goals and objectives” is one to keep in mind when planning an online course or unit. The standard, for me anyway, is to work backwards when planning a unit and class. What do I want them to be able to do? What would I like them to learn? What type of activity would be most useful for this particular topic or Academic curriculum? Because I work with fairly low-level ESL students, the first part of the lesson must be vocabulary. This cannot be accomplished without the entire unit in place. While I don’t like to focus only on vocabulary, it’s a standard of mine to give the most important words on the first day. Additional vocabulary and review of the core vocabulary is then added to subsequent lessons.
Rather than simply deliver the vocabulary, I will enhance each word with a short anecdote and short discussion/questions to the students in an attempt to get them involved and perhaps create a link which will help them remember. In an online environment, this interaction would be greatly reduced. However, I could endeavor to provide a graphic/cartoon that might accomplish the same results. During the online chats/meetings, we could then delve into the more entertaining and instructional aspects of the vocabulary. As I allow my students to use their notebooks for review and quizzes, online meetings – whether via a F2F program or merely an IM, should result in the same benefits.

Classifications

Berge’s classification of facilitating activities gave a clear, structured outline whether for F2F or online: pedagogical, social, managerial and technical.

Pedagogical

In order to prepare myself for my course, I first spoke with the teachers at the next level (Grade 10 BC Curriculum) to see where the students should be at the end of my course. Given this information, I then devised a syllabus that would lead them to those goals while also teaching them classroom management styles that are quite different from their Chinese classrooms. For the most part, my students are at a Grade 1 reading level. In order to get them to at least a Grade 5 or 6 level before entering the BC program, I realized I had to teach them context as well as vocabulary. This proved highly successful as I was teaching them something they could do on their own while reading without relying on a dictionary (which they can’t use anyway on tests). This aspect, for me, will be easily transferable to online learning as most of my material is in PPT format and website practice sites.

Social

For me, this will be the most difficult aspect to transform to an online teaching environment. In my classroom, the idea of respect (Teacher/Student and Student/Student) is strongly emphasized. I also encourage free speech (sharing ideas, questions and even jokes) during the class. While it is understood that when I am instructing them on an important aspect of the curriculum it is important to take notes, the activity part of the class can become quite lively and sometimes leads into discussions I had not anticipated but welcome none-the-less. It was through one such activity that I learned something new after seven years of teaching ESL. I had often used the phrase, “Your homework is due tomorrow.” One boy, looked at me and asked, “Is this a joke? Do we have homework or do we do it tomorrow?” I now teach the difference.
Creating this type of environment online will definitely be a challenge. My model for this semester will still include classroom teaching and I hope to prepare my students well enough so they are as comfortable online asking questions as they are when I am with them.

Managerial

Setting timetables is always tricky in my classes and the key word I have learned is flexibility. Whether it be one class that does not grasp a them or merely a few students, I have realized that it’s important for me to set the deadlines, but to be accommodating to those who require more time or instruction. I have also become one of the leaders of the idea of the “Re-Test”. Being the manager of a course is not a problem, whether in a classroom or online as long as I am not too rigid in my procedures. Allowing for student differences helps with the Social classification as well.

Technical

Whether it is in how to use a fork, create an oral presentation, or helping with program-user issues, the facilitator must feel comfortable with the technology in order to teach it well. In a classroom, this is never an issue for me as I rarely bring to the classroom something I don’t understand. In an online environment, this will definitely change. The wide range of software available for creating projects as well as for communicating leads to limited knowledge in some areas. Perhaps by choosing an appropriate and easily accessible software (MS Office), I can eliminate most areas of unease. That being said, I always have a few staff members who are far above me in technological matters that I can rely on for questions and solutions. As I always stress to my students, when you don’t know, ask.

KWL Chart 2



While reading these facilitation models, one thing struck me – I am very similar to my students. The language is unfamiliar and intimidating. I also require an explicit purpose for what I will be achieving. Perhaps it is my practical side dominating over my reflective side, but it’s there. However, once I delved more into the readings of online facilitator models it became clear to me that it is simply a matter of language and technology. Every time something new is introduced into our society, new terms come into existence.

Why is a teacher now a facilitator simply because she or he is online?

Why is a lesson plan now a model?

Why is it so difficult to merge the two that obviously need to be joined?

Once I realized this, the question then became, how to I transfer my F2F environment to an online setting?

I’m still not sure but I think I have a better understanding of what I need to do: learn the tools of online teaching, learn how to translate my knowledge into that workplace, learn how to deal with the new challenges that await me.

KWL2 Chart

KWL Chart – beginning



I have started on my chart and every time I write a question, 10 more come up. I don’t want to spend too much time on all the things I don’t know and start reading about the main points of what I want to know. In any case, here is my beginning and, hopefull, the last column will be filled in soon with many great ideas.

One question, is it ok to create a model based on a specific unit I wish to explore online?

KWL Chart

Week 4 Assignment – My Philosophy and Online Learning



As I deal primarily with high-school aged students in a foreign land, much of my philosophy is derived from this environment.
Many of the practices I currently use are based on my ability to reach my students in a face-to-face environment. I am engaging as a speaker to the class as a group, creating a bond through knowledge of their culture but also by introducing them to mine, and I also make time for one-to-one chats about their progress, problems and general interests. By creating this open and caring environment, the impact on my students’ desire to be successful has been significant. While curriculum and goals are always at the back of my mind, my students’ confidence, security and different learning styles are my priority. With these factors as a background, I can be successful in applying other, more traditional ideas of teaching methods. My classroom environment is one of mutual respect, individuality and comfort in learning. How would I recreate this environment in an online situation?

Academia.edu has a paper that I found most helpful – “Online Vs. Face-to-Face Learning” (Barrera, Ho, Garcia, Traphagan and Chang). In it, they put forward the idea that it need not be one or the other but a combination of the two.
“Everyone will lose if traditional face-to-face and technology-enhanced learning environments are pitted against each other.” (p. 2).
While it may not be specific to an entire online course, I do believe it raises the issues I have been struggling with. In today’s world, with the multitude of multimedia tools, creating an online face-to-face – as a group or individually – need not be a problem. As most teenagers already use one form or another of video chat, this method should not interfere with their comfort zone. It could also, make them more at ease as they could decide “where” to meet with me rather than in my office or another school location.

Great Moments in Teaching

The challenges of teaching and the long hours of preparation and assessment can sometimes be overwhelming. However, these are easily outweighed by witnessing a student’s “A-ha!” moment. It is the moment that keeps teachers teaching, especially me. I get great satisfaction when I have brought student to this point and know they are going to be fine in the next level. It is my greatest achievement and most rewarding time that I have ever had. Whether it is a simple as understanding a word or a concept, this is what teaching is about. This is one aspect of online teaching that I still have no idea how to recreate – and perhaps can’t. However, as technology advances perhaps there will, or already is, a tool that would allow for the student to share such a moment as quickly as possible. I currently use a tool called QQ which is China’s IM. I have spent many hours with one or two students going over concepts until they do finally understand. Using a variety of methods including graphics that I upload, we do somewhat recreate a feeling of intimacy and the A-ha! moment is there, I’m just not physically present for it.

The Future

I believe my future with online learning and teaching requires much more knowledge of the tools available. I do use a variety of software in my classes as well as teach my students how to prepare basic audio/visual presentations, but I need to do more. The other challenge is getting the students onboard to this type of approach. This is extremely difficult in China because education and the teacher is very traditional still and the idea of allowing students more freedom towards their own educational goals is still a long way off. I am going to attempt an online segment this semester where students will need to receive and upload their assignment through Moodle. As I believe that their future is directly linked with using such technologies, I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce them to such a notion. It should be quite a challenge and I’m sure I will learn a lot about what was successful and what was not.

“Online and face-to-face learning can no longer be regarded as two separate and distinct approaches to learning. Rather, what is called for is a fundamental rethinking of our approaches to learning and education. We need to change our mindset and reorganize our thinking about the process of teaching and learning. Instead of following traditional paradigms that have the instructor firmly in control, we should adopt entrepreneurial and innovative approaches to learning. Such approaches would permit students to become independent learners, and, at the same time, give the teacher the important role of guide throughout the learning process.” (Online Vs Face-to-Face Learning, p 7).

Philosophy for ESL Development



I hadn’t realized I had a real philosophy until I did some reading and reflected on what I actually do in the classroom and why I have been successful – especially with those students deemed too difficult or “lazy”.

My deepest belief is that all students can learn what they need to learn if given the correct environment and tools they need to show their comprehension and gained knowledge.

One of my biggest challenges is reaching students and allowing them an opportunity to learn a different way of learning – and that it’s OK. One part of the manifesto I found particularly interesting was that of assessment. I have struggled with this a long time and am just beginning to realize the importance of assessment on a variety of levels. I believe technology can help achieve these levels through individual performance in a safe atmosphere – and one most teenagers today feel very comfortable in. Another aspect of assessment that I found of great pertinence – perhaps especially to ESL, but I suspect in all areas of education – is the acceptance of allowing students to repeat performance tests. Technology does this all the time with their practice tests (look at the TOEFL practice tests). Why should we be different in a classroom atmosphere? Does it matter how many times it takes a student to learn a particular aspect or that the student finally reaches an attainable goal of a passing understanding of that unit or class?
These are the questions I had when I went into this course and I have found much of the reading to be helpful and inspirinf. I do, however, that face-time with a teacher is also very important and we cannot rule that out completely. I don’t think the biggest downside of online learning, as well as possibly it’s strength, is the anonymity and solitude of the experience.
Eastern ESL Preparation for Western Education

EDDL 5141 Introduction



This is a brief introduction to me and my working past.

Since this was made, I have changed jobs somewhat to include more administrative work. I’m still in the classroom, but only for two courses a day. While I enjoy the challenges of the new position, I do miss the students and the daily interactions we used to share.

I hope I can manage working through the philosophies of education and realize what mine is as well as hope to apply it and adapt to my school’s environment.

The YouTube link is

http://youtu.be/cKk9Vzj5M5E
Onward  ho …

I’m still having issues trying to upload videos onto this blog, but in the meantime YouTube still works.