To me, learning about how to develop an online/blended course is an essential skill for educators these days. However, as an Elementary specialist, how does this fit? How do we merge the need to present authentic technology learning tasks to our students, while overcoming and bypassing the road blocks that exist?
When signing up for this course, I knew it was out of my comfort zone. I mean not MY comfort zone – 70% of my Master’s classes have been done in an online or blended format. Then I read the following:
This suggests that fully online courses are more suitable for more experienced students with a strong motivation to take such courses because of the impact they have on their quality of life. In general, online students need more self-discipline in studying and a greater motivation to study to succeed. Tony Bates chapter (Teaching in a Digital Age)
This had me thinking: As an adult, the online format is easier for me to balance my life, and it also works for me because I’m a motivated learner – does the same hold true for our ‘youngest’ learners?
Additionally, I have to say, taking an online course and creating an online course are NOT the same thing. So this task, in my K-8 realm is goes beyond of my current skill set and my personal comfort zone (it’s all new to me)!
Thankfully, this is where the wonderful and capable Nicole Reeve comes in! She has got ideas, and is keeping me focused (I’ve been known to ‘see a squirrel or two’ when it comes to planning – in my defense I work with upwards of 400 kids and staff members in a day… I digress).
Nicole and I have decided to work together on this project and we are going to try focusing our module ‘where we are’. That led us to Grade 2 Science: Liquids and Solids . We are currently considering this a blended learning experience. I am happier about this project now that we have an idea guiding us.
Liquids and solids was an ideal place to start in my mind because we are able to execute experiments within this unit. In my opinion, this can allow for a balance of online/technology experiences as well as hands on experiences that our students can share using some (potentially) new technology skills. Working to essentially ‘get our feet wet’ through blended learning in Grade 2.
Additionally, Nicole and I have begun researching Learning Management Systems. There are many things to consider when teaching online such as: does it offer public and private settings? What are the costs associated with the LMS and is it feasible to purchase one? How will the assessment occur within the LMS? Additionally in choosing an LMS we need to consider if it is a platform a grade 2 student can access independently. After searching some LMS programs that geared toward K-12 learning, we have a few names, but haven’t chosen a ‘winner’. What are some user friendly Learning Management systems you have tried?
— Amy Singh (@asingh2) January 19, 2017
That’s it for my tangible progress this week, now Nicole and I have got platforms to explore, and a lot of things to consider before we are able to move forward!
One more piece from the readings this week that had me thinking this week, and I just wanted to finish up on this note as something that I’ve been considering alongside blended learning:
Personal learning is like shopping at a grocery store. You need to assemble the ingredients yourself and create your own meals. It’s harder, but it’s a lot cheaper, and you can have an endless variety of meals. Sure, you might not get the best meals possible, but you control the experience, and you control the outcome.
Ultimately, if people are to become effective learners, they need to be able to learn on their own. They need to be able to find the resources they need, assemble their own curriculum, and forge their own learning path. They will not be able to rely on education providers, because their needs are too many and too varied. Stephen Downes post