Interactions, in an Educator’s line of work, are pretty important. Interactions are, after all, the basis (in my opinion) for what teaching thrives on… relationships.
What is the best way to build and form relationship and interactions with our students in an online realm? How do we make the interactions meaningful and appropriate- and how does that transfer into appropriate learning tasks?
Nicole and I are working toward a blended learning course for grade 2 students. Our focus is Science, but we initially struggled over what blended learning looks like in a grade 2 classroom.
We decided on a pseudo-LMS with Weebly as our platform (don’t get me wrong, Weebly is an LMS, but the way in which we are using it is the reason I call it ‘pseudo’). Our LMS is really more of an information hub than it is an ‘interaction’ hub. I think we have created a visually appealing space which is easily accessible and not overwhelming, but this is ultimately a space that students will take from, not contribute to (very similar to the ECI 834 weekly schedule platform).
For the interaction part, we have decided to utilize SeeSaw, there are a few reasons that this platform was at the forefront for us. We both work for Regina Public, and currently all our Pre-K and Kindergarten students use this platform in their classroom to share, this seems like a logical, scaffolded step to have students manage and post in a more independent manner. Secondly, in Regina Public, our Early Elementary students (will) have technology access with iPads in schools. Additionally, the platform seems like an ideal one for our younger students because they can begin to write and interact with (and for) a larger audience (families) in the online space. This will allow us, as teachers, the ability to manage the audience while our students are developing their digital footprint and digital citizenship awareness.
SeeSaw also provides a multitude of options for posting content, students can draw, video, add notes, pictures and even audio recordings to share what they have seen or experienced. Additionally, the Facebook feed like format allows for comments/likes etc., which has benefits for the ‘outside world’ interactions. As we are attempting to implement a ‘flipped classroom’ sort of feel, the modules will each dictate what is required of the students.
My specific module will require students to complete an experiment at home, record their observations (on SeeSaw) in the format they choose. Then, we will have time in class to see what others observed in their at home experiment and discuss the different findings in class. The lesson I chose is about determining why liquids take the shape of the container they are in. This lesson will be formatively assessed based on what the students are posting and what conclusions are drawn in our full class discussion.
What are your thoughts? Are we on the right track? Will the platforms we have chosen be supportive of developing authentic meaningful interactions-is there another platform that might be better? Is there anything that we should be thinking differently about?