Time to Reflect

With any course, communication is key.  With an online course, I think that communication is that much more  important.  During my online course, I plan to communicate with students a variety of ways.  I will send updates and message, on my LMS.  Communication will also take place when students meet with their advisory teachers, on the assigned days.  In addition, students will be able to arrange time for assistance with me or the technology specialist.

My course will be self-paced, but still have some sort of structure.  My course will be a graduation project.  It primarily takes place in the first half of each high school students’ freshman year.  Then, by the end of each year students will need to submit their ePortfolio link.  So it won’t be like a standard ” due at the end of the week” assignment.  Each module will be open for a month.  It will fit each students’ needs for extended time and their schedule.  I’m more flexible because I understand that, in addition to the students’ needs, they have classes with assignments due.

I really like the way my course is set up now.   My plan for changing it would probably come about, after piloting it.  I think the only way to see if change is needed to to observe it, to see what does and doesn’t work.

The courses that I suggested that could be switched to online courses could be physical education and an online applications class.  I would create an online physical education class.  I know what you’re thinking.  Online gym? Yes, physical education can be online.  In my high school, there is currently a hybrid physical education course in place.  This course allows the student to do their physical activity outside of school and record the activity via Fitbit.  Then they meet once per week.  But honestly, our gym classes are two days per week.  So it just cuts off on day from the schedule?  My point exactly.  Why do the students need to meet? Some students have issues with this schedules.  A completely online course would solve this.  Students would check in, upload their Fitbit data and give a brief list of the activity they did over the course of the week.  I think that it also gets them in the routine of doing physical activity on their own.  This is a healthy habit that all individuals know they should partake in, but don’t.  Like ePortfolios, this is just another way to prepare students for the future.

Another useful online course for students would be to high school students is a technological readiness course.  It would teach the students to use technology associated with school and the workplace. There are so many students that can’t use the technology that we incorporate into the classroom.  I know, that’s a shock right? I felt the same way.  Students know how to use social media apps and anything associated with them, but that’s about it. This course would teach students to use applications such as: Google docs, Google slides, Google sheets, tips and tricks for Chromebooks, and any other useful online tools.  This would prepare students for the future, of independence, while in a supported environment.

After reviewing what Bates wrote, in chapter 12, there were a few points that resonated with me.  I really like that the focus is getting students ready for the digital age.  I agree that necessary skills and characteristics for the future include:  knowledge construction, reasoning, critical analysis, problem-solving, creative, collaborate with learning and teamwork and multi-tasking and flexibility.  All of theses skills help to form a lifelong learner.  That is my goal for my online course.

 

Reference:

Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning (chapters 12). Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/chapter-12-supporting-teachers-and-instructors-in-a-digital-age/

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Course Design

My course is called Introduction to ePortfolios.  My plan, for the course, is to be a graduation project for all students. This course will start their freshman year. The bulk of the course will be during their freshman year.  Throughout the sophmore until their senior year, it’ll purely be submitting their ePortfolios to their LMS.  In the beginning, I thought this course would be blended, but I realized that it would be difficult being school wide.  I decided that the course would take place online, but their advisory teachers and myself would be resources for help.   Since this will be for all students, I need to take all levels into account.  I will add a help folder, for students that need additional accommodations.  Whether it’s additional videos or speech to text apps.

Students will need access to their chromebooks, Internet, and their LMS.  Al materials will be on their LMS.  Assignments will be both individual and collaborative.  All assignments will be done individually, seeing as it’s a graduation project.  The collaboration will be done through discussions.  Students will submit their assignments via assessments on the LMS and discussion posts.  They will share their link for their ePortfolio on the discussion board as well.

Reference:

Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning (Chapters 8-10). Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Learning Independently as the Goal

After watching the “Scaffolding for Student Success”, I realized how much I related to this video.  As teachers, we all practice scaffolding.  Whether it’s teaching a new skill or working with a struggling student, scaffolding is an important piece in learning. I really like that it assists the students with the learning process less and less, to help the student become independent learners.  By doing this, it helps them to develop a sense of confidence with learning.  Being a special education teacher, this is such an important skill.  For my online course, this will be available for the students.  As much as I enjoy learning through exploration and doing, I realize that not all students are going to be able to do that independently.  Some students will have difficulties with either new technology or comprehension of the material related to their learning needs.

Since my course will be school-wide and a graduation project, it will be self-paced.  My course will allow for flexibility with assignments and have a new section each month.  Since homeroom teachers will be able to check in with them and it’s not for a specific course, there will need to be time for them to ask questions to their teachers or set up office hours with me.  Even though my course will be guided week by week, it will be a guideline, to help students stay on track.  The one solid deadline will be having the month’s module completed.  This will allow for students to finished sooner or later, in the month. In my course, I will make sure that my students’ needs are met, whether they are the gifted, independent learner or the special education student.  My goal is for students to feel confident about learning and eventually learn as independently as possible.

Reference:

Alberta Education. (2015, January 30). Scaffolding for student success [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTR_snb-0nQ

Overload

In the digital age, lectures can definitely be seen as boring.  But if there is a spin on it, I believe that it can be engaging.  Instead of lecturing, it can be seen as storytelling.  I believe that everyone likes to listen to stories.  So if a teacher or professor took that approach, students would be more inclined to pay attention.

I really feel that apprenticeships are a great way to learn.  As teachers, we did student teaching.  Classroom time taught me the material, content and theories.  But teaching in the classroom had me apply all of what i learned.  This, in my opinion, was the most useful training.  I learned the most by doing.  I feel that everyone, in every field, would benefit from doing this.

Teaching high school, I really feel like the Cognitive Overload video applied to my students.  Darren McNelis mentioned the issues that he had, being able to focus on academics.  He spoke about how difficult of a time that he had, because of his constant screen time and technology usage.  This is an issue that we face with a lot of our students.  Whether it’s getting them to stay on task or complete an assignment outside of school.  I believe that it all relates to the screentime that have.  They don’t give themselves any quiet time or time to reflect, they constantly need to be engaged with technology.

In my online course, I will try to incorporate my students strengths with technology.  I think that by gearing it towards their strengths and interests, it’ll make them more willing to learn the new content.  I will also make sure that they see the “why” or the reason behind learning something.  We, as teachers, can believe what we are teaching is important but if the students aren’t sold, it doesn’t matter.

Reference:

TEDx Talks. (2014, Nov. 6). Cognitive overload — rewire your brain in the digital age | Darren McNelis | TEDxTallaght [Video file]. Retrieved from https://amara.org/en/videos/JNHMjDiZmYdF/info/cognitive-overload-rewire-your-brain-in-the-digital-age-darren-mcnelis-tedxtallaght/

Try then Ask

I currently teach high school students.  They can range from 9th to 12th grade.  As for my teaching style, it’s pretty spot on with constructivism. I try to have my students problem solve and figure out the solution.  I really feel that by doing that, the moment really “sticks” with the students and makes a more meaningful impact.

Although most of my teaching takes place in the classroom, I have had blended learning tendencies.  Last school year, we started using the learning platform, Canvas.  Like other teachers in my school, I’ve been making an effort to incorporate Canvas into my students’ learning.  In my classroom, I’ve also been using a program called Get More Math.  This has really helped with my students rate at which they learn skills and problem solving abilities.  As for the content, I’ve taught math since the beginning of my teaching experience.  I’m also pretty comfortable with the technology used in the classroom.  When Canvas was rolled out, we were hit with trainings and video tutorials.  I found myself avoiding them and trying to learn through doing and then using the videos as a last resort.  As a result, I feel pretty confident with my ability to use the available technology.  I also took the same approach and have the same feelings towards Get More Math,

As I stated previously, I most identify with the constructivism theory.  I think the best way to learn is through doing.  Being able to problem solve and use prior knowledge to come up with a solution has always helped my students learn in the long run.  I really think this theory would connect with my online course.  In the past, I’ve felt truly successful and had understanding of the course when I was able to make my own connections to the information and build upon that.  I really feel this style will benefit my students in an online course.  I look forward to developing these ideas and theories and applying them to creating an online course.

Life Skills

I would ask, ” what skills do you think an individual needs to be successful?”.  It actually had me think back to my own classroom.  Have I always practiced what I’ve learned and believed?  Am I setting my students up for success?  Sometimes I need to put myself in check and stop what I’m doing.  I can think back to times at the end of the school year and having a student that is close to failing or failing that we want to help pass.  We get that paternal feeling and just want to help.  This is a battle that I have with myself, internally.  I realized after watching these videos that it’s my job to help them acquire these life skills and the rest it up to them.

I like that both of the videos focused on critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. These are huge skills that all individuals must have in order to be lifelong learners.  Being able to communicate is a skill that is lacking in children and adults.  Communication is key!  Being able to work with others and see others’ points of view are skills that are needed from school age to the workplace.  Being flexible and adapting to the situation is something that individuals encounter everyday.  The ability to be able to adjust and make things work is a huge life skill.  All skills mentioned in these videos are life skills, because we will continue to practice them in order to be successful throughout our lives.

Can I commit?

The question I had to ask myself was, can I commit to this question?  Will this question warrant the research that I need, to prove my point?  My answer to these questions was yes.  I feel that my innovation plan is so closely related to what I do, so I’m very passionate about this topic.  I believe that working on my innovation plan has really helped me to prepare for my action research topic selection.  With the two literature reviews, that I’ve done in the past, I have been able to find countless sources and studies.

The topic of my action research is going to being ePortfolio usage, with students in the secondary level.  The purpose for this is to determine whether or not this is a tool that can help prepare them for the future of becoming a lifelong learners and learning how to use and problem solve tools used in the 21st century.  My fundamental research question is, how do ePortfolios help to prepare high school students for their post-secondary lives?  I plan on using a qualitative and quantitative approach.  I’d like to be able to observe how ePortfolio implementation is going, but I’d also like to get feedback from those using them and and how have used them.