What benefits do you see in educators knowing how to design and implement online learning?
As high stakes testing and accountability, economic pressures, and budgetary constraints force teachers and administrators to look for alternative teaching and learning methods or modalities, online learning is one thing to consider. Even as online learning becomes more prevalent than it is today, we, as educators, need to be prepared to design lessons for that – as with any – environment. Its distinct advantages such as the ability to reach a greater number of students than might fit in a classroom at any given time regardless of their location (thus decreasing the cost of delivery of instruction) and the ability to employ multimedia for differentiating instruction (i.e., visual learners can take advantage of visual material, auditory learners can use audio material, those with dual learning styles, etc.), and besides, children nowadays are exposed to multimedia and expect the same for any interaction they engage in. If educators are trained in designing and implementing online learning, students would have more options for learning experiences, and they would have the flexibility and the freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own learning styles.
How will you professionally use your course that you designed?
The course that I designed can be used for educator professional development, and I intend to do just that if and when I become an instructional technologist. As it stands, all I can do is to submit it and if approved, it will be a part of summer professional development courses offered by the district. I will promote and implement more online professional development courses to not only give teachers the chance to engage in personal enrichment and career advancement, but also to help them keep up to date with the current issues and skills in this constantly-evolving field.
Will you integrate online learning in your role as a teacher/staff developer?
As previously stated, I will promote and implement online professional development – as part of or integrated with personal learning networks that are currently implemented in the district (although done quite haphazardly). As a teacher, I also plan to integrate online learning but only to supplement and/or complement classroom instruction as most of my students do not have access to a computer at home021 or their parents do not take them to the library.
What questions do you still have about online learning?
The questions I have about online learning are aplenty. First, how practical and feasible is this in low socio-economic areas? Granted, connected computers are – or if not yet would be – available in schools, but online learning at home (not just for homework, but also for truant students and/or the homebound) is still the best-use case scenario. One cannot make online learning mandatory for financial reasons. Another question is how to monitor and enforce task compliance (not just task completion. Much like the GoCourse player that keeps track of progress and performance, is this an option available in systems like Schoology, Moodle, and the like?
What will you do with this new learning?
I will apply this in my current position and in the job that I intend to pursue – as an instructional technologist. Apart from online learning, I also intend to use the “backwards design” model as put forth by Wiggins & McTighe (2005). Planning lessons with the end in mind and deciding exactly what it is that we want our students to achieve is quite possibly the best practice. Teaching should not be about “covering the material” and assigning activities; we should continually reflect on our goals and objectives and focus on the six facets of understanding (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Moreover, assignments should be interactive, authentic or performance-based, and require active participation. This process may be time-consuming, but this practice is ingrained in Special Education anyway. In the end, the benefits of staff and/or students’ increased understanding makes it all worth it.
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (Expanded Second Edition), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
“Dear education: I am your child, an offspring of wild thoughts entangled with knots and photos of poorer countries, people sleeping on cots. I am the series of words ordered to make enough sense to partly understand the past tense; I am a present poet of no specific dazzling hero heroics. These pages in my corporate friendly text book do no good to me, I am like Socrates, I seek knowledge through my own means enlightened conversation, dreams, books, meditation. I am the raised hand waiting patiently for the teacher to hear my answer, so answer me this teacher, why must I wait for you to hear me?
“I will blurt out senseless answers to answerless equations, learn the ways of other nations through cultural vibrations which sink deep into the solitude of my sleep, and speak very loudly for the hungry, the weak. This week is next week’s memory of repetitive cycles and styles, hair cuts and new shoes, no new thought on the newest news, yo, I learn out of pure bliss of learning, in me is a yearning to continue turning in and out of realizations.
“Dear math, your certainty scares me. I am uncertain that algebra will aid me, for I refuse you, it is so clearly absent in me. I will make up my own numbers, and number them none through no more, no more comes right after when can I, can you is before will you, will I keep going? Going is nowhere if everyday you are where you were, where you were is where I could be. Could you please tell me why I must learn this uncertain certainty? Certainly you can understand that I am no average man and thus trust that I will soak in passing thought while these formulas for fractions gather dust. I need not geometry, for nature doesn’t produce your so called square, your man made perfections and imperfections. Sections of rock are not measured; they are felt and seen, in real life not square screens. I have seen this in my dreams… and I remember in the morning, there is no math in waking, math is taking me from wisdom and forcing me to understand mere riddles.
“Dear grades; Why do you try to cut me like a cookie and shape me to a mold? As if to then be sold to another institution of being told what to think and how to arrange this ink on my notebook surface, scribbling flight without the gift of wings. I do admit that you do teach me the potency of further potential somehow essential for a good job, to spend my time gathering money to exchange for my right to own anything. I should be taught but not graded, there is no reason, we are all as inconstant as the seasons.
“How does one grade the slow hover of leaves braking away from treetops tossed into fate filled gravitational landing spots? I have graded politicians and cops, judges, CEO’s, American Idols. This system has failed and cannot continue in its current direction; it must be re-thought and re-taught so that maybe somehow people in this world will actually seek understanding between one another.
“I will recite my right to recite my voice by choice of creating sound for others to listen to and ignore till they stoop so low in ignorance that their brains land with a Thud on the floor.., I have a fist full of forgiveness, to forgive what I forget. And pave a path for truth to flow which is diminishing, yet, it is all too much. Much is all too well, and as long as there is hope for heaven there is a need for hell. My mellow moon is melancholy.
“If I could express the spirit, I would rise above lies and find the truth for all to hear it and know the reasons why…why we still have not found our place, our place as intellectual apes.
“Dear students of “acting like your [sic] paying attention”; learn if you choose to, do as you want to and let me entangle thoughts with knots while reason looses [sic] value, and slowly rots. You lend yourselves to faulty fictions and contradictions only audible when nobody wants to listen. So listen now, now you listen to me, for I too have a need to say what’s right when right is wrong and life is blinding me.
“Dear education; I am your child.”