EDLD 5368 (Instructional Design) Week 5 Reflection
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.