Summary of Learning

Check out my Summary of Learning for EC&I 834. It was created using AdobeSpark. I must say I love this tools! I will definitely be using it again! It is user-friendly, it has high-quality images and overall creates high-quality products. I’d love to hear your feedback!

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Sharing in Open Spaces

Hello colleagues and peers,

This week I have been challenged to consider the idea of openness in education. This post will touch on authenticity, whether openness is a risk to student of different ages/levels and my personal experiences with sharing in an open and online space.

As I reflect on the topic of openness, I am reminded of the post that I made in EC&I 831 called Authenticity and Employment.  I agree that it is important to create a positive online identity and have an online presence. However, I am cautiously aware of the implications of sharing openly in the online environment. One has to think carefully about how open sharing may reflect negatively on their employer, their family members including children and on themselves.

I believe that it is important to ask the difficult questions and to engage in various forms of discussions around content in the online environment but that it is also important to conduct yourself respectfully and responsibly, particularly around sensitive issues.

9 elements of digital citizenship

When creating online learning, it is important to remember that the content that an instructor asks the students to generate online will be out there for the world to see. Young adults that put their opinions online may suffer in the future if an potential employer finds information that they created when they did not have the level of maturity of understanding to critically engage in the information that they were putting online.

Personally, I am thankful that I did not have to worry about my digital identity until I was in my mid-twenties when I had already developed a level of maturity that helped me to navigate the waters of online sharing and shaming. I believe in advocacy and making a statement but I also have the capacity to understand the implications of the statements that I am making.

I believe that it is crucial to have continuous conversations around digital citizenship when working in the online environment with students, regardless of their age. I believe that if the dialogue around digital citizenship is open then it will be at the forefront of student’s minds when they are engaging in the course content and completing their work for the class.

I believe that in a blended course format that allows for some face-to-face time is an excellent way to promote authenticity as it gives student the opportunity to ask critical questions or to make statements that they may not feel safe to make in the online space. This would be an important consideration for me going forward when designing online courses.

Considering I am an adult educator, I do not have to deal with a lot of the tough questions that educators who work with children have to deal with. I believe that when teaching children it would not be appropriate to hold courses in an exclusively online environment. I believe that children as much from being present with their peers in the classroom as they do of the content. Research has shown that children need a healthy balance when it comes to technology. It is important for children to know how to learn online but I don’t believe that students should be expected to exclusively learn online.

Finally, I want to mention a tweet that I came across this week. The Tween was from David Geurin and it states: “Make sure your learning is driving your lesson and not your tech tool. Good lesson design does not make technology the priority over other parts of learning.”

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I believe that when it comes to online learning this is a good rule to keep in mind. Learning can be done successfully in the online environment but it is important to ensure that you are not looking to change your lesson to adapt to the technology, but rather making sure that your technology is a compliment to the lesson.

Do you feel limited in your capacity to be authentic in online spaces?

How do you manage student safety when teaching children?

How do you approach digital citizenship with adults who may have different definitions of digital citizenship?

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Supporting Meaningful Interactions

Hello, colleagues and peers,

I am here in a second post this week to discuss how to support meaningful student to student and student to instructor interactions in the online environment.

As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to integrate a Google+ Community into my Prototype plan. After reading through the readings for this week’s blog prompt, I realized the importance of developing that sense of community for learners in the online environment.

Again, through my reflections and readings, I have come back to my initial motivation for selecting a social feel for my prototype project. Edmodo is designed to mimic Facebook and, I believe, “de-schooling” the online learning environment will be conducive to building an online community among learners.

However, going through this week’s readings, I wondered if a social environment would be enough. The Schwier article resonated with me. Schwier states:

“For a community to emerge, a learning environment must allow learners to engage each other intentionally and collectively in the transaction or transformation of knowledge. It isn’t enough that material is presented to people and they interact with the instruction. It isn’t enough that the learners interact with instructors to refine their understanding of the material.”

I decided, after these readings, that I wanted to add a community space where students could interact and support each other, particularly in the area of technology. I believe that a safe space to ask questions and share resources will help to build community as it will be a supportive place for those who technology may traditionally isolate. In addition, Google+ offers connection outside of the Edmodo or “classroom” space.

Furthermore, the Schwier article cemented my decision making around having a face-to-face class at the beginning and the end of the module. I believe that the face-to-face meet and greet among the students can begin to create the integration of the group. I know that from my experience in Alec’s classes that the chance to introduce ourselves to each other in the face-to-face environment helped as we worked through the online class.

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I did think about creating a hashtag for students to follow along within Twitter. I think Twitter is an excellent tool for connecting people with a learning community. However, I chose not to add it to my class for fear of adding too much tech and potentially overwhelming the students. Considering it is an oral communication class for adults that are looking to build their essential skills, I think that challenging the students to become familiar with Google+ and Edmodo is enough, to begin with.

I would like to add that the readings triggered me to remember the importance of the instructor in maintaining the position of a co-learner. Schwier argues that trust is imperative in creating a meaningful online learning community. Research has also shown that trust is best developed in an environment where there is a flat hierarchy where students can feel that they can make meaningful contributions and that their thoughts and experiences are as valid and useful as those of the instructor.

Furthermore, the instructor needs to be present and supportive of student interactions. Yuan and Kim discuss the importance of student/instructor interactions in their article and state that students are most likely to drop out if their feel isolated in their online learning. In terms of my prototype, this research supports my decision to have asynchronous meetings every other week. I decided that asynchronous meetings every other week provide an appropriate balance between support and independence in online learning. It allows for some flexibility but also supports at appropriate times within the learning module.

In addition to the Google+ Community for tech support, the Edmodo community is a great template for student interaction. As space is set up like Facebook, students can leave “notes” (like a status update) or comment on each other’s posts just as they would on social media. I believe that this would be great for providing feedback. In the oral communication module, I envision creating opportunities for students to take videos of themselves speaking on prompts and sharing them in the Edmodo space just the way they would on Facebook. I believe the social/familiar feel would reduce anxiety around the oral communication and ease the learning curve. Furthermore, that ease and openness help to build the community that the student need to facilitate their learning.

What are your experiences in community building within the classroom?
What has worked? What has not?
Do you believe in student-centered learning?
How do you create meaningful interactions in an online environment?

Thanks for following!

 

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Working in Edmodo

Hello colleagues and peers,

This will be a brief post to discuss my experiences using Edmodo for my Prototype.

This week I have been looking for online resources to put into my online module for developing oral communication skills. So far, I have implemented open resources from the Government of Canada website on Essential Skills and YouTube.

I found a lot of quality content from the Government of Canada website. I have been dividing up the different activities into separate google docs. I can upload into Edmodo directly from my google docs, which is great. I find GoogleDocs to be the best way to store my course material and upload it easily. So far, this is one of my favorite parts of using Edmodo. It is super simple to attach documents or links and post them quickly.

I sampled uploading some assignments and using some of the polls on the Edmodo page. So far, I haven’t had too many hang-ups. One thing that I have had a challenge with is changing the order of the posts that I have made in the course. For example, I was “testing” how things would appear and practiced uploading assignments and notes to the Edmodo “timeline.” Now that I have done some further development on my Prototype I realize that I want to add/change some of the documents that are posted to the prototype and I can’t figure out how to reorder things on the timeline. It looks like I am simply going to have to delete them and post again.

Anyone out there with experience in Edmodo? Do you know if you can reorder posts on the timeline?

I continue to be satisfied with the “social” look of Edmodo. I feel comfortable in it and it doesn’t bring back negative connotations of online courses of the past when online was the same as so incredibly boring!

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via GIPHY

Social learning is now and I am happy to have had the opportunity to delve into social media, open education and online learning. I feel much more confident about designing meaningful and engaging online learning experiences. I know I still have a long way to go but I know where to look and the main players, which gives me a good starting point for the future!

After reading this week’s reading on discussion boards I have decided to integrate GooglePlus Community into my prototype. I envision it being used as space where students can support each other with the tech learning. The Edmodo space can be a place where they can submit assignments, participate in group work, comment and provide each other coursework and the GooglePlus Community can be a space where they can ask questions about how to do certain things (like upload videos or submit assignments in Edmodo).

I do recall that when I was doing my initial research on which Prototype to choose, that there was feedback about how Edmodo lacks a group messaging space. I agree that this would be a great addition to student support.

If you have used Edmodo please feel free to provide me any feedback on my experiences so far. Have yours been similar? How did you manage the lack of group messaging? Any way to restructure posts? I see more research in my near future.

Thanks for following.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Personal Digital Learning Preferences

Hello again, colleagues and peers,

This week, I have been challenged to think about my own experiences with learning from digital sources.

To be honest, I don’t have a tonne of experience with formal online learning besides EC&I 831. Therefore, I am going to reflect on my informal learning experiences.

Typically, if I am looking for information to learn online, I will look for videos. I find that I like the auditory and visual examples combined. Particularly if I am learning a hands-on skill. For example, if I am trying to learn a new recipe, I will look up a video as opposed to just reading a recipe. Particularly if I am attempting to bake something more complex. I like to see the techniques that are used for mixing, the tools, the speed etc. in the video.

I also like to use audio for learning. I listen to the radio and podcasts a lot. Typically, I am listening to the news but I also like to learn about current events around the world. If I am trying to develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives of world affairs, for example, I will listen to podcasts. I choose audio because it is something that I can play in the background while I work or while I am driving. The flexibility of audio allows me to have it on hand at any time and allows me to multi-task while I am doing it.

In contrast to video, I typically can’t multi-task when watching a video like I can when I am listening to audio. If I am watching a video I need to be seated and listening to the video uninterrupted in order to fully comprehend what I am watching.

Apart from audio and video, I do a lot of informal learning online by reading. The advantage is that it is easily accessible, however, it is also something that I have to focus on and that I cannot do when I am multitasking. Personally, I process information well when I read it and I appreciate that I can always re-read material if there is something that I don’t understand.

I also learn well through interaction or conversations with others. I appreciate hearing different perspectives and getting feedback and having someone ask critical questions. Talking with others, for example, in our EC&I 831 class, allowed me to see the content from different lenses and take inspiration from my peers as they applied the learning to their individual contexts.

In my other post from today, I discuss how I plan to deliver my online course. I know that audio and video are high on my list to integrate into my Edmodo prototype. I want to integrate as many social approaches as possible. One tool that I really like for the audio and video content is Screencast. I know that I used it when I was learning Cree.

Before I conclude, I will say that I am happy to have had the great online learning experiences in 831 and 834. I think that these classes have really challenged my thinking about online learning and allowed me to see how social and meaningful online interactions can be.

Please share your own experiences with digital learning tools! I would love to hear how you learn online either formally or informally.

Thanks for coming by.
Colleen

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Mode of Delivery for my Online Course

Hello colleagues and peers,

This post will cover some thoughts on the mode of delivery for my online course. This post comes after reading chapter 9 in the Bates text.

After reviewing the different types of online learning, I have decided that my course will be a hybrid or flexible learning experience in which students can do the majority of their learning online and come together for a face-to-face meeting at the beginning of the course and on the second-last day of the course.

I envision that this course will be a 12 week course with 2 face-to-face meetings and 6 synchronous online meetings, every other week during the semester. I chose to have 2 face-to-face meetings because it allows the students to see each other at the beginning on the semester to get to know their classmates and have a laid-back social type of interaction to build trust among peers and the instructor. I think this is an important part of establishing trust, developing report between the instructor and students and setting the tone for the course. The final meeting of the semester would be face-to-face oral presentations. It would occur in the second-last week of the course because it would allow the student the opportunity to conduct online peer evaluations in the final week of the course.

The 6 synchronous meetings would be to review content once the student have had 2 weeks to read, watch, listen and interact with various online tools in the Edmodo learning environment. As mentioned in my previous post, I will incorporate various means of digital instruction in an effort to facilitate a learning process that is individual and meaningful to different learning styles. As we discussed in our class meeting this week, I see myself as a facilitator. I see the learners as creators of their own learning and I hope to create a safe environment that allows for the students to explore and apply the content in a way that is meaningful to their own circumstances.

As previously discussed, I chose a social learning platform (Edmodo) because I want to students to be able to interact with it in a social way. My vision for students to improve oral communication would be for them to take videos of themselves with a smart phone talking about a particular topic and constantly be sharing in the Edmodo environment. This would allow students to record videos back and forth with each other and apply the oral communication skills that they are learning throughout the course. For example, if the topic of the week is eye contact, the students can discuss X topic and their peers can comment (with audio, video, text) on the quality of their eye contact skills in the video.

I believe that this method of learning fits best with my learners because many of the learners are adults who are looking to upgrade skills and transition into better employment opportunities. The implications of that audience are that the learners likely have a series of commitments outside of the class such as family, non-traditional work hours and potentially other educations pursuits. With this in mind, a total of 6 one-hour meetings is a commitment but not an overbearing commitment. I believe that having a social learning environment will minimize the heaviness of the course as the students can be free to share socially with their hand-held devises in the course and still improve their skills. This means that their videos, audios or posts could be done in the app when the students are on a lunch-break, on the bus or from work.

In terms of resources, I am going to strive to integrate all open source resources. I believe that even integrating people talking on YouTube (including some of the bloggers that we looked at this week), could be starting points for conversation around different types of oral communications styles and how they differ within different environments and contexts. Watching a speech by Steve Jobs, for example, could be an opportunity for students to critically analyse how to grab the attention of an audience, what makes people laugh, how a presenter moves around a stage and what strategies the presenter uses in terms of intonation, eye contact and speed. Since there are so many free and open ways to create learning opportunities around oral communication, I see no reason to invest or to have the students invest in costly materials.

I am beginning to see my prototype coming together! I look forward to this next week when we have some time to sit and work on it so I can get this set up in my Edmodo space.

I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions!

Colleen

 

 

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Thoughts on Digital Instruction Tools

Hello, peers and colleagues,

As I review this weeks content, I find myself challenged by the questions that Bates has proposed in his textbook:

  • what is my underlying epistemological position about knowledge and teaching?
  • what are the desired learning outcomes from the teaching?
  • what teaching methods will be employed to facilitate the learning outcomes?
  • what are the unique educational characteristics of each medium/technology, and how well do these match the learning and teaching requirements?
  • what resources are available?

As I look through the digital instruction tools, I have made an effort to come back to these questions and keep them as a foundation for the decisions that I am encountering as I work to develop a prototype to teach oral communication in an online environment.

I shared a post on Twitter earlier this week. Here is the tweet:

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As I embark on my understanding of the foundations of my position of teaching and knowledge I come back to this quote and the message in this tweet. One of the central desires for the learning outcomes of my teaching would be to create an environment that allows for the transformational learning experience to take place. Following transformative learning experiences, learners have the ability to understand their position, think critically about it and understand how they can contribute to there personal growth and development and therefore, in turn, impact their community (Mezirow, Cranton, Brookfield).

The idea of a transformative learning experience was briefly discussed in my last post and extensive research has been done and can be seen in here in research by Patricia Cranton and Jack Mezirow. It is important to note that transformative learning experiences cannot be forced but they can be the goal (Cranton, 2002). Educators can facilitate an environment that may lead to transformative learning by critical reflection (Mezirow). As learners critically reflect, they assess presuppositions and gives learners a voice as they grow to understand themselves as agents of power (Cranton, 2002). Once learners see themselves as agents of power, they have the capacity to act and challenge the dominant discourses and move towards an inclusive and progressive community.

This article affirms that transformative learning can take place in the online learning environment. In the article, Smith (2012) encourages instructors to rethink their roles, to deliberately take advantage of the online context in transformative learning.

How does this relate to my prototype and digital instruction tools? I promise it does!

When evaluating the tools it is important to offer a variety of tools that will allow for the students to engage and reflect. Reflection is the key. Therefore, the learning materials included in the oral communication module must permit this type of interaction.

In order to reach as broad of an audience as possible, I would integrate audio (which also requires little bandwidth to remain inclusive), video (particularly videos that students record of themselves as they learn to improve their oral communication skills), computing for the purpose of submitting self-reflections, and social media tools such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress to share their experiences and learn tips from others on how to improve oral communication.

I believe that a learner-controlled environment is most effective for the adult learner for reasons discussed above and in my previous post.

I did some research on Edmodo and found that the following resources are embeddable into Edmodo. This link also has some helpful resources for integrating snap chat. Something that I admit I really need to work on. Overall, the Edmodo blog is really helpful and I want to take some time this week to do some more research on that blog.

Other goals for this week are to integrate audio, computing, video and social media into my Edmodo module for learning oral communication.

Any other helpful tips or tricks to integrating these tools into an online environment? I am happy to have taken EC&I 831 because that is providing me a lot of context for a learner guided, social media style of online course that existed all within a free and open space.

Something that I don’t really understand is to what extent is Edmodo free and open? Can you clarify that for me Alec?

Thanks for following along! Open to any feedback!

 

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