mod 6 midway

This learning experience has been intense!  I know that I have learned, for god’s sake I created an online course!  I think about the insecure me 3 months ago, so afraid to be pushed out of my learning comfort zone.  Alex and my peers, pushed me and I waded out there, well, it was actually like tredding for dear life. No, it was in between the two.

I learned to not be afraid of trying things on the computer, that the computer is not going to break or all things lost.  I remember how awesome it was to realize that i could text code online docs through diigo.  I remember how long it took me to figure out what a tag was and how to do it.   Although, I still can’t say I know how to use them. And you know what? I don’t care!  Setting up accounts on Voicethreads and edublogs was crazy to me.  I didn’t know that i could do that.  I felt scared and now I feel empowered.   I think I can give myself some credit but, alex has been an amazing facilitator.  Her feedback has been gentle yet, demanding that i meet high expectations.  My peers have also helped me to feel comfortable.  If I ask a question they are there.  If i don’t delve deep enough, they poke me.

I learned about this whole other world that people are engaging in. Now I understand why students are so disengaged in class. I am not teaching them authentically.  Not that high stakes testing is helping this.  But, I can find ways to work with both.  Bringing Web 2.0 into the f2f classroom opens doors that were closed before.  I see Web 2.0 as a way of getting kids to interact with one another and other kids around the globe.  I see Web 2.0 as an enhancer of content as well.

I also learned so much about teaching and learning by designing an online course.  If learning is a social activity then, I have to have these kids doing that.  Discussion and debate in which all kids participate is absolutely necessary in schools.  I know that I hav learned this because it is becoming part of planning without being afraid to do it.  I have learned in this course that inquiry-based learning isn’t just a buzz word.  I know that i have learned this because it is also becoming a natural part of my planning process.  I am not saying that it is that easy and that i am a master at it.  I just don’t feel so afraid of it anymore.I do not feel that i did that great of a job implementing either into my online course, however.  I can improve my discussion questions.  I can adda reflection forum.  i can allow students to inquire more through those outlets.

mod 5-end

I am vanilla ice cream today.  As I grow as a teacher, there is no doubt, that I will be rocky road.  I feel that my course is finished and I feel fine.   I have most of all learned during this process that i can keep up with other people, even though my face is smushed up against the learning curve.  as a result, of that some things were left for another day.  for a week, i have been at a professional development institute on assessments for and of learning in proficiency based grading and  for the life of me  i can’t process what i have learned into this course.  It is understanding the theory that is easier for me.  Now, i must apply it.  It is not going to happen now in this course.  We must improve teaching and learning- it cannot happen over night.  Some are good at creating rubrics and assigning grades.  i am not.  i am sorry that i cannot fit your suggestions for the rubric into my head right now, alex.

The most surprising thing i have learned is that teaching and learning online can be brought into the classroom and better the quality of education there.  i was one who was afraid of allowing my students to interact.  i am not anymore, I realize how powerful and imperative it is. However, discussion has to be scaffolded well.  A community must be present where students feel safe.  The discussion topics must be well thought out and not be too broad.  I think my discussion questions are a weakness in my course.  i will figure out after teaching this f2f course again this year, what those questions are supposed to be.

I realize that i am a lover of theory and a struggler when it comes to application.  Applying what i know is hard for me.  There is a processing that is required to apply.  That processing can be sped up, i suppose, if you try real real hard in a short amount of time.  I don’t believe that is optimum learning though.  I feel like all the theories i love are almost marinating together and that I am applying them sparingly, strategically, and through trial and error over a longer period of time.  I am proud of myself and patient with myself.

mod 5 midway

I am in a good place for completing my course this week.  I have embraced the mantra, “make it pretty after.”  I really feel that the most signifacnt part of what I still need to do is to “make it pretty.”  I need to proofread and make some more things congruent.  I need to play with some different font colors and sizes, and also need to add some spacing especially in my assessment assignments.  I need to “beef up” some of my information documents and instruction pages.  I have also learned to be patient with myself.  I can’t expect to use exciting tools like VoiceThreads, if I do not even know how to use them.  Alex has given me some instructions and I might try to apply them this week-and I mighy not.  I like the simplicity of my design as a starter and novice.  I can’t believe how far I’ve come.  So, I guess that’s the most suprising thing that i have learned.  I can do this tech. stuff.  well, another thing that strikes me as suprising is that this course has helped me to become a better f2f teacher.  i can no longer hide behind my fear for interaction in the f2f class.  i wish I really could pilot my discussion forum in my class.  i suppose i can.   How would I do that and ensure that all students participate?  i am actualy at a professional development conference right know about creating school community and structures.  maybe, i’ll find some answers.  i fell much mre confident that i can provide elements of social, cognitive, and teaching presene in my class.  I believe I did.  I think my course feels warm and inviting, we will be interacting a lot.  The teaching presence part has come a long way.  My content is there but, I have really opted to be more traditional by having the students read a text.  i do not feel like a built enough inquiry into my class. i am able to do that much better in my f2f but still find my extreme novice status in an online environment hindering.

a more optimistic reflection of mod 4

I learned that something called teaching presence exists in the teacher and the student.  I wanted in my course for all of my students to see one another and to get a sense for who eachother is.  I did not add a picture of myself-i will.  i will also, as my imaginary class is doing the ice breaker, tease more out of them-asking them to elaborate and posing questions to them.   I wonder how to tell them to post their picture so it will show in discussion-will do that (i am making a list)  I have learned that interaction is essential to teaching and learnng.  Learning is a social activity.  I feel I have been brave enough to include a discussion forum in each module of my course.  It was easy really to do.  the questions I have posed are big questions-they are not lower level thinking questions.  in order to elicit the rich content from my students in the discussion i need better instructions and to create that rubric-i will do.  Since this course is pretty much going nowhere, i wonder how i could use this in f2f?  Another important peice of knowledge I have gained this module is that students with disabilities have rights in an online class.  After reading about that in the manual I started second guessing the use of images in my course.  Then the second guess became real when I realized how difficult it became to embed and use the tool.  I was goo-goo over VoiceThreads,  i just can’t figure out how to use it.  After the diigo assignment I learned that VoiceThreads is about interaction and I feel i have that in my discussion-START SMALL (my mantra)  i wonder how to put in a bulletin board?-will do. I have been converted.  i trashed the b. board only to start using it to elicit good info not related to the course.  Most of all what i noticed about myself is that i can do it.  i just need the ok to be patient with myself.  i don’t need lower expectations from a growth perspective- i have come along way.  I appreciate the simple start; the wisdom to know that things evolve over time not overnight.  So, I look at other people’s courses and i feel inadequate- i shouldn’t.  I have time to improve.

end of mod 4

I feel so much more free to “play” with my computer than I ever have.  This course has provided for me a way to “use” computer tools to advance my teaching ability.  I have learned that interaction is imperative in any educational setting and have designed in my own course a way for high school students to do this.  I have paid more careful attention on my own discussion skills this module and feel I have improved.  ironically, i feel like the content that i learned in this mod could be core easily applied for me in the classroom.  i am, for god’s sake, a novice teacher. i teach at a brand new high school where we are “building the airplane while we fly it.”  I am the team leader of the 11th grade and I am creating a trimester long interdisciplary curriculum with my collueges using inquiry-based learning.  I like to apply everything i am learning in grad school to my school.  I am relieved to say, i know now more you who i am than ever before.  i am a f2f teacher.  I hope everyone can understand.  When i look at everone elses course I feel like mine is so “simple.”  But, simple isn’t a bad thing.  High school students might appreciate the simplicity, I, if I was really teaching the course might appreciate the simplicity.  When i drafted the course it was lofty.  i wanted to use VoiceThreads and have my kids use a reflection blog-but, it didn/t work out that way—yet!  maybe it will someday especially since we will have more time this week. i was also relieved to hear Alex say that you shouldn’t use tools to use tools.

Mod 4 Midway

After the first week of this module I have thought a lot about teaching and learning.  My most intense thought has been an echoing of Pelz’s statement that teaching online can make you a better f2f teacher.  I have also made some monumental advancements as a learner this week.  Part 4 of the manual and Alex’s Breeze Presentation brought to some unexpected realizations.  As a third year teacher, I have much to learn still and Alex’s presetnation of the content about teaching presence really triggered me to think about some of the methods that i have never used well.  Not because i don’t want to-just because life is daunting!  As is this blogging assignment-wow!

I want to establish a strong teaching presence. I do have interesting content to deliver, I plan and organize it for long hours.  I do want to create a learning environment where the students are interacting with one another and with me.  This point has consumed my mind this week. I realize I am afraid to facilitate interaction and discussion amongst my own students in the f2f and am not fantastic at establishing teaching presence as a student in an on-line course.  There is such an element of time consumption in high quality discussion.  What an i expect from high school students?  Is Voicethreads a nice stepping stone into creating students who have teaching presence?  Or does Voicethreads not offer enough room for interaction?  I need to play with Voicethreads this week when putting my learning activities into my course shell and make a decision about that.

This blog seems to offer an opportunity for me to sort of allow the stream of my consciousness to flow and it is relieving.  I just remembered another piece of my online course that i wanted to play with.  i would love to teach students how to reflect.  But, reflection is another one of those mysteries to me.  There are different types of reflection  and I feel uncomfortable telling students to doit when i don’t really know what it means.  We ask students all the time to simply reflect-what does that mean?  Again, this is an activity i have incorporated into my course.

What i have noticed most about myself this week is that i am still a learner.  By pushing myself to interact better I can learn to teach interaction to my students.  I realize one of the hardest things that i do “is build the airplane while i’m flying it.”  I ahev done a lot of learning this week and hope to apply these new things into my course this week.

What has challenged me most is just the volume of work.  there are so many things to do.  I work on creating better discussion posts and I lose time to design my course and then there is another assignment and then there is the other class I am taking and the 3 different things i am doing in there and then there is work and summer pd and this expedition that we need to plan and haven’t well enough.  I am slightly scared to try and out my activities into my course and make them work and make everything congruent and complete.  I’ll do it though.

Module 3 pt.2

I am reflecting for the 2nd time this week on my experiences with online teaching and learning.  My course is coming along actually easier than I would have thought.  Effective pedagogy is actaully easier online.  You take away so many varaibles that make inquiry-based learning hard when you teach f2f.  I do not have to worry about buy-in or behavior problems, I don’t have to worry about differentiating.  I wonder if that’s a good thing?  I have found the “flow” of my course.  each module will open with a reading from the text.  the students will then answer some key content questions to ensure that they are understading the actual content.  The content is the basis for doing well in the course.  you must use content in your image discussions and multi-media presentation.  Then the students will locate an image that symbolizes the era they studied.  (is one image enough?)  They will then ask a question of their peers. (how will i be sure they ask critical thinking questions?)  They will do this on Voicethreads. (how will this work? and is the lack of interactivity offered by Voicethreads an issue?)  Because I am asking students to do a multimedia presentation at the end how will i ensure that they wil be doing it all along?  I also wonder how I am going to teach students to keep a reflection blog?  These are all issues that i am hoping I can figure out next.

I feel empowered as a result of this class.  I have tried things I would have never thought of trying unless forced to (blogging, twitter, social bookmarking, highlighting online text, tagging, creatinga voicthreads presentation, ….)  i was definetly pushed out of my comfort zone and i am still working there.

I would like to be judged with compassion for my novice attempts.  i am really enjoying this.


Module 3

I have learned that online teaching and learning is really cutting edge.  As a teacher in a reform model high school I thought I was cutting edge.  Could it be that online is the way of the future?  Will online replace the public school?  What I have learned is that online teachinga nd learning is not far off from the things we are trying to do at our high school.  We are an inquiry based school.  We strive to include all students in an equitable way into the fabric of our school.  In my online course I am looking forward to using the discussion as a tool for providing equity of voice for all my students.  I have learned to think more about the role questions play in teaching and learning and then how to get students to actually think about the questions in dialouge with their peers.  Pelz’s models of discussions gave me great ideas.  I would like to incorporate his find and discuss model (35.)  The students will locate an image on the web that goes along with the content they have read about.  They will pose a question to their peers with the image.  Peers will respond to the question and the image ona  modular basis.  The images can be collected and the student can use the image as part of thier final project a multimedia historical interpreation presentation.  This way I will know that the students are working on the final project all along.  I have decided that I will require reading for each module and ask the students some comprehension questions after each reading.  These questions are higher level thinking questions that they will not be able to skim to answer.  So, the student will read, answer comprehension questions, post an image and a question to thier peers, repond to thier peers images and questions, and then I think I would like them to reflect.  I am envisioning that I will use Voicethreads to do the image and interaction and the final project.  i would also like the students to reflect at the end of each module.  I will interact with the students as well in regards to each image.   Is that enough interction?  probably not.

I just finished listening to the personal feedback from mod 1 and 2 and I feel anxious all over again.  I did not finish my course documents well enough.  I was looking at others courss and it didn’t seem like others had finalized them either.  I will look again and work on them this week.  I tried to tag something here, we’ll see.  I wasn’t looking at the reflections assignments and I wasn’t self assessing.  I need to clean up my blog.  I enjoy learning about the pedagogy of online teaching and learning; I feel resistant to apply it completely.  I like to dabble in it though.  I am realizing that i need to push myself a bit harder.  I am on vacation in North Carlolina and have to go to McDonalds to even get the internet.  I am trying and i will pull it off.  I would appreciate credit for trying what i have and not being judged for my product the same as a tech-savvy student.  As the reading mentions people choose online often for convenience purposes-working hard making huge strides and trying to keep up with many different components to one class is not that convenient- but that’s how we learn, huh?


After connecting

My course documents a re a bit vague; I need to continue to refine them.  i will work on that today.  That being said, i can’t say I haven’t worked out of my comfort zone this week- i am busily creating an online course.  the discusions are getting easier as i am familiar with the rubric, i know what a good post is,  i am remembering to assess and self assess.  what i need to do now, is create a voicethreads visual discovery for my students and create a tutorial for my students on how to interact with eachother and then to finally, create their own.  i may or may not need to teach how to discuss in my class more explicitly.  I need to work on rubrics for each of the learning activities-I hate making rubrics (better get over it.)  I need to consult with my textbook for page numbers for the modules and decide on imaginary dates for each module.  i need to solidify my final voicethreads project and reflection instructions.  I wonder if how specific I need to be sometimes because, this is not a real course YET!!!!!  I do not know who my audience is.  I am going away this coming week and am looking forward to focusing my spare vacationing time on this project.