Join me in reading about my journey towards a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology at Boise State University. My Learning Log will be a place to reflect on and store the artifacts created as part of this degree. It will also be a place to receive comments and critiques from fellow students.
We were asked to create a lesson that could be used in an online classroom setting to explain class netiquette. Even though I don’t care to hear myself talk, it was fun to record narration to go along with my netiquette slide show. I used screencastify which I love because it saves your screencast to Google Drive. It is so easy to link to the file. I decided to create a really small website that would contain the screencast, some additional resources, and a scavenger hunt. Check out my netiquette website.
In EDTECH 505 Evaluation, we are working our way towards completing an evaluation of a program. I have chosen to evaluate the new cascading schedule that my school adopted this year. One of the warnings we received from our professor was to avoid programs that we had a significant connection or involvement with. This pretty much eliminated any technology programs at our school. Although I would love an evaluation of many things we are doing with technology, I am too heavily involved fo the evaluation to have merit. I spoke with several members of our administration and determined that it would be helpful to gain insight into how our students and teachers feel about the new schedule and determine if there is anything that needs to be “tweaked” in the future. This evaluation will be formative in nature because we are in the early stages of adoption and we are really interested in changes that we might make to improve effectiveness and efficiency, we are not looking make big changes.
We have completed two preliminary planning task so far.
Evaluation Program Design
Data Sources and Analyses Plan
This week we were asked to continue our reflection on facilitated chats and discussion boards as they pertain to K-12 online learning. Communication is an important part of any class and online instructors must determine the best methods of communication for their class.
As I reflected on this topic, I began reading articles and found a very helpful resource guide from Edutopia. “Mastering Online Discussion Board FacilitationMastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation” contains a great deal of valuable information for teachers. The guide begins by offering a listing of benefits of using online discussion boards. I believe one of the most important benefits listed is “building community”. Students who are working online need to feel a sense of community with the other students in the class as well as the teacher. Discussion boards are a great place for students to get to know each other, to take the time to reflect on what they are learning, and to develop thinking and writing skills.
This resource guide also provided a great list of strategies to facilitate online discussions. There are certainly concerns about online communication with students. I think the most important thing a teacher can do as they begin any type of online communication is to set very clear expectations for online behavior. Providing structure for the student discussions and being “present” and active in the discussions are also important components. Don’t ever assume that students know how to interact appropriately online. I see far too many adults who have not learned appropriate behavior so certainly, we can’t expect that of students.
Teachers must be very cautious with all communication with students to make sure it is appropriate and positive. Just as teachers should be cautious in personal relationships with students in the classroom, the same is important online. Teachers must be careful not to blur the line between the role of the teacher and being a friend to the student. While we as teachers are supportive and encouraging to our students, we shouldn’t be seen in the same light as their friends.
The community of online learners in an online course can add a great deal to the learning that takes place in the class. With a solid set of expectations and structured activities, online discussions boards and facilitated chats provide many benefits.
(2016). Edutopia.org. Retrieved 12 October 2016, from https://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/stw/edutopia-onlinelearning-mastering-online-discussion-board-facilitation.pdf
This week we were given the task of working in a group of 4 or 5 students to create our key points on Netiquette. For those who aren’t aware, netiquette is a set of rules that detail the correct or acceptable way to communicate on the internet. As we work through the tasks that an educator would need to know to teach an online course, classroom netiquette is an important first step. Our group worked great together and I will include our finished product below.
Another task for this week was to participate in a facilitated chat. We had many options that included using a webcam, verbal discussion through an internet tool, or just typing our comments. I have worked collaboratively through google docs in the past. This is a great way to work on a collaborative document but it is often hard to read emotions and typing for some is slower than speaking. Some people may find it easier to speak their thoughts than type them out. Our group decided to meet up through Google Hangout.
I really enjoyed the whole experience. It was nice to put a face and voice with names I have been seeing this semester. To me, it seemed much easier to brainstorm and bounce ideas back and forth when we could talk to each other rather than having to type everything. One person from the group initiated the call and the rest of us joined in. You have the option to display your google profile picture or to turn on your webcam. We had members that did one or the other. The conversation had a much better flow than a typed chat would have. We spent about 15-20 minutes talking and we were able to complete our plans for the final project. Each person had tasks to complete and the final product turned out really nice.
Here is our finished project:
And here are my journaling notes from this week. I read a great blog post by Alice Keeler that really made me think about digital citizenship from the viewpoint of our students.
Our reflection for this week centers around online community building. We were asked to join or create an online community and reflect on our experience. I joined EdWeb.net. Through my email, I had received some invites to Professional Development Webinars offered at this site. After some investigation, I saw that they offer many different communities that you can be a part of ( and it is FREE). I joined several communities that deal with mathematics (my content area), digital citizenship, and educational technology. I really like that there are webinars offered on many different topics. I also decided to make a stab at creating a Google+ community for the teachers at my school. It is getting a slow start but I hope it will be a place that teachers can share lesson ideas, Google+ WCA PLC Community.
The EdWeb.net communities offer monthly webinars and live chats. I have not had the opportunity to participate live yet but the webinars are also recorded. I enjoy that you can find a topic and go back and watch a previously presented webinar. The user’s homepage has a feed that keeps you up to date on the lastest posts. I read some blog posts and also some great discussion posts over the week from each of the communities I had joined. I really liked that I could choose communities specific to my areas of interest but see the posts from all of the communities in one place.
I hope that the Google+ community I have created will take off and be a place for our teachers to share. We currently have students on two separate campuses which can make it difficult to collaborate, especially for 5th and 6th-grade teachers since they are separated. I kept the community private to only those I have invited with the link in the hopes that teachers will feel comfortable sharing. It may require that I take some of my tech training time to help teachers become familiar with Google+. Many of our teachers are not especially tech savvy and don’t know about social networking sites other than Facebook or Twitter.
Creating an online community where members of any group whether it is teachers or students can foster a sense of connection. I feel like the teachers will be somewhat concerned about privacy but I don’t believe students have the same concerns. Students are much more active online. An online community could be a great place to address digital citizenship with students. Online communities are a great place to develop relationships and share so that students who are not physically in the same place can still get to know each other.
Below I have included my Community Building Strategies and Rationale from this week’s class assignment.
This week we had several options for our reflection. I chose to describe how I would adapt one traditional learning activity to the online environment.
In my pre-algebra classroom, we complete a project called Geometry Town. The objectives include teaching transversals, parallel lines, and geometric shapes. The students are given specific directions that include geometry elements that must be part of their city map. Students are asked to be creative in naming streets and buildings using a theme for their town. In the past, students were given a large piece of graph paper to draw and decorate their city map.
To adapt this project for the online environment, students will be asked to use google draw to design their maps. Students will need to design or find images to represent buildings in their city, draw streets to fit the specifications provided, and decorate their town to fit the theme they choose. Students will be asked to use a really fun new app called Recap to describe their town and why they choose their theme.
Students will use Google Draw and the Recap app to complete the activity. Students will need to be taught the math concepts for transversals, parallel and perpendicular line, and basic geometry shapes. Students will then need direction in using Google Draw to create pictures. Written instructions as well as video will be provided to assist students with using Google Draw. Several exemplar projects will be included so that students will get an idea of what is expected. A rubric containing all the required elements will also be provided for students.
I have also included my reflections on our readings for this week.
I am very excited to be starting my final two courses before Portfolio. If all goes well, I will be graduating in May 2017. I am looking forward to Edtech 521 – Online Teaching in the K-12 Environment. Our school began offering a small selection of online courses this fall for our Junior and Seniors. I am very interested in learning more about effective online learning. As we begin the semester, we were asked to begin journaling our thoughts and questions as we work through our readings each week. Below you will find the first week’s journal.