I think I have to start by saying congrats to everyone on a job well done with your prototypes. The people I reviewed did an excellent job and I found that by exploring yours I learned a lot about what our group could change in order to make our course even better than it is now.
This semester I was lucky enough to work with Andrew and Nancy again – they are such a great team to work with in class and at work. Andrew was kind enough to jump on board with Nancy and I to help develop this course even though he most likely won’t teach it. There are parts that he can easily use within the courses he teaches but Nancy and I will be the ones using it most. We decided to take the Digital Citizenship Continuum and develop a blended course around that which can be used in our computer classes that we teach. If you want to find out more about how we got started I recommend reading my post about the beginning of our project. We decided to explore Canvas and use that for our LMS – you can read more about that here. We tried to integrate some different learning opportunities for the students along with different platforms to use for students to connect with one another.
After reviewing other courses and getting feedback we realized that we forgot a very important aspect of the course profile – demographics and accessibility concerns. We really only stated that the course was intended for high school students in a technology course. We went back and made some changes to our profile and have updated it in this google document.
Since we work together we decided to get together over the lunch hour to screencast our thoughts on our feedback.
I’m hoping that by the start of next year we have all of the modules developed in order to implement it in our classes. In the future I’d like to work with a middle years and primary teacher to develop content that would be appropriate for those age groups because I think this is an important topic for students to learn at an early age. For the primary grades we may have to develop something using a site that is more user friendly than Canvas as I don’t think young students would be able to navigate it.
I will be using Canvas to develop my math courses in the future as well. I currently use Edmodo to manage my courses but I think Canvas is better suited to my needs.
If you want to check out what we have done so far go to Canvas and login with the information below.
For my summary of learning I decided to test out some tools that I have said I wanted to test out for a while now; Powtoon, Piktochart and My Simpleshow. I divided my summary into three different parts covering three different ideas using the tools I mentioned above.
I was introduced to Powtoon in the fall semester of 2016 and never tried it out for myself. I had attempted to use it a few times but thought it seemed to overwhelming. I was happy that I tried it again and was able to make a finished product. It took some time to figure out how to make it work and how to edit things, but after some trial and error I was able to figure out and it was pretty easy to use. Enjoy part one of my summary where I talk about the advantages and disadvantages of face to face, blended and online learning.
Simply stated, I love Piktochart! It is as user-friendly as it gets and the end product looks so professional. This would be an awesome tool to use with students as a way to present information to them as well as a way for them to create information. It is text based only and allows images to be used too, but there is no audio or video involved. Even though there is only text involved it is a great tool and I will be making use of it in the future.
I decided to use My Simpleshow as it was highly recommended by Nancy. The only unfortunate part is that the free trial no longer allows you to record a voice over the video. I was going to make an audio recording over the video as it played using Screencastomatic, but I thought I would leave it with the “Mr.Roboto” voice over because if we use it with our students, that’s most likely the way they would have to do it so I wanted to show you what it actually sounds like. These are my final thoughts from this semester.
Thanks to Alec and Katia for another great semester. Another thanks to all of my classmates and colleagues who have made the semester so meaningful. The collaboration and sharing is greatly appreciated! I hope to continue connecting and sharing through Twitter as the years go on. I’m happy to say that upon completing this course that I am done my masters degree! Woooo hooooo!
I want to start by saying that I have truly appreciated the time away from blogging this past two weeks. The break gave me a lot of time to focus on my major project and I am happy to say that I am quite pleased with the progress myself and my group made. That being said I’m ready to share some thoughts with you on our topic this week – openness in education.
To narrow the topic a little I am going to be focusing on discussion forums for the most part but I will touch on blogging a little as well. I don’t believe that we need to make a forum public in order to make it authentic to for the learners. I do however feel that making it public has the potential to make it more authentic. Maybe authentic is the wrong word. But I feel that making it public creates a certain level of accountability that can provide more authentic learning experiences. If students know that the public can read their questions and responses they are less likely to post something silly that might make them seem uneducated or immature. I feel like a public forum would raise the bar and make things a little more meaningful. The public space provides opportunities for people who are outside of the class to participate and contribute to the learning within the classroom. This can include parents, students from other classrooms or schools, teachers or content experts.
There are a few things that we have to consider when we are deciding whether to use an open or closed forum. The first thing we have to consider is the age of the students. Amy brought some good ideas forwards regarding this. I feel as though students who are younger should have a closed forum that would be open to their parents and perhaps other students within their school who could collaborate with the students in your class. Although privacy issues are a concern for all students I fell like we must be especially careful with students who are younger. Of course having a public forum raises privacy concerns and other issues such as inappropriate content or trolls. The possibility for these inappropriate comments can happen in a closed forum as well but they are less likely to, especially if you can tell who is posting the information – which brings up a new point of anonymity. Regardless of the forum it is helpful when real names are used as usernames so that the teacher and students know who is posting. There may be some cases when anonymity may increase the questions or responses given in relation to a topic that might be controversial or more intimate such as sex education.
There will be issues regardless of whether or not you have an open or closed forum. The important thing to remember is how you go about dealing with those issues when they occur. If it is an open forum you need to set expectations on how to deal with negative comments and what to do if a student comes across something inappropriate. In my technology class students blog and I have them join the Student Blogging Challenge. When they register their blog is posted to the student list on the website so that others may find their blog and read it. I have had a few students who have developed a blog buddy (or at least that’s what I will call them) from another part of the world. These students now look forward to reading each others posts and commenting on each others posts. They get really excited when they receive a comment on their blog from someone outside our school. Of course that being said no one has had a bad experience through comments on their blog so it has been a positive experience. This could all change with one bad comment and I keep that in mind all the time. I remind my students on a regular basis that they need to be aware of what they are posting/sharing and be prepared for comments that may be inappropriate or rude. It is not a guarantee that they will have a negative experience but students must always be prepared for what could happen.
There is certainly a time and place for open forums but for the time being I think I will be sticking to closed forums if I use them. I will continue having my students blog publicly but I need to have a little more focus if I want to start using an open discussion forum.
If you’re thinking about using discussion forums in your class here is some advice.
Deciding which tools to use for interactive purposes in our blended prototype felt a bit like a game of eeny meeny miny moe. With so many tools to choose from how can one possibly decide which tools are the best for what you are trying to accomplish. Fortunately my team and I were able to decide which tools we want to use without much debate. We are going to be using Canvas as our LMS so we will be using some features of that site as well as twitter and blogs. I will go into more detail as to why we selected these methods but I want to start with the quote from Shaping the Metaphor of Community in Online Learning Environments:
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.
This quote really stood out to me and validated the tools we have selected as our community building tools. Nancy, Andrew and I have had a lot of discussions around Twitter and how much we have grown to love it over the past few semesters. I have said this before and I’ll said it again for anyone who hasn’t heard me say it before – I used to think Twitter was pointless and really served little purpose. I didn’t fully understand the value in it. Looking back I now realize that I felt that way because I wasn’t using it to it’s full potential. I didn’t follow a lot of meaningful people, I didn’t understand how to use hashtags to my advantage and didn’t feel it was possible to share something meaningful in 140 characters. Twitter has become one of the most beneficial tool for me as a teacher. It has provided me with great resources, professional development and connections with other amazing teachers – all for free! I have really developed my PLN (personal learning network) and I can’t imagine my teaching career without twitter. I the teacher in this video has done an excellent job of discussing PLN’s and the role twitter plays in developing your PLN.
It is possible for students to build a PLN and we plan to encourage our students to build their PLN through using a course hashtag (which is yet to be decided) as well as hootsuite or tweetdeck. Students will be asked to interact on twitter by sharing articles, retweeting and quoting tweets from classmates within the class as well as people from outside of the class. By using hashtags students will be able to reach out and connect with others far beyond the four walls of our classrooms which will in turn help them improve the community within our classroom by sharing resources and information.
Another way we feel that an online learning community can be established is through blogs. George Couros shares 5 reasons why students should be blogging including developing a positive digital footprint, giving students a voice and allowing for student reflection. It is a great way for students to document their learning and share what they have been doing in class. Through comments on each others blogs the online community can further be established. Like Liz pointed out, it is important to consider digital citizenship and be sure that students are commenting respectfully and mindfully. Being that we are doing a digital citizenship course prototype we will be focusing on this early on in the semester. Students will be expected to follow classmates blogs through an RSS platform such as Feedly. Feedly is a user friendly way to follow blogs without having to go back to the individual blog and check to see if a new post has been written. We felt that this would be easier to use than creating a blog hub.
The last way that we thought we can try to establish a community is through the discussion feature on Canvas. An edutopia article lists many benefits to using a discussion board in an online course including critical thinking, improved reading & writing skills and reflection. The article also suggests having students come up with the guidelines for using the discussion board and just like Sarah I feel like this would be a really great idea. The chart discussing Bloom’s Taxonomy in relation to activities for discussion boards really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities for activities through a discussion board. Although I see the discussion board being used primary for students to connect with one another to ask questions or get help with information related to the course I can see it be useful to have an activity thrown in there every once in a while too.
I feel like there are so many other tools we could have selected but I feel like these are the tools that will help our students build a community online, much like I have experienced in all of my EC&I classes with Alec and Katia.
Are there any other great tools we have overlooked for our course prototype in terms of building community online?
After reading Kara’s blog this past week I was inspired to look at my own flipped classroom and reflect on things I feel I am doing well and things that I could improve on. In her post Kara discussed 5 things that she wants to do to start running her own flip class and I am doing 3/5 things that she said she would like to do. I have students watch the video lessons I have created, I use bell work to review or assess student understanding and I allow for work time during class. Kara mentioned starting class with a quick Plickers activity so that she can easily assess how her students are feeling about the material, and allowing class time for “board work” in which students work through extension activities together. As mentioned in my comment on her blog, I feel as though I would use the board work from time to time just for the sake of time, but I would really like to integrate something like Plickers into the classroom so I can have ongoing assessment and reflection.
Kara got me thinking of some of the different hurdles that we come across as flipped classroom teachers. As I was looking into ways to better integrate technology and tools into the classroom for assessment purposes I came across an awesome review of a site called eduCanon – an interactive video creating site. After reading the review I decided that it was something that could add a lot to my flipped classroom. I decided to look into it some more and found out that the site has switched names and is now called PlayPosit. Basically what you can do is add questions to your videos so that students have to answer the questions as they watch the video, similar to EdPuzzle. It also has a feature in which students cannot fast forward the content to skip material. I think that this could be a really nice feature but it may also turn students off who might grasp the concept at an early stage or who may want to review the material at a later date. For an idea of how it works, check out this quick – but very informative – video.
Of course I had to sign up after watching the video. It was extremely easy to sign up and I got started right away to add a question to a video I have already created. The process was as simple as locating the YouTube video I had already created and adding the link to the dashboard on my PlayPosit account. From there I was able to locate the place in the video where I want a question placed. I add the question as well as the answers for students to select. It is my understanding that the free version only allows you to use multiple choice format for questions. One concern I had was how I would enter equations or formulas in the questions, but they have an option to insert equations and it took me a few tries to figure out how to use it but I was able to figure it out and add my question.
I see a lot of value in adding questions to the video that students watch for a few reasons. First off, I don’t assign a mark or a grade for watching the videos I assign. I give students a handout to work through as they are watching the video so it’s pretty easy for me to see who has or hasn’t watched the video based on who has the handout completed when they come to class. If students haven’t watched the video before class I don’t get too worried about it because they can use the class time to catch up on the video. I always remind them that the time in class that they are using to watch the videos is less time they have in class to work with me or classmates on the assigned work. Another reason I like the idea of integrating the questions is because I can see the results of the questions so it can help me see who may need more help. It is obviously important that the students are watching the videos too, so this keeps them a little more accountable. I plan to integrate more interactive videos but that won’t change the way students are assessed. The feedback I get from student responses in the video will be used for me to identify students who may need more help and to address student needs accordingly.
After spending some time using PlayPosit I had to compare it to EdPuzzle and I was quite surprised at the similarities. The platforms seem to be user friendly and both use the exact same equation editor. I think I will try to use a video from each website with my students to see how the feedback is gathered and documented and then I will decide which site I will stick with moving forward. In the screenshots below you can see just how similar the sites are.
I focused a lot on one aspect of my reflecting this week so I will try to quickly touch on the other areas I focused on. The first was setting up Seesaw and trying to get my students active on it. I challenged them via Edmodo to upload 7 videos before the end of the break – for the entire class, not per person. But sadly I only had one video that was shared by a student even after I tried to bribe them haha. However the video was FANTASTIC! The student did an excellent job walking through the question and explaining how she completed the problem. I am hoping it will encourage others to step out of their comfort zone and share their work too.
Moving forward I would also like to try move my bell work to an app as opposed to paper as it will be easier for me to assess student understanding that way. As Kara suggested I like the idea of using something like Plickers to get a quick overview of how comfortable students are feeling about the content by asking a simple “How do you feel?” with responses such as “Don’t get it”, “Sort of Get it”, “Completely Understand”. The final thing I want to work on is my video lessons as the quality still isn’t where I want it to be, although it is getting better.
I don’t think I will ever have a completed flipped course because there will always be ways that I can improve even in small ways such as updating my bell work from using paper to using technology. It is important for me to stay up to date with new ways to improve my courses – flipped or not.
Have you tried a flipped classroom? What are some ways that you assess student understanding or address students not watching videos? If you have any tools to share I would love to hear from you!
I’ve finally managed to pull myself away from reading all the awesome blogs posted this week. I found it so interested to read the varying opinions on different media and preferred media when it comes to learning and teaching. I found that I was able to connect with a lot of classmates on some or many different ideas.
Just like Liz and Kelsie I have to admit that I lean more towards text as a medium in which I prefer to learn from. Bates provides strong evidence as to why text has proven to stand the test of time. I liked that Bates commented on text as as essential medium for academic knowledge. He mentions that text can provide us with more detail and I immediately thought about how we compare the book to the movie. I have yet to see a movie that is better than the book and I would bet that many of you feel the same way. This is because the book can express details relating to emotions, settings or experiences better than a video can.
One reason I like to learn from text is because I have the ability to go at my own pace and read it over as much as I need in order to understand. I prefer to have paper text to read from so that I can highlight, make notes and write questions in the margins as I read. I find that this helps me remember and understand what I am reading more. I must admit that although I prefer text I do not consider myself a reader. I don’t think I have finished a novel for my own reading pleasure since 2012 – I know…that’s insane (and a tad embarrassing). But I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise after saying I’m not a reader.
In terms of audio I can see the plus to creating it and using it, especially for students who may have difficulty reading text. Like Jess mentioned in her blog, I can see how it could be useful in learning a language so that you can understand the proper pronunciation of the text, however this would have to be combined with text which might make it difficult for some to manage. I like that you can pause and rewind audio and the fact that it can be taken along with you to listen to with your phone or in your car. I personally can’t seem to jump on board with the podcast learning/listening. I find that it is too difficult for me to focus on audio only which brings me to my next topic, video.
I believe that videos are a great tool for learning, especially when learning certain skills. For example, if you wanted to learn how to work a power tool, a video might prove to be a lot more helpful than a manual. In terms of creating videos it does take time and you need to have the right tools in order to create a quality video that will get the content delivered in an appropriate way. I use a flip class model for my math class and provide video lessons for the students to watch as homework. I like that students can pause and rewind as well as watch the video as many times as they want. I feel like this is beneficial to them especially when it comes time for a final exam and they are expected to recall information from the first chapter. With a video lesson they are able to go back and watch the video to help refresh their memory.
As with everything else the medium we choose will vary depending on the content we are trying to deliver. If the content is more skill based, perhaps a video showing the skill can be used. For language courses maybe audio is the best. Regardless of the medium used, I know that for me I have to be in the right frame of mind in order to learn. I would imagine that this is the same for our students. I don’t know if the medium will make a different if students have other barriers such as lack of sleep, hunger or emotional factors getting in the way. We need to be cognizant of all of these barriers when choosing the appropriate medium and be willing to adapt and be flexible for our students. The better we understand our students and how they learn, the better we are able to choose a medium that is best suited for their learning needs.
Perhaps the best thing for the classroom is to have multiple media available in order to give students a choice. I don’t often provide a lot of choice but when I do it’s usually text and video. Do you offer media choices? How do you do it?