Category Archives: EC&I 834 Reflections

Final Thoughts About My Google Classroom Course Prototype

Hello classmates and blog followers, I figured I would present you the final product, My online course that my group developed for this class. Oh yeah and this is also the world’s longest blog post!!I wanted to walk you through information about our prototype, our rationale, curricular links, assessment, and common concerns. I will also provide you links to previous blogs that contain information about how our group decided to go with the LMS Google Classroom and also other elements that influenced our design. Our group came together and rectify a few changes that needed to be done and also a composed a response to feedback. I will end the blog post by providing you the link so you can check out the course if you are interested.

http://www.edulastic.com

About our Prototype

This blended course is suited for grade 3 elementary students of all backgrounds. It is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. For a learning management system (LMS) we choose to use Google Classroom, as well as various content creation tools. Students and teachers will communicate using Google Docs and Google Classroom, through the creation of questions and announcements. The assessments will contain a specific rubrics for each assignment that are aligned with outcomes in grade 3 social studies, arts education, science and English language arts.

Curriculum Connection

Image result for office e of treaty commissioner
http://www.otc.ca/

We are using the new Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) treaty education documents to create this course. We are addressing the inquiry question: how have the lifestyles of First Nations people changed prior to and after the signing of treaties? The outcomes and indicators covered in this course are as follows:

Treaty Education:
TR3.1: Examine the relationships between First Nation peoples and the land, before and after the signing of treaties.
Indicator: Describe the lifestyle changes of First Nations, prior to and
after placement on reserves.

Arts Education:
CH3.1 Compare how arts expressions from various groups and communities may be a reflection of their unique environment (e.g., North and South Saskatchewan, urban
and rural)
b. Share information about an artist working in own community through
individual research or collaborative inquiry.
a. d. Describe how an arts expression tells something about the community
and culture in which it was created (e.g., heritage harvest dances).
e. Describe ways that people of various cultures in own and surrounding
communities participate in the arts and discuss why they do so.

Science:
PL3.2 Analyze the interdependence among plants, individuals, society, and the environment.
n. Research lifestyles (e.g., farming, fishing, and logging) and jobs (e.g.,
florist, crop scientist, landscaper, gardener, fruit grower, ecologist,
logger, and nursery worker) that depend on understanding and working
with plants and plant-related products.

Social Studies:
RW3.1 Appraise the ways communities meet their members’ needs and wants.
a.Speculate upon various challenges faced by communities in meeting
needs and wants, with evidence gathered from examining pictures,
viewing media, and interpreting stories using a variety of fiction and
non-fiction texts.
b. Identify how individuals and communities meet needs and wants.
c. Describe ways in which communities help ensure basic human needs
are met (e.g., food and water, shelter, clothing, education, safety).

Assessment

Photo Credit: Cayusa Flickr via Compfight cc

Our assessment strategies include using the Saskatchewan Curriculum Project Chrome extension to create rubrics specific. Formative assessment would be done using EdPuzzle. informal assessment of Google Classroom posts in a forum style is assessed on participation in the area of interactions with other students and the teacher.

Common Concerns

Photo Credit: Hurca! Flickr via Compfight cc

We have considerations for common concerns. Low bandwidth is a common challenge for any educator using technology in the classroom. Typically, each student will open up a lesson from their own device, but in the end that could be as many as 30 videos simultaneously streaming on a network that might only be able to handle a few. We have no real solution for a school that has similar bandwidth as the average home, even though obviously there are so many more times people at school as there are at home. Students can have access to devices such as school ipads, personal devices and computer labs during school hours. Since it is online students who are absent can access Google Classroom from home. 1:1 devices would not be required to complete the artifact creation. Flipped classrooms can be used so assignments are done in the school where students have access to programs, and videos can be watched at home or during breaks. We account for differentiation through various levels of assignments in Adobe Spark, as well as audio versions of stories.

Photo Credit: jpappsdl Flickr via Compfight ccRationaleRational

Rationale

Why did we choose our LMS? Google Classroom is used in Regina Public Schools, as well as many other divisions. It is free and is easy to use. It is an LMS that students in grade 3 are able to use with lessons. Google Classroom allows students and teachers to interact. Assignments can be posted and completed on Google Classroom. Student progress can be tracked and teachers can assess on Google Classroom.

Why did we pick our topic? Treaty education is meant to be integrated into numerous subject areas, and is a topic that everyone teaches (or should be teaching). With the creation of new and updated treaty education lessons from the OTC, we decided to work with one grade area to become familiar with the updated format. We developed this course to reflect recommendation #10 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:10. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:
iii. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.

Details about my Module

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

In creating content for this module a variety of tools were used, the tools are appropriate and easy to navigate for young learners. For each step of the lesson I have tried to be thorough in explaining how students should complete tasks with tutorials for each new medium. For the introduction to the lesson students create a collaborative Google Drawing. I added a brief Screencastify as a tutorial for Google Drawing. I also chose to have students create Google Docs so that they could submit their assignments to me, again I created a Screencastify to familiarize students on how to create a new Doc. I created a Voice Over PowerPoint for students to respond to using an Adobe Spark page. I also made a Screencastify to help students in creating their Adobe Spark Page with instructions about adding open commons pictures. For the extension activity I created a Screencastify to teach the students how to use Story Jumper to create a Digital Storybook. I feel that this variety of content creation tools will enhance the student’s learning outcomes for this unit on Treaty Relationships. After completing module one students will be able to recognize the land provided everything the First Nations people needed to survive.

The Creative PROCESS: Links to my Previous blog post that outline the phases

RESPONSE to Feedback

Overall our feedback was quite positive. Our fellow teachers enjoyed the topic we choose. They commented on the variety of content creation tools we used to bring our module to life. They thought our organization was great and everything flowed together. Our reviewers thought our prototype was a great starting point for them explore treaty relationships.  Our reviewers mentioned they could take the components of our modules and would be able to incorporate this resource in their own classrooms.

However, we did find some themes that  we need to change such as difficulty level, LMS issues, assessment, adaptations and interaction.

Difficulty Level: One of the concerns addressed in our feedback was around the reading difficulty. Some reviewers were concerned with the amount of text for Grade 3 students.  This course is a synchronous blended course that would allow for teacher to facilitate the course face to face and guide students through modules perhaps in a center type rotation. Students will already know how to use google classroom and tools being used such as procedures for the computer.

LMS issues: Another concern that was addressed was the choice of LMS (Google Classroom) that may have not been the most easy to use with Grade 3s. Google Classroom is being used as the central hub for a variety of tasks.  Students complete very few assignments on Google Classroom, so in terms of visual appeal, it is meant to be less distracting.

Assessment: The amount of rubrics provided to the teachers for lessons within the modules was also mentioned by our reviewers. Students will receive both formative and summative feedback, and the rubrics are part of this feedback.  As this is a blended course, students will have many opportunities for feedback from the teacher.

Adaptations: Some adaptations were not addressed (EAL, attendance issues). Additional screencasts could provide verbal an explanation of the assignment for low readers, perhaps working in pairs would support low readers, also simplified versions of assignments for EAL students. Module 3 involves reading a text, and this allows for differentiation for diverse learners.  This differentiation is built into the assignment as is with the books that are listed. Students with attendance concerns could complete assignments at home if needed.

Photo Credit: marneejill Flickr via Compfight cc

Interactions: Lastly, some reviewers remarked about ways students would interact with others. Teacher-student and student-student interactions can be done on google classroom. With the age of the students, we needed to address also the abilities that they have and the forums that would allow young students to share with an audience. Interactions needed to be controlled and monitored to ensure there were no violations in privacy and terms and conditions.

We did receive positive feedback asking us to expand on our course prototype. We think finishing the whole prototype would be awesome. As we focused on just one of the grade 3 key questions provided in the OTC document, the course would contain more themes if the other three questions were included.  If we were to expand on this course, the remaining inquiry questions for grade 3 are:

    • How were the historical worldviews of the British Crown and the First Nations different regarding land ownership?
    • How do First Nations and Saskatchewan people benefit from Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10?
    • How did the use of different languages in treaty making present challenges and how does that continue to impact people today?
Photo Credit: cogdogblog Flickr via Compfight ccCourse LinkCourse Link

Thank you to those who reviewed and critiqued our prototype and provided us with helpful feedback!  If you would like to check out our course, our Google Classroom code is: 9yhj6c


Treaty Education ready to launch in 5,4,3,2,1!!!!

Photo Credit: jurvetson Flickr via Compfight cc

Wow, hard to believe that my course prototype is ready to launch.  It is even crazier to think that the semester has flown by so quickly, when it’s over I will have another 2 classes under my belt.  I decided that I wanted to finish up Grad School before I returned to teaching in August from my maternity leave.  I will also attempt a spring and then a summer course and tada, I will be finee, I will level up with my Masters Degree. On a side note I can’t believe my baby is six months old, where have the days gone.

Photo Credit: codehobbits

Aimee, Justine, Rochelle and I decided that we wanted to focus our course prototype on Treaty Relationships. This subject can sometimes become difficult for teachers to implement in their classrooms. I personally think that now is the time for reconciliation because there is so much ignorance and mis-education when it comes to First Nations and Treaties. Also, working in a school that is home to 97% First Nation students is reason enough to explore First Nation culture.

Photo Credit: *Ken Lane* Flickr via Compfight cc

I am looking forward to exploring another groups course prototype in just a few short days.  It will be very helpful to receive some constructive criticism about our prototype, this will help us improve.  I am not worried about being evaluated by my colleges as we are the guinea pigs for this EC&I 834 course, this is the first time that it was offered by Alec  and Katia.

I have definitely learned a lot in terms of how to get a LMS up and running. I had never worked with Google Classroom before and found it very simple to use.  I was even more shocked that I could have been using it for awhile with my Division but was never given any training on it or was it even mentioned as an option. My school uses Google Docs and Google Forms quite often but again I was unaware of Classroom.  However, my step daughter spoke about using it in her high school. Perhaps, I should have just Googled it and I would have figured it out for myself a year ago.  I mentioned in a previous blog about how I was using Google Docs with my students and it was becoming redundant in terms of creating Docs and having them share assignments with me, and basically my email inbox busting from student work. After this course I am very comfortable working with Google Classroom and feel that I will continue to create courses with it.

Photo Credit: derekbruff Flickr via Compfight cc

After we decided to use Google Classroom as our LMS, it was just a matter of how and what I wanted to do with my module.  I had a few ideas in terms of lessons and just like my life I tend to overthink it and make it very complicated. My module grew to be something more than one lesson, maybe one lesson with four parts.  It just seemed to flow so nicely together, I could not stop. I decided to make a few Screen-casts to familiarize students with Adobe Spark, Google Docs, Google Draw and Story Jumper, as for original content I used a Voice Over PowerPoint. I had never used some of the content creation tools myself so doing screen-casts allowed me to gain more experience in it. After I got the hang of all the new stuff that I was dabbling in, it wasn’t all that terrifying. In fact, I was even excited to use Screencastify, and show off my new learning to my step daughter, she wasn’t as excited as I was.

I think that my group did an amazing job tackling Treaty Education. It will be awesome to find out what other think about it too.  If you are interested in taking a peak at our Grade 3 Treaty Education Prototype in Google Classroom send me an email at Chalyn_s@hotmail.com and I  will provide you the classroom code.

 


Going Live!

I’m simultaneously excited and overwhelmed by the possibility of publishing my Music 9 module on Canvas. Mostly, I think my excitement about the possibility of moving all of my classes to a blended mode is making me overwhelmed.

I’m excited because:
  • I see how a blended classroom could completely transform the way that we offer music programming at Balfour.
  • It looks pretty great and all of the links work.
  • I’ve used new tools like Screencastify, Sampulator, and Google Forms which I will be able to use again in my teaching. Trying them for the first time takes away the scariness of using them in the future!
  • I’m happy with the quality of the videos that I made.
  • I am looking forward to feedback on what I’ve done so far.
  • I’m proud of taking on this challenge. I never thought I would be able to do something like this.
  • Once the work is done in developing the course the first time, it is easy to revise before using a second time. With each revision, the course will become better and better in a way that it might not without such an LMS.
I’m overwhelmed because:
  • I want to do this for ALL of my classes.
  • I know that it would take WAY too much time to do it well in all of them if I were to start immediately.
  • I know I will quit if I take on too much to start, and I don’t want that to happen.
  • Canvas will inevitably become obsolete and irrelevant, and then I will have to start over.

//giphy.com/embed/3oriOaivTEk4PotVEQ

via GIPHY

I know. That’s a bit of a Debbie Downer.

In this last week, I’ve polished the appearance of the module, revised instructions, made sure that links are working, shared with friends for feedback, and QUESTIONED ALL OF MY DECISIONS. As I said earlier, I’m happy with what I’ve done, but I’ve gained new skills and am more optimistic about my abilities to use technology, so I will do things differently in lessons moving forward. Like Adam, I am really pleased to have learned about screencasts.

I shared my course to Canvas’s Commons in the interest of open education. It made me nervous at first, but then I considered how much I appreciate it when I find that teachers have shared quality resources. (In fact, the image that I’ve included below was shared with no attribution required!) For some reason though, the course isn’t showing up in the commons, which is really disappointing! I’m still trying to figure this out.

I’ve used many online resources, and I think it’s time that I contribute!

Logistically, I’m really happy that my module is ready to go a week ahead of time. When I was going through the process of uploading videos and making sure that links worked, I experienced some hiccups (mostly to do with poor WiFi connections), and I’m glad that I’m not trying to sort this out moments before it is due. Elizabeth and Angela also noted that it is difficult to put all of the pieces together. This is worth considering when thinking ahead to using an LMS as a norm. I would always need to be working a few days ahead of the kids, and I’d need to have a back-up plan if students experience their own hiccups.

And I will keep moving forward. With one class to start. And then another. I need to keep taking baby steps before I’ll be off and running. I need to be patient with myself. It’s ok if I learn and develop slowly, as long as I continue to grow. I remember when planning a single lesson took hours, and now it’s a sinch! Eventually, I’ll be using technology as second nature.

Until then, like Nicole Marie suggests, I can reflect on this process and use that to become stronger moving forward.


Do you sleep with the door open or door closed?

What a title hey? I started thinking about how this course allows for us to have open communication versus having a closed forum, then I though about the door for learning being opened or closed.  I like to sleep with my bedroom door open but my husband prefers it closed.  I guess that having communication forums closed could be a preference for some people but just like my bedroom door, I like it open.

As a learner I have not had much experience outside of this course in terms of open online space.  I appreciate the Google+ Community for so many different reasons.  I love being able to post a quick question or even a fabulous article or medium that I feel reliant to our course.  Our Google+ Community is so supportive and helpful of one another, I find that just by reading different posts it saves me from running into common pitfalls. So far I have taken eight Grad Courses and feel that a Google+ Community would have been an asset to all courses, it allows us to pose different questions, share insights or ask each other for help as needed. University students are often given information in UR Courses but I think the experience would be so much different if there were a way to allow students to communicate in an open space.  I think that our course has really come alive with the use of the Google+ Community. The community can offer us so much more than what is being taught in the course.  Allowing students to become each others’ co-teacher.  Our blogs have also allowed us to learn from others, Amy mentions that “we learn from others’ perspectives while considering our own”.

I agree with Ashley that we must consider the age of the students when we decide to use an open or closed forum. I definitely think that younger students should have closed forums in order to protect them.  Although, I think that allowing parents, caregivers, or even classmates the opportunity to comment or share would allow for meaningful learning.  Amiee also mentions that student safety is a valid concern for educators. Shes also points out that students may have already become immersed into social media, but we should still consider that we are putting them into a wide open public space where we may not always be able to protect them in  an open forum.

Although, educators such as myself have to realize that students are developing their own digital footprint, this is where we have the teaching moments! I think that teachers can help students understand that there is no going back once pictures or even text hits the net.

Like Ashley, I too have enjoyed the break from blogging and being able to focus on my content creation has been wonderful.  My group even had time to meet up last week and go over some of the fine tuning of our course prototype. I feel that my group has made some great strides in getting our course up and running.  I know that with just a little more tweeking my module will be up and running.

Have you ever experienced any negativity in using an open forum?


In the Spotlight: Open Education

What happens before you have to stand on stage with a blinding spotlight trained on you, following your every move? A crowded audience lies before you, the heat of their eyes piercing your skin.

Photo by marfis75 via flickr

You practice. A lot.

This is the effect of asking students to do work in open online spaces like forums, blogs, or Twitter. When I am asked to post a blog it means that I spend extra time trying to perfect syntax to convey appropriate tone; I double-check and cite sources; I try to inform or persuade in a somewhat entertaining way. I also want to write things that are enjoyable, unlike in traditional closed classes where I care about enjoyability less because only the teacher reads what I write. Then, I don’t care quite as much. (But really, I am a bit of an over-achiever regardless.) The process is also more fun for me because I love getting comments on my blog and responding.

But does this really make the process of learning more authentic? How much of what is being said is being said just to get a mark and how much is driven by authentic engagement? Would I be writing this blog post right now if I wasn’t taking this class. Honestly. Or as the kids would say, TBH. No. I wouldn’t. However, it is definitely more authentic than writing just for one teacher.

Blogging also makes me more accountable because I want what I post to the whole world to reflect what I really think and who I am. This is not to say that sometimes I exaggerate just how excited I am about a new app or tech tool in the moment I’m writing the post. I might discover a tool, and think it’s pretty cool after trying it out and will probably use it at some point in my classroom. But I’m not going to write exactly that. Instead I might say, “I just found the most AMAZING tool! It’s free, it’s fun, it’s relevant, it’s intuitive. YOU SHOULD USE IT!”

So, when would I ask students to blog? What would be worthwhile for them to discuss in open spaces? I think that in music, I would still advocate for posting videos of progress on blogs or forums and having students comment on each others’ playing. It takes the pressure off of performing live, and kids have fun sharing and  listening to each other. I did this in EC&I 831, and appreciated the encouragement and feedback from my classmates.

Students could practice using music terms and develop literacy because they would have time to provide feedback in a forum. I think that this would be authentic to an extent. Again, as I mentioned last week, some participation would need to be mandatory, but that also protects people who want to share from being labeled overachievers or nerds, stifling key contributors. And we all know that we music types have enough of a stereotype to overcome already. I know what you’re thinking. I’ve never seen this movie, and I still know this…

I think that we could generate a culture where students would be excited to check in on students’ videos of their bands, ensembles, duets and solos. It would be a great way to generate excitement leading up to live performances.

Once again, as I said last week, we would need to practice skills of posting and commenting and set expectations as a class for the types, length and frequency of comments.

With this buy in from students and moderation of appropriateness by a teacher, I don’t think that my grade 9-12 students’ parents would have any concerns about them participating in an open online environment. They already are exposed to or participating more potentially unsafe spaces.

SO LET’S TRY IT, PEOPLE!


EXTRA EXTRA read all about it… details about my LMS that is

Hi Friends, This week I wanted to give you a bit of a run down on how I intend to facilitate my Blended Course.  These are just my preliminary ideas and are possibly subject to changes, as I find I am learning more as I go. Sarah has some fabulous ideas in her blog this week in terms of establishing boundaries and participating for her older students.  Although, I think that working with young grade 3 students there is only a need for pre-teaching about “Netiquette” and digital citizenship

how to start a blog in 4 stepsI think for student/student-instructor interactions I will implement a blog. This form will be used so that students can publish their assignments and respond to readings or video’s. I think that once students get the hang of commenting on each others posts they will quite enjoy it. Although I believe that it may be difficult to create a community, this is something that the students have to do for themselves. Elizabeth had a great point when she said “we can try to foster a welcoming, open environment in which students feel a sense of community, but we can’t ensure this in all of our classes”. Image Source 

Choosing this form of student interaction is beneficial because grade 3 students are smart and full of great ideas and they will be able to share their thoughts with their peers online. Perhaps there is a way to moderate as the facilitator so that student blogs and comments can be reviewed before being posted. I also like the idea of commenting on students post, they will see that the teacher has read and thought critically about their post.

Cute small kid girl thinking holding the head. Isolated closeup potrait on whiteWhen facilitating an Blended Classroom I will make sure interactions between students and teacher are genuine.  I believe that awarding marks for participation is a starting point for students.  By encouraging participation with marks, students will begin to explore using blogs and commenting on their peers work and do so in a appropriate manner. This is the first step in meaningful interactions. Students will gain confidence by having fellow students reading and responding to their blogs. I think that both peer assessment and self assessment have value in a blended classroom. Elizabeth mentions the importance of teaching students to use pingbacks in their blogs as it “further encourages them to read other people’s blogs at their leisure and quote them in their own. It is important for students to read other people’s work, and to know that their work will also be read. This will help them see the value and importance of blogging, and the importance of reading something over before submitting it.” Image Source

I thought that I would check out the hyperlinks that were found in the document  Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation for some assessment ideas.  I was very disappointed to find out that all the hyperlinks that I tried were broken.  I think that it is very important when setting up a Blended Classroom for students 3-500x254to make sure that all links are working.  By not checking for dead links an educator can run into a lot of wasted time in terms of having students refer to a link provided.

Well this is my starting point, oh yeah and rubrics.  Have you ever used a blog platform in your classroom, which one?


Creating Community

What communities do you feel connected to? Why? Why do we need community? Benita and Melinda asked the same question this week. And I hope that I’ll leave you with one of many possible answers by the end of this post.

Whether fostering a community online or face-to-face, the instructor and students must establish expectations, participate in interactions, and develop communication skills. Like Schwier says, an environment doesn’t inherently develop into a community in which participants feel safe, belonging, committed and engaged. So, how do I plan to foster interactions using Canvas in my Music 9 prototype course?

Step #1 – Establish boundaries and participation rubric with students

Via edutech4teachers
                                     Via edutech4teachers
  • What rules are we going to follow in these spaces?
  • How often do you think you would need to participate for others to benefit from your contributions? Can you make this commitment?
  • What type of language are we going to use?
  • Learn about “Netiquette” and digital citizenship
  • Remember, chat comments cannot be deleted once they’ve been posted. You must be responsible.

Step #2 – Practice using the tools, explain their unique purposes/potentials

I plan to use the interactive and connective tools that are built into Canvas as the primary methods of communication: discussion, chat, conversations and conferences. We would practice using all of these tools and outline the expectations associated with each, before setting students “loose” to use them all.

The discussions section in Canvas allows responses to be organized by the question asked. Furthermore, students can add discussion questions if the instructor adjusts the settings to allow this. I would make sure that students would have access to this feature to increase the number of what Bryce-Davis calls “ringers,” which are new or unusual activities that “disrupt the established patterns and expectations just enough to renew interest” in the conversations. These discussions can be threaded, which allows members to focus in on particular comments of interest and follow that train of thought, rather than a stream of feed is more conducive to general comments. The threaded conversations help to ensure that discussion is organized and therefore potentially more meaningful and authentic. Small group options are available as well. Students can join particular focus groups based on interests or projects. Edutopia provides many suggestions in their Mastering Online Discussion Board Education Resource Guide. One idea is

“Instructional Discussion Boards should be used to meet specific course objectives and should be aligned with course content.”

For this reason, I would set the expectation for the discussion forum to be mostly related to the content of the course.

The chat section is a great option for students to socialize and build relationships. This area could be designed as a place for informal exchanges and for straight-forward student questions like, “When is this due?” or “What time are we meeting?”  It is important to note that comments in the chat cannot be deleted and are organized on a separate page from the discussion questions. Students would need to be aware of this ahead of time and know consequences for posting inappropriate comments.

Canvas also offers what they call Conversations, which is really just an email service. It’s a great option for one-on-one student-teacher interaction.

Finally, Canvas offers Conferences through a partnership with BigBlueButton, which is a web conferencing tool for synchronous online meetings, much like what we do with Zoom in EC&I 834. This option is ideal for group instruction or a more face-to-face feeling.

The combination of these tools is important. In his blog post this week, Adam said, “When looking for engagement amongst the class, it is vital to incorporate a number of different interaction opportunities.” The fact that Canvas has all of these tools within the same LMS means that students won’t need to check multiple providers to stay connected with their peers. When the log in to Canvas they will automatically be surrounded by opportunities to connect with each other in a variety of ways depending on the purpose of interaction.

Step #3 – Make the interactions meaningful, supportive and relevant

As I said before, setting expectations for each of the formats for interaction at the beginning of a course is crucial. The various forms of communication available, with students able to guide discussions, will make the interactions more meaningful than a strictly teacher-driven approach. Schwier says, “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 material.”

Students also need to be taught the skill of asking critical or higher level questions for discussions to go beyond surface-level ideas and observations. Edutopia suggests teaching Bloom’s Taxonomy to ensure that students ask high-quality, purposeful questions.

Students need skills in research and citation as well, so that they find and support answers to their own and others’ questions.

However, my presence as the instructor in each of these areas will model meaningful and supportive interaction.

Schwier, 2001
                                Schwier, 2001

I think that required participation is also necessary, especially initially, to help students develop the habit of being a part of and contributing to the community. Icebreakers and introductions are important to developing historicity, which is an essential element of community.

 

 

I would also use rubrics for participation, as well as teacher, self, and peer evaluation to give students clear expectations and opportunities for feedback and self-reflection.

Step #4 – Troubleshooting

Edutopia helpfully outlines some Common Pitfalls so that educators embarking on this journey can avoid them. I think that I have planned for each of the concerns in my plan above. But the one that I feel I have the least control over is “Students may react in an inappropriate way by flaming other students or making disinterested or disrespectful comments to their peers or in response to assignments.” If this were to happen in a chat, there is one guide that says that the comment cannot be deleted. This is very concerning to me. If one student chooses to make a bad decision, it wouldn’t go away. I’ve emailed Canvas to ask why they’ve chosen this.

Step #5 – Learn!

By Frankieleon via Flickr
                                                                                By Frankieleon via Flickr

The primary benefit of creating a blended learning environment where students can connect online is that it improves the likelihood that they will learn more. Amy noted this in her blog post this week as well.  George Siemens’ Theory of Connectivity highlights the importance of networks in learning. I know this has certainly been true of my experience in EC&I 834.


Let there be teachers

Image result for google classroom Hi friends, It has been awhile.  Reading week has given me some time just to relax and catch up on a few household things, oh yeah and my baby turned 5 months.

I decided with my time that I would ask my group “who would like to take the lead and create the Google Classroom account“? I decided rather than send that email, I would just take it into my own hands. I recalled that as a group we couldn’t use the RBE Google Classrooms because one of our group members is with another division.  I decided the best place to start would be to reread the Google+ Community posts to use the to figure out how to use the education.uregina accounts.  I scrolled through all the posts and managed to find what I was looking for. Ohh and now looking back, there is a search option at the top. I then went to create the Google Classroom account, all went well, or so I thought.  Setting up the initial info was just a matter of filling in a few feilds and a few clicks.  I attempted to invite teachers to my class by adding my group members using their email addresses. My first road block was that they were not contacts, so I went back to the Google menu and added them.  I then tried to invite my new contacts again, and it wouldn’t work.  I then realized I would have to track down their uregina user names.  Aimee replied to my email right away and I added her as a teacher, and voila it worked. Now just to wait for the other two gals!!

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Tell me if you ran into any road block while trying to get your project up and running!


Blended Music LMS = Significant Difference

When asked to choose any topic of interest this week, I immediately revisited the idea of Myth of No Significant Difference. Not shockingly, these thoughts surfaced around the same time as my feelings of overwhelmedness about the amount of work that I am going to have to do shortly to finish my blended Music 9 course prototype. It had me thinking about what the benefits of blended learning really are.

So, at the suggestion of Kara, I decided to see what others have done to create Music LMSs, and learn from their experiences, rather than assuming that I am the first to have tried it. I’m definitely not the first. And I found out that music teachers and institutions around the world are doing amazing things with blended LMSs in music, but one pair of music educators has a website that sucked me in for a couple of hours and lifted me out inspired and armed with a few new tools.

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Freebern Music has designed a LMS for music courses at Burr and Burton Academy in Vermont to accommodate lower enrollment and still offer multiple courses. They say,

“We were  teaching students HOW to learn, leaving the WHAT to the digital tools we created. As a result, we found that content knowledge and retention was improving.”

They also built courses that addressed various outcomes around students’ interests WITH those students. In future years, other students used the courses and expanded on them as well.

One of the main concerns that they had after moving all of their music classes to blended environments was that some students still desired to be spoon-fed, and they needed to spend more time helping students develop skills to work autonomously. (Dre and Logan also discussed the importance of scaffolding in their blogs and with me this week.) Unlike in a traditional face-to-face classroom, the Freeberns couldn’t ignore this skill building. Without it, students could not be successful. They came up with three areas of focus: “These three components, a desire for autonomy, the instinctive need for mastery and a purpose for study,  motivate our students to learn in this type of educational structure; a structure that will help them become lifelong learners.” And as we all know, this is the ultimate goal. It’s a key component of Saskatchewan Curricula.

By FotoshopTofs Via Pixaby

Not all of their courses are open, but some course resources are open as well as links to music technology apps and resources. I had so much fun looking through them. It was clear that these educators have done a lot of work already to make this LMS and it was much more useful to spend time looking through their courses, tools, and statements rather than trying to figure it all out myself. One of the tools is sampulator.com. It’s a fun intuitive tool that allows people to create simple beats using pre-programmed sounds. I made one, and I think that I’m going to use this tool as the activity for my Music 9 module.

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I emailed the developers, Neil and Julie Freebern a note of thanks for sharing their concept, challenges and model and requested temporary access to the modules to see how they have laid them out. Hopefully, they will get back to me! Once again, the results of building a professional learning network have gone beyond my expectations.

The whole website appears to be mind-blowingly professional and comprehensive. Seeing this, has really inspired me. As a teacher who has to promote an elective class in a school with a declining population, I can see how LMS could provide administration with the flexibility needed to give students many opportunities to take music classes.

And that is a SIGNIFICANT difference. 


The Media Diaries: Five Short Stories of Five Good Friends

No. 1: The Wise Old Mentor

By Dplanet via Flickr

I’m a reader. My parents read to me when I was little, and before I actually could, I would pretend to read stories from the Western Producer on my dad’s knee. I played “music” from the Reader’s Digest Christmas Songbook at my mom’s piano. When letters slowly morphed into words, and words into ideas and stories, my life changed. I would stay up late reading Nancy Drew under my covers, occasionally checking my orange leather wristwatch to see how late it was. I didn’t want to be too tired for school the next day. Yep. That’s me. I think I loved school because I was a good reader and most of what I learned there came from textbooks. Big. Heavy. Books. I survived on painfully slow dial-up, and downloadable version of the Encyclopedia Britannica until I left home for university. Text remained my wise old mentor in this institution as well. Bates argues that text “is an essential medium for academic learning,” and I definitely have found this true in my experiences. It’s kind of difficult for me to imagine that it is unlikely “that books will survive in a printed format, because digital publication allows for many more features to be added, reduces the environmental footprint, and makes text much more portable and transferable.” But I suppose all wise old mentors die eventually, making room for new teachers, though their wisdom lives on.

No. 2: That friend who keeps you company while you run errands and doesn’t stop talking so you kind of stop listening once in a while

pink-jvcMusic and podcasts are comfortable pals of mine. Music has been in my life since my grandpa bought me a bright pink JVC CD player when I was 13, and I was introduced to Podcast last year by a good friend. I have a difficult time relaxing, doing hands-on-work or exercise in silence, so these two keep me company and I enjoy listening to them, even if I drift off on occasion. I don’t find that I learn anything particularly useful or interesting when we hang out. But if Pen or Video join us, then the conversations get juicy. So, I didn’t find it at all surprising when Bates said, “that students will often learn better from preprepared audio recordings combined with accompanying textual material (such as a web site with slides) than they will from a live classroom lecture.”

No. 3: The Diva

Mr. P, my former science teacher, was a huge fan of The Diva. We used to watch The Diva’s presentations on reproduction, chemical reactions, and uranium mines. The Diva thought she was so much better than Mr. Overheadprojector. One day, she was trying to show off with some fancy singing and animation on the topic of Meiosis. And the poor thing flopped. Sighs were heaved. Tears were shed. Minutes of lives were lost. But in history later that year, The Diva shared Schindler’s List. And so, rightfully found a place back at the top as a powerful, evocative celebrity. So, Bates’s thoughts that quality, free and engaging videos may not be easy for teachers to find brought this memory of The Diva’s career “lowlight” to the surface.

No. 4: The Nerd

You know that guy who is so passionate, that he scares people away? The nerd? I recently got set up with him by my EC&I 834 profs, Alec and Katia. Since then, we’ve been on a few dates. He’s pretty deep when you get to know him; he knows so much! And he can really challenge me, which I like. Sometimes he gets a little boring when he’s quizzing me and I really just want to hang out with Music and Podcast, or even The Diva. Still, he has a LONG list of strengths. He’s pretty good looking in most styles, organized, methodical, environmentally friendly, accommodating, and patient. Unfortunately, I think many of those strengths are left unappreciated because the ladies don’t take or have the time to get to know him. And once in a while he shuts you out for no apparent reason. That can definitely be a turn off.

“many teachers and instructors often have no training in or awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of computing as a teaching medium”  – Bates

No. 5: Ms. Social Butterfly

captureMs. Social Butterfly is one of my new teachers. We’ve been collaborating and constructing together for a little while now. Within the last year she encouraged me to blog and join Twitter. To be honest, I got a tad overwhelmed by Ms. Social Butterfly and we didn’t talk for almost six months. We just needed a break. We sat down for a Zoom session just over a month ago, and discussed boundaries. Now, I’m self-directing my learning, just like Bates said was possible. She will be an integral part of my ongoing professional development, and I’m glad that she’s teaching me again.

Challenge

Have you met any of these characters before? Do you have any characters to add to The Media Diaries? Would love to hear what they’ve been up to!