09 February 2014

On Blended and Online Learning: Reflection 1

Note: This post is the first in a series of reflections I will do for a course I am taking in online and blended learning. Over the next two months I'll post reflections such as this one along with other observations and learnings from the class.

After spending much of the last two years studying research in tech integration and tech use habits among youth, I am looking forward to learning about effective strategies and techniques in online and blended learning. This seems a natural next step in using tech in my classroom.
  My key goal for implementing online and blended learning in the classroom will be improving management. It seems there are many moving parts in 21st century learning that make management more of a challenge than in the traditional classroom setting.  I am also concerned about the time that might be required to manage the 21st century classroom. One of the online teachers in the Edutopia video mentioned that her teaching day starts just before 8 a.m. and frequently goes until 10 p.m. I have a hard enough time setting limits in a traditional classroom setting, so I am wondering if blended learning will create a new set of challenges for me.
  Despite these concerns, I am excited to take this next step to make learning more engaging for my students. It seems that online and blended learning has the opportunity to allow students more choice in both content topics and production methods. More self-directed choice could lead to higher engagement which would be a good thing. I would like to read more about the research into completion rates for online and/or blended coursework among adolescent learners.
   My online learning self-assessment suggested that I need to consider the challenges that I face finding a specific time and place, free of distractions, to get my coursework done. Probably the best thing for me is to schedule time in my day to do the work, otherwise I will fritter away what time I do have with reading or cooking or baking or hiking or….
   Specifically, in this course, I hope to:
  • learn to make more efficient use of my time when creating online activities.
  • learn to make an instructional video (either of me or a screencast) that is engaging. My efforts thus far have been less than stellar.
  • develop a library of activities and tools to use when creating activities for my class
  • develop effective management strategies for online learning that will keep my students engaged and on track.