I think I have learnt a lot in this class, but this week, I looked at the questions provided by Alec and they really had me thinking. This week’s blog post touches on mostly those questions, but also what how I will take the knowledge I have learnt in EC&I 834 and implement it into my own classroom.
This class has taught me to define my style of teaching as blended learning. I have always used technology in the classroom, but Alec’s classes have taught me which tools to use to take my class to the next level. Using Google classroom, I have created a space where my students can access information anywhere. They can receive instruction, open attachments to handouts and assignments, they can go to links to other websites, view videos and hand everything in on one platform.
With my course prototype I was able to complete a lesson that was completely online. Technically there needs to be a facilitator to set up an interview, and career fair but other than that the SYA program can be done without the help of a teacher once the students have entered the classroom. So last week, when Alec asked if schools could ever be replaced by online learning, it really had me thinking.
In theory, assignments, videos and lessons could we posted online and students could complete them at home. So schools could, at this point, be replaced by online learning, but I do not think it is a good idea. Alec asked if there are limits to online learning and I think the answer is yes.
The best part of school is the socialization. Learning how to respect each other, learn from one another, how to treat people, act in public, how to speak to people you do not know, and how to form relationships is one of the most important things about schooling. Some of the best moments I have in my class is when we are having a group discussion and we are connecting thoughts, laughing and learning together. It is one of the main reasons I became a teacher, and I do not want to lose that.
That being said, I do think there is a spot for connecting online. I think some of the best moments in EC&I have been when we have connected as a group. When we talk about each others blogs, projects and we start really talking about issues or tools that have helped us in class. When we use tools like Zoom, or Flipgrid, it allows us to connect through the screen. Alec asked “how do we ensure that online learners are given opportunities to socialize? (Or, how do we address interactions in online courses where parents have chosen the online route in order to avoid socialization?) First of all, I think that we need to create assignments where students connect. Whether it be looking and responding to each others work, or having face to face conversations. It is possible to create these types of interactions; we just need to plan for them. As for people who avoid socialization. I do not think I agree with it. It will be very hard to avoid socialization throughout your life, plus I do not know if it is entirely healthy. I think there needs to be steps in place to learn how to cope and learn from our fears.
Although I have embraced technology in my classroom, it is clear that I think there are limits to what can be taught online. I even think about how many questions my students have, or how they get off track and need to be taught what to focus on, and how they need guidance in order to figure out how to determine what is important. I think there is something to be said about how content is delivered. You need to be able to feel the importance, excitement and passion from the teacher before learners really buy into the content. Tools like Screencastify has allowed us to convey some of this passion, but it is a different skill set to be able to deliver content passionately through a video.
For now, I think the best option for my students and myself is to keep learning new tools that enhance learning. I want to be able to deliver content to my students, have some connection with them and then teach them the skills and knowledge it takes to use the internet successfully. Technology is only becoming more prominent in the workforce (especially in Auto) so it is important that my students are equipped to use technology, and express themselves in order to be successful. Blended learning, in my opinion is the best way to deliver education right now. It is the best of both worlds.