Methodologies of the Online Instructor Reflection

Online, Blended, and Face-to-Face Learning

I’m currently a 4th grade teacher who primarily teaches using face-to-face learning, however with technology resources becoming available at my school, blended learning is becoming more of a possibility in my classroom. The following Venn Diagram shows the similarities and differences between online, blended, and face-to-face learning as it has been used in my educational experience as a teacher and a student learning in an online setting.

Venn Diagram on Prezi

Transitioning to Blended & Online Learning

Becoming a blended or online teacher requires a whole new teaching mindset. I’m so used to teaching in a large group setting with 32+ students in my classroom at all times. I’m used to teaching through text books at a certain pace, making sure that I get through all of the necessary information before testing time comes around in early May. I use individual and group projects and allow for students to work at their own level within a certain subject, but my whole group instruction always comes at one pace, which is mostly too easy for my high students and too complicated for my really low students.

Having students work on curriculum online allows for self-paced learning. The advanced students can move quickly through the necessary curriculum and beyond, and the lower students can work at a slower pace with more individual help and support in mastering the curriculum before moving on too quickly. This means that the classroom teacher no longer becomes the main source of curriculum delivery, but rather the facilitator of learning and a main support system for individual student success. The success of many online and blended learning programs tells me that this is the future of education. I’m totally on board and excited for this change! This is the reason that I made that tough decision to go back for my master’s in Educational Media Design and Technology and enroll in a Online and Blended Learning Teacher Certification program. I’m trying to learn everything that I can to make myself a successful teacher ready to transition into the future of education.

Through Full Sail University’s Online Program, I’ve participated in online collaborative teaching platforms like Wimba and GoToMeeting. As a high school and undergraduate college student, I was always the quiet student with so many ideas in my head, but little confidence to participate in a large group setting. Online collaborative platforms with small group meetings gave me the confidence and comfort to become an active participant in every classroom meeting. Having to work with 12 different instructors, it’s been interesting to see how different personalities work in the online setting. I’ve experienced everything from comedic teachers cracking jokes to engage the group, to teachers using videos and Web 2.0 tools to engage the group in thought provoking discussions. I imagine that working with students online requires a lot of patience and trial and error in finding the style that works best for each individual teacher. I’m the kind of person that is up for the challenge of new discoveries, so if I should ever need to make the transition to virtual teaching, I will take all of my online experiences and experiment with what works best for me.

Education is going through some major changes with the quick advancement in technology and I’m doing the best that I can to be prepared for that change. It’s going to be a wild ride, and not always an easy one, but if it means more student engagement and personalized learning, I’m completely on board!

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Back to School with Glogster (Virtual Posters)

Back to School

After 1 year of an intense master’s program, I thought that I would take a nice long break from online classes, giving myself the chance to catch up with my normal life. Well… that lasted for a whole 3 months and now I’m back online, going for my Online and Blended Teacher Certification. It’s back to the same routines that I came to know so well:

  • Read
  • Complete assignment
  • Post discussion
  • Reply to 2+ discussions
  • Reflect

My Personal Learning Goal

Having ignited this new found passion for discovering new technology, I’m starting to get more and more interested in creating programs for professional development of teachers using technology. I’ve enjoyed training teachers about using LiveBinders and I would love to find a way to continue my career in that same path. I enjoy creating fun and innovative media assets. ScreenFlow, iMovie, and GarageBand have been my favorite tools to design and create teaching tutorials with. I look forward to learning more about tools and strategies that will help me understand how to efficiently reach learners in a blended teaching setting. Learning about new Web 2.0 tools sparks new ideas in me and I love trying out new things in my classroom. This week, my new Web 2.0 tool is Glogster.

Introductions via Glogster

PacadaVision

Our first assignment was to create a glog so that other students could get to know all about us. This assignment was a completely paperless and virtual way to create one of those About Me posters that so many teachers assign their students in the first week of school.

With all of the many video projects that I’ve gotten myself into, I had a hard time choosing the most important ones to go on my page. I may have gone a little crazy with the videos, stickers, Web links, and moving objects, but I came up with a page that reflects exactly where I am in my teaching career right now.

As I have been looking at other students’ glogs, it is very interesting to see different styles and ideas from each student in the class. This got me to thinking about creating student accounts for each of my 4th grade students and having them create a glog to be shared during Open House in May. The graphics and animations are so fun and eye-catching that I think my students will have a blast with it!

Week 2 Comment #1: Ben Witter

Week 2 Reading

Posted in Week 2 on October 31, 2012 by benwitter

I am very exited to read this book. I watched the TED talk Benjamin Zander gave and was blown away. I was immediately drawn in with his affinity for music and how he wove that into the point he was trying to make. I’m glad this isn’t a regular textbook. I think this will really propel me into whatever it is that awaits me after this program.

Chapter 1: It’s All Invented

I have always fancied myself as a rather free thinker, someone who is so far outside the box that the box ceases to exist. I totally get the undertones that are being played throughout this chapter. The constraints that we place on ourselves are just that, self-inflicted. I understand that some people are dealt unfair things from life, but it all boils down to perceptions. I am a firm believer that perceptions are what determine our life, our reality. The world itself is real to us because of how we perceive it. Along with perception includes perspective and relativity. If more people could understand that the perceptions they have are invented from society and their surroundings, as well as innate personal qualities, there would be less concern for how others perceive us and more focus on living our lives as our lives and not someone else’s. People just need to invent new perceptions. Actually, people just need to invent new realities.

Read more on Ben’s blog page

My Response to Ben

I love your views on life and I have such a huge respect for you! Ever since your first bio video in month one of this program, I knew that you were the creative, out of the box thinker, and the one that I could look up to and draw inspiration from. Sometimes I find myself getting caught up with the rules and what’s right and what’s wrong. When I catch myself doing that, I’m finding that it really limits my possibilities. If I was just completing assignments to meet the requirements of a rubric that will get me an A, then I know that I would come up with good work, but it would be boring work. That’s exactly how I made my way through college. Did I learn much in my quest for a liberal studies degree? I can’t think of one memorable project or assignment that I did in those 4 years.

I have to say that getting my master’s degree in a subject area that I’m truly passionate about, being surrounded by amazingly talented teaching professionals, and getting words of wisdom from online professors who are paving the way for an educational technology movement has been the most rewarding experience of my life! Even though I’m working so hard that most days I feel like I want to break down in tears, this online education experience through Full Sail University has made me look at education in a brand new way. We might as well not be getting grades because I’m never worried about getting a bad grade on a project. Completing projects, while not easy, has been so rewarding, giving me practical and useful knowledge that I will take with me in my next quest for a new job. I’m finding myself not really looking at the rubrics, but instead pushing myself to rise to my own high standard to try and come up with new and incredible things. Ben, I’m so thankful to have you there to share your perspective that shows us that it is so cool to do things your own way.