Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Personal Case Study of Distance Learning Trends, Issues and Practices ED722

I am a lifelong learner. I believe the Internet and  Communication Technologies are supporting my learning.  The Internet has an abundance of knowledge that is readily accessible and is free.  Today’s technology and the Internet are revolutionizing education.  Trends in online education are  emerging.   

Some of the characteristics of online learning that are beneficial to learners include.
  • Flexibility - learners are able to engage in learning activities regardless of time and place
  • Low Cost  - Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) are offered to learners at no cost
  • Expanded course offerings - Course Management Systems offers learners a greater choice in courses and learning opportunities
  • Student centeredness - learners have more choice as to what and how they want to learn.
  • Different learning styles can be readily addressed
  • Accessible to all

My participation in the Distance Learning Trends, Issues and Practices  ED722 at the University of New Haven has given me an insight to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions associated with online learning.

Through my participation in the course, I have had the opportunity to learn about various online learning systems, to participate in a MOOC, and to learn and use new technology tools. The assignments have been informative and relevant. I have been able to explore areas of personal and professional interest, and I have been able to discuss and share thoughts and ideas about online learning and the concept of deeper learning.  I feel these experiences have made me a better teacher.  

My participation in DLMOOC was a valuable learning experience! It was a self guided online learning venture.  I enjoyed the flexibility of selecting the learning resources I wanted to engage in and work with. In addition to experiencing participation in a MOOC, I learned about the concept of deeper learning. The DLMOOC has given me a different perspective on pedagogy that I feel has helped me improve as a teacher. I am very interested in the deeper learning process of the consultancy protocol for reviewing and improving students’ work. I plan to employ this process with colleagues after collaboration on projects.   The topics I explored in DLMOOC have been documented in a series of Storifies I created.

As part of the ED722 coursework, I also developed online tutorials and collaborated on the creation of an online learning module. Creating online tutorials to show students how to accomplish a task is an essential skill in developing online and blended learning courses.  I have created several online tutorials that can be found on my website. These are:

In addition to creating online tutorials, I collaborated with a classmate, Tim Flanagan, to develop an online learning module on copyright, fair use, and the public domain. We designed the module using Understanding by Design and Universal Design for Learning concepts. Our online module focuses on a real life and authentic problem, citing attribution. The online module is a student and teacher learning module.  Both students and teachers are able to utilize the information about giving credit and respecting copyright.  

During Distance Learning ED722, I also began to use Twitter and learned how to use Storify.  I didn’t understand the value of Twitter until I began to use it.  Twitter is a powerful communication tool.  I found it easy to organize information and the 140 character limit helps those viewing the tweets get a brief description or link to the information.  I am following organizations, ideas, and people that share my similar interests.  Visit my blog to learn more about my experience with Twitter.

Storify is a online creation tool that allows you to create stories from social media. It is an easy tool that allows you to curate information about a topic. The stories can be shared through social media. It has a nice built-in feature that notifies those mentioned in the story.  Storify is a useful tool. I found myself referring back to my stories and reviewing the progress I have made in this class.

As a library media specialist, I teach media skills which includes online literacy.  I am presently building a curriculum that will help students become online literate.  I believe the topics I’ve explored in Distance Learning ED722 will help me build a curriculum that is engaging and meaningful for my students and that will produce 21st century learners.
I presently teach students how to:
  • find copyright free to use images
  • research using the Internet
  • locate and validate online information

This year I have collaborated with social studies teachers and Integrated Language Arts teachers to introduce 7th grade students to  ePals. Through ePals, my students are communicating with students from other countries through email. Their learning includes:
  • using Google apps
  • online digital citizenship
  • proper online communications
I am pleased with the direction I am taking as I feel my teaching is addressing 21century skills that our students should learn.

As an educator committed to providing online learning opportunities for my students, I will be considering the following when designing online learning activities:
  • Designing learning units that organize and utilize multimodal learning resources
  • Guided resources in the form of tutorials
  • Opportunities for students to interact and collaborate
  • Developing performance tasks that are relevant and meaningful
  • Providing an audience for student work

As an educator committed to integrating technology,  I want to empower my students with the knowledge and the skills to effectively engage in online learning.   I recognize that students are using the Internet to learn more about their interests, and much of this is happening outside the classroom walls. I am excited for my students because they have this wonderful learning opportunity available to them. I am also excited for teachers because we have an opportunity to share in this enthusiasm and deliver curriculum.  I believe curriculum needs to be taught using today’s tools and technology in order for learning to be relevant and meaningful to students. Teachers can help their students on a journey of lifelong learning by guiding them to develop effective online practices. These practices include good digital citizenship, participating in proper online cooperation and collaboration, practicing effective online communications, evaluating online information, and respecting copyright.

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