Archive for category online education

20 Webtools in 20 Minutes: Revitalize Lessons and Motivate Students

Webinar Leader

Here is the slides from a recent presentation I did for SimpleK12






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Tools for Teaching Students in Bloom’s Taxonomy

Here is my presentation from ISTE 2011.

Tools for Teaching Students in Bloom’s Taxonomy


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4 Tips for Teaching a Course Online

I need you to write this sentence 500 times

There are a lot of differences teaching online vs. face-to-face.  If you are new to implementing online modules or courses into your traditional classroom or are a fairly new online teacher or maybe you haven’t had much formal training in teaching online, here are 4 quick tips to help you with teaching online:

1.  Communication:
So, do you want to try teaching without using your face, hands, or voice?  Sounds daunting doesn’t. When teaching online there aren’t any non-verbal communication devices….for the most part. Since much of online teaching is currently asynchronous, you have to consider that the student it unable to watch your facial expressions and body language when delivering content.  Also, your sense of humor may not transfer so things that are funny out-loud may sound like insults or demoralizing comments in digital text. You need to get very good at being super specific in emails (the main form of online communication), instant messaging and feedback. You want to show emotion through the use of emoticons and acronyms but be careful not to lose that teacher-student relationship by being overly friendly and informal.

2. Course Development:
Developing courses online takes 1.5 to 4 times as long as developing a face-to-face course.  A large part of this is that you have to spend so much time researching curriculum for accuracy prior to publishing the material online. However, the main issue that adds to development time is your necessity for attention to detail.  You have to be ultra specific.  Think of publishing your online lesson and assessments as the first period of the day or the first time you teach a new lesson.  In face-to-face you get to do it 4 or 5 times to perfect it that day, but online when you put something up, it needs to be almost perfect (shooting for perfection) the first time.  You are building all your scaffolding into the lesson and laying out details to help eliminate student errors and misunderstanding when they are working from home.

3. Feedback:
When working with a student face-to-face you can walk around, glance over their shoulder and make comments like “you might want to be more specific on that sentence” or “double check number 12, you still have some work to do.”  But when you are online, there are very little formative assessments. So, you might consider getting into the habit of treating all assignments as if they are formative. When a student turns in something, write all your feedback with the intention that a student is going to redo the missed questions.  Then make sure you set up your assessments so they can.

4.  Engage without Handouts:
Many teachers new to online teaching begin by trying to recreate what’s familiar.  A lot of people will try to scan in former handouts that they used, or record 20-30 minute lectures they have done for years (5 minutes tops for videos), or have straight textbook and quiz lessons.  Since you are online and all of your students have access to a computer, take advantage of the tremendous amount of resources and free Web 2.0 tools available on the Internet.  Use engaging material, stuff that you have wanted to use or heard of others doing but couldn’t quite implement before because there were so many roadblocks in a traditional class.

Check out this 2 Minute Ed Tech Talk I recorded with Simplek12 highlighting some of these points



Adding a Picture to My Sidebar

Thanks to Sue Waters and her post called Here’s My CHEATS Method for Adding Images to Blog Sidebars for helping me to build a widget for a recent badge I’m adding to my sidebar.  Below is a clip of her article, and the image I’m toying with. In the cheat, you do not have to publish the post in order to get the proper HTML, but I am going to just so I can share this method with you.

If you know of any other cheats, or simple ways to make badges leave some ideas in the comments.

See the full article for step-by-step instructions

To start with you need to:
1. Write HTML code which links to the location of your image
2. Add your HTML code to a text widget in your sidebar

Virtual Tech Conference

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Reflection on Online Education and the Reform Symposium

I’ve been teaching online for six years and have worked for multiple schools and programs around the country teaching Social Studies and Social Media courses along with training teachers how to teach online.  It’s a very interesting field largely because it feels like such an experiment on a daily basis.  Even though I am immersed in this segment of education, when I chat with people in my personal learning network I usually feel a little bit on the outskirts discussing this topic.  I’ve found a few online educators who teach outside of my schools, but its very few and makes up less than 10% of my network.

When I found out about the 2010 Reform Symposium, I contacted one of the organizers, Kelly Tenkely, about speaking on the topic of online education.  I have presented on social media in the classroom and personal learning networks amongst other topics over the last 4 years, but I have yet to speak about online education as a major player in the future of education.  I was really excited when my proposal was accepted.

The guiding question for research on my presentation was  “Will Online Learning Change Everything?”

The simple answer is yes….and no.  It is growing very rapidly but there are many roadblocks to its continual expansion.  By expansion I mean, its ability to offer students a viable option instead of attending “traditional” public schools.  It’s major impact in the field right now is in supplemental courses like credit recovery, electives and Advanced Placement options for students, but to really change the education system as a whole it would have to grow as a replacement to full-time four walled schools and that’s where the major social and political roadblocks limit its ability to reform.

It was exciting to present about this topic to mostly educators who were not in the field.  They asked some amazing questions and sounded genuinely surprised at how quickly online education had spread throughout the U.S. in the last few years.  It reminded me of when I presented in early 2007 about Web 2.0 tools and people were very interested but leery about their potential back then.  I only hope that in 3 years from now, online education will be as accepted among many educators as social media is now, even though both have a tremendous way to go to be accepted in the mainstream education system.

Reform Symposium

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