Arkin and I decided to both create introductory courses for our prototype. Lumi was a helpful tool for this, because it allows you to create interactive lessons and videos to quickly introduce new concepts.
For my module, I focused on introducing Foley artists and the art of creating sound effects. For our prototype, students will eventually make radio plays and will be responsible for creating their own Foley sounds; therefore, it is important for students to have an understanding of the world of Foley. Using an interactive video is an effective way to introduce this new concept (which, for the majority, ‘Foley’ is a new term entirely!) while also assessing understanding. Meanwhile, Arkin created a complementary lesson and introduced the elements of soundscapes, something that students will also incorporate into their final project.
I used a ‘kick-off question’ where students make inferences – a skill we work on a lot in middle years ELA! – and used a combination of multiple choice and fill in the blank to reiterate important information from the video. These questions will help students remember this information as it will be a big part of their future project (e.g. the term ‘Foley artist,’ using unlikely objects to create everyday sounds, creativity involved in Foley artistry, and the uniqueness of the profession).
There are also some accessibility features such as closed captions, translations, and allowance for spelling mistakes in fill in the blank questions. Generally, extra supports such as these are beneficial for all students; however, as identified in our ADDIE model, we have a large percentage of EAL students; these features would be especially helpful for them.
Pros and Cons ofLumi
Allows for immediate student feedback
Easy assessment for teachers and facilitators
Database to access lots of resources made by other educators
Shareable link for completed projects
Accessibility features to meet the needs of a variety of learners
Time consuming to create interactive resources
Limit on length of videos/size of files in the free version
Would work better for older students; while there are features conducive to younger grades, it would be more difficult for early learners to use this tool
Because I only made the one module, this pros/cons list is not extensive; it’s only what I found while working through for the first time. I have used platforms to create H5P content before, and I found Lumi much more difficult to use in comparison. However, the other platforms didn’t have nearly as many options nor accessibility features as Lumi.
Arkin and I look forward to feedback on our modules and to hear what others liked/didn’t like when they were working in Lumi!
For our course prototype, Arkin and I are focusing on Drama 7, a subject that can be difficult to teach in a new and engaging way while also creating an environment where students can feel confident in leaving their comfort zone and expressing themselves. We decided that the blended model is a great approach, because it balances small group and face-to-face instruction with engaging technology. Students will have the opportunity to produce, mix, create, and edit radio plays, while also creating sound effects and soundscapes, and starring as the voice actors.
Seesaw will be used for formative assessment. We see many benefits of Seesaw, including:
Instructors are able to provide immediate feedback via comments, teacher edits, ‘reaction’ stickers, or using the stylus tool (much like writing comments on paper assignments!). Students receive this feedback immediately, and can make the edits without deleting original work.
There is an option to add ‘pages’ to assignments – this is a great feature, as it is another way to show progress and learning. It is similar to submitting multiple written drafts, where each draft shows improvement!
Seesaw allows for a meaningful home/school connection. Parents and caregivers are able to interact, comment, and ‘like’ assignments, provide support, and stay up to date with their child’s assignment and progress.
Instructors are able to send large group messages, which is especially helpful for due date reminders, communicating trends, or ensuring students are using the platform appropriately (i.e. “remember to save as draft so you don’t lose progress”)
It is accessible at school or at home, and can be accessed either via browser or through an app.
Check out this short video to learn more about Seesaw
Microsoft Teams will be used for our summative assessment, and will be used as a communication tool. Like Seesaw, there are numerous benefits of Microsoft Teams in the blended learning model:
Teachers can create chats for each group, which are monitored by the teacher. Students can communicate, plan, and share their files in these groups. They can also interact when absent or if they need to work in different areas of the school!
Students can also private message the instructor, which is extremely helpful if students are absent or working around the school to record or edit. It is another way teachers can provide individual feedback or instruction throughout the day.
We can create a class, where resources, links, and calendars are shared. In this class, we can create assignments and include rubrics and due dates. Teachers can grade and submit feedback right in Teams.
Watch this video to learn more about Microsoft Teams
Are you familiar with these platforms? What do you see as the benefits or shortfalls? Let me know!
This course was designed with my colleague, Arkin Kauf! Click here to check out his blog.
Teaching middle school drama is tough. A quarter LOVE it, a quarter REALLY dislike it, and the rest are going through the motions and counting the days until we are back to painting or drawing. It is not unusual for performing and presenting to cause anxiety, so we decided to design our course around meeting the needs of our students in a subject that can be difficult to teach and hopefully help them have fun and fall in love with the content along the way.
In our blended and synchronous course, our grade 7 students will learn about the elements of radio plays, how to create soundscapes, how to use Foley sounds to create sound effects, and record, edit, and produce their own radio plays in small groups. The focus is not on writing skills so they will use pre-written stories; however, they will edit and adapt the stories to use soundscapes, effects, and voice acting wherever possible.
Our course will touch on each outcome of the grade 7 drama unit:
Investigate improvisation using the voice, instruments, and a wide variety of sound sources from the natural and constructed environment.
Our course will be used in a grade 7 Connected Classroom which has a high percentage of EAL students. In our experience teaching middle years, we frequently see student anxiety around presenting and performing. We have seen an uptick in absences on presentation days, a willingness to ‘take a 0’ on a presentation mark, issues with collaboration, and requests for alternate presentation times, like at recess or after school. Our goal is to meet students where they are and help build presentation and communication skills without increasing anxiety.
Our students are also very ‘techy’ – the vast majority have access to tech at home, and the novelty of tech at school has yet to wear off! We are hoping this meaningful integration of technology can help build excitement and the new platforms can keep things fresh and exciting.
Our LMS is primarily Microsoft Teams and Seesaw. Both these platforms allow for student/teacher communication, allow for feedback and assessment, can host resources and links, and parents can be involved in progress through Seesaw, which is a big plus! Both Teams and Seesaw are licensed by our division for all teaching staff. Other tools we will use are:
WeVideo – while there is the ability to edit and mix for free, as Connected Educators we are able to access licenses so we can use each feature of this platform. Here, students can share their projects with their group, edit on their own devices (much like a shared document in Google Docs or Word!), record,upload recordings, and share with the teacher. Licenses are usually granted for 30 days, but these can be extended based on need. Another benefit of using WeVideo for collaborative projects is that students do not need to be present to record. If a student is absent for an extended period of time, they can record their parts before leaving OR when they return, and their contributions can be spliced, layered, and reorganized in to fit the script!
BBC Sound Effects – a great little website filled with free-to-use soundscapes and sound effects! Students are able to layer sounds and create their own mixes for free. They can download their mixes straight from the website and upload them into WeVideo.
First, students will learn about soundscapes, and spend some time identifying different sounds in different environments. They will practice making their own soundscapes using BBC Sound Effects.
Then, students will spend some time learning about Foley sounds. For those unfamiliar, check out this video to see Foley engineers in action:
They’ll make their own sound effects with Foley in mind!
Lastly, students will put these elements together with the introduction of radio plays. They’ll learn about radio plays, listen to examples, identify elements, and then plan and produce their own radio plays in small groups.
CONSIDERATIONS AND ADAPTATIONS
We are heavily influenced by ITSE Student Standards, particularly the empowered learner focus (Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences). We will try to dismantle as many road blocks as possible so students can still be challenged, but ultimately find success. Because of our high EAL percentage and performance anxiety in our class, there will be no story writing or ‘live’ performances. Students can take stories and make them their own, practice their parts, rerecord if they need, and share their final products in safe settings.
Attendance and hard deadlines are an inevitable aspect of our course. However, a benefit of our chosen platforms is that students can record all their parts individually (whether that be voice acting or creating sound effects) and these files can be edited in the order and sequence required. They do not have to record their play in its entirety at once, hoping for no errors! Students can also share audio files through Teams and access the platforms at home, if they have access to technology.
Here is our our ADDIE template – we look forward to hearing your feedback and learning more about the courses you designed!
When I was in elementary school, it was a big day when each classroom got four desktop computers. We would crowd around and work on group PowerPoints, and rotate who got to type every few minutes. We loved using this new tech, and everything was more fun when we got to use it. When I was in high school, we had two computer labs for the school, each with 20 desktop computers. One was the Mac lab, primarily for photography students, and the rest of the school shared the generic lab. Seeing “meet in the computer lab” on our classroom door always meant we were in for a fun and engaging class, learning at our own pace through exploration. Blended learning positively impacted my educational experience as a student, and I love that I have the resources and opportunities to enhance my students’ learning in this same way.
According to Bates, “‘blended learning’ can mean minimal rethinking or redesign of classroom teaching, such as the use of classroom aids, or complete redesign as in flexibly designed courses, which aim to identify the unique pedagogical characteristics of face-to-face teaching, with online learning providing flexible access for the rest of the learning” (2019). I have experienced all three; as a brand new teacher, I used tech more so as a classroom aid, and students would occasionally have access to the shared laptop cart. Now I am a Connected Educator for my division, which means I have access to 1:1 technology for my students at all times, get licenses and subscriptions for certain programs to use with my students (like CoSpaces or WeVideo), and act as a tech support for my coworkers. I have been a part of this program since 2019, and I taught fully online in our online school during the 2020-2021 school year. During that year, I provided real-time instruction from 9:00am-2:00pm, after which was my prep time and students worked independently on Arts Ed, Phys Ed, French, or homework. I have had a lot of experience in online and blended learning environments, and have seen both the challenges blended learning creates and the benefits that come from effective blended learning practices.
Challenges and Opportunities
Initial time investment to become familiar with resources, platforms, websites, programs
Extensive time to set routines, procedures, expectations with students
With experience, it reduces teacher planning and assessment time
Building digital literacy skills (yes – I consider this a challenge and an opportunity!)
Successes with Blended Learning
Blended learning, in my experience, takes a lot of work to implement effectively. Each year and group of students are different, so each year my Connected Classroom looks different depending on the needs of my students. However, each year brings new stories of successes because of the blended learning model. Some examples:
Using CoSpaces to code a chapter of our novel study brought successes for my EAL students, who were able to communicate understanding through character design and story progression (this was especially cool, because we got the VR headsets and students were able to explore each other’s chapters!)
Using Canva to record presentations for students who have anxiety for presentations and public speaking. They are able to build speaking skills, communicate their learning, and build their confidence without needing to present in front of a group right away
Participating in Virtual Heritage Fair, where students could pick points of interest, build research skills, design their own projects based on their skills and many even won prizes for their work!
What are some questions you still have about blending learning? What are some successes you’ve found? Let me know!
Hello everyone, and welcome to my EC&I learning journey. I am a middle years educator currently enrolled in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership graduate studies program. While I have lots of experience teaching in online and blended learning environments, I look forward to identifying a more clear vision as to what this can look like in my classroom.
I look forward to learning with and from you all over the course of the next few months!