As cliché as it is, time truly does fly. It’s frightening to think that summer is already half over, which also means this course is about to wrap up.
I’ve really appreciated my time taking the Ed. Tech. courses at the University of Regina. Taking in a wealth of knowledge, numerous apps and tools, and being influenced by high quality 21st century teaching practices have undoubtedly affected my practice for the better.
As I reflect on my course prototype development, I naturally find myself reflecting on this course as a whole. In 4 short weeks, my perspectives were altered on several of the key concepts that we discussed. Coming into this class (after taking 3 previous ed. tech. courses,) I felt that I had already acquired quite a bit of knowledge, and that this course may not be super relevant to me, as “I don’t plan to teach in an online environment anytime soon.”
Seems pretty naïve looking back on it. The course prototype assignment allowed me to create content directly related to my teaching load, create in my area of expertise, all while making tangible content that could be used immediately. I was able to discover a new LMS, one (Canvas) that I found to be extremely user-friendly, while also immediately wishing it could be adopted in my own division. I discovered the true definition of a blended classroom and was pleasantly surprised to note how similar that definition was to my own teaching practice. I gained a much greater understanding of the breadth of accessibility in the classroom, and how it cannot be overlooked when including technology in your classroom or teaching online. I was also thrilled that this assignment pushed me into finding new techniques to teach content that I’ve taught before, but in what I truly believe is a more engaging, more collaborative, and more adaptable version of my course.
It was also extremely valuable go get some feedback from my classmates regarding my course, during this week’s discussion. It was through this discussion that I decided to add a front page with notes to aide in navigation for first time Canvas users, an accessibility announcement, and also a ‘Hall of Fame’ in which I could showcase great student work. We also discussed my wish to change the colour scheme/add our school logo, but I’ve since found that feature seems to only be available to the paid admin accounts. However, through this research I also found the ‘High Contrast UI.’ This user interface was more pleasing to my eye, and will also be beneficial in offering to students.
For those of you who may not have caught my earlier course profile blog post, the summarized version is that I created a 3D design, 3d modelling, and 3d printing course, designed for Saskatchewan PAA 9 classrooms, and referencing modules from the secondary Drafting and Computer Aided Design curriculum. This course utilizes TinkerCad, which is a browser-based 3D modelling software that is also available on Android and iOS. Please feel free to take a look at my walkthrough video below and to leave a comment with any feedback, or if you’d like access to any of my files.
I’d like to thank Katia, and the rest of EC&I 834! It was a great semester, and I wish you all the best during the rest of the summer, and into the new school year!
This week we had the chance to dive into some resources that discussed some of the nuances in creating a sense of community within your online courses, and discover how closely this sense of community is tied to an instructor’s ability to create meaningful student interactions within the course.
This week Katia introduced us to one of the more intriguing resources that I’ve come across this year. Michael Welsh is a professor of cultural anthropology and world religions and has created some really high-quality YouTube content about creating and teaching online. As Michael would tell you, I don’t describe his content as the highest of quality in terms of video, audio, or lighting, but more in terms of his structure, and strategies to promote engagement.
He also discusses the importance of good storytelling techniques during your lesson, a underrated tip that I believe is the key contributor to creating engaging content, both in online or traditional classrooms (The explosion of Ted Talks over the last decade can largely be attributed to their presenter’s story telling skills.) how He has a ton of really helpful tips and really made me rethink where to focus my efforts when creating online content.
When it comes to my course prototype, I’ve designed it with the blended model in mind, but it could be easily adapted to be taught online. Even though I find student interaction to take place more naturally in a face-to-face classroom, I’ve attempted to include numerous opportunities for students to collaborate with one another. If my course was to be adapted to be taught online, these may need to increase in frequency, or availability, to make up for some of the interaction that takes place naturally in my classroom. I’d also like to note that many of the strategies or methods listed below are a direct result from the readings, videos, class discussions and blogs that I’ve learned from during this class!
Forms of Interaction
Small Group Discussion: Students will be placed in small groups in various points of the unit, giving opportunities to brainstorm ideas together, and also present their ideas and receive feedback on their progress. This can be completed in person or in video conferencing breakout rooms.
Student Question and Answer Forum: Inspired by our Discord community, I’ve created a question and answer page within Canvas to allow students to discuss common questions amongst themselves. I will moderate and contribute on the page, but this may allow students to get quicker feedback to their questions
Introduction Flip Videos: Students will be asked to create a 30-60 second video introducing themselves to each other. I will also create a video, while also stressing that students don’t need to be concerned with high quality lighting, video, hardware, etc. These videos can also be taken to show off and describe their completed 3D printed projects, directly showing what parts went well and what they had the most trouble with.
Accessibility Forum: Over the last few years, I’ve done a confidential ‘Learning Needs’ survey with my students, allowing them to disclose any information that may help me teach them better. After reading Megan’s blog, she inspired me to also send this home to parents. It will certainly be interesting to note any differences between the parent and student forms
Discussion Boards: a place for students to respond to key learning questions after each assignment. Students will be expected to post their thoughts, and comment on others, without a direct required number of responses.
Announcement Board: A place for the instructor to touch base at the beginning of the course, and also before major assignments. Students will have the ability to reply with questions.
These forms of interaction are nearly all utilized in order to create a sense of community in my course. As mentioned in one of our readings this week “community can be critical to student success and satisfaction in online courses.” (Source) It’s my goal for students to feel just as connected in an online or blended environment as they would in a traditional classroom. This includes the peer engagement, support, and feedback, that I attempt to foster in my face-to-face classes.
Community is more than participation; it requires moving from participation to engagement, involvement, and action.
In my experience, the more students feel comfortable participating in class, the more then contribute to the sense of community in the classroom, and the more success and enjoyment the class experiences as a whole. I have no reason not to expect that these ideals would transfer to the online environment, even if the execution looks differently.
Finally, we were also asked to look into our assignment guidelines or assessment practices, and how they could support meaningful, relevant, supportive and engaging interactions. Currently, my thoughts include using rubrics for descriptive expectations. I would also model positive interactions, being present on the interaction tools myself. Furthermore, as I remind myself of the age (grade 9) and the expected little amount of experience with this type of assessment, I’d like to design these interactions with a gradual release of responsibility. This would result in me modeling interactions more frequently at the beginning of the semester, while having lower-level expectations. As the semester progresses, I would model less, while increasing my expectations. It’s my thought that as students become more comfortable, the quality and frequency of responses would also increase.
What are your thoughts on interactions in an online space (specifically regarding assessment?) As mentioned, I believe building community is crucial, but we must be cognizant that we are creating a meaningful, authentic community, that will truly improve the learning experiences in our classrooms.
This week we had an great discussion regarding accessibility and how it relates to online courses. Accessibility is something I’ve become familiar with over recent years, and prior to our class, felt fairly comfortable with my understanding. However, the deeper we got into discussion, the more I realized how widespread the term accessibility can be, and how narrow of a view I was currently holding.
Prior to this week’s class, I’ve always been fairly proud of the building I work in regarding it’s accessibility.
For a large comprehensive high school, I find it impressive that 95% of the building is on a single level, with every exterior entryway being on the ground level. Along with automatic swinging doors on every side of the building, and two elevators next to the few stairwells we do have, (to an able-bodied person like myself,) it appears to be quite physically accessible. Furthermore, I’ve witnessed numerous accommodations to make our school’s learning accessible to those with visual, auditory, cognitive, physical, or mental health concerns.
However, some of these accommodations that seem straightforward in a brick-and-mortar school, are not as easily transferred to an online or blended classroom. Some technologies that we already utilize in the classroom (see Speechify, Read and Write for Google Chrome, Google Translate, etc.) may be obvious as easily transferable. However, through our discussion, I began thinking more about accessibility in a true online sense. Websites (and Learning Management Systems,) that wish to be truly accessible have numerous factors to consider when designing their content. An effective user interface, proper contrast between text and background colour, and a design that promotes the use of screen readers are all decisions that don’t require a great amount of extra work on behalf of the web designer but can make an incredible difference to individuals that may want to enroll in your course. Although Saskatchewan only recently passed the Accessible Saskatchewan Act, it is encouraging to learn that the new version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are currently in development, and should be released in July of 2023, allowing for a set of guidelines that can be widespread through countries, provinces and school divisions. The release of these guidelines should provide a platform for a greater shift towards accessibility in the next few years.
However, accessibility also goes further than the design of online content. In Teaching in a Digital Age- Second Edition, Tony Bates (2019) describes multiple aspects around student accessibility to media and resources within online and blended education. Bates states that access (or lack thereof) to technology as the most discriminating factor when making decisions regarding technology in education (p.462.) Access to, and the understanding of, learning resources alone can create a wildly different group of learners within your classroom.
“No matter how powerful in educational terms a particular medium or technology may be, if students cannot access it in a convenient, and affordable manner they cannot learn from it.”
(Bates, 2019, p.462)
Bates (during chapter 9 on his SECTIONS framework for educational media decisions) goes on to describe numerous qualities that relate to accessibility such as student demographics, ease of use, interface, cost, and organizational accessibility. The more I read, the more I thought about how these ideas can be implemented within my course prototype. I’ve summarized some of these thoughts below:
Student Demographics– I assume that students come into my course with no prior knowledge in 3D design, but also make sure to plan for extension activities for those with high interest, or those that finish early. Furthermore, as Bates mentions, I know there is likely to be a mixture of student needs each time I teach the course, and Bates recommends a multi-media approach to accommodate the variety of needs (p.462)
Ease of Use– I’ve intended to design my course with a straightforward roadmap that lacks redundancy but includes options for personalization and choice. I’ve also varied the modes of delivery, and amount of interaction/collaboration
Interface– One of the reasons that TinkerCad was selected was due to its lower learning curve when compared to other 3D modelling software. This is largely due to its efficient user interface, including its ability to store designs in the cloud, within the software.
Cost– I’ve purposely picked a piece of software that is free of charge, and accessible on numerous devices. Although there is an upfront cost (either on the school or student end,) it can be much lower than comparable courses (both due to software cost, and a low hardware requirement, so higher end computers are not required)
Organizational accessibility– Additional reasons for choosing TinkerCad and Cura are their approval by my organization.
This all being noted, I foresee some accessibility issues relating to utilizing Canvas as my LMS. Canvas is currently not utilized by any teacher in my school (and I’m not aware of it being used anywhere else in our division.) This means I certainly have the opportunity to run into ease-of-use issues with students who become frustrated as they have to learn how to use a new system for accessing and submitting their assignments. I also could employ some design changes, particularly when it comes to my assignment sheets as I have the tendency to overexplain and become too wordy.
Finally, we were also tasked with taking a look at potential social or ethical issues that may arise in our course. We had a great discussion in class regarding cultural beliefs that believe in refraining from technology. While my course has technology integrated to a high degree, it is possible to do a large amount of the design work with pencil and paper. Additionally, for some of the projects, you could adapt expectations to include building manipulative like Lego bricks.
In terms of ethical considerations, the main concern that comes to mind is the potential to design something inappropriate. As this technology can be utilized for numerous teaching methods, individuals can also use it for nefarious means. News articles mentioning illegal 3D printed firearms, are becoming common in recent years. As with other creative or choice-based projects, other student choices that are inappropriate for schools are always a possibility.
I’ve really enjoyed thinking about accessibility in a broader sense, particularly in the online setting. What do you find to be the most important accessibility considerations when designing lessons for an online or blended setting?
Creating custom and meaningful and engaging content for online courses is no small task. This week we were tasked with using Lumi to create a draft of one of our lessons that could be part of our course prototype assignment. Being the first time that I’ve worked with Lumi, (I’m admittedly not easy to impress when it comes to software,) I was pleasantly surprised! The interface, the amount of interaction options, the integration with other applications (including Canvas,) and the cost (free!) were all very impressive.
Feel free to check out the first 3D modeling lesson of my course prototype, that focuses on 3D modelling, 3D printing, and design, and is organized to fit in as part of the PAA 9 curriculum. You can click directly on the link below, or utilize the QR code.
I’m certainly still new to using Lumi, so I’m going to continue exploring the tool, and see how I can implement more interactions throughout my next videos. If you have any questions, or feedback, feel free to let me know below!
This week we were tasked with creating a course profile for our course prototype assignment. Below you’ll find my profile for a PAA9 course that is centered on 3D modelling and 3D printing, using a free 3D modelling software called TinkerCad! Below the profile is a link to the planning for this course in a template that utilizes the ADDIE method of course design. Let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions or questions, or if this course could be beneficial for you!
This course is designed to be one portion of a grade 9 Practical and Applied Arts (PAA) class in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Practical and Applied Arts 7-9 curriculum document has guidelines for designing middle level survey courses, in which they explain that middle level PAA survey courses are a configuration of at least 3 pure PAA curricula from the secondary level that totals at least 50 hours. This course will be designed to be part of a larger survey course, taking approximately 15-20 hours of classroom time. This course will pull modules from the Saskatchewan Drafting and Computer-Aided Design curriculum, with a major focus on 3D design.
Saskatchewan students in grade 9, aged 14-15 years old, and taking a Practical and Applied Arts class.
This course is designed to work in a blended, synchronous format, which will include face-to-face instruction, live demonstrations, video instruction, student collaboration, and opportunities for reflection and evaluation.
However, could be easily adapted to be taught online through video conferencing software such as Zoom, or Microsoft Teams.
The majority of the course will require computer and internet access for all learners.
Course Toolset and Materials
Canvas: Learning materials, objectives, and assessment data will be recorded in Canvas. Parent/Teacher/Student communication will also take part in the LMS.
TinkerCad: TinkerCad, a browser/cloud based, free of charge, 3-D modelling program. Most student work will be completed here and stored here. The software allows for custom class and assignment creation, progress monitoring, autosaving, and co-teaching.
Cura: Cura is a 3D printer slicing program, which takes files (created in TinkerCad,) and uses them to create code for 3D printers.Microsoft 365: Students will utilize the collaborative capabilities within Microsoft OneDrive, and Microsoft Word, Microsoft Sway, and Microsoft Forms, but will have the full suite of Microsoft products at their disposal.3D printers, 3D printer filament, and various related tools will be required to be present within the classroom to gain the intended experience of this course. One printer is sufficient, but more will increase teacher efficiency and individual student experiences.Individual student computers are necessary to utilize this course as designed. Modifications may be made to address this potential issue. Laptops/Chromebooks are acceptable.
Peripherals: Teachers will require a file storage/transfer method (typically a SD card or USB drive.) To use TinkerCad most efficiently, students should have access to a computer mouse (rather than a laptop trackpad.)
Assessment is based in Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division’s triangulation of assessment philosophy. Observations, conversations, and products will go into determining the student’s overall grade. A breakdown of the aforementioned is below:
Observations: Observations will be taken daily, with a focus on preparation, reflection, and knowledge growth.
Conversations: Conversations marks will be given through teacher-student conferences, and input within small group collaboration opportunities.
Products:The products of this course will include various 3-D models that are created, Microsoft Forms quiz results, 3-D print success, planning templates, and written reflection/evaluation questions.
Assessment data will be shared with students in class and posted on Canvas for students and parents to view.
This course is designed to be utilized using a blended model within a face-to-face classroom that has access to a class set of computers and reliable internet access, while using free software. As such, no cost should be incurred by the students. Interested teachers should inquire on the availability of technology within their schools, and the reliability of having each student connected to the internet at one time. Although none of the mentioned software requires large amounts of bandwidth, students do run the risk of losing progress if they lose internet connection during class time.
This course is designed within a school division that has a division-wide Microsoft license. If this does not apply to your division, many pieces of similar software are offered from Google or other vendors that can be easily substituted.
All videos that will be used during the course will include the use of closed captioning.
Google Translate will be available for every student throughout the course.
All written or printed text will be available in a digitally in a PDF format that is compatible with Microsoft Edge’s default screen reader tool.
This course is designed in a way to attempt to allow for all work to be done during class time, with extension opportunities available for early finishers. However, students that wish to, or require extra time outside of class time can access their TinkerCad account anywhere they have an internet connection. Android and iOS apps are available in addition to the traditional web-based version.
All resources will be posted on Canvas to assist students that are unable to attend any class in person
Any extenuating circumstances that are not currently addressed in this outline will be addressed in a case by case basis, and the course will be adapted as needed.
Preliminary Unit Plan
-Introduction to 3D Design -What is a 3D Printer? -Introduction to Tinker Cad -Start Tinker Cad Project #1: Personal Wrench (Direct Instruction)
-Start TinkerCad Project #2: Personal Keychain (Video Instruction, and Creative Extension) -3D Printing workflow
-Start TinkerCad Project #3: Lego-Figure (Self-paced, with small group planning)
-Start TinkerCad Project #4: Architecture Project (Small Group Project using TinkerCad’s collaborate feature)
-Start TinkerCad Project #5: Solving a Common Problem with a 3-D Print (Small group or self-designed)
Start TinkerCad Project #6: Final Modelling Project -Using the skills you’ve learned to create a highly detailed, highly creative project.
Extension Lesson– Completing a project within TinkerCad CodeBlocks, and experience when 3D modelling, and block coding collide!
Please see the link to my course within the ADDIE template below. If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it in the comments. If you have any interest in this information, feel free to reach out to me via email at email@example.com.
This week we began reading on the ADDIE model, while starting our brainstorming on how we can apply it to our Course Prototype Development Assignment. I’ve really enjoyed learning about the model, as it seems to be a great way to develop in a very organized manner, something that doesn’t always come easy to me.
For this project, I’ve chosen to focus on PAA 9 in the Saskatchewan curriculum. For those who may be unaware, PAA classes in the middle years in Saskatchewan are typically built as a survey course. Teachers pick modules from provincial secondary PAA curricula in order to make up their middle level courses. As it directly relates to my teaching load, I’ve chosen to select modules from the Drafting 10 curriculum to build a Drafting and Computer Aided Design survey course.
The idea for this topic is born out of observations within my own school. Often my coworkers and I have found that students in grade 9 have a tough time selecting courses at the secondary level. A large portion of this is the low amount of exposure they have to the numerous elective courses that we offer as a comprehensive high school. Several years ago, our school started teaching the grade 9 PAA courses in a 6-week rotation, in which groups of students would rotate between teachers, who would offer a short module in their specialty. Students would spend 6 weeks in the Mechanics Shop, then 6 weeks in the Sewing Lab, followed by 6 weeks in the Welding Shop, etc. Teachers would repeat their module to a new group of students that rotated into their classroom every 6 weeks.
I am a large proponent of this method, as I believe it allows students to discover skills and interests, they may not consider otherwise. It results in a low-pressure environment in which they are able to try out various electives, and take those experiences into consideration when selecting their grade 10 courses. Although I only taught PAA once a few years ago, I thought this would be a great opportunity to build a module that can be used by other teachers in this manner. However this is not a completely selfless initiative- I certainly noticed a bump in the enrollment of my secondary Drafting courses the year after I taught PAA. As I continue to try and build that program, I believe an effective PAA 9 module is one of the most critical pieces I can utilize.
This module will focus on the 2D and 3D CAD modules pulled from the Drafting 10/20/30 curriculum. Topics around additive manufacturing, architecture, creative design, and 3D-Printing will be explored. For this module I will be utilizing Autodesk’s TinkerCad, and Canvas as my two major platforms. TinkerCad is an extremely user-friendly intro-software into the world of 3D modelling. It has some functionality built in for teachers to create classes and monitor progress, as well as being browser based, which saves the headaches of having to install/get permission for software.
Canvas on the other hand, is quite new to me, and a large portion of my learning will be centered here. As I’ve been generally unhappy with the Learning Management System’s that I’ve had experience with, I wanted to push myself to try something new in this area. It also helps that it comes very strongly recommended from a colleague.
I think this content will work quite well in a blended or online format. Being based in technology to begin with, I want to ensure that I design the course in a way that encourages collaboration, discussion, and problem solving among students, in an effort to avoid creating an isolating experience. Being browser based, students will have the opportunity to log on anywhere they have an internet connection, which is a big advantage over some of the higher-end software that I use with my high school students.
Have any of you used TinkerCad or Canvas before? What were your most liked/disliked parts? I’d love to hear below!