How this month has flown! As this is my 4 and final Edtech class in my masters, I wanted it to last longer as I always find it to be the most appealing to my interests, and the takeaways are always something that I look forward to implementing in my class/school. Over the last 25 days, we dove deeper into blended learning, the ADDIE template, and ways to foster equity when planning for a class with many diverse learners.
For my learning summary, I created a video that breaks down my takeaways, thoughts, and actions moving forward into six topics that I thought were important. I tried to make this video in under 15 minutes and found it difficult due to the information digested and my passion for these topics. Check it out below, and I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for checking out my learning summary. I hope this summary did the class content justice!
Last class, we looked at the accessibility of technology in an educational setting and discussed some of the benefits and obstacles that come with that.
When first dividing into a discussion about accessibility, the breakout room I was a part of instantly went to physical and learning challenges which may hold students back. How might someone with a physical impairment hold a student back from what you’ve created for the class? As I can only function within the knowledge of the challenges I’ve had in my room/school, I had never thought about someone with a visual impairment. In my division, we utilize Google Read and Write. Although this tool is not perfect in execution, I’ve witnessed more teachers finding resources compatible with Read and Write instead of vice versa. This may add some additional time for teachers up front as not every resource works in perfect harmony with it. However, this has prompted conversations around inclusion and other ways to accommodate students outside their comfort zone.
For me personally, I enjoy providing the students with various types of media to aid in better understanding. If Read and Write doesn’t work with an article, I typically have a video or two that can fill the void. Allowing students to collaborate and find multimedia pieces that help to better expand our knowledge on a subject area. As it said on BC Campus under 9.2.1 Students, “Lastly, within any single class or group of learners, there will be a wide range of differences in prior knowledge, language skills, and preferred study styles. The intelligent use of media and technology can help accommodate these differences.” This is an essential point as teachers have shifted less from knowing all to facilitators. Students with obstacles in their learning will have to be familiar with utilizing technology as an aid in their everyday life. School, and in particular my classroom, provides a safe area for them to explore and understand that. As an educator in an ever-growing list of applications and technology, I can’t say I know which is the best. I can, however, continue to keep up to date on new apps that provide aid, advocate for students, and support them in appropriate use for their success.
As an educator, it is hard to plan for the “what ifs” because we are trying to meet the needs of many diverse learners and needs in a classroom. Personally, I have found doing most of the planning beforehand allows for flexibility to focus my attention on the needs in my classroom for the year. Creating content will enable you to meet the needs of the learners in your classroom and make adjustments based on their learning styles while challenging them for an enriched learning experience.
When talking about accessibility, my mind returned to the pandemic, when people were struggling to connect online. Accessibility is a broader spectrum as it can talk about people with accommodations to their learning, but also for students who cannot access any content at home. This may be due to not having internet access or no device to access it. If we as educators create online content for a blended or flipped classroom, it is not supporting any learner outside of the building if they don’t have access. This is why it is crucial to be able to easily print off your resources and assignments if you are an educator who believes in homework.
This blog post is a little jumbled as my thoughts seemed to jump everywhere. In the end, providing a blended classroom if you have the resources at school only allows the students to gain more access to resources to support their learning. If a student with specific accommodations is in your class, that will require additional planning, intervention, and care to ensure their success. Technology can allow more flexibility for both students and teachers. We just need to have real expectations around students, perhaps not being able to access the course materials at home online.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my jumbled blog post. I look forward to reading your comments below!
At the start of ECI&I 834, I knew we would be asked to explore an LMS and create a course with a unit or module. I first started exploring Canvas, which appeared to be a mix between Moodle and Google Classroom. While plugging in my material, I was not enjoying the rigidness of the information I provided to the students on a pdf. Once I plugged in my materials, I did not like how it navigated on student view. Being in a division that utilizes Gsuite, I created all my resources in my Google Drive to make sharing easier. Having to download them as a PDF to place in Canvas seemed counter-intuitive to me. This being said, I am focused on delivering content middle years students, and for me, Google Classroom gives me and the students the best chance of success.
I created two videos exploring and explaining my thought process. I created two because my first video is an in-depth look and my thoughts, but it is 25 minutes long. I made a second video that is 5 minutes long to give a brief overview. Check the videos below to see the online space I set up for the students and the behind-the-scenes work that makes it possible.
As I stated in a previous post, I will explore the ADDIE model while planning a unit in mathematics. I chose to use the outcome from the Number strand grade 6, N6.3. Written as an “I can statement” for students, it would read, I can demonstrate an understanding of the order of operations on whole numbers (excluding exponents) with and without technology.
Throughout this post, I will share the template I used which was provided by my professor. I will also share some of the resources I went through and explored, such as Lumi, to try and lay out the instruction, resources, assessments, and tools with the students learning in mind. As with anything in education, I don’t view it as “done” but rather as a work in progress.
Research and Articles
Preparing for how to lay my digital classroom out effectively, I first turned to the power of the internet to read about the best deliverance of both an in-person classroom and an online one and compare and contrast them. One of the emerging themes they started with was understanding your content, pedagogy, delivery, and assessment. Just as if you were to teach without technology, you would have classroom procedures in place, the students would know the expectations, and the teacher would deliver the curriculum and assess students. The same applies if you are doing a distance or a blended learning model. The teacher’s preparation is the foundation for the class, regardless of the formation, to run smoothly, and the students need to know what is expected to operate at a high level.
Although the article Best Practice in Writing Instruction on page 119 changes to Best Practices in Teaching Planning. I directed my attention to pages 128-130, which discuss “Principles for Teaching Planning Strategies.”
Principle 1 –> Is to teach the students the strategies by modeling them and scaffold student learning until they can apply it effectively and independently.
Principle 2 –> Make the learning interactive between students and teacher.
Principle 3 –> Help students develop the knowledge, skills, and processes needed to effectively use the strategies you’d like them to gain mastery in.
Principle 4 –> Differentiate the strategies to the individual student’s needs.
Principle 5 –> Plan for the outcome to be based on students understanding and proficiency rather than a timeline.
Principle 6 –> Help students develop a motivation to learn and become advocates for their learning so they continue using strategies once the instruction is complete.
These strategies resonate with any teacher who has planned for a classroom. I’d also like to connect them to a distance or blended learning experience. If students are on technology and learning synchronously or asynchronously, these principles still need to be applied to ensure the student has success and that the teacher is impacting student achievement. Although an overwhelming task when beginning to build an online space for learning, I think Zig Ziglar said it best when he said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Overview of my course
N6.3 I can demonstrate an understanding of the order of operations on whole numbers (excluding exponents) with and without technology.
Taking advice from the readings, I wanted to decide on a direction I wanted to go before I started. I knew I would use Google Classroom to deliver the content to students. Which is directly linked to my Google Drive. I had to lay an organized foundation to make the transition from drive to classroom easier.
I began to organize my files in Google Drive, Grade 6 > Math. From there, I created and organized folders for the strands and outcomes.
2. I created a “Master Outcome Sheet” that I will use for all the outcomes to create consistency throughout the class. I have made it with the ability to plug in the resources I will use throughout the outcomes.
4. Now, it is time to organize the classroom for the students to gain access to all the information and tools provided to them. As I said, I am using Google Classroom. I laid out the outcomes as “topics” in the classroom, and I will be able to place all the necessary resources that align with each outcome under the topics. This will allow me to work in a blended model as I will provide face-to-face instruction, and the Google Classroom will work as a binder, helping to organize the materials. This also helps me as a teacher stay organized and update to new materials and resources as they become available to me.
5. Students will receive direct instruction from me at the beginning of the outcome to explain the terms and work through the steps they need to understand to succeed. After this, there will also be a handful of videos, so they can pause and rewatch. Khan Academy provides them with follow-up questions to provide instant student feedback. I will then support the students that require help by encouraging them to ask specific questions about their learning. This will help them to advocate for their learning and reflect on what part of the process they are struggling with. Mini formative assessment pieces, this will help guide mini lessons every other day to address gaps identified in the class.
For N6.3, I created a video on Lumi that house some interactive questions that would help me understand where students are after the initial teaching. You can view that here. Although this process would be time demanding upfront, it would help to support the students with your own words and process throughout their understanding of the outcome.
This is all perfect on paper; however, it will take a significant amount of work for both the teachers and students to fully understand where everything is, how it works, and what the expectations are for them. This is the foundation for the course that I am creating. I look forward to sharing the full walkthrough with you and getting your feedback. If you have any feedback or ideas on anything from above, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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If you’ve looked at any of my other weekly reflections (830, 831, and 832), you will have read an introduction for each class that touches on who I am as an educator and where my passions lie. As an educator, nothing quite sums up my teaching style like the quote I have on my front page: “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow” – John Dewey. As a student, sitting still and focusing for long periods were struggles for me, and I often failed to understand the purpose of many tasks assigned to me. As a teenager, I realized that I had the opportunity to do things differently and make a difference for students with similar learning styles. Now, as an educator, I constantly challenge myself to try new approaches, and when students ask, “Why are we learning this?” I strive to have a meaningful answer. If I don’t, it makes me question the purpose of the activity.
In my early years as an educator, like many before me, my focus was on survival. To be honest, despite trying new things with students, I felt ill-prepared after leaving university, and I fell back on the traditional methods of teaching that I was familiar with. This internal struggle arose because I had entered the profession intending to do better and make a significant impact.
However, a turning point came in my sixth year when I was assigned one-to-one Chromebooks in my classroom. The excitement was palpable, and I wasted no time setting up my first Google Classroom and earning Google Certification levels 1 and 2 during the summer break. I devoted 4-6 hours daily to the certification modules, simultaneously planning engaging lessons to effectively utilize the Chromebooks. On the first day of school, I introduced the students to their Chromebooks and began with “Be Internet Awesome” to initiate a conversation about positive digital citizenship online and in the classroom. This marked the beginning of my journey into creating a truly blended classroom.
Throughout the year, I provided the students with tools to support and enhance their learning. As I explored different variations and models of how they lay things out to best support the material and the student’s success. Throughout this process, I found Alice Keller (@alicekeeler) on Twitter and followed a few of her ideas to see how I could grow in my practices. Seeing some of the scripts she was making and how she was utilizing Docs, Sheets, and Slides just led me to more resources and ideas to create a blended environment. One of the main ideas I took from her page that I tried to incorporate was HyperDocs. This allowed me to lay out everything on a page and allow the students to access it at all times. I would do mini lessons and then have a bulk of content built into these docs I shared with the students. This would allow them to explore and ask meaningful questions about the content.
As the year progressed, I valued student feedback and created an online community where they could also contribute resources. Students provided input ranging from “There were too many questions. I think you could shorten it” to “That video didn’t make sense, but I found one that explains it better.” The blended classroom facilitated differentiated instruction, choice assessment, and purposeful conversations with the students about their understanding of the material. Although it took some time to adjust, the students understood that everything shared with them was what was expected, and all the materials were at their disposal. This clarity minimized confusion after we ironed out the details together.
In the following year, I attempted to pick up where I left off with my previous class, but I quickly realized that creating a digital community needed to happen annually. The journey I embarked on with my first class to curate the material was a process, and starting anew with a fresh class required going back to basics. Blended teaching, just like traditional teaching, takes practice and time. Each year, both new and experienced teachers must reestablish their classroom procedures and foster a classroom community where everyone feels at ease. This experience was a valuable learning opportunity for me, emphasizing that I will never “perfect” my materials. Every year, I will continue to grow and make changes to meet the needs of my learners. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy challenging myself as an educator to stay current, and access to online tools and exploring new resources enables me to do just that.
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My goal as an educator is to cut out the unnecessary “stuff.” As a student, I never understood why we did irrelevant tasks just for compliance or to kill time. As an educator, I have the same feelings while planning. I want to make units and lessons relevant. Another thing I strive for is to provide students with the “why.” When students inevitably ask, “Why are we learning this?” I strive to answer their question and provide them with a real-world application that has a high probability of affecting them at some point in their lives. While understanding this mentality, I like to bring students into what they are learning right off the bat. This gives students a chance to understand where we are heading and perhaps focus more on the steps along the way. Throughout EC&I 834, I will explore the ADDIE Model in greater detail.
As we look through setting up a plan to deliver outcomes to students, we will be focusing on Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation (ADDIE). The ADDIE Model has been practiced and written about for 20+ years. However, this is the first time I have explored the ADDIE model. When I was working my way through my B.Ed., the practice at the time was Backward Design, and now I have shifted my focus to Understanding by Design (UbD). While working my way through the understanding of these planning models, I will be comparing and contrasting through the process and weighing in on what I see as the advantages and disadvantages for teachers in planning and for students in learning using these models.
ADDIE, Backward Design, and UbD
While compiling a list of all the benefits and challenges for each of the planning models, it seems that the ADDIE model, which I am not yet familiar with, is a structured and methodical approach that would be applicable across many subjects. One subject area where this model may be best utilized is mathematics, which I plan to explore throughout this class. Backward Design and UbD appear to be more suited to subjects that require conceptual understanding and search for more meaningful connections. I believe there is also a place for this in mathematics, as it allows students to connect with the material, internalize, and build upon their knowledge. While laying out math with my focus on the ADDIE model, I will also be sprinkling in some UbD for some of the day-to-day flexibility that both of these planning models allow for.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts in the comments.