A-eyes Open

Until now, my experience with AI has primarily involved experimenting with ChatGPT by asking questions alongside a traditional internet search. I was able to see how AI synthesizes information compared to manually sifting through search engine results. I knew it was being used to complete complex tasks, but I had not looked into this as I did not realize it could influence my classroom, beyond figuring out if students are using it to cheat.

My interactions with ChatGPT only consisted of asking for information; it never occurred to me to ask it to do a job for me.

Reading the blog posts from our class about how to incorporate AI into the classroom has inspired me to seriously consider bringing it into my course development. I am cognizant that any information I use from generative AI needs a critical eye to look for inconsistencies, accuracy, and biases. In addition, it is necessary to assess the usefulness of the information, as it is clear there is a skill to writing effective prompts.

I found our class members’ blog posts inciteful. For example, Christina demonstrates revising the prompts given to ChatGPT until it provides a lesson that meets her classroom criteria. Lauren discusses using AI for various administrative tasks such as creating the course outline and improving accessibility and Matthew suggested using it to create multiple-choice questions. I find creating well-written multiple-choice questions very time-consuming. I went to ChatGPT and asked for some multiple-choice questions for my course prototype and was happy with the results. What it provided were questions that serve as an excellent starting point, which is often the most time-consuming part of the development process.

Bringing AI into course development is only half of the equation. I see now that it is essential to address the role of AI with the students. Continuing to ignore, ban, or combat ChatGPT is not an ideal option. It is widely accessible to all and has rapidly become integrated into the mainstream.

To mitigate the potential misuse of ChatGPT by students looking for answers to the lessons, Christina adopts a strategy I have seen among other students in this course, such as Leanne and Matthew. Christina emphasizes the students’ role as learners and reinforces their responsibility in the learning process.

I believe this approach would be effective with the adult learners I teach. This is an approach that I now envision in my own classroom. I teach adults who are there to learn a particular profession. A profession that requires honesty and integrity. They should be reminded that they are there to learn, and they are accountable to themselves, to learn what is required to make them successful in the ‘real world’ which is the clinical environment. Appealing to their sense of integrity from the outset will ideally guide them to make the right choices if their integrity is ever challenged.

An additional approach is to re-think the assessment tools. As Dr. Couros suggested, an essay may no longer be the appropriate tool to demonstrate learning. Assessments that show critical thinking and synthesis of information need to be refined for each subject.

So how CAN the students use AI? In her blog, Lauren outlines some student opportunities such as asking the students to generate content from different AI sources and compare them. The students would be required to critically assess the outputs for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Matthew points out that in the process of using AI, are the students still not learning? Depending on the assignment or assessment, this may be true.

If our future includes using AI, students must have AI literacy. Educators can foster this by addressing the use of AI with the students at the forefront, providing guidelines that include the opportunities AI offers as well as the ways AI can compromise academic integrity.  Educators must design assessment tools that work in the current age of AI. As more is learned about AI, resources such as those provided by  Camuson College will become available to educators.

I am looking forward to reassessing my current course as well as my course prototype through this new lens. I believe this will only bring improvement.

Educate.AI: A New Era in Learning

*Title created by ChatGPT.

When AI first came to public awareness, there was a general fear amongst educators that student assessment might be compromised. It was immediately recognized that students would be able to use it to complete assignments, or at least make a large contribution to the content. What was not immediately known was how AI could help on the side of instruction. While these are separate topics, both require a great deal of attention.

My readings have revealed that Educators and Universities should embrace AI as it can assist with tutoring, task automation, course creation, etc. These discussions revolve around how to leverage this technology for course improvement and/or time savings. The larger discussion revolves around the use of AI by the students, particularly around assessments.

The webinar suggested by @Lauren presented a speaker panel, including a 4th-year student, which provided a variety of opinions about AI in higher education. You can see the slides here. I will share quite a bit from this webinar as I found it very relevant to this discussion.

In terms of educators using AI, Dr. F. Alex Feltus, a professor at Clemson University, is using AI to an extreme. He created an AI assistant for his courses, called Pria, that has been so successful he now includes Pria in his course syllabus as a Teaching Assistant. Pria can be integrated into Canvas and other LMS.

I previously shared a short article on Discord written by Michael Mace, another panelist who spoke about AI and Accessibility. This article creates an exciting picture for the future.

Dr.Nirmala Shenoy, another panelist, admitted that she has not used AI, and provided some thoughts about student use of AI.

I took this screenshot of her slide as I thought it provided an interesting insight into the concerns educators have with AI use in the classroom.  Despite the slide using words such as advancements and empowerment, her thoughts were not about a future of hope but rather concern. She believes that report writing is an important skill that may be lost and that “garbage in = garbage out” is applicable here. Although she did maintain that AI is here, concluded that we need to figure out “how to best use the tools”. I agree and am particularly interested in the question she posed “Can AI harm the students’ ability for critical thinking and problem-solving or enhance it?”. If we figure out how to best use AI, then it should enhance these skills.

The last panelist I will mention is the student panelist, Josh Garner. As expected, he embraces AI and his message was that students need to develop AI literacy to succeed beyond University. He stresses that allowing it in the classroom levels the playing field. Students are going to use it anyway, which provides an unfair advantage.

While I do agree with his points, I disagree that it levels the playing field. From what I understand AI can be expensive to use, and perhaps not all will have the skill set to engage it to the same level. However, I suppose that can be said for any new technology. I am dating myself here, but I remember in my UBC days my roommate had a computer in her room (which was amazing in itself) and it had Microsoft 3.0 as the operating system (but no internet yet!). I guess it can be said she had an unfair advantage. But boy, did we enjoy playing Minesweeper!

Let’s agree AI cannot be banned for student use (instructors, however, will love it)

As an educator, what I am most interested in are the questions posed by Dr. Shenoy.

  1. Can AI harm the students’ ability for critical thinking and problem-solving or enhance it?
  2. How do we best use the tools?

Some answers, maybe only opinions on the manner, can be found in our readings and Dr. Couros’ lecture. Ben Talsma did a much better job than I did at highlighting examples of new technology that were considered ‘cheating’ in his Chalkbeat article. Calculators and Spell check are great examples, and I lived through these ‘cultural evolutions’. The attitudes toward these technologies within the educational space feel similar to what is being thrown at AI now within the same space.

Ben makes the same point that Dr. Shenoy made: students need to be prepared for the world. He provides an example of how to incorporate this into pedagogy which is to provide a sample of AI-generated work and then work to improve it. I feel this simple exercise alone addresses Dr. Shenoy’s concern about critical thinking and problem-solving. A second example he provided was to have the students fact-check ChatGPT’s writing. If this is done in an engaging way, what a lesson in critical thinking!

In addition, I think it provides a lesson in using AI to create content, that it should not be relied on to create reliable content. Another “feature” of AI that should be pointed out to students is that it produces biased results which is very well highlighted in Dr. Couros’ AI-created images. This bias will not always be so overt and it is up to the AI user to critically assess the content through an EDI lens.

I found reading the Generative AI guidelines for faculty and instructors at the U of Regina interesting. The document offers guidelines to help instructors prevent the misuse of AI. I think the guidelines are open-minded to the use of AI, what isn’t offered is any guidelines to categorize the “misuse” of AI. Except for the indications of the AI-generated content section, this is left up to the discretion of the instructor. Perhaps over time, these definitions will be refined as various ways AI can be used. Dr. Couros’ lecture highlights different ways AI can be used in the example of the student in the Tiktok video, (0:45:00). Dr. Couros opines that she doesn’t even feel like she is cheating. What do you think? What is cheating? Does this live up to your definition of Academic Integrity?

Is using a calculator in class cheating?

Ban on using a calculator (isolated)

AI is OK?? Considering the Potential Impacts of Generative AI in my Course Prototype

This week’s focus on AI is a relatively new topic for me. With the rise of ChatGPT, I am becoming more familiar with this technology, although I have minimal experience with it. Although, those around me are embracing this tool such as: my principal openly uses ChatGPT to write specific opening prayers catered to what’s happening around our school and many of my coworkers are exploring AI programs as aides for report card comment writing, specifically Magic School. This past summer, my husband enjoyed using ChatGPT to get ideas for our honeymoon to Europe; using prompts such as, “plan three full days in Florence,” “best way to island hop in Cinque Terre” or “create a one day adventure-filled itinerary for Carcassonne” gave us TONS of ideas and suggestions that immensely helped with planning our trip. I’ve seen the benefit of using AI, as it can be extremely helpful and time saving, although I haven’t explored what this could mean for my job! 

I found Alec Couros’ lecture on AI both fascinating and overwhelming. Anyone else? As I said, I have minimal knowledge of AI – I had solely heard about ChatGPT – so learning about the vast range of AI options had me reeling a bit. Where to start? Which is the best? Different features? Subscriptions? So many options is both impressive and hard to grasp. As I learn more about AI, and it’s abilities, I will consider exploring the numerous programs suggested: Copilot (Microsoft’s AI), Gemini (Google’s AI), Anthropic, Poe, Perplexity and more!

I appreciated Dr. Couros’ ultimately positive outlook on AI in education. I believe that many fear, detest, shy away from, or pretend AI doesn’t exist, because of the negativity surrounding it (due to the unknown or discomfort). AI and cheating (interesting article here) seem to be words that go together. I appreciated how this presentation, while recognizing and addressing many challenges, promoted AI as a TOOL that (when used properly) can have positive impacts in education…on both students and teachers. Of course, this ‘bright side’ will be easier to embrace as we learn more, practice more, read more and experience more of what AI offers. Alec Couros suggests that it is OUR JOB to make AI a positive thing in schools. Like anything new, this will begin as a challenge.

Here are my thoughts on how AI might impact my work, specifically in the context of my course prototype:

– Time-saving opportunities (yes please!): Using AI to save time is, undoubtedly, the most appealing benefit to me. Teachers are BUSY. We constantly have hundreds of things going on in our daily professional lives, we have families, maybe a social life, not to mention any personal enjoyment activities or hobbies (if you can find time for them…). If AI technology can, to any extent, help cover some of the more mundane parts of my job, sign me up. The quote from Alec Couros, “at its best, AI grants us time — time to reinvest in meaningful interactions with our families, our colleagues and those we are privileged to serve” – really stuck with me. If mastering AI usage for professional duties, such as assessment tool creation, email writing, assignment making or feedback, will provide me with more time for other things at work (and life in general), I am all for it.  

For my course prototype, I would love to explore ChatGPT to support my final assessment description and rubric creation. Using specific prompting, I think this program will help me (efficiently) compose a detailed description of the student summative learning task (in grade three friendly language) and construct a rubric to support the targeted outcomes. 

– Personalizing my content (can you say student engagement?!): Alec Couros’ example of his son, who is a reluctant reader, enjoying the personalized stories AI could generate was impactful. I have lots of reluctant readers! I have students who feel unrepresented in the classroom! I have students forever yearning for my attention! Using AI technology, creatively, such as prompting a personalized story, involving students in my class about a topic we are learning about, would heighten engagement among students. AI could help me create Math problems involving students and their real life challenges. I think the opportunities for increased student engagement, through the use of AI, could be incredible and positively increase representation in the classroom overall. When ‘Sarah’ reads a Math word problem about her three best friends and their close soccer match from last recess, she will be thrilled. When ‘Sam’ reads a short English text about peers playing his favorite video game, he will be interested! This personalization is something I strive to include anyway, and AI can easily help me achieve this while (in connection to my above point) save me TIME. 

– Academic integrity (a different ballgame in elementary): Due to the age of students I teach (8-9 years old), this is not a prominent issue. This demographic have minimal Internet access or tech experience and the majority will have never heard of, or used, AI. That being said, the work and assessment in my modules include activities where students share their personal ideas or opinions (often through student voice), helping prevent the option for AI tech being used as a replacement. I can recognize that this issue would be at the forefront of higher grade educators, with students more versed in computers, and familiar with AI. 

 – Other Stands Outs (think *WOW* moments)

  • Bias in AI (no kidding…): The points around the bias existing in AI shocked me. Examples like the soccer player (only males), cleaning (middle aged, white woman) and professor (older, white men) were powerful. I suppose I didn’t consider these biases to be present in a computer program that has its own ‘mind’ per say. Alec Couros explained that AI learns from US, and therefore OUR biases are extremely evident in the content it generates. Our stereotypical views, primarily Western-bias, are prominent.. This could be such a powerful tool for teaching topics such as bias, stereotypes, injustice, classism, racism, sexism, social justice, disrupting the norm, and so on. Dr. Course said that “we have to take responsibility for what AI creates.”
  • Be specific (be, be specific!): The best advice I gathered from this lecture was that learning the art of “specific prompting” makes a difference in AI content generation. Learning how to be very specific and intentional in what I ‘ask’ for through an AI program will greatly enhance the content I receive. Dr. Couros explains that searching for answers in CharGPT is far different from the typical google search question.
  • Multilingual capacities (c’est incroyable!): As a French Immersion teacher, learning about this feature of AI was mind blowing. The thought of easily changing content (usually in English) into French for the purposes of a French task, lesson, project, etc. would be amazing. Furthermore, Dr. Couros suggests the impact that hearing an explanation or assignment in one’s own language would be impactful and this is a free and simple way to make that accommodation. AI language abilities could be life-changing for EAL learners and in the realm of language learning overall.
  • AI education (our saving grace?): In regards to the negatives of AI and the numerous downfalls, concerns, fears (usually centered around academic integrity and impact on student learning), Alec Couros offers “with more literacy comes with more agency.” Like all things digital, we face a massive learning curve and are forever educating on these new areas. Internet safety, digital citizenship, digital literacy, and other forms of education are significant, so why wouldn’t an AI version of this make sense? I appreciated Dr. Course suggestion of perhaps we need to reconsider what we are trying to prevent when banning AI. What learning is happening anyway? How can we use AI (it’s going to be used either way) in connection with our teaching and promote the positive opportunities it provides.

Like I said, I am an AI newbie. This is totally uncharted territory for me and doesn’t really impact my younger students (yet). I look forward to *begin* my AI journey by using programs such as ChatGPT and Magic School as allies in my career to support tasks that it can support. June report card comments – here I come!

Would LOVE to hear about others’ experiences (or lack thereof) with AI in any form? Anyone have suggestions for usage of AI for elementary students? What cool things is AI helping you create for the classroom? 

Thanks for reading my (not AI’s, I swear) thoughts!


AI in Education – Incorporating it into my course creation

Watching the video presentation by Alec Couros helped bring some clarity to the confusion surrounding the use of AI in education. Dr. Couros used the term “AI literacy” at one point in the video, and to me, this is the short answer to a long question. I’ll circle back to this later.

In my own course, as noted in my previous blog post, there are a number of changes I need to make. I will definitely be using AI in a few different ways for this. In the initial construction of my course, I only used AI to create the guidelines for discussion etiquette. But as Alec pointed out, using AI as a tool is all about knowing (and using) the correct prompts to get what you need in a streamlined way.

One of the first areas I could have used (and now will use) AI to enhance my course is having it generate rich thinking tasks that are the crux of my lessons.  This is something I was struggling to find in an internet search. I was using Illustrative Mathematics and nrich to locate inquiry questions, but even these slightly missed the mark of the learning experiences I was trying to create for students. Something that was helpful to know was that, as Alec pointed out, ChatGPT is the AI tool that is integrated into many different platforms. This was relieving because I felt a bit overwhelmed with knowing which AI tool was best for the classroom. But by the sounds of it, it’s less about the tool and more about knowing how to input the right prompt. So that took me back to trusty ChatGPT to see what new inquiry questions it could come up with to launch my lessons. Here was my attempt:

I need an inquiry question for math to launch a lesson. The students are in grade 7. The topic is terminating and repeating decimals.
“In what ways can we identify, compare, and convert terminating and repeating decimals, and how do these concepts relate to real-world applications?”
This is too broad. Could you make it more specific?
Of course! Here’s a more specific inquiry question for your grade 7 math lesson on terminating and repeating decimals:

“How can we determine whether a decimal will terminate or repeat, and how does this knowledge help us solve real-world problems involving measurements and calculations?”

…Okay, not bad. I still felt like this was too advanced based on my experience with grade 7s in math, especially when attempting more open-ended thinking tasks such as this.

This is too advanced for my students. Can you make it simpler?
Certainly! Here’s a simpler inquiry question for grade 7 students on terminating and repeating decimals:

“How can we tell if a decimal will stop or keep repeating, and how does this affect our understanding of fractions and everyday calculations?”

That’s better! I will tinker with it a bit more and definitely consult ChatGPT for my future questions.

Man giving thumbs up
The Good Place Thumbs Up GIF by NBC on Giphy

It seems that the major concern in student access to AI is around using it to enhance writing and create text. But it can obviously be helpful in any subject area. My course is for grade 7 math. Students completing the course fully online could, in theory, input that lesson’s inquiry question into a generative AI tool and come up with a phenomenal answer. And, as Alec pointed out, the many “AI checkers” out there are hardly reliable. So where does this leave me, the teacher, when I’m trying to decide if my student completing this course fully asynchronously and remotely does in fact understand the concept?

I think this is yet another situation where being open, honest and upfront with students is crucial. Starting the course by explaining that yes, AI could allow you to sail through this class and probably get a great mark, and no, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you “cheated” might be the key to mitigating it. Having a conversation with students and reframing the use of AI as support instead of cheating could remind students that the end goal is ultimately learning, not getting the best grade. I understand that this argument has a lot more clout with middle school students versus those in high school, where marks have a greater impact. But seeing as it’s the middle schoolers I’m working with, I think it’s reasonable to approach the issue from this angle.

In terms of safeguarding my course from the misuse of AI, I think that the JAM (Journal About Math) element is helpful in ensuring that students are speaking “from the heart” about their experience. From what I can tell, it is difficult to use AI to generate answers to prompts that are authentic to the person trying to generate them when the questions are of a very individual and personal nature, like one’s feelings, for example. Also, the beauty of JAM is that there isn’t really a wrong answer, or way to feel, about math. Thus, the temptation to use AI to complete this task should be nullified.

Still, I understand that for students completing the course fully online who choose to heavily rely on AI, I might need stricter boundaries and a more specific assessment plan. As noted in my ADDIE model outline, the summative assessment in my course is project-based. Though it is not fleshed out yet, I hope to address how students can use AI appropriately in the construction of this final project. I imagine that guidelines around AI will be a common inclusion in many assignment and assessment guidelines moving forward.


AI as a Teaching Tool

Truthfully, I am brand new to the world of AI. I don’t use Alexa or Google Home, and haven’t played around with any ChatGPT or the platforms that make you into a really cool looking AI person. I do, however, have a good buddy of mine who has spent countless hours playing with the new AI options that some of our favourite platforms have to offer. She put together a whole folder filled with AI tools that will help the administrative and planning portions of job way easier and much less time consuming. A particularly cool one can be found in Canva, and it creates lessons, games, assessment tools… it felt like the possibilities were endless. I always do some sort of review game before a quiz or test, usually making it myself in Kahoot or Quizizz, but Canva will create a game seconds (disclaimer – I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but my friend’s reviews were positive!). There is never enough planning or prep time, so any tool that will help create these resources is one that’s good in my books.

The video might be a bit long, but here is a tutorial filled with Canva AI magic!

AI as a Learning Opportunity

AI will naturally be a point of discussion in most classrooms at this point. As a connected educator, I use tech with my students everyday and towards the end of the 2023 school year, I started to become hyperaware of the fact that it would be easy for students to use ChatGPG to comeplete assignments and it would be just a negative option in classrooms. However, a classmate made an excellent point in our Discord chat that a lot of proper use of tech comes down to relationships in the best of times. Why would AI be any different? Ensuring students are submitting their own work still comes down to knowing my students, their strengths, and areas for improvement. It comes down to communicating when it is appropriate to use AI and when it isn’t.

Further, AI is another layer of teaching digital literacy. Being able to identify what is real/legitimate is a skill students need to develop. AI opens up conversation as to appropriate use, identifying AI images (check the hands!), the benefits, and the shortfalls. Avoiding it as if it is only meant to be a problem in classrooms means missed learning opportunities for everyone – AI is here to stay, we should embrace it!


Have you used AI with your students yet? How has it gone?


Fabulous Feedback & Access/Equity : Online Prototype Considerations!

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has given me feedback – both in class and via the feedback form! As an educator, I am used to providing (copious amounts of) feedback but rarely receive it myself. I have especially found this feedback useful in relation to our topic of accessibility in an online course, as many of the feedback points were directly related to ways I can make my module more equitable for students. I appreciated the mix of complimentary and critical feedback that I received. It helped me feel confident about how my first module turned out, and it inspired me to make some significant changes to ensure my course prototype is it’s best version! As well, the feedback has helped my planning and development of my second module and with the overall final product that I am getting ready to share in a few short weeks! Eee!

My (fabulous) feedback summarized:

1 – Content related feedback : I received two different critiques of my module content, which initially surprised me. I expected solely tech-related feedback, so being questioned on some of my content choices was unexpected. My prototype focuses on fairy tales, and I talked about and included the words  ‘traditional fairy tales’ in the course description and within the first module. When a peer questioned – “What does traditional fairy tale mean? Who’s tradition are you talking about?” I was momentarily speechless. This peer continued to suggest that the term ‘traditional’ holds a varied significance to each individual and students, from diverse backgrounds, would have their own view of what a traditional tale meant to them. I realized what I was referring to as traditional, was actually well-known popular/mainstream North American (mostly European-based) fairy tales, that I (as a white settler, from SK) considered to be traditional. I immediately began to alter my module to ensure I was including a diverse range of fairy tales, from different countries, that presented diversity and varied cultural fairy tales. I am no longer using the term ‘traditional fairy tales’ in my module due to the narrow representation it infers. I am also considering how I can promote student diversity through sharing of each individual’s background through the stories THEY consider ‘traditional’ and have been exposed to in their lives. I think these discussions would be meaningful at the beginning of my module, during an in-class discussion, to kick-off the unit! The second content related feedback was on the content of story elements that I am focusing on; a peer suggested that further pre-teaching of these elements might be necessary before having students engage in a module that assumes their understanding of the elements of a general story, and specifically a fairy tale. I am still deciding whether I will add an extra instructional piece to this module or create a module to precede this one, through which students can review these topics to ensure understanding in this one. 

2 – Platform feedback: Feedback related to my use of Seesaw as my LMS was all complimentary. Multiple reviewers commented on the simplicity of this platform, stating that it was a perfect choice for the grade, age and content of my module. As well, many positively commented on the diverse range of features available and how Seesaw allowed for easy use for young learners with minimal online/tech experience. As well, I appreciated one peer’s  reminder that Seesaw fosters the home-school connection, easily including families in the learning process and allowing for easy use of the LMS whether at school or at home. This positive feedback was extremely helpful as I had been questioning the use of Seesaw for this project: is it too basic? Should I have explored Canvas, WordPress or another more complex LMS? Is this LMS (which is not a traditional LMS) sufficient for my prototype? Receiving praise on this platform reassured me of my choice as the best option for the purposes of my grade three fairy tale blended course. This reminded me of a peer’s in-class feedback: this peer told me that she liked the simplicity and seamless accessibility of my Seesaw platform. She also reminded me of my audience of students ages 7-9, reassuring me that simple is key. Seesaw allowed this simplicity while having no shortages of diverse features for me to utilize.

3 – Assessment feedback: I also received complimentary feedback on my assessments. I felt like I did a good job on ensuring I had varied diagnostic, formative and summative assessments in module one and throughout my course overall. I received feedback on my Lumi assessment plan: due to Lumi needing a paid subscription, to receive results from the interactive assessments, I suggested that I would have students upload a photo of their Lumi finished assessment to me on Seesaw so I could review and mark. A peer suggested that this idea would be tricky to manage and students would need support with this process, as well as potential supervision to ensure results were accurately shared. This feedback made me rethink this assessment form and I have decided to remove the Lumi assessment from my assessment plan, and rather have it for students’ to simply check their own learning. I will change the interaction to allow students to retake the assessment if they want, as the point is no longer to inform me of their learning, but will be for self-reflection.

4 – Appearance feedback: I appreciate the compliments on my Seesaw module’s appearance, as I did spend a lot of time on editing the activity! Multiple reviewers commented on how this polished look makes the module activities easy for students to access, displays clear instructions and increases interest/engagement. Hearing how significant the appearance of my module was to the reviewers has impacted my next module as I am putting in the same effort into it to achieve the same benefits! 

5 – Interaction feedback: Seesaw allows for many types of interactions – comments, liking, messaging – although I did receive an idea for furthering this. One peer reviewer suggested how I could enhance the interactions of this blended course, as the actual module content was quite individual-based. For context, module one requires the students to independently read multiple fairy tales. The suggestion of “could they listen to the fairy tales in small groups? Read them aloud to each other?” helped me see the opportunity for increased collaboration here. Allowing students to engage in some of this content collaboratively, will undoubtedly increase their engagement and will be easy to include in this blended course where students are in the classroom together anyway. In my next module I will keep in mind other forms of interactions, beyond the basics included with Seesaw, to continue promoting the online community in the online module work.

6 – Feedback and Accessibility/Equity: Some feedback I received fit in perfectly with the topic of accessibility and equity discussed in class! To be honest, I had not put too much thought into the accessibility of my course before diving into this week’s content. That being said, I believe that good pedagogy focuses on adaptations to ensure student success, which includes consideration of diverse students’ needs (aka how accessible the content is and how equitable instruction and assessment is) so I had a good start already. One reviewer said that in my prototype “common issues are also taken into account, such as socioeconomic circumstances, EAL learners, and student access to technology. For example, the usage of free programs, flexible access to technology, and the availability of laptops at schools all help to overcome concerns about socioeconomic position and device availability.” This feedback helped me realize that I had (without realizing it) considered accessibility, on many levels, and that my course module was already quite accessible. Although I feel that I have inclusive course, our small group discussion in class did challenge me to consider items such as: using inclusive font size/colour/contrast, ensuring a mouse can be used with programs, inclusion of subtitles on videos (ie. YouTube), and more. I have begun (re)addressing these things in module one, and assess/equity has been at the forefront of my module two planning! As well, I liked the idea of an online accessibility checker and plan to use that before my final submission. If anyone has a recommendation for one that could check my course (Seesaw), let me know!

…ok that was A LOT. Honestly, I found this “summary” very much like a reflection of my own understanding of the feedback I received. While I realize it might be the world’s longest ‘summary’ I just want to defend my lengthy post by explaining that writing this was extremely helpful in my own digestion of the feedback. I took all the main points that stood out to me, and felt like I was writing a personal diary entry of my internal dialogue. This examination allowed me to further understand and appreciate the feedback received – complimentary and constructive. Upon further reflection (with the help of this blog prompt) I especially appreciated how much of my feedback authentically connected to our course topic of access/equity, displaying both areas where I made my course very accessible and areas where I could increase accessibility for a further equitable course overall.

Thanks for reading and thanks to all who were a part of the fabulous feedback I received – I appreciate you! 🙂


Reflection on Feedback and Overall Accessibility

Arkin and I continue our course prototype work toward our Arts Education lesson for our Grade 7 class, which ultimately involves having our students create a radio play.

Our course prototype design combines in-class instruction with digital components constructed with Lumi to contribute to an engaging and interactive introductory digital lesson for our students.

We presented our course shell to our class colleagues through Microsoft Word. We included our ADDIE to provide our reviewers with a detailed class descriptionEAL considerations, and a complete unit outline. We followed the ADDIE with our introductory lesson to Radio Plays (PowerPoint) and detailed modules (Curricular Outcomes, Activity Links, and Schedule) created by both of us. Finally, we concluded our shell by sharing our grading scale for reference. Although our course shell was not presented in a traditional Learning Management System (LMS) yet, we felt the organization and format we provided our reviewers with were sufficient for this first module. As we are both employees of the Regina Catholic School Division, we are working toward a finalized LMS created on Microsoft Teams…stay tuned!

The feedback we received from our colleagues during our Week 7 class and through the feedback comments was overwhelmingly positive and appreciated. Some of the commonalities among the feedback were well-constructed, easy to follow and use, student-centered, and age appropriate.

Because we hosted our course shell through the Microsoft Word document, it was suggested that we should have provided a bit of rationale and our ‘why’ for choosing to do so. It was also noted that although we used Microsoft Word, the document was clearaccessible, and appeared professional and polished. Another suggestion provided was to further our course interactions within the prototype. We acknowledge that we must further detail the SeeSaw and Teams interactions and further distinguish and outline classroom versus online interactions.

Some of the feedback we received regarding our course content is that the modules provide opportunities for differentiation and options for students. However, one of our Lumi modules presented challenges when our reviewers attempted to engage with the interactions based on the timing. The open-ended interactions didn’t allow the reviewer to type into the answer box. Something we will look at getting fixed and improving!

Overall, we are pleased to hear that our module was clear, considerate of the students we teach (as outlined in our ADDIE), and engaging for our learners. We will certainly take the feedback of fine-tuning some of our elements to improve our module.

When thinking about accessibility, we were cognizant of creating a course that met the needs of our diverse learners and created space for them to succeed. We have a lot of EAL students and designed a course that would both provide language learning opportunities and allow them to use their experience (for example, students do not write their own fairy tales but can use well-known ones or stories from their childhoods). While most of our students have access to technology at home, not everyone does; we created a plan to ensure those students do not miss out on opportunities (we utilized a program that can splice together recordings so students can record their own contributions to the project at school OR on their own time, and gives grace to absences or lack of tech at home; students do not need to be together to record, they need to collaborate when they can!).

Last week’s class had us reflecting on how our course could be adapted so students who are not permitted to use technology at school and/or at home could still meaningfully engage in our module. We are confident that we’ve created a course where the tech enhances the learning experience without being the sole learning provider. For instance, students can still create Foley sounds, show that they can identify spaces for Foley and soundscapes, and learn about radio plays without the technology component, and most importantly, they can still collaborate with their teammates while at school.

Reflecting on Peer Reviews

The combination of reviewing peers’ courses and receiving feedback on my own course has been extremely helpful in pointing out the obvious next steps in my course creation. I’ve never created an online/blended course before, and although Katia’s guidelines for the profile and prototype were very clear, receiving honest feedback at this point in the semester is much appreciated. Before looking at some of the other courses or having mine reviewed, I wasn’t sure how to make my particular course better. Now, I have some ideas! A few initial thoughts on moving forward as a result of being a reviewer and reviewee:

  • My course has unanswered questions. How will students know how to navigate the platform Canvas, which is likely new to them? If students are completing the course fully online, how will they know how much to do each day or where we are in the lesson sequence? What rationale do I have for students completing the JAM (Journal About Math) at the end of the topic rather than at another point, such as the beginning? How exactly will the course look when it is implemented, both in person and online, as it is technically blended? For a course that might have students completing it completely online and away from the classroom, these questions all need answers.
  • My course could be more concise. The “Lesson Guide” page for my first module is rather lengthy and wordy. I need to think about how to simplify this, perhaps by replacing some words with visuals/other media instead.
  • My course could be more engaging. Even though I’ve attempted to create an inquiry-based course, I’m not sure it’s hitting the mark. It still follows a very direct instruction-practice-quiz format, which might be hard to avoid, but I need to think about adding gamification or shuffling things around to increase the engagement factor.

So, back to the drawing board I go. If you have any brilliant ideas, I’m all ears!

Free Board Chalk photo and picture
Photo by athree23 on Pixabay

This week in class, we explored equity and accessibility in online courses. I hadn’t thought too much about these issues before, but Katia’s lecture and the subsequent small-group discussions helped me think about the accessibility of my own course, both for my particular learner personas and other potential students. Is my course accessible and equitable? Are there ways I can improve accessibility and equity?

Reading through Section 9.2 of Teaching in a Digital Age by Tony Bates, along with class discussions, helped me create a list of changes I could make:

  • Ensuring links are on the title of the document/page something is linked to, not just the word “here”, as this is unhelpful and confusing for screen readers
  • Including required prior knowledge for this concept, plus clearly stated instructions for my learner personas working exclusively at home, working at a grade 4 level, and who are just now learning English and will need language support
  • Clarifying steps for students who experience accessibility issues around wifi/connectivity

Looking at the Technological Equity and Accessibility For Virtual and Hybrid Learning reading that Katia suggested, I was reminded to consider that the students who would be completing this course fully asynchronously may need supports beyond those already provided by the online function. As stated in my ADDIE model, two of my learners are attending this course from home due to mental health challenges. These students may have barriers and challenges beyond being in class that might prevent them from completing coursework on time or in full. As I certainly would not want to exacerbate the stress levels of these students, I want to include something in my course that clearly states that accommodations can be made on an individual basis and that I (the instructor) am happy to meet with students virtually, by phone, or communicate by chat and make a plan to help alleviate unnecessary stress and ultimately help them be successful.

Spending a little time on my Canvas-hosted course, I realized that there is an accessibility checker right in the LMS! Cool! So I was already able to make some changes suggested by Canvas.

I was recently listening to The Office Ladies podcast and the hosts (Jenna and Angela) were talking about how really good things aren’t created the first time. I’m paraphrasing, but they discussed how you have to make a lot of crap before you make something great. I immediately thought of this course I’m creating. As I tinker with it, change it around, add and remove things, and continue to ultimately just mold it into what I hope it to be, I’m confident that in the very least, it will be better than it is right now. And if and when I create an online or blended course in the future, it will be better than this one.

Free woman ladder nature illustration
Photo by RosZie on Pixabay

Feedback and Equity

“Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions”

– Ken Blanchard

This quote jumped out at me as I related to and agreed with the message, and thought it was appropriate for projects such as the one we are working on.  As I was inserting the quote into this blog post, I thought that I should find a definition of “Breakfast of Champions” to share to put it into context. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought! People use this expression in many ways, not surprisingly mostly with sarcasm, and some were unexpected!

I finally found a definition that matched most closely to how I define this phrase, it came from definitions.net which cited ChatGPT:

breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions is a phrase used to refer to a meal or food that is considered nourishing, substantial, or of high quality. It can also be used metaphorically to describe something that is regarded as the best or most important, particularly in the context of personal success, achievement, or excellence.

This is the context of the phrase in my mind when I related to Ken Blanchard’s quote above.

I also discovered there is a novel published in 1999 called “Breakfast of Champions”. Of course, I then went down the YouTube rabbit hole to find some Wheaties commercials as Wheaties is the origin of the phrase. I discovered Wheaties is 100 years old this year! If you want to learn more about Wheaties, this 5-minute video from Cereal Time TV has many surprisingly cool facts. Enjoy!

Anyhow, moving on….this past week, Katia provided us with two valuable learning opportunities:

  • working through two other course shells and modules
  • receiving peer feedback on our course shells and module

Being the Reviewer

Working through the other shells, was a great experience for me. It’s so interesting to see how differently and creatively people approach a similar task.

The two modules that I reviewed were developed for 2 very different target audiences. Both of which I learned some new ways of approaching a course. Some things we talked about in class but seeing them in action was insightful. Some ideas I learned are:

  • Use minimal architecture and a straightforward approach to organizing the modules.
  • Incorporating multiple options for teacher-student and student-student interactions
  • Provide pre-testing to identify if the student needs to complete all elements of the module
  • Use case-studies! They are an excellent way to teach adult learners.
  • Perhaps not everything needs to be graded. Maybe some elements simply need to show progression.

Receiving the Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. It provides substance and nourishment and, if heeded, it can foster growth and sustainability. Effective feedback must be direct, and specific, and include recommendations for improvement. I feel both of my reviewers provided effective feedback in this way that offered substance for positive changes. What did I take away?

  1. Each module is organized into 3 sections: Learning, Activities, and Assignments. Both reviewers found it easy to navigate.
  2. A welcome video would be beneficial.
  3. One of the links did not work for either reviewer. Went I went back I realized I had forgotten to put the link into the section.
  4. Further to 3. Proofreading is important.
  5. I wasn’t sure if the interactive activities were appropriate for the adult learner. However, both reviewers responded positively to them, so I can take away that they are age-appropriate.

One of the reviewers provided a list of ideas to incorporate, however, they acknowledged that it was out of the scope of the assignment, and are suggestions for implementation. I appreciated these ideas very much.

I am grateful to Katia for including peer review in her class. As I move forward and develop further modules, it is very useful to have these experiences to create more effective learning materials.

Equity and Accessibility in Online Learning

I found the equity class had some interesting discussions. The discussions were about equity in general, which highlighted that if one was creating an open public-facing course, it would be extremely challenging to meet all needs. Especially with limited resources. It was nice to hear that some resources exist in SK school divisions such as translating documents into braille. However, it was pointed out that there are barriers to using this service effectively.

For my class, the students are required to have at least one year of university prerequisites, as well as fill the job description of a Radiation Therapist. This includes lifting 25 pounds and being able to transfer patients safely, just to name a few. These job requirements remove some of the learning barriers related to equity and accessibility.

For other barriers, I have experienced in the past that students have already identified accommodations that they require in their previous year(s) of schooling. I have also experienced discovering these barriers alongside the student as the term progresses. Working together to figure out what the student needs is part of my job as an instructor and mentor. At the cancer centre where I work, we use what is called the Patient Dignity Question with patients which was put into place by the great Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov. It goes like this – “What do I need to know about you as a person to give you the best care possible?” It is a beautiful question that can be re-framed in different circumstances. For example, as a teacher, you can ask the student, or the parent “What do I need to know about you as a person to help you through this learning journey?” At the Radiation Therapy school, it is a learning journey, not just a one-off class. We are with the students throughout their training, guiding them to be effective, empathetic healthcare providers. Asking this question invites the student in a thoughtful way to be open about learning challenges. I have a small class and have the luxury of tailoring the class content/delivery method from year to year if necessary.

I am looking forward to reading other blog posts.

Module One with LUMI: A Work in Progress

Welcome to my first module! 🙂 

I actually had a ton of fun bringing this module to life over the past couple of weeks. From the initial planning with the ADDIE model to creating educational content on Lumi, I am enjoying the process so far! As I am sure we can all agree, learning something new is challenging but ultimately rewarding; my experience with Lumi (so far) has been just that. 


Lumi experience:

I will admit, it took me a minute (ok…an hour) to get the hang of the interactions (so many options!) and decide what would work best for my learners. Once I explored the vast menu of interactions and experienced (lots of) trial and error, I felt more at ease. Also, the site has a lot of free informative material available, which was super helpful!

For my interactive Lumi lesson, I chose a short YouTube video introducing the basic elements of a fairy tale. Typically, I use this brief video (1:19) in class to begin my fairy tale unit. In past years, I have played this video twice, sometimes three times, for students so they can digest the quick, new content. As well, I would always stop the video multiple times to discuss the information being presented. Transforming the video into an interactive media is a game changer! The interactive elements allowed me to (in a way) mimic the in class discussion/interaction, for students to engage with the content independently during this online module.

You may notice the frequency of the added interactions in my Lumi video. To best engage my young learners, I added interactive elements often. This will help students stay focused on the content and allows me to formatively assess their understanding throughout. I primarily used multiple choice, open ended and true/false questions. My goal was to keep the questions short and simple to ensure my learners could complete them independently and successfully. At the end, I included a fill in the blanks and a summary activity.

Some closing thoughts on Lumi (with my minimal experience)

  • Learning Lumi can overwhelming
  • Very time-consuming to start
  • With some time/effort, Lumi is actually quite user friendly
  • The finished product is very satisfying 
  • Formatting or editing interactions is TEDIOUS (but worth it)
  • Interactive elements serve as simple formative assessment
  • Interactivity key for online learning
  • Free version is sufficient
  • Endless possibilities with paid subscription

Module One (so far…)

I have began the ‘shell’ for my first blended learning module on Seesaw, the LMS I’ve selected. Using the Seesaw ACTIVITY feature, I explain each step for Module One: Introduction to Fairy Tales. The learning activities are as follows:

Module 1: Introduction to Fairy Tales



1 – IN CLASS: Brainstorm prior knowledge about the fairy tale genre. As a class, discuss: 


What is a fairy tale? What fairy tales do I know? What makes a fairy tale different?  What kinds of things are in fairy tales? 

2 – ONLINE: Watch the Lumi video: https://app.Lumi.education/run/gcSzxK *There are questions to answer throughout the video – make sure you watch closely! 

3 – ONLINE: Watch the video version of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXDsucz23OA 

4 – ONLINE: Complete the Seesaw activity: Fairy Tale Elements in Cinderella. https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_activity?prompt_id=prompt.8e79df50-d32d-4601-8890-dc71d83877a1&share_token=teyfap7tRfyTlQ_CKQzOvw


Assessment of Module One:

Diagnostic – During the first, in person, learning activity, students will share their prior knowledge of fairy tales. Using class discussion (partner, small group and whole class) students will consider what they already know about this genre.

Formative – The interactions in my Lumi lesson will serve as formative assessment for this module. Students will answer various questions, throughout the video, to display their understanding of the elements of a fairy tale. *Without a paid Lumi subscription, I can’t access the results. To check in on student learning, I will ask them to either show me their results (in person) or have them upload a photo of them to Seesaw. Based on the results of these interactive questions, I will,  if needed, either re-assign this video for students to view again and/or provide further in class instruction on these elements.

Summative – After the Lumi lesson, students will demonstrate their understanding of fairy tale elements via a Seesaw assessment activity. Students will watch a version of Cinderella and then complete the corresponding Seesaw activity on the elements in this fairy tale. This will be assessed using our division’s 4-point evaluation scale. *I am still working on this Seesaw activity template – stay tuned!


This module remains a work in progress. Feedback (especially on my Lumi video) is much appreciated! Also, I am interested in everyone else’s Lumi experience? Anyone else have a kind of love/hate opinion of this program?

– Teagan