January 18, 2010

Junior high classes offered online - brilliant!

So, after lengthy discussion about online learning platforms (@eabbey), I started pondering the idea of taking my 7th and 8th grade language arts classes to a predominantly online structure. I could see this working.  Not only working, but becoming a much more efficient and educationally sound way of teaching and learning.

Here are my thoughts.  So, students have your class material online. What material? Well, this would depend on what you wanted them to do.  It might be a video or podcast of you teaching, discussing, modeling, etc. It might be a link to a website, or a Keynote/PowerPoint type slideshow.  It might be an activity or a discussion topic. It would depend, but it would be appropriate and relevant to your topic.

The students would then work through your class while posting to forums, creating projects and utilizing the internet and various resources…and you could just sit back and relax, right?! HA, yeah right!  This is your opportunity to do what you love the most (at least if you are the type of educator I’d want for my child).

This is where you have a chance to post back to questions on the forum, or comment on your students’ posts.  This is also where you have your ONE-ON-ONE time with students!  That’s what we all want and need, right?  You’d have time to assist the students that need help, and challenge the students that excel.  This is our chance to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of students on different levels.

Would this be hard work for the instructor? Yes, more than just opening a book and assigning number 1-20.  At the same time, it wouldn’t be more work than what you are already doing if you are teaching at a rigorous and relevant level…

Online college classes have been around forever, but online instruction in the K-12 setting? That’s an idea that needs explored. 

Other schools/institutions have done this - check these sites out - Laurel Springs (school), Eagle Christian (school),  Online Classrooms (article).


Oh_the_Places said...

What a great idea! It makes so much more sense for the students to read/learn/listen to the lecture at home, online, and allow for the real interaction and collaboration in the classroom. So many teachers podcast their lectures now for students to access at home, leaving more time for higher level Bloom's taxonomy during school hours. I would love to see what you do with this idea!

Patrick Larkin, Principal said...

Thanks for the post on moving to an on-line format. We are hoping to make a big move into on-line delivery of classes next year. It helps to see that others are doing this and finding it such an enriching experience.

I agree with your comment about the work being hard, but I think it is like anything else that is new. There will be an initial learning curve for teachers, but in the end it will balance out. In addition, the engagement level of students will increase exponentially since they are all able to be active participants.

Looking forward to more posts on this topic!

CAMprinc1 said...

You are talking exactly about what Moodle can do. It is very powerful and is the best option out there for a blended classroom environment and/or a totally online situation.

We have two teachers that use it to run all of their classroom activities through it so that they are available for their students 24-7.

We are looking to share one with a neighboring district and have her teach 90% of the time from our school into the other, so in terms of online and sharing it will allow us to do that either independently or through something like Iowa Learning online.

It starts with just getting your materials out to students so they never can say they "lost" something. But it grows very quickly from that as open source techies have developed every application imaginable for Moodle.

There is a support system online for Moodle like none other.

I could go on and on obviously and anytime you want to chat about it let me know.

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