Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thing 18 Virtual Classrom

Virtual classroom experiences can be tricky.  As I navigated through the “Land of Online Learning” looking at the requirements from a student perspective, I was reminded just how important collaboration is to success in the virtual classroom. There are so many slippery slopes where student can fall down and it is possible that the student will never recover from those falls. As a private school, the swamp of surprises has held up some students from taking an online class for lack of a mentor to be sure the student is registered in an online course.  Next is the importance of a student having enough connected time to access the material he or she is to cover. Then the slippery slope of completion. I have seen such a difference between several students that I have mentored - some get right into the work, work steadily, and finish before time is up for the class while others make excuses and never get up to speed nor complete the course they started. For me, the infrequent feedback and lack of time with the teacher that is synchronous really thwarted my initial work into the 21 Things for 21st Century Teachers. As an adult learner, I needed to know that my work was being critiqued and I needed feedback to feel confident about my forward movement. My students need that same measure of confidence.

The CAPSpace (TWICE) site was an amazing resource that I think I could use more if I was a teacher of an English, History, or World Languages class. Most of the projects I saw were in those categories. I like the idea of using video conferencing to connect with classrooms across the state or around the world. I would like to develop a network of professionals that I could “bring into my classroom” via skype for a videoconferencing presentation on career items necessary for student success.  I think that video conferencing has power over even watching videos because an individual can talk back in forth in real time and see the responses of his or her fellow conference attendee.

I would like to use moodle to extend my classroom online. There are several different ways I could use moodle to streamline the careers course I teach which would make it easier to give students feedback as they work through their career development plan. An online classroom experience using moodle or google drive would allow students to communicate and collaborate as they learn new information and synthesize the information into different mediums for redistribution to others. I have loved the way that Google drive has allowed me to give feedback on work that students have completed and to see the transitions in their learning as work is reviewed and critiqued. I think this kind of review and critique allows students to use their critical thinking skills and decision making skills to develop the best learning products. This transfer of knowledge from introduction to completion is a great reason to use a virtual classroom to moderate the flow of information. This moderation is one way my teaching and learning will be positively affected and it will help my students meet several NETS-S.

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