When I think about online learning tools, the list is endless. While I focused on Zoom as a tool for it’s collaborative nature and ability to connect people in remote locations for synchronous learning, our readings showcased a number of additional tools I both knew of or ones I hope to explore. During my demonstration of how to use Zoom, it was a bit tricky to showcase a collaborative tool as a single person in a household. It would have been great had I been able to rope a friend in to demonstrate although I found photos from times where we had used it in school to help break up the back and forth between my dog (subject 1) and myself (subject 2). Seeing the selections of classmates was inspiring as I had heard of a number of the applications they selected but hadn’t actually viewed them “in action”. One of the parts I found useful with this assignment was not only showcasing an application, but also finding the way to do so with audio recording over it. This took a bit of suaveness on the part of the contributor.
In the readings of Ko and Rossen, I appreciated the plethora of suggestions both in what to consider in an online LMS. Our school has recently been exploring Schoology so I have been moderately familiar with some of the topics discussed in Chapter 6, although I hope to remember when I make classes some of the features such as student progress reports, and potentially using blogs with comments as a part of discussions. I disagreed with the philosophy that revealing information for your class up front (such as assignments etc.) might pull away from the sense of a class. As it is on online classes, often people wait till the last minute to post. For those who have access to the materials up front, if they elect to work on them and post, they still have to participate in discussions so they are a part of the class. Also, having those “early achievers” post, allows those who do not post early to see how classmates approached assignments which also contributes to cohesion as a class.
However, I digress from the overall topic of online applications. Chapter 9 was outstanding in providing examples of “types” of applications that could be used for various lessons. So, for example, had a classmate not known how to do a screen recording prior to this module’s assignment, he/she may have completed the reading and walked away with two possible applications to explore to complete the assignment. I took notes on each of the categories, intending to revisit sites such as the timeline options of dipity.com, hstry.co or the mind maps like mindomo.com and bubbl.us. I have always struggled to find resources for timelines and the mind mapping application I use to recommend is now only paid so this was great. Many of the tools like edpuzzle and padlet I was familiar with but often in the reading for every one application I knew, a second or third was offered for which I was unfamiliar. I felt it was very productive reading and would benefit both my work in online class design but also in my job as the Digital Literacy & Computer Science Coordinator at my school. I look forward to sharing these ideas with my district.
In the readings by Stavredes, I was less engaged. I found the concepts relevant with the ideas of promoting social, cognitive and teaching presence and certainly found the readings helped me understand the concepts to complete my assignment but the content was not as exciting or immediately thought provoking as was the chapters in Ko & Rossen this week. As someone who was trained formally in education, perhaps it was more a matter of me reading material I knew about, such as the concepts of reflection, problem based learning etc. whereas I am actively learning about LMS’s now in my day to day so that spoke to me more than the underlying concepts of education.
Online applications are always emerging and disappearing. Right when I get my list of handy apps to meet a specified need, one will either no longer exist, become a paid-only or be bought out by some other company. At the same time, having the versatility of knowing of a few different apps to accomplish the same desired outcome, becomes handy for these occasions. It is perhaps one of my favorite parts of tech education–being on top of the newest, neatest apps out there.
Ko, S. (2017). Teaching Online: A Practical Guide (4th ed.). New York: Routledge.
Stavredes, Tina. Effective Online Teaching: Foundations and Strategies for Student Success. Jossey-Bass, 2011.