Good morning- I am typing this as my online students are working on an assignment for their Economics and personal finance course. I have taught for 24 years, with most of those classes being face to face instruction. Over the last two years I have taught two summer school courses online and really enjoyed it and seeing how it changed my perspective on how instruction can be delivered.
I have taken one class that was online and found it frustrating as the professor graded strictly on blog posts and very little content was delivered so it didn’t do a lot to enhance my knowledge for teaching online courses– it seemed more like a sharing site.
I have three children so Free time is a contradiction in terms but those hours not spent at PHS generally involve my doing something with my church, my son’s baseball schedule, running my daughter to dance class or creating something on my embroidery machine. If I get a free moment I love to read and cook.
I tried a new piece of software/app while reading the chapter reading for this week. It is called Evernote and it allows me to import/paste the chapter and highlight/annotate the reading on my computer and save it to my “notebook” that I have set up for this class. The reading opened up a number of questions and introduced quite a few terms. Online teaching has the potential for exponential growth but faces the challenges of discerning what best practices are and how to best utilize technologies while striving to create “environments” that facilitate connectivity of students to their learning environment. After having taught a few online classes– I recognize that this is indeed the challenge. One of my favorite books is the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and as I read the chapter it made me think of his work in “virtual realities” Admittedly some of the terms seemed a bit complex but hopefully as the class continues I will come to have a greater depth of understanding of these ideas and concepts.
We have used blogs at our school in the past and I have toyed with the idea of one for personal use– as I have a propensity to create long posts on Facebook that would likely be better suited to a blog forum. I have had a Twitter account for quite a while but am not an avid user — as limiting myself to 160 characters is generally a challenge I fail at. I use it mostly in my capacity as Senior class sponsor to reach out to students with updates and information. I do think blogs can facilitate learning and twitter certainly facilitates discussion and I am open to see how it can advance learning.
I love the idea in the reading that this technology may help level the geographic playing field and make education more readily accessible to people all over the world. Education and shared experiences and knowledge connect us and create understanding that in my book goes a long way toward diminishing conflict. One of my favorite shared experiences is travel and I take students abroad most every summer– so I will close this post with a picture of one of my favorite cities– a historical center of learning. Arriverderci