Brent Fleisher

I am an English teacher at PHS teaching English 11, AP Language and Composition, as well as DE English 111 and 112 through Reynolds Community College.  I am also the Gifted Resource Teacher.  When I am not in the classroom, you can find me in the auditorium as the Theatre director.  I am an avid collector of kittens…so, if you have any that need a good home, I’m your guy.

I guess my goals for this program is to learn about the online learning environment and how to incorporate it into my classroom.  I am not very familiar with eLearning outside of what our school has us do online.

Blogging is not that far-fetch or new since we have similar ways already to work with students – such as Facebook and Schoology.  I have never used Twitter and my “how-do” was my first tweet.  I don’t know how Twitter would be beneficial for a class / instruction since you are limited to characters and, I can post whatever and send it to the students without limitations via email and our own classroom website.

From this week’s reading, I began to think differently about the benefits of distance learning.  Usually when I hear online learning or online classes, I think of those students who are motivated and eager to learn.  It was refreshing (?) to read to distance learning helps students with special needs or other developmental / behavioral issues.  I am a big face-to-face teacher and believe that that is the best way to reach students.  I use my classroom website as a tool for students to keep up-to-date with the class; however, I prefer actually having them in class instead of doing a complete online class — it’s more personable that way.   I also still struggle with all of the autonomy students have with online classes since, in my opinion, they have such a hard time with time management and organization.  If students cannot manage their time wisely  and stick to deadlines with a parent/teacher constantly reminding them of whatever, how can they be expected to be mature enough to handle an online class.  I’ve seen this when I taught online summer school… students were left to their own devices (pun intended?) and failed miserably because they had poor management of their time and work ethic.  I also worry that students participating in nothing but online classes will miss out on real-life social interactions and not know how to function properly (responsibly / maturely) in society away from their computer or other electronic device.

It will be interesting to see the literature and research out there arguing both sides as MOOCs become more of a common practice.  I am still not sold on the benefits and how practical using Twitter is as an instructional / educational tool.  I get that I post a quick announcement or a fancy #hashtag; however, I can do that a multitude of other ways and still reach students.  Why create one more thing students and teachers have to keep track of?  Just create a simple classroom webpage and be done with it….it’s a one-stop shop.  Who knows though, maybe in November I’ll be changing my mind…




11 thoughts on “Brent Fleisher”

  1. Brent,

    Welcome to the course. You make a lot of good points in this post. In my opinion, twitter is most useful for connecting people. Unlike schoology, it is open, so folks outside of your school division can interact. Unlike facebook, i think it is easier to interact with others. With facebook, I dont really want to share with the whole world. I really us that tool more to share pics of my kids with friends and stuff like that. Personal web sites are good, but don’t have the same audience as twitter, things are not as easily located. So for example, last semester we were studying the theory of connectivism, and in discussing this theory on twitter, we tagged one of the theorists behind connectivism. He ended up following back one of my students. So it becomes very easy to find people who share interests, and to connect with them.

    I am not sure of your curriculum, but in English, I could envision using twitter to connect your students to authors, or scholars who study authors.

    I don’t know, I am curious to see what you think about it as you go through this course. It seems like a lot of peers are curious about twitter as well.

    I also like the combination of blogs and twitter. You mention blogs are similar to Facebook and schoology. I agree except your blog for this course can be seen by anyone in the world. You can allow anyone in the world to comment on your posts. This is not possible with schoology or Facebook (maybe facebook, but its more difficult). So by referencing a longer blog post of yours using twitter you can really expose it to a large number of people, and so could your students.


  2. Hey!

    Brent, I definitely agree with some of what you’re saying here. I commented on another post that I feel like we are constantly adding reminders and tips and articles all over the place and to what avail? I really think that motivation is a key aspect in all of this and those students who want the material will check all the forums but those who don’t will not bother. As you said, it almost just seems more beneficial to have everything in one place (like a classroom website) so it’s a one-stop-shop for teachers and students.

    I do, however, see the benefits of using Twitter to reference the classroom website when you have updated something so that students know to check the site. I don’t know about linking it though, as I am not sure I want the whole world to have access to all of my classroom documents.

    I am intrigued by Monty’s idea of having students connect with professionals (scientists, in my case) but then I start thinking about kids that don’t have Twitter. Or kids whose parents don’t want them on Twitter. Or kids who post something and then some stranger comments with something inappropriate. I say “kids” like they are five, but even with high schoolers, I’m worried about some of the interactions that may happen on social media and how/if any of that would fall back on the teacher.

    Ahhh, I am skeptical about the logistics….but intrigued for sure. And hopeful that there is a way to make it work!

    1. There are always the problems of “going public”, but I wonder if students are already engaging in these platforms, and if so, I see the value of having more educators in the conversation. I think we provide some needed “policing”. YOu know what I mean?

  3. I have used Twitter as a means of connecting with math teachers around the world. I don’t post. I mostly lurk. Someone will post a request for an activity on polynomials and there will be many different responses. I love to read the posts on the latest research and then read the conversation that follows. It’s amazing to read real time posts from the “rock stars” of math teaching, especially knowing I could join the conversation if I wanted to. It’s the best professional development I do.

  4. As a science teacher I cannot imagine teaching a class without the face to face laboratory experience that helps students to develop their analytical skills. I would miss and I know they would miss the true joy of discovery that takes place in the chemistry laboratory.

    I also find that many of my AP students cannot seem to manage their time very effectively. Even the top students in the school have not developed time management skills to any significant degree. Maybe this is a skill that the online experience could give them.

    1. I agree. But i think digital tools can assist, not take the place of. I also think maybe there are some lab experiences that can be enhanced by digital tools. Think simulations. Thoughts?

  5. Same concerns as Brent with the lack of available characters on Twitter as I tend to be long-winded (as a lot of you know!). I also had ideas about distance learning as geared toward highly motivated students as a means of credit advancement or accessing courses unavailable to them in a face-to-face format. However, as homebound coordinator at the high school, I am seeing more and more instances where an online format is more appropriate for students with physical limitations or diagnoses that are preventing them from accessing our building. Often with homebound students fall behind or off track for on-time graduation, so online learning could be a great option to keep students on track.

  6. I agree Brent, when I think of online education I naturally think of our self motivated learners and how they could meet with success in such a class. I would like to learn however how we could use distance education to reach those with special education needs.

    I do find that many of our students struggle with motivation, organization etc. making it difficult to comprehend how some of our students could find success in such an educational setting, BUT I think we as educators have to step back and allow them to fail. So many kids are enabled these days by parents and at times teachers as well, if they cannot find motivation within themselves there is only so much we can do right?? I think you and I have had similar conversations before! 🙂

    1. Maybe there is something we can do. Very soon we are going to take a look at self-regulated learning. Just in the last year, some studies have emerged that suggest that we may be able to improve students self-regulated learning by teaching them HOW to become better self-regulated learners.

  7. I agree with some of the twitter conversation here. I only have used it in the past to keep up with what my children were putting out there for everyone to see. It is a great tool for that. I will be interested to see how well it coordinates with this course as well. I know that Dr. Jones uses twitter often, but I read them on my email. lol I will participate and who knows, maybe become addicted to it. 🙂

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