Final Post on Final Project

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On my final project, I have created a module lesson on perspective. I used the idea of whether or not the Transcontinental Railroad was positive or negative force dependent on the perspective of the groups of individuals who were involved or affected by the construction of the project. My objective is to get the students to analyze the different groups and determine whether it was good or bad based on their experiences because of the construction of such a major transportation advance for the country.

I feel like it is a well-thought out process and adds value and deeper learning as a lesson for seventh graders. There are some glitches, but I hope to be able to become more tech savvy and figure out how to fix them. I would like to try this module with my classes next year. I will incorporate some modifications for low readers such as collaboration for the reading over the notes and getting the notes written. We already work on writing as an activity that we are carrying out to offer more writing practice to assist the English department.

I have learned how to do things on schoology I didn’t know before, thanks to our ITRT, Michelle Martin. She taught me how to make things move smoother from one assignment to another. She didn’t do it for me, but taught me how, so I feel like I can do it on my own. I may need help, but as I teach my students, if you don’t know, ask. I have received feedback and very helpful suggestions from my colleagues which is always greatly appreciated. Thank you for your constructive suggestions and support that I was on the right track.

How would I grade this? Or, how do I want this to be graded for the class? If I were Monty, would check to be sure that the directions are clear and concise. I would want to be sure that the links work. I would also hope that it meet the objective that was intended. It was a lot of work. If I, myself, was grading it, I would like to hope that I would be harder on myself that someone else would. But hey, isn’t that person’s hopes when they turn in a graded assignment? Seriously, I would like it to be graded on effort, use of technology, creativity, and the possibility of some deeper learning experiences for my students.

Thank you for this learning experience.

Virtual Reality… WOW!

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After watching the virtual reality video, I feel like anything is possible. At school, we have a “Books Are Fun” vendor that comes around to sell cute little items that are sometimes hard to find anywhere else, but in this month’s available products there was an “As Seen On TV” virtual reality mask that fits with Samsung phones. So, I do believe that virtual reality items such as this one or the Microsoft Kinect as modeled in the video will be in every home before we know it. I love the idea of students from all over being able to get into one of the virtual programs and learn how the environment can change over time. That, to me, means they can watch any type of action that might take place and speculate the possible future from certain actions. That would be great to use in history class. Imagine being able to predict what was going to happen as World War II progressed by just plugging in possibilities and witnessing the reactions that take place. One day perhaps we can do that with everything and play out possible scenarios before they actually take place to see what pitfalls or possibilities lay ahead.

I can also see the virtual reality programs being used for students to train and learn. For instance, the article mentioned training for hospital care or practicing military missions. I heard somewhere that the military already engaged in virtual role play for part of their training. I could completely understand how that would be beneficial. The collaboration and team-building would be incredible with the ability to build things together. I believe virtual reality is going to become a huge part of our human lives and integrating in instruction for school, college and any other training will definitely utilize this resource.

I signed up for Second Life and tried it out. It is pretty cool. It is like a video game to me in that I need a 12 year old to help me really get started. I chose my avatar and jumped and flew, but I am not sure where to go from there. I know I can build things, but it was getting late and I didn’t engage in that yet. However, I will explore it more. My son was a huge World of Warcraft player. I used to pay a monthly fee for him to play with people all over the world. He found a way to build his characters up and then sell them to someone who would actually pay real money. (Hmmm, could be a little business there). I would watch him play sometimes and when he earned new battle-gear, he would be excited to show me. He would match up with some of his friends and they would become a team to fight against other teams.

I love the idea of virtual reality and would like to do a simulation sometime just to experience it.

Final Reflection K Wasosky

 

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I feel like I have grown in the realm of virtual learning. Through the readings and my blogs as well as the creation of my module, I have learned a lot more than I knew before I began this journey. I have not tweeted as much as I probably should have, but I definitely have the blogging down and have learned a great deal about how online learning has really grown. I like the blogging about what I have read about or watched on a video. It helps me sort out all of the information. Some of the units we read about, I had to read more than once to try and figure them out. I also really liked that we commented on other students’ blogs. It was great feedback for me and I got so many great ideas from those that commented on mine or the blogs I read. It is always great to get another point of view. I believe that is one of the cornerstones of learning anything.

I believe online learning will continue to grow because technology continues to improve and grow and things that didn’t seem possible, are beginning to become a reality. I know this isn’t the blog about virtual reality, but that really brings a whole world closer to each individual person who engages in learning that way.

I don’t believe that I didn’t meet any of the goals. However, there is always room for improvement. I think the more I explore and take chances in trying different approaches to interact with my students both in the classroom and online the more they will learn and the more comfortable I will become with the technology and become a better teacher for them.

I like the course just the way it is. It is the first of this magnitude, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I have to say that I knew basically what to expect each week. At first some of the lesson topics scared me, but after diving in, the information became clearer. Thanks for making this a positive experience. I have enjoyed learning in your online class.

Status of My Module: Almost Good to Go

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My module on the Transcontinental Railroad and the perspective of whether or not it was a positive or negative force is just about complete. I still need to tweak a couple of things such as my concept map activity and some added directives for moving through the module for my students.

Thanks to the three members who are going to check it out for me and let me know their opinions on how it flows and if it is doable. I originally had two, but one of my students overheard me talking about it and asked if she could do it. Yay!

If I can get it “perfect”, and I get positive results from my sweet guinea pigs, then I just may incorporate it in my course for next year. I will definitely be finished by the deadline.

I have already completed my evaluation of the course.

MOOCs and ME : Not So Fast

 

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I looked back at the blog I posted at the end of September on MOOCs. I was having a hard time understanding how this type of learning would be possible in my classroom because I couldn’t quite
“wrap my head around it”. Those were the words I actually used. I believe my confusion was substantiated when I read the articles for this assignment. I don’t believe MOOC style learning is suited for the students I teach and perhaps not even for most high school level students who don’t demonstrate a self-regulated learning attitude. This is definitely the place where a student has to self-monitor to be successful. I can see how it can be a place to meet for helpful information in a class that a student may be taking at the time, as an extension or resource to aid in a hybrid or traditional classroom setting.

Two of the principles of connectivism that I walked away with define why my course cannot be a MOOC. First of all, nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning. At a seventh grade level, this is a definite necessity in the learning process. Secondly, learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions. In a MOOC, a student can read thousands of others’ opinions, but it will, at some point, become overwhelming. It is not a true connection unless there is a conversation in which sharing and possibly debating information is carried out between a couple or small group of individuals. There most likely won’t be a response from an instructor in these cases. The theory of connectivism is necessary in my module.

Constructivism lends itself more to adult learners as well. Depending on the topic, students completing my module will not have a lot of background knowledge already. They will after the fact, but they cannot apply anything except what they have learned in our core content area before beginning the module. As I have stated, seventh graders are not slr, but at this point, I can begin to push them in that direction.

I took an online learning class last year at University of La Verne for my history recertification points. I purchased two hard-back books, read them, answered questions online that were basically word for word from the reading with blanks (clozed notes) and at the end I had to write an essay about one of the books. I am assuming it could be a MOOC course because it is offered to teachers everywhere. However, I had no idea how many other students were in the class. There could have been a thousand or more, or I could have been the only one. I guess my point is that it was a MOOC or designed like one and I had absolutely no one to talk to, I only got feedback on my questions after I finished them and it was an electronic response showing my grade. I did have a question about how to find something on the site and had to submit it through a “help” link. After about four or five hours, I got a response. I am old. I have been teaching for twenty years, so this style of learning, although not as much fun, was a successful experience for me as far as gaining my recertification points. I loved the topic and the readings were great, but it would have been nice to have someone to share it with. I received a grade report and I was finished. I had a need to complete the course which is what was driving me to finish it. Most students, unless it is counting towards something they really need or want, and sometimes not even then, will find it is a difficult process to learn this way for a complete course.

My module is not set up this way. First of all, it is a hybrid setting. I interact with my students and they interact with each other. There is peer work and teacher feedback. I couldn’t even imagine having to leave feedback for thousands of students or trying to keep up with all of the conversations that I am trying to closely monitor through my class. So, could ANY of it be incorporated, I think so. Following the websites, doing the readings and recording notes can be carried out. After that, no. Students will utilize their notes to create a written piece which needs to be peer-edited and I need to be available to communicate with them and give them feedback if they ask for it. That is their motivation—the peer/teacher/student connection.

I gleaned this from another article about MOOCs and their use which backs up my theory that it wouldn’t be a successful way for me to teach my content online–“…by either as the scaling of centralised and identical instruction to unprecedented numbers of students or the opportunity for self-directed learning, in which large participant numbers are understood as providing the means to construct knowledge independently of teachers and institutions.” (Rodriguez 2012, 2013)

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Final Thoughts: A MOOC is a good concept to get information to students who are searching for it, but the learning experience, to me, gets lost in the crowd.