It is of vital importance that we are familiar with the technology that is available.I teach at a school of technology we are currently implementing more computer based assignments, class work etc. I had to participate in a professional development exercise that taught me how to use the Google Classroom within my classroom. I am so excited for incorporation of blended learning as I will have the opportunity show some of what I learned in this masters. I sometimes go to work feeling very ill, but afraid that if I take a day my substitute will not do a good job imparting the way I do. I am looking forward to the blended classroom where I can on my days out of school monitor my students progress and keep them working at grade level standards. “One of the best ways to start an online course on the right foot is to focus on social presence activities for both learners and faculty. Getting acquainted at the social level creates a trusting and understanding environment for reaching out and risking beliefs in the content discussions.” Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010)
Learners need to know what is required in order for them to fulfil their learning task successfully. I believe that all instructions given to students need to match the learning goals presented in the lessons. It defeats the purpose of failing the students for work incorrectly done, or work not done to your specific standards when the instructions weren’t clear. This would entail having a rubric with clear instructions and guidelines with the required points and expectations. The instructor needs to take into the account the age of the learner and how well they move around the computer. Instructors need to be aware of how the learner will be able to manage the task issued on their own. “ The instructor needs to ensure that the week before the class begins the students are reminded on the online skills required for them to be successful in the course. The instructor needs to also remind the students that their are online support available to help them maneuver areas that they find difficult online.” Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010)
Creating an online classroom takes lots of time and preparation, the virtual environment that is been created needs to be easily navigated by all learners. Instructors can make the class inviting by providing ice breakers that would make all the students feel the need to relax and get to know each other. The online classroom takes more commitment rather than the traditional face to face learning. In the online classroom there are much needed self motivation. Students need to know the importance of the investment they made for their future, they need to balance time and ensure that all the required pieces are submitted online and they are activities participants in the required activity. This does not fall solely on the student as the instructor need to create a learning environment even though he/ she is the facilitator the presence of the instructor needs to be there. Instructor needs to prompt in answering the students questions or concerns. Provide quality feedback about what they can do to improve what they have started rather than what they did wrong. It is very important that all criticisms of the students be constructive.
I learned how to create icebreakers that would create a virtual learning community for the both the students and the instructor. I learned that in order for an online class to be productive the goals and objectives must match the required assignments. I learned that creating an online classroom takes lots of preparations and needs to be thoughtfully planned. Most importantly the instructor needs to know they audience and assign task accordingly.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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