Summary of Learning

Last week I took a look at the big ideas and major takeaways of EC&I 834. It has been great to connect with all of you. You have helped me create an online course for the grade one students in our school division and I look forward to continuing to develop and use blended learning with our youngest learners.

I have really enjoyed reading your blogs, following your tweets, and our breakout sessions in zoom. I look forward to crossing paths with many of you again sometime soon!

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Big ideas and Major Takeaways!

I always love writing these posts at the end of Alec’s courses because it is amazing to see and reflect on the amount of growth that has happened over the course. This course was extremely challenging for me as I am currently on maternity leave (and my 9 month old is a stage 5 clinger… and my almost 3 year old is much better. haha!). At the same time, I am so proud of what I accomplished this course. Creating my online course will not only benefit me, but also all grade 1 teachers within Regina Catholic schools (and really any other teachers using a word study program) because all of my lessons are shareable and editable.

At the beginning of this course we were asked to list our main goals for the course. I have listed them below and have reflected on them and how I progressed this semester.

My number one goal for this course is to get through it without missing a deadline and being able to produce the quality of work I am used to producing! (YES! I did it. I was able to keep my deadlines straight in my head and did not miss an assignment, WOOHOO!). Three other goals I have are:

  1. To develop an understanding of the pedagogical issues (e.g., learning strategies, developing content, delivery/facilitation formats/options, developing presence, cultivating community, etc.) of blended and online learning. As an elementary school teacher, I see very few instances of blended and online learning (although we do have some excellent examples of it happening right within our school division by extraordinary teachers, such as Matthew Bresciani) and I would like to explore how we can help close that gap. (My understanding of what blended learning is has completely shifted over this course. At the beginning of the course, I was merely scratching the surface of what blended learning was and I was limiting it to my preconceived notions and past experiences of  fully online (distance) learning. As we progressed through this course, I gained understanding on the pedagogical issues of blended and online learning and have found creating a course prototype and being a student in a blended course simultaneously has helped me to develop a strong pedagogical understanding of online learning).  
  2. To examine and evaluate blended and online course content, pedagogical practices, and tools for implementation.  To be completely honest, I don’t know what is really out there (other than YouTube and MOOCs) for designing online and blended learning. I would like to explore, evaluate, and examine the various tools used to deliver the course and the pedagogical practices that need to be in place in order for them the be successful. (WOW! There are so many tools out there to create a blended learning environment. My view of blended learning before this course was very distorted and I thought blended learning could only be achieved successfully in the older grades or post-secondary education. This course has opened my eyes to the way we can blend with many different ages and populations. It has been so great following everyone else’s journey to see how they would blend in their courses). 
  3. To create something that is useful and can be used again. This is one of my favourite aspects of Alec’s courses — everything that we do is purposeful and has true meaning and the ability to impact teaching and learning. (Yes! Yes! Yes! Like I said above, Creating my online course will not only benefit me, but also all grade 1 teachers within Regina Catholic schools (and really any other teachers using a word study program) because all of my lessons are shareable and editable). 

I feel like this course went by in the blink of  an eye. Here is a quick timeline of the major takeaways from the course related to designing for online and blended learning.

What is Blended Learning? from The Learning Accelerator on Vimeo.

My mind was blown away with the learning activities we did together in our first class. I have taken other classes with Alec before, but it just seemed like doing group work and connecting with others was SO easy and natural in the course. In our first class we worked in breakout groups to define what is blended learning and online learning. At the same time, Alec polled Twitter to get their definition and within a few minutes we had a collaborative document that was created by 25 individuals and a twitter thread with multiple responses. I was very excited to see what the rest of the course would entail.

I really like this definition of blended learning by Vaughn, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison:

Blended learning can be defined as the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary face-to-face and online approaches and technologies. A direct result of the transformative innovation of virtual communication and online learning communities, blended learning environments have created new ways for teachers and students to engage, interact, and collaborate.

One of the most crucial readings to my development this course was the Tony Bates Chapter on the continuum of technology-based learning.

Blended learning can include a wide variety of designs. One of the best things about this course was seeing the wide variety of courses designed by my peers and all the different ways ( CMS/LMS/VLE and selected platforms) their online courses would take place.

‘Blended learning’ can mean minimal rethinking or redesign of classroom teaching, such as the use of classroom aids, or complete redesign as in flexibly designed courses, which aim to identify the unique pedagogical characteristics of face-to-face teaching, with online learning providing flexible access for the rest of the learning.

-Tony Bates

One of the most challenging (and rewarding) things done this semester was creating my content modules. I thought this would be fairly easy when I first looked at the assignment, but after many, many hours of work, edits, and design, I found that perhaps creating an online course is more work than teaching F2F. I feel like a lot of the work in in an online course happens at the “design” stage and you really need to think of what you want to accomplish in your course and how you are going to get there. BUT… once you create your online course you can use it again, again, and again. So it is worth it to put in the effort at the beginning.

I really liked having the opportunity for some free exploration this semester to look at creation tools, open content resources, and tools for videos, audio, and presentations! Being on maternity leave basically back to back has left me feeling a bit in the dark and the opportunity to explore these tools will help me a great deal when I get back into the classroom!

One of the BEST experiences in the class was reviewing my peers courses and receiving the feedback on my course. This was so valuable as I was able to see what my peers were doing and also reflect on the changes I needed to make my course better. This feedback was really a game changer in my online course and if you look at my first submission to my final submission, you will notice that A LOT has changed.

The community created in this course was one of the best communities I have had in my graduate studies and it was through an online course. I really appreciated the time to do breakout sessions with my peers where we could discuss and work together to deepen our understanding of blended learning. I enjoyed connecting with everyone on Twitter and working with my PLN to find and share resources on blended learning. And I enjoyed reading everyone’s blogs to see how their journey was going this semester as well.

Here’s to one more week!!

Final Course Submission

“Innovation is a process, not a product.” –George Couros

Creating my online course did not happen overnight, it has a been a journey over the last few months learning new and innovative technologies, figuring out what I should focus on, and trying to make this online course usable for 6 year-olds.

The importance of creating smaller learning cohorts within the larger classroom environment is critical to a balanced literacy program. By creating smaller learning communities, the teacher is able to customize and personalize instruction for individual students or small groups. A first grade classroom brings a wide range of abilities, especially when it comes to literacy. Using blended learning and specifically the station rotation model, an educator is better able to accommodate and engage the individual learners as you are able to customize the lessons to the individual students. This course is a blended course using a station rotation model, which includes online instruction, teacher-lead instruction, and collaborative activities and stations. There will be a set time for face-to-face instruction, followed by online work. Students will be divided into groups based upon their reading level.

Below you will find my journey as I worked towards the product for my major project for EC&I 834. To see the final product , which is still a work in progress (I will continue to chip away at the remaining modules over the next few months), please download a copy of the online course. Please click the links below to see the process of completing my final project in more detail.

  1. I started this journey to creating my online course after reading the Bates chapter on The continuum of technology-based learning. I was excited to attempt an online course for grade 1’s after reading and reflecting on this chapter because my online course could be a blended course and I could use a station rotation model (the perfect model for balanced literacy).
  2. The next task was to create a course profile, which included an overview and description of the course.
  3. The next task was to check out some online courses. This was crucial to my development of this course as I was able to identify what I needed to include and how I needed to structure my online course for grade 1 students to be successful.
  4. Then it was time to complete my first course module. I am so glad this module was due early on in the course as it took WAY more time than I had imagined. I really struggled through this process and I believe it is evident in what I produced as it wasn’t my best work.
  5. We then received VALUABLE feedback from our peers on our online course. This feedback was really a game changer in my online course and if you look at my first submission to my final submission, you will notice that A LOT has changed. Some of the notable changes are:
    • My YouTube video review lessons were completed reformatted and re-recorded to be more aesthetically pleasing and to better align with the student activities.
    • All of the student activities in seesaw were re-created to create a more uniform feel and be more engaging for the students to complete.
    • Activities were sorted into categories, folders, and identify the skill being learned.
    • The assessment process was better described and thoroughly laid out.
    • The overall feel and look of the online course was changed. An e-book was created in place of the document.
    • The course was more thoroughly described.
  6.  Lastly, the final submission was completed!

Please watch the screencast below for an inside view of my online course.

* You can also find this post on my EC&I 834 Major Project page.

How can I improve?

This past week we had the experience to receive feedback from our peers on our online course. Receiving this feedback is so valuable to me and I truly appreciate the time and effort my peers put into looking at my course with a critical eye and providing me with the positive areas of my online course and where I could improve or areas that were unclear. This will help me a great deal as I continue to develop and revise my online course. (Alec, this is a brilliant idea to encourage community, provide room for growth, and help your students be successful. Thanks!)

After reading both Joe’s and Dani’s reflections, I thought I would respond to my feedback in a similar approach by including some direct quotes from my feedback form and responding to them.

It would have never crossed my mind to do an online course for grade 1. 

The idea of targeting the grade-one student population within the school division is a wonderful idea.

I agree and thank you! I was questioning my choice of doing an online course in grade 1 as I knew there would be some challenges as grade 1’s are very reliant on the teacher. I feel like the focus on one major online tool, Seesaw, allows them to master the tool and then they are able to focus on the learning activities related to the outcomes, rather than learning multiple tools.

Research has shown that students often memorize words for a test and then promptly forget them. Assigned spelling lists often require students to study isolated words rather than phonics, the sounds that letters make within the words. Therefore, the goal has been to create a program that does not completely abandon weekly lists, but emphasizes opportunities for students to investigate and understand the patterns in words and build word knowledge that can be applied to both reading and writing. Hopefully this online course will do just that!

The station-rotation model of the blended course gives an opportunity for teacher-student and student-student interaction, as well as independent work where students can experience both face-to-face and online learning.

I feel like the above reviewer understood my online course and how it would work in a grade 1 classroom, but perhaps I need to include some more information on this in my course profile as the following questions were asked in my feedback form:

  • How will students be sorted into different modules? Some sort of screen administered to begin with? FnP assessments?
  • Have you thought about what you would do for students reading at a higher level?
  • You mention that this is intended for Grade 1 students in Regina Catholic Schools and that students can have a “wide range of abilities” but you did not address the demographics and what adaptations to the program could be possible (example-how would you help a Grade 1 student with EAL be successful with this module).
  • What other tools could you use for feedback during the process to both monitor, as well as, encourage student progress?

In Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition, Fountas and Pinnell emphasize that “small-group instruction is more powerful when nested within a variety of instructional contexts with varying levels of support,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). This word study online course allows for a small group of students to work independently on the “we do” portion of their word study practice while the teacher does guided reading with a small group of students. Other students in the classroom would be working on writing, reading to self, or listening to reading. A station-rotation model of blended learning allows for a purposeful and engaging use of technology in a grade one classroom. In addition, this online course can be accessed from home to allow for enrichment with parental support. This small group instruction guided by assessment will allow for differentiation for individual students whether they are EAL, reading above grade level, reading at grade level, or reading below grade level.

At the beginning of the year multiple assessments will be used to determine a student’s current reading level. This will help the teacher to decide where to begin instruction.  Each level of text along the gradient brings new challenges in the form of vocabulary, words to decode, high frequency words, concepts, and syntax.  Supportive teaching enables students to expand their reading strategies by gradually increasing the level of challenge and at the same time assuring that they are successful each day.​ 

Stepping Up

This assessment tool enables teachers to:​
  • Determine students’ independent and instructional r​eading level
  • Group students for reading instruction
  • Monitor ongoing student progress in reading
  • Select texts that will be productive for a student’s instruction
  • Identify students who need intervention and extra help
  • Document student progress across a school year and across grade levels
  • Inform parent conferences
  • Gather information about the reader, including the reader’s accuracy and self-corrections, comprehension, and fluency
  • Link the results of the assessment to their teaching to ensure students’ growth as learners

This benchmarking tool will be the main influencer in grouping students into different groups. However, a spelling inventory will be completed as well to determine a student’s stage of spelling. The Words Their Way Primary Spelling Inventory would be completed during the first couple of weeks of school. This inventory provides the teacher with specific information about each student’s knowledge and application of specific spelling features.

word study

Please see the powerpoint below that was created by our divisions ELA Consultant that provides more detail on the the Word Study program within our school division. This program is the backbone of this online course. 

WSPPT
Word Study PowerPoint

As part of the formative and summative assessments, incorporating a variety of activities, such as seesaw activities, weekly spelling tests, and observations from small group instruction will give an accurate picture of the students’ academic progress.

As you continue to build this up, the single blog post would get pretty long. Would it be worth exploring making your course into a blog of its own, and being able to divide it into categories, etc ?

I agree. I think I will create an online document, almost like an online teacher module with live links that allow for the teacher using this course to plan and access materials.

If this does pan out into the teacher resource that it looks like to me (a pretty fantastic one at that) then you could use videos of yourself doing some of these activities to supplement as visuals and aids for teachers wanting to implement this. You could use placeholders as doing this may not be feasible in the amount of time we have to build this?

This is a great idea! I will definitely keep this in mind for future development!

I very much appreciate the rationale and driving purpose behind this course. Creating a structure that generates purposeful targeted instruction is exactly what teachers have been/are trying to do. This is a relatively novel way to do it, and I would love to know what happens as you implement!

I am really looking forward to see how this course develops over the next few weeks. I am also extremely excited to share it with other teachers within our school division so that they can have the opportunity to blend within their classrooms and not have to do as much of the “leg work” to get there. I am a huge fan of sharing and collaborating and my hope is that as a team of teachers we could create online word study courses for the grade 1-3 range.

Thanks so much for your feedback! I can clearly see my gaps and this has given me some guidance on how to improve my online course!

Primary Literacy & Coding

This week I decided to take a look at primary literacy and coding. To be honest, this wasn’t even on my radar prior to this course. I have always had a keen interest in primary literacy, which is why I became a Teacher Librarian, and coding was something I dabbled in (if you could even say that) with our Kindergarten classes using Bee-Bot before my maternity leave. However, putting the two together was a completely new concept until Alec suggested I take a look at incorporating some coding into my online course after reading my course profile and my interest grew even more after some “playing around” with coding in class last week. I decided this something I MUST have in my online course. BUT, how could I tie it meaningfully to primary literacy??

To start this learning journey this week I began looking through Kathy Cassidy’s resources on APPS, ‘BOTS AND CODE: THE NEW ABC’S IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM. For those of you who don’t know Kathy Cassidy, she is a trailblazer in bringing technology into the primary classroom, I highly recommend you visit her website and follow her on Twitter. After hours and hours of exploration, I decided that ScratchJr would be a program I would like to use as it hit many requirements for classroom use and more specifically, primary classroom use:

  1. It is aimed at young children (ages 5-7).
  2. It is free.
  3. In programming interactive stories and games, students will learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.
scratch1.PNG
Check it out!

 

And upon further exploration, there are teaching resources specifically targeted at primary literacy, which could easily be adapted to fit into my online course. scratch2

Lastly, there are GREAT resources for teachers under the teach tab, with resources, lessons, and videos on how to use ScratchJr in the classroom. It really can’t be any more user friendly or easily accessible. My next step will be creating lessons based on my word study modules for students to code the words we are working on during that unit. I am so excited to continue to explore ScratchJr and make some modules using this app for my online course.

I continued to explore the world wide web to see how everyone else was using primary coding and literacy and I came across a great post by Kelly Hincks on Mixing Reading with Coding in Early Childhood. All I can say is WOW! What a goldmine I found here. She is a teacher librarian just like me and her content is amazing. In her post she says,

As a librarian, my goal is to expose students to all forms of literacy. Coding, to me, is just another form.  Teaching coding allows me to integrate multiple disciplines together. Coding is a process just like the research process. That is why it fits so nicely in the library. Additionally, coding teaches problem solving, cooperation, and how to overcome failure.

With all that being said, I do not believe in just coding for coding sake. I feel it should fit within a bigger picture. Combining coding skills with other literacy skills is always my ultimate goal.

This is so accurate! I want the technology I use to “blend” to be authentic, purposeful, and engaging. It should transform and enhance my end goal and not be used just because it is something “cool” I stumbled across. In her post, she talks about lessons to introduce coding to primary students and lessons to apply coding concepts.

Another site of interest that I explored this week is code.org. They have some spelling lessons and other online courses for primary students that could be used to introduce coding and teach the basics. Although this site probably won’t make an appearance in my online course, it is something I have added to my toolbox for when I get back to school.

In conclusion, I am really glad we had this week to just explore an aspect of blended learning that we are interested in. I was able to find something I could use to enhance and transform my online course and I am excited to see what I can come up with!

 

Is Khan for Kids?

This week I decided to do a review on a 1st Grade Math Unit from Khan Academy on Place Value. Since my major project is for a grade one classroom, I thought I would explore a digital unit for a primary grade. I was interested in seeing how Khan Academy set up their unit for such young learners and I wanted to see if a grade one could really do this unit independently and “learn” online.

The slogan for Khan Academy is:

You can learn anything. For Free. For everyone. Forever. 

When I first landed on the website I thought the slogan was very catchy and I was very excited because this is an amazing concept and I truly believe in open education sources. I was hoping I would be able to find an English Language Arts unit for primary grades on Khan Academy, but it seemed to be more Math and Science focused.

khan

I decided to do the module on Place Value for the first grade. I was able to get through the modules fairly quickly (as you would hope!), but I tried to look at the modules critically, specifically I looked at the following aspects:

  • production values
  • perceived difficulty of creation of the module
  • potential impact on student learning
  • whether the format adds value to or impedes the facilitation of the content

Here is my review…

Production values: I found the actual module itself fairly basic. The lesson was a basic screen cast with narration and the quiz was a simple picture with a box to enter your answer. To be honest, I was underwhelmed with the aesthetics of the whole production. This is a free resource, so I understand why it is so basic, but I can’t imagine a grade 1 student being engaged or excited about this lesson.

Perceived difficulty of creation of the module: I feel like this module would be fairly basic to put together. I could see myself using Khan Academy in the future to create and find modules for my students as an added dimension to their learning. Although I think this would be a fairly easy way to create an online course, I don’t think it would be my first choice for the primary grades.

Potential impact on student learning: This course was very, very basic. I don’t think there would be much impact on student learning. I could see accessing this module with parent help at home, but this wouldn’t be my first choice. I feel like there are many other options out there that are more engaging, such as YouTube videos,  IXL Math, or open source interactive sites.

Whether the format adds value to or impedes the facilitation of the content: Unfortunately, I don’t think the format of Khan Academy adds value to teaching place value to the first grade. I think it is a good resource to have as an “add-on” for parents who need help understanding, but I really don’t see this course being used in a grade one classroom.

I did try out the app Khan Academy Kids  as well and did find that it has more potential than the online modules for the primary grades, but still needs some development to reach its full potential. Something I will keep in mind when I begin making my course is the accessibility of it for grade one students. I found this course wasn’t super easy to navigate and wasn’t super appealing to a grade one student.

 

Learning to Learn: The process of an online learning project

Context…

It is a bittersweet feeling coming to the end of this learning project. If you have been following my progress on my blog, you have learned about the struggles and successes I experienced over the past 13 weeks of my learning project.

Participating in the learning project rather than focusing my major project on something I could integrate into my teaching and I knew I would be successful at was a risk. But as the saying goes, high risk, high reward. This term I was able to experience authentic life-long learning, something that is often preached about in education, but also something that is often neglected in undergraduate and graduate studies. Engaging in the learning process was a bit uncomfortable at times, but it reminded me that the process of learning is far greater than the product.

If we think of the SAMR Swimming Pool, I was able to use technology to transform my learning experience through this project. It is very easy to get caught in using technology to enhance learning. I hope to use the skills I have learned as a learner to impact how I teach.  It is my hope I can use a similar process to transform the traditional learning process for my students through the effective use of social media and open educational resources for learning and the ability to use technology to support and document learning.

Where it all began…

The first thing I had to do was choose something to learn about. I appreciate the freedom and openness of not being told what to learn, but rather to choose something that I was passionate about, interested in, and was of substance. My learning outcome was to study and practice prenatal yoga to increase my flexibility and prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby.

Prenatal yoga fit all the criteria of the learning project as it was: complex to learn, worth learning, and of great interest to me.

Before I could jump into my learning project, I had to do a pre-assessment to see where I was at. This allowed me to look at how pregnancy was impacting my sleep quality, hip and lower back pain, mindfulness, and anxiety of childbirth.

Over the past 13 weeks I have not only learned a great deal about prenatal yoga, I have also acquired knowledge about labour, delivery, and postpartum. As you can tell in my post assessment, I have also grown physically and mentally in that I am able to use my new found skills to treat the aches and pains of pregnancy and I am more mindful.

post assessment

In addition to meeting my outcome of learning yoga, I have also learned a great deal about the process of learning online.

Learning Prenatal Yoga Online…

I was able to find a plethora of learning resources online related to prenatal yoga, but finding a learning community that went further than following, liking, watching videos, and reading was challenging. I tried to find some MOOCs on prenatal yoga, but was unable to find any on the topic that were free. So I worked with what I had and I found the PLN I was able to create was quite instrumental in my success of this learning project.

In my PLN I was able to use social media, online communities, videos, websites, and face-to-face resources to transform and enhance my learning. Here are a few of the highlights:

Social Media

  • Instagram: Instagram was by far the best place for me to develop my PLN. I felt like my Instagram account kept me accountable to my learning project and allowed me to follow others who are going through the same experiences and gain support. Even though the extent of my connections were through a like or small comment, I really felt supported and felt like I had developed a community. I have 47 followers and am following 90 quality accounts. The key to this was using appropriate hashtags. Once I started using powerful hashtags, I was able to connect with many more people. I feel quite happy with where I ended up on Instagram as I started a new account and all these people are new followers who are following me just to see my prenatal yoga process.
  • Other places I tried: I tried Twitter, Facebook pages, and Google+ community to connect with others and build a community. Although I was able to gain some resources through these networks, I didn’t find them instrumental to my success. They were just another place for me to extend my learning.

Online Communities

  • Pinterest: Although some might argue that Pinterest is not an online community, I found this as a key resource in developing, following, and managing my learning resources. Pinterest allowed me to keep my resources organized, follow other boards who were interested in prenatal yoga, it also allowed me to contribute to the community by pinning resources I found useful.
  • Other places I tried: As I said earlier, I also connected on Twitter and Instagram. I also joined an online community through Prenatal Yoga Center, but unfortunately it wasn’t what I expected. Basically, it was a blog hub for all the blogs they produced. It was a good source for information, but I found the community aspect missing.

 Videos

  • YouTube: The best place for prenatal videos and sources was YouTube. I subscribed to a few channels and I found myself visiting YouTube often during my practice. It was nice to be able to practice and learn something without having to leave the house!

Other Sources

  • Face-to-Face: I really enjoyed connecting with others through my Face-to-Face resources as well. I participated in yoga at Everyday Sacred and my gym Anytime Fitness. Although I was able to find many sources online and was able to do the majority of learning online, it was nice to connect with people on a more personal level through my Face-to-Face resources.
  • Other places I tried: As I went through the learning process, I visited many blogs and websites which I then pinned on my Pinterest board. My top two places for yoga resources were PopSugar and Prenatal Yoga Center.

Reflection and Process…

During this project, it was hard for me to focus on the process of learning and not an end product as I was going through this learning process, but in the end I am quite satisfied with how it all turned out. I suppose I didn’t realize it at the time, but throughout my whole process of learning and the documentation of my learning project through my blog, I was creating an end product. In making my learning visible, sharing my struggles and successes, and reflecting on the process of learning I was creating a portfolio that demonstrates what I learned.

This reflection on the process of learning and the learning itself was instrumental in my success of this learning project. It helped to keep me accountable, gave me a direction on where I should go next, shows where I have been, and allowed me to connect to a community of learners.

Continuing the Learning Process…

Although this learning project is coming to a close as my pregnancy is almost over, I plan to continue my learning in an online setting. It has been life changing to have this opportunity to engage in the learning process as it has reminded me that life-long learning can be related to things other than professional goals. So where am I going to go next? On top of continuing my yoga practice… I would really like to train my dog how to greet people at the door politely. I sure hope there is a strong online community for this topic as I think in training him, I need to train myself first!

When was the last time your learned something just because?

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Follow me: prenatal.yoga.yqr

This term I was afforded the opportunity to learn something new. Not something that was dictated to me by my professors, but something that I was passionate about, interested in, and was of substance. I was also to use open education resources to guide my project. I took a risk in doing the learning project as I had some quality ideas for the other option of the major project, that I knew I would be successful at, but I wanted to experience something I haven’t in a while… learning for the sake of learning. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t learned anything in the past few years, but between graduate classes, teaching, new positions, and the general busyness of life, I haven’t allocated time in my schedule to explore and learn just because I am interested in it. This project has reminded me of the joy of lifelong learning and how important it is to fit time in to learn something of interest. We are so lucky to have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips and we should take advantage of it.

My learning outcome was to study and practice prenatal yoga to increase my flexibility and prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby. As I went through this process of learning, I focused on assessing my sleep quality, hip and lower back pain, mindfulness, and the feelings of anxiety of childbirth. Even though I had an outcome of where I wanted to go in my learning project, I found myself learning much more than just what I had planned. On top of learning and experiencing how prenatal yoga helps me through pregnancy, I also found myself learning about labour, and postpartum.

I hope to use the experience of this learning project in my future classrooms to encourage students to access open education resources and learn something that is meaningful to them. This could be done through the use of genius hour, the maker movement, project based learning, or passion projects. I think in experiencing the freedom, riskiness, and openness of going through the learning process using online tools to not only enhance my learning, but essentially transform it, has allowed me to experience something I haven’t before and has taught me the importance of trying something like this in the classroom. When thinking of this online learning project in the context of the classroom, I can’t help but think about the SAMR swimming pool. In this learning project, I was able to transform the traditional learning process through the effective use of social media and open educational resources for learning and my ability to use technology to support and document learning.

 

Interactive SAMR Swimming Pool

 

How do you plan to use what you’ve learned in your learning project in your classroom?

Please stay tuned as I post a summary of my experience with this project in the next few days!

 

 

A Guide to Learning Online

This week I decided to make an e-book that provides the basics of completing an online learning project. It includes: how to get started, documenting the learning process, your learning communities, and how to stay on track.

Next week I will use this e-book to help me summarize my learning process for my EC&I 831 learning project.

Unfortunately, one of the limitations of the free version of FlipSnack is I am not able to embed it into my blog. (I  even tried FlipSnackEdu). Please click the link below to view my FlipSnack!

guide to learnin g
A Guide to Learning Online

Feedback vs. Evaluation

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Photo Credit: ClassicsOnTheStreet via Compfight cc

My Week in Review

I really liked how my colleague, Erin Benjamin, reviewed her goals on her major project by colour coding them, so I thought I would do the same. Here is my key:

GREEN = I achieved my goal this week! Yay Me!!

BLUE = I need to revisit this goal this week. I wouldn’t necessarily say I failed at this goal, but it requires a bit more attention in order to be considered accomplished.

RED = I didn’t get a chance to complete this goal and it got pushed on the back-burner. I will look at trying to accomplish it this week!

My goals for this week were to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Get at least 20 posts on my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

I was very thankful to get feedback this week from Katia Hildebrandt. I appreciated the detailed review on how I was doing in the class and in particular with this learning project. Not only was the feedback detailed, it was personalized and I could tell there was a genuine interest in my progress in the class and provided me with ways in which I could improve. As the tweet states below, feedback that is received at the end is not feedback, it is evaluation. I am finding EC&I 831 is not only teaching us about effective pedagogical approaches, but is also modeling it.

 

One recommendation in my feedback was a join an online prenatal yoga community. I found an online community with Prenatal Yoga Centre. In this community I am able to read blog posts, comment, and connect with others. I have enjoyed following the blog posts in this community and have learned a lot from them, but don’t find this is the most functional space for my learning. I will continue to be involved in this community to see if maybe with some time it becomes more natural.

I have enjoyed growing my community on Instagram. This is where I am finding most of my learning and connecting is happening. I find that Instagram for the purpose of my learning project is very similar to Twitter for my professional learning network relating to teaching. It is a very natural space, I am able to quickly get a “snapshot” of yoga resources and motivation and if I wish to investigate further, I am able to dig deeper into the post and the account.

I am looking forward to a slower week with report cards being finished so that I can take some more time this week to work on my learning project!

My goals for next week are to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin a few more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Share my learning and connect with others through my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

Thanks for following!!