What I have learned so far

It is a bit overwhelming how much I have learned in the past week or so. This course has made me aware of how much I don’t know-always an eye-opening experience! I love those moments in life, when your confidence and self-awareness is shaken in an area. I entered this course thinking that I was up on technology; I have taught courses on technology to my fellow colleagues! How quickly I was humbled.

The few new ideas I’m really excited about include Diigo, Prezi, and voicethread. I usually present my lectures to my students using a SmartNotebook software that can easily be exported to PowerPoint. I think I will work on making my closing activities into VoiceThread presentations and posting them on my website for student discussion. That would be a great way to see what they’ve learned and to open the course to more student led-discussion and interaction. It can be so difficult to see what they are really thinking in a 40 minute class with 120 students a day. Too many to read written responses, and too little time to get the quieter students to really respond in. I think including Diigo is a must. We do numerous research projects and I have had such a hard time teaching them how to organize themselves online. This will really help. Lastly, Prezi. How fun! I think this is a great way to make presentations in a more creative way and I can really see my students excelling with this type of opportunity. I plan to use it on a Malcolm X project I’m currently working on. Looking forward to how that will turn out.

I was entering this course a little hesitant on the subject of online learning. This is mostly a result of my own experiences in courses with lack-luster activities and lame topics. The articles included and those I have also found really excite me. For example, the idea that just about any subject or topic could be taught online really leaves room for a lot of teacher creativity (as mentioned in the Minds on Fire article).  Maybe we could be presenting teacher in-services this way. So many of us are limited by family committments after school This article also had me thinking about my students and my own career. I’ve been in the work force for 6 years. How will the job market change during the course of my lifetime? Perhaps most noteworthy was the idea presented in the YouTube clip Did you Know? by Howie DiBlasi that college students will be training for careers that will not exist by the time they graduate. Thank goodness I studied history! Its not going anywhere 🙂  I also liked the “10 Best Practices” article that suggested that online learning can make our “thinking visible.” As I discussed previously, I love activities that have students create to demonstrate their learning.  The author argues that by its nature online learning has students create, write, judge, report and inquire to show the professor that they are learning. I could see that this format will encourage me to develop more meaningful activities for my students.