Bookmarked The art of inquiry teaching…from a distance: Part #1

Someone described it to me as the ‘moment when the clouds parted and the sun shone through’. That is what it felt like way back in June (remember June?) when, for a few precious weeks, I was able to go into schools and work with kids and teachers face to face. It was definitely NOT the same expe…

Kath Murdoch shares two posts (one and two) unpacking strategies for incorporating inquiry into the remote context:

  • Cultivate curiosity by provoking, modelling and valuing it
  • Ask more questions than tell
  • Release control and let learners do the heavy lifting
  • Notice, reflect and respond
  • Be personal by helping students find and pursue their passion
  • Harness real contexts, such as virtual field trips
  • Allow for humour and play
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Focus on concepts over busy work
  • Celebrate the skills within the learning

Emily Fintelman provides her own take on incorporating inquiry into the online classroom, as well as an excellent reflection in the DLTV Journal.

Bookmarked The New Normal: Teaching Amidst Coronavirus by an author (DLTV Journal)
Emily Fintelman reflects on the move to remote learning. For her school the focus has been on guiding learners, rather than delivering lessons. This has included the creation of a ‘learning menu’ with a balance of open-ended tasks, problems worth solving, investigations, personal inquiries, games and tasks. Student contact therefore is centred around well-being, and the maintaining a emotional, social and psychological safe space.

So much of the talk is about what students won’t have access to… a carefully scheduled timetable, a teacher on hand at every second of their 6-hour school day, materials, internet and so on. But a compelling thought is that so many factors that are important for learning have not disappeared… agency, curiosity, goal setting, interesting questions, learning about things that are personally meaningful, feedback from teachers, peers and relatives, a genuine audience. They just look a little different.

Replied to Humans Have Bodies by an author

As I watch my children regularly tune in to virtually connect with others, I wonder what they are missing. I wonder about this lost year of their lives when they’ll have missed connections as they can choose to tune in or out as they see fit. Already I can see my children’s eyes glaze over when they are connected into the video conference and need to pay attention.


I wonder about the connections that are normally made in the classroom outside of the content that my children will miss. How the teacher noticed that one day when our daughter stood up to the class bully. Or when my son decided to risk it all and tried out for the lead in the holiday musical. Those times that are show us (the parents) that we’re hopefully doing the right things necessary to raise a good human being.


But that is no longer what my children have become. They’ve become a stat. They are two of the 65% of students attending school virtually this fall. They are a link and a secret invite code to a Google Meet call. They are a white board full of intersecting and conflicting schedules. They are a series of pending assignments waiting on a Chromebook.


I wonder what happens when humans no longer have bodies. What happens when they can turn on and off connections with others. What happens when they can choose to turn on or off their video camera. What happens when it is expected that they show up on time, look like they’re taking school seriously. What happens when they’re expected to mute their mics, and skillfully…only when needed….un-mute to respond at the appropriate moments.

Thank you Ian for openly sharing your story.

Kinder has definitely been interesting, especially as both my wife and I are still lucky enough to be working.

Liked Distance Learning 3.0: Ready to launch

Wellbeing is at the centre of our distance learning model. We have deliberately built in a focus on the wellbeing of our students, parents, and teachers by integrating the following.

  • Shortening lesson times and increasing break times during periods of distance learning.
  • Including one Student-Directed Learning Day per week for Years K-10. This day is a ‘non-contact’ day of learning in which students organise their time to complete set work, and teachers prepare, mark and respond to student queries. The day will be cycled through the days of the week, depending on when distance learning begins (e.g. Monday one week, Tuesday the next, and so on).
  • Paring back content to the essentials and rethinking the way students can engage with content.
  • Reconsidering the ways in which students can show their learning, and redesigning or rescheduling assessments where appropriate.
  • Continuing to act with kindness, compassion and empathy.
Replied to Taking conferences online during the pandemic by Oliver Quinlan

Tips we learned for running an online conference:

  • Have a very clear programme with all the timings, URLs to access resources and meeting spaces.
  • Stick to timings and chair ruthlessly – it can really mess things up if people in different spaces are not synchronised, and if things start to drag then engagement drops more quickly online.
  • Run a staffed green room for presenters – it worked so well getting everyone prepared and ready to transition smoothly between presentations.
  • Have plenty of staff to help with any technical challenges or people who need help.
  • Have a staff backchannel to co-ordinate and discuss issues away from the content. We used our organisation’s Slack instance.
Thank you for the breakdown of your experience Oliver. I really like the idea of a virtual green room, even though it seems obvious it is not something that I have seen discussed. It was also interesting the way in which things were mixed up to accommodate the move online, such as moving the keynote.

Guess no one knows what the future may hold, however it will be interesting to see what sticks long term.

Liked The evolution of the global education industry during the pandemic

Overall, the project has revealed a particular set of mutations in the global education industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has documented some ways in which privatization of education has expanded – through increasing participation of private actors in public education – and of how commercialization of education has developed through the creation, marketing and sale of education goods and services to schools (and parents) by external providers. We understand this as a particularly intense instantiation of fast policy involving multisector actors and networks, and as an accelerated realization of sociotechnical imaginaries of a highly digitalized future of education. The shifting landscape of commercialization and privatization in education we have surveyed will require sustained attention by educators, unions and researchers to ensure that all stakeholders, and not just private or commercial organizations, can participate democratically in imagining the post-Covid future of public education.

Bookmarked What Is Distance Learning For? by an author (The New Yorker)

We have missed school very much during this time—have missed its warmth, its diversity, its sense of a common cause. That is what school is, I’ve come to understand. It is child care, yes, for parents who need to work. And it is some instruction in reading and writing and math. But, most of all, it is a shared experience—of play, and conflict, and even boredom—overseen by professionals who know what they’re doing.

Keith Gessen reflects on his experiences of learning online during the pandemic. Balancing with the stress and apathy, he discusses how he found equilibrium when he stopped trying to imitate the school schedule and cut things back.

We cut Raffi’s schoolwork down to the bare minimum—letters, numbers, name. We cut the Zooms to one per week. And the rest of the time we spent outside in the park: digging for worms, climbing rocks, building “pizzas” out of dirt.

This comes back to Will Richardson’s new normal of learning.

Bookmarked Four Levels of Real World Home Classrooms

Online learning has shown significant growth over the last decade as the Internet and other communication technologies are use to provide learners with the opportunity to gain new skills. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, online learning has become more of a reality in people’s lives.
As our classrooms and learning spaces shift from public buildings to our homes, it can be a challenge to consider how best to connect digitally. This post will share some of the tools and profiles involved in online learning to help you stay connected.

Ian O’Byrne maps out four levels of home classroom. Starting with a Chromebook and a phone then ending with a desktop and two 24 inch monitors side-by-side. Maybe Troy Hunt’s epic setup is level five?

This also builds on reflections from Doug Belshaw and Aaron Parecki about options associated with remote working. This really is something that I need to look into.

Bookmarked Blended Content Studio

A week or so ago, a video I made for an internal course here went viral, and many people (a hundred or so?) tracked down my email and asked to be a part of it.

It occurred to me that both those emailing and many at WSU would benefit from having access to all the materials outside of the Canvas course shell. Not the quizzes and not the recorded sessions, but the videos and text in a meaningful sequence.

I am publishing this today with a couple hours that miraculously was not scheduled and there seems to be no current emergency. All the same, I do apologize that this will be put up in a basic form that wouldn’t meet course standards if I was teaching a public course. But I hope it’s useful.

The course consists of three core modules, structured around the Connect, Explain, Engage concept:

Mike Caulfield breaks down some of the pieces associated with the structure of blended learning and some consideration in regards to the creation of video content. I really like how he addresses the different options, as well as things to consider. I find reading these pieces useful in that it forces me each time to reconsider my thoughts.

Some things that stood out to me were the use of unlisted YouTube videos:

I use unlisted YouTube videos for a lot of my materials. It’s not secure — anyone with the link can watch it. But for things where I don’t care who sees it, it’s a good technique for sharing course video.

Nudging up the personal ‘you’:

whatever volume you normally do “you” — you need to nudge it up just a bit if you are recording a video of any length. There’s something that asynchronous video does where it shaves of a bit of enthusiasm, a bit of emotion. Something about it being recorded.

Or maybe it’s when we don’t have an energy on the other end of the conversation, when we don’t have that audience energy, we just don’t give it our all?

Online time is different to face-to-face time:

So maybe divide it by 1.6, or 1.5. Two hours and 40 minutes of class might be replaced by 1 hr and 36 minutes of explanatory video. If you add in questions or activities in between the videos — short quizzes, reflection, discussion prompts, it’s even less. You might end up with 50 minutes of video and 50 minutes of reflection/quizzing. And as long as the videos are introducing new material and concepts in a concise way, this holds whether the videos you’re asking students to watch were made by you or someone else.

Importance of signalling, segmenting and weeding:

We talked about signalling, where we use one channel of audiovisual communication to help students organize another. Segmenting, where we give students a chance to process information periodically. And weeding, where we remove extraneous material that might be confusing to students.

A couple additional things: speak quickly (speech on video seems slower than in person). Give a sense of immediacy, the sense you’re talking to the specific person listening at a time approaching now. And we talked about this a bit in terms of segmenting, but give the students opportunities for active learning. You don’t learn what you don’t integrate, and integration is linked to doing, not listening.

Bookmarked Librarians turned Google Forms into the unlikely platform for virtual escape rooms by an author ([object Object])

By going through the games, players develop their problem-solving and reading comprehension skills, Brooke Windsor, a librarian at Richmond Hill Public Library in Ontario says. She’s made several escape rooms, including ones themed around Star WarsMarvel superheroes, and Jurassic World. In addition to honing those skills, the problems and puzzles often involve geography or math.

“We still want to sneak in that learning, broccoli-in-the-brownie style,” says Windsor.

These activities provide a vehicle for teachers to get students interested in different subjects. Lockard says that her ancient Egypt-themed escape room is used in history classes, and her space-themed one is used by science teachers and Girl Scouts groups.

Aliya Chaudhry reports on how some librarians have turned to digital escape rooms. Cory Doctorow explains how:

The librarian-creators link these puzzles into online resources from their collections and the whole world, turning them into jumping-off points for self-directed research and learning.

 

Replied to 9 Ways Online Teaching Should be Different from Face-to-Face
  1. The first weeks of school should be devoted to community building and digital competency.
  2. Communication with parents needs to be more thorough, streamlined, and predictable.
  3. Community and connection need to be a priority for teachers, too.
  4. Teacher collaboration is even more important.
  5. “Face-to-face” time should be used for active learning.
  6. Content needs to be simplified and slowed down.
  7. Instructions should be easy to find, explicit, and multimodal.
  8. Traditional grading practices should take a backseat to feedback.
  9. Summative assessment should focus on creation.
Jennifer, I really enjoyed your interview with Melanie Kitchen. As both a parent and an educator, I think that that making the lines of communication between home and school is really important. One of the things that I found challenging was what information to pass back to the teacher in regards to my daughter.
Replied to
Thank you Ben for the podcast recommendation about online learning. Not sure exactly what a ‘Type 2’ Ben Collins course would look like. Maybe it is about bringing your own problem or something. Look forward to what you come up with.

You might be interested in Jon Dron and Terry Anderson’s book Teaching Crowds. I discussed it here.

Listened Will Mannon: Running an Online Course by an author

SHOW NOTES:

1:50- David and Will’s focus on customer happiness. Type one and type two online courses. What online educators can learn from the Navy Seals.

13:45- How fear is a part of transformational experiences. What held Will back from starting writing. What music can teach us about great writing.

19:27- Why we fear achieving our vision. Write of Passage guilt. How Write of Passage prioritizes helping people make friends.

27:23- Striking the balance between creating community and letting it grow naturally. How interest groups allow students to create their own communities. The structure of Will’s job as course manager.

35:58- Forte Lab’s yearly planning process. The three phases of Will’s course management. How Will and David are thinking about data collection.

49:14- How Will and David met. How Will’s course feedback led to working with David. Why classical education theory doesn’t really apply to online education.

59:11- Why Will and David create “type 2” courses. Why David learns from his students. How Write of Passages integrates feedback.

1:07:20- What feedback David listens to. The future of Write of Passage. Why David tries to solve very specific problems using software.

1:12:10- How the Internet makes attention a commodity. Why WOP can thrive with zero cold traffic marketing. How the Internet will help make creators money in the future.

This was a really interesting conversation, especially in regards to Type 1 and Type 2 styles of learning. I was particularly intrigued by the discussion of online pedagogy and how this differs from a professor who has studied education for thirty years. I agree that context is important and that online learning is different to the classroom, however I am sceptical of ignoring someone else’s knowledge and experience.
Bookmarked The 7 elements of a good online course (The Conversation)

Research shows few differences in academic outcomes between online and face-to-face university courses. A professor who’s been teaching online for years offers advice on good online courses.

George Veletsianos reflects on his experience studying online learning to provide some advice about what to look for as many sectors stay online for the foreseeable future.

  • A good online course is informed by issues of equity and justice.
  • A good online course is interactive.
  • A good online course is engaging and challenging.
  • A good online course involves practice.
  • A good online course is effective.
  • A good online course includes an instructor who is visible and active, and who exhibits care, empathy and trust for students.
  • A good online course promotes student agency.

I particularly like Veletsianos’ closing remarks:

These qualities aren’t qualities of good online courses. They are qualities of good courses, period.

Although online learning is different, I feel that what is most interesting is the distance it provides and the opportunity to reassess. This is something that David White and Will Mannon have been discussing.

Liked How much ‘work’ should my online course be for me and my students? by dave dave

Those 6 total work hours are going to work out to 90 hours of work over an average term of 15 weeks. (please note, the Carnegie unit wants that to be 120 hours, but we’re going to ignore that). We have 90 hours to work with over the term for a course. How do you want to break that down? It’s going to be drastically different for different courses and styles. But whatever you’re teaching, keep trying to think about it from the perspective of what a student is actually going TO DO.

Simple break down (not quite 90, yes i know)

Watch 3 hours of video* – 5 hours
Read stuff – 20 hours
Listen to me talk – 15 hours
Talk with other students in a group – 15 hours
Write reflections about group chat – 7.5 hours
Respond to other people’s reflections – 7.5 hours
Work on a term paper – 10 hours
Do weekly quiz – 3 hours
Write take home mid-term – 3 hours
Write take home final – 3 hours

Liked Teacher Reflections: What Worked/What Didn’t with Distance Learning

Distance Learning Pros Cons
I facilitated a workshop with colleagues the other day on using Google Classroom with students, but first, I brought us all into a collaborative document to write and reflect together on the previous three months of unanticipated Distance Learning. I was curious to know t…

Liked Technology is not Pedagogy (Sean Michael Morris)

What happens when learning goes online? This is not a question technology can answer. It’s one we need to answer. Teachers, librarians, learning designers, students. Actually good online education comes not from the purchase of another platform, but out of dialogue, out of the will to empower everyone involved in teaching and learning to create together a digital learning that isn’t just instrumental, that isn’t just performative, but that’s authentic, meaningful, and just.

Liked 7 Strategies Designed to Increase Student Engagement in Synchronous Online Discussions Using Video Conferencing (catlintucker.com)

Caitlin Tucker with guidance on keeping it simple as you design online video discussions.

  • Provide students with an agenda and a list of discussion questions ahead of time;
  • Communicate your expectations for participation and behavior online;
  • Ask students to generate their own discussion questions;
  • Start every virtual conferencing session with an icebreaker question or a quick check-in;
  • Use the chat window strategically;
  • Host shorter sessions with fewer students;
  • Ask students to assess their participation online.
via Ian O’Byrne