After initially being extremely excited about the potential of online programs, I am realising that I have some concerns. Personally, I think I would prefer to learn in a 100% online class as opposed to a brick and mortar classroom; I like the personalisation, the flexibility and the technology of such a course. I like the control it gives me as a student.
However - and I wasn't expecting this - I am wary about losing sight of what I see as being my main strength as a teacher - my presence in the classroom! I am realising (and will regret this brutal honesty!) that I enjoy the respect/attention/power I have over the students in my class in a face to face environment. I enjoy the interactions I have as a teacher; I enjoy seeing the reactions on their faces and playing on it; I like how, at the end of a school year, that a friendship has blossomed and will continue - I am still in contact with students I taught back in 1999. And above all all else, I love how rewarding it is seeing how I am changing lives a little at a time - in my small, insignificant way. These are the reasons I became a teacher... Anyway, back on track!
As a face to face teacher, I feel that I use a variety of ways to explore learning with my students but due to the nature of my subject and schedule limitations, I usually fall back on the demonstration method; I demonstrate how to complete the activity or skill and the students then put it into practice. This way of teaching would lend itself well to online learning and this has already started happening by creating Jing screencasts for when I am unavailable to teach. Students watch the video and then complete the task at hand.
As a specialist teacher where it is necessary for me to collaborate fully with the homeroom teacher so as to integrate technology across from the 'stand-alone' ICT session and into the classroom, my role is often to facilitate further learning back in the classroom; to be a facilitator as well as a delegator. Once again, these are two instructional methodologies that would transfer themselves into the online world.
Part of my current role - and the part I really enjoy - is keeping abreast of new developments and new web tools to support learning and I think being able to pick out the best and most applicable tools for the job would be a huge part of developing an online program. Flexibility is also essential since even though free tools are always available, they change constantly and this requires adaptability and patience.
So in conclusion, it seems that my fears in the second paragraph are unfounded, the way I currently teach in a face to face classroom, and the skills & strategies that I currently use, could easily be mirrored in an online or blended environment. I still need to figure out how to ensure that connections are made between myself and the online students as I strongly believe that human interaction is key.
2. Online vs. face to face Venn Diagram
3. Collaborative Presentation of Web2.0 Tools
4. Designing an online discussion
5. Establishing an Accessible Social Presence
6. Designing a comprehensive Assessment Plan
7. Online Course Syllabus
8. Reflection: iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching
Hello, I am Tony Potts, the Director of Digital Learning, PK-12 ICT Coordinator, ICT teacher and technology integration specialist at GEMS World Academy, Dubai. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions...