Woohoo! This summary of learning represents the end of my 9th course and my last ed tech class. I have really enjoyed taking all 5 ed tech courses. I feel like this was definitely one of the ones that I learned the most in! You can check out my summary of the learning video and see everything I am talking about by clicking here.
Final Course Walkthrough
Here it is folks! The end of the creation of my first blended learning course. It has been an adventure trying to figure out how to create lessons for an online unit where students are completing it both synchronously and asynchronously, but I think it went well overall. I also got to try out a new tool in my second module, Nearpod, which was awesome and I can’t wait to use this in my classroom.
You can find my course profile here. This includes details on the overall structure of my course as well as the rationale and concerns that may arise with a course of this type.
All of the content for my course is on a Google Classroom site that can’t be accessed outside of our division. I did make a detailed walkthrough for module 1 and module 2 that you can view to learn how the modules function and the assignments that students would be completing.
You can also view more information on my thoughts throughout this process by clicking here to read my reflections on the feedback received after my first module, as well as reading my reflections on course prototype interactions.
Final Course Walkthrough
Since I did lengthy walkthroughs for both of my modules, I have created a short overview video of my course which you can find here. I hope you learned a few new things about the weather by following along with my modules!
Module 2 – Air Masses and Weather Fronts
My second module consists of an interactive presentation on air masses and weather fronts using the website Nearpod. This was my first time using this website and I found it awesome! I have taught this unit in the past (en francais) where I did a traditional PowerPoint and students took notes but as this course is focused on using blended learning, I was looking for a way to make it more interactive and fun. My walkthrough video explains what the students will be completing as well as how the synchronous vs asynchronous students would be completing the activities!
You can check out my walkthrough by clicking here.
Course Prototype Interactions
Communication is key to creating a successful community. It is important that students have opportunities to interact with not only the instructor but other students as well. How this communication happens can differ greatly depending on the format of the course. My course prototype involves both synchronous and asynchronous learning so the ways that this communication can happen will be different for each group.
I’ll admit, I find it much easier to communicate and engage students in a synchronous setting. There is something about person-person communication that just simplifies everything. Throughout my entire course, my plan is to engage students with a variety of different tasks. Not every lesson needs to have an online component when we are in the classroom, and not every lesson needs to have a full-on discussion. There is a balance that is needed depending on the content and activity we are doing. It is important to give students a variety of instructional activities such as reading, writing, listening, drawing/creating, presenting, discussing, and playing games. Some of these tasks would require technology in the classroom and others would not. The synchronous student-student and teacher-student communication will primarily be done orally as we are in the room together. However, there are still options for students to present some work and share in discussions virtually (via video recording, online discussions on the Google Classroom with Questions, applications such as Flip etc.).
Even though the synchronous interaction is primarily in person, many of the strategies presented by Patricia Cross and the JHU are still relevant to synchronous courses:
- Have a plan – Even in-person learning requires teachers to know when and how they will communicate with their students.
- Establish a social presence – Cross suggests that a social presence is crucial for developing a sense of community. Even with in-person learning, students still need to feel safe, connected, and represented in the classroom in order to feel comfortable.
- Create opportunities for sharing– Again, this is just as important in class as it is in a virtual setting. Students will get bored if all you do is talk at them and they don’t get a chance to speak.
- Use collaborative learning techniques– Similar to opportunities for sharing, students LOVE working with a partner or group.
- Include parents in community building– As I mentioned in the social presence, even if the learning is happening in person, parents should still be aware and able to engage in their child’s education at school.
Since my course is offered in two formats, students also have the option to complete all the assignments and receive the instructions asynchronously. As these are both happening at the same time, it is a little different than other courses where the work is online and the instructor is available all day. There is less time for teacher-student interaction during the school day as I am teaching the synchronous students. However, families and students who chose this option are aware of this ahead of time and are likely selecting this option due to illness, travel, or another need for an alternate schedule. Students who are completing this course asynchronously will still have a variety of ways to engage in their learning and connect with their peers. The strategies mentioned above by Cross and JHU still apply. Some ways that we can foster connection between student-student and student-teacher with the asynchronous format of my course include:
- Creating a plan for communication– When is the teacher available to meet virtually? When are students expected to complete tasks? When do students have the opportunity to connect with other students? When will there be 1-1 check-ins? How does a student reach out if they need help?
- Establish a social presence- Just like in the classroom, activities outside of the course topic are completed to help students get to know each other and the teacher. Asynchronous students will also have the option to join meets with the other online students just to hangout, chat about school, and get to know each other.
- Create opportunities for sharing– Students doing all of the work online will be able to communicate in the comments on the classroom, message each other directly, and share their work via platforms like Flip and on the classroom. They will also be able to complete some work and discussions as a group on Google Classroom.
- Meet in real time – Virtual meets with the teacher will be pre-arranged at key points in the course for check-in and additional explanation/review of topics. Students will also be able to request 1-1 meets for additional help.
- Include parents in community building– Parents would also have access to the Google Classroom as a viewer and can see what their child is learning.
All in all, there are many ways to encourage communication and interaction between students and instructors in both virtual and in-person settings. It is important that instructors consider these strategies and question how they can apply them to the type of course they are building.
Module 1 – Review
Now that we have completed module one and received feedback from our reviewers I would like to clairfy and explain additions that could be made to my first module.
- My GoogleClassroom was created using my school board email address, which means that there is no way to make it pubic (apparently!). Unfortunately, that means that classmates and reviewers will not be able to go directly into the classroom itself. I will make sure that future walkthrough videos are more detailed due to this. I will also make sure to include a general overview of the classroom platform itself in my final walkthrough video.
- One reviewer mentioned that the cloud project assignment may be difficult for the asynchronous students to complete at home if they do not have the necessary supplies. A suggestion was to give them also the ability to do the project digitally. This is something I could add to my module.
- Something not mentioned by my written reviewers, but that was brought up in our group/oral feedback the week before was that there are no indicators on the rubric itself. With my school board, we do not attach our marks to the outcomes/indicators for subjects aside from Math and Languages. On the report card, they would only see a final mark for the subject. If they are to log into Edsby (our reporting platform) they can see the name of the assignment, along with any other provided details and the mark for each assignment. This makes it much easier when teaching a split grade. I currently teach 4/5 so this way the students in grade 4 who are completing the unit as well can still have science marks for their work.
- After discussing accessibility in class last week, I am still thinking of ways that I can increase accessibility to my unit. I find that many times accessibility adaptations are provided based on the students we are currently teaching and until we have experienced working with a specific need it can be hard to find ways to adapt. At this time, my main adaptation requirements in my classroom with my current students include: help with reading, EAL, and some reduction in the amount of writing required when completing tasks. These were addressed in my course profile.
Overall, the feedback on my module overall was positive and there are not too many changes that are required for my first module. Reviewers mentioned that the instruction and assessments were varied towards different learners, adaptations were included/mentioned, the expectations and content were grade-appropriate, and there was consideration for how things would be executed both for the synchronous and asynchronous students across all aspects.
If anyone else has any suggestions for improving my first module please comment below!
Module 1 : Types of Clouds
Here is the first module for my blended learning course on weather for grade 5! If you would like to read more about my course profile you can find it here.
I decided to go with GoogleClassroom for my course as it is a great way to be able to reach both the in class and the online students. I am also very familiar with GoogleClassroom and my school offers all students access to it. My GoogleClassroom is not able to be accessed outside of the school district, so to view the classroom you will need to watch the walkthrough video posted below.
As my unit is planned for both in class and asynchronous learning, all students would have access to the classroom. The students who are signed up for in class learning would be completing the lessons and assignments at school. However, if they are absent for an extended amount of time they can always log on and see the directions and copies of the assignments for the asynchronous student. The students signed up for asynchronous classes would be expected to login an d complete the lessons accoding to the science class schedule. This first module is designed with 3 lessons (3 75 min class periods). The first one being exploratory, and the next two are working on a summative project.
You can find a guided tour of my first module by clicking here.
For this week’s assignment I decided to explore Popplet. Prior to today I had never heard of or seen this platform. When I saw the name I got excited as it was listed as a mapping resource and I have yet to use a platform in my classroom for that purpose. To start, I went to the website’s homepage to explore and possibly sign up. I was a bit discourage as their entire website was just one sentence with a photo and a link to either sign in or join. There was zero information on the platform, how it works, pricing etc.
I was a bit turned off a this point as I believe good platforms will have plenty of information and examples for you to view prior to having to sign up. I did some quick googling to try and find more information. It appears that the platform is free for the website version, but the app store lists it as 3.99 for the app named Popplet, or free for something called Popplet Lite ( I am not sure the difference between the two…). I ended up having to go to Youtube to find more information on the site. Before signing up I wanted to see what it could actually do and their website did not offer that. I did find this video which seemed to be the best explanation of how to use the platform:
It seemed like something that would work well to use with all ages of students. I teach middle years and thought it might be a good fit so I made an account. All they asked for when I signed up was my name, email, and a password. I quickly created a Popplet based on a few things from our current novel study:
I found that when saving I could only save from my computer as a PDF, it would not let me save as a JPEG. I am guessing that is a function only for use on the ipad. Having to take a screenshot makes it difficult to read all of the text.
- Easy to naviagate
- App and computer version which could allow for usage in many types of classrooms & at different grade levels
- Free (at least the computer version and the Apple Lite version)
- Public popplets that could be used
- Allow students to be creative when using the platform
- Could be used for synchronous or asynchronous learning
- One app version requires payment
- Website provides little to no help/information
- All students need their own accounts- seems to be the option to sign in with Google Drive or sign up with email/password like teachers would do
- Very basic, only useful for creating graphic organizers
- Not the best tool to use if you are wanting to collaborate as a class at the same time
- Can only save as a PDF or share to social media sites from the computer, no JPEG.
This seems like a basic platform that is easy to use and is good for the one thing it is designed to do. It appears to be a good choice if you are looking for something simple that younger students could navigate easily. I am still not sure whether this is a tool I want to use in my classroom. I don’t know if I want to have my students create accounts of their own. Since it allows a sign in with Google I am guessing it would be okay, but I would need to look more into our division policies and the websites’ privacy information before commiting to letting my students make accounts.
Cloudy With a Course Profile
This course will follow the Saskatchewan Curriculum guidelines for the Earth and Space Science: Weather – focusing on outcomes WE5.1 , WE5.2 , and WE5.3.
Target Audience & Timeline
This course is intended for students in grade 5 at a Saskatchewan school. Students may also be in a 4/5 or 5/6 combined classroom. This course will take 8-10 weeks to complete.
Teachers are encourage to use adaptations when necessary to make content availible to all students. Students with ROA’s and who are following an Adjusted Grading or who are EAL may require extra support.
This course will follow a blended learning format. Students will be able to access this course synchronously while at school, or asynchronously from home. Any direct instruction from the face to face time will be offered to asynchronous students via teacher prepared video lessons or Youtube lessons.
Throughout this course, Google Classroom will be utilized (primarily for the asynchronous learners) along with a variety of online tools to deliver content and provide a variety of learning opportunities. Some online tools that may be used include: Youtube, Quizizz, Mentimeter, Kahoot, Padlet etc.
Teachers are encourage to chose the tools they see fit for communicating with students. Some benficial tools may include:
Edsby – this LMS can be useful for reminding parents and students of deadlines as well as communicating grades for assignments.
Google Calendar – This can be a useful tool for the students who are completing the course asynchronously as the due dates for assignments will sync with Google Classroom. Synchronous students can also check here, but will be provided with reminders to write in their agenda when face to face.
Google Meets- Can be used to include the asynchronous students into discussions happening with face to face students, or allow the asynchronous to connect to the teacher/other asynchronous students when discussions or help is needed.
Students will be able to view all assignment due dates on the agenda board in the classroom or on the Google Calendar/Google Classroom. Students who are absent for extended periods due to trips, illness etc., can complete the missed work asynchronously.
Students who are completing the work asynchronously will use the turn in feature on Google Classroom to share their assignments with the teacher. Face to face learners may also use Google Classroom while at school for certain assignments, and can turn their work in there as well. Synchronous students can also hand their work in directly to the teacher.
The following outcomes as listed in the Saskatchewan Curriculum will guide the planning and instruction of this couse:
WE5.1 – Measure and represent local weather, including temperature, wind speed and direction, amount of sunlight, precipitation, relative humidity, and cloud cover.
WE5.2 – Investigate local, national, and global weather conditions, including the role of air movement and solar energy transfer.
WE5.3 -Analyze the impact of weather on society and the environment, including technologies that help humans address weather conditions.
Course Guiding Questions
- How do we collect data on weather?
- How do the types of clouds differ and what does the type of cloud indicate in regards to predicting the weather?
- What is the function of simple weather instruments?
- What is the water cycle?
- What is the difference between weather and climate?
- What different climates exist?
- How can we show data collected regarding temperature and rainfall?
- How does the climate/weather effect the choices we make in our daily lives?
- What are examples of severe weather events and how have they impacted our world?
Course assessment will be both formative and summative. Assessments will be provided virtually for students who are completing the course asynchronously. Students who are completing the course face to face will use a combination of pencil/paper assessments and online assessments. Some assesments will be individual and some will be completed in partners or groups (for the synchronous learners). Assessments will follow Regina Public Schools’ assessment scale.
Internet and technology access will be availible for students who are learning synchronously. Students who sign up to complete the course asynchronously as opposed to face to face should make sure that they have proper access to technology and a stable internet connection.
Adaptations- adaptations will need to be put in place according to the specifc needs of the students in the course. Some examples of adapations could include: scribe for students who struggle with writing, Google Read and Write for students who need help writing or to listen to a text, Google Translate for EAL learners, lists of key words translated for EAL learners.
It is assumed that all students have had instruction on using the LMS Google Classroom prior to the start of this unit.
This course is designed with the idea in mind that face to face learning is not always the best choice for every student. We must recognize that education is constantly evolving and that we need to evolve our practices as well to meet the needs of all students. We can help students to feel safe and develop good digital literacy skills by offering blended learning courses.
Blended Learning & Me
When I first heard the term blended learning, this is what immediately popped into my mind:
I had thought that my experiences with blended learning pretty much came down to the pandemic teaching experiences where we were in class and then online constantly due to fluctating case numbers and random classroom shutdowns. However, in class last week Katia showed us this diagram that is super helpful in defining blended learning. And, as it turns out, blended learning is much more than what I had originally thought! I had not realized that face to face learning while using technology classroom aids was considered blended learning. So, with this new definition in mind let’s start!
Now that I better understand what blended learning is, I have realized that there are many ways that I use blended learning in my classroom. Some examples of my usage are:
- Using gamified learning to help engage students and vary how we are learning and reviewing topics – some examples include Kahoot, Blooket, and Quizizz
- Using technology to make learning accessible for my students – using Google Read and Write as well as my in classroom microphone/PA system
- Using technology to adapt to students’ needs – using a variety of tools and online ressources to help my students find information at their level
- Stations/Rotations – using a modified daily 5 format which includes 1-1 time, independent work, and tech time
- Building connections – using platforms like Zoom to communicate with community members and learn from others, we Zoom with our school’s Elder a few times every semester.
As you can see from the ways I used blended learning, it can be a very useful format for face to face classes! Aside from the ways I utilize blended learning in my room, there are also benefits to using other models of blended learning that incorporate even more technology usage outside of the classroom. Some benefits of using any form of blended learning include:
- Provides a safer learning environment for students who are needing to spend more time working at home due to medical or social issues
- Increases student engagement
- Can help to imrpove student understanding and comprehension due to a variety of instruction forms being utilized
- Provides students more autonomy
- Make better use of instruction time that is face to face
- Facilitate the gathering of data so that teachers can spend less time correcting and more time doing the things that matter – like building relationships
Although blended learning can be quite usefull in the classroom there are still some challenges that could occur. For example:
- Motivation – students may feel less motivated if the format requires them to complete lots of work independently at home. This could also impact student participation and attendance.
- Technology knowledge – it is possible that students (and teachers) will stuggle with using the technology, platform, or websites properly and efficiently
- Technology trouble – let’s be real, there is ALWAYS some issue with technology not working properly at one time or another
- Digital divide- not all students have access to technology tools and internet outside of the school. It can also be expensive to provide the technology needed at school.
- Training – teachers need to know how to properly create and implement the blended learning program that they are utilizing. This could be more difficult depending on the teacher’s experiences, comfort levels with tech, and how much of the course is being completed online.
How about yourself? Do you see yourself as a blended learning whiz, or a newbie? What benefits and challenges have you had while using blended learning?
Hi everyone. My name is Brittney Clyde. I was born and raised here in Regina. I completed my educational program at the university of Regina and finished with my undergatuate degrees in French Immersion Education and French (arts). I am currently working on my masters in Curriculum and Instruction. This is my 8/9th class and I am excited to be done following the spring semester. I am currently teaching grade 4/5 at Elsie Mironuck school. I usually teach in the French Immersion stream, however this year I was switched to an English 4/5 due to high English numbers in our school. I LOVE 4/5 so much so it is still a pretty good year, although I do miss my French!
Outside of school and work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our cute corgi Loki. We spend a lot of our free time travelling (I have visited 32 countries and 15 have been with him!) , watching tv, eating out, and playing board games.
As for online/blended learning, my experiences come down to the online teaching world of Covid 2020. I had never taught online prior to then. I feel that the online teaching experience that came with Covid is not necessarily what online learning should be like/typically is? I am excited to learn more about this topic during our classes this semester.
If you are wondering why my blog is called Mme.Cookie – it is because for my first ed teach class (and my first time blogging), my major project was focused on using social media to learn how to decorate cookies. If you’re at all curious about that, you can check out my old posts here. I never realized at the time that I would fall in love with the edteach courses and continue using this blog, but here we are! This is my 5th and final edtech course.