Tag Archives: eLearning

OTRK12 Reflections

The month’s On the Rise K12 conference was very worthwhile.  I was impressed with the level of learning, sharing and reflecting. Some of my highlights included:

There was a notable energy during the event which continued right through to the last session.  I attended an identifying barriers and moving forward session. It was quite interesting to listen to the various challenges raised:

    • great admin support, but teachers are resisting change
    • wonderful grass roots energy to change, need more admin support
    • interest and participation in blended learning is growing but bandwidth capacity is an issue
    • need more wifi coverage

All in all, it was a great passionate discussion  by caring educators.  Upon reflection, the things that really resonated with me were:

    • it is critical to continue investment into bandwidth (internal and internet) and stay ahead of the need
    • I believe leveraging access by including BYOD as part of the mix is important
    • the grass roots up/top down needs to become a planned path with expectations and annual goals
    • continue to focus solving problems and sharing solutions

There are 2 more critical pieces to the puzzle in my mind. There are a wealth of teachers who already use many web 2.0 and social media tools as part of their instructional practice in curriculum delivery. I seems to me, a plan is needed to bring this body of ‘casual’ blended learning into the D2L portal used by the Ministry of Education. Part of this plan would address the need for an easy path to connect existing resources used in the casual approach into D2L – a transition, not a do over for teachers.  Secondly, the D2L environment needs to be “lego like”  — easy to snap outside resources into the portal and minimizing the need for custom interfaces or complicated conversions.

Related Resources 

Conference Twitter chat stream
Presentation: The Traditional Classroom by Diana Hughes
Reflections from Donna Fry
Colleen Rose’s Reflection
OTRK12 Part 1 by Ferdinand Krauss
OTRK12 Part 2 by Ferdinand Krauss
Reflections from Brandon Grasley
Conference Site

I look forward to attending next year’s event.


Back Seat Conversation

On our recent driving vacation, it was quite interesting to listen to the back seat discussion from two teenagers – my daughter and a long time close family friend. As one might expect, there was lots to share, and the conversation easily wandered from topic to topic without ever missing a beat. I was interested in how various aspects of technology wove through the discussion.

This past year, each of the girls took at least one elearning course. Things they liked about the elearning environment were:

  • flexibility
  • scheduling your own time
  • independence
  • enjoy working online (not paper based)
  • work with students with similar abilities (profiles of online learning candidates)

These girls live in a connected world. They talked about being connected, in a good way. They can barely remember not being connected. I note their keen ability to find free wifi networks to connect to. Both girls read and follow blogs. Both write their own blogs based on their own individual interests. One has a tumblr based photography blog to track and share photography of interest. The other reads and writes fan fiction, and uses other social media tools to develop an audience.  Without any prompting from me, they talked about finding people with like interests, sharing and developing a “real audience” to share their interests and passions.

I couldn’t help but take note of their their ongoing but subtle search for wifi – not because they didn’t enjoy the vacation activities, but because they are passionate about this aspect of their lives. They are used to being connected with wifi at home and school. Being online is simply part of their lives.

Classroom activities need to tap student passions. I encourage all teachers to find way ways to use and leverage online sharing and collaboration tools to help capture student passion for learning.