Grrr……Online group collaboration

As a preservice teacher, I am learning to respect ‘perspectives’. I understand the pedagogical and theoretical benefits of group collaboration as part of an assessment piece, but struggle immensely with the practicality of it. I have found that Communities of Inquiry are fantastic whilst the group can physically meet, but no so beneficial when the group includes the Invisible man and the Flash. The Invisible man is that group member whose name is on the participant’s list but is never seen, and the Flash buzzes in and out so fast they don’t even leave evidence of them being there.

This isn’t the first online collaboration I have done, and am experiencing the same issues of struggle and frustration as I did last time. Group members never showing their presence, not contributing and leaving me stranded in the middle of the forum on my own, praying to the universe that I will get some support. 

I don’t intend on being offensive, and apologise if people take offense. That is not the intention of this blog, rather to point out the learning deficits of this form of pedagogy, rather than its benefits, as I have experienced them. I also understand (and, I must add, am extremely envious of) that there are a number of successful online collaborations, and would love to hear from some people involved in these. The recipe, as I understand it, is a balance of involved group members all of whom take an active role in the discussion and encourage meaningful interactions. I know this is possible, I have been a part of one, but find the odds of a 1 to 2 success rate quite disappointing.

This article details four issues identified with online COI and sums up the struggles I am having. Social presence, an important aspect of collaboration, requires trust and intellectual focus and, to be truly successful, create personal and purposeful relationships. All of these qualities require time to build, and in a COI that, in essence, is a group of students thrown together to have a meaningful discussion in a short amount of time, is a struggle.

I understand the benefits of collaboration and discussion for deepening our level of thinking, opening our minds to new perspectives and interacting in a professional manner. I truly do, but fail to see how practicing this method online, without guaranteed contribution equality, can truly help students experience everything COI has to offer.

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My Favourite Pedagogical Framework

This is such a tricky decision. I recently read a colleague’s blog on the same topic, and noticed the differences between our opinions.

Whilst this preservice teacher prefers the 5E’s approach, I am inclined to favour Bloom’s Taxonomy to underpin my learning experiences. I love the ability it provides to gradually deepen the level of understanding on a topic as well as develop higher order thinking skills, which are vital for students to succeed in life.

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Most recently I discovered the Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, and, with EDC3100 and its focus on ICT integration, feel that this framework will be extremely useful in the upcoming assignment 2.

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I am aware, however, that it is beneficial to utilise more than one framework in teaching, so as not to miss any vital elements of understanding. With this in mind, I realise there are frameworks that, although designed to fit best to particular subjects, for example, the 5E’s model for science, the Inquiry framework for Geographical inquiry and the Language Stages Model for mathematics, are able to be utilised in other subject areas.

The Technology Integration Planning Model

Here They Are!

This week in the unit I’m studying on Online Learning, we’re looking at effective ICT integration planning models, focusing on the Technology Integration Planning (TIP) model.
There are many ways that educational institutions plan the integration of ICT. Some of these can be divided into two main areas of focus. Does the institution first plan how it sees learning happening, then acquires the technology systems to enhance that? Or does it allocate a budget for ICT and then ICT systems are put in place and then learning activities are designed around what the ICT allows? Warren McCullough (2011) has outlined these differences here.

Because of these fundamental differences in emphasis between infrastructure and curriculum, it is essential for educators to have an understanding of well designed integration planning models. The Technology Integration Planning (TIP) model is one such model, developed by Roblyer (2006), and adapted by Finger, et al…

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Teachers sharing with teachers

 

Rhetorical question: How awesome is the teaching community?

I searched Facebook for “new teacher” and found this wonderful page. Entitled Teachers Notebook, this page is a resource for teachers to share free and paid resources for K-12. As preservice teachers we all know that the more resources we can easily obtain, the better off we will be.

This page, therefore, gives a great leg-up for assignment inspiration, beginning teaching resources and support from others who are in the know.

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First day jitters

Whilst I am a little way off joining the “teaching force”, and as silly as it seems, I am starting to get organised for my first day.

I am an avid user of Pintrest, and find myself spending large amounts of time perusing the vast resources available there.

Today I found a huge number of boards giving advice for new teachers, including “How to avoid a nightmare first day” and tips for new teachers.

A simple search for “teacher advice”, “teacher tips” or anything similar will result in a plethora of teaching advice given to teachers from teachers, from all walks of life, grade levels and school types.

As you can tell, I adore Pintrest, and recommend all of my colleagues to join.

Today’s inspiration

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As it is the holidays I was struggling to find a topic to write about. I wanted something related to my studies and meaningful. I came across Leesa’s blog post “A touching story”  and was taken aback. The story of the teacher who engaged with the student who had the worst reputation is truly inspirational. It was a perfect encapsulation of the philosophies that I am learning throughout my degree:

* That every child is unique.

* Each child should be given the time to show you who they are, what they represent and how they learn.

* We, as teachers, are there to bring out the best in our students. To do this, we MUST get to know our students and find out what makes them tick.

And most importantly, I feel:

* EVERY student has the potential to achieve great things, and only through working TOGETHER with them, can this be achieved.

We all have the potential to be great teachers, but I truly fee this only comes when we take the time to get to know our students, start each day anew and look upon each student as someone unique.

Not only do we teach them, but I honestly believe that our students can teach us, if we only take the time and show the respect to listen.

Running record: Part 1: Curriculum + Assessment

This is part one of my running record for assessment two which is designed to accumulate my decisions and ideas for the unit plan.

Context:

School: Kurwongbah State School is a middle-SE school, with a strong specialist support network and a heavy focus on community and music programs.

Students: With over 1000 students, this school is able to implement programs for the development of gifted and talented students, as well as both in-class and specialised assistance for students with special and additional learning needs.

My unit plan will target year 7 English, in particular analysing and creating persuasive texts. The topic of the assessment will be Ned Kelly: Hero, Villain and Victim?

Learning objectives:

Identify and explore ideas and viewpoints about events, issues and characters represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1619)

Reflect on ideas and opinions about characters, settings and events in literary texts, identifying areas of agreement and difference with others and justifying a point of view (ACELT1620)

Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)

Assessment criteria:

Students explain issues and ideas from a variety of sources, analysing supporting evidence and implied meaning. They select specific details from texts to develop their own response, recognising that texts reflect different viewpoints. They listen for and explain different perspectives in texts. Students create structured and coherent texts for a range of purposes and audiences.

Moving on from March Madness

Like a number of my colleagues, I am finally finished with round 1 of assignments and instantly delving into round 2. I enjoyed reading Mrs D’s blog post in which she discusses her difficulties in making decisions regarding the upcoming EDC3100 assignment.

Likewise, I am struggling to choose the foundational information which forms the basis of this unit plan. Whilst having a wide choice is great in terms of personalisation and learning area preference, these decisions impact all future decisions in the design process.

As such, I find what should seem so simple a choice to be quite difficult. In saying that, am I simply over-thinking the basic stuff? Should I, as Mrs D recommends, take the plunge and make a move? I say, yes!

Last semester I purchased the Wiggins & McTighe book regarding Understanding by Design, and, in reviewing the assignment specifications I am so relieved I bought the book. The theory of UBD forms the basis of this planning assignment, and I get a sense that I will have my nose in this text for the next 3-4 weeks!

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The motto of this mini-reflection…Stop procrastinating, Bec, and get started!!!

On that note, I am signing off to follow my learning path and start making some decisions.