Sunday, January 15, 2012

Learning Theory in Practice - New Opportunities

This week has been exciting and very busy.  My direct report has formed an Online Learning Team and placed me in the position of the Blended Learning Specialist for my school district.  In the past year I have used a wonderful program called Edmodo to set up a district portal and train teachers on the blended learning model.  However, since that time we have acquired BlackBoard for our Virtual High School and I will now direct our other high schools in using BlackBoard as an online learning tool.

Through our readings for our Learning Theories class, it was amazing to work and discuss student learning with several district representatives.  One was the principal of one of our Academies which is housed in a local mall and has students that take one class for three hours per day to reach graduation requirements.  These are students who, for many reasons beyond their control, were unable to graduate on time, but who can, through this program finish school and get their diplomas. I admire what these students and teachers are doing and look forward to working with them.

 Online learning has much to offer these students, and yet at the same time has much to offer our Advanced Placement (AP) classes.  While considering and researching learning theory, I find it important to consider how to structure an online course so that the learner is able to complete the lesson, but also to author it in a way that provides the learner an opportunity to discover and make meanings for themselves.

Pearl Tree:  Team Ownership of Learning

Through research on Formative Assessment for an online PD I am designing, I came across an interesting source, both for the content it provided and for the new web 2.0 tool it used to visually share the information.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

So many resources... here are three I'm following.

The Road to Learning blog shares the experiences of an Instructional Designer from the perspective of emerging technology.  As an Instructional Designer in the education field, it is helpful to read posts by those who have been designing instruction for the private sector and who have had vast experience with online learning.  In my current position, I am most interested in the “blended” classroom model, where a teacher incorporates online learning tools to engage students and extend the learning past the traditional educational model.  This blog will have information I can use in my career as well as providing a network of professionals to connect with for further professional growth.

            The Instructional Design and Development blog runs with professionals from the Faculty Instructional Technology Services department from DePaul University.  The unique thing about the blog is that it is co-authored by several members of the group, all of whom share their learning as they assist the faculty in technology integration.  For many years, Instructional Designers have served in the higher education realm to assist professors in bringing content to students.  That model was the inspiration for the creation of my current title in the district I serve.  This blog will share multiple perspectives on instructional design that I will be able to apply to my current situation.

            Cathy Moore’s blog has interesting posts that mirror some of the same issues that have come up in my experience as a professional developer and technology coach.  Her approach is fresh, simple, and conversational.  Her addition of posts from other sites enriches her writings and helps me to see in a few paragraphs some common information across the Instructional Designer’s landscape.
Currently using iGoogle to keep up with blogs, zite is also handy on the iPad.

These blogs are a sampling of ones I have bookmarked and added to my iGoogle page.  Soon, I will be adding the blogs of my fellow scholars at Walden University and I look forward to the communal chronicling of our learning and growth through our current Master’s program now and going forward into our careers as designers.