Thursday, August 29, 2013

Take Courage

Change is hard.  It is especially hard EARLY in a school year.  All of you are part of this group because you are intrigued by the idea of the form of online based learning known as Blending (Some of you are going one step further and are Flipping.).  While it is VERY GOOD for your students, there is a learning curve.  

Fear Not!!!

We are from the government, and we are here to help (Yes. since I am a Public School teacher, I can say that.).  

I invite you to ask any question, via making a comment to this post, regarding any Blending or Flipping you are planning, or in the middle of doing.  

ALSO, if you read someone eases question in the comments, feel free to respond yourself.  We ARE a Collaborative Community here. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Audio as a Learning Tool


(Example of audio file used in online learning [Blended, Flipped, Etc.])

YES, simple audio can be a valuable learning tool to drive various types of Flipping and Blending.  

It can also be easy to make

It can be combined with images and documents (transcripts of what has been recorded serve  as one example)

It can be split up into small manageable chunks

It can be easily differentiated to support needs of challenged learners (include supportive information gathering guides)
It can be used to add an element of humor, which WILL engage your learners (even if they don’t think it is funny).
It can be FREE to do.  Then you get addresses and embed code to use in making the tools available to your students.

The easiest way to do this is with an ipad.  There are a number of free podcast apps that you can use, but the one I will speak about is called Spreaker DJ.  You can access their web site by using THIS LINK, but I will briefly list what I think are some benefits:

2. Easy to record and post
3. Provides both web address and embed code for your recording.
4. Good sound quality
5. Can embed supporting documents on the same Learning Management
   System (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) page where the recording is
   embedded. These supports could include note guides, Google Forms
   based formative assessments, vocabulary lists, etc.
6. Ability to organize your podcast recordings into “series,” which can help
  students with organizational thinking.
7. Easy access to your recordings.

Laptop Based Spreaker DJ Web Site:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How can we work together to help each other???

***There are different ways we can do this.  There is the direct, kind of one-on-one contact.  Then there is the more general type of group interaction. We will briefly examine ways each can be accomplished. ***

One-On-One Collaboration:
This can start off as teacher-to-teacher interaction, where both teachers benefit. You can use this blog as a way to begin to make contact, no matter how experienced you are with online learning methods such as Blending and Flipping, you can learn more, and will benefit from getting and giving help. Be specific in developing a plan so you stay focused, and actually end up  accomplishing something.   It has been said that iron sharpens iron, meaning each of you can help the other develop more ability than you had before.

This collaboration can, but does not have to, develop into collaboration between the students of those teachers (A VERY cool and POWERFUL thing.)  The key is to pay strict attention to basic internet safety protocols, as well as the policies of whatever schools are involved.  If necessary, feed this student interaction through teacher accounts, but it STILL must be controlled by that teacher.  Some districts allow students outside their district to be granted access to the Learning Management System, such as Blackboard.  THIS will provide that safe environment. 

We will work together, within our group, to put members interested in this type of collaboration, in touch with each other. Stay tuned, and check back here for information on this.

Group Collaboration:
This can be quite easy, and need not take much time. It does not need to be anything more than reading the blogs posted here, especially the questions and ideas posted by your peers.  Then, think about it and make a comment on that post.  Everyone likes to feel that what is important to them matters, and you can honestly make that happen, and receive benefits yourself in the doing.  

The next step, of course, would be to make posts here yourself where you actually share your flipping and blending ideas and experiences.  This would be especially good if you felt motivated to make a complete post based on the question of another group member.  

General Guidelines.
Be Intentional; follow through; Follow through; Follow Through;
Do not express interest and willingness to collaborate unless you are committed to follow through. It isn't cool. ;  Find someone interested in this kind of learning and “listen” to them.; Be creative and have fun.  If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, no one will benefit; Follow required policies of your Administration. Remember, you like your job, and want to keep it.

Any specific questions??? Post a comment, and someone will respond.