For our ECI 834 zoom class this week, I had the privilege of working with 3 other colleagues to preview each others' online courses, and present my course in its current state. It was a wonderfully diverse experience, with Google Classroom and Moodle LMS's used as well as, High School, Elementary and Radio Broadcasting classes all covered. The largest value for me was in seeing other's courses and how they approach online learning and using the LMS's to organize for students and guardians. I was also curious about how my unique approach would be received, and I think the feedback was very positive!
I chose to analyze a unit of study through the YouTube Video "How the Economic Machine Works" by Ray Dalio. But before I discuss this video, its content, merits, and production methodology and effectiveness. I just wanted to give a little context as to how I made this choice. I had fully intended on looking at a teaching tool or app, and scoured the list diligently. Some of the tools I knew and had used, but I wanted something new. What I realized is that most of the apps only worked on a laptop and / or IOS (Apple devices). For two reasons this would not work for me, as I am an android user, and know that about 50% to 60% of students I teach do not have Apple devices. So after finally finding a couple apps that worked on my phone I attempted to learn to use them. Watched YouTube Videos, played with interactive whiteboards, collaboration tools etc. The experience was very frustrating and I now understand why I appreciated the Google platform which works very equally on all devices and operating systems! So that night while reading my book (Money - Master the Game by Tony Robbins - found at Salvation Army just a couple weeks ago while waiting for my wife's tire to be fixed) the author recommended to watch the video "How the Economic Machine Works" by Ray Dalio and presto, I could stop banging my head against the new teacher tool brick wall and review a unit of study instead! So here is the analysis of this online lesson...
I have chosen to teach Pre-Calculus 30 as a blended learning model, leaning more towards a hyflex model, as opposed to 50% f2f and 50% online that is being prescribed in our division. The course will be taught both in-person and live stream, but with asynchronous options to view lessons taught or comparable online video lessons being used. I will be using Google Classroom as my LMS, in conjunction with Docs, Slides, Meet, Chat and Jamboard. My main motivation behind choosing this course and method, is that I am tasked with teaching this course in Quint 4 (March 3 to May 3) with the current level 3 restriction likely still being in place at that time. I am hoping to experiment and design the shell of the course and then teach and use much of what I accomplish.
This is my 13th year teaching in Saskatchewan after teaching 2 years in British Columbia post graduation in 2005 from the Univ. of Regina. I have had a website for most my classes since I started with my own classroom. Originally, it was hosted by the division, but I quickly learned that none of the material could transfer from school to school, so being transferred meant starting all over again. Furthermore, the division asked each teacher to post their syllabus and course outline on their teacher page, which swiftly turned into the three in the school of us who knew how to do this, doing it for every teacher in the school! Since then I have been quieter about my tech abilities and used a Weebly site, YouTube videos (snhojnalyd is my channel) for woodshop and math instruction, posted on Instagram for classes, used Flipboard for animations, Google Sketchup for drafting, made woodshop TikTok's (Wood Yoda is my handle, my son posted some hockey videos during Covid) and now consistently use all Google tools such as Classroom, Docs, Jamboard, Forms, Chat and Meet. Most recently, I have embraced Screen-Castify to add video and audio to basic introductions and instructions for task. I feel very capable in the online sphere. Ironically, I much prefer teaching construction or math face-to-face and just using online platforms to supplement learning and help students who are absent. I would however feel capable of teaching fully online or in a hyflex model. My mother was a software sales rep. for most of my youth so we got our first laptop in 1986 and I have been using them consistently since then. Computers are something I am capable of using, but not passionate about, as I mostly find myself helping others to figure out how to use them!
Hello my name is Dylan Johns and I live just outside Lumsden, with my wife, son, daughter, 2 dogs and 3 cats in a straw bale house that I built on an acreage on my family's farmland (as you can see in the photo). When not enjoying building or outdoor pursuits, I am quite interested in technology, especially to do with teaching. I have played with many online platforms and flipped classroom methods over the years and am excited to learn more.
After a good five weeks of research and preparation, I was able to present to the school, once to the Grade 9 and 10 students on Monday, April 1st and then to the Grade 11 and 12’s on Tuesday, April 2nd during the 15 minute Advisory period in the school auditorium about using smartphones responsibly. The presentations lasted right around the 15 minutes I had planned for them and were well received, for the most part. I will discuss changes from the first presentation to the second, little details that had to be organized and my perception of the success of the presentation in this blog post.
For this trip we will venture to Berkeley, California to look at a course offering called Studio H hosted by the Realm Charter School. The program is very unique, in that it offers Grade 9 to 12 students a chance to design, implement and build unique solutions to projects based social issues / needs around the school and in the community. Really the program encompasses project based learning to its full extent, with real problems and and students developing and implementing real world solutions, from community chicken coops, container classrooms and even homeless housing. Now this might sound like it has little to do with technology but the students really have to use computers, modern tools and techniques, web research and communication, and a host of other technologies and problem-solving abilities to accomplish their goals.
As part of my Major Project on presenting to students about smartphone use I thought it would be engaging to have some relevant data gathered from the students being presented to. As I discussed in a previous blog, I was going to gather real-time data during the presentation but decided against this, as I was worried it would take too much time and overload the wifi. So I chose to gather the data earlier using Google Forms at a school wide assembly that our Principal and Vice-Principal were hosting while we were in a teacher area meeting (thank you to them for the help and support). Of about 550 students present for the assembly, I received 261 responses, which although far from perfect, I am happy with as it is a statistically significant portion of the student body (we have about 720 students at our school so this represents about 36% of the student population).
Well this was definitely my most challenging blog thus far to come up with an idea to write about for EDL 820. Maybe, because there were no prompts to start us off, or maybe that I had many negative opinions to express based on provincial words and promises but no actions or sufficient funding to support actions and I much prefer to focus on positives and solutions. I have therefore decided to look critically at the idea of “The Home / School Continuum: Two Lives or One” (Pg 9 of Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools) as I believe our view of and decision in this realm has a very large impact on how we will approach the idea of digital citizenship in schools, home and society. I understand both perspectives and can quite honestly say that I have not decided which one I feel is the correct perspective to take as a teacher; it is not a black and white issue, but much more of a gray area in worldview. In some situations technology works great at home and school (ie. Google classroom), other times kids “Snap” each other endlessly in both environments. Furthermore, this debate still continues in other very similar situations as to whether school is to prepare students for life, work or both. Are we teaching citizens, workers, university bound youth, or rebels because at times it is hard to understand who school’s really serve and why? The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education has not told us the answer to this question very clearly at this point., but they seem to be embracing digital lives for teachers and students quite specifically.
The main target of my major project is to improve the responsibility of students in using handheld devices in the classroom and school, and the focused method of influencing these students will be through a 12 or so minute presentation to about 350 students at a time, one presentation to Grade 9 and 10’s and one presentation to Grade 11 and 12’s during Advisory. I have permission from my principal and after completing the Major project outline (Part 2) recently, I have progressed to developing the presentation and slideshow.