Collaboration, Pedagogy & Practices
Content knowledge, information gathering and critical thinking are at the core of education. Too many schools are still attempting to prepare students for the world without considering the environment that students will find when they move on to post-secondary education or the workforce. Online learning, whether at a distance or within a classroom, is a catalyst for change, as schools are using Web 2.0 technologies to engage students and enhance collaboration in new ways.
The use of computers and online learning in education requires a much larger shift in thinking than simply adding a few computers to classrooms.
Truly blended learning requires that teachers approach their role differently, as guides and mentors instead of purveyors of information. Classrooms must be redefined as flexible learning environments, in which students learn in a variety of ways, while communicating and collaborating with others who are outside their school—and perhaps outside their country. Learning should go beyond the classroom walls and the confines of the school day. (From Blending Learning: The Convergence of Online and Face-to-Face Education (iNACOL, 2011).
This module prepared me for the pedagogical shift from teaching face-to-face to teaching online. Teaching in an online environment can be very different than teaching solely face-to-face. Truly blended learning requires that teachers approach their role differently, as guides and mentors instead of primarily purveyors of information, using Web 2.0 technologies to engage students and enhance collaboration in new ways.
Collaborative Project: Design Thinking, Bloom's and Web 2.0 Tools
Reflection: Online/Blended Learning
I really enjoyed the process of collaborating in a group project at a distance. I thought it would have been more of a challenge to get everyone to be able to meet synchronously to coordinate and work together but it went smoothly. We all jumped into the Design Thinking Process and contributed our ideas and perspectives to build our lesson. We all communicated via a group text thread about progress on assignments and coordinating our synchronous meetings. We used email to share Zoom meeting invite links as well as sources for our presentations content. I think I could have spent more time contributing to research and building content for our presentation. I contributed equally with the rest of the group by offering and supporting ideas for the creation of different sections of our lesson in the design thinking process as well as research, design and flow of our presentation. Meeting synchronously several times throughout the week worked well for our group to remain accountable for our work and to submit our assignment on time. We each worked independently supporting each aspect of the project and asked for help from each other when we needed it. I think one way our group could have improved is by spending a little more time planning our lesson and fully understanding each stage of the design thinking process and how each section relates to the overall lesson. Better planning the structure and presentation of our lesson would help to immediately apply this lesson to our online or blended classrooms. We also could have outlined more specific solutions to our problem statement throughout our lesson to maintain the integrity and mission of our lesson.
The web 2.0 tools we incorporated into our lesson include Padlet, Google Slides, Google Drawing, Flipgrid, Google Forms, and Zotero. Except for Zotero, all the tools in our lesson support collaboration and project based learning activities. Padlet is a tool for compiling research, drafting writings, creating storyboards, brainstorming and organizing projects with many components. Padlet allows students to gain a larger perspective of the problem statement in the "empathy stage" of the Design Thinking Process. Google Slides is a collaborative presentation application allowing students to create beautiful presentations with the ability to work synchronously with other people. We implemented Google Slides for students to create a digital collage with images representing fixed and growth mindsets in the "define stage" of the Design Thinking Process. Google Drawing is a free diagramming software for students to create engaging and informative infographics, diagrams and drawings to communicate ideas and relationships. Google Drawing allows students to create an individual Venn diagram showing the relationship and difference between a fixed and growth mindset in the "ideate stage" of the Design Thinking Process. Flipgrid is a video discussion and collaboration tool that allows for social presence in the online environment. Flipgrid allows students to see each other's faces and respond to their contributions in an online discussion. We used Flipgrid to model an online discussion activity in the "prototype stage" of the Design Thinking process. One concern with Flipgrid is the potential for students to feel self conscious showing their face online which could inhibit participation and engagement with the activity. Google Forms is a survey tool for collecting data on students or other subjects. We used Google Forms in the "test stage" of the Design Thinking Process to conduct a pre and post survey of the students participating in our lesson to understand their mindsets before and after our lesson to assess learning. One concern with Google Forms is the potential for people to not respond to all the items on the survey. Zotero is a web data gathering tool primarily used for saving links and creating bibliographies for online research. We used Zotero at every stage of the Design Thinking Process to document and cite our references for our lesson.
Below is an outline of the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching that have been strengthened so far in this course (Module 5).
Academic Content Standards and Assessment (2)
Each stage of the lesson our group created has been evaluated to meet Common Core, NGSS and Anchor Standards.
Instructional Strategies and Activities (3)
Communication and Interaction (10)
This group project got each member engaged in active learning through research, synthesis and collaboration. The social presence gained through student- student interaction in this group project helped build trust among peers and aided the Design Thinking Process.
Technology Requirements and Interoperability (7)
A variety of Web 2.0 tools were identified in our lesson to facilitate learning and acquisition of skills.
Post Reflection: It is important when designing, planning and thinking through course activities and lessons that they are cohesive and build upon prior knowledge so that students follow along and secure their investment in a course. If the student is unable to see how each unit and module builds and connects to their overall learning objectives then it is likely the student will loose interest and not fully engage in the learning activities. This collaborative lesson gave me experience and practice building a cohesive lesson that is relatable, aligned with specific learning objectives and engages student in active learning. The Design Thinking Process is an effective way to design lessons and course activities that equip students for their professional lives.