Course WalkThrough!

Over the course of this semester, creating my course prototype was very enjoyable and I knew immediately what I had to do. Off to Google Classroom, I went! I wanted to create something that I could use going forward in the classroom in the fall, as I work with my 10 diverse students. My students all have intellectual disabilities and are part of a numeracy and literacy intervention, which is tailored to their needs, as they do not work at grade level. Therefore, I chose to create a numeracy prototype, that would be suitable to my learners.

I chose to create a blended course, around double-digit addition, as this is something my students tend to struggle with. My students require significant repetition and refreshing, so creating this course was no question. My students are very familiar with Google Classroom and find that it is easily accessible to their needs. Within the assignments posted, students have simplistic, straightforward directions, to ensure clarity to complete the tasks at hand. Further, creating videos on “how to” within the course, was suitable to ensure the content was providing an accessible and equitable learning environment. A blended classroom was fitting as rotations are provided daily, where students have independent, small group, partner and a teacher station. Providing learning through a blended classroom, creates valuable skills, learning experiences that are accessible and equitable and creates a learning community where the teacher and the student learn alongside each other.

Gathering all my materials, was very easy for me as my brain was flowing with ideas. Interactive videos, check. Games, check. Interactive Google Slides, check. Board games, check. Online game show games, check. Extra support for an educational assistant, check. Now, all I had to do was put it together into one course. It simply started with jot notes, to paragraphs to a full-blown unit plan that I created, and then chose to share what 2 of the lessons would look like. Without a doubt, I had a very good experience with creating a course prototype!

Feedback

Further, receiving feedback within the breakout room was minimal but I appreciated the positive, reassuring thoughts that I was on the right track with my course prototype. Comments I received included: methodical, clear, concise, well thought out, thorough, and easily accessible. My group members talked about how I could consider discussing how my prototype would be accessible to all and what that might look like. Therefore, I included that within my introduction in my course walk-through, stating what some supports my students have within the classroom. I enjoyed the process of sharing and receiving/giving feedback.

Overall Thoughts

I feel very proud and confident of my course prototype that I have created. I am excited to share with my students, as we create a community of learning and I am proud to be alongside them in the process. I cannot wait to share my upcoming journey with double-digit addition. Don’t go far, there will be more to come in September, once my students are “blended” into the classroom.

So without further due, grab some popcorn and your notes! Here is my course walkthrough to share with you all!

Summary of Learning!

Check out my summary of learning below, to hear all I learned this semester! I know I talk fast, but let's get real, I only had 7 minutes and I had a lot to say about this informative class.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwU_RhNN6us

References:

Bates, A.W. (2019). Teaching in a Digital Age – Second Edition. Vancouver, B.C.: Tony Bates

Associates Ltd. Retrieved from https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/teachinginadigitalagev2/

Irvine, V. (2020, October 26). The landscape of merging modalities. EDUCAUSE Review. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/10/the-landscape-of-merging-modalities

Major, C. H. (2023, March 23). 6 strategies for building community in online courses. The K. Patricia Cross Academy. https://kpcrossacademy.org/building-community-in-online-courses/

Ritzhaupt, A. D. (n.d.). ADDIE Explained: Introduction. An Open Educational Resource for the Educational Technology Community. https://www.oercommons.org/courses/addie-explained-an-open-educational-resource-for-the-educational-technology-community/view

Blog #6: Building Community

Building community and engaging learners is critical in any classroom setting, whether online, blended, or completely in person. It is important all learners feel a sense of belonging, apart of the conversation, and that they are within the learning. Instead of a teacher drilling facts into their young brains, we need to rather think of teachers as facilitators, “which students are encouraged and supported to work together to create knowledge: to invent, to explore ways to innovate, and, by so doing, to seek the conceptual knowledge needed to solve problems rather than recite what they think is the right answer” as Bates stated. The teacher then can be alongside the learning as students create communities and engage in conversations.

Within my own blended classroom, I need to encourage and have opportunities for online discussions to create connections, ask questions and learn from each other. To do so, it is important to create meaningful online discussions that will encourage the students to participate and be a part of the learning. Bates says we need the following for meaningful online discussions:

  • appropriate technology
  • clear guidelines on student online behaviour
  • clear goals
  • choice of appropriate topics
  • setting an appropriate ‘tone’ or requirements for discussion
  • defining clear learner roles and expectations
  • monitoring the participation of individual learners, and responding accordingly
  • regular, ongoing instructor ‘presence’
  • ensuring strong articulation between discussion topics and assessment.

It is clear, that thought and pre-planning needs to be involved in the process of creating and facilitating an online community.

Speech bubbles with people talking

My students have many opportunities to interact within the classroom and their online communities. My students have these opportunities through threads on Google Classroom, Flipgrid (where they can create videos and interact with each other), and various videos of myself, explaining the tasks at hand and then students can react to the videos posted and ask questions as needed. I think involving myself within their online learnings is important, for them to make connections and to ensure their learning styles are being met. My group of students is very diverse, with different learning needs, and therefore, it is important to provide clear exceptions and ensure all content is laid out simplistically. Through these opportunities to interact and connect, students can build a sense of community, where they are involved and a part of the learning.

“Community is more than participation; it requires moving from participation to engagement, involvement, and action.”

Further, my students are very familiar with Google Classroom, and therefore, creating posts and responding on the stream, is manageable for them as they understand the expectations, how to use it, and what their roles are within it. As I said before, my group of students is very diverse, as they all have learning challenges, so this is a way for them to build that sense of community without overwhelming them and expecting them to become familiar with too many platforms. With Google Classroom, I can provide videos of myself in relation to their learnings, create streams/discussions and allow the students to post questions and comments, as well. Further, on Google Classroom, I can create a topic, called Flipgrid. By simply clicking the link, students will be directed to the platform where they can create videos and interact with each other. This is something new, so it will take some pre-teaching to review the platform on how to use it, the expectations/role of each student, and creating of goals (what do we want as a community on Flipgrid). I feel my students will be capable of building connections and interacting as it all comes down to one LMS, Google Classroom. Inevitably, students will be a part of transformative learning.

As discussed prior, the teacher within these communities than acts as a facilitator. Meaning, when creating assessments and guidelines around these communities, the students and the teacher, will co-create what they would like to see, to ensure all input.

Tri-Venn Diagram of Communication Within a Community

Building online communities is vital for students to create, discuss, participate, and create. It is clear that “online collaborative learning as a result can also directly support the development of a range of high-level intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, analytical thinking, synthesis, and evaluation, which are key requirements for learners in a digital age.” I am excited to continue building communities, on and offline.

Blog #5: Accessible and Equitable go Hand in Hand

Reflecting on tonight’s discussion of accessibility and equity in the context of your own course. How accessible is it? Are there any issues related to accessibility and equity that you need to address? What other ethical/social considerations might be relevant?

As I reflect on class tonight, I continue to ask myself and others, how are you providing accessible and equitable learning experiences? What does this look like? What does it involve? It is clear that there are many different ways, based upon who you are teaching, what accessible and equitable learning might look like. But at the end of the day, all learners must have an opportunity to access learning.

Students in a classroom, receiving an equitable education

During class, I was asked what I currently do in my own classroom and it has occurred to me that although I do some things, I am not doing enough when it comes to ensuring learning is accessible to all. Here are a few things I am currently doing in my own classroom now:

  1. Google Read & Write - an extension on Google Chrome, where students can listen to any text and respond, using a microphone. To ensure all students have access to this, I ensure all computers have the extension ready to go at the beginning of the year, every student has headphones with a microphone and of course, we practice using it daily, for students to become confident and competent with it. However, during class, it was brought to my attention how this extension can become overwhelming due to all the different features and buttons it has. Luckily for me, we only focus on 3 buttons to listen, respond, and pause if one might need. Due to this, I am going to try a suggested tool in the fall called Read Aloud, which has fewer features, to ensure my learners do not feel overwhelmed when trying to complete their tasks at hand.
  2. Secondly, some learners have an enlarged keyboard or a computer mouse they can use, to help with fine motor skills and have letters enlarged to help them to write and complete tasks.
  3. iPad with the app Proloquo2go - giving my students access to a way to communicate with speech disorders.
  4. Google Classroom - all materials are provided on this LMS, where students can access any materials. It is labeled very simplistically, so students can see exactly what they need to do that day and can complete the task.
  5. Social stories - Help students with different expectations, social cues, responsibilities, safety, and well-being. Students have one at school and one at home, where they read daily. When creating these, I ensure to create them with the student and use pictures of that particular student, so they see themselves within the story.
  6. Involving the parents and guardians - this is the biggest thing I have learned, is involving the parents to see what their child needs. We are no experts and the family knows the child best. Ask the child. Ask the parents. This is a way to ensure they have access to an equitable education. For example, one year I taught a student who got migraines with certain colours and text, and therefore, all text needed to be enlarged and on a blue sheet of paper. If I had not met with the partners first, I would not have known that this student needed this to ensure he had an opportunity to learn.

Moving forward, I want to continue to provide an accessible and equitable learning experience for all. I know I have more to do but I am going to continue to find tools and techniques to ensure everyone has an opportunity to access their education. An app I will use in the future is called, Seeing AI and this app can read any text (whether in the room or on a sheet of paper). This will not only help students who have difficulties reading but also help students with social stories, as we go around the school and take pictures. Further, I have come to realize my weekly blogs are not that accessible and a goal moving forward, will be to ensure I am providing captions, subtitles within videos, enlarged text, and labeling my blog more thoroughly. I will be a flexible educator, as I believe, like Dr. Philippa Cater, that is the way to ensure students have an equitable access to education.

People demonstrating the differences between equality, accommodation and accessibility.

At the end of the day to have an accessible and equitable education goes hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Every person deserves an opportunity to access education and this will vary from person to person. It is vital to build relationships, ask questions and be prepared to fail and be challenged. We are no experts but we are there to provide an equitable, accessible education for all. Let’s start today!

How else can I ensure to provide an equitable and accessible education for all?

Course Profile: Let’s Mix in the Math

A topic to create a module on? Go no further, we are embarking on a mathematical unit adding two-digit by two-digit numbers, utilizing Google Classroom. My unique group of students helped me to immediately come to my decision as they have diverse needs, with mild intellectual disabilities. Within my group of students, only being 10 students, they need specialized learning experiences that are tailored to their needs and need to build upon basic mathematical skills. For this blending learning course, I chose to focus on N2.2 within the Saskatchewan Curriculum, as the outcome focuses on 2-digit by 2-digit addition; focusing on place value and adding from right to left. This is an essential unit for my students, as they struggle immensely with numbers up to 100 and this would allow my students to dive in deep through different learning activities to understand these skills to a greater degree.

Bates stated the need for knowing your learners to meet their needs, in order to have successful learning experiences. Knowing that I know blended learning is suitable to their needs and allows them the opportunity to have an equitable learning experience. Each of my students has their own SETT device (Chromebook), from the division, where they get their own computer to have for their entire time in school. However, the main limitation to the students' own Chromebooks is they can only stay at school and students do not always have access to technology at home. So although some learners miss more school days than others, it is important to modify and adapt lessons to each student's needs as they are mainly learning within their school days.

Learning Environment

There are various opportunities and limitations to the learners, facilitators, domain and discipline, learning technologies, and access/cost, within the blended classroom. Although it is very flexible for the students to work and creates independent learners with access to one-on-one support, open discussions within small groups and partners, and access to technology daily, there will inevitably always be limitations to this. Limitations include some students not being as familiar with some platforms, especially Google Read & Write, as this is a main component in completing work due to my student’s abilities and fine motor skills. It will be important at the beginning of the year to focus on these specific platforms to ensure all students have the opportunity for a fair education with support. Further, other limitations include attendance issues but students not having access to technology at home and therefore, they will need assignments assigned to them one day at a time, so they do not feel too overwhelmed when they return to school and have multiple missed assignments displaying on Google Classroom. Finally, the teacher only sees this group of 10 students for half the day and therefore, working on these skills and learning experiences is limited. Students need to have a structured morning and therefore, through a blended classroom, this is made possible.

Objective

Focusing on N2.2 - Demonstrate understanding of addition (limited to 1 and 2-digit numerals) with answers to 100, students will have opportunities to create, model, and use strategies to solve addition problems.

Instructional Approach

Students will have opportunities for on and offline learning activities. Students will participate in daily rotations where there will be a timer for each rotation for the day. The rotation will be displayed on the board and before beginning rotations, students will have opportunities to understand how rotations work and what their job is within each of them. This is important to create flow from rotation to rotation and develop independence and responsibility skills. From there, students will have rotations where they will have small group activities, meet with the teacher, independent learning tasks, and lastly, technology. Through these, students are able to have open discussions, learn from each other, and have support throughout the entire learning process. Students will have instant feedback and check-ins with the teacher, daily. Within the classroom, this is lots of repetition and practice through different platforms, activities, interactions, and independent activities. Students will have frequent formative assessments for the teacher to see where they are at and summative assessments to see how the students did with the overall learning tasks.

Assessments

Examples of formative assessments will include online activities completion (teacher is able to check progress of students activity on Prodigy & Mathletics), Quizizz, small group discussions, observing, check-ins, Google Forms, Lumi, and Blooket. Summative assessments will be flashcards (keeping a running record), small one-on-one assessments with student/teacher (verbal and visual responses), and Google Forms, when applicable.

Educational Technologies

Educational platforms that will be used, will be the following:

Pre-planning

Focusing on outcome N2.2, objective d) Generalize and apply strategies for adding 1 and 2-digit numbers (with answers to 100). Students will have opportunities to complete learning activities on and offline. Offline, students will have various board/card games and modeling activities with manipulative and interactive whiteboard sessions with their teacher. Online, students will watch Lumi videos (created with YouTube) to watch videos and check in with their learning along the way. Further, they will play Mathletics and Prodigy, which are designed to have learning experiences based on where the student is at. Further, students will participate in various Blookets, Quizizz, and Google Forms. Through each of these activities, the teacher can provide feedback, check-ins, and see where the students are at.

There is still lots to do but I am excited for the challenge! I am prepared to create a flexible learning experience for my students, as Irvine discusses, which means providing choice and encouraging my students to see themselves within the learning process. Now, let's get learning!!

Please see my ADDIE Template here!

How else can I ensure my learners are heard and seen within the learning tasks?

LUMI = Learning, Understanding, Math (while) Interactive

Oh, you want an interactive video that incorporates engagement and learning into one? Then off to Lumi, we go!

Lumi allowed me to create an interactive video where my students will be able to stop along the way and answer questions in relation to the content they are learning. It provides different interactive activities and tests their knowledge. Students will be prompted to answer questions along the way, as the video will stop for them and give them time to answer.

For my course module, I will be using Google Classroom, where students will be focusing on 2-digit by 2-digit addition. There are many different learners within my room, with different needs, and therefore, they all have their own SETT (Student, Environment, Tasks, & Tools) devices. This makes learning accessible for all, as they have headphones and devices that they can plug into learning. Seeing as I have a blended classroom, students will be placed into rotations, that will be timed, where they will have different opportunities to use technology, interact with classmates, do independent work, and meet with their teacher.

Students will focus on building basic mathematical skills, through 2-digit by 2-digit learning activities. On Google Classroom, students will have access to this Lumi video, that focuses on how to properly add, where to start, where to place the numbers in a place value chart, and how to carry numbers. Students will be able to see different examples and be able to input their ideas directly into the video. The best part is, is it marks right away and allows for simple spelling mistakes, that do not hinder the students' progress/mark. This allows all learners to have an equitable learning experience that does not focus on spelling within their mathematical lesson.

After students complete the 2 Digit by 2 Digit Lumi, they will then be sent to a Google Form (which will be linked within the Google Classroom assignment), that will direct them to a formative assessment. On this formative assessment, students will have the opportunities to solve various questions, which will allow me to check in and see where they are at with 2-digit by 2-digit addition. Further, students will be encouraged to rewatch the video to answer questions as needed and can use Google Read & Write, to listen to the questions, if they struggle with reading.

Throughout this addition module, students will have opportunities to practice their mathematical skills through games online such as Prodigy and Mathletics. After students complete the learning videos and formative tasks, they will then be prompted to play these games online until the timer goes off. The best part is, is that these mathematical websites test the students' knowledge and allow them to play at the level at which they are.

Throughout the different rotations, students will have opportunities to create their own interactive videos with classmates, play cards and board games, flashcards, whiteboard interactive lessons, and other various learning activities. Although they will establish a routine with daily rotations, their learning activities will vary from day to day and so will who they work with. I think it is important for flexibility and allowing students to interact with different peers to focus on not only learning but problem-solving as well.

I am excited to embark on this 2-digit by 2-digit addition module for my students and I will be incorporating it in the fall.

What suggestions do you have for me? What else could I incorporate into my rotations?

Get the Blender, Let’s Make a Blended Learning Course

Online and blended learning is something so new but something with endless opportunities for students to learn at school and home. For myself, blended learning is particularly important to utilize within and outside of the classroom, to reach the students where they are and provide them with different learning opportunities.

Within my blended course, through Google Classroom, students will focus on addition where they will have opportunities to explore one digit by one digit, one digit by two digit, and two digit by two digit. This provides students with learning/revisiting basic math facts, to then build upon them to eventually move to subtraction, multiplication, and division.

It is especially important to teach basic math skills and reach my students where they are, as I teach an intensive support intervention with numeracy and literacy, with grades 5-8, where their levels vary from grades 1-5. I am inevitably planning for each learner and providing them with basic foundational needs.

This content will work exceptionally well within a blended course as students will have opportunities to explore while learning through various educational platforms, small group discussions, different activities online and within the classroom, and independent work. This allows me to reach students where they are at and further, if they are missing school days, they can access learning objectives and tasks right in the comfort of their own home. One limitation to this not all students have access to technology at home and in these situations, students will not have the same opportunities to access these blended learning opportunities at home. However, students can work at their own pace at school and can access this all day long.

Overall, blended learning will be engaging to my learners, provides them with opportunities for creativity, motivating for them as the lessons are designed to meet the learners where they are at, and provides one-on-one support and feedback daily.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moj8vauvIvE&t=196s

,A Guide For Blended Learning That Will Be Utilized in the Creation of my LMS, Google Classroom.

,What LMS will you be using? Will you be creating a blended or online classroom?

Thanks Covid, Now I Have A Blended Classroom

Online and blended learning is something that has really become a part of my classroom since Covid. Before Covid, other than assigning the odd game or activity online, I really did not incorporate much technology in the classroom. I was more so trying to balance my first few years of teaching and figuring out what worked and what did not work for me and my students. Then the dreaded, and I mean dreaded Covid hit. Covid then flew in and interrupted that process and made online learning the only way.

During this time with online learning, I enjoyed it in the fact that I knew it was the only way to reach my students and still be able to connect with them. However, it was very inconsistent in their attendance, and their ability to access the content due to challenges like family income and location and what content was completed. Due to the “optional” piece to join, it felt impossible to explicitly teach and provide valuable content.

However, for students who were able to consistently join, I was able to provide lessons through Google Classroom, share PowerPoints, model lessons on a whiteboard through my computer, and provide learning activities online that the students could complete at their pace. Online learning provided me with different ways to modify and adapt my lessons that were suitable to my learners.

Now in my classroom today, with my ten students, I have created a blended classroom. Each day during literacy and numeracy, students have rotations where they have opportunities to work one-on-one with the teacher, work within small groups with other classmates, do activities online, and have opportunities for independent work. Through all of this, I see I have created a classroom that incorporates face-to-face learning and online learning. I have been doing this for the past two years (my role within teaching changed to a smaller group of students with diverse needs), where I have had great success. Students have enjoyed the opportunity to move around in the classroom and converse with different classmates to learn and gather information with them.

I hope to continue gathering information and knowledge to continue to adapt a blended classroom with more access to valuable resources and content that I can provide to my students. Further, I would love to learn more about online learning, for my students who are away often, to give them more of an opportunity to access learning even when they cannot make it to school. I think online and blended learning has opened the doors to endless possibilities with our students and has given them access to more knowledge and information than a piece of paper in the past has. I am excited to embark on this learning journey and see what I can unfold in my future classrooms!

What are your experiences with blended/online learning? What are you hoping to gain from this course?