Evidence: Unit Plan for the Reproductive System: Reproductive system unit plan

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner
  • Develop an online unit using cloud tools effectively

The lesson has students participating in three TEDEd lessons, which I created. Students then create an infographic about either the path of sperm or the path of an egg. The last component is creating a concept map about one of four topics. Students would then combine their concept map with three other students to create a larger map with all four topics.

In my teaching at Vancouver Island University I generally use a Learning Management System (LMS), specifically D2L. While having one system for the entire university is very convenient, especially for students as there is consistency between classes. Sometimes, however, the LMS is too limiting and cannot do exactly what the instructor wants the students to do. Sometimes one needs to go outside the LMS and in to cloud tools. Educators should use the best tools available to create appropriate learning activities for their learners.

In the lesson I created, I choose to use a hybrid model: cloud tools housed within a LMS. With very little alteration the entire unit could be done with cloud tools (the discussion, for example, could be held in Google + document while the infographics could be held on a photo-sharing site). This, perhaps, is what I like best about cloud tools. They offer tremendous flexibility in that they can stand alone or work within an LMS

Evidence: Cloud Tool Analysis Form

Learning Outcomes:

  • Critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in online learning
  • Identify appropriate use of cloud tools in an online course
  • Create assessment and evaluation methods/tools most suitable to the strengths and challenges of the specific environment

I have created a very simple word table to analyze cloud tools in an education setting. This form is not designed to state whether or not a tool should be used but to give an overview of the tool itself. To assess the viability of the form I have assessed 7 different cloud tools of a variety of types using this chart. Overall I found the table to work well, especially for the type of student that I teach. I teach in adult education so my typical student is between 20 and 60 with low computer skills. My on-line classes are run asynchronously with both collaborative and individual components. Here is the analysis of the 7 tool: Cloud Tool Analysis – 7 tools.

When the decision is made to use a particular online tool with your students it is important to analyze it fully. A tool that is suitable for one set of students may not be suitable for another as there are many factors that will affect whether or not it is appropriate, such as:

  • The policies in your district or educational setting
  • The age of your student
  • The goal of the assignment
  • The logistics of the class

Thus having an analysis form should help you to make a quick decision as to whether or not you wish to pursue using the cloud tool. If the tool seems appropriate given the student population then a lesson can be developed.  An analysis form prevents educators from spending time developing a lesson when the tool used may have a critical flaw in it. By saving any analyzed tools in a document, educators can quickly find a suitable tool for a particular lesson rather than having to search for a new one every time (or using an old one that may not quite ‘fit’).

In my own personal practice, I tend to use the same tools over and over again. By having a list of analyzed tools I am saving myself time, preventing my students from becoming bored, and am able to use the correct tool for the lesson that I wish to teach. Pedagogy is driving the lesson, rather than the tool.

Here are some of my top picks from the seven tools that I analyzed

Toptoolsonlineclass

Edit: After using some of these tools I would move TEDEd up to the number 1 spot for students. I really is a great way to develop online lessons that are interesting for students

05. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: My Blog · Tags: ,

Anytime you are interested in using an online tool with your students it is important to analyze it fully. I have created a simple word table to analyze cloud tools in an education setting.  This form is not designed to state whether or not a tool should be used as that depends on many factors such as:

  • The policies in your district or educational setting
  • The age of your student
  • The goal of the assignment
  • The logistics of the class

Thus this analysis form should help you to make a quick decision as to whether or not you wish to pursue using the cloud tool

Cloud Tool Analysis Form

cloud tool analysis chart(Here is a link to a word doc. of the form: Cloud Tool Analysis Form)

I have assessed 7 different cloud tools of a variety of types using this chart. Overall I found the table to work well, especially for the type of student that I teach. I teach in adult education so my typical student is between 20 and 60 with low computer skills. My on-line classes are run asynchronously with both collaborative and individual components. Here is the Cloud Tool Analysis – 7 tools.

While analyzing the tools, I identified my ‘top three’ tools for both students and instructors. I currently an only using one of these tools in my class (Coggle) and one tool personally (Symbaloo). I chose to analyze one of my personal and professional cloud tools in order to assess my cloud tool analysis form. I was quite pleased with what I discovered about Easel.ly which is why I choose to use it to create my ‘top three’ infographic. I am planning to use TEDEd next semester as I was extremely impressed by what I discovered. As I only try to use one new cloud tool at a time, Remind will be tried next year.

Toptoolsonlineclass

22. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: My Blog · Tags: ,

Right now I work at Vancouver Island University (VIU), teaching Math and Biology in adult education and love it. A few years ago, I decided to teach my Biology course in a blended format (part online and part face-to-face) as there was just so much content and so little time! VIU has a Learning Management System (LMS) that is recommended and supported, Desire2Learn (D2L). Most of my lessons and assignments have been in that framework. D2L is limited to what it can do so while I intend to continue using it as a framework, I have been expanding outward into cloud tools. Thus the question I must ask myself constantly is which cloud tools should I incorporate (what are their advantages and disadvantages) and how should they best be integrated in to the LMS that I currently use so that the online learning experience of my students is enhanced.

In Biology, on d2L, one typical lesson is students first watch a video or read notes, then they participate in a discussion, do something creative (a concept-map or a comic for example) outside of D2L and post it in a discussion, and then take a quiz. In D2L this can unwieldy as each one of these is a different entry in the same concept. It can be easy for students to get lost or miss something important. While checklists can overcome this a bit, it can still be confusing.

I had the opportunity to try a TED-Ed lesson. The structure is to watch a video (one of theirs or one from YouTube), take a quiz, look at other resources recommended, participate in a discussion and then read any final words of the instructor. Everything is in one place, neatly organized. While students do not have to flow through the lesson in this order, it suggests that they should. One advantage to having everything in one place is it makes it easy for students to see where they are in the lesson. It is also easy to move between components without losing your place or your work. I like the idea of putting the quiz right after the video. By putting it here, instructors can highlight the key points or ‘take-aways’ from the lesson.

One disadvantage I see is the lack of creativity. The lesson format is fairly standard, much like you would see in a classroom. However, I feel that this would work well for a flipped classroom (here is a good description of a flipped class: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf) as a collaborative, creative activity would work well in person. If the lesson was to be solely online, having a creative learning opportunity at the end, after the TED-Ed component was completed would be an excellent summation of learning. I personally like to use concept maps (Bubbl.us, coggle, and mind42) and comic builders (comix) as a formative assessment piece.

By using TED-Ed, the lesson would be far more streamlined and organized for the student. In the D2L lesson there would only be or two places for the student to go, rather than many, while still allowing for discussion and both formative and summative assessment to occur. The creative aspect of the lesson, that I like to include, is now a summative of what they have learned, emphasizing its importance, rather than just being another thing in a long list of things to do. I am excited to try it out but may have to wait until next semester as final exams are very soon.