Category Archives: ED 691 Intership

Blog 2

Personalized Learning: What does this mean and how can we do it?

What is “Personalized learning”? To me, this means that I try to tailor my lessons to the students’ needs. Every child does not learn the same way or at the same pace. Personalized learning ensures that, as much as possible, each child will be met where he or she is in the learning process, be taught in ways that meet the child’s learning style and that take into account the student’s culture and personal circumstances. “Districts see the potential in personalized learning to meet the demands of a student population that has grown more diverse, with a wide range of academic and language needs. And technology, in the view of many, offers a powerful tool for achieving that goal” (Cavanagh, 2017).

I think “Personalized learning” would be great if your school has the budget for it. Of course, the school would need some type of technology like computers, or iPads to help achieve truly personalized learning. I think it should also be a team effort to create a learning plan. I don’t think one teacher can do this for 120-150 students. If that teacher has a low number of students, this would be possible. For myself, I work with 120 students every day. I only have an hour of personalized planning, and that is not enough time to plan for that many students. I try to give choice to students so their projects are personalized to their learning levels and styles, but sometimes it is hard to personalize all lessons.

Our district is facing a $15 million budget shortfall and the Anchorage school district suggests cutting 99 full-time teacher positions to close that budget cap (Hanlon, 2017). The school board has also suggested that middle school teachers teach 6 out of 7 classes. This would mean that we would lose our team planning time. I think this is crucial, especially for middle school students. We meet daily and talk about students we are concerned about and how we can help them. Without that consensus, some students will fall through the cracks and not get the help they need.

As I read through the article “BreakThrough for college readiness,” I could see why these students have improved. They had a network of teachers and helpers with them. I think something like this is possible, but it has to be a team effort; the teacher can’t do it alone.  I liked the competency-based learning—taking the best of teachers and combining that with technology. It meets the student where they are in terms of learning. They were a lot of great examples. I do wonder if some of the students would struggle with this type of learning. They don’t talk about that, but I am sure there was some student who struggled or did not make it.

I would like to personalize my lesson more for my students. I like the idea of flipped classroom and would like to try it. Many of my students do not have access to computers at home. This would pose a problem for those students. I wouldn’t want them to feel like they don’t belong in my class or feel like they are going to get behind because of this. I also like the idea of a rotation model. I would love to do that in my classroom, but my classroom is not big enough to create different centers that the students can rotate through. I have about 30 students in each class and just enough space for tables and chairs for those students. This is why I try to do what I can to personalize students’ projects when I assign them. I can’t personalize everything, but at least I can give them a choice in the projects that they do for me.

References

Blended Learning Definitions. (2017). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-definitions-and-models/

Breakthrough Models for College Readiness: An Introduction to Next Generation Blended Schools. (2015). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://library.educause.edu/resources/2012/11/

breakthrough-models-for-college-readiness-an-introduction-to-next-generation-blended-schools

Cavanagh, S. (2017). What Is ‘Personalized Learning’? Educators Seek Clarity. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/22/09pl-overview.h34.html

Hanlon, T. (2017). Anchorage School District suggests cutting 99 full-time teaching positions to close $15M budget gap. Retrieved March 25, 2017, from https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/education/2017/02/06/anchorage-school-district-presents-2017-18-budget-that-cuts-99-full-time-teaching-positions-to-close-15m-gap/

WEEK 1 BLOG 691

Questions for Reflection: How am I realizing my role as an online instructor? How does this role fit within my comfort level/traditional view of my own teaching identity? Do I need to adjust – if so, how?

My role as an online instructor is just starting. I have uploaded my class to Canvas and am going to let the students enroll in the class on Monday. They will start their first project and I will see how it goes. I think my role in this online experience will be easier because I do see the students and can offer help if they need it. If I didn’t get to see the students, then my role would be different. There are many things that are different when you are teaching online vs. teaching in class. Some of the things I anticipate will be more difficult include being sure students have adequate technical support, finding ways to maintain good communication between myself and the students, and staying aware of whether or not each student is understanding each assignment. These are just a few of the things I expect to be hard.
According to Shamsy (2014), every “online instructor has received at least one frantic email from a learner concerning technical issues.” I know this is true because I have been on the other side of the boat and have been the frantic learner emailing my professor about a technical issue I was having. When learners are experiencing this, they often get frustrated. An online instructor doesn’t want this to happen to their student.
I like what Zane Berge says: that a team approach requires the collaboration of everyone involved (cited in Shamsy 2014). I believe more can get done if you work with others instead of alone. No matter what way you go, often the instructor has to be the one dealing with technical issues. It helps to stay on top of things like this so you can help your students when needed.
Everson (2009) has some good points that I can relate to like:
1. Teaching online is a lot of work. I agree with that. First, you have to get the content you want to teach and then upload it to the online course you are going to use.
2. Students appreciate regular communication. I think this is critical for the student to be successful in your class. They need to know they are on the right track or they will feel lost and confused.
3. Deadlines matter. I think this is important because in an online class you are not there to encourage students to do their work. If you don’t give deadlines, they will fall behind and then get overwhelmed and may drop out of your class.
4. Online courses are not right for all students. I agree with her on this statement. In order to be in an online class, you need to be motivated. You need to be able to complete work on your own time. Some students don’t have what it takes to work on their own, so an online class may not be right for them.
5. Ask students what works and what doesn’t. This is a great point because if you don’t ask, how will you know? If you find out what didn’t work then you can change it for the better so it goes more smoothly next time.
6. Share ideas; collaborate and communicate with others online. This is a very good point. By reaching out to other teachers, you can see what others are doing, how their online classes are going, and what is working for them. This is the best way to get ideas for your own online class.
7. Teaching online can inform me what to do in the classroom if you teach online and in the classroom. I think this will help me out since I will teach in the classroom and online. I can see what needs to be explained more online. In the classroom, I can help students right then and there, but online I have to be more detailed on the assignments so they don’t get confused on how to do it.
Below is a table from Craig et al. (2008) that really fits well with what I see an online teacher’s role to be. I believe an online teacher has to play all of these roles, in one way or another.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-2-07-09-pm
I am feeling comfortable teaching my online class so far. I know issues will probably arise once I really get started, but I will adjust when I need to. I like what (Craig, et, al., 2008) mention about the reflection journals students write. I think I am going to do this with my current class, so both I and the students can see what they have gained as they progress through the course. I look forward to seeing how it goes and how the students will progress through the class.

References

Craig, A., Goold, A., Coldwell, J., & Mustard, J. (2008). Perceptions of Roles and Responsibilities in Online Learning: A Case Study. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://ijklo.org/Volume4/IJELLOv4p205-223Craig510.pdf

Everson, M. (2009). Elearn Magazine: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Teaching Online. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=1609990

Shamsy, J. (2014). Elearn Magazine: A Balancing Act Part I: Technical Support and the Online Instructor. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=2627756