This reflection is focused on the following standards:
Standard B: The online teacher understands and is able to use a range of technologies, both existing and emerging, that effectively support student learning and engagement in the online environment.
Standard I: The online teacher demonstrates competency in using data from assessments and other data sources to modify content and to guide student learning.
Standard K: The online teacher arranges media and content to help students and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively in the online environment.
Reflecting on how this module has helped me meet these standards is the focus of this blog. This lesson helped me to meet Standard B by forcing me to explore more LMS that I would not have looked at before. I can truly say now that not all LMS are equal. I am more familiar with what applications work and more importantly which applications do not work. I have found myself talking to colleagues that were unaware of what programs were out there and even having them start their own investigation. This lesson helped me with Standard I by reevaluating how I am collecting data and how that data is being used to guide student learning. It is easy to fall into a routine and forget there are more assessment strategies that will help teachers to implement differentiation in teaching methods through proper assessment. The lesson helped me to meet Standard K by having me look at new media options. Before this lesson, I had never used a screen capture and shared information with students. This lesson gave me the tools necessary to be more effective in the online classroom.
I followed directions to download a course in a zip file and then upload the course through a trail on an LMS. What I found was that not all platforms are created equally. I started wit Blackboard. Blackboard turned out to have a very limited trail offer that would not allow for the creation of classes or the uploading of information. Thankfully the second platform that I used was much more user friendly. The second LMS was Canvas. To upload a course into Canvas follow these steps:
What are the options for grade reporting?
There are several reporting options in the LMS Reporting depending on which LMS you select. I currently use Google Classroom that allows me to give a manual grade to students, reports for when students are on time or late, and the use of applications that give immediate reports. Quizizz.com is a great application that makes learning fun for the student with game like quizzes. Quizizz.com gives information back to the student and teacher showing how many attempts were made, the grade, the class rank, and which questions were wrong.
Are there various levels?
Within Google Classroom there are two main levels of reporting; Teacher Level and Student Level. Student level gives student data can result in a report view that indicates the number of times a student accesses a course, attempts a quiz, visited content, or used a particular tool. The reports can aggregate across students in a course, and this data can be informative about the effectiveness of the online course. Teacher Level gives a report may look at course grades per course offering or across semesters/sessions to indicate positive or negative results per teacher, as well as overall material within the course’s effectiveness. A teacher may look at their own data or their students’ data for differentiation or evaluation of their teaching methods.
Which levels remain most valuable for the online instructor in regard to student performance?
I feel that the teacher level is the most valuable from a teacher perspective. The teacher level allows me to monitor the growth of a student to ensure that standards are being met.
The digital learning trend that I believe will have the most impact over the next five years is virtual reality learning. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been on the digital learning trends lists for a couple of years now, but it’s only in recent months that organisations have really started getting to grips with the potential of this technology. The costs of delivery and deployment are falling rapidly and in the next couple of years, we could see content traditionally delivered as a simulation or a branching elearning scenario transformed into more immersive VR and AR experiences. This could mean that instead of watching a video-based simulation, you could put your learners inside a realistic environment in which they can observably demonstrate their mastery of the required skills and behavior. Key areas of application are likely to be high-risk environments, technical tasks and complex procedural activities. The tipping point is likely to be where the hardware is much more lightweight (see Facebook’s normal AR spectacles) and untethered VR headsets that are do not give you motion sickness and are not health and safety hazards in their own right.
I don't believe virtual reality is going to fade away, if anything I believe that it will continue to grow and grow. I think we have only scratched the surface of what is to come with virtual reality.
Which LMS is best?
Deciding the best LMS is a very difficult thing. For my needs, I am a huge fan of Google Classroom.
How does the selected LMS meet the needs of all stakeholders, including administrators, students, teachers and faculty, instructional technology, development, support, and parents?
Google Classroom meets the needs of the stakeholders, administrators, students, teachers, and parents because of the accessibility, cost and tools. Google Classroom is a free application to anyone with an educational institution email address. Google classroom has mobile applications so students can complete work on a phone or tablet. Links for students can be added along with various types of files. Grading is made easy by opening work in Google Docs and allowing the teacher to move from one student's work to the next. Once grading has been done a grade sheet can be exported to Google Sheets. Students benefit from being able to use all types of Google Applications at no cost. Each assignment also has a discussion area that allows students and teachers to have an open classroom discussion.
How does the selected LMS align with the initiatives, growth, and technological needs of your organization?
K–12 leaders who have successfully chosen, implemented and supported an LMS recommend that schools begin by evaluating systems based on how well they support institutional goals. For example, if a school plans to launch an ePortfolio initiative that enables students to reflect on achievements and showcase work for university admissions or employment, its LMS evaluation team should determine whether ePortfolio functionality is provided, whether ePortfolios can be shared publicly and accessed beyond graduation and whether the functionality is included as a standard feature or for an additional fee. Doing so will help the evaluation team focus on meaningful outcomes and avoid the common trap of creating extensive but aimless features checklists.
The following is a screen shot of Google Classroom.
Today, I am going to discuss the value of using screen capture in your digital classroom. In my post Synchromous Vendor Market, I used a screen capture application to document my experience with Blackboard Collaborate. I like Screencastify for a view reasons; Screencastify is free, easy to use and easy to share through two different types of media. Screencastify can be shared either through a link or on Youtube. If there was a downfall for Screencastify, it would be the video is only produced in webm and not mp4. There are many converters online that will allow you to convert from a webm to a mp4. Screen Capture does allow for modification to teaching methods by allowing teachers to teach a class just like you would in a classroom with a smart-board. The only draw back is allowing for students to ask questions and receive immediate feedback. Please follow my link to view a short lesson on Screencastify.
Screencastify Lesson Link
The Synchronous Vendor I selected was Blackboard Collaborate. I found this application to be outstanding. The use of live video conferencing, side chat menus, slide show uploading, drawing features, record features with playback, and call-in service made this an outstanding vendor. Blackboard Collaborate was easy to use and setup. I used Blackboard Collaborate with my computer and with my cell phone and both worked smoothly. Blackboard Collaborate is defiantly a product I will use again.
When would an open source application take precedence over a commercial product?
For many years Commercial Virtual Classroom software has had an edge over Open Source Classrooms, however things have shifted to more even playing field. Open Source Virtual Classrooms still has a major ace in the hole, Open Source is free. If cost is an issue then Open Source Virtual Classrooms are the way to go.
What are the issues when choosing between Open Source vs. Commercial Software?
There are several issues that should be considered when looking at Open Source and Commercial Software. The first issue is the cost. There are limitations with both software types but the Open Source is the most cost efficient. The second issue is security. There are many arguments that say open source is more security because the code can be changed to suit the needs of the user, but other arguments say commercial software are more secure because the code is more difficult to penetrate. When it comes to security it depends on which argument you read. The third is flexibility and open source is definitely more flexible. It is clear that there are a variety of issues to address when selecting which type of software to use. Both softwares have their own pluses and minuses.
My name is Kris Martinez and I blog about learning public safety.