Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the last blog in this course. I am to show how I helped to coach teachers in a model design, implement technological learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting the content, process, product and learning environment while keeping in mind the readiness of students learning levels, styles, interests and personal goals. Boy is that a tall order and only the first of 5 criteria’s I was aiming and challenged to meet.
First of all…I did none of these things on my own. However, within my group we accomplished these tasks. We coached one another through looking at AKLN standards, hammering out what they meant to all of us, developing rubrics that were student friendly and then creating assessment pieces along side projects to facilitate a learning environment any instructor and student may be able to understand. We reassessed, rewrote, argued, trying to gain footing in what direction to climb. All of us fought for ideas often having to re-evaluate after coming up with something ingenious only to realize we had left out an important component. We reassessed again, pouted, cried (ok, maybe that was just me), felt insecure (maybe me again), and eventually immerged from the mire to be able to take yet another look at what we had done with fresh eyes (definitely all of us!).
Differentiation came from working within a group of multifaceted experiences in English literature, online instruction, CTE and Special education backgrounds. Throughout this entire project you couldn’t have asked for a more diverse group. The student population that we will potentially serve with this course will be well represented. I must say that I have never worked with such a cohort of dedicated and selfless instructors that truly had the end result, an obtainable education, at heart. We have spent many hours diligently considering the student and vying for their success through constant revision and refinement.
The second and third piece we (and I say we because again, while I was an important contributor I did not act independently) were tasked with was facilitation of the use of adaptive and assistive technologies while coaching the use of online blended learning, digital content and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning. Luckily, we had Nicole who I’m pretty sure is getting ready to take over the world with her amazing technological brain (hahaha), and is most whiley at minimizing the “click.” I personally understand Blackboard and can pretty well navigate my way around the newest version UAA offers….UAS unfortunately (version 10…UAA is 13.1). is a wee bit behind the times but I still get it…Nicole abhors it…she will deny to the end but I know she holds deep resentment in her heart for that program (it’s ok!!! I understand)! However, against all odds, she put in graphics throughout every module, so that they all corresponded with one another and linked into shorter URLs in order for students to easily access materials. Throughout this entire process she has kept reminding us all of the importance in keeping courses coherent to what our students learning attention span would bear! Aleta did a wonderful job of creating audio links and finding material that wouldn’t cost the students or district a dime, Jon did voice-overs…quite a lovely speaking voice, and Tammy created a great model for checklists (among other things) for us to create a succinct guide for the students learning. Again, the diversity of formatting while keeping it all synchronic in theme for our students learning. So to be completely honest, I had no real assistance in that area other than encouragement and moral support (oh wait, I kept us all facilitated and responsible to one another, hahaha…oh boy, I’m pretty sure the biggest job of all!! LOL!)!
The last criteria of deepening content and pedagogical knowledge while reflecting on professional practice in the foundations and improvement to model and facilitate distance learning experiences is easy. This whole process has been just that. This class has had us read, cite, create, think outside of our personal comfort barriers in order to consider other teachers mental, technological, and academic challenges they might face. I have never spent more time unsure of myself while at the same time having to think outside of my own fears in order to serve a greater purpose…students who need the opportunity to graduate on time and those that will teach them. I have said it before and it bears repeating that I wish every single class I had ever taken in my graduate program challenged me this much and had produced such a tangible commodity. Through my learning and my teams collaboration we have all learned a tremendous amount about ourselves, one another, have been forced to overcome fears and obstacles and have achieved success in creating an online learning community through example.
Thank you and good night……..