Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Summer of eLearning

eLearning Quizlet cards
My eLearning Quizlet Cards
This summer I'm excited to be taking a course on online and blended instruction. In my profession as an Instructional Technology Specialist, I work closely with teachers to help integrate the meaningful use of technology to support best practices, standards, and to promote the engagement of students. This summer I'm offering around 20 different sessions of professional development at our administration building to staff members who voluntarily want to come in and learn things like Google Docs, Excel, or our online CMS, Moodle. We're also hosting a BYOD training for the first time this summer, as we are trying to communicate our newly rolled-out BYOD access across the district.

As I continue to train this summer AND take this online course about blended and online instruction, I really wish that I was able to offer some of my professional development sessions online, too. I haven't decided whether the technology PD I provide would be better suited to a weekly module arrangement or perhaps just a live, accessible way for teachers to tune in to my classes from home. The idea that I could reach so many more staff members than the physical classroom capacity allows in the summertime (or anytime, really!) gets me so excited, and at the same time disappointed that I am not prepared for that this year. Yet. I am really hoping that I can learn from the course I'm taking to help pitch the idea and offer future professional development in SOME way online. I think I'd be able to cover more material, a wider range of material, and give teachers more time to play, explore, and practice their new skills.

While I feel like I don't really offer PD online yet, I do realize that a step in the right direction has been made with the way we offer documentation and video screen-casts online for teachers in our staff "tech tips" area. This staff-accessible-only database that we have built over the years is mostly of PDF step-by-step documentation on software and tools that have been tailored to a teacher's perspective and needs, and screen-casts I've recorded of me walking teachers through the steps of using a piece of software or tool. (One example is a recent virtual tour I recorded of myself to show off the features of a tool I'm showcasing at the BYOD workshop this summer!) This database of documentation does allow for some flexibility, as teachers can reference, read, or watch bite-sized instructional chunks on their own time from home or school, but I really love the idea that having teachers virtually attend my summer professional development sessions down the road will help take this to the next level. I'm really looking forward to more ways I can make what I do better and more meaningful, to in turn help our staff do the same. Here's to a summer of eLearning!


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  2. Lesley,
    What platform are you using for the blended online course? Is it Moodle? Would love to hear more about it. From your posts, it looks like we are very similar with our needs and progress. This year we will be focusing on integration with the programs that the district offers and try not to add more tools. We have decided that teachers never reach the transformational level because they brush the surface on too many different programs and never get proficient at any.

  3. Hi Peggy,

    I am currently taking the online blended eLearning course on the Cake platform. Our district uses Moodle or Edmodo for online classroom spaces, but our "Tech Tips" area is just a web based database.