Reply – Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
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Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner
— by David Christopherson David Christopherson
I knew going in that taking this class was going to be a learning experience. The high school listened to a couple of 5-6 and 7-8 grade science and social studies teachers. They are doing this with part of the students in their school. Not all of the students get to participate in this, only ones whose parents thought their students would benefit from it.

I am going to try it because I have thought about it in the past and thought the students could benefit from the wealth of knowledge on the Internet. Now I have a class that does not like to talk when I am trying to pull them into a discussion. So I am going to try to have online videos and other activities along with discussion boards that the students can use to discuss topics before they get into small groups.

I teach business education classes so in some of my classes, the students use computers on a daily basis for Computer Applications and some of the other classes do research or take quizzes or tests in Schoology on them. This year the district has added more IPads in the elementary schools and Chromebooks to the middle schools and high school. Supposedly in the high school we have enough computers to be considered 1 to 1, but the Chromebooks stay in the classroom. Students have to check them out in each classroom when the teachers want them to be used. They can’t take them home or use them outside the classroom unless the study hall has some accessible or they can get into a computer lab. However, now they are removing the desktop computer labs since we have Chromebooks.

I have Desktops in my classroom that have Microsoft Office on them for one of the classes I teach. The teachers have MS Office on the teacher desktops to use if they want. The teachers and students can download MS Office 2016 at home to use it they want, but most aren’t using it because they are using Google Docs because of the sharing and file storage capabilities. I don’t like to use Google Docs very often in my classes because I have found out that most businesses use MS Office or something similar in the workplace and want their employees to know how to use those applications.

The school has selected online tools for us to use, mainly the ones that are free to Education. As Teachers, we don’t have the authorization to try new online tools at school because we don’t have the authority to install any applications to try. So we are locked into what they tell us is available unless we try the new applications on our computers at home and then get approval.

I am still excited to be using blended learning even though I am the only Business Teacher in our high school and being part-time. As a 5/8 teacher, it is challenging to keep up with the students and the classes when developing new methods because of the other jobs I have to maintain. I will have to spend more time looking for groups that can help me process this and become better at it.

The parts of Blended Learning that are making it interesting/challenging are deciding what the possibilities are that can happen to make students more enthusiastic about my classes and trying to decide what tools to use that will be interesting for the students and make my classes better for the students.

David Christopherson