Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner

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Re: Topic #1: Introduction to the Online Learner

Janet Polley
I work in a high school in Iowa that has been 1-1 for quite some time.  Each student had MacBook Pro’s for 4 years but now are using ChromeBooks.  I believe that most teachers my age (50+) are not comfortable yet with online and blended learning.  I really have no idea what blended learning is all about and I hope to learn a lot by the end of this course.  I know that self-paced instruction is a valuable learning method, so I would like to use blended learning as a tool for differentiated instruction.  Blended learning can allow me to tailor instruction more toward individual student needs.

In my school, there are some teachers who use only computers in their classroom; notes, textbooks, videos, lectures, etc. are all on their google classroom; and they simply tell the students where to go for the day.  There are other teachers who use the computers just as a resource for extra practice and for showing videos to help reinforce a concept.

There are some of us teachers that use it when applicable and appropriate, but others are not able or willing to put in the extra time it takes to really develop a solid blended classroom.  I tend to be the one that uses it very little.  I teach Math (Algebra and Geometry) and I have found some really good sites but am not always sure how to incorporate it due to a timeline we have to stay with.  

 I think blended learning will offer the most promise to the struggling student, and my ELL students.  Although all content areas in my school have implemented technology to some extent, I think it is still mostly just for research. I think we need more in service on effective online and blended learning.  

Challenges my school would face for implementation would be teacher readiness.   New ideas take more time to plan and organize.  With increased demand in other areas, time is a virtue, and most teachers are not going to do something that may require more time. Also, lots of apprehension is associated with trying something new, so it is all together avoided (especially teachers my age).  

I look forward to the opportunity to design online lessons.  I have always wanted to "flip" my classroom so I am hoping this course will give me ideas and help in the process.