Blended Learning Models and Haiku LMS

Instructional Technology Outreach at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (ITO at LACOE) is hosting Blended Learning Models and Haiku LMS, a FREE workshop lead by Chris Bell and myself. We’ll be covering integration with Google Apps and other Web 2.0 tools, and we’ll be discussing best practices (and Leading Edge Certification) for online teachers.

Description: Learn the basics of creating online classes with Haiku LMS. Discover how to seamlessly integrate Haiku with Google Apps, and how to easily embed other Web 2.0 tools into Haiku. Because the instructional model is more important than the technology, further discussion explores various blended learning models – and highlights the simple yet powerful features of Haiku LMS that support successful student centered learning. Ultimately, the less time you need to spend on the technology, the more you can focus on customizing instruction.

Fee: No fee

Target Audience: Classroom Teacher, County Office of Education Staff, District Administrator, Site Administrator, Teacher (Non-Classroom)

Location: LACOE Education Center 288, 9300 Imperial Hwy.
Date and Time: 03/21/2012 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Register and More…

 If you’re in the LA area (or willing to travel), we hope to see you there. In the meantime, please share any questions or comments below.

Online CUEtoYOU Professional Development

I’m happy to have been a part of bringing this service to CUE, so I’m sharing the news here as well.

Through a new partnership with Global Classroom, CUE is excited to offer online courses to its members!  Global Classroom has delivered online professional development to teachers since 2004 and has a wide array of technology-focused courses.  This great benefit is now available to all CUE members.  This partnership will provide low-cost professional development in a flexible online environment to teachers throughout the state.  And a portion of each registration will also help support CUE’s mission! More…

Check out the course options and register today!

Incidentally, this is one of the few services CUE offers that’s available to readers of this blog from anywhere in the world. Of course, if you’re interested in brining CUEtoYOU face-to-face professional development (or perhaps the Google Learning Institute in particular) to you, we’re willing to travel anywhere on the globe. :)

Passion and PD: A Discussion Starter

In the online facilitator’s course I’m taking right now I was asked to create a discussion starter for the “break room” forum in my class. I played off of my previous posts on passion and professional development to come up with this, which I thought I’d share here.

A passionate student is a learning student. We have to tap into our students’ passions as people to tap into their desire to learn.

As an educational technologist I often say that “pets and babies will teach teachers more about technology than I ever will.” I’m finally experiencing this myself – I’ve got a four month old baby boy named Clark. Suddenly I’ve got digital video camera and a new interest in sharing video online. My first YouTube video was Clark “discovering wind” in the park – he loves it!

What passions do you have that most motivate you to learn?

I’d be particularly stoked if anyone would like to respond here as well. It’s been a long while since I did any sort of “getting to know my readers” activity on this blog. :)

PS. Here’s the actual video: Clark Discovers Wind. (I put no effort at all into editing it, you can see his dramatic reaction to the wind at about 2 min and 20 seconds into it.)

Appropriate Tones for Elements of Online Classes

This post was also written in response to a discussion prompt in the class I am taking (on facilitating online classes). We were asked to match each of the six elements of an online class you see below to specific tones described in Chapter six of Facilitating Online Learning.

I set out to write this and realized a table was the way to go. Obviously multiple tones will work for many of these elements, but for the sake of the table I’ve focused on a just one or two for each.

Appropriate Tones for Elements of Online Classes
Elements Tone(s) Explanation
Announcements Neutral, but engaging Announecments need to serve a pragmatic purpose. They are the gateway to the class and need to be a clear and concise as possible.
Personal stories Informal or humorous Personal stories are an opportunity to connect with the participants. They can also serve to releive tension within a hard working learning community.
Responses to questions posted in Facilitator Forum Neutral, but receptive and thoughtful Facilitators need to be careful not to judge participants (at least not harshly) in their responses. They need to "hear" participants concerns and respond with care – both in the details they provide and in their efforts to remain supportive of the participants.
Comments in a class discussion Analytical or Whimsical An analytical tone is appropriate in discussion comments if the facilitator is contributing something new (and thought provoking) to the discussion. Use of a variety of tones is good, though, and even whimsical responses can add a bit of levity to a heavy discussion.
Feedback on an assignment Neutral or immaginative Feeback on an assignment must serve it’s purpose clearly and conscisely – and without offending the participant. However, if the facitlitator can also inspire participants to take their ideas further, greater learning and innovation might result.
Private messages to a participant Nurturing or curious Private messages can serve a wide variety of purposes and thus can carry nearly any tone, as long as it is fit for the purpose. However, in most cases the facilitator will need to support participants privately. In some cases, though, where a participant needs to be confronted about a missed due date or inappropriate behavior it might be best to express some curiosity about the infraction rather than to blame or "lecture" the participant.

Passion and Professional Development… Online

I’m currently taking an online class in facilitating online classes. After having been a student online for many years at the beginning of my doctoral program, I’m looking forward to teaching online in the Fall. In the meantime, as a student who has to make discussion posts, I once again have new fodder for blog posts.

In this assignment we were asked to compare and contrast face-to-face and online teaching, based on reading an online facilitator’s reflection and chapter one of Facilitating Online Learning.

As I read the assigned reading for this week I was reminded of an article I wrote a while back. It was based on my experience as a professional developer, and I called it “Passion and Professional Development: Four Philosophies For Lead Learners.”It was focused primarily on face-to-face learning. In fact, one of the philosophies was called “the face-to-face philosophy.” However, many of the principles carry over into online facilitation. I’ve structured my comparison and contrast of face-to-face and online teaching based on these philosophies.

The Lead Learner Philosophy… Online

At the time I wrote that professional developers (and teachers really) should think of themselves as Lead Learners, rather than trainers or instructors. I believe this philosophy can still be an asset online. It complements the “guide on the side” philosophy advocated by our text book.

The Face-to-Face Philosophy… Online

Though it shouldn’t come as any surprise that some of this philosophy doesn’t apply online. I think other parts do. For instance, I wrote that lead learners should respect the participants in their sessions by tapping into the participants’ experience, passions, and creative energy. In essence I was arguing against wasting anyone’s time with a lecture. This may be doubly important online. As the “What It Means to Teach Online” reflection suggested, even grading becomes “secondary to the connections… being made with and between students.” Also, this need to tap into participants’ passions is the reason behind the protocols and rituals the text book advocates we include at the start of a course. The conversations in our break room are an example of this. In this case, my philosophy might be better called the Personal Connection Philosophy… or something like that. ;)

The “And Life” Philosophy… Online

This extends the philosophy of personal connect further. The idea is connecting with participants’ lives outside of school might help them learn more than staying focused purely on ‘academics.’ The text book presents this as the first principle of effective moderating: “Moderating takes place in both a professional and a social context” (p. 5) This also works for the facilitator; the best facilitation will happen when we are personally connected to the class. As the facilitator in the reflection said, “I realized that I could share myself with my class, through my writing, in a way that would truly help my students get to know me.”

The Kindergarden Philosophy… Online

I’ll just repeat the essence of this one, because it is just as true for adults learning online as it is for Kindergartners learning in a classroom: “Each positive experience a student has in kindergarten is a $1 deposit in their ‘love of learning’ bank, but every negative experience is a $10 withdrawal.”

Other Thoughts

What we loose in body language, nuances, and immediacy, I think we more than make up for in participation and reflection. I now find it much harder to be a student in a face-to-face context (though I still enjoy leading workshops). As a student I miss several key features of online learning:

  • Everyone can participate… as much as they like.
  • No one is interrupted… and conversely the opportunity to jump in is never lost.
  • There is time for reflection – and for composition of answers.

Without these things, I feel much “stupider” face to face. I’d like to help participants take as much advantage of these elements when teaching online as possible. ;)

Link: What is Big Tree Learning?

What is Big Tree Learning? My friend and colleague, Chris Walsh, father of the Google Teacher Academy, has a new venture. Big Tree Learning is an online education company helping high school students succeed in school and be better prepared for college. You can get involved this summer as a Teaching Fellow (or “Rock Star Teacher”) helping to develop curriculum with them in San Francisco. Cool name for a learning company, too, eh?

I Cosmeo, I can

Steve Dembo cross posted the announcement of

I Cosmeo, I can (Via Teach42.): “It’s a subscription based service for children at home… it has 30,000 video clips in it, a ton of academic games, content aligned to state standards, activities and more.”

I Cosmeo, I Can (Via Discovery Educator Network.): “Think unitedstreaming, but designed with kids in mind and accessible from the home. They really did it up to, students can customize the look and feel of it the site in a ton of ways.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing from my perspective is the braingames Discovery has included. Almost a year ago, when Hall Davidson was making the transition to Discovery, he was picking my brain a little bit about using games to access the United Streaming content. I don’t think that’s what these are, but perhaps this project was part of what he was thinking. At any rate, I certainly haven’t explored all of these games, but while they do not seem particularly complex, some do seem to have simulation elements that might be used to communicate systems content. It’s great to see that Cosmeo is not limited to helping students access linear content. :)

Online schools exploding across the United States – Greater Milwaukee Today

Online schools exploding across the United States – Greater Milwaukee Today (Via Google News – Educational Technology.) This article is primarily about a specific program in Wisconsin, but includes this bit: “As of last summer, 21 statewide online programs exist in the United States, according to a 2005 report released by Learning Associates, an Illinois-based education research firm.”

Let’s go, California! Get in the game. Oh, wait, California is already six years behind in adopting the NETS! (A few districts are pioneering the way in California. Newport-Mesa in the OC is an example, but they are basic aid funded rather that ADA, and few can make the leap the way they are.)

Just one question about this article, though… why are people applying to an online school using a Fax machine!? It’s my least favorite telecommunications technology… by far.

Nuvvo online classes

Nuvvo online classes (Via Drexel CoAS E-Learning.) I have a lot of questions, but this looks interesting:

Nuvvo is your way to teach on the web. Everyone knows a little bit about something, and this free, AJAX-enhanced eLearning web service is designed to bring out the teacher in all of us. Sign up and build a course in minutes; advertise your course on our eLearning Market to get the word out. Get teaching with Nuvvo, Web 2.0’s answer to eLearning.

On the other hand, the title above this excerpt is “TEACH ONLINE FOR FREE”… and I was hoping to get paid for that. ;)

NOTE: I see it’s time for a distance education category.

UPDATE: I just watched most of the tour video with Eva. This looks pretty amazing. It allows multimedia curriculum, with a simple interface for uploading files such as Quicktime movies. You can offer the class for free… or charge money. They provide the eCommerce infrastructure and take their 8% service charge out of any classes that charge. Putting together free classes might make this a powerful tool for professional developers or for classroom teachers. Eva is considering it for both… and as support for her conference presentations… and even her stamping classes.