Our Course Prototype Assignment (Exploring Saskatchewan Through Art) can be found at: https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/
Course Profile: https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/course-profile/
My Module: https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/category/module-1/
Parent FAQ: https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/category/module-1/
The three teacher contributors were Ellen, Sam, and myself.
Overview of Creation Process:
I am very pleased with the final product for our course prototype. Way back in January, in a blog post, (Planning to Use Seesaw for the Course Prototype), I explored the idea of using Seesaw for students to be able to demonstrate their learning. I was initially inspired to do this because Ellen said she is using it in her classroom and it works well. Also, Nicole and Amy had identified it as being something they thought would work well for their prototype with grade 2 students. We were planning a prototype for grade 3, so it seemed a good fit.
The following week in my blog post, on February 5th (Lots of Decisions to Make), I was experimenting with using Screencast-O-matic. In the back of my mind I wanted to try to figure out how to make a ‘flipped’ classroom lesson like the ones I had been hearing about. In that same post, I was searching and trying to decide which platform to use.
On February 11th, my blog post (Print, Audio or Video – What’s Your Preference?) was mainly focused on Bates and his encouragement for teachers to try and discover what works best for students in terms of preference: audio, text, or video. This topic really made an impact on me and so after giving it a lot of thought, I knew that it was important to include all three options within my module.
Photo Credit: micagoto Flickr via Compfight cc
It was in that same post (Print, Audio, or Video – What’s Your Preference?) that I watched an inspiring Ted Talk with Salman Khan where he talked about how the ‘flipped classroom’ first came to be. That was it – I was hooked. I loved the idea of students having access to a lesson before hand and being able to watch it over and over in the convenience of their own home, in their own time. So, I decided I wanted to have at least one ‘flipped classroom’ lesson in my module for the prototype.
The March 6th post (A Plethora of Choices) was where I am quoted as having decided with my group that we would be using Google Classroom as our platform of choice. It is also the same post where I discovered Wheel Decide as a fun way to gather formative assessment, and the age appropriate self assessment below (from Teachers Take Out):
In the blog post I created on March 18th called Openness, I found a really excellent Powerpoint presentation that outlined all the great reasons to use Seesaw:
In a post only two short weeks ago, called There is Light, I revealed that our group had changed our platform. Even though it was late to be making that decision, our layout on the Google Classroom platform was simply not turning out the way we wanted it to look. I felt a little disappointed after having spent way too many hours pouring over the tips in a book called 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom by Alice Keeler. When we agreed to switch our prototype platform to WordPress, I was optimistic because of the skills and success I have developed over the course of two ‘Courobrandt’ classes (Alec and Katia). We made that ‘leap of faith’ decision quickly, and never looked back. For all the many reasons why we thought WordPress would be a better choice, we were not disappointed. As I said in this There is Light post: I am most happy with the visual appearance. I am a visual person myself, and am drawn in by color and beauty. I think many students are visual learners as well and will be enticed by the interesting colorful pictures on the site we have created.
In the weeks following, my course Module really began to take shape. I contacted a woman I found on the Internet named Shelley Banks (from Regina), who agreed to be our local ‘expert’ and said our class could be in contact with her via email. I continued to find interesting digital tools for formative assessment that would allow students to interact with the material along the way.
The Peer Response Assignment has been a valuable one:
As Katia mentioned in her email this week, EC&I 834 colleagues put a lot of work into the critiquing each others Course Prototype assignments so that each group ended up with feedback that is detailed and meaningful. Our group got together once we had reviewed our feedback individually and discussed repercussions/changes we wanted to make.
Our Group Response to Peer Feedback:
Overall, we had wonderful people giving us feedback. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, which is so nice as it was a hard task to create something with little frame of reference. Below we highlighted a couple of common critiques that came up in our feedback document.
Some of our feedback mentioned that it was a little hard to find our information. While WordPress is a clean and organized tool, our drop down menus were confusing to some, which means they could be confusing to parents and, of course, the eight year olds taking our course. One thing that we would change in response, is to change our drop down menus. Instead of having information on the header of our drop down menus, the header could be used as more of a title, with the content in further drop down menus off of the header. For example, the header of “course profile” could be changed so that the course profile isn’t listed underneath and instead is found on a drop down menu off of the header. We believe this would help students navigate our site.
We also decided to rewrite our rationale based on some of our feedback. We have now included more details about the reasoning behind many of our specific choices including our LMS and other instructional tools. Our new rationale is more comprehensive in explaining the choices we made in order to maximize learning opportunities for grade three students targeted with this prototype.
Another area that came up often in our feedback was that our modules contain both student content and teacher instructional notes. One area that we would change in response to this, is to have the student content and the teacher notes separated on our WordPress site. We intentionally created our modules with both, simply for the benefit of this course and we would definitely streamline them and remove the teacher talk if this were to go live to an actual grade three classroom.
Finally, we had a couple of issues with links not working. We went through and double checked our links and also decided we would embed the information in the blog instead of relying on the link. Our example is with the Fotobabble link, we would post the actual picture in the blog post and also include a sound link to avoid the external link issues.
We appreciated all of the feedback given to us and definitely saw this as an opportunity for growth. If we were to ever create another flipped or blended classroom, we think we’d have a good grasp of where to start!
With regard to the comments that were specific to my module, I immediately fixed the two spelling mistakes. As mentioned above, if publishing this I would separate teacher information and student information. This week I learned that there is a You Tube for schools – so I would definitely check that out and might use it for my any additional instructional videos if needed. Once again, only Lesson 6 (the one with my artifact) was fully developed in my Module, the rest of the lessons were simply place holders. I feel confident that I would like to try to complete our prototype and use it with my grade three classroom.
I am grateful for all I have learned with this prototype assignment.