Category Archives: A+ Links

Preparing for Day 1 of Online Classes

No matter how much we worry about not knowing what to have and which one to prepare first and how much we wish for the government to keep on pushing the start of the new academic year, we would still face “Day 1” fair and square. While I was pondering on what to work on first, I thought I could share with you pages I found useful in organizing my virtual classroom.

I first reviewed pages about the best practices for teaching online. What Stanford University shared might be heavy text wise (not a very inviting page), but really helpful. Their Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online encapsulates the main ingredients every teacher should prepare to cook and serve a splendid Day 1 experience with learners who are also new to this type of learning. Takeaways from their list are

  • Our students should feel our ever present presence most importantly during scheduled synchronous sessions. Knowing that we are always there as expected during working hours extends a sense of belonging that they are not lost and that we are always there to give them feedback.
  • Online or onsite, setting clear expectations is a nonnegotiable. Whenever I write classroom expectations I always ask myself, “Would I want to stay in my class if I was the student?” If we cannot tolerate or make sense out of what we prepared, we should press delete.
  • Combining concept learning with personalized learning means that we have to know our students very well. We have to upgrade our glasses to see them more than the most advanced holograms. We have to be keen listeners to keep them interested and truly productive. This is the aspect where I always think of those Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings.

My next stop was on back to school activities. I needed to make sure I wrote “online” or “virtual” on the search bar to avoid those pages that are about to be forgotten. I got hooked with the name of the teacher running the blog. She is called Miss G which is very close to how my students call me. Back to School Activities for Virtual Distance Learning has fun and unique tasks that both teachers and students will surely enjoy. Takeaways from her list are

  • Instead of the “get to know the teacher” mantra, Miss G suggested that students “investigate the teacher.” We can imagine our students virtually scurrying on the web to find answers. We can incorporate a little bit of digital literacy as we guide their “stalking” task to refer to reliable sources.
  • I love running learning stations in my classes. It feels good to see how those stations can be converted into their online version. The idea is to present the lesson into yummier bite-sized chunks. Considering gender sensitivity, it works for everyone when instructions are laid out or questions are asked one by one.
  • Adding a venue where students can share their responses is a must. Remembering that communicating with students through our online classrooms is prone to more barriers, we cannot simply eat a 15, 30, or even a 60-minute synchronous session simply by rendering a one-way audiovisual lecture. Let us imagine running a one hour music playlist. What usually happens? It is either we stay until the end (like our very hardworking kids who would survive it); we switch to another list (the camera only shows what our students want to show, not the complete picture); or we simply doze off (more so when our voice and overall projection bring in some magical sleeping effects). Thus, venues where students can give us and their peer feedback must be utilized to the fullest.

My last stop was not as heavy as the first two pages. Holly Clark of Infused Classroom has a very straightforward info-graphic presentation on 8 Fun Activities for Virtual Learning Meetings. I could only hope that some of our “heads” read this post. Takeaways from her suggestions are

  • To have fun teaching and learning means careful and wise planning. No teacher could run any of the activities listed without prior knowledge of the class members and without preparing materials. Let us take for example the “Movie and Netflix Reviews.” Sections of one review should be divided and assigned to different groups. How to get groups working together in a virtual classroom can be a challenge at first. Thanks to fast-changing technology, we have now several options from fancy forum threads, Padlet, to simple shared Google Doc or Slide.
  • “Hot or Not” is an interesting activity. The most important part where students could showcase the depth of their understanding is their explanation. At least they hear and experience another way of answering the not-so-favorite “why.”
  • With the majority of the population relying on visual cues, the 8th activity can be simplified to present a photo that can be vague, but relevant enough to anchor an online discussion.

Did this post just help get us excited now knowing where to start or our list has just gotten longer yet we have a smile on our face because we know we are on the right track? The world has indeed taken one ugly somersault and it is still midway doing the action so no one could tell yet which side is up or down. We all need to find ways to keep our sanity and our bodies healthy. We have to carry on!

Why do we need an AUP?

I have been teaching in a blended learning format for several years. I still remember how some students called me as the “techie” English teacher. I have always made it a point to incorporate the use of information technology in my classes.

In terms of teaching through an online learning platform, I started with Moodle. I still remember all the conversations I had with Alfredo Papaseit (the school librarian at that time) who introduced it to the faculty. I remember long hours of setting all the rights and how the program sort of paused when no one in the IT department remembered to press the button to refresh the server after a power interruption that happened after school hours or over the weekend. Moodle has a lot of features that may be overwhelming if an educator is new to the online teaching club. It is a grand learning platform that is suitable for higher education and for big universities.

My second stop was Schoology and Course Director (the older brother of Google Classroom). I was happier using Schoology because it had a similar interface with Facebook. Then, the idea of flipped classroom came and teachers had too many different virtual classrooms and students needed to remember too many passwords and too many shortcuts. It was during this time when I tried Google Classroom, too. It did not have as many features as Schoology, but was only clicks away for a school using Google Suite. Soon after, a group of students proposed that the faculty chooses only one to avoid confusion and to be able to monitor their progress better. Few months later, it became a requirement for teachers to run Google Classroom side-by-side onsite classes. I still remember how we were made to stay outside our physical teaching areas, away from our students, to mimic an “online session.” That was the school’s online class rehearsal.

Early in March 2020, I got to apply my online teaching skills to respond to a real demand when schools were made to suspend classes. I came across new issues though. I came to wonder how my former experience was smooth and productive. I did not receive ridiculous alibis from students (e.g., cannot open PDF files because they are unsupported and cannot open any Google Form because the page says “This site cannot be reached”) and other rude and weird online learning scenarios. I asked myself What am I missing? The answer is a question which is the title of this post. Freaking out with the world when COVID-19 hit, I forgot to share with the school administration the need to have a clear and fair policy laid out. These expectations were presented when I had those online class rehearsals. These policies are absolutely essential.

Scholastic says that having a technology policy is valuable “to harness this [referring to the Internet] powerful tool so that it is effective and safe for student use.” I love how Scholastic listed the components every school IT policy should include. They also provided examples.

Kajeet in their article entitled Why Acceptable Use Policies are Critical for Education highlighted how an agreement supports students’ safety online. They have two main big ideas to stress the importance of an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – “protecting students” and “providing students.” They mentioned a student-centered approach and shared links to other AUP materials.

School administrators may need to see the bigger picture though. Now that online teaching and learning has taken the front seat as the world continues to fight off an unprecedented health and economic pandemic, how to keep the whole school population safe must be a heavy load on their shoulders. The Internet Society in 2017 defined Key considerations for policy makers. They identified “five priorities for Internet and education.” These are infrastructure and access, vision and policy, content and devices, capacity, and inclusion.

Of course, there are institutions that have gone ahead of this game. No one needs to reinvent the wheel. From my online teaching experience, I am fully aware that these policies are imperative. Administrators and support teams must find time to collaborate and establish one for their community. Schools must continue to cater to their learners’ needs far beyond the sharing of class codes, modules, activities, and materials. Students must also learn, grow, and become responsible digital citizens.

Fact or Fiction about COVID-19

Homeroom Thinking Exercise Teaching & Learning with Dr. JellSoL

Students have to learn how to evaluate online information they access and peruse for different reasons. This activity is a quick exercise supporting two PSHS Learner’s Profile Attributes: being Inquirers and Thinkers.

Students all stand in the middle of the classroom. Before reading the statements from WHO and Vox below, the homeroom teacher chooses the side where students have to move if they think the statement read is a fact or the opposite side if it is fiction.  The homeroom teacher reads the statements twice.  After s/he reads the statement the second time, s/he says “Fact or Fiction” to signal the students to make a choice and move to the side reflecting their response. The class is given 30 seconds to decide. Staying in the middle to say “maybe” is not permitted. Before stating the answer, the homeroom teacher reads the explanation. Students move back to the center area to get ready for the next statement.

(1) FACT: Cold weather and snow cannot kill the new coronavirus. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

(2) FICTION: The novel coronavirus sickness is caused by 5G. One premise is that 5G technology can weaken the immune system and make the common cold more virulent. Another promotes the idea that the 5G technology itself is causing the symptoms that have been attributed to the novel coronavirus. One version of the theory pushes the idea that the technology absorbs oxygen in the lungs, which “causes coronavirus.” That idea has been flagged false by a UK-based third-party fact-checker, called Full Fact that works with Facebook. There’s no evidence that 5G impacts the immune system, and no proof that it has any link to the novel coronavirus.

(3) FICTION: There’s a plot to “exterminate” people infected with the new coronavirusSome individuals have floated the claim that China sought permission from the country’s Supreme Court to kill people infected with the novel coronavirus. Several fact-checkers, including Snopes, have determined these reports to be false and to have originated from a website with several “red flags.”

(4) FACT: Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus diseaseTaking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

(5) FACT: The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 casesEven though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures.

(6) FICTION: Scientists have proven that humans got the novel coronavirus from eating batsBuzzFeed reported that a prominent video about the novel coronavirus in Hindi that’s attracted more than 13 million amplified the claim that eating bats caused the coronavirus outbreak. There is no evidence that eating bats caused the coronavirus outbreak. Jonathan Epstein, a veterinarian and an epidemiologist EcoHealth Alliance, told Vox earlier this month that it’s “still not known” whether this outbreak started with bats at an animal market.

(7) FICTION: Scientists predicted the virus will kill 65 million people. “We modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction,” the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said in a statement. “We are not predicting that the nCoV-2019 outbreak will kill 65 million people.”

(8) FICTION: China built a biological weapon that was leaked from a lab in Wuhan. Experts have told the Washington Post that there’s no evidence to support it. The lab itself said in a statement that misinformation had “caused severe damage to our researchers who have been dedicated to working on the front line, and seriously interrupted the emergency research we are doing during the epidemic.”

(9) FACT: The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

(10) FICTION: Chinese spies smuggled the virus out of CanadaSocial media posts are pushing the unproven premise that the novel coronavirus found in Wuhan was smuggled from a lab in Canada as part of China’s clandestine quest for a bioweapon, a theory debunked by Politifact. It’s a theory that seems to be somewhat related to the Wuhan lab conspiracy.

(11) FICTION: Hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirusHand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

(12) FICTION: Ultraviolet disinfection lamp can kill the new coronavirusUV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

(13) FICTION: A coronavirus vaccine already exists. While researchers in several countries are working to develop a vaccine, no such vaccine has yet been developed, according to FactCheck.org and Politifact. But this has not stopped people from going online and claiming otherwise.

(14) FICTION: There were 100,000 confirmed cases in JanuaryMany popular posts on social platforms spread statistics that served to scare people with numbers that do not match the official count. Some of these posts cite medical workers in Wuhan, without evidence. At least eight people have been arrested by the Chinese government for spreading hoaxes, according to reporting from the Poynter Institute in January. When trying to figure out the scale of the virus’s spread, it’s worth looking to reputable, official sources, such as the WHO.

(15) FACT: Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people infected with the new coronavirusThermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus. However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

(16) FICTION: Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body can kill the new coronavirusSpraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).

(17) FICTION: Pets at home can spread the new coronavirusThere is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

(18) FACT: Vaccines against pneumonia cannot protect you against the new coronavirusVaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine.

(19) FACT: Rinsing your nose with saline cannot help prevent infection with the new coronavirusThere is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold.

(20) FICTION: A teen on TikTok is the first case in CanadaTikTok appears to have deleted the original viral video which had over 4.1 million views, but a similar video, posted by the same user, showed a teen alleging a classmate had contracted the virus remained up as of February 20. That morning, the company said it released a feature directing users to trusted sources of information, like the WHO, when they search for coronavirus-related content.

(21) FICTION: The Chinese government built a hospital overnightIt’s worth noting that the Chinese state media has also been spreading false information. As BuzzFeed News first pointed out, two state media outlets — Global Times and People’s Daily — circulated an image of a newly constructed building and claimed it was a hospital in Wuhan that was constructed in just 16 hours. In fact, the building in the image was an apartment building more than 600 miles away. This is just one example of how the Chinese government and state-backed organizations have used false or misleading information to portray the outbreak being under control.

(22) FACT: Eating garlic cannot help prevent infection with the new coronavirusGarlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

(23) FACT: Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are more vulnerable to become severely ill with the new coronavirusWHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus; for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

(24) FICTION: Antibiotics are effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirusThe new COVID-19 is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

(25) FICTION: There are specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirusTo date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials.

References

Ghaffary, S., & Heilweil, R. (2020). Facebook doubles down on removing coronavirus conspiracy theories. Vox. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/31/21115589/coronavirus-wuhan-china-myths-hoaxes-facebook-social-media-tiktok-twitter-wechat

WHO. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Dick and Carey Model

Week 3 Output EdX Instructional Design Models

Video Transcript

Step 1: Instructional Goal In an adaptive school, the team must always take the time to ask the question: “Why are we doing this?” In UbD planning, we ask Essential Questions and lay out Enduring Understanding. Step 1 of Dick and Carey can be likened to how successful people always keep the end in mind. Looking back to my ADDIE map, the instructional goal I identified is to help learners develop and polish their communication and learning skills.

Step 2: Instructional Analysis Going back to the concepts of an adaptive school, this stage of the Dick and Carey model is synonymous to the question: “Why are we doing this, this way?” Course objectives must be based on who the learners are, what they can do, where I want to see them, and how I can best facilitate their learning process to achieve the goal that was identified earlier. An aspect of the goal is to get students become better communicators. Instruction and materials that I will prepare should introduce and practice effective listening and speaking skills.

Step 3: Entry Behaviors and Learner Characteristics In order to offer engaging lessons, students must be encouraged to take an active approach to learn. It is important that teachers and facilitators take the time to know more about who the students are as thinking and emotional individuals and that they are all unique. This step reminds me of a conversation I had with colleagues during lunch last week. They were trying to figure out what made a teacher tell students that their diagnostic exam was graded. I will have students share why they are taking the course and what they are expecting to gain from completing it.

Step 4: Writing Performance Objectives Every lesson counts. To make each truly count, objectives (why students should be learning it) must be clearly laid out. I wish to use here the given acronyms: CNbCR. CN (conditions) focuses on a description of the target skill identified. B (behavior) focuses on the target action, content, and/or concept. CR (criteria) focuses on a description of an acceptable performance of the skill identified earlier. For my course, students will be able to apply effectively one or two listening skills when they take notes of the given recorded lecture. When they share their reflection, students can then talk about the listening skills they focused on to complete the task.

Step 5: Developing Assessment Instruments Students not only need to know why they have the lessons shared, why they are completing a particular project, but also need to understand how their output will be evaluated. This is when rubrics are needed. Criteria and descriptors laid out in rubrics will guide students on what standards to meet, how they will achieve them through the project, what components they should complete, and what feedback should they expect from the facilitator or their teacher. My rubric may include a criterion on listening comprehension to check how much of the information shared did the students actually understand.

Step 6: Instructional Strategy This answers the question how the lesson will be presented. One of my favorite strategies is 10/2. After 10 minutes of instruction or work focus, the class pauses for two minutes to talk about what has transpired or to free write.

Step 7: Instructional Materials This stage is meant to determine the materials or resources students will have to complete the summative assessment. This could be a list of relevant video clips or reading materials. Effective instruction calls for decent amount of time dedicated to find the most useful resources out of the profusion of teaching and learning materials both printed and on different online pages.

Step 8: Formative Evaluation This step answers the need to pay close attention to the overall flow of the class. Are the students really working towards realizing goals set? Are students excited and engaged and getting more confident to complete the summative task successfully? A series of mini listening tests can become part of the formative process for a note-taking summative.

Step 9: Summative Evaluation Reflection, feedback, exit survey – these are only few of the recurring and familiar strategies to anchor and propel course revision. This step evaluates the overall success of the course so organizers could improve essential components and have it readier for the next season of teaching and learning.

The Dick and Carey Model sums up the essence of being a teacher, a learning coach, or a course facilitator. Perhaps, I met this model when I started teaching and did not care much to understand it as much as I went through each step to complete this task today. Writing the skeleton of the class or the course guide or syllabus appears more straightforward if viewed as a process, as steps to take one by one, instead of components or empty boxes and cells to complete. Going from one step to the next forces course creators to understand the reasons behind each step. Instead of addressing components separately, going from step 1 to 9, like ADDIE, emphasizes the relationships between components building unto each other to make learning meaningful.

You have just watched an interpretation of the Dick and Carey Model.  What examples do you have in mind to complete each step?  Please share your thoughts.

References

Bensound. (2018). Creative minds [Audio file]. Retrieved from https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music/track/creative-minds

D’Angelo, T., Bunch, J.C., & Thoron, A. (2018). Instructional design using the Dick and Carey systems.  UF IFAS Extension. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/WC/WC29400.pdf

Kurt, S. (2015). Dick and Carey instructional model. Educational Technology. Retrieved from https://educationaltechnology.net/dick-and-carey-instructional-model/

Consider viewing more ThruPages videos.

 

 

A Course Plan – Using ADDIE and Brain Frames

Week 2 Output (EdX Instructional Design Models)

Instead of using mind mapping applications, I chose to complete the given assignment using Brain Frames by the Architects of Learning.  Notice the step by step completion of ADDIE as the main instructional design model used in this thinking map.  Notice how ideas are placed first before their relationships are traced.  I combined here the sequencing and categorizing frames.   In so doing, ideas about the future online course I will build are more organized and will surely stay in my mind way longer until I have to retrieve these thoughts again.  If bubbles and shapes will not show their overall flow and relationships, later on, it will be difficult to recall important components.

In Analysis, I answered questions on who will be my learners, what will they be learning in my course, and what materials will I be using.  I also thought of possible topics to include.  I included the key areas where I will look for more references and/or resources.

In Design, I thought of how a modular mode, a weekly coverage.  I thought that there should be a regular required task for students to complete.  This is to establish routine.  At the very start of the course, I should be sharing with students the final output they will be expected to complete.

In Development, I focused on the main documents to guide everyone involved in the course.  The language should be accessible by teachers and students to encourage independent learning.  The whole feedback loop should be visible and relevant to be meaningful and supportive.  Such quality will also keep everyone focused.

In Implementation, I wanted to highlight three important aspects – the level of questioning in class, the mode of presentation (always a combination of approaches), and the regular pacing that should be planned with students so they may take more responsibility and become active participants of the learning process.

In Evaluation, success of the course can be traced from the students’ overall performance.  Students should be given the opportunity to give their feedback to help improve the organization and presentation of the course.  The school administration can also help weigh its need, relevance, and contribution.

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