Evidence and Reflection on Learning #1
I have selected my PAL (Participatory and Application of Learning) Instructional Design Model as my first artifact to demonstrate learning. It was created in Power Point September 2015 and demonstrates my ability to develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner.
Reflections to Support Evidence
I selected this artifact, which appeals primarily to visual learners, for two reasons. The first was that the creation of it caused me to examine my beliefs about how students learn best and reflect on how effective I was in incorporating these beliefs into my practice. Secondly, the process of creating the model introduced me to features of a program that I was not familiar with and can now utilize effectively.
In examining my beliefs about teaching (whether it be face-to-face or online) I realized that choice and student involvement are held in high regard. My model is influenced by constructivist and connectivist theories of learning as students continually reflect and build on their learning and utilize a network of online and tangible resources to achieve their learning goals. I also realized that at present I do not include as many opportunities for choice as my model would suggest I should. It has become a goal of mine to find ways to correct this and better align my practice with my beliefs.
Prior to engaging in this learning activity I has used PowerPoint to create slideshows. I was competent with adding photos, text, animations and transitions. I had not yet used the Smart Art feature, however. Once I became familiar with it I found it an engaging and effective means of representing an idea visually. Before I had perceived Power Point as a tool for relating knowledge. This activity transformed my thinking and allowed me to see it as a tool for creating and expressing knowledge and ideas.
The strengths of this artifact is that it is visually clean and simple and easy to follow. It is not overwhelming in its complexity. I believe that it also epitomizes my current beliefs about best practices in teaching.
Planning learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of environments is an essential skill for online and face-to-face educators. Every student is an individual and will present with unique strengths and areas requiring development. Every delivery model has aspects that are better suited to certain students, teachers or disciplines. As educators it is important to identify these strengths and weaknesses and make choices accordingly. This can be a challenge. Working with students to set goals and providing a variety of methods to demonstrate learning and deliver content is an effective way of achieving this and a strategy I hope to include in my practice.
Evidence and Reflection on Learning #2
I have selected my Pecha Kucha, created October 2015, as my second artifact to demonstrate learning. With its graphics and soundtrack this Power Point appeals to both visual and auditory learners. It demonstrates my ability to understand, design and commit to student success in online learning environments and basic competency with design and implementation of a variety of online learning environments and tools.
Reflections to Support Evidence
I selected this artifact, which engages both the visual and auditory senses, because the format resonated with me from the moment I viewed the exemplar. It impacted me on an emotional and intellectual level. I would offer that this learning activity represents a combination of elements from cognitivist and connectivist learning theories. The fact that it is designed to be shared with others and increase knowledge or provoke thought speaks to connectivism while the development, consolidation and articulation of ideas required to create a Pecha Kucha suggests a cognitivist approach. I was familiar with Power Point but the term Pecha Kucha was new to me. Like the creation of artifact #1, the creation of this Pecha Kucha introduced me to features of Power Point I had not previously utilized, namely the inclusion of audio tracks and timing.
The creation of this artifact also gave me pause to examine my beliefs surrounding online learning in relation to face-to-face instruction. It became apparent to me early on that the biggest asset to online learning, from my perspective, was freedom. Like my PAL Instructional Design Model emphasized choice, my Pecha Kucha highlighted freedom to explore topics of interest; freedom from bricks and mortar buildings; and freedom in scheduling. This learning activity helped me articulate why I had been drawn to the OLTD program,and why online learning and teaching appealed to me. It helped me examine whether my teaching practice aligned with my beliefs regarding learning and teaching online.
The strengths of this evidence is its ability to touch people on an emotional as well as intellectual level. It is quick-paced and combines images and music. I discovered this to be a powerful mix.
Understanding, designing and committing to student success in online learning environments and basic competency with design and implementation of a variety of online learning environments and tools. is essential because proficiency with the multitude of platforms and tools available provides educators with the opportunity to match the learning needs and styles of students with the most effective delivery model available. Competency with these platforms and tools offers students and educators choice, something I have come to hold in high esteem. Continuing to explore and become proficient with new technologies will enable me to engage students in different ways and prevent me from becoming complacent and delivering lessons in the same way they have always been delivered.