Evidence of Learning and Reflection #1
Screencast tutorials for creating quizzes and feedback surveys in Moodle
Reflection to Support Evidence
The first artifact that I have selected as my evidence of learning in OLTD 504 is my two screencasts created as tutorials for members of my cohort. Both screencasts were created using screencast-o-matic. I selected these artifacts because they represent learning in both the art of screencasting as well as creation of materials within a Learning Management System (LMS)
Prior to OLTD 504 I had only one prior experience with screencasting and had never heard the term Learning Management System. This project allowed me to explore features of Screencast-o-matic (my chosen screencasting software) such as drawing tools and scripting that I had not utilized in my initial screencast. While I found Moodle, my designated LMS, awkward to work with at first, I eventually became comfortable creating lessons, assignments, feedback surveys, quizzes and gradebooks.
In addition to acquiring technical skills necessary to produce the screencast and develop competency with an LMS, this project encouraged me to consider how best to use these tools to deliver effective instruction and to compare them to other tools available to educators. Screencasting can be a valuable skill for online facilitators and face-to-face educators to master as it provides students with instruction that they can access at their own pace and review as often as necessary. In fact, I used it extensively myself to learn learn the features of Moodle. Screencasting can be impersonal but has the potential to be personalized by overlaying video of the instructor speaking. While I did not choose to do this is this instance, I recognize that a face helps many people to connect to the material and the instructor and used this feature in my previous screencast. In an online environment it can be used not only to deliver instruction but to build an online presence and community by being used to create introductory videos such as the one I included in my mock Moodle course. Subscribers to Connectivism would embrace this tool as it allows students to be both consumers and producers of information. The visual nature of screencasting would make it most appealing to visual learners but the audio component is inclusive of auditory learners as well.
Learning Management Systems have many features that make them a desirable tool for distance education.. They integrate lessons, assignments, quizzes and gradebooks. They conveniently gather (virtually) all materials in one place. They also have limitations. There is limited potential for design alteration to customize the appearance of the interface and they are not particularly intuitive. They also are not designed with the intention of accessing the wealth of digital resources that exist for educators and learners that could enrich the learning experience.
Evidence of Learning and Reflection #2
Non LMS Build
Reflection to Support Evidence
I selected my Non Learning Management System build, created using Weebly, as my second artifact of learning for OLTD 504.
I believe that learning is an adventure of discovery. I wanted to highlight my belief that a teacher is a guide on that journey. I have also discovered that I learn best by doing. To this end I chose to build a mock online classroom targeted to early primary distance learners and their families.
The beauty (and challenge) of building a non LMS is that there are a great many tools available to educators that include (but are not exclusive to) forms, video archives, screencasting software, quiz makers, video conferencing platforms, and virtual classrooms where students can submit assignments, receive notifications/messages from teachers and engage in discussions. This provides endless opportunities but can also prove overwhelming or daunting. Which tools best serve the needs of you as an educator as well as those of your students?
I chose to begin with something familiar....a Weebly website. It is relatively user-friendly and is free (or reasonably priced for the pro version.) It can be easily customized to be both functional and reasonably attractive. This would serve as the hub from which students and their families would access other resources.
Scaffolded into the framework of my non LMS were Google Forms, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Edmodo, and Zoom. Most of these tools were new to me and I enjoyed the challenge of exploring, critiquing and embedding these resources into my non LMS. I learned how to create surveys in google forms, create and grade assignments in Edmodo, create and share a Google Calendar, and embed code into Weebly, All are skills useful to an online facilitator and increasingly necessary for face-to-face teachers.
In addition to the technical skills required to create the draft of my non LMS I also gained experience in designing an interface for blended or online instruction. I had to make decisions about content and selection of resources as well as design. What content did I want to draw attention to? Had I directed learners to resources that were age appropriate and suited to their learning style? Was my interface appealing and easy to navigate? Had I provided clear instruction? Did the design match my beliefs about teaching and learning? Had I established an online presence? Upon reflection most of these questions apply to face-to-face instruction as well. Is my classroom inviting? Have I assessed the learning needs and goals of my students? Do students respond to my instructional style? Same concepts, slightly modified language.
Blended or online teaching adds an additional complex dimension to the already complex art of teaching. In creating my non LMS I was struck by the richness that could be created in a virtual learning environment. It represents Connectivism at its best. Visual and auditory learners are likely to respond well to the inclusion of multi-media. In terms of delivering effective and efficient instruction I prefer the flexibility of non Learning Management Systems to the more restrictive Learning Management Systems. Non LMS provide more opportunity for customization and access to external digital resources. The flexibility offers more opportunity for creativity and to deliver instruction and assess in a way that suits the instructor and meets the diverse needs of learners.