I am excited to announce that I have just completed a new book about my experiences, experiments, failures, and reflections during pandemic distance learning. While publishing is still a few months out, I will be sharing snippets of the book here. Below is the first of many:
From "Rule #2: Streamline Your Tech"
"Perhaps a quote by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke that was read at my wedding captures this concept best: 'Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.' While Rilke’s words relate to love between two individuals, the teacher in me also interprets this quote to embody a larger, more transcendent context where Rilke is referring to a relationship between any two living or non living things. In the context of Rule #2, I hear Rilke calling us, as educators, to embrace our dependence on technology during distance learning, by placing it at a distance, simplifying its use, and once we do that, we can see its purpose clearly. That clarity can then surface beautiful spaces where we can challenge our students in purposeful ways. Specifically, while many of my colleagues were creating new websites, attending Zoom workshops, and consuming themselves with learning a new way of teaching' in preparation for distance learning, I asked myself the following question: 'If I had to teach online tomorrow, what tools in my mission statement am I the most comfortable with and are the most device agnostic?' By asking myself this question, I knew I would create a system that, although on the surface would look basic, would be something that I would feel very comfortable implementing during a stressful time, would leave room for the pedagogical musings needed to maximize learning."
As distance learning pushes on, I keep revising and refining my list of tools. Because "tools" in many ways, represent our primary means of interacting with our students, I feel a professional obligation to always share. I'm sure this list will change in like 2 freaking days, but whatever...I'll share again :) l
Although I'm sure this is not a new strategy for many of you, I am ABSOLUTELY loving the ability to not only hyperlink to specific portions within a Google Doc, but I am finding the ability to link to specific spots within a Google Doc from an EXTERNAL site very useful as well! So many applications...Click here for a quick tutorial if you don't know how to do this already. If you do, I hope distance learning is going well for everyone this Wednesday!
Over the past decade I have been vocal about my struggle with viewing the "Flipped Classroom" as an innovative strategy.
As an educator who began his exploration of educational technology experimenting with various forms of video instruction in 2006, and who wrote his dissertation on the technique and the associated cognitive implications, my relationship with the community, tools, and discussion around leveraging video as lecture device is a strong yet dissonant one.
Over the years, as my own reflective practice has led me down a path of student inquiry, placing less emphasis one WHERE lecture happens (in class vs. video) and focusing intently on WHEN lecture occurs in the context learning cycle, my interest in the flipped classroom discussion technology began to slowly fade away.
The "Explore-Flip-Apply" model of merging Flipped classroom strategies with inquiry is a solid representation of my need to hang onto the movement as I ventured away in search of more impactful, and in my mind, more important/essential methods of teaching.
This is all a complex way of saying that, in the current climate of 100% distance learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I am so thankful for my the skills I developed in creating video screencast for my students during my time spent obsessing over the ins and outs of flipped instruction.
Introducing a topic and sparking student curiosity via a Zoom check in, sending them off to watch a video I have created, then gathering them back together via Zoom to reflect, has proved to be an essential skill that has made this time much less painful.
Breaking up Zoom, and creating asynchronous experiences to view a lecture in the middle of a class period is working very well, and because the practice used to be the center of my vocational existence, I have easily been able to brush off my old skills, and enjoy the act of creating asynchronous video moment for my students once again.
A simple post, but one that my gut felt was worth sharing. The below response from a student during a self reflection inspired this post.
Click here to access the final of three recordings for my "Spark Learning" Masterclass. This session explored research and strategies related to delivering and applying content in response to student exploration.