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LEARNING AND TEACHING ONLINE

There are numerous definitions of online learning in the literature, definitions that reflect the diversity of practice and associated technologies. Carliner (1999) defines online learning as educational material that is presented on a computer. Khan (1997) defines online instruction as an innovative approach to delivering instruction to a remote audience, using the Web as the medium.
However, online learning involves more than just the presentation and distribution of the materials using the Web: the learner and the learning process should be the focus of online learning.
Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are both teaching, but they are qualitatively different.Online education starts when faculty move from the traditional classroom to the online classroom. There are some things that the two have in common, but there are also plenty of differences.
1. The online teacher plays the role of guiding students through one or more online learning experiences. These experiences are every so often designed and planned long before the course starts so that the teacher can devote more time to guiding the students and less time preparing lessons. Within this role, the teacher directs and redirects the attention of learners toward fundamental concepts and ideas.
2. Learning is hard work and studying online can sometimes feel isolating, confusing, or discouraging without the guide.
As a result, the effective online teacher makes intentional efforts to communicate precise encouraging messages to individual learners and the group as a whole. Moreover, even when providing constructive feedback, the teacher as supporter finds a way to promote positive messages alongside the critiques. Encouragement and welcoming support are an important approach to maintaining an overall positive morale in the class. At times, learners may fall into negative comments about themselves, the class, or their classmates (even the instructor, on occasion). The coach makes every effort to find ways to listen, respect the learner’s frustrations, but also to help them reframe the situation in a manner that students are more active and creative.
3. Many people focus on the role of the teacher as role model, and that is valuable. However, the role of the coach is just as important, even more, important if we want learners to develop high levels of competence and confidence. The online teacher must move beyond just modeling a depth motivation for the subject and personal skill with the content. The mentor needs to find ways to hand the matter over to the students to do something with it. Applied projects and papers work well for this, and it gives the teacher an opportunity to be a coach and advisor.
4. Learners need some feedback about their work. How are they doing? Are they getting closer to meeting the learning objectives or not? The effective online teacher finds ways to give thoughtful feedback to individual learners and, when appropriate, groups of students.
5. Without intentional efforts to build a positive social environment, online learning can feel lonely and impersonal. As a result, the online teacher must serve as an encouraging host, facilitating introductions, using discussion starters to enable conversations among students, and taking the time to get to know students and referencing that knowledge in interactions with them.
6. The whole thing is documented in an online course. The teacher can tell when and how many times a student logs into the course, what pages were viewed or not, how many discussions posts the student contributed, and much more. This data can be abused, but it can also be used to make adjustments and informed decisions by an online teacher. If a student is not logging in or failing to visit pages in the course with the direct instructions, the coach points that out to the learners or reorganizes the content so that it is easier to find.
7. Online courses are rich with content and sometimes students can get lost in all that content. The teacher as regulator intentionally releases content in chunks that are appropriate for students. Sometimes this comes in the form of only publishing content one week at a time. Other times, the teacher releases it all at once but directs students only to focus on individual parts at a time. Another key is to break content into smaller segments. Rather than a twenty-page document of instructions, it is better to consider breaking it into ten two-page documents.
8. Good teachers are lifelong learners, and they can model that learning for their students in a variety of ways in the online classroom. The teacher can be active (but not too active or it will silence students) participant in online discussions, sharing what they are learning about the subject, and even complete all or fragments of some assignments, sharing their work with the students. The procedure goes a long way in building an exciting and dynamic online learning community where one and all in the community commits to exemplifying the qualities of a lifelong learner.
http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/eight-roles-of-an-effective-online-teacher/

Wideo, WeVideo, and Magisto – Three Good Tools for Creating Videos Online

Wideo, WeVideo, and Magisto – Three Good Tools for Creating Videos Online.

Wideo is a neat video creation service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online through a simple drag-and-drop process. A couple of months ago Wideo started offering templates to help users start their video projects. Wideo templates provide a basic framework for a video’s theme. A couple of the templates that might be of interest to teachers are the slideshow template and the curriculum template.

Welcome to ELT Straight Talk

Straight talking from teachers and learners, where teachers and students will share their experiences about the ways they teach and learn.

via Welcome to ELT Straight Talk.

Featured Video: Why Teachers Matter

Featured Video: Why Teachers Matter.

Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 5

Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 5.

TPR Storytelling is a foreign language teaching methodology that was invented by Blaine Ray of Bakersfield, California. TPR Storytelling (TPRS) teachers tell personalized stories in their foreign language or English as a Second language classrooms as their students act those stories out.

Students comprehend the stories by virtue of the live action visual aids and acquire the target vocabulary because it is repeated dozens of times within the daily story. Sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar are acquired because non-stop comprehensible input is provided by the teacher.

Blaine Ray’s TPR Storytelling is used by thousands of elementary school, middle school, high school, college and adult education English as a Second Language, English as a Foreign Language and Foreign Language teachers nationally and internationally. The long-term memory strategies, constant comprehensible input and intense personalization of this methodology are based on the pedagogy of Dr. James Asher (TPR) and Dr. Stephen Krashen (The Natural Approach). TPR Storytelling is similar to Classical TPR, except that the 3 Steps of TPRS® allow students to acquire the narrative and descriptive, rather than the imperative, modes of speech. The goal of TPRS® is to make students fluent and proficient in a second language through ample exposure to interesting, comprehensible input. TPRS® teachers direct their efforts toward their students, rather than the textbook, the grammar or the curriculum. We teach kids. As a result, we have students who are excited about foreign languages, eager to stay in our classes all the way through school…. and who are bilingual.

TPR Storytelling begins with introducing the vocabulary (step 1). Students then act out the stories as the teacher tells (or, more accurately, “asks”) re-tells and asks questions about a story that uses the vocabulary words (step 2). The oral story is then followed up with reading (step 3). Students rapidly acquire the second language just as Dr. Krashen imagined: effortlessly and involuntarily. The method relies heavily on the five hypotheses of The Natural Approach: the acquisition hypothesis, the input hypothesis, the natural order hypothesis, the affective filter hypothesis and the monitor hypothesis, which are explained in detail in Foreign Language Education The Easy Way, by Dr. Stephen Krashen, as well as lots of comprehensible input through access to books.
http://www.tprstories.com/

Common Core in Action: Using Digital Storytelling Tools in the ELA Classroom

Common Core in Action: Using Digital Storytelling Tools in the ELA Classroom.

Students can share their digital storytelling creations by sharing a link to their finished product. Schools that have a Twitter account or website might want to send out the links so that a wider audience can hear student stories. In classrooms that use student blogs or parent communication tools, it’s simple to also share the link to Adobe Voice creations with viewers outside of your four walls. Using technology to publish is so much more than typing up a research report. Turn your students into digital storytellers with creation tools on mobile devices!

Have you had your students publish their writing using technology?  What are your favorite digital storytelling apps?

Common Core in Action: Using Digital Storytelling Tools in the ELA Classroom

Common Core in Action: Using Digital Storytelling Tools in the ELA Classroom.

Storytelling Guidelines

Just like any other time that you use technology with your students, you won’t be handing them the device and sending them off to create. When it comes to publishing with technology, students should be at the end of the writing process. They’ve already drafted, revised, and edited their personal narrative, or their group has already come together to plan a presentation of their argument for an opinion piece of writing. I would encourage you to use a graphic organizer like a storyboard to have students plan what they want to appear on each page of their Adobe Voice creation. If students are working in pairs or a small group sharing one device, you’ll want to make sure they have a plan for who will record the narration for each page.

Students can share their digital storytelling creations by sharing a link to their finished product. Schools that have a Twitter account or website might want to send out the links so that a wider audience can hear student stories. In classrooms that use student blogs or parent communication tools, it’s simple to also share the link to Adobe Voice creations with viewers outside of your four walls. Using technology to publish is so much more than typing up a research report. Turn your students into digital storytellers with creation tools on mobile devices!

Have you had your students publish their writing using technology?  What are your favorite digital storytelling apps?

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