This final week of course work (even though I’m sure my work on developing this course will never be over!) has flown by too! I think I have made some really great improvements this week as I’ve learned how to embed videos into my Schoology pages and created my own welcome video. I’m especially proud of myself for creating and uploading the video of myself because, as I said before, I’m not exactly comfortable doing this. I will definitely be re-recording this at some point with some additional help and editing, but it is a great start, and now I am familiar with how to do it.
After turning this course into a strictly online one, I can see this as an option for several other professional development opportunities. Really, I think all PD sessions could be redesigned as online or hybrid courses, but the two that I believe would be most effective are when we focus on preparing students for Keystones and when we look at Keystone data. The Keystones are Pennsylvania’s standardizes tests (at least as of now) and a focal point of most public schools in the state. Because of this, I believe shifting these PD sessions to online ones will be beneficial.
When preparing for the Keystones, an online course could be developed that actually includes teachers from other districts. We would collaborate with more than just our own teachers to come up with the most effective methods for preparing students. The online platform would also encourage all teachers to participate. Our usual sessions regarding these topics often consist of someone else telling us what to do, whereas this would have us including what we do as well while teaming up with other teachers.
It would also be beneficial to compare Keystone data with other districts after students take them. More collaboration means more opportunities to determine what is working and what is not working. This could lead to future cross-district opportunities for both students and teachers. This could also help us to determine other potential underlying factors that may be affecting this data. Again, what usually consists of someone showing us information and telling us what it means would shift and allow educators to evaluate the data themselves and come to conclusions together that will affect their teaching methods.
Schoology would be a perfect platform for both of these courses, and this change would definitely improve participation and increase opportunities for discussion. The flexibility and potential outreach of online learning could potentially turn these topics, that often bring about eye-rolling and groans, to excitement.
As I am now realizing, online learning is not as scary as I once believed. There are so many great opportunities if it is done effectively, and for that reason, I am excited to incorporate it into my district and classroom. This coursework has also made it clear to me how important it is to chunk these kinds of tasks and to work ahead when possible. If I had not worked ahead from the beginning, I do not think my course would be as developed as it is at this point. I definitely know I wouldn’t have had the time to improve my media use. This has been one of the most beneficial courses in this program so far because it gave me a chance to see the potential for online learning both as a teacher and as a student.