Last week we met in a video conference room on campus for a distributed learning experience Dr. Verena Roberts (@verenanz) conferenced in from Calgary

  • She is an educational technology expert, and recently finished her dissertation in Open Learning Design Intervention – How to Expand Learning in High Schools Using OEP – expanding learning beyond the walls of the classroom
  • Experience from pre-K to grade 11
  • “real learning begins when we are left to figure something out, to problem solve, to collaborate and discuss with people with experience” – quote from one of Dr. Roberts’ students
  • Students have opportunity to access people, content and ideas that were previously inaccessible
    • real and preconceived barriers to accesssing digital networkds outside K-12 classroom walls
    • Not all teacher have experienced open learning and they looking for ideas and examples of expanding learning – need a framework
  • Learning is learning – online, blended, flipped, multi access
  • Influenced by Vygotsky, Dewey, Barth, Scardamalia & Bereiter
  • Also newer researchers as well
  • Kids creatively change what they are doing all the time
  • She wanted to bring this concept to the learning environment
  • Introduce digital literacties –¬†interactions, collaborations, connections
  • Need framework: Be reflective in order to:
    • Stage 1. Building Relationships – find out who they really are. Do some prior assesment, learn about their personalities
    • Stage 2. Co-Designing Learning Pathways
    • Stage 3. Building and Sharing Knowledge – podcasts, websites
    • Stage 4. Building Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
  • Need to scaffold inquiry
  • Inquiry questions: How do I search & communicate online? Who is my online audience” How do I solve a community problem? What is my story and how does my story inform my identity?
  • Lots of resistance from students about finding own information online and embracing the new methods of documenting their learning (they all stuck with PowerPoint initially)

BUT the video conferencing connection was very clunky in the end. It was choppy and Dr. Roberts didn’t seem to know when the connection was frozen which was frustrating for her I imagine.

  • Developing digital literacy with helps them expand with the digital tools they use, give them choice in who they want to expand AS, i.e. maybe as a group with anonymous identities
  • They expanded in the tools they were able and willing to use – from Google Slides, to making their own videos – let them decide what they feel comfortable sharing and with whom

This was as far as we were able to get with Dr. Roberts as the connection failed so much, but she shared her slides with us so the rest of the notes were what I gleaned from reading through them

  • It is possible to start this at kindergarten – “K-12 Open Learning Continuum”
  • Principles of open learning design

Take away – need high speed internet (preferably wired!) for video conferencing.

From Michael – how to increase student interest – bring in more technology for a diversity of modes of learning. Teachers should talk to each other so that they can draw on what has happened before and start making links between what students are learning and interested in. Doing inquiry with different levels will take scaffolding along the way. Then Michael gave a talk on distributed learning

  • Distributed learning can be used in our teaching practice and also in our professional development
  • In regular classrooms – you are either there or not – even when you can move the furniture, there are still barriers
  • Other options: asynchronous, fully online or blended
  • Teachers are new to online teaching too, so the system kinks have not always been worked out yet, they are sometimes assigned to teach this in this format without any *scaffolding*
  • Peer responses can be difficult with the impersonal format
  • Video conferencing needs special technology – sometimes in specific rooms, or with portable equipment
  • Synchronous is when students are online together with a multi-way video chat
  • Second Life-style with avatars – some ended up being traditionally look classrooms, hilariously
  • Blended is a combination of face-to-face and online
  • Multi-access – bringing robots in where necessary
  • Some learners will never be able to go to school they way we expect, good to provide more opportunities for how they can learn – mental, physical health needs, remote or rural students,
  • And what about climate change! Reduce transportation emissions