We were asked to respond to the following prompts:
What have you learned this week?
What are you going to do differently in your online classes because of what you have learned this week?
How can you utilize learning styles to increase student achievement?
How can web2.0 be used in your online classes?
In looking back, there were three things that I will remember from the week. The most important was finding the mindmapping Web 2.0 tool. I hope that will be something I’ll be using a lot in future courses.
The second and third were the two required readings from assignment 1 part 1. The reading on a constructivist epistemology was the most important for me. I did lots of thinking about the issue of what it means to say “knowledge is constructed”, and whether it’s true. That led me to see collaborative learning in a whole new light. I had only thought about it in terms of accomplishing things together, or getting along with others. Now I see that there is something about joint exploration of an idea, looking for things that you don’t know yet, and doing it together, that has always been important to me. I just didn’t connect it with collaboration before. I try to have students do group projects, but they often are a little unfocused. I think in hindsight it’s because I keep trying to do the work of defining the parameters of the project for the students, and give either too much direction or none at all. Now I see that there is a good way for me to *think* about a group project that will change the way I present it without my even trying. I’m not sure I can explain that, but it was a minor epiphany for me. Although I am still not sure I want to say knowledge is socially constructed 🙂
The third thing that had an impact was the other required reading, about authentic learning activities. I’ve learned about the idea of authentic activities before, and been drawn to / repelled by it simultaneously. This article put it all into focus, just enough for me to know I’ll have to let it simmer for a while. I know my own learning style enough to know the paper did something important to my thinking, but I have no idea exactly what.
The last three questions are all answerable primarily by the mindmapper application. I realized, simply, that creating diagrams is a) something I do well, and yet b) something that reaches a kind of student I rarely reach well. It’s very simple: I need to create more diagrams of complex topics. I can probably do it using mindmapping software. My plan is to use it when I can.