3 – 2 – 1 X 2

Posted By kbeeby on Oct 20, 2021 in LRNT 528 | 2 comments


The following post reexamines my earlier 3-2-1 post, Initial Thoughts. The three thoughts, two questions, and one metaphor about my previous experiences teaching online in the K to 12 public  Distributed Learning school is the same, but emphasized, through my experiences as a facilitator and a learner during four weeks where teams of LRNT 528 students facilitated a week-long course.

Three Thoughts

(1) Pedagogy versus resources

I previously identified the struggle of balancing pedagogy with reality. If anything, this struggle was exaggerated in my experiences. Unfortunately, my initial reactions have not changed through the facilitation process. This struggle was less evident these past weeks, which perhaps explains why I thoroughly enjoyed the process of being a facilitator and learner these past weeks. This heightens the importance of organizations providing time and support to let teachers teach and students learn. Table 1 compares a few features of the facilitation week versus the reality of my teaching context:

Table 1: Features of 528 Facilitation Week versus Public Distributed Learning School

Feature 528 Public DL 
Teacher to Student Ratio 1:3 1:200
Prep Time to Facilitation Time 4 weeks: 1 week 1 week: 12 weeks
Learner Experience with Technology Expert Novice
Learner Study Skills Expert Varied
Learner Communication Skills Expert Varied
Enrolment Type Set Continuous

What is most valuable in this table is that the experience felt rewarding and energizing as a facilitator during this course, as the stress was reduced through the support of a facilitation team and a small number of learners.

(2) So much potential

Originally, I mentioned how I felt inspired by the potential in educational technologies. I feel this more strongly now from witnessing and experiencing the success of various online courses. These facilitation weeks showed purposeful and effective use of technologies. Initially, I referred to a metaphor of building a plane while we fly it, now, I think a better metaphor is a pit stop during a car race. The pit crew can change tires in under 5 seconds. By practicing our skills and tools, we can more effectively and efficiently identify the needs to solve. While it’s not glamorous, innovators, like our MALAT cohort, are the pit crew for educational technologies.

(3) Mutual Learning and Teaching

The partnership between learners and teachers was emphasized again through my experiences in our facilitation weeks. This mutual learning contributed to a perceived sense of satisfaction throughout this process. In a world with internet, cell phones, VR, and endless apps, teachers cannot possibly know everything. Accepting this permits teachers and learners to work as a team to pursue personal interests and to develop core skills. This was evident as our cohort wore the facilitator “hat” and student “hat” simultaneously.

Two Questions

    1. How can the satisfaction from this experience be duplicated in the context of public DL schools?
    2. How can online facilitation reach the most disengaged learners?

One Metaphor

 

See-Saw by Mike Leary CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The see-saw in the image above is a metaphor for my struggle in finding the balance between managing realities versus idealities within the world of educational technologies.

 

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2 Comments

  1. I think you are onto something Kristin: “the stress was reduced through the support of a facilitation team and a small number of learners”. I wish for this stress reduction in public schools. Many schools are lucky to have supportive resource centres for students; but, unfortunately, we can’t keep up with all the needs. Individualized learning is in high demand. Coupled with the new assessment and reporting demands, I really don’t know how educators will survive! So many learners and not enough time to get to them all!

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  2. I was immediately attracted to the table comparison between your experiences in LRNT 528 and comparing them to your experiences in the public k-12 DL space. It highlights the need for robust support systems for teachers who are teaching primarily self-paced DL courses at scale. Hopefully MALAT is helping you to pick up some of those pit-stop lessons that you will be able to take back to that space to help keep the car zooming around the track.

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