Saturday, February 15, 2014

On-line Learning

I am still working on the 20 Day Blogging Challenge by Kelly Hines.  I am still on Phase 1 and this is Day 19:  Share a topic/idea from class this week.  What is one thing you did with students that you will/will not do again?

During the past three weeks I have been enrolled in an on-line class about teaching on-line.  This is the first in a series of classes that I plan to take through our state Area Education Association.  This class is titled "Introduction to the On-line Learner"  Here is a link to the series of classes being offered.

I have had an interest in technology for some time now.  It began in 2009 with another on-line class called Using Technology in the Classroom.  Prompted by that class, I created a class website and blog, and began building a PLN (Personal Learning Network) via Twitter.  Since then my use of technology with my students has grown.  This on-line class has made me think about how I use technology now, and how I might increase the effectiveness of what I do with my fourth graders. 

The needs of elementary students is a lot different than that of older students.  People assume that kids are comfortable with technology, but that isn’t true for everyone.  Some of my kids have ready access to computers and the internet, but some do not.  The majority of my students have used computers to play games, but utilizing it to research and write is new to them.  Key for me is using technology to create, not just consume.  So far this year my students have used a wiki to do a webquest, they have their own blogs on Kidblog, and they regularly utilize TenMarks, Spelling City, and Xtrmath for math and spelling practice.

I decided that for the month of February I would experiment with doing all of our homework on-line.  Up until now they have had a choice on the nights that I gave an on-line option.   I created a homework calendar.  We do homework on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.  This month my students are using Spelling City, XtraMath, TenMarks, and Bitstrips for Schools for homework.  They are familiar with the first three, but Bitstrips is new to most of them.  I had already introduced it to the students in my Digital Story Telling Class, and they helped to teach their classmates.  They have two weeks to complete the assignments for weeks one and two.  

So that all students can be successful I am opening my classroom 30 minutes early for a Computer Lab on Tuesday and Friday mornings.  Students may complete their homework at home or at school. Normally our doors open at 8:00 a.m. and our day begins at 8:15.  Friday morning I had one child arrive before I got there at 7:30, but that's okay.  She was eager to begin.

This week I started conferencing with students to check on their progress.  We have had a few problems with passwords, but have been able to iron out most of those problems. We had a few issues this week with students being able to access XtraMath from home.  So we may try something different next week.  

Some kids will need some guidance with organizing their time to complete the tasks.  Most are pretty excited about using Bitstrips and have spent extra time creating their avatar and first comic strip.  At this point only one student has not completed her avatar.  One of my students was out sick almost all week, but was able to go on line and create her BitStrip.

At the end of the month, I plan to survey the kids and parents to see how they feel about doing homework this way.  I know that I have a few parents that prefer pencil and paper for their students.  I have parent/teacher conferences on February 19 and 26, and that will become part of our conference.

Do you use on-line homework?  If so, what are your favorite websites?

1 comment:

  1. I teach in an online school (Wisconsin Connections Academy), so my students and their families have basic computer literacy. They still use paper and pencil for many tasks, but I'm pushing them to use Microsoft Office for projects more and more as prep for middle school.