Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reflection: iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching



Standard A

The online teacher knows the primary concepts and structures of effective online instruction and is able to create learning experiences to enable student success.

Strengths

My drive to enhance learning for my students, of all modalities, aligns with ensuring student success. I have taken several online courses to use as models of success. My Face2Face classroom experience has been successful with the blended learning that I have incorporated over the years. I

Challenges

Though I have myself am technically competent and have experience teaching and “blending” my curriculum for students I believe one of my upcoming challenges will be ensuring that I streamline with more focused expectations. I also believe that as I move my classroom to a more “blended/flipped” classroom that I stay on task as an online educator and facilitator of learning.


Standard B

The online teacher understands and is able to use a range of technologies, both existing and emerging, that effectively support student learning and engagement in the online environment.

Strengths

I believe that my technology background is a great asset and has allowed me to use various types of technology in the classroom. I can remember before document cameras connecting my video camera to my LCD projector for class demonstrations. My nature has always been to bring technology into the classroom to help with instruction having maintained a class website before school districts set up teacher pages on their school sites. I am my school site’s Information Technology Lead and Webmaster that keeps me current from meeting with colleagues and sharing latest technology for educational use. My “tech tool kit” includes a class Facebook, Twitter, UStream, Posterous, Blogger Pages (Assignments & Newsletter), Prezi, Screencast / Jing, Camtasia, Google Hangout, Remind 101 (text broadcasting), and Socrative to name a few that I use for student learning.

Challenges

This is more of don’t go crazy with all the emerging technology. I have in the past jumped on board something new without a complete thought process of what I want end result and product to be for my students. I think that every teacher needs to keep in mind that just because some technology is “cool” that if you don’t think of how you want the students to use it and the end result the “cool” factor doesn’t matter.


Standard C

The online teacher plans, designs, and incorporates strategies to encourage active learning, application, interaction, participation, and collaboration in the online environment.

Strengths

I am a big proponent for collaborative based projects and use technology as a component. Examples include;
  • · students writing their own scripts, videotaping, editing and publishing to the web
  • · using Prezi, Google Drawings/Documents/Presentations, Bubbl.US

I believe that my philosophy on treating individuals and intolerance has been conveyed and will be continued to be conveyed in an online learning environment. I use message boards, blogging and group pages in conjunction with Twitter and Facebook to develop bonds for my students.

Challenges

In this area my biggest challenge will be coming from ensuring that all participants are doing their piece of collaborative online work. It is easy to see online work being completed but the need for record keeping/blogging of the process will need to be implemented as part of assignments.

Standard D

The online teacher promotes student success through clear expectations, prompt responses, and regular feedback.

Strengths

One of my strengths is in the area of prompt writing and focusing students to Blooms’ HOTS so that they are using prior knowledge and analyzing new information. I keep open line of communication (email, FB, texting, etc.) so that I am able to answer student questions about assignments. In more complex assignments I accompany written directions with assignment videos explaining in depth expectations.

Challenges

My greatest challenge will be creating rubrics that are usable, in that respect I mean valid and user friendly. I do have a bank of rubrics but to convert them and update to a more “blended/flipped” classroom expectation will be the upcoming challenge in the new academic year for me.

Standard E

The online teacher models, guides, and encourages legal, ethical, and safe behavior related to technology use.

Strengths

I think all educators struggle in the area of plagiarism, for me I set up lessons that develop students’ abilities to properly use information and in turn giving credit (citation) as required. In using several lessons and practice sessions I have been able to nearly eliminate plagiarism in my classroom. Setting up resources for students to use that are free-use has also been a big help.

Challenges

My school currently does not use any plagiarism checking programs such as Turn It In or Ithenticate so being vigilante in showing students how to now plagiarize and looking for it in their work will be a focus that can't be passed over.


Standard F

The online teacher is cognizant of the diversity of student academic needs and incorporates accommodations into the online environment.

Strengths

My teaching philosophy is based on teaching to the student not the class which fits nicely into this standard. I have worked with a variety of students who have included gang members, absent parents, low income, at-risk, 504, IEP and GATE students all of which have needed individual understanding of their modality for learning. As a teacher I learned that a student who goes home and has to take care of home, siblings, etc. because of absent parents either from working or other reasons (alcohol, etc.) their last concern is homework. I have learned to adapt my lessons for students so that they achieve knowledge based on their individual abilities and circumstance.

Challenges

In teaching a fully online class my philosophy would be tested as it becomes difficult to gather all the knowledge one would need, however if a community is built as in Standard C it will help break down the walls needed to achieve. One other area will be to make sure that my online class is 508 compliant and revisiting my “old” material and editing for compliance.

Standard G

The online teacher demonstrates competencies in creating and implementing assessments in online learning environments in ways that ensure validity and reliability of the instruments and procedures.

Strengths

This is a strong area as for me as the projects and assignments that I use are technology based for valid learning and understanding of material. Examples include students using Prezi, iMovie, Google Presentation, or other WEB 2.0 tool like Cinch/Posterous to show understanding of material.

Challenges

My upcoming challenge will be to move the final non-tech assignments over to an online environment and developing guidelines, expectations and rubrics that prevent plagiarism taking away validity of the student work.


Standard H


The online teacher develops and delivers assessments, projects, and assignments that meet standards-based learning goals and assesses learning progress by measuring student achievement of the learning goals.

Strengths

Standards-Based assessments come in a variety of methods from summative to formative and alternative. I use not only what would be called “standard” tests but project-based assessments that incorporate various forms of technology. I have a full understanding of my curriculum standards and have historically developed standards based online activities.

Challenges

My challenge with this standard is to not fall back on  F2F assessments in my blended/flipped environment. I will need to work on developing more online assessments than what is truly needed so that I have a bank to work from as learning unravels in my classroom.

Standard I

The online teacher demonstrates competency in using data from assessments and other data sources to modify content and to guide student learning.

Strengths

Reviewing CST data with my grade level and department Professional Learning Communities is old hat to me and translates to analyzing my own assessments. I have collaborated on grade level common assessments, based on CST results, which are analyzed for student achievement and follow up lessons are developed with further assessment to ensure student success.

Challenges

The greatest challenge will be in converting valid assessments to an online platform that takes the responses (data) putting them in a usable format.

Standard J

The online teacher interacts in a professional, effective manner with colleagues, parents, and other members of the community to support students’ success.

Strengths

Interacting with my community is a strength that has developed overtime. I have coffee hours for parents and my peers to build relationships. I communicate daily through emails and blogs using Google + and Blogger with students and parents sharing assignments, newsletters and important information. I utilize my school district’s online grading system to keep parents informed on grades. This program also allows for emailing updates so parents do not have to continually log in. These are just a few ways I communicate above the social media and my class website that contains important information.

Challenges

I think my challenge for Standard J will be to not become complacent with how I communicate and rely on it as the best way. It will also be important that all my community members (colleagues, parents, students, etc.) feel they can question, comment and discuss information and details. Communication is a two way street and both parties must be able to speak freely in a positive manner to achieve greatness.



Standard K

The online teacher arranges media and content to help students and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively in the online environment.

Strengths

My ability to adapt media and content for students, parents and teachers is a strong point. I fully understand embedding, html code, and have used various platforms for online information. I have used my own website, created my own Moodle for students, and incorporated a host of online services to share knowledge.

Challenges

I think my upcoming challenge will be moving more of my content to online and creating new content that is relevant and captures the audience (students). It is important to keep the information relevant and engaging for students to be successful.




How have you changed as a learner and an instructor through this process?

I have changed in my view of how I create my material and looking at not just the students currently enrolled but the students that have the potential to be in the class. In making my online presence 508 compliant for not only those future students but visitors as well so that my all feel welcomed to my online presence just like my F2F classroom.

What is your action plan for implementing changes in your teaching practice as a result of new learning?

I currently teach two different classes, Language Arts 8 and Social Studies 8, so my first step is to focus on one class at a time. I will begin first with Social Studies (U.S. History) and using my already developed Comprehensive Assessment Plan as a template to build upon for each unit within the course. I will continue to use the WEB 2.0 tools that I have in the past and my only change will be to use them more building on what already has worked.

How do you plan to continue your learning about online teaching? 

I am the technology lead and webmaster for my school which allows me the opportunity to connect in Professional Learning Communities with my technology peers. In addition, I will be collaborating with the LMS leads for my school district as I implement an online learning presence that becomes more blended/flipped. I also attend technology conferences like CUE (Computer Using Educators) and subscribe to Google Certified Teacher online blogs, etc.

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