Monday, March 30, 2015

Online Learning- Week 13

Just as I thought, I was wrong about online learning. After reading the "Top Ten Myths about Virtual Schools", I've learned that my technology class is absolutely considered online learning. I was one of the people who thought that "virtual schools are a separate delivery system from traditional education" (NACOL). Because my students are in a classroom with me, I truly believed that my class wouldn't be considered online learning. Which brings me to myth three, I thought that online schooling required a teacher to be on the other end of the technology, not in the classroom with the student. This is untrue. The truth is that "students typically have more one-on-one interactions with their teachers and fellow students in online courses, especially when team projects are assigned" (NACOL). I find this to be very accurate. I interact with my students constantly and do find that I have better relationships with them than many of their other teachers.

Conversely, some of the myths that were listed I would have never even considered to be true. I would never think that online learning is for "gifted students" only. If anything, it should be more for the students who need extra help.I also would have never thought that online teachers have it easier. One of my goals is to become an online educator and I know that I'm in for a ton of work. Classroom teachers may have to deal with things that online teachers do not, like behaviors, but online teachers have to deal with things that classroom teachers do not, like how to teach a student what they do not understand without actually being there. I also hate that some people think that online courses are "add-on's" to an already burdened system. Adding technology and making education and learning more flexible is only a benefit to learners. 

After reading the Barbour article, I was surprised to see just how huge online learning truly is. He spoke of places all over the world embracing online learning for over ten years! The Roblyer article also surprised me with how many students drop out from online courses. I know many people who can not stand online classes because they have a hard time self motivating but I didn't think that the average range would be "as low as 10% or as high as 40—60%" (Zucker and Kozma, 2003; Oblender, 2002).

What I know about online learning

Although I am a technology teacher, I do not have a ton of experience with online learning per se. When I think of online learning, I think of college courses like the one we are enrolled in now, where the learning takes place entirely via the internet and Kahn Academy for the younger students.  Although my students do all of their learning via the internet, I am always there for them, guiding them if needed. Because of my presence and the fact that I do stand in front of them and teach them, I don't consider my technology class "online learning". Currently, I work with students in the grades 1-8. Next year we are building a high school and I will definitely be doing more "authentic" online learning experiences to prepare the students for college. 

In a nutshell, I think that online learning is mostly done independently by a student through some type of platform like Blackboard or program like Kahn Academy. I also view online learning as taking place mostly in a home by students at the high school level or higher. The courses that are offered are endless.