The End Result!
Well, what a journey it's been! Although Trevor and I teach in a one-to-one environment, we realized that we didn't have a lot of experience developing a blended learning course for our students - especially for Physical Education. As we completed the modules, we found them to be quite valubale in our teaching practices, as we both utilized the content during the various times we were required to teach our students online this winter.
Course Profile & Creation Posts
Please check out the post that Trevor and I cowrote in January outlining the prototype for our blended learning course.
Reflections and Feedback:
In this post Trevor and I discussed the creation process for our first two modules and the valuable feedback we recieved from our classmates.
For this post Trevor and I explained the ways that our course connects students with their teachers and peers through our course.
Overview of the Course Development
Learning Management Systems
While we did end up utilizing two learning managements systems (Microsoft Teams and OneNote), we believed the course would meet the needs of students using a combination of the two - rather than relying on only one.
Microsoft Teams was the main platform for students to access this blended course. Within Microsoft Teams, we utilized the OneNote Classroom Notebook to house our asynchronous learning activities and assignments. For our synchronous learning sessions, tools within Microsoft Teams such as video calls, chat and channels were used. Communication directly with students can be completed through the video call or chat function on Teams. Students also can collaborate with one another using the same features.
We utilized this tool as the main application to house the modules and student participation. Each module was organized by the curricular outcome and assigned a specific section inside the notebook. Within each module, the lessons were organized in a sequential order beginning with an introduction/ essential questions page, followed by instructional videos, tasks/activities, and concluding with an assessment document.
Please see a detailed sample of one of our modules below. For information about the remaining three modules, please view the course walkthrough or check out the instructional videos we created at the conclusion of this post.
Module Two: Target Games
2. How to Create a Target Game
3. Create your own Target Game!
4. Flipgrid: Record your Target Game
5. Target Game Self-Assessment
Other Module Instructional Videos
Now that we've gone through the experience of creating a blended course, we have come to realize there are many things educators need to consider when developing modules and utilizing learning management systems. Overall, we believe we created a strong course that can be used to teach physical education in an online or blended environment - without the use of a gymnasium. While this course has already been utilized by the students in both of our classrooms, we hope this resource can be used by other educators tasked with teaching physical education remotely.
"Connect"ions Four Online Learning
As middle-years educators, we recognize how important the social aspect of a school is in the development of young people. When students leave our classrooms, it is the experiences and relationships that stand out to them - rather than the content they learned in class. Due to the physical nature and proximity in a classroom, many of the connections and relationships occur organically.
Furthermore, teachers strategically design lessons and activities to develop social skills and build relationships among the members of their classroom. However, when students transitioned to online learning, it became more challenging to naturally develop social relationships that are typically fostered in a physical classroom environment.
Through our experiences in the Master of Education program, we have come to know and understand the importance of interactions in the online world. Through experiences such as breakout rooms, Flipgrids, and blog posts, we have found these opportunities valuable in making our online classes more engaging and enjoyable.
Understanding the importance of building connections in an online environment, we have implemented the following experiences for our students:
In our course prototype, we plan to utilize Flipgrid for a variety of activities including the target game, movement sequences, and alternative first-aid supplies.
We chose this platform because:
I was actually able to utilize the target game that Trevor and I had for created for this course when my students were learning online. Feel free to check out an example of a student-submitted flipgrid video below:
Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms
While OneNote is a large part of our LMS, we decided to place it within Microsoft Teams because this allowed us to easily utilize the breakout room feature within our lessons and activities. Specifically, we plan to use this feature to facilitate group discussions at the conclusion of our target game lesson, as well as a group work project in our First Aid section.
We chose this platform because:
Although many of the written assignments for our lessons take place in OneNote, we provided students with a few opportunities to share their thoughts with one another via blogging. While there are many blogging sites online, both Trevor and I found Kidblog to be the best option for student blogging because:
We plan on using this tool within our course for quick formative assessments as well as engaging our students in a live activity on safety practices.
We chose this platform because:
As we progress through the development of our course, we have found that it is important to critically analyze when and where our students interact. With a plethora of options online, we’ve considered what’s easily accessible and user-friendly for our students. While it may be difficult to replace the face-to-face interactions that occur in a physical classroom, there are no shortages of tools and strategies to facilitate these experiences in an online environment.
Tips for Video Lessons
This week Trevor and I had a chance to sit down and discuss our project in more detail and what we wanted to improve for future modules. While we did outline a few areas in need of improvement in the last blog post, quite a few of them revolved around the design of our video lessons. Since the video lessons are an integral component of our project, we felt this warranted further investigation to ensure they are as effective and engaging as possible for our students. More research into this topic would also benefit me as a classroom teacher because I utilize video lessons quite frequently for my instruction in a flipped environment.
What I Discovered:
The Length of the Video is Important:
While the perfect length of a video lesson is debatable, most educators recommend videos keeping video around the six-minute mark. This ensures that content is clear and concise while maintaining the attention of the learner. As was explained on Edutopia, six minutes is typically the "drop-off point for attention", which consequently has been supported by academic studies on educational videos. Through further research, I also found that shorter videos are better for "chunking" information, which is advantageous for learning because it's an easier way for the brain to process new information. If educators have a longer concept they need to teach, it is recommended to "chunk" the lesson into multiple mini-lessons, rather than creating one overly long video.
Plan with Student Engagement in Mind:
According to Top Hat, it is important to make sure that you have taken the time to plan out your video content like you would any other in-class session. Through planning, you will be able to address the following within video lessons:
Going into this project I felt like I had a vast knowledge in the realm of video creation through my experiences in a flipped classroom. Upon seeing the great modules of my classmates, and conducting my own research - I've definitely been humbled. I realize there were so many aspects of content creation I hadn't considered (or even knew about) when designing my instructional video lessons. I'm looking forward to meeting with Trevor and discussing all that we've learned this week and applying this new knowledge to our remaining modules. Please feel free to share any other tips or advice you may have for us before we film our next lessons - it would be much appreciated!
Reflection on Modules 1 & 2
As was mentioned in past blog posts, for our Physical Education Blended Course, we decided to utilize OneNote and Microsoft Teams as our LMS. These were familiar tools as both Trevor and I have extensive experience using them in the physical classroom, as well as online learning. As a result of our frequent use of these programs, our lesson planning in OneNote has become second nature – which has resulted in assumptions surrounding student knowledge and understanding. Although this may work in a physical learning environment, it may not be suitable for online learning and a more strategic approach is necessary. With this in mind, we found it beneficial to have our course modules critiqued by our classmates who do not frequently use these tools.
What our Classmates Liked about the Course:
Check our our first two video lessons below:
Suggestions for Improvement
Where Do We Go from Here?
Now that we have reviewed other modules, and listened to the comments from our peers, we’ve taken valuable time to reflect and critique our own module. In addition to addressing the valid points from our peers, there are also a few things we would like to change after viewing other courses from our classmates.
Some things we would like to explore further or hope to achieve are:
We are excited to see where our module goes from here. As only a few class members were able to view the modules last week, please feel free to provide us with any further feedback you may have as it would be greatly appreciated!
However, don't fret because all hope isn't lost! I've recently stumbled upon an amazing tool that may be able to cut down on the number of embarassing losses you'll face each week at the photocopier - Office Lens.
What Is It?
Office Lens - or as of yesterday is called Microsoft Lens - is a free scanning tool that utilizes the camera on your mobile device to scan images. Users can capture these photo's using the whiteboard, document, business card or photo settings - which convert the photo to fit the individual needs of the user. Once the photo has been taken, Office Lens also provides users with various options to edit their image - including cropping, rotating, drawing, annotating, and filters. While these features are great, I believe the crowning achievement of Office Lens is what it does with the images when you are ready to export them. Since this is a Microsoft product, it connects with all other Microsoft applications which means it can convert your image to a PDF, send it to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or right into a Classroom OneNote. These scanned images can also be shared to email or Outlook, Office 365, or as I've recently discovered, Immersive Reader.
Benefits of the Tool
Weaknesses of Tool
Potential for Content Creation
When thinking about traditional content creation, this tool wouldn't fit the same mould as something like Explain Everything or even Quizizz. However, educators could use Office Lens to scan documents or specific images and upload them directly into the Classroom Notebook as part of a lesson. For me, this is the strongest attribute of this app and something I see myself using quite frequently within my classroom. However, I do understand that this may not be the same for others as my 1:1 classroom environment isn't something that everyone has. In the end, even if it is just used for a student to submit their work, it could still be a useful assessment tool for teachers and students.
Has anyone else had experience using Office Lens? If so, what have your experiences been like? Are there other ways than the ones that I've mentioned that you have used this tool for, or could see it being used?
Blended-Learning Prototype Course
For this project, Trevor and I have decided to team up to design a blended-learning physical education course. While blended-learning isn't entirely new to either of us, utilizing it for phsy.ed definitely is! If you have any suggestions or feeback after checking out our prototype, please let us know.
Target Population and Student Demographic
The main population for this blended-learning course is Grade 8 students aged 13-14 years old. While we will be following the Saskatchewan Grade 8 Physical Education Curriculum, these activities could easily be adapted to meet outcomes in Grade 6 and Grade 7.
This blended course will utilize a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning, spanning a 3–4-week period. The modules will reflect a combination of physical activity and the completion of assignments through various technology tools. For the prototype, we will begin by dedicating 120 minutes per curriculum outcome as outlined by the Regina Catholic Schools time allotment. As this project is only a prototype, we plan to further develop these modules and address other indicators in the future.
This project will address all three strands of the Saskatchewan Grade 8 Physical Education Curriculum:
Assessment will be achieved using various educational technology tools, this includes, but is not limited to:
Consideration for Common Concerns
Since Phys. Ed is largely comprised of movement-based activities, it can be challenging to hold students accountable when face-to-face instruction is not possible. Through the development of lessons and activities, our hope is to leverage educational technology to keep students accountable and create meaningful assessment.
From our experience within very diverse buildings, we understand that there are challenges with online instruction for EAL learners. To address this, we plan to utilize subtitles in our instructional videos as well as make ourselves available to students through Microsoft Teams. In addition, detailed assignments using basic language will be posted in the OneNote.
In our online teaching experience, when Physical Education has been completed at the elementary school level, the primary focus is typically fitness related with minimal instruction and assessment. As this is a curriculum expectation, we feel that there should be more guidance as well as meaningful teacher-led instruction in this area. More importantly, we believe that it is essential for students to be active - even if they are participating in online learning. We want students to be aware that they can learn about their bodies and be physically active without access to a physical gymnasium. Through the use of a blended-learning course, we hope to demonstrate how educational technology tools can be utilized and integrated into a physical education classroom.
Catch You On The Flip(ped) Side!
Before the pandemic, online and blended learning was a notion that many teachers had heard about, but I'm willing to bet that most had little to no experience utilizing it within their classrooms. However, that all changed when schools shifted online in the spring, and an instant, educators everywhere had been exposed to a new way of teaching. While in our current situation, not all educators are using the online model (at least for now anyway), I do believe that as a result of our experience in the spring, there has been an increase in the number of teachers who are utilizing the blended learning model within their daily instruction.
At the start of this week's class, we were tasked with coming up with our definition of blended learning. As we reviewed each group's responses after the breakouts, it was clear that most of us had a good understanding of the concept of blended learning - which I believe is indicative of the experiences that many teachers have had since we started up again in the fall. Looking around my building, I have witnessed many teachers embracing blended learning (in many its forms) as they feel it is an easier transition to full-blown online learning (if we go down that road again). For me, blended learning has been something that I've used for the majority of my career through my Grade 8 math class, as I teach this content in a flipped environment.
What is a Flipped Classroom?
This is a question that I spend some time explaining to parents at the beginning of each school year, as the term "Flipped Classroom" generally leaves most parents scratching their heads in confusion. While my definition of this term may differ from other educators utilizing this method, it can be explained as a method of instruction that involves students learning the lesson content at home through short videos prepared by their teacher and then applying their knowledge in the classroom the next day. Essentially, students are completing the homework at school and the learning at home, which essentially "flips" how learning works in a traditional classroom - hence the name "Flipped Learning".
Here is a video that I typically show my students and their parents when I am explaining this concept:
How Does it Work Within my Classroom?
As we discussed in class, flipped learning is a broad concept that is not a one size fits all approach to education. While the general framework for this method typically stays consistent, how it is utilized will differ depending on the teacher and students to which it is being applied. Within my classroom, I have created a website that serves as the home base for my flipped classroom. In addition to all the video lessons, I also list all assignments and resources that students may need as they navigate through my math classroom.
At School: Student-Centred Learning Environment
While I've only listed a few of the benefits of moving to a flipped environment, I certainly have more positive comments about this type of teaching! I am very passionate about flipped teaching and my students and I have experienced a lot of success with it over the last eight years. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me - or suggestions for how I can make the experience even better for my students. Thank you for reading!
Hello, It's Me!
ello and welcome to my blog for EC&I 834! My name is Matt Bresciani and I am a Middle Years Teacher at St. Kateri Tekakwitha in Regina, Saskatchewan. While my primary assignment over the past nine years has been Grade 7/8, I've also had the opportunity to teach a variety of subjects in some of the lower grades as well. These experiences have allowed me to work outside my comfort zone and realize the curriculum connections that exist for students in primary to middle years. I enjoy learning new curriculums and discovering ways to creatively implement them in different classroom scenarios.
I'm very excited for the format of this class, as I'm looking forward to learning more about blended and online learning. As I'm sure was the case with many of my classmates, due to the pandemic, we all were thrown into the deep-end of online learning in the spring. I look forward building off those experiences and applying the knowledge I gain from this course to give me a deeper upderstanding of planning and teaching in a blended or online environment. Three goals I have for myself this semester are:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.