Last fall, I began this odyssey of learning in an online environment and felt some of the same bewilderment that many of you who are taking a class with Dr. Lowell for the first time are experiencing this semester. ‘Twarnt too long before I was dogpaddling, sometimes furiously and others a little calmer, but always, trying to keep afloat.
Last week, something happened that brought much of what I have been working on in my classes into clearer focus. I had what I will call a mini-epiphany, for lack of a better word. Anyway, here is what happened. Teachers in my school are preparing to grade portfolios and on a particular day we were watching a video of a lady explaining the scoring process. She was seated in a chair in what appeared to be a library setting. The background included wooden bookshelves, nice paint job on walls, potted plants in the background and wooden tables and chairs. All in all, a nice, warm setting. I believe the paint was green and I remember much of the other detail because I can only listen to a motionless speaker for a finite amount of time before I start to look around for something else on which to focus.
Our team leader provided refreshments for us and that was a nice diversion, but, thanks to Dr. Miller’s class – Multimedia Design for the Classroom – I began to think about how I would make the same presentation that we were viewing. Among my ideas was the creation of an animation along with the addition of an interactive feature easily incorporated into SmartBoard presentations.
I am not trying to make light of the importance of portfolio training/grading. It is SUPER IMPORTANT here in the Bluegrass State. I know that. My point is that since I have been involved in the process of learning and teaching in an online environment, my thinking on presentation possibilities has expanded. Also, I do realize that the training video was geared to adults and we shouldn’t expect to be entertained and amused during a serious training session of this nature. That said, I confess that I began to think about the glazed look I sometimes see in my students’ eyes and some of the activities that I try to add to my lessons so that I won’t lose them.
Maybe I was more amused than I should have been, but I felt a little more like a 21st century learner that day.