Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why not Break-Out of a Virtual Classroom

Breakoutedu has hit my virtual learning networks. I have become infatuated with the idea of providing professional development in the format of escaping or breaking out of a room while learning content.
So, why not have a session to help virtual learning teachers do this same thing in their virtual learning environments.

Our school district provides videoconference classes that are available to all of our high schools. In addition to this, many of our teacher are also online teachers that instruct students that attend a brick and mortar classroom to work on their online coursework, also known as the "E-Learning Classrooms."  Though these same teachers are teaching regular classrooms during the day, and in the evening they work on their asynchronous classes.

Both sets of teachers, as well as coaches and e-faciltiators, must be trained to use a variety of web tools to help personalize and meet students needs in a virtual classroom. Often these training sessions are intense and can have a steep learning curve for new virtual teachers.

I have found that one of the best methods for supporting virtual teachers is to help them discover the need and then identify the tool that best fits the job. This requires a time and place for teachers to make this discovery, often times while they are in the midst of teaching.

This is where Breakout of the Virtual Classroom comes into play. By presenting participants with many of the same problems/ puzzles that our teachers have faced in the last 4 years, participants can quickly identify a need for a tool, practice using the tool and then quickly assess it's effective nature based on whether they have solved the puzzle to escape that section of the virtual room.

Here is the general description for the session proposal that I will be giving at conferences and trainings within my district.

"Ready to "break-out" of a virtual learning classroom? Participants will solve puzzles to escape the virtual classroom using proven web tools for communication, assignments,  online and synchronous (video conference) classrooms. 

In a 2013 iNACOL “Keeping Pace Report,” it was stated that the top reasons school districts use online learning is to provide courses that otherwise would not be available. 

Come join this fun, unique session to investigate how one Alaskan school district uses blended learning in videoconference classes to solve this problem in a geographically diverse district to provide equal opportunities for their students. 

Participants will walk away with a set of tech tools and methods for a virtual blended learning environment based on several years of implementation, assessment and review. " 

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