I am feeling like a kid in the backseat on a long car ride. I am a veteran teacher, and I feel like I am awakening to an inspirational era in education where we have the power to shift the educational system to a learner centered experience that is engaging, socially connected inquiry based and fun! While we worked out of professor Pickett’s manual in building our courses and are guided by the research gods, I feel more like a mad scientist. I am having so much fun experimenting and trying new things. I have been pushed to figure things out and for that my course is stronger.
I have spent the past two weeks cutting and pasting, linking and embedding. I have been trying to coax my hot mess of a course into a refined piece of educational art that inspires connection and inquiry. Garrison (2007) discusses a shift in social presence in a course from personal to purposeful. “Balancing socio-emotional interaction, building group cohesion and facilitating and modeling respectful critical discourse is essential for productive inquiry (Garrison, 2007, pg. 69).” This is a goal of my course. I want the students taking this course (parents of students with autism) to be in a community where they feel safe and empowered to ask questions. My role is to moderate and guide the course and to facilitate community. I need to balance social, cognitive and teaching presence in my course. The unknown now is my students. What if they aren’t that into my course? What if they don’t find my activities engaging? Is there room to shift once we begin?
While I am aware of this course ending and the development of our courses are almost complete, I feel like this is the beginning. It is a new way of looking at education from a teacher and student perspective. While we have grown and our courses have developed, it will continue to grow and shift over time and with experience. It is a lifelong journey of understanding learning and connection. The explosion of new technologies and increased connections will impact our abilities to be life long learners in our journey through life. So where am I? I am at the beginning of a journey of excitement and discovery.
Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues.Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,11(1), 61-72.
I realize that each post I have made has some visual embedded, but I am a connector. I connect questions, observations and new ideas to what I know. Isn’t that what all learners do? When I read the post prompt of “Where are you?” I know that Professor meant in the course, but I immediately had a flash of Carl Sagan’sPale Blue Dot. “The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage (Sagan,2011) .”
Where am I? I am at a point in my teaching profession where I am aware of the disparity between best practice and what is being practiced in most classrooms. I watched the presentations of Grooms, Ragan, Oakly, Capponi and all of the “Rock Stars” of the educational world and I was inspired. I want every student, from kindergarten to doctoral student to experience an engaging and inspiring educational environment. Bowen spoke about creating significant learning environments through information ideas, experiences and reflection. As a teacher I need to have the courage to push our profession to embrace and acknowledge the teaching profession as the portal to our futures. We have the knowledge and ability to reform a system that can be used as a vessel to inspire lifelong learners, thinkers, and innovators. We have so much information at our fingertips and we are learning how to teach individuals to access that information to make informed decisions and ask questions to reveal a higher level of understanding across contents.
So I am here, designing a course to help families understand Autism Spectrum Disorders. My course is packed full of information, but it is only a tiny slice of information that is available. I am overwhelmed with making the course flow for each learner, with presenting each module to engage all the senses, in evaluation and in the ability to provide students feedback once the course begins. What I am observing is I have put a lot into my course and it is like a plate of spaghetti. I need to clean it up and use the course manual as a recipe to refine this course. My goal is to create an appetizing presentation that inspires my students and feeds their hunger for knowledge. This knowledge is not just on content, but in discovery of tools that will aide in the quest of future knowledge.
Sagan, C., & Druyan, A. (2011).Pale blue dot: A vision of the human future in space. Random House Digital, Inc..