Every year you ask yourself “Is there still a benefit in attending edtech conferences?” Meanwhile, your manager may be asking “What new ways can you get professional development in education?” No matter what your role, you can get the most bang for your budget while getting the professional development and edtech refresher you need simply by acting on these suggestions:
- Prioritize edtech conferences that prioritize peer networking and training sessions. You will naturally gravitate toward conferences that focus on the practical tech tools you rely on daily, but you stand to gain even more when the conference also offers extensive hands-on learning from both industry experts and peers.
- Determine what you can better do online vs. in person. Sure, plenty of webinars and podcasts out there provide quick updates. But when looking to make meaningful connections and boost knowledge efficiently, nothing compares to an in-the-flesh discussion over coffee (or breakfast, or a drink at happy hour). Though we are a digital company, we know the value of human interaction.
You’ve already embraced the idea of using technology in the classroom. And hopefully your school uses an online learning solution like Blackboard Learn or Blackboard Collaborate to connect with students anytime, anywhere. After all, the data suggests today’s students are adopting technology at dizzying speeds. Here are three things to help you make the most of tech in the classroom inspired by some top education technology bloggers.
#1: According to the 21st Century Principal, educators need to be savvy about going beyond test scores as a measurement of successful tech implementation. “Test scores provide valuable information but they are not the only measure of effectiveness. School leaders who always want to know, ‘Will it increase test scores?’ aren’t really interested in successful technology infusion and tech implementation anyway.” Using technology builds life-skills that set students up for long-term success.
Buffalo State will be launching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on January 16th called “Locating, Creating, Licensing and Utilizing OERs”. They have utilized CourseSites by Blackboard as their MOOC platform.
I interviewed Beth Burns and Mark McBride, from the course design team, to learn more about their experiences throughout the design and development process. Beth Burns is an Instructional Designer at Buffalo State and Adjunct English Instructor, Genesee Community College. Mark McBride is the Coordinator of Library Instruction and Coordinator of Library Liaison Program at Buffalo State.
1. What was the motivation behind providing a course on Open Educational Resources (OER)?
We are both strong advocates for affordable and accessible education for everyone. We believe that everyone should be able to achieve their educational goals regardless of cost. We also have witnessed first hand that many educators either are unaware of what OERs are or how they can be used in their teaching and scholarship. Furthermore, we know many faculty who are using OER and their work with them is not being recognized as scholarly. We wanted to build a course that could create a community of practice. A place where like-minded people could gather, discuss, support each other and create.
One of the highest levels of education achievement is receiving your doctorate. As we are all aware, Doctors are experts in their field of study. They are often called on for expert reviews and feedback on questions related to their field. Believe it or not, even Blackboard has “Doctors” available to provide you with their expertise on one subject: Blackboard.
Ask The Doctors (formerly Ask Dr. C for the fans out there) is a discussion forum for any and all technical and pedagogical questions relating to Blackboard Learn and now Blackboard Collaborate. Your questions are reviewed and carefully answered by a team of “Doctors” with over 115 years of combined hands-on experience working with these Blackboard products. This hand selected group of seven experts is chock-full of knowledge from their professional experiences as Instructional Technologists, System Administrators, and Directors of Instructional Design.
Next time you have a question about Blackboard Learn or Blackboard Collaborate, search the wealth of knowledge on Ask The Doctors or just post your question on to the forum. The “Doctors” are listening.
Visit our website to meet the Doctors for Blackboard Learn and our two new Doctors for Blackboard Collaborate. Or head straight to the forum at discussions.blackboard.com
One of the hardest adjustments for students transitioning from a traditional classroom to an online environment is feeling connected to their teacher. Many times in online courses students are a username while instructors become virtual computers responding back to questions and grading projects. But, this doesn’t have to happen with a few key tricks to creating an environment where online teachers become real.
Here are three simple tips:
Tip 1: Develop a sense of connection between yourself and the students early on in the course through an introduction discussion. Have students post about themselves in discussion boards or blogs to the rest of the class encouraging them to respond to each other. (Don’t forget to include some background questions that relate to the course in this discussion.) As the instructor, the biggest way to start that connection is personalizing your replay to each student, instead of just a cookie cutter response. To get the thread started, post about yourself with some personal information (your interests, favorite book, etc). Offering personal information will help students connect with you and make it so you aren’t a robotic, online teacher.