Exponential Growth and Emerging Technology

Whether you agree with it or not, enrollment in online high school education is growing exponentially, with no signs of slowing down. And on top of that, starting during the 2011-2012 school year, incoming Freshman, are required to take at least one online course in order to graduate, in the state of Florida. Having taught online Physics for the past seven years, I am often asked how does learning Physics online compare to the traditional classroom?  Although, this answer can be hinged upon the individual student’s learning styles and preferences, I am happy to say that my students are not alone in their learning experience and my role as their instructor is truly to facilitate their learning.

'Free online tutoring at www.tutor.com/army' photo (c) 2011, U.S. Army - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Just as the traditional school teacher uses a variety of tools to teach in their own classroom, I, as well, have a series of tools I use and continue to develop. Some of these tools include required discussion based assessments, daily on call hours, virtual classroom sessions and online simulations.  In thinking about my work as an online teacher,  I came across an EdTech Digest article,  10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About – 2011 Update.  Even though taking a class online in itself is considered emerging technology, I wanted to share some of my favorites tools and evaluate how my current practices rate against this list.

  1. Video and Podcasting Resources – I often refer my students to The Khan Academy and  iTunes U.
  2. Digital Presentation Tools – My favorite simple and free tool is Jing. This program allows the user to capture their computer screen with audio.  I often make short recordings for my students to share specific audio/video feedback on various assignments.
  3. Collaboration, Brainstorming Tools and Survey tools – I use Google Documents for form surveys, student collaboration, and schedule posting.  In addition, I use Blackboard Collaborate for my virtual classroom. This site allows me to host virtual classroom sessions with my students. We can work on labs together on the site’s interactive whiteboard.
  4. Educational Gaming – I think the various applets and animations I use in my course might remotely fall into this category. Although, I would like to explore this area further. Perhaps the Physics of Angry Birds?!

 Overall, I feel good about my level of comfort and use of current technologies included in the EdTech Digest list.  However, there is always room to explore in every category! In addition, the areas I would like to add to my online educator’s toolbox include: Blogs, Social Networking and Lecture Capture. I’m especially intrigued on how I might try to “flip” my online classroom.  Perhaps, an idea to explore for next time.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Exponential Growth and Emerging Technology

  1. Kristen G.T.

    I think you use a great deal of resources while teaching your online classes! I laughed when you said that you would like to explore the physics of angry birds! That is something that my children would love to participate in. When you can incorporate games into learning students dive further into knowledge without feeling like they are working.

    I did not know that incoming freshman this year would be required to take at least one online course. I do think it will help them though. Taking an online class in high school can prepare students to take online classes in college. Online classes require a lot of self discipline and it may be best for high school students to do that while still living with their families to help guide them. Great blog!
    Kristen G.T.

  2. I like Kristen laughed at your Angry Birds and physics, but it is actually so true. What a creative way to connect to students and teach them content at the same time. I have heard about the required 1 class online too. I am guessing that that will increase over the next few years. I can see online studies becoming dominate with fewer and fewer face to face ones. I think online courses will be combined with mixed mode ones.

    I like you love the idea of the flipped class. I had never heard of it until a couple of months ago. I’d love to try it out. I have been using Edmodo to give basic assignments, answer questions, upload webquests, with my students, but all of them aren’t online. Also, it’s hard enough to motivate some of them when they’re in class so they want to use Edmodo like a facebook and aren’t interested in engaging conversions and extra studies. I’ll be interested to see how things go with the required online classes.

    I was very interested in the online tools you were using with your students. I’ve used Jing for tutorials for my students. I’ve also used youtube videos and Khan Academy as well. I hadn’t tried google docs and found that to be something I’d like to try in the future.

    Anyhow, thanks for making an exciting blog that gave me a few ideas of my own.


  3. Tonga Ramseur

    Thank you for this blog the angry birds made me laugh, I think you are doing a great service to the students by continuing to use other resources. That is the key to keeping our students engaged. They are so quick to get bored! They need stimuli all the time. Kudos to you and your Khan academy!! Like Lydia I have not tried the google docs, but I will, I have acquired so much information in this class, I am swimming in it. But that is a good thing!!


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