EdTech, Media Tools, Professional Development, Teachers, Virtual Learning

What is E-Learning and Instructional Design?

E-learning is the use of computer technologies to explore learning opportunities.

E-learning is not a one-package deal.  There are multiple ways to explore e-learning.

E-learning is not one particular tool or management system.

E-learning centers around providing accessibility and the integration of technology to meet the needs of the varying learning styles of its learners.

“Effective e-learning starts with great instructional design.“

Instructional design requires selecting, organizing, and specifying the learning materials to create an online course.

Instructional design translates high-level objectives to choices for technology and content

Instructional design provides insight on online tools, management systems, and other technologies

Together, we work as a TEAM!

There are numerous instructional design models:

ADDIE Model

Merrills Principles

Multimedia Principle Model

Gagne’s Nine Principles

And many more!

Course Design: Addie Model

Step #1 Analysis — Why is the training/course needed? We collect information and profile target learners, and understanding the needs and expectations of the organization. Analysis drives design and the development process.

Step #2 Design —In this phase, IDs select the instructional strategy to follow, write objectives, choose appropriate media and delivery methods.

Step #3 Development — IDs utilize agreed expectations from the Design phase to develop the course materials.

Step #4 Implementation — The course is released/rolled-out, delivered, to the learners, and its impact is monitored.

Step # 5 Evaluation — Is the course providing the expected results? IDs collaborate with the client and evaluate the impact of the course based on learner feedback, surveys, and even analytics. 

Course Design: Merrill’s Principles

Learning is promoted when learners are engaged in solving real-world problems 

Learning is promoted when prior knowledge is activated as a foundation for new knowledge

Learning is promoted when new knowledge is demonstrated to the learner — they are shown, rather than just being told.

Learning is promoted when new knowledge is applied by the learner — they are required to use their new knowledge or skill to solve problems.

Learning is promoted when new knowledge is integrated into the learner’s world — they are able to demonstrate improvement in their newly acquired skills and to modify it for use in their daily work.

Resources:  Merrill, M.D. (2002). First principles of instructionEducational Technology, Research and Development, 50(3), pp43-59.

Course design:
Alignment of Goals and Objectives

Consider a wide range of goals

Identify real goals through research

Objectives are clear, precise, and worthy

Identify prerequisites

Identify what each objective needs

Identify high value objectives and eliminate unnecessary objectives

Learning Styles

Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.

Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Resources:  https://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/

Types of Online Learning

Synchronous Learning-
In synchronous learning activities, all students are involved at the same time. Formats include online chats, instant messaging, video or audio conferences, live webcasting and virtual classrooms. 

Asynchronous Learning-
With asynchronous learning, students set their own schedules. An entirely self-paced curriculum fits this model. Courses that have both synchronous and asynchronous components might include discussion forums, email, blogs, videos, webcasting, simulations, and games.

ADA Accessibility

“Establish requirements for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web (Web), accessible to individuals with disabilities.”

5 Steps to Creating Accessible Online Content for People with Disabilities

Hyperlinks

Text Design

Images/Graphics

Audio/Visuals

Documents

10 Steps to Designing
a Wildly Successful Online Course 

1. Choose perfect course topic

2.  Ensure course is in high demand

3. Create magnetic and compelling learning outcomes

4. Select and gather course content ¡5. Structure modules and course plan

6. Determine most effective and delivery methods for each lesson

7. Filming, editing and recording online course (i.e. including visuals)

8. Setting up online school through LMS or other platform

9. Ensure pricing is in tact

10. Develop marketing strategy

Resources: https://www.thinkific.com/blog/10-steps-creating-successful-online-course/

“Design is thinking made visual.” – Saul Bass

Marilynn Andrews, M. A.

EdTech, Media Tools, Professional Development, Teachers

How to Format a Word Document Using the “Styles” Feature

Learn how to format your Word document using the ‘Styles’ feature in Microsoft.

Microsoft Word has a tools known as styles, which help in formatting a document. The styles tool can be found in the Home ribbon of Microsoft Word.

The purpose of Styles tool is to allow the user to classify certain formatting characteristics as a specific ‘style.’

To create a style, select at least one word you wish to format. Then, change its formatting specifications to match the style you wish to create.

Once your selected word(s) are formatted to your specifications, you can then tell Microsoft Word to make these specifications a ‘style’ by going to the style menu and clicking “New Style.”

The new style window should appear, allowing you to specify the characteristics of your new style. It should already contain the formatting specifications, so all you’ll need to do is name it and then click OK.

You should now see your newly created style within the Style menu.

By Marilynn Andrews, M.A.

EdTech, Media Tools, Parenting, Teachers, Virtual Learning

Using Your Skillset to Deliver Quality Virtual Lessons to Students.

Photo credit: Metro West Daily News

This past year, teachers found themselves in a dilemma. There was a common question of how do we deliver the same education to our students when we cannot see one another face-to-face?

For some, the term “virtual learning” has been a humdrum phrase, overused this past year- in the face of adversity (better known as COVID-19).

For others, the term “virtual learning” has opened an entirely new world of platforms for delivering and receiving education.

For perspective, veteran educators may have found it a bit difficult to adapt to the virtual platform settings, in comparison to traditional teaching in a physical classroom setting. In retrospect, novice educators may have adapted to varying online platforms, but lacked the preparation, enthusiasm, or experience to maintain each lesson.

Photo credit: Kaplan Early Learning

There is no clear cut resolution to the individual experiences of educators while teaching remotely. However, one thing is for certain, the use of one’s own skillset set the standard for remote learning this past year.

The previously mentioned novice and experienced educators may have utilized their skills regarding Google platforms, Apple products, Zoom, Android, Facebook video conferencing tools, and Microsoft Teams to reach students. The background knowledge of video conferencing mixed with educational experiences and knowledge created welcoming, learning/virtual environments. Teachers were able to adapt to the ever changing virtual environments through technology platforms, along with the individual needs of their children and families, throughout the entire remote year. However, much consideration had to be taken, regarding day-to-day activities, as virtual learning did not leave much room for lack of preparation and planning.

For some experienced and novice educators, transitioning to a 100% virtual platform presented a different challenge. The concept of spending an entire career within a classroom setting and moving to a remote setting resulted in another level of passion, patience, and perseverance. Hours of preparation along with high levels of energy to deliver these same lessons, were the result of the same descriptive statements mentioned above. For some Teachers, learning how to navigate virtual platforms and then turning around to teach families how to navigate these same tools became a day-to-day reality.

For engagement, Teachers hopped around, sung songs, danced in the camera, scheduled Zoom’s with small children, conducted Parent Teacher Conferences remotely, and even participated in virtual field trips.

Amongst the daily lessons, it became extremely usual to witness a Teacher high-fiving her students through the computer screen. Teachers prepared packets for families and students to take home and possibly return. An unlimited number of phone calls, texts, emails, online professional developments, along with teaching were the result of the 2020 Covid-19 virtual lessons. It’s safe to say, that educators alike utilized their individual skill sets in order to deliver quality virtual lessons to students.

These skills are all things we can continue to take along the journey of teaching and learning.

Marilynn Andrews, M.A.

Media Tools, Parenting, Teachers

Can You Provide a Quality Preschool Lesson Over Zoom? Article

Fantastic article I found on Ed Surge over providing quality lessons through Zoom. Read below by clicking the link:

Overall, the skills and strategies that preschool teachers already have in their arsenal will still prove enormously helpful even as the medium of instruction changes…

Can You Provide A Quality Preschool Lesson Over Zoom?

Clever Kids Corner, Media Tools, Parenting

Ways to Take Brain Breaks

According to Edutopia, young students are easily distracted, but regular, short breaks can help them focus, increase their productivity, and reduce their stress.

Very Well Family describes brain breaks as fun and not to be viewed as lengthy or punishments.

As we know, excessive screen time can have an alternative effect on children. Read more on The Preschoolers Connect-Excessive Screen Time.

To provide balance for young children, let’s explore brain break resources and ways to which parents can teach brain breaks at home.

Brain Break Resources for Parents at Home

This Reading Mama has FREE Wiggly Brain Break cards.

Pink Oatmeal also provides inexpensive flash card sets for Brain Breakers!

Here are some other great ways to take a quick or long brain break!

1. Yoga Break/Stretching

2. Breathing Exercises

3. Jumping around! Click the link for Brain Break- Body Boogie Dance Break Song

4. Doodle on paper

5. Go for a walk

6. Sing and clap to your favorites

7. Give or get hugs

8. Rocket ship jumps (bending down, touching toes and bouncing while counting down from 10, then blastoff)

9. Do nothing

10. Take a look outside

Media Tools, Parenting

Teaching Children to Take Care of the Environment

Taking Care of Our Environment

National Biodiesel Day is 3/18 along with Earth Day being on the horizon (generally in April). Let’s explore ways to talk about environmental responsibility with children.

Why?

“He that plants trees loves others more than himself.”

The World Wild Life Foundation seeks to to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

Learn more about saving the environment and preserving wildlife and nature- World Wild Life Foundation.

Q: How can we and our littles become more environmentally conscious and responsible?

A: Let’s start with some environmentally friendly activities…

1. Paint with recycled objects such as cotton balls, feathers, sticks, and plastic cups. Check out Hands On as We Grow for more painting tips!

2. DIY Moss Ball using moss and yarn! Mothered Natured-Connecting Kids with Nature provides a step by step guide to this craft. For young children, close supervision is advised, given the materials.

3. Create a Play or Magic Garden 🪴

Beans, vegetables, flowers, or fruit-a play or magical garden is a great way to teach your child about the environment. Take the time to read through gardening take-aways on Family Food & Garden. Gardening Tip: Prior to planting the seeds, have your child create and draw their magical garden, and then use this as a guide when planting.

4. Create Nature Inspired Art

Fireflies and Mudpies

Mothered Natured has provided FREE printables and guides when seeking natured inspired art inspiration.

5. Read Nature and Animal Inspired Books

Click HERE for 80+ Nature and Animal Books for Children!

6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Regrow Vegetables

Planet Protectors provides FREE recycling tool kits for children. All is required is to enter your information for shipping purposes. Learning about recycling and regrowing vegetables can be fun! Your child can experiment with their favorite vegetables and watch them regrow over the weeks!

Photo provided by Spud.CA Click the link to learn how to regrow pineapples!

Planet Powers showcases exactly how to regrow vegetables inside. Most require the placement into water with a specified amount of sunlight daily. Click the above link to learn more…

7. Animal Rescue Mission Activity

Team Cartwright gives this awesome STEM activity that ties in science, wildlife and preservation.

8. Save Water Nursery Rhymes

Click the link to view the video:
Save Water Periwinkle
Clever Kids Corner, Media Tools, Parenting

Barnes and Noble Free eBooks for Kids

Yes, FREE. Barnes and Noble is offering Free eBooks to children though NOOK App. This interactive app offers audiobooks along with standard text version.

Barnes and Noble’s books range from kid friendly knock knock jokes to educational books for preschoolers. Check out this book review on I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs by Rachel Branton below. Review provided by Barnes and Noble:

Overview
Bugs are for the birds!

Lisbon is hungry and it’s hard to wait for dinner. When her animal friends try to help her find something tasty to eat, the real the problems begin! Join Lisbon on her funny misadventures.

Each beautiful illustration is designed to inspire the imaginations of children. An activity page at the end of the book allows for more fun as they search for special items in the illustrations. This version of I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs has been designed specifically for ebook with larger text for easy reading. While this is a great read-aloud book for parents, teachers, and other adults to share with children, we have chosen fonts that are similar to the way children form letters for easy recognition as they begin to read on their own. The print book is also available in 8.5″ x 11″ format. Read more by clicking the link to Barnes and Noble.
Free eBooks by Nook!

Parents, to download the Nook Reading App, click the link above!

Image provided by Nook and Barnes and Noble

Media Tools

Tips to Preventing Excessive Screen Time

Excessive screen time has always been a major concern for children. With the turn of events this year, the amount of screen time has increased due to the need to maintain safety through social distancing and quarantining. This increase in technology use has replaced most face to face interactions and experiences, that otherwise might not require much, if any, technological use. Although, innovative and creative, screen time for children must continuously be taken into consideration. Below, The Academy of Pediatrics provides a chart to which parents can use as a guide with suggested screen time use for young to teenage children.

Image provided by The Academy of Pediatrics

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare suggests tips on How to Handle Screen Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

These tips include the following:

One media free meal a day

Two hours of screen free time before bed

Measure screen use using an online tool such as found on the Center on Media and Child Health.

Anya Kamenetz with the New York Times provides a surreal reflection on how perspectives surrounding screen time have adjusted post Covid-19. Rather than focusing on the screen, the focus should be on your child’s feelings.

Read more: I Was a Screen Time Expert Until Covid Happened

The American Academy of Pediatrics

The above chart provided by The American Academy of Pediatrics shows a comparison between recommended screen time use and reality.

Although the current reality is causing major increases in screen time, parents/caregivers have the ability to create healthy screen time habits with their child.