Since my wish is to become an Instructional Technology Coach, it seems fitting that I could probably redesign most any course into an online course. What I would really like to do is create online professional development courses. I would start with an online course on the G Suite for Education. Our school district is a Google district. There are so many powerful free tools that Google makes available for educators, yet many of them go untapped for various reasons. Two of the biggest reasons are (1) teachers don’t know what is available and (2) even if teachers know what is available, they don’t know how to use the tools.
Currently, professional development at my school consists of sit and get sessions. I really don’t think much is gained from these types of training. An online, ongoing professional development course would be available for teachers to work their way through at their own pace when they have the time. Plus, I could take requests from teachers. I could create an online course designed to teach them what they want to learn. Win, win for all involved!
The other items that I believe would lend itself to online delivery isn’t really a course, either. It is the sixth strand of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for middle school students. Here is what that strand consists of:
(6) Technology operations and concepts. The student demonstrates a thorough understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. The student is expected to:
(A) define and use current technology terminology appropriately;
(B) select technology tools based on licensing, application, and support;
(C) identify, understand, and use operating systems;
(D) understand and use software applications, including selecting and using software for a defined task;
(E) identify, understand, and use hardware systems;
(F) understand troubleshooting techniques such as restarting systems, checking power issues, resolving software compatibility, verifying network connectivity, connecting to remote resources, and modifying display properties;
(G) demonstrate effective file management strategies such as file naming conventions, location, backup, hierarchy, folder structure, file conversion, tags, labels, and emerging digital organizational strategies;
(H) discuss how changes in technology throughout history have impacted various areas of study;
(I) discuss the relevance of technology as it applies to college and career readiness, life-long learning, and daily living;
(J) use a variety of local and remote input sources;
(K) use keyboarding techniques and ergonomic strategies while building speed and accuracy;
(L) create and edit files with productivity tools, including:
(i) a word processing document using digital typography standards such as page layout, font formatting, paragraph formatting, and list attributes;
(ii) a spreadsheet workbook using basic computational and graphic components such as basic formulas and functions, data types, and chart generation;
(iii) a database by manipulating components such as entering and searching for relevant data; and
(iv) a digital publication using relevant publication standards;
(M) plan and create non-linear media projects using graphic design principles; and
(N) integrate two or more technology tools to create a new digital product.
These items are what middle school students should know how to do before they enter high school. If I tackled all of the elements, the course would probably be too long. I would chunk only about five elements at a time into a course so students wouldn’t experience cognitive overload. This could easily lend itself to becoming a course integrated into any of the core classes at the middle school. The core class content would be used to introduce the technology use. The students would go through the online course and be ready for a core class assignment. Since this online course would house itself within a core class, it might work better if no grades were assigned. According to Bates (2015), he states that an open access program may be possible to acquire badges or certificates for successful completion. I think badges for level achievements would work nicely.
I have found that creating an online course is challenging, but quite rewarding and useful. Now that I have created my first online course, I will always have that to use with students. I just need to check and recheck all my links and resources to ensure they are active and up to date. I’m also pretty sure that I will be tweaking the course every time I use it!
Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning (Chapter 10). Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/