To be quite frank… I have done very little this week. I started the learn to colour tutorial but have not completed it. BUT… This is not to say I haven’t seen the interface at work.
I decided to put a handful of students who wanted to start coding into the program. The nice thing about Khan Academy is that I can set up a Classroom for myself and I can monitor the kids progress within a teachers Admin Panel, this will be very handy. The other thing that worked out very well is that the kids signed up using their Google Classroom accounts so their profile is still within the Secure GAFE environment.
So far, the kids seem to like the tutorials and have been busily working away at them. Since I have a mix of students from grades 9 – 11, I have been recruiting some of my in-house Java Script geniuses to help out when someone gets stuck. As I move along with developing my coding program, I intend to utilize the kids who are already proficient at coding to mentor those who are just learning. This will be especially handy as I begin to introduce problem solving tasks into the curriculum. I also hope to start doing coding competitions within the school district next school year, which revolve around collaborative problem solving through coding.
As for my learning, WHAT HAPPENED? FitBit is what happened. My attention got hijacked by one of my classmate’s learning project. Every spare moment I had, I was out walking, but all is not lost. This lack of interest in my own learning project illustrates a couple of things about online learning.
First is that curriculum, regardless of its relevance to, or the level of interest of the learner is not necessarily enough to capture an individuals attention. Secondly, people tend to go where others are gathering even when it is online.
Like I said, so far the tutorials are well structured, they get you going quickly and you see results almost immediately. As far as learning design goes Khan Academy is hitting the mark, yet my attention is elsewhere?
I think this speaks volumes about the importance of social connections in learning whether they be face to face or online. The FitBit project has 13 classmates participating in the periphery. Competing with one another, trying to best each others step totals. Using twitter and the hashtag #tiefit, It has become an extension of our existing learning community and so that is where my attention turns.
As good as the Khan Academy tutorials may be, I have no social connection, no learning community. I must point out that Khan Academy DOES have a learning community but I don’t really want to reach out to that community because it looks to be occupied by preteens. As much as I may be able to learn from them, chances are I would get arrested for creeping youngsters online.
So that is Week 2. Even though I have not learned much Java Script, I have certainly discovered just how important learning communities are to effective online learning.