This portfolio acts as evidence of my learning throughout this course. Much of my learning has led me to discover new areas of interest, which will be demonstrated by the expanded blogpost below. The content in this course also connects to how I intend to structure my teaching practice going forward.
Here are the links to my blogposts:
Topic #1: https://juliafalzon.home.blog/2020/07/07/topic-1-human-centered-learning-the-importance-of-building-relationships-clear-communication-and-designing-for-interactions-and-engagement-in-k-12-distributed-and-open-learning-contexts/
Topic #3: https://juliafalzon.home.blog/2020/07/20/topic-3-equity-and-access-in-k-12-distributed-and-open-learning-environments/ (this is the post that I chose to remix, which you will find below, under a different, “remixed” name)
Check out the following video reflection about my blog posts throughout this class:
Throughout this course, I participated in four optional activities. All of these contributed to my new understanding of open learning, distributed learning, building relationships, classroom communities, and professional development:
Optional Course Activities:
Engaging in conversations on slack: Connects to EDCI 339 Learning outcome #2 & 3: “Explore and engage with current literature on the distributed and open education movement” AND “Critically reflect on and articulate concepts around modality, pedagogy, and access, including distributed and open learning theory, online and open learning history, privacy laws, online learning communities, open research, and open data.”
Slack is a platform that acts as an informal communication space organized into different channels for different topics. Throughout this course, I posted about different topics that I found interesting after engaging with course materials. Writing my posts, and reading posts from my peers, helped me critically reflect on the current literature surrounding the distributed and open education movement.
Q&A on Padlet: Connects to EDCI 339 learning outcome #1: “Develop an awareness of the potential of human-centered learning in online and open learning contexts”
Padlet is an open learning resource that acts as a virtual bulletin board on which users can ask and answer questions. The way we used Padlet helped me become aware of the importance of belonging and relationship development in an educational setting. Padlet broadened the scope of learning by inviting people outside the course to contribute and support our learning. This invaluable extension of the learning community is aligned with the human-centred learning principles.
Shelley Moore’s content (videos & book club) – Connects to EDCI 339 learning outcome #4: “Examine and reflect upon the potential for equitable access for all learners in online and open learning contexts.”
As a part of the conversation on UDL and open learning during this course, I was introduced to Shelley Moore’s content. Shelley is a special educator with a passion for inclusive education. Her ted talks, youtube videos, instagram posts, and blog posts have helped me examine and reflect upon the potential for equity, access, and inclusion for all learners in all learning environments (brick and mortar, open/blended, distributed, etc.).
Twitter Chat: Connects to EDCI 339 Learning outcome #6: “Practice digital, networked and open literacies in support of learning about distributed and open learning.”
The EDCI 339 twitter chat allowed me to practice digital literacy in support of my professional development surrounding open and distributed learning. Seeing diverse perspectives on OER, digital literacy, and online learning broadened my own perspective on these topics.
Here is a link to my full reflection about the Twitter chat.
Here is a video with a more detailed reflection on the previous four activities:
Blog Post Remix: How can we, as educators, ensure equitable access to authentic, meaningful and relevant learning environments for all learners in K-12 open and distributed learning contexts?
This question can be looked at from a social justice perspective (e.g. ensuring access to technology and facilitating digital literacy for students of lower socio-economic status), a trauma-informed perspective (e.g. adopting virtual SEL strategies ), a cultural perspective (e.g. adopting a culturally responsive digital practice), and countless other important perspectives. In this post, I will be answering this question from an inclusive education perspective. Specifically, I will examine how the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework , and Lenses of Accessibility, can ensure equitable access for all learners in open and distributed learning contexts. I will also discuss the importance of social presence and inclusion for learners with exceptionalities.
The purpose of the UDL framework is to “proactively address the academic, social, and cultural distinctions that exist in today’s schools” (Basham, Blackorby, Stahl, & Zhang, L., 2018). UDL has three concrete suggestions to ensure equity and access for all learners:
These guidelines apply to learning in a brick and mortar classroom, an open learning environment, a distributed environment, and every variation in between. According to the UDL framework, learner variability is normal and expected. Therefore, flexibility and alternatives can be planned from the beginning. This is especially critical for educators to consider when teaching in a distributed context. Often, in this context, information is presented in one way (typically in written text), with the expectation that students have the capacity to read and absorb the information. Students are also often expected to respond to the content in written text. These methods are not accessible for all students. Instead, teachers should use the UDL principles to provide students with alternatives that may be more conducive to their learning.
I have compiled a list of practical suggestions for teachers looking to practice inclusive education in an open and distributed context. If learner variability is planned for, teachers can construct activities that can be made accessible to all learners. As Shelley Moore’s tag line says about inclusive education, “It’s not more work, it’s different work.” Some of the following suggestions are based on the UDL framework and others on Steven Lambert’s Lenses of Accessibility.
- UDL: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement: making learning relevant, giving autonomy and choice (e.g. provide a choice board like we had in EDCI 339, co-creating learning activities)
- UDL: Provide Multiple Means of Representation: present the information/content in ways that can be adjusted to work for all learners (e.g. ask yourself, can learners adjust font sizes? Is text-to-speech software compatible with what I am using? Can I provide a form of audio instead of a written document?)
- UDL: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression: flexibility with pace, use of different types of media for composition (e.g. pace of moving through the material, pace of videos, access to assistive technology – alternate keyboard actions to replace a mouse, speech-to-text, text-to-speech, using graphics or a video instead of written word)
- Reference Steven Lambert’s Lenses of Accessibility for specific considerations of the technologies that you are using and how they may affect different learners:
One last important consideration for inclusion and equity is social inclusion. In EDCI 339, we discussed the need for instructors to create opportunities for students to cultivate relationships and become emotionally literate online. In their 2014 article, Aimee Whiteside and Amy Garrett Dikkers suggest seven strategies to support belonging and community in an online context.
Having a sense of community in an online setting is especially critical for students with exceptionalities who may already feel a sense of isolation from their classmates. Emphasizing classroom community for all students in open and distributed learning contexts is critical because, from what social constructivism dictates, learning is a collaborative process.
Here is a video that I recorded that outlines my editing process, and how this blog post connects to my personal learning context.
Basham, J.D., Blackorby, J., Stahl, S. & Zhang, L. (2018) Universal Design for Learning Because Students are (the) Variable. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 477-507). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.
Carello, J. (2020). Trauma-Informed Teaching & Teaching In Times of Crisis. Trauma Informed Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from: https://traumainformedteaching.blog/
CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org
Dikkers, A., Whiteside, A., & Lewis, S. (2014) The Power of Social Presence for Learning. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/5/the-power-of-social-presence-for-learning
Five Moore Minutes. (n.d.) Home. [YouTube Channel]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU-GCW3-EwNxcbJEFKKaABw
Lambert, S. (2018). Designing For Accessibility and Inclusion. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/04/designing-accessibility-inclusion/
McLeod, S. (2019) Constructivism As A Theory For Teaching and Learning. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from: https://www.simplypsychology.org/constructivism.html#:~:text=According%20to%20social%20constructivism%20learning,Lev%20Vygotsky%20(1978%2C%20p.
Moore, S. Blogsomemoore. [Wordpress]. Retrieved from: https://blogsomemoore.com/
Moore, S. [@fivemooreminutes]. Posts. [Instagram Profile]. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/fivemooreminutes/
Moore, S. (2016). Under the Table: The Importance of Presuming Competence. [YouTube]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGptAXTV7m0
Posey, A. (n.d.) Universal Design for Learning (UDL): A Teacher’s Guide. Understood. Retrieved from: https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/for-educators/universal-design-for-learning/understanding-universal-design-for-learning
Stommel, J. (2020) Not Taking Bad Advice: a Pedagogical Model. Jesse Stommel. Retrieved from: https://www.jessestommel.com/not-taking-bad-advice-a-pedagogical-model/