Distributed Learning

What is it?

From whatis.techtarget.com, distributed learning is a multi-media method of instructional learning that allows students to learn outside of the classroom. There are many ways to incorporate distributed learning into your classroom to best benefit your students. The most common are video conferencing, web-based video/audio instruction and online assignments.

My Experience

I have not had too much experience with distributed learning in the past, but luckily that is because I have not needed to. If I ever missed a day at school I would just get notes from one of my peers or ask the teacher for the homework questions. Unfortunately not many students are as lucky as I was in my schooling experience, but there are many forms of distributed learning accessible today for them to use.

Retrieved from
https://unsplash.com/photos/PHIgYUGQPvU

Why is Distributed Learning Important?

Distributed Learning provides students with a lot more opportunities in life to find a learning plan that works best for them. Not all students work best in a classroom or are unable to be at a school for 7 hours a day/5 days a week. Distributed learning works well for students with anxiety or other health problems, or for students with hectic schedules. It also can be beneficial for schools in remote/rural areas that struggle to keep enrollment up because they can teach students from anywhere. Providing students with distributed learning opportunities gives them the best chance of succeeding in school because it allows their education to follow them instead of holding them back.

What is the Role of Modality & Presence in K-12 Learning?

I think that modality & presence is very important during the early years of a child’s education. Behaviour techniques and important life skills such as empathy and social skills can not be taught over a computer. However, in high school distributed learning can be an asset to a student’s education since teenagers have already gained an understanding of how the school system works and have developed good work ethic.

How Can a Teacher Practice Distributed Learning in Their Classroom?

Start by reflecting on how you currently
communicate resources for students who are absent. Are you just relying on students to obtain the resources by themselves by asking their peers or approaching you? Instead, try an online calendar or blog for students to review before/after class. This can also help students with anxiety who need to prepare for the day when they do go to school.

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Verena Roberts Presentation

Today my EDCI 336 class was able to observe a portion of Verena Roberts’ open education presentation via video chat. In her presentation Roberts discussed how we can expand learning beyond the classroom walls.

Roberts describes open education as an intentional design that expands learning opportunities for all learners beyond classroom walls by collaboratively & individually sharing & building knowledge & encouraging networked participation by interacting with others from multiple cultural perspectives. Although most of open education is happening online, it can also be found in face-to-face learning interactions.

Some indicators of open education practice are:

  • intentionally designing digital artifacts to share publicly
  • participatory learning
  • Community involvement
  • Safe learning spaces
  • Expanded learning environments
Roberts’ example of how to conduct an Open Learning Project for Grade 10

More information & resources for open education…

Video Conference w/ Ian Landy

On Tuesday, my EDCI 336 class had the opportunity to have a video conference with Ian Landy (https://Technolandy@wordpress.com), the principal of a rural school on the Shuswap and an advocator for the use of e-portfolios in schools. When I walked into the video conference classroom at my university I was greeted with the image of myself on one of the big screens you can see in the photo below. Needless to say, I have never experienced something like this before and was embarrassed to see my face on the big screen. The cameras were motion censored so if you put your hand up to answer/ask a question the camera would turn to you & zoom in like you were caught on the kiss cam at a hockey game. The video conference itself was a reminder to me of how impressive and beneficial multimedia learning experiences can be. Here I am, sitting in my classroom on Vancouver Island and I am able to have a face-to-face conversation with Ian Landy, who lives 2 ferry rides away, without leaving the room.

Video Conference Room at Uvic

I found what Mr. Landy had to say about e-portfolios to be very intriguing. His school uses these instead of report cards and has found his students respond a lot better to them. Mr. Landy argues that you can’t show creativity on a report card, and that this method insures that students are not compared to one another and instead showcases a student’s personal growth. E-portfolios decrease stress in students because they don’t have to worry about getting a number value put on their hard work. If a student doesn’t do well on a project, you just wouldn’t include it in their portfolio but instead show something that best showcases their abilities. E-portfolios also encourage learning for the sense of learning since students aren’t just copying work down or cheating in order to get a good mark.

I think that e-portfolios are a great method for formative assessment/evaluation in elementary schools, but realistically I don’t think they would work for high schools. When applying for universities, you usually give your average grades and then, if your grades are high enough, you will be asked to show your resume or past examples of your abilities. However, if every single student had an e-portfolio instead of their average grades, the acceptance process would take forever to complete and I just can’t see universities accepting this method.