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Sunday, June 16, 2013

u06a1 Live Webinar Reflections

The live webinar that I attended this week was called “Summer of Making and Connecting”.  It was a Classroom 2.0 Live webinar about Connected Learning.  It was very easy to get on to and there was no registration process.  There was a schedule of webinars to choose from and a description of each one to help the viewer choose to attend or not.  When you sign on, it leads you through tests to make sure the video and audio are working correctly.  My set-up was very easy, all I had to do was log in.  

The strength of this webinar was that it is relevant to something I am very interested in, namely using projects and experiential learning to teach content to students.  The main topic was Connected Learning which was defined as an equitable, social and participatory learning.  Its facets include being production centered, using student interests, having a shared purpose for learning, a setting with a peer culture, being openly networked with others and academic.  To summarize the students learn by creating or making.  The following were strong points that I took from this webinar.

Connected Learning Key Points  
  • When topics are interesting to the learner the learner is more invested in the learning.  
  • Learning comes from being active and producing, creating, experimenting and designing

The presenters were also discussing the National Writing Project as an example of Connected Learning.  They described this NWP as:
  • Locally based projects that are based out of university connections.
  • Projects that use digital tools to create stories and to build the stories in community spaces
  • A program that gives teachers ongoing professional development with a connected learning framework that leads kids to link in and connects to kids’ interests
  • It is focused on making, producing and creating

Other strengths were the links given to view examples of Connected Learning and the National Writing Projects.  There were blog links and a livebinder link with all of the resources for this webinar.  

The only weakness was that I did not have any background information about the term “Connected Learning” or the “National Writing Project”.  It would have been helpful to have more background information given right at the beginning to have a better understanding of the content as I was listening.  Eventually, I was able to put it all together and connect it to similar terms and experiences I have had such as Project Based Learning, Constructivist Learning and the International Baccalaureate program. There were many more strengths than weaknesses and I would revisit the Classroom 2.0 site for other webinars.  I have attended many webinars so I was used to the format.  Most of the ones I have attended were Discovery Education webinars, so it was good to branch out a little bit.  

In my classroom I will use some of the ideas I learned in this webinar.  Since I will soon be teaching writing classes in our summer school program, I am very interested in incorporating the idea of creating, producing and making projects and sharing them with an audience in some digital format or project format.  It has made me think of making my writing classes this summer more purposeful and interesting to the students.  I also learned about a badge system that one program uses where the students earn badges for completing projects.  This would be a great motivator to my sometimes reluctant summer school workers!  In my school year classroom and my summer school classroom, I can have my students create things to learn and to share. For example some projects I thought  they could create are: plays, documentaries, digital stories, movie trailers, skits, dioramas or models and screencasts or live broadcasts.

This particular webinar would not be something my young primary students would attend, but they could certainly be broadcasters and teachers to others.  We all know that teaching content is an excellent way of learning content.  My students could be given the task of teaching and presenting information in a webinar format for the purpose of solidifying their understanding of various classroom content.  It would be an example of making something that they can share with others.  They would love it!

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