Today, I just presented/facilitated a discussion at the TxDLA conference (Texas Distance Learning Association). There were 12 participants in this “birds of a feather” discussion. The night before, I sat down and charted out some key areas of possible discussion. This proved to be a wonderful tool for organizing the discussion. The other thing that became painfully obvious was that there was so much to discuss and we only had 45 minutes. Therefore, I started the presentation with an invitation to move the discussion online at the completion of the session. Everyone in the group signed up and several were quite excited about the possibility to continue online.
It became clear through the discussion that policy issues were a hot topic. It seemed that most were looking at online course rather than blended classes. There seemed to be little thought given to blended teaching.
There was also concern related to the National technology plan as it suggests that all students experience an online learning as a requirement. The concern was with students that are not well suited to online courses being forced to learn online and the impact this would have on future of distance education. I was reminded of Cubans response to the use of technology a the reasons for technologies failure in education.
There also seemed to be a heavy emphasis on content delivery and little on the construction on knowledge. Most talked about staying within the LMS and not using outside tools. The main concern was security for the kids. There seemed to be a lack of knowledge surrounding blogs, wikis, etc.
As I look at the means for continuing this conversation online, I would like to facilitate ease of participation by linking the discussion to e-mail. TI might be a good tool for this. However, I would also like to take this opportunity to expose this group to some of the other tools to illustrate through practice ways to integrate these tools.
My excitement here is that this could become a 2nd mentoring group/CoP. Several potential members were very vocal and passionate during the discussion. If this were to carry over to the online environment, we could have the makings of an interesting group for development of use if the Web in teaching in the K-12 environment.
Now I just need to work out the details with Tapped In as it seems to think I already have two rooms. Hmmmmm.