Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Post 6: Online Learning – Facilitating Interaction Online

Personally, when it comes to learning in a ‘formal environment’, I prefer the classroom setting as opposed to sitting at a computer (and such). This is partly because of my dependence on visuals,and voiced instruction; mostly because old habits are hard to break. Because I believe there is something to learn in everything we do I used the words ‘formal environment’ to indicate a classroom setting. Having said that, I greatly appreciate the flexibility of online learning. For a mother of two very active children and a husband who is at work twenty-four hours every third day scheduling can become somewhat of a nightmare. Online courses allow me to stay at home to complete assignments and report to ‘class’ within the guidelines given.

The courses I have taken thus far have incorporated all three types of interactions: learner-learner, learner-content, and learner-instruction. As Moore stated, learner-content is the most significant of the three interactions. ‘Without it there cannot be education’. As you can guess I usually prefer the learner-instruction interaction, but I am quickly becoming very fond of the learner-learner interaction that takes place in an online course (and many classroom settings). It seems rather bizarre to say that my education philosophy is viewed as a constructivist after having made the previous statement. But when it comes to me learning I prefer learner-instruction (with visuals), but when I teach I prefer learner-learner interactions.

Post 7: Online Learning-The Student

When this course is complete I will have taken four online courses toward my masters degree, or supported online courses with A&M-Commerce. I would consider myself comfortable and therefore successful in my ability to complete an online course. Now I may become frustrated, nervous, and at the point of tears but I have not allowed that to hinder my completion of the course (yet!). In regards to virtual learning in K-12 schools I would have to say I completely support this movement. However, being a kindergarten teacher it leaves me in a quandary as to how this works with five and six year old children. They need the technical skills, but they also need the social interaction that goes along with a classroom setting. Finding the balance between the two is somewhat of a challenge when you are trying to meet the needs of every student in your classroom. Being a constructivist I struggle with the lack of a tangible product in a virtual classroom, but certainly see the benefit of a technology in an online learning environment.

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