My Improved Learning Space

For the very last assignment for my master’s in educational technology course, I am asked to redesign my classroom to best fit my students’ learning. This assignment comes at the perfect time, as I start school in just two weeks and four days! (ah!!!) I think I need to do some work in my classroom to get to my ideal classroom space.  I teach Spanish, so there is a big emphasis on classroom community and communication.  I want students to feel comfortable with one another, to lean on each other when a concept is difficult, and to speak Spanish with everyone around them.  Currently, I have my desks in two big groups of rows. The rows are on angles to face each other and the front white board with an aisle down the middle. Originally, I designed it this way so students could see one another easily during full group discussions.  However, the focus was still on the main white board and me, the teacher.

Current Classroom Set Up

Current Classroom Set Up

After reading Colleen Lee’s article “What Your Classroom Setup May Be Saying to Students” and Thomas L. Friedman’s article “It’s P.Q. and C.Q as Much as I.Q.,” I thought about what the learning I wanted to accomplish in my classroom looked like. I want my students to engage with the Spanish language and to use it as much as possible. To do this effectively, I should not be the focus of the classroom.  Students should be focusing on one another, learning and communicating with each other.  My desks should not be in rows where the whiteboard and I are at the focus of students’ attention.  Instead, desks should be in groups of four to allow for student collaboration. As Lee explains the best scenario is “pods of 4 desks – a partner to talk to beside them – and pair across the table for broader consultation/interaction.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 8.41.19 PM

(Click on the image to enlarge)

In my school district, all students in the middle school have their own computers they bring with them to class everyday.  These can be BYOD or rented from the school.  These computers add so many technology resources to the class already that I wanted to focus on sharing these tools with others in the classroom rather than directing students’ whole focus to their own computer screen. My students are hyperconnected, where my students have access to new information and technology at their finger tips everyday.  I need my students to also be hyperconnected to one another. Learning Spanish is to learn to speak and use the language, not learning how fast Google Translate can (most of the time- incorrectly) spit out a Spanish sentence.  In groups of four, I want students to collaborate and push each other further, not separate themselves by rows of computer screens.  Of course, the computers are a HUGE asset in the classroom.  These computers offer technology tools that are great to discover Spanish culture and connect to students in Spanish speaking countries. However, as the TPACK framework shows, it is how students use technology in the classroom that matters.  Students should be using these computers to enhance their Passion Quotient (P.Q.) and Curiosity Quotient (C.Q.), where they learn something new and share it with their group members.  The more interest students have in Spanish, they more they will research and dig deeper on their own.

Thinking back to my own learning, it was the Spanish language and experiences abroad that captivated me.  In Mexico City, my P.Q. grew as I talked with native speakers in Spanish. I carried this passion back to the classroom where I was eager to learn new vocabulary and higher grammar.  My C.Q. developed when I not only want to learn the language, but the culture and people who spoke it.  This curiosity lead to a study abroad.  My P.Q. and C.Q. led me to where I am today: a middle school Spanish teacher.  I want to unleash this passion and curiosity in my students, which will (hopefully) lead to them learning more outside of the classroom. By having students in groups of four, the focus becomes on them.  Their seat partners are a new source of information they did not have before when I was the focal point.  In groups, students can easily share and look on to other students’ computers which could tap into more curiosity and passion.  Now, I can repurpose technology we already have available so students can collaborate with one another and use the Spanish language together to create something great on the computer.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 9.10.45 PM

References:

Friedman, T. L. (2013) It’s P.Q. and C.Q as much as I.Q. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/30/opinion/friedman-its-pq-and-cq-as-much-as-iq.html

Lee, C. (2014) What Your Classroom Setup May Be Saying to Students. Edudemic.  Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/classroom-setup/?fb_action_ids=694559880791&fb_action_types=og.likes

Students in classroom working with Laptops” by Ohlone College is licensed under C.C. BY-NC-SA 2.0.

NLP Post #3: Using Canvas

 

My goal for this project was to learn how to use my school’s new online management website, Canvas.  Last year, we used Learn by Blackboard, so I had to set up my new classes from scratch. The curve ball was that I could only use YouTube videos and online help forums to support me throughout this project.

I had six major goals to set up  my Canvas course:

  1. Set up master courses for Spanish 1 and Spanish 2
  2. Customize the home pages for each class
  3. Create an assignment complete with notes, embedded videos, and an assessment
  4. Create a calendar event
  5. Familiarize myself with the grade book
  6. Import files and quizzes from Learn (the online management website from last year)

What was easy?

Canvas is very customizable.  It offers many options for setting up the course, showing the menu items you want, and linking items throughout the website for you.  I found many YouTube videos (listed at the bottom) that showed me how to set up a Canvas course.  I easily followed the directions in these videos to add a picture to the home page and add events to the calendar.  I also watched a video to set up “modules,” which are content folders for notes, assignments, and any class materials. I set up two modules for Spanish 1: one module for songs, which I use for warm-ups, that included an embedded YouTube video, song lyrics, and a practice listening quiz, and one module for the “ser” unit that included notes and an introductory story/assignment.  It was relatively easy to add files, videos, and links to the modules.  However, if I had tried setting these up on my own, I would have been frustrated and probably would have taken a trial-and-error (emphasis on the error) approach instead.  It was also nice that the calendar and grade book were meshed with the assignments page.  So, when I added an assignment to the “ser” module, Canvas automatically added the assignment to the course calendar and the grade book.

From the videos, I could not figure out how to create master courses for Spanish 1 and 2.  Since Canvas is so customizable, it was hard to find a video that featured a school who had set up their Canvas site exactly as mine had.  After no luck on YouTube, I turned to the Canvas help forums.  I found a discussion about creating a “Master Course” and followed the steps to making my own. (I even ran into a teacher from my school who went to a workshop offered through the district who didn’t know how to do this!  I will have to pass along the forum!)  Read more about this process in my NLP Post #2.

 

What was hard? 

Throughout this process, I would watch a video and have a random question or thought (“I wonder what that button does.” “Are there other options?” “Why did Canvas set it up this way?”), but the video would not answer it. It was difficult to find answers to some more specific questions.  None of these questions were causing issues in setting up my Canvas course, but they were some things that I would have asked had I been at a conference or a meeting.

Also, I had troubles exporting and importing files from Learn into Canvas.  I followed directions from a help forum, but I still could not complete this.  I think it is because of how my district set up both Learn and Canvas.  After receiving a third error email, I stopped trying until I can broaden my PLN to other teachers and system administrators in my own school who have transferred files between the two websites successfully.

 

What did I learn?

I successfully set up classes for Spanish 1 and Spanish 2! I completed all my goals except for the last one which I hope to complete next week.  I feel comfortable with the skills I have learned to enter the new school year.

And… Using personal learning networks is useful!  Most people only think of YouTube for watching funny videos or viral clips, but there are many useful videos as well. In fact just last week my dad just got a Go-Pro camera and could not get it out of the box (it was complicated, okay!?).  I immediately thought, “Let’s YouTube this!” and found various videos to help us.  I don’t know if I would have thought of YouTube that way before this project.  Along with the YouTube videos, the online help forums was a great resource.  I found much more specific information from the help forum than with the videos.  It is also a nice option if I have a question I want to ask other “experts.” Since it can be stressful to adopt a new management website, I will definitely pass these resources along to other teachers at my school or even post a response to a question on the help forum if I find a helpful hint or tool! I will also take the same approach when looking for new ideas or tools to use while teaching.  Online help forums would be a great resource to use when trying to use a new technology tool in the classroom.  YouTube videos can give me ideas on how to flip the classroom as well.

 

Resources:

YouTube Videos:

Introduction to Canvas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR2ACvYd_M0

How to embed a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUjIoP-BqJc

Creating a Module: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEz9mLJUyII

Creating a Quiz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWDVw_vojoQ

Help Forums:

Canvas help center: https://help.instructure.com/home

How to create a master course for each class: https://help.instructure.com/categories/11606-community-forums

 

Solving a Wicked Problem by Reinventing Teaching

A Wicked Problem is a major problem in schools with no clean answer.  It is one of those big problems that everyone notices, but no one sees an easy fix or thinks we, in American schools, are in too far to dig ourselves out.  Koehler and Mishra (2008) explain that “Solutions to wicked problems are often difficult to realize (or maybe even recognize) because of complex interdependencies among a large number of contextually bound variables” (p.10). In addition, since everything is constantly changing in education (students’ background, student and teacher growth, technology, district changes, etc.), solutions to Wicked Problems need to also be constantly evolving.  Therefore, one solution cannot be an end-all-be-all fix. A solutions is simply the best option at the time. That’s what makes these problems so wicked, right?!

The 2013 New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Project Summit Communique identified five major Wicked Problems for schools.  My group and I have decided to tackle the problem “Rethink what it means to teach, and reinvent everything about teaching.”   The NMC explains that education needs to be more hands on and experimental.  My group members and I agree that teaching needs to incorporate inquiry-based lessons instead of lecture.  The teacher should act as a the facilitator to take these hands on experiences and discovery to the next level, but should not be the only source of information. Students who engage in discovery-based learning will develop critical thinking skills and carry the content learned into their real lives. In order to create schools with inquiry-based education, schools need to adopt national standards and a balanced school schedule.

We believe that national standards need to be more broad and rely less on facts.  This will give teachers more flexibility to create inquiry-based lessons based off real-life issues. When standards are less based on facts, teachers will not feel like they have to lecture everyday.  Through discovery, students will learn and remember these facts more than they would by memorizing the lecture or cramming before a test.

Finally, we believe that the best way to adjust these standards and adopt a inquiry-based curriculum is to change the school year.  We believe that adopting a balanced school year will allow for more time for discovery, collaboration, and project-based learning. In a world where technology is so readily available, students can use technology to collaborate and work through problems.  Therefore, the calendar could even feature slightly shorter time in school to allow for more discussion and discovery online at home.

After feedback from our MAET peers, we added in potential restraints or resistance schools could face when implementing these changes to reinvent teaching to our policy paper.  We also discussed how TPACK supports this vision.

Overall, we know that schools and teaching need to change.  We also know that students all learn in different ways.  Inquiry-based learning, an elongated year with less summer slide, and a national curriculum with less facts and more real-life connections will allow students to learn and work through problems at his or her own pace.  From my groups discussion and research, we believe our vision is the best option for schools at this time to solve the Wicked Problem of reinventing learning.

To learn more about our solution to this Wicked Problem, watch a video about our thought processes, and read our paper calling for a change in policy, please visit our Blendspace.

 

 

References:

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPCK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (Ed.),Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) (pp. 3–29). New York: Routledge.

Communities of Practice: How do we use technology at our school?

This week for my Master’s of Educational Technology course at MSU, I was asked to examine trends in technology use within my school.  I wrote and sent a survey to all seventh and eighth grade teachers I work with (17 teachers – roughly 50% of the teachers at the school), and 12 teachers responded (71% completion rate).  These teachers have a range of experience and time at our school.

To see the full survey, click here.

I work at a middle school that puts a large emphasis on technology. In fact, I had the opportunity to sit in on interviews for a new Spanish teacher for the upcoming year and I noticed that my principal specifically looks for candidates who have used technology in the past and who do not seem afraid to try new tech tools.  My school is in an upper-middle class suburb of Indianapolis with 1:1 computers in the classroom, so each student has his or her own computer that is rented from the school or brought from home. The large majority of students have access to Internet at home.  Following the ideas of TPACK (Technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge) and PLNs (Personal/Professional Learning Networks), how can we choose the right tech tools for our classrooms and learn about new technology to bring into the classroom? Where are our other colleagues learning about new tools? What do these teachers think about when using a new tool in the classroom? When do they decide what is the right tool and when to use it? These were the main questions I used to create my survey.

Looking through the results (to see the full analysis and graphs, click here), there were some major trends that were surprising and many were not surprising.

What was not surprising?

  1. Teachers are not afraid of new technology.  Most teachers said they were comfortable to very comfortable working with new technologies in the classroom.
  2. 92% of teachers use some sort of technology as part of instruction for at least some part of the hour everyday.  Our school uses the online classroom management tool Canvas to upload documents, have an online discussion, turn in student work, or create assessments. Every student has access to this website on his/her computer.
  3. My colleagues value collaboration.  Many teachers plan together and definitely share resources with one another.  It was not surprising that they learn about new tech tools primarily from one another.  It is easy to trust someone you work with and value what tech tools they see as important.
  4. Teachers looked at many factors before implementing a new technology in the classroom.  Teachers looked at how well they knew the technology, whether the technology is reliable, and how the technology would align with the learning objective of the lesson. This fits well with the TPACK model, where teachers are looking at what they are teaching, how they will teach it, and the technology that will make their teaching most effective.

What did surprise me?

  1. 83% teachers noted that they use videos/YouTube as one of their top technologies for instruction. With this many teachers using videos, it surprises me that we have not had professional development or workshops recently specifically towards creating videos or flipping the classroom.
  2. Teachers do not have large Professional Learning Networks (PLNs).  When I asked where teachers find new technologies, only 25% cited blogs or other websites (including blogs/Twitter) as one of their top two resources for finding new technologies.  Since 92% of teachers named other colleagues as one of their top resources for learning new tech tools, where do those other colleagues learn these new tools? If these teachers joined PLNs (groups online that share ideas, resources, etc. with one another through blogs, forums, Twitter, etc.), they could have more resources to share with their colleagues!
  3. In regards to interest in professional development formats, I found it interesting that 75% wanted to attend presentation by colleagues from the same content area, but only 16% ranked presentations by colleagues from different content areas at the top of their list. Since there is already so much collaboration within departments, I thought more teachers would want to learn from teachers in other content areas.

 

Pulling it all together:

As seen through these responses, it is clear that our middle school is not afraid to try new technology and has the resources available (mainly computers) to use them.  As technology is always evolving, we as teachers need to evolve too.  We should not stay within our comfort zones with technology or within the comfort of our own departments.  Since these teachers already use a lot of tech tools, it would be easy to forget to dedicate time for technology-focused professional development.  Our professional development should vary in format, since teachers had different preferences on how they would like PD to be presented.  Additionally, since these teachers are already so willing to share and learn from one another, we could even have PD to explain PLNs or set up classroom observations to see what tech tools other teachers are using. That way teachers can keep up to date on what tools are available and feel more comfortable implementing them in their own classroom. Finally, since many teachers are already gravitating toward the ideas in the TPACK model, they could benefit from a focused discussion about the TPACK model so we don’t fall into the trap of using technology for the sake of using technology.

A Wicked Problem: Reinvent Teaching

A Wicked Problem is a problem in schools with no clean answer.  It is one of those big problems that everyone notices, but no one sees an easy fix or thinks we, in American schools, are in too far to dig ourselves out.  Koehler and Mishra (2008) explain that “Solutions to wicked problems are often difficult to realize (or maybe even recognize) because of complex interdependencies among a large number of contextually bound variables” (p.10). In addition, since everything is constantly changing in education (students’ background, student and teacher growth, technology, district changes, etc.), solutions to Wicked Problems need to also be constantly evolving.  Therefore, one solution cannot be an end-all-be-all fix. A solutions is simply the best option at the time. That’s what makes these problems so wicked, right?!

The 2013 New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Project Summit Communique identified five major Wicked Problems for schools.  My group and I have decided to tackle the problem “Rethink what it means to teach, and reinvent everything about teaching.”   The NMC explains that education needs to be more hands on and experimental.  My group members and I agree that teaching needs to incorporate inquiry-based lessons instead of lecture.  The teacher should act as a the facilitator to take these hands on experiences and discovery to the next level, but should not be the only source of information. Students who engage in discovery-based learning will develop critical thinking skills and carry the content learned into their real lives. In order to create schools with inquiry-based education, schools need to adopt national standards and a balanced school schedule.

We believe that national standards need to be more broad and rely less on facts.  This will give teachers more flexibility to create inquiry-based lessons based off real-life issues. When standards are less based on facts, teachers will not feel like they have to lecture everyday.  Through discovery, students will learn and remember these facts more than they would by memorizing the lecture or cramming before a test.

Finally, we believe that the best way to adjust these standards and adopt a inquiry-based curriculum is to change the school year.  We believe that adopting a balanced school year (4 weeks in school, 2 weeks off) will allow for more time for discovery, collaboration, and project-based learning. In a world where technology is so readily available, students can use technology to collaborate and work through problems.  Therefore, the calendar could even feature slightly shorter time in school to allow for more discussion and discovery online at home.

Overall, we know that schools and teaching need to change.  We also know that students all learn in different ways.  Inquiry-based learning, an elongated year with less summer slide, and broader standards with less facts and more real-life connections will allow students to learn and work through problems at his or her own pace.  From my groups discussion and research, we believe our vision is the best option for schools at this time to solve the Wicked Problem of reinventing learning.

See more of our research and vision in our Blendspace website by clicking here.

 

 

References:

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Introducing TPCK. In AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (Ed.),Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) (pp. 3–29). New York: Routledge.

My Information Diet

beingopen_arms

We all spend a lot of time on the Internet, whether it is for work, for entertainment, for communication, or for new information. We have all gotten so accustomed to using the Internet; it is now a common phrase to “Google it!” when you don’t know a fact or how to do something.  Have you ever stopped to think about what exactly you do on the Internet? What exactly are you searching for? Are you using the Internet to its potential?  How does the Internet affect what you view and learn? Is the Internet opening you up to new ideas and viewpoints or closing you off to only viewing webpages that are relevant to you and what you believe in?  For class this week, we finished James Paul Gee’s The Anti-Education Era and watched a few videos about how we could use the Internet a little differently.

“Unless we take some books or some digital media further in terms of persistence, problem solving, connection making, skill building, production, and critique, they will not, in the end, really make us any smarter” (Gee, 2013, p 203). Anyone who uses the Internet (so, everyone I know – yes, even my 91 year old grandmother), needs to take a critical eye to what they see and the information they are gathering.  Eli Pariser expresses in his 2011 Ted Talk that websites use an algorithm to record what links you have clicked, what websites you visited, your location while browsing, and what you “like” or  who you “follow” on social media. Google, Facebook, news websites are personalizing the information made available to us. “The Internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see,” Pariser states. Pariser goes on to explain this phenomenon as our “Filter Bubble,” where we stay in our bubbles on the Internet, not seeing information that could possibly challenge our beliefs and viewpoints. In order to be well-rounded people who can contribute thoughtfully to Gee’s  affinity spaces (or online communities to gather and share information between experts, novices, and everyone in between), we need to change our “Filter Bubble” so we can see other arguments, learn from people who think differently than we do, and think critically about our own views and why we believe in them.

artworks-000051454818-zr0wk9-originalScreen Shot 2014-07-14 at 11.48.00 AM

As our assignment this week, we had to examine our own “Filter Bubbles” or our “Information Diet.”  I looked at my MAET/Teacher twitter account, my personal twitter account, and my news sources online.  On my professional twitter account (@SrtaGlynn), I noticed I follow all my MAET classmates, technology “experts,” a few Spanish teachers I had already known about, and various Spanish news accounts. On my personal twitter, I follow friends, various Michigan State and Buffalo Bills athletes and team accounts, and a local Indianapolis news account.  For the most part, I keep my professional and personal twitters separate, but I flip through both “home feeds” daily.  The biggest problem I found with my Information Diet was my source of news.  I have specialized my news sources to three areas: local Indy news on my personal twitter, Spanish news on my professional twitter, and a USA Today app on my iPad. I have chosen the local news account and the Spanish news account based off of newspapers I have read and accounts who write information that I find relevant and important in my life.  When I realized I was not getting a very balanced News Diet, I decided to create a Feedly account.  I tend to be very sporadic on twitter.  I won’t click on links, I unfollow news/celebrity accounts if they tweet too much, and I mostly just flip through the news feed quickly until something catches my eye.  I found the idea of Feedly very interesting because it could be a new source of information for news, ideas for the classroom, as well as personal hobbies (like design, travel, or football). I can use this feed when I want to learn something, not just see a 140 character blurp on twitter.  I designed my Feedly to have various sources with different information and viewpoints.  I chose to follow local and foreign policy (something that was missing from my Information Diet) news sites.  I followed various World Language teachers’ blogs: one who has flipped her classroom, one who uses primarily TPRS and Comprehensible Input to teach, and one who takes the traditional grammar teaching method. I also added new technology sources.  I especially like Feedly because these blogs catch my attention more than twitter.  Under the headline and picture, there is a short paragraph describing the article, which makes me want to read more.  I now have access to multiple new sources of information and inspiration.  I will use the news sites, especially world news, to challenge my beliefs and push my understanding of current events throughout the world.  I will use the teacher blogs to rethink my current teaching pedagogy and incorporate new methods or activities. I will use Feedly to read RSS feeds that will pop my “Filter Bubble” and give me a more balanced “Information Diet” than I had when using just twitter alone.

Finally, I realized while examining my “Information Diet” that I am adding sites to read and think about, but I also need to make an effort to share more.  I rarely ever tweet on my personal twitter and only tweet on my MAET/Teacher twitter for class or a specific purpose.  I need to become better at tweeting to share ideas and resources I have found through Feedly.  I need to become a more active member of the Internet!  I am already planning on “attending” World Language chats on twitter in the fall (Thursdays – #langchat) and will try to be better about sharing resources on twitter for my MAET classmates and other teachers.

 

Gee, J.P. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Connections” by Katarina is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Motivational Monday: The SureFire Way to Get it” by Adrienne is licensed under CC by 2.0

The Paper and the Bokeh” by Alesha Joy is licensed under CC by 2.0

 

 

NLP #2: Continuing to Learn to Use Canvas

If you don’t recall, I am learning to use my school’s new online management website Canvas by Instructure.  This is project for my Master’s in Education Technology course, where I am to only use YouTube and online help forums to learn how to use Canvas.  By the end of the project, I hope to have my classes all set up and ready to go for the fall!

My first goal for this week was to set up my class page. Now, since it is the middle of July, I do not have a syllabus or assignments to upload quite yet.  So, I set up my class page following the instructions given in this YouTube video to add a nice welcome message and a picture for students to see when they first log on.

Welcome Page After

Welcome Page After

Welcome Page Before

Welcome Page Before

Then, I decided to play around with the calendar since that is also addressed in that same YouTube video.  I learned a nice feature Canvas has. When I upload an assignment in the course calendar, Canvas automatically adds that assignment to the “Assignment” page, the “To-do” page, and to student’s notification page (if they have it set up that way). Here, I set up a fake  “Pop Quiz” to the calendar by just double clicking on the day.  I can add more directions, pictures, and links directly from that assignment in the calendar, which will be copied to the “Assingnment” page.

Pop Quiz Automatically Added to Assignments Page

Pop Quiz Automatically Added to Assignments Page

Calendar View with Pop Quiz

Calendar View with Pop Quiz

Finally, I noticed that I had a “Course” for each section I am teaching in the fall that was shown on the drop down menu from the top.  I am teaching two sections of Spanish 1 and four sections of Spanish 2, so I saw six different courses in my menu! I was overwhelmed by the thought of adding an assignment to each individual class. I thought there must be a way to edit all Spanish 1 classes at once or all Spanish 2 classes at once. It seems ridiculous to edit each section!  This was the hardest thing for me so far.  It was challenging to find specific help for this topic.  Many help videos on YouTube are just setting up one course, but my administrators had already enrolled all six of these courses to me.  So, I did some research. I went to the online Canvas help forum. There are many links provided on this website. I searched “Combing sections” and was directed to this link. Thanks to a friendly post from Glen, I had the instructions to combine all like courses into one “Master” course. (I will have two master courses: one for Spanish 1 and one for Spanish 2.)  Watch this short video below to see how I did it!  You must have your master class in mind (mine was Spanish 2, first hour). Then, start from the section you want to transfer to the master course (I used Spanish 2, 7th hour). The video starts once I am at the home page for 7th hour.

Overall, I have made good progress!  I now feel more comfortable after seeing different YouTube videos highlight the calendar feature and the assignments page.  I feel like I know what to do to add assignments into each section now.  The biggest challenge I have faced has been that not every school sets up Canvas in the same way.  Canvas has great tools to customize your page so it is easy for you and your students to use, which is great!  It is, however, a little challenging to get help from YouTube posts when their school has set their system up slightly different from mine.  I had to do a little playing around, but the YouTube videos and help forum were very useful!  The YouTube videos were a great overview and helpful to watch and imitate.  The help forums were nice when I needed more specific information. When trying to combine classes, I became frustrated!  I had to think of another way to find this information I needed. I was ready to give up when I found that post on the help forum! I’m grateful to have found that!

For the next step, I plan to convert some old material from our old online classroom management system, make an assignment complete with a video or link to a website, and investigate “Modules” more.

 

You can click on the links embedded in the text or find the useful YouTube video and help forum using these links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR2ACvYd_M0

https://help.instructure.com/categories/11606-community-forums