Online Learning - A Journey
Beginning this week, many children around Alberta including the great kids at SAA will resume their classes after their Spring Break holiday but in an online learning experience. Over the last week or two the inbox in teacher’s mailboxes have been flooded with hundreds of learning sites/resources, PD opportunities and best pedagogy approaches to providing online learning. We are thankful that we are receiving such wide support.
However, teachers as professionals will make judgements about what they will use, when they will begin to implement them or how they will use them. Thus there will be many differences in approaches from teacher to teacher and school to school. It won’t look the same at every school, in every classroom. It will take teachers time to learn what works best for kids of different ages and what is manageable for families from home.
What you can trust will be the same for every teacher in the province is the following:
- All teachers are guided by a common Alberta Curriculum and Learning Outcomes.
- All teachers must provide a safe and welcoming learning environment.
- All teachers will identify what content needs to be delivered, teachers will evaluate curricular outcomes that have not yet been covered, prioritize remaining outcomes based on what is manageable for students working from home, and will plan specific tasks and projects for students.
- Every student will receive final grades and will receive a report card, appropriate to their grade level based upon available summative and formative assessment.
- In Kindergarten – Grade 3 education content will focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes of the provincial curriculum.
- In Grade 4 - 6 education content will continue to focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes, and there will be opportunity to incorporate science and social studies outcomes through cross-curricular learning.
- In Junior High education content will focus on core mathematics, language/literacy, science and social studies curriculum outcomes.
Common Online Terms
You are going to begin hearing many terms. Some may be familiar. Here are some common terms or platforms that you will be hearing more about.
Google Classroom is a free web service, developed by Google for schools, that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way. Google Classroom helps teachers streamline the process of sharing files and assignments. One of the best features of Google Classroom is that teachers can view work that students are completing within the classroom and provide feedback as they work. Teachers can also have students contribute to the learning of projects and assign separate tasks for common items. Google Classroom will be the primary platform for teachers to provide Online Learning for students at SAA in Grades 4 - 8. Teachers will also use it or begin using it in K - 3 as time goes on. A reminder to parents, you must access Google classroom through your child's login credentials.
Google Meet is a video-conference-calling platform. It links remote students/people together for real-time interaction. In this environment students can watch a lesson by a teacher in real time, share ideas, work in small groups or one to one with a teacher. Teachers can record sessions and post them for students who might miss a live lesson. As time goes on teachers may post and send invitations for students to log in and participate in a Google Meet.
Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
Synchronous learning is online learning that happens in real time, whereas asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction. Best practices around online learning indicates that teachers would include a blend of both asynchronous and synchronous online learning opportunities. As we move forward, the goal of teachers at SAA will be to try and find the right balance and blend of these opportunities. There are pros and cons to each kind of delivery and they may work to varying degrees or levels for each student.