A journey of exploring blended learning

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Our course in eci834 is coming to an end, but my journey on exploring EDTec would never stop and my passion for interweaving blended learning and teaching into my teaching practice would never be diminished. Previous courses in eci833 helped me move progressively toward a stronger understanding of concepts of education technology, and the entire process of eci834 has encouraged us to explore various tech tools, furthermore, facilitated us to deploy those selected tools to a blended classroom we created. Designing course profile, brainstorming the course modules, viewing the course prototypes of peers and providing meaningful feedback as well as revising those imperfections mentioned by peers ran through the whole process of creating our online classroom. This was an absolutely struggling but rewarding process, in which we discovered problems, figured out solutions, thereby deepening the understanding of what is an effective blended classroom.

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One of my takeaways from the course related to designing for online and blended learning, I think, is that we proudly employed the flipgrid to build an online collaborative learning environment, Since the first time I was aware of this amazing tool in eci833, I kept thinking of how could I employ it in an authentic online learning context? Before starting designing this course, my consideration of utilizing Flipgrid simply restricted in EFL blended learning environment. But when Sapna suggested us to design an online maths course, my previous schooling experiences came to my mind that teachers kept asking us to write down the whole procedures of how to approach a math problem. Although in Google Classroom, students could submit their assignments by scanning their worksheet, this method fails to provide an opportunity that could train the ability of collaborative learning. So I shared this thought when we were brainstorming our course profile. And either the communication between students or interaction between students and teachers did take place in our Flipgrid community.

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Another I would like to relate is that feedback undoubtedly helps us greatly improve our class quality and most importantly, it raises my awareness of giving priority to students’ feelings and their attitudes towards the course. Before receiving feedback from classmates, I have to acknowledge that our course prototype indeed lacked these considerations from the angles of students, especially some details in course videos I ignored, which might make students hold negative attitudes towards online learning. For instance, the speed of our intro video was too fast to catch up, there are no subtitles for instruction videos in Module 1 and Module 2 and failed to emphasize some basic concepts which some may not ever learn. Viewing the feedback was like a process in which we may find that some things work while others fail miserably, suggestions from peers prompted us to make changes and explore the more appropriate blend of tools and methods to fit students’ needs and improve our course prototype.

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Alec and all classmates in eci834 have brought me more than I expected, I am very thankful for the informative feedback and comments from you all. I have been increasingly confident and thoughtful about how to use technology to design a meaningful blended classroom.