Agile pedagogy is an iterative learning experience design approach that values human communication and feedback, adapting to change, and constructing working results. The University of Mount Union leveraged agile pedagogies to develop a pandemic relief approach to completing the field hours needed for UMU junior level education courses during the Fall 2020 semester.

We recently shared our approach with attendees at the fall conference of The Ohio Confederation of Teacher Education Organizations (OCTEO), a non-profit, state-wide umbrella organization that brings together five Ohio teacher education organizations.

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digital reading on tablet

I have been researching the use of ebooks, digital media, mobile devices and the development of transliteracy skills in the design of high-quality language and literacy-rich environments for over a decade. One thing I have started to notice recently is that many of digital reading platforms I have looked at in the past are offering free subscriptions for the remainder of the school year. This is an awesome opportunity for teachers to expand their classroom libraries to include digital formats!

Currently, all of these platforms are offering free digital resources for the remainder of the school year.

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Watch Highlight: Aiden’s Putt Putt Course from brueckj23 on www.twitch.tv none

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I encourage my students to reach out for help whenever they need it. I end F2F classes with this reminder, end emails with this reminder, and lately, end my Twitch streams with it. I absolutely love it when they come for help. I find that 9 times out of 10, just talking to students about an assignment is enough to clarify most questions. Lately though, it seems like I’ve been communicating quite a bit more than usual with my students about their assignments. Seems reasonable, given the switch to remote learning, but the interesting thing has been that the questions are not about assignments for my class, but other assignments students have for other classes, taught by my colleagues.

I don’t mind helping students with work from other classes, but I do worry about instructing them to do something that differs from what my colleague may have told them. I wish students were comfortable with going to the professor who assigned the work, but I’m aware that they aren’t always receiving feedback that they find helpful. I think that’s a topic for another day though, as it isn’t the reason I set out to write this post. Recently, I jotted down a set of instructions I’ve found myself repeating to students as I counsel them through someone else’s assignment. I thought I’d share.

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I received very little feedback, i.e., none, on my post from the other day titled I Don’t Think We Should Ever “Go Back To Normal”. I’d like to think this is not because people do not think this is an important conversation to be having, but more because most people are just plain overwhelmed with the adjustments required of them amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In any event, if you did read my last post, you may be thinking, “So how does it work?

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Well…that depends. Remember, I told you in a previous post I don’t have all the answers! I do have thoughts though, and I will share them below. Please note, these thoughts are based on my particular institution and may not be entirely applicable to every institution of higher education.

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For better or for worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed us all. Like most educators across the country, I’ve been scrambling to adjust and transition my classes to the online space. As someone who has worked in eLearning design and development since about 2007, I feel fortunate to have a background that made this transition fairly easy for me. I know this isn’t the case for everyone and I am empathetic to their struggles, however, as more days have gone past, I’ve had a feeling that we might not make it back to our physical spaces just this year, but a return next fall may be in danger too. If this happens, it will truly be, as Future puts it, MASK OFF, for all educators. We will have nothing to hide behind.

I started having the, “we should prepare for fall online” conversation with a couple of my colleagues earlier this week. I think it is an important one for all educators to begin engaging in, so I am going to share some of my initial thoughts. Please note, this is the rough cut. The polish isn’t there yet, but I am hoping that making my thinking transparent and public others will chime in.

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This Weekly Project Planner GDocs template can be used in F2F and Online courses to scaffold student organization and planning as well as serve as a formative assessment tool.

Like a bazillion other people last week, I participated in a Zoom meeting with my work colleagues. It went fine, even for the less tech savvy in our crowd. WHY HAVEN’T WE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS? As a result, I plan to cut the number of actual F2F meetings I attend from here on out in half. There is no reason to try to find a physical space and common time between a decent number of people when we can just Zoom. If some people want to meet together, so be it. But requiring physical bodies in physical spaces at the same time for routine informational meetings has always seemed ridiculous to me, even more so since the COVID-19 cultural event.

I have really digressed from my reason for writing with that rant, but I feel better and I think I’m ready to roll now.

One thing I noticed as a reoccurring theme in my department meeting last week was faculty who were struggling to know how they could keep students moving on larger class projects with no physical presence to check in, assess how students were progressing with their work and provide feedback. While this is certainly a difficult task to manage with 100+ college students when you see them a few times a week, it seemed to be a challenge many of my colleagues were facing and concerned about in our rapid transition to online learning.

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When creating timeline or sequencing activities related to a text, mix up the events/items on a GSheet template, ask students to research them, explain them, label them, and then use the SORT SHEET A-Z feature to place them in chronological order.

Well into week 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was looking for another GDocs template-like idea I could build to share with my students on my *newish L🎙ve from the Basement class livestream on Twitch.tv. The last graphic organizer activity went over as well as it could with a bunch of 20-something college students, so I figured why not give it another go?

One web-based tool I have been using for for a year or more is Sutori. I love this site! This is a great site for creating interactive timelines and stories. The interface is clean, it is easy to build a timeline-based story, and it easily integrates a number of digital media types. There is a free version and a paid version. As we see in many of these tools, there are quite a few enhanced features that are not available in the free version, but we soldier on and hope for a day when all web tools are free for educational purposes!

I had recently suggested Sutori to a buddy who I taught with back in my Green Local School days. He explained to me that he was teaching his son about the different types of Air Jordans and they were looking at when each style was released. I jokingly said, “you should have him build a timeline with Sutori,” but here we are…

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Today we are going to stick with the formative assessment theme, although by the end of it all we are going to have some summative assessment vibes too.

In this specific instance, I want students to read about the COVID-19 crisis in Italy in order to gain a little insight into what they (we) may experience in the United States as the weeks progress. I started by locating a free article on Newsela.com to anchor my assignment with. I love Newsela because not only does it have a huge library of expository texts, it also provides these texts at different reading levels.

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[[taps mic……]] This thing on???🤷‍♂️

Well, it’s been awhile on this blog, but the COVID-19 health crisis has brought me back, as I think this is the most appropriate forum to share the following. An email my wonderful and talented colleague Dr. Jennifer Hollinger and I received from one of our clinical practice students who is in the field, trying to complete her clinical (student teaching but we have new words for things in 2020) experience, graduate and become an awesome classroom teacher.

Dear Dr. Brueck and Dr. Hollinger,

Good morning!  I am working on creating lessons for this online instruction period.  I am worried about missing the formative assessment piece in these lessons since I cannot talk to the students while I am teaching them to see if they have an understanding of the topic.

 

I have been brainstorming the best way to do this.  Right now, I am creating my lessons on Google Slides.  The only idea that I have right now is to create short Google Forms where students answer a question based on the minilesson that I taught.  If they get it incorrect, they will be directed to another minilesson/video/practice tool to help them with the concept before they move on in the lesson.  I am worried because I know there are students that will gloss over this and move on (I am in 5th grade language arts currently).

 

Do either of you have any other ideas for formative assessment that can be done without having the students all online at the same time?  Thank you!

Both Jen and I did our best to provide timely feedback and I wanted to share our responses in case they may be helpful to you or your students.
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This is a personal blog. The resources, information and views presented on Raised Digital are solely the opinion of Jeremy S. Brueck, and are not meant to reflect the views of my employer.


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