On Thursday, I, along with the rest of our district team, attended an Iowa Core Leadership Series meeting at Grant Wood AEA.  Becaue it was an all-day event, so a substitute teacher oversaw my class for the first time this semester.  Typically, I try to schedule an assessment or time for students to work on an ongoing project.  I'll be real honest in saying I don't have very high expectations for substitute teachers when it comes to teaching Geometry or Statistics.  It's a better use of my students' time if the substitute can take attendance and read a few directions before letting the students work on a task for an extended period of time rather than diving into new content.

Thursday presented a unique problem for me.  We are only a little over a week into the semester and students are not yet ready to start a new project or take a written assessment.  I decided to try "teaching" asynchronously by creating a website for my students to navigate in lieu of my usual lesson on measures of central tendency.  Here's the link to the online lesson I created in about 60 minutes late Wednesday night.  The videos, except for the first one, were taken directly from our textbook publisher's website.  I checked out some head phones and one of our laptop carts so that each student could work at their own pace.  I asked students to provide feedback at the end of the lesson as well.  Data from the google form is below.

Three take-aways from this experience are worth sharing:

  1. I shared the results with students the next day and thanked them for going out on a limb and learning online in this format.  Questions such as "Why can't we find the mean of question 3?" and "Which measure of central tendency should I report for question #1?" encouraged a great discussion about measures of central tendency.
  2. In the same discussion about the feedback results, it became apparent to students what quality feedback looks like.  The "keep it real dog" student response to the last question was humorous, but did not provide meaningful feedback to improve the online learning process while the "The lady that narrates the videos has a very boring voice, it made me rather read the book. Maybe if you showed us yourself, instead of having us watch the text-book ones, it would help a lot more" response was detailed and has the potential to improve the process in the future.
  3. Overall, the feedback/data tells me that students are willing to engage in this type of learning again in the future with a few small modifications.  
What type of activities do your students engage in while you are out of the classroom?  Have you ever tried this type of online learning?  If so, what suggestions can you share?