Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

May 17, 2012

Going Digital and Going Deeper – On-Line Learning

In the midst of the talk about flipped classrooms and on-line learning, I recently had the opportunity to co-develop and facilitate a segment of an on-line certificate course for educators.  As the course is winding down and I can reflect on the experience I find myself surprised and impressed at what I have learned and how my beliefs about learning in the virtual world have shifted.

Firstly, developing the course allowed me to work with a wonderful group of colleagues.  Teaching and offering professional development can be a very lonely task, and having the opportunity to bounce things off the team of consummate educators that made up the Yeshiva University School Partnership certificate program development team was really exciting and invigorating.  The planning discussions and collaboration resulted in better work than I would have done alone, and enriched the lessons I gave.

Second, I have spent the past week speaking to various groups of educators and parents.  In each case the participants were live in the room with me.  But in each case, it was also the only time we would be together.  These were traditional professional development and workshop formats – one shot deals.  As much as the participants gained, as much as they learned, there was no time to process, to go deeper, to think and apply, to reflect and question.  That is the problem with typical professional development.  It is near impossible to get busy parents or professionals into a room once, never mind in on an on-going basis.  The on-line certificate program allowed us to “meet” on a regular basis with committed educators.  Although our meetings were virtual, the learning was quite real, the discussions rich and rewarding.

I began this experience in on-line learning reluctantly.  I have been sufficiently impressed with the power and potential of on-line learning in the certificate program, and as a result will be moving one of my regular graduate courses partly on-line this summer.  I hope to continue to be privileged to teach wonderful educators, who while they may be unable to meet me in my classroom, can learn with me virtually, to make a very real difference in Jewish education.

 

FYI – for specific information about  the YUSP On-line Certificate Programs visit

http://www.yuschoolpartnership.org/certificates

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