Week 3 Readings and Resources

How does one select the proper tool for the job?

One experienced educator relates the following story:

As I began teaching online I was enthusiastic about the possibilities and saw the whole thing as an exciting exploration. I eagerly began moving the learning activities that I had use in face-to-face courses and workshops to my online environment. (Back in the 1990's I was using a free version of Blackboard.)

Frequently I found myself saying something like, "Darn that Post-it Note activity is a really good one but I don't have Post-it Notes online." (This was long before such applications existed.  No http://taskless.appspot.com/, http://www.stormboard.com, etc.)  Then, I stopped and asked myself, "Okay, why do I do that activity?  What is the point? What am I trying to accomplish?"  In other words, what is the desired learning outcome?

Once I articulated the purpose I was trying to achieve I was able to think about other ways to achieve the same result using a tool in my, albeit small, online arsenal. I was no longer stuck with a physical tool as the defining point of the activity. Rather, focusing on the learning outcome got the creative juices flowing again.

Think about a learning activity that you use in face-to-face sessions. Can you recreate it online? Be sure to articulate the purpose for the activity. Do you need a new tool? Check out the resources in this Read and View page of this book.