I am comfortable teaching a blended course with little to no collaboration. Currently, one of the classes I teach I have no support at our school because I am the only teacher teaching this course. To create an effective course it will be important to closely monitor the students’ progress through observations, tests, discussions, and projects evaluations. Generally, with students having the opportunity to work in small groups, they usually are able to complete the task in STEM class. However, with group-based projects, it can be challenging to determine how much each student learned. Some students are able to drive the group with their previous knowledge or experience, while others are less involved in the project. Throughout the course I am designing, I am hopeful that after the students have completed the Civil Engineering module, students will be able to explain in depth the career of Civil Engineering, successfully problem solve, design, build and evaluate both a bridge and marble mineshaft. The needed resources to provide these outcomes are videos, instructions, online resources, discussions, and quizzes.
Lectures are necessary to provide current information, relate information to a specific group, assist students in understanding knowledge, summarizing a large amount of information, and modeling thinking (Bates, 2015). However, very rarely are these guidelines being followed when providing lectures. Often even at the middle school level, I observe some teachers talking for 30-40 minutes. As an adult, this is challenging to stay focused for long periods of time, but as a teenager, it is even more challenging.
To effectively engage an audience, technology can be used for the instructor not against. Instead of complaining about the distractions that technology causes, the instructor can use the technology during the lecture to benefit the students (Bates, 2015). Unfortunately, many professors are not trained in teaching nor technology, and many professors are teaching with a non-interactive platform. There are many opportunities to make a classroom interactive to allow students to learn at a higher level. I find it intriguing that it is predicted that the number of lectures will be significantly smaller in the next ten years, and I certainly hope that this prediction is accurate. Hopefully, the use of this technology will decrease costs of the institution, and that the savings are transferred to student tuition.
Apprenticeships are a method where students can learn by doing (Bates, 2015). Teachers are able to show students real-world situations in their industry. Even though the disadvantages may outweigh the advantages, I believe this is an excellent teaching method to pursue. When you are able to use hands-on activities to apply a concept learned in a textbook, you learn at a much deeper level. I believe that this is already required in many industries, as it should be. Similar to the information provided in Teaching in a Digital Age, many of my engineering classes in college all required labs, where we had to apply the math and science concepts to building or creating something. Although schools face the major obstacle of keeping up relevant technology and tools, the opportunities for hands-on learning activities is significant.
Bates, T. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/