Partner Practice Synchronous Lesson

Having made the decision to extend my Asynchronous Lesson on a Speech to Persuade for this next unit, I needed to refine my focus. As I see it, the hardest part of teaching online will be helping students in a performance area. This influenced my choice to work with students on employing the 5 Essential Vocal Tools and giving them examples to share aloud with each other. This would give other students the chance to offer feedback to their cohorts and we could model how we give that feedback.

My partner and I picked each other fairly early. We both respect each other’s work and this offered a chance for us to collaborate. I will admit, Jim’s desire to work in Adobe Connect both excited and scared me at the same time. I was pretty nervous about raising the stakes. Jim offered to go first, having used Adobe Presenter for his Asynchronous Lesson and he felt he could at least get us going.

Our first meeting, run by Jim, was pretty impressive. Jim did not disappoint and showed off his lesson while sharing his knowledge of the Adobe Connect platform. Through collective fooling around, we each discovered attributes of the system and we shared freely.

Our subsequent practice sessions were filled with collective sharing of new facets of the tools. We explored using our iPhones and discovered the limitations of that device as well. This particular discovery caught my wife’s attention and she became interested in the project. She wants to use this in her work as her new command is spread over multiple shifts. Having a platform where her staff can attend meetings no matter where they are would prove beneficial.

A former student of mine, Noel Hoffmann, from RJ Reynolds HS class of 88 has offered to be my online student. This student is now an English teacher at the high school level. My wife has offered to be my back up as well. Having Noel has my student will achieve the same as having Jim as my partner. It raises the stakes and I must elevate my game.

My practice link is here.


Peer Review of Asychronous Lesson – Week 12

Peer Review


I was pretty hard on myself during this project, as I wanted to excel and impress. I am not sure this meets my standards but it is where I need to stop, as it must be turned in at some point. I did learn a few pointers from a classmate about Closed Captioning and attempting to add yet another layer. Other parts from the collaborative portion made me rethink the lesson for introverts or those who cannot truly cannot communicate using their own voice. The latter made me much more willing to explore those options as I thought of becoming a more inclusive educator.

So let’s talk about what is inside. There is a Prezi (hey, I like it.) There are many links and resources to Google Docs. I created a Checklist for the students with point values labeled. It is a Google form, so I could track who does what when. (Remember, I am not working and do not have access to an LMS.) I also attached a unit on Persuasive Speeches from Learnzillion to assist my learners who need the lesson broken down in a different way. I built a RAFT for helping some students to get started. And there are many, many links to templates and forms to help them. I even found a website that will allow you to upload your performed speeches and receive an evaluation.

In addition to my Scavenger Hunt (formative), I built a Feedback document to serve as a tool to help me become a better online educator.

I am proud of the diverse set of learners who can use this lesson. I have embedded the Prezi introduction below.

Asychronous Netiquette Scavenger Hunt-521

Here is my assignment. Here is my Google Doc for the Scavenger Hunt. I was pretty frustrated for much of this time with technology. I seemed to advance one step and go back ten. I realize that it is less the technology and more the PIC (Person In Chair), meaning me.

The audio portion went pretty quickly once I satisfied myself I could not get it any cleaner with the microphone on my headset. It still drives me batty and I will at some point invest in a better microphone for recording lessons or speaking online. For the moment, I am a military spouse in the middle of shutdown and the microphone is at the bottom of my need list.

The website validated CSS and only had one error in HTML5. It did not like the code in the Prezi. Still frustrated with validating my page using Prezi. I have not discovered the fix. Will need to reach out to our tech support through the EDTECH Department and get guidance.

Asychronous discussion has it’s place. I, too, have a distinct disdain for the “post one and reply to three” requirement. The relationship becomes forced. I think experiencing a lesson or exploring a document on Google Docs becomes a 24 hour learning opportunity. However, mixing in a sychronous piece to the puzzle once in a while adds a great deal to the texture of a lesson. It gives a different flavor to knowing just a bit more about the folks with whom you are sharing experiences and wisdom.

I realize many folks here may have a disdain for synchronous lessons since most are in this program to fit their own busy schedules. There are also folks who eat their meals in very organized fashion. Peas cannot touch the potatoes and the potatoes cannot touch the chicken. And then there is me. I’m a chicken pot pie kinda guy. I think the mix is healthy and if nothing else, is comfort food for the brain.

Online Communities & Community Building Strategies – 521

I joined two online communities this week. After reading about creating an online community, I did not want to wait until I graduated to affect a change. As Key Spouse, I am trying to reach other spouses, particularly younger ones, to engage in our organization. As a result, I created my first page on Facebook outside my own personal Facebook page. Due to the nature of a military base and the possibilities of security breaches, the page has a small viewing audience. People can see it but they must ask to join or be asked. If the constraint from the Squadron Commander was not there, I think we could network more globally as I do on other military spouse networks. We are up to five members and still growing, albeit slowly. With over seventy service members, I hope it continues to grow. It should serve as another means of communicating and hopefully build a feeling of community online.

I also joined EducatorsConnect. I selected it because it had a social feel and yet offered the opportunity to read and react to other educators in varied fields. I have identified myself as a 9-12 teacher and have established contacts with educators in the 6-8 realm as well as college professors teaching English and Composition. It is interesting to communicate with current teachers both above and below the grades I teach. I have read many blogs from others on this site and find many issues familiar and some new. I like the communication (questions and answers) and even like reading the conversations of others that are visible through posts. It has a feel of Facebook; but the subject matter is relevant to me as opposed to rants about Starbucks or the loud neighbor next door.

The building of community is about listening as much as talking. Offering forums supports students so they feel comfortable learning with others. Challenges are easier to take when you feel like you are not alone. I remember a student I had in Advanced Composition in 1988. Faculty warned me about him. He walked in the room with a bandana, a leather jacket with spikes on it, black jump boots, and jeans with chains all over. I did not react. I called on him expecting him to be prepared. We had a great relationship. I found him to be brilliant in all facets of the class. He did not speak on each and every topic. Yet, when it did, it was always worth the wait. At the end of the year, a stellar one for him, he stopped me and said, “You are the only one to see past what I wore. I always thought from day 1 that you saw me.” Dr. Rice, you practice what you preach in your book. I am connected to this class. I feel that if I apply what I am learning, I can still be THAT teacher online to a new kid in a different outfit, helping establish a place where he can be comfortable in his own skin.

Interview Tool Reflection – 521

Let me begin by stating I am not teaching this term. I have not been employed in a school since August 2008. That stated we worked on active listening and Interview Tools this week. (Please see attached documents.) Both topics attract my attention as a teacher, administrator and soon-to-be Technology Integration Specialist.
I have called the parents, or at-home adults, of my students every year I have taught, save the first one. I do not have an issue with getting my parents/adults to open up. I call with something positive I have noticed and share that with the parents as my opener. It is specific to their child and not a finger-wag. That helps in so many ways, as students come in the next day beaming with pride. I would imagine the same would hold true in distance-learning as I love to hear good feedback for work done.
I reacquainted myself with lessons regarding active listening. The Building an Avatar lesson (see below) was a good reminder of skills needed to communicate.  I feel better equipped to promote good vibes via documents to help my personality come through and extract theirs reducing transactional distance. I learned from my peers some interesting questions I might use with younger students and their families. Some of peers constructed parts of their interview document with structure I would emulate. I particularly enjoyed one peer who incorporated space for interviewer notes on the form. I thought about but did not do it, violating my own mantra – “Don’t talk about it, be about it!”
I find this activity to be crucial to establish positive tone in an online class. Much like our own class meeting Dr. Rice facilitated last week, such interaction exemplifies good teaching. Considering the challenges facing online educators, any outreach that helps close distance between teacher and student and their learning coach or parent seems like a win to me.

Building an Avatar:

Reading Reflections – 521

Quotes from Readings and Class Tasks and Activities

  • Good teaching is good teaching, regardless of the setting (Rice, 2012, p. 39).
  • …the most important skills…online environments: an understanding of when and how to implement appropriate instructional strategies for successful student outcomes (Rice, 2012, p. 41).
  • In an online course, it is imperative that they (students) be active knowledge-generators who assume responsibility for constructing and managing their own learning experience (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011, p. 5).


  • Effective online instruction encourages or promotes five outcomes:
  1. Learner autonomy
  2. Active participation
  3. Collaboration and community building
  4. Authentic assessment
  5. Acquisition of 21st century skills (Rice, 2012, p. 27)
  • Learners must be involved to succeed and instructors must be willing to reach the learner and reduce the Transactional Distance.
  • Enjoyed the online discussions more as I witnessed building the community.
  • Always interested in watching book material come to life.
  • Maybe there is hope for this dinosaur in the 21st century.