5 Building Blocks for Online Education

Teachers who are new to online teaching and learning need a place to begin, some scaffolding to help them restructure their courses and make sense out of this new world. So I came up with these 5 building blocks to give our teachers a foundation on which to build their online courses.

Our Building Blocks

I. Content – Provide students with content to learn.

*Goal will be to use more than one content type per lesson

  • Etext
  • Video
  • Presentations
  • Podcasts
  • Games that teach the concept
  • Simulations
  • Interactive learning modules
  • Google Earth, Sky, 3D
  • Online flashcards

II. Social component—(learning is socially constructed)

Asynchonous (not in real time)

  • Discussion boards
  • Commenting on each other’s work
  • Gmail
  • Twitter
  • Collaboration
  • Small groups in Edmodo
  • Interview someone through email

Synchronous (in real time)

  • Gchat/video chat
  • Live classroom discussions
  • Collaboration with peers
  • Interview someone through skype or google video chat

III. Do Something – the assignments –these are as authentic and relevant as possible – real problems or challenges

  • Write, produce, create, think critically, solve problems…

IV. Share It – students should then share their Do Something with peers or with the online community (the Creative Commons) – to build knowledge. Our students are Knowledge Curators and Producers, not just consumers.

V. Assess learning

  • Can assess their Do Somethings
  • Peer review Do Somethings
  • Quizzes/tests – formative and summative
  • Standardized assessments when needed
  • Pre and post testing to measure success

Just like with real building blocks, teachers can rearrange them, stack them, lay them flat, and build until they have created something that reflects their vision. Oh, and it’s fun. 😉


No iPad? No problem. Make a multimedia etext with iAuthor and share it with your students for free on any computer.

I wanted to make a multimedia etext for students, but ran into a little trouble. One, our students don’t have iPads to read the new iBooks created from iAuthor, and two, they aren’t getting them anytime soon.

But no worries, I found a way to create rich multimedia etexts or learning modules that your students can download for free on a Mac or PC. They can even take notes on it, highlight passages, and search through the entire text for a word or phrase. Read the rest of this entry »

The Digital Classroom

How to use Google Appointment Slots

Here’s a short video showing you how to use Google Appointment Slots.

How to Organize your Google Docs

I love Google docs as a collaboration tool and use them every day, but they can get unruly. If I don’t set aside a few minutes a day to organize them, my home page turns into a jumble as messy as my room. I created a short video to help you turn that chaos into clarity in a few quick steps. (Click on the image below, the next page will have a link to download. When you download it will play in your browser, you won’t actually have to download it.)