Since March I have focused on supporting online education in Higher Ed. That does not mean I have no eyes for other sectors. I follow quite a few educators on Twitter, and I also have the experiences of my children, my friends and their friends. I can see the struggle, and I feel for all professionals in those fields. Times are hard, for all of us.
I think the major take away here is that previously there has been no investment in education innovation in regards to online learning in neither VO (highschool) nor MBO (community college). In part that is because of funding. I have had teachers and directors tell me only Higher Ed has the luxury to invest in studio’s, and, say, a Centre for Innovation. “Free money” from the ministery (vernieuwingsgelden) was thrown at HBO and WO, and the rest was not so lucky. I could argue against the characterization “free”, but I see the point. Other kinds of education were even more underfunded and now that comes back to haunt those in charge. Yes, VO and MBO are one step behind, at the very least.
Another take away however is that material produced by HE is in general Open Access, and generally spread through all kinds of generous training of other sectors. This has for a large part not been taken up by VO & MBO and this in part is on them. The biggest learnings are not applied, and they could so easily, provided they have the infrastructure which most institutes have.
The top five is not that difficult to define. Let me run you through them quickly.
- Re-use existing material also called open educational reasources. There is so much out there. Use it and provide your context in guidance to the material.
- Blended Learning: provide content (whether that is text, video, podcasts or anything else) asynchronically, and then use your live sessions for more indepth discussions of that material and ways to apply knowledge rather than sending it. You can continue to do this when we are back to face to face instruction….
- .. which means an activated classroom where students learn more, though they will have to get used to the system and likely will complain a lot about not getting passive lectures.
- Create a community out of your students. Socialize before, during and after class, creating the complete learning experience for your students to ,,,,
- … collaborate together on higher level skills. Think asking them to meet peridically to work on something, with just the minimum of monitoring. Just a start and end.
It sounds simplified, but the MBO of my daughter actually is applying this and it seems to work, even though Corona has forced them to go fully online. The VO of my other daughter seems to struggle a bit more, but yet Teams are used for emergencies.
So I would like to end with this encouragement: don’t re-invent what is necessary, just copy paste from Higher Ed and translate only the tiniest bit for your students. You can do it.