Writing lesson plans can be a tough task when students have so many different learning needs. There are various frameworks that one can analyze a lesson through which helps to achieve the goal of trying to meet students’ needs. I have been working on revising a sixth grade math lesson by examining it through the TPACK lens (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) as well as a UDL lens (Universal Design for Learning) and have made several changes to it thus far. I am now going to be evaluating this lesson by looking at it from a Networked Learning perspective.
Networks are powerful learning tools. Whether it be connecting with others digitally or talking to someone working right down the hall from you, networking can open a world of possibilities. In a previous assignment in the MAET program, I looked deeply at my own personal learning network (PLN) and reflected on the importance of having an ever growing PLN. I also realized how vital it is to utilize this network whenever possible.
In revising my math lesson on parallel lines cut by a transversal, I thought it would be best to begin by looking at how I could use my PLN to enhance this lesson and then look at how I can incorporate opportunities for students to use networked learning. I am lucky in that I work with an amazing group of teachers whom I can bounce ideas off of daily. It struck me that I need to take advantage of this in prepping for this particular lesson. It would make sense that I should connect with the teacher my students had the previous year to see if they touched on this topic last year and how it was received if they did. This will give me some background on the students’ knowledge and a sense of any prior misconceptions. Utilizing this network connection may seem simple, but it is vital.
Another revision I am looking at has to do with the screencast portion of the lesson. In my original plan, I was going to use a lecture format. However, after looking at it through a TPACK lens, I decided to change routes and use a screencast to convey the topic. Educators tend to be awesome because they like to share ideas and resources with other educators. Therefore, there may already be a screencast or video that I could use that teaches parallel lines cut by a transversal. When thinking about my own PLN, I realized that I could check out Youtube or Educreations for an already made, teacher created, screencast. Who knows, it may be better than anything I could have created myself!
After looking at how I can use my own PLN to help me in preparing for this lesson, I wanted to take some time to delve into how my lesson already incorporates the ideas of networked learning and what more I could do to enhance this kind of collaboration. In this lesson, the students work in groups of three to complete an activity involving creating parallel lines and finding angle relationships. This type of group work is an example of networked learning because they are reaching out to their peers and helping each other learn the concepts of parallel lines and angle relationships. It is common knowledge that often times when a student can teach someone the concept they just learned, it shows a deep level of understanding. By working in groups, students are given this opportunity to teach one another and learn from one another and build their own learning networks.
As the students are working on the group activity, they are allowed to go back to the screencast if they need clarification or help remembering one of the angle relationships. After thinking about learning networks, I thought it would be good to add in links to extra Youtube videos about parallel lines cut by a transversal because sometimes students need to hear an explanation of a topic in multiple ways before they understand it. Students would be able to learn from a wider network of teachers by accessing these approved videos. They would be learning not only the concept of parallel lines but also the much broader idea of how helpful it is to reach out to others to gain information.
Networked learning is an essential aspect of developing knowledge. If you think about it, we all probably use networked learning on a daily basis. I believe it would be hard to think of one day where you didn’t learn something from someone else, whether it be from a coworker, a news report, or a Youtube video. By reaching out to these networks and having students do the same, my math lesson will be greatly enhanced.
Connected [Online Image]. Retrieved July 18, 2015 from https://pixabay.com/p-358063/?no_redirect