How can teachers effectively build relationships by encouraging safe communication and interactions in K-12 online & open learning spaces? What did you already know, what do you know now based on the course readings and activities, what do you hope to learn?
A major belief of mine in regards to becoming a teacher is the aspect of creating a classroom community and positive relationships between students as well as between students and a teacher. As expressed in our reading by Garrett Dickers, “Social Interaction in K-12 Online Learning”, the importance of creating relationships amongst teachers and students is just as, if not more, important in online classes as face-to-face instruction.
Human beings, especially children, are social beings and therefore, “social interactions within online learning environments are a key to learning” (Garrett Dickers, 2018, p. 509). Not only do the social interactions between students have a positive effect on their learning but “a lack of social interaction [is a] significant barrier to online learning” (Garrett Dickers, 2018, p. 511). Garrett Dickers later describes that without the opportunity for social interaction or a lack of relationships in an online classroom (or face-to-face) students are prone to a fear of isolation, lack of social context cues, lack of student collaboration, a general preference to face-to-face instruction, and a lack of communication with other students” (Garrett Dickers, 2018, p. 511). Not only does our reading signify the importance of student community and relationships in learning but the whole social aspect of learning is connected to Vygotsky’s ideas of social development and how it is integral for the creating of a more complex understanding of information (Garrett Dickers, 2018, p. 510).
The above paragraph verifies the importance of creating those online classroom communities and relationships with students to help them become the best learners they can be. There are multiple resources and support networks for the creation of a “purposeful design of online learning environments to incorporate multiple and diverse opportunities for interactions whether for social purposes, content-specific resources, or procedural interactions between teacher and student” (Garrett Dickers, 2018, p. 516).
As noted in Garrett Dicker’s chapter and our EDCI 339 webinar with Dr. Barb Brown, here are some resources for teachers to effectively build relationships by encouraging safe communication and interactions in K-12 online & open learning spaces.
- Discussion Boards
- Social Network Sites
- Real-time web-conferencing tools that integrate chat, voice, webcam, and whiteboard technology
- Remind Application
- Video Messages
- Video Feedback
- Google Jam Board
- and lots more
I learned lots from our two readings and webinar about creating and fostering classroom community and relationships on online courses as well as online privacy and safety. Although I already knew some of the information, I am glad to have learned about lots of tools and facts about online learning. Both of the readings were very interesting and informative but one quote I liked was; “social presence is an essential literacy for cultivating emotions and relationships that enhance the overall learning experience [for all students and teachers]” (Garrett Dickers, 2018, p. 516)
Garrett Dickers, A. (2018) Social Interaction in K-12 Online Learning. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 509-522 ). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.
Regan, P., & Jesse, J. (2019). Ethical challenges of Edtech, big data, and personalized learning: Twenty-first-century student sorting and tracking. Ethics and Information Technology, 21(3), 167-179. DOI: 10.1007/s10676-018-9492-2