Colin's Sandbox

Archive for August, 2013

wk5, err, a bit late…

by on Aug.01, 2013, under #oltak

I’m writing this to make up for the Week 5 posting for the #oltak MOOC that upon closer inspection I haven’t turned in or even done at this point.  It seems a bit contrived to place my memory back those many weeks ago to write as if the information was fresh, so instead I’ll write concerning one of the webinar topics of that week, which was concerning facilitating online classes in a synchronous environment.

I’m finding that with my own tutoring efforts that the asynchronous environment does not seem to be working very well at all in motivating Roberta, my student.  For the first few weeks Roberta checked into Kahn Academy as well as Edmodo but over the past couple of weeks there has been little activity if at all.  When pressed about it, Roberta claims bugs in the site as reason for ceasing involvement, but I’m not so sure.  The discussion we had during our last synchronous session we held over Skype just served to reinforce my suspicion that the student is not engaging with any of the suggested material and has shown a general malaise about learning lately.  Attempts to draw the student into material of her own choosing is not going so well either, and it seems as if she wants just to be spoon-fed learning.  I’ve put in a lot of effort to try to meet Roberta half-way and work with her to come up with lesson plans that cater to her activities outside of schooling and to any future plans so I’m a bit frustrated.  Without this internal intrinsic motivation I don’t think tutoring in an asynchronous environment has any shot at working.

The past couple of synchronous sessions I’ve tried employing an online whiteboard and encouraged her to bring her iPad so that she too could collaborate on the same sheet of virtual paper but so far she hasn’t grabbed this opportunity either.  I’m trying to help her understand the utility of using Google Docs for realtime synchronous or asynchronous collaboration but has been _very_ reluctant to learn new tools.

At this point I’m not sure where to go exactly.  I can certainly continue to provide instruction over Skype every week but I’m not sure what point this serves as the teacher who is there face to face can almost certainly be more effective in this role than I can be.  I feel like I’m at a loss here.  I’ve tried to show the relevance of math to all sorts of everyday activities that she claims to be interested in, from taking pictures to traveling, so that we can use that as a rock to build our course around, but I’m not getting any bites what so ever.  If I seem a little down about this, it’s because I am just looking to be useful somehow in this endeavor.

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