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    #248431 - 03/28/21 10:12 PM Is it equivalent content?
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1694
    Loc: Australia
    My youngest child is currently doing online / distance learning, as so many children are at the moment. I have had two other children pass through the same grade, at two different schools.

    I currently feel like in many of the courses my youngest child is being funneled vastly more content than their siblings were delivered in the same subject/grade. This content is not well formatted for consumption, nor is it well parceled up to indicate when to pause. My child probably could handle the volume of content if it was well delivered, but is drowning in the executive function requirements of the delivery.

    Often the content is pretty good, the assignments are pretty poor, and the feedback abysmal. I am just trying to figure whether it really is vastly more content than their older siblings were supposed to parse each week or not. I was obviously never THERE in class, so how to know?

    Their school's courses require them to attend 1 lesson per week per subject for face to face interaction, and do the actual of the course via a website (consuming materials, submitting work). I have taken to copy and pasting a weeks worth of a subject into a single google doc for my child so it's more manageable to navigate, refer back to, etc. Usually I still have to link back to pages for some of the embedded content, but it is still easier than wading through the website, especially when you want to refer back to something later.

    The week of English instruction I just compiled is 3300 words (teaching materials, work instructions, etc).There are multiple complex diagrams of complex ideas embedded in that 3300 word text, a bunch of interesting and relevant images, a bunch of completely useless place filling images and 110 mins of video (no single video longer than 18 mins). How long would we expect a yr8 child to take to read/watch this much instructional content, think about it?

    Does that seem like a lot of non fiction, instructional reading (and watching) regarding a text and literary analysis ideas for a yr8 to consume basically undirected or supported by a teacher? Particularly given the inconsistent and poor formatting, so it doesn't "flow" nicely?



    Edited by MumOfThree (03/28/21 10:15 PM)

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    #248432 - 03/28/21 10:17 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1694
    Loc: Australia
    I guess a useful test is for me to time myself consuming the whole thing as if I were doing yr8 english and needed to go through the whole week's work.

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    #248433 - 03/29/21 01:54 AM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4883
    Yes, I am thinking along the same lines: considering whether this would approximate the amount of classroom time per week, plus the amount of time allotted for homework outside of class.

    Do you happen to know (or can you find out): were these existing lessons?
    - Or was the material from the regular lesson plan recorded into videos as the pandemic lockdowns and school closings
    ...extended?
    - Or was material cobbled together on the fly, to fill time?
    - Or...?

    Knowing this may yield an understanding of the likelihood of these lesson plans and materials being reused in the future (or leveraged for some parts to be used again). The likelihood of revisiting some or all of the materials may indicate how helpful it may be to other/future students, to have an amount of work designated as "Day1," "Day2," "Day3," "Day4," "Day5" for each Week. This may also reveal the teacher's level of openness to feedback on modifying/improving the lesson delivery, including providing time estimates.

    On the other hand, many students/families are witnessing "differentiated task demands" being used in their schools as a technique to close achievement gaps, performance gaps, excellence gaps. This involves requiring top students to complete more complex and time-consuming work in order to earn the same grade as other students. The concept was introduced in an old thread years ago (2014) and was analyzed/discussed in this post. With a bit of peer-to-peer discussion with other classmates, or among parents, one might begin to confirm whether other children in the same class are being assigned the same work, or different work.

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    #248436 - 03/29/21 03:03 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1694
    Loc: Australia
    I did work through the first portion of the document I made yesterday and once working through it was less awful than it appeared to be. But it has caused me to pause and consider, yet again, the incredible importance of presentation and UI in online content. There are multiple places where instructional design has just gone horribly wrong.

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    #248440 - 03/29/21 04:43 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2499
    MoT, is this issue concentrated in one course, or across the board?
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #248445 - 03/29/21 06:03 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3959
    Don't mind my little soap box, but one of my observations about ed tech in general has been that it is often either designed on sound pedagogical principles/solid content, but poorly executed on a technological level, or slick, usable, and stable technologically, but poorly constructed pedagogically, or with light/inaccurate content. While I've been starting to see better products over the last few years, for a long time ed tech was either designed by educators with sketchy technological expertise, or by tech experts with shallow pedagogical knowledge. So, pretty but useless, or content-rich but clunky.

    And the pandemic and insufficiently prepared remote learning has pushed a lot of teachers/schools into becoming inexperienced and underresourced creators with either or both of these problems.
    _________________________
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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    #248446 - 03/29/21 06:37 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2499
    Quote:
    There are multiple places where instructional design has just gone horribly wrong.


    I hear you 100%!

    What I don't get is this: how hard is it to make a Word document or Google doc? If, after a year, that standard is too high, those teachers should be guided to other professional opportunities...

    Literally even a bare bones message board with dated documents and a weekly calendar of assignments would work for most students. Blessedly, such tools are available for free. (Hint to luddite educators: they rhyme with "frugal bathroom".) And from what you've described, it sounds like a chaotic hodgepodge of resources that haven't been curated.

    Teachers are supposed to have content curated for students in normal times. Presumably they don't dump the equivalent of a dusty old trunk from the attic in the classroom normally and tell the students to "have at it!" So why is it suddenly acceptable now that the delivery channel has changed? I don't understand how this is such an issue for so many of them. It's not even a matter of teaching; this is basic communication.

    If it's one class, I'd say it's worth speaking to the teacher. Maybe outline a "before" and "after" version of the assignment to demonstrate what was needed for your child to engage with it appropriately. It may be that the substance is all there and, with a little conscious thought, it can be ordered and presented to better effect. If it's a broader concern, probably worth scheduling a heart-to-heart with the principal. Good luck!

    (And I'm sorry, but linking a pile of videos in a non-film class assignment is just lazy teaching. One? Sure. Two if they're brief clips of critical events or discourse? Maybe. That's just one person's opinion. *Casting a dark stare in the general direction of the sluggard Pez dispenser...ahem...instructor.*)

    Originally Posted By: aeh
    So, pretty but useless, or content-rich but clunky.


    Yes! So much of ed-tech is over-complicating a basic need: conveying information cogently. Yes, it needs to be factually correct and pedagogically sound. No, it doesn't need to be delivered by a hyper-realistic, digital, animatronic squirrel who can sing lessons to the tune of 1950s hits in falsetto. Nor does it need a student progress dashboard with a million useless data points to analyze, like how your child's left-to-right mouse click gap has closed in the last 13 minutes.

    Ed-tech execs, take note. Your edict has been issued. No more squirrels!

    *excuse my humour*

    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #248449 - 03/30/21 09:20 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: aeh]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1694
    Loc: Australia
    Unfortunately this is across the majority of subjects. Science has a separate platform that is superior. Math kind of suffers less. This is not actually a bricks and mortar school that went online, this was already a distance ed / online school, and will continue to be. Which makes it all sadder really.

    Originally Posted By: aeh
    So, pretty but useless, or content-rich but clunky.


    Bingo!

    Originally Posted By: aquinas
    What I don't get is this: how hard is it to make a Word document or Google doc?

    It would be SOOOOO much better to be sent a pdf or a google doc once a week. The problem is that everyone seems convinced that true web based delivery will have some sort of magical engagement properties. Or at least that is the only semi rational explanation I can come up with for delivering messily via poorly designed web pages what could be delivered neatly in a well formatted pdf...

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    #248462 - 03/31/21 06:20 AM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2499
    I don't know if this will apply in your case. What has worked for me with advocacy, because my son is 2E, is to emphasize how the delivery format exacerbates the challenges he faces for his second E. Helping teachers understand the impacts on the 2nd E seems to yield results far faster and more cooperatively, even if these issues would present without the 2nd E, albeit to a far lesser degree.

    For us, multiple web-based products are a nightmare, and virtually a guarantee that the work will be prematurely abandoned. What seemed to help some of DS' teachers was building out a journey map of what he experienced at each point of content discontinuity. When they saw that there could be upwards of 10 discontinuities in an assignment, and how it impacted DS' ability to engage with the material, we saw some positive changes. I suspect this would be effective for students without other needs.
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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    #248470 - 03/31/21 05:12 PM Re: Is it equivalent content? [Re: MumOfThree]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2499
    Iíve given this more thought throughout the day, MumofThree. Has your DC had any difficulty accessing any of the content because of its format? (Think: legacy flash plugins, websites outside parental controls, too much video for your internet bandwidth or graphics card, having to share devices with family members, etc.)

    If youíve encountered any such issues, I think it would be *very* reasonable to ask that assignments be delivered in a single PDF/doc at whatever interval you think is appropriate.
    _________________________
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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