Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The teaser for this article is "students with ADHD, executive function challenges, and anxiety can thrive in a virtual 'schoolhouse'," which gives you a sense of where it's going. The four lessons are (quoted):

  • Anticipate, plan, prepare, reflect, repeat
  • It's still all about community and relationships
  • Differentiation is for everyone
  • Don't forget to breathe

Now I've had a lot of pushback against my "online learning is unplanned" post from a couple of weeks ago. Which is fair enough, because if you interpreted that what I meant was 'no planning whatsoever' then you would have concluded quite correctly that it was stupid advice.

Here's what Anabelle Morgan means by planning: "asking our teachers to start thinking about how they would transition their classes to an online environment; taking an in-depth look at our technological capabilities to deliver an effective educational program remotely and developing step-by-step written and video Virtual Learning User Guides for our students and parents; creating daily schedules for each division; and reviewing and updating our risk management, business continuity, and operational documents." And these are all good things to be doing, and please don't mistake my advice as meaning anything different.

What I wanted to say (and obviously failed to do so properly) was that the experience of online learning should feel like it's fast, fun, crazy, unplanned, and inspirational, etc. I still think this is the opposite of building online courses where every student activity is preplanned ahead of time. I still think improv is better than script. I don't expect everyone to agree with me (especially those whose careers consist of building carefully planned online courses). But when the dust settles, and when we reflect on what we want from online learning, and how we can offer it sustainably for everybody without running ourselves ragged, I think something more like my perspective will prevail.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Feb 27, 2024 3:45 p.m.

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