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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Live Synchronous Classes: Pencils, Paper and Planning for differing levels of ability

The planning of interactive live online synchronous classes in a web based classroom is challenging. One has to have a good knowledge of the tools and the environment, an appreciation of effective instructional design and an appreciation of the subject matter.

in order for a planned session to be useful to others, the plan in the form of a leader guide, should be comprehensive and clear to enable many teachers to use the guide to deliver a lesson. This can be a time consuming process, usually done initially in powerpoint. As you build the slides appropriate notes can be added.

This short blog is a note to self - to say, that as a starting point the plan should be mapped out using pencil on A3 paper. This will be the quickest way to kick start your plan, finding content to suit your teaching and learning objectives will figure in the decisions made. So plans will need to be adjusted according to the content that is available.

How the sessions are conducted will vary with the level of ability and what you hope to achieve. The areas of concern to me are education, learning technology, web design and multimedia. In these fields often Introductory sessions may veer more towards brainstorming of ideas, demonstration and short bursts (5-10 mins) of student self study with sunbequent clarifications.

For intermediate and advanced lessons different strategies will be required which may involve more online discussion between participants, more pre-lesson work in order to facilitate the discussion, more input from participants in terms of recanting their experiences and stories, more in-depth problem solving tasks and more creative tasks.

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