Response to Mark Edmonds' DE Module
Is the Module designed in such a way as to reach/connect with and engage the learners for whom it is intended?
You designed the module to the other asynchronous or synchronous which is great because for those that want to be work "live" can use it and those who want to work on their own time can do it too. You have made it very simple to follow and you give not only good information on probeware, but where to find it being stored in the division to check out.
Is the content delivered in engaging, stimulating and challenging ways?
While I have no background in science, I found that the plans were easy to follow. I thought that the Adobe Connect Meeting can be recorded is a nice feature. Your plans, materials and evaluation were all detailed. For me the subject matter itself is not engaging, which is no fault of your own. However, that could then be a challenge as how can these middle years teachers make their lessons engaging beyond just doing a good job of giving the information to the students. I would think just as important would be tips and ideas for how to get the students excited to use the probeware.
You spoke of some of the teachers being digital immigrants, who need to feel comfortable with the technology while their students would likely feel comfortable with it right away. From what I see of the probeware it is very functional. I enjoyed your video on how to use the probeware. I would also start to look at how to better engage middle years students with the probeware. You asked the question, "What else can this stuff do?" That is a great question and one where you could give your teachers ideas and lessons in interesting ways to use the technology.
Are the learning activities, multimedia elements (if any) and assignments/learner assessment samples relevant, appropriate? Do they help extend learning?
You listed teacher professional development as the key outcome. I like the flexibility of Adobe Connect and its efforts to be more personal like a traditional classroom. The activities were well-done. They seem to match the subject matter and would be easy for a teacher to follow. The multi-media element was your video, which was informative and easy to follow. With the situation you are in geographically being so far away from all of your teachers this allows them to get to know you and your resources. Once they feel comfortable with you, they might be more inclined to contact you.
What is the best aspect of the Module? What is exciting, interesting, unique, creative?
You made a good point about the aftermath of the amalgamation process in terms of PD opportunities becoming more challenging. The best aspect of this module for me was the information on probeware. I felt you were very detailed with the technology, how to use it, resources and where you could find it by listing all of the different locations. If I was a middle years science teacher I could see that you have made many efforts to be flexible, approachable and helpful. Although the technology could be intimidating, I would be put at ease know how you have made yourself available. While the challenge is laid out in terms of distance, you addressed this well with how you could connect and maintain a working relationship with your teachers.
What would make it even better?
I had at times trouble following the report. I was looking for more information on Adobe Connect, and while there was information there, I did not find it convincing in terms of why this is a great resource. From reading your report to getting ready for our Adobe Connect session, I have spent 3-4 hours just on researching Adobe Connect and how to use it. I would consider myself someone fairly tech savvy, and yet I struggled to learn how to use Adobe Connect. You mentioned at the end a quote saying something like it is the best resource of it's kind, but for me the interface and ease of use were challenging. Middle Years Science Teachers could be teaching five or more different subjects. It is hard to find the time to do PD in all of your subjects, especially ones you are not comfortable with. I would fear many teachers might have a similar experience as me and not give it a chance.
I would be looking for solutions that were simple to understand and interfaces that were simple to use. Your video on the probeware an explanation of the probeware technology was excellent and thorough. I would suggest making similar videos for Adobe Connect such as how to set up an Adobe Connect session and some other resources to help teachers with this.
In summary, I would say this is a great narrative on some interesting, interactive technology.
Great job Mark!