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E- learning is Not FLAT, it is multidimensional even if the learning is delivered on a flat screen.

My experience as a parent & designer during the school closures has sparked many many new ideas for how e-learning can be re-designed.

Photo of Michelle Novak

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I am a.....

  • Parent/Caregiver

Tell us about your idea

Since e-learning began at my (third grade, public school, Chicago area) son’s school, every day brings a new series of checklists and a new glitch. Links broken. Embedded assignments missing. Videos don't appear. A dozen logins to remember. Systems and products that were never designed to work together are not working together!

The two things that stand out are:

1. The amount of time we, parent and student, are spending with broken links, passwords, and the gauntlet of just entering an assignment into the teacher.

Problem: For a Math Lesson with my 3rd grade son, here is a rough task analysis:

Starts in Schoology on his iPad> Math Course > Daily Folder > Check Assignment>Safari Browser> Zearn> Login to Zearn> Complete Lessons>Back to Schoology Math>Daily Folder>Find Exit Ticket (pdf Eureka Math)>Mom sends it to her computer> print pdf> Completes exit ticket with pencil>Photograph >Back to Schoology Math>Daily Folder>Find Exit Ticket> Submission Folder> Add submission> post his picture of his Exit Ticket> Done!

Possible solution: We need an emergency consortium in educational technology to work out better integration and standards for compatibility. Fewer passwords, smoother transitions, handshakes that don’t frustrate those already distressed. 

2. The loss of live interaction between the students as well as students and teacher. 

Idea: Focus on the social and emotional aspects of e-learning. My son is bored with the sameness, and even with a fairly small class, he is craving more interaction. See https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yD04Fhve1HSLOQxI7etnIN-BOcanb8Fw/view

 

Engagement without so much technical interference would certainly go a long way for this parent/student duo.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

I'd like to leave the idea that if the tech or software is there then it will work, no questions asked. Better planning and testing needs to happen before it is released and then with each roll out. Better tech support for teachers so they can teach our students is needed!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I am a passionate and concerned parent and human centered designer hoping for a chance to add to the greater conversation that is happening around shaping e-learning in the coming weeks and months.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Suburban Cook County, bordering Chicago.

11 comments

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Spam
Photo of Peter Worth
Team

Hi Michelle, the deadline for the Ideas submissions is May 26, and next week, we will have a group of students reviewing ideas. If there is anything else you want to add (examples, additional depth, reflections, etc.), feel free to use the edit link to make any updates to your post. Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Michelle Novak
Team

Hi @Peter Worth, I made a few edits based on the suggestions and our dialog. Thank you for your encouragement throughout this process. I am grateful to be part of this community! Looking forward to seeing the next steps!

Spam
Photo of Peter Worth
Team

Thanks, Michelle!

Spam
Photo of Peter Worth
Team

Thanks so much for sharing your idea, Michelle! I'm curious, if you were building the dream emergency edtech consortium, what voices would need to be in this group? What would their first priority be? Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Michelle Novak
Team

Hi Peter,
Thank you for your interest!
I’m in the US and not an expert by any means so just going with what I know.

Today, for a Math Lesson with my 3rd grade son, here is a rough task analysis:
Starts in Schoology on his iPad> Math Course > Daily Folder > Check Assignment>Safari Browser> Zearn> Login to Zearn> Complete Lessons>Back to Schoology Math>Daily Folder>Find Exit Ticket (pdf Eureka Math)>Mom sends it to her computer> print pdf> Completes exit ticket with pencil>Photograph >Back to Schoology Math>Daily Folder>Find Exit Ticket> Submission Folder> Add submission> post his picture of his Exit Ticket> Done!

So- going off this above, in my dream emergency edtech consortium I’d love to see the learning management systems like Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard, D2L, EdApp (many others- these are just the ones coming to mind).
The device manufacturers. (usual suspects) Notebooks, Laptops, Tablets, Mobile. Mobile needs to be at the table because many can only access from Mobile.
The major browsers.
In my son’s case we are using a ton of Google Products:
Google for Education
Google Classroom
Google Drive
Google Docs
Google Play
Google Meet
Google Slides
YouTube (Much of what we are seeing in video is coming from YouTube)
Vimeo
Adobe Reader
Preview
Then learning software product side- many many here.

First, I would like for these LMS and products to get together with School Tech, Admins, Teachers, Students and Parents and listen to what they are dealing with on a daily basis. This could be accomplished through research and also with advocate representation from these groups.
Then I’d like to see how they can smooth the transitions between all these products.

Single sign-on for a student working within a LMS for multiple different products would be a wonderful place to start.

I don't want to shut out smaller LMS or products either. I see this as a way to make these platforms more, not less accessible.

Let me know what you think and how you might see these groups coming together.
Thank You!

Spam
Photo of Peter Worth
Team

Thanks so much for your response, Michelle. The consortium you suggest make a lot of sense. I like how you included the users in this, too.

Seeing your son's user journey to get his math work done makes the challenge very clear. I think you could even draw that out and add an image of it to your idea, if you like. Also, I love how you included the image of your son's workspace. If you have time, and if he is interested, it would be really interesting to see what his ideal user experience or interface for e-schooling from home would look like.

Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Michelle Novak
Team

Hi Peter,
I will definitely see what kind of things we can come up with in the next week. I love the idea of asking him what his ideal interface would look like. I will see what he says... or maybe he'll even draw us something.
Best,
Michelle

Spam
Photo of Michelle Novak
Team

Hi Peter Worth I did a 30 minute interview with my son and recorded a bit on video. He was talking about the checklists specifically in this clip. I am having trouble attaching the video or the link. Here is the clip of him talking about some of the things he'd like to see change. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yD04Fhve1HSLOQxI7etnIN-BOcanb8Fw/view

I am working on an experience/journey map and some drawings from him.

Spam
Photo of Peter Worth
Team

Michelle Novak  this is is great! It's wonderful to have your son's voice incorporated. Thanks for including that. It's interesting to hear that he is craving variety. That seems like an important design principle to keep hold of as you look at consolidating the access experience.

Regarding the link, I think that in order to upload the video or link to the submission, it would need to be on YouTube or a similar platform, but the google drive link in your comment works. I was able to access the video with no problem. Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Jeevna Prakash
Team

Hi Michelle! One of the comments on my post directed me to yours - I believe we had similar ideas concerning the number of logins and platforms that we keep track of. I was wondering, as a parent of a younger kid, how do you currently interact with their teachers? (just email subscription, notifications on a particular platform, etc.)

Spam
Photo of Michelle Novak
Team

Hi @Jeevna Prakash, yes I saw your post and totally agree. I currently interact with my son's teacher through email mostly. He can also message her directly, however with a third grader, interaction through message boards or even private message is not the most natural thing for him. I currently have 4 unanswered emails going back to Friday for different concerns that she has not resolved. All of these are directly related to tech issues! I also discovered there is 1 tech per school. My son's school hasover350 students!