How does developing an online field ecology course to support high school students impact my growth as a teacher?

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


The purpose of this project was to investigate how developing an online field ecology course for high school students impacted my growth as a teacher. I teach at an independent high school (N=410) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Three years ago my school joined a BlendEd online consortium. I was asked to teach an online field ecology course for the program. I had no experience with virtual learning as a teacher or student at the time. Data collection for this project not only included teacher journaling and reflection, but also course and teacher surveys from my online and traditional classes, a catalogue of teaching practices, and a trans-classroom teacher survey to compare my experience and growth with other trans-teachers. (Trans-classroom teachers are teachers who teach in both online and traditional classrooms.) The results indicate that I have made changes to teaching practices since teaching online. For example, results of my gall lessons with my online and traditional groups illuminate how online teaching has inspired me to employ multiple new practices like the use of homework kits and science notebooks in my traditional classes. Additionally, developing an online ecology course required me to participate in a wide range of professional development opportunities that all of my students were able to benefit from. Finally, the results of my trans-classroom teacher survey confirm that my experiences are not unlike other trans-teachers; 88% of teachers that I surveyed indicate that their traditional teaching was somewhat or very impacted by their online teaching. After 17 years traditional teaching, I have found online teaching to be invigorating and an opportunity for reinvention.




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