Allison McElheran

About Me

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Hi! I am Allison McElheran and I am in the CDIT program at the University at Albany! This is my second semester enrolled in this program and I am excited to continue on this educational journey. In May I graduated from Misericordia University with a degree in History/Secondary Education. I have just recently moved to Rochester, NY where I have accepted my first teaching job. This year I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade United States History. This year is going to look a little different as I am teaching hybrid style but I am excited for this year to begin.

In my free time I love to travel and cook. I was lucky enough to spend a month in Europe while I was in my undergraduate education. I was able to study in Ireland for three weeks where I took a course on the Irish political system. This was a very eye opening experience.

My Topic and Purpose

The purpose of this course is to help educators find ways to create a collaborative environment while abiding by covid-19 restrictions in the classroom. The collaborative methods will be inclusive to both hybrid settings as well as fully remote settings. Through these courses, educators will be able to explore new teaching methods and new technologies.

Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content

Educators will learn new teaching methods that can be used to create collaborative settings while students are six feet apart. Educators will explore new technologies that can be used in the classroom to help create collaborative instruction. Educators will be able to create a collaborative learning environment with these new methods of teaching. The following resources will be discussed in this mini-course:

Unit 1: The Blackboard Learning Management System

Unit 2: Google Meet

Unit 3: NearPod

Unit 4: Final Project

Needs Assessment

As Marjan Laal and Seyed Mohammad Ghodsi state,” collaboration is a philosophy of interaction and personal lifestyle where individuals are responsible for their actions, including learning and respecting the abilities and contributions of their peers”. Collaboration in the classroom is an essential teaching technique that many teachers use. After speaking to 10 teachers who are currently teaching in a hybrid environment I was really informed of the need for more resources on online collaboration. Collaboration in the classroom helps it to be build a learning community between all students. Collaboration in the classroom also provides social, psychological, and academic benefits to all students involved. The social benefits include things like developing a social support system, building an understanding of diversity, building learning communities and creating a positive atmosphere that allows for cooperation to be practiced (Laal and Ghodsi, 2011). Collaboration methods can help students to increase their self esteem (Laal and Ghodsi, 2011). Academic benefits of collaboration include increasing critical thinking skills, having students actively involved in the learning process, and creating a strong support system between peers (Laal and Ghodsi, 2011). As it can be seen, there are many advantages to using collaboration in the classroom. However during the pandemic collaborative teaching seems near to impossible. There are many different modes of instruction that are occurring in schools nationwide. In my mini-course I plan to focus on teaching techniques/resources that can be effective in a hybrid as well as virtual method of teaching. As educators we must adapt to the new face of education that has emerged from this pandemic. Technology's influence on our teaching status has increased which has caused educators to look for new resources to accommodate the needs of their students.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Learner Analysis: Participants will include educators of any level who are trying to implement virtual collaboration methods in their classroom. The learners must have a basic understanding of the value of using collaboration methods in the classroom. Prior or basic experience in education will be helpful for this course.

Context: Participants will learn content within this mini-course online. A computer a reliable internet connection are required to participate. Access to google classroom or blackboard may be helpful in this mini course.

Performance-Based Objectives

For my mini course which focuses on collaboration methods for a hybrid learning environment, I would like to help teachers see that there are many resources that are available to use in the classroom. As a teacher who loves student collaboration I have been struggling to find ways to do it safely in the classroom. The resources that I will discuss in my mini course are hoping to help solve this dilemma.

Unit 1

Course participants will be able to discover how discussion boards and wikis can be used in a classroom

Course participants will be able to recognize how the blackboard management learning system implements wikis and discussion boards.

Course participants will be able to recognize how google classroom implements wikis and discussion boards.

Unit 2

Course participants will be able to compare zoom and google meet to each other.

Course participants will be able to implement collaboration methods of google meet into their daily lessons

Unit 3

Course participants will learn how to create a PowerPoint by using nearpod

Course participants will be able to observe how collaboration methods can work in a nearpod

Course participants will design a nearpod that they can use in their own classroom


Goals of understanding for the mini course

Course participants will be able to design a lesson plan by using the methods learned in the mini course

Course participants will be able to compare new methods of cooperative learning and recall their individual advantages.

Course participants will be able to chose one new method and be able to design a successful instructional lesson using it.

Course participants will be able to analyze the new collaboration methods and decide which is most helpful for their classroom.

Course participants will be able to practice these new methods and develop an understanding of how each method works in a classroom setting.

Task Analysis

In this mini course, participants will be able to explore new ways to use collaboration in the classroom even when students are not in the same room. Each unit will cover a different system. Prerequisites include access to a computer, access to google products, Nearpod, Quizlet and Kahoot. Other than Blackboard all other systems can be accessed through creating a free account. In each unit there will be an activity to complete reflect on what you have learned in each unit. In each unit there will be guided questions for course participants to relect on as they are learning.

Unit 1: The Blackboard Learning Management System

What methods of virtual collaboration does this system provide?

How can educators use this system to increase collaboration in this classroom?

Unit 2: Google Meet

What methods of virtual collaboration does this system provide?

How does Google Meet differ from zoom?

How can google meet be linked to google classroom?

Unit 3: NearPod

What methods of virtual collaboration does this system provide?

How can you link NearPod to a zoom meeting with students?

How can this system increase student engagement as well as collaboration?

Curriculum Map

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Please click on the image to make it larger

References and Resources

Perez, J. E. (2017). Nearpod. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 105(1), 108–110. https://doi-org.libproxy.albany.edu/10.5195/jmla.2017.121

Eatherton, T. (2017). Technology Treasures. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, 92(6), 12–13.

Marjan Laal and Seyed Mohammad Ghodsi, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 31 (2012) 486 – 490