Mrs. Ryan's Class

A Digital Learning Hub for students and parents

Developing my Digital Learning Hub

My digital learning hub has undergone quite a transformation. This hub on wordpress.com started as my blog for the IT/DML Program, but after extensive research and experimenting I decided to morph this blog into a more developed site where I could share content with parents, students, and colleagues.

I added pages, made some of them parent pages, and added content to each of those pages. For now, my blog is public, but I do eventually plan to make this portion of my hub password protected so I can have more control over who can access my reflections and content shared here. I do intend to keep the rest of my hub public and open.

After receiving input from my colleagues last week, I have decided to make some changes to the pages I have created so far. My colleagues pointed out that some of the pages that I currently have may be redundant, or might contain information that really belongs (and probably already exists) on my school’s website.

The first page that I decided to revise this week is “Curriculum.” At first, I decided to write a brief introduction to each subject area that I teach, but then thought the information was not specific enough to help parents who may be wondering what is coming up. I decided to replace the less specific introductions with a list of the topics that are covered in each content area throughout the year. I realized though, especially after reflection with colleagues last week, that pages with lots of words (especially ongoing lists) are not especially pleasing to look at. In the next few weeks I hope to find some images or take photographs that I can include on this page to make it more visually appealing. I was also concerned with copyright issues, so I decided to provide links to company webpages for each of the resources that we use for our curriculum.

I also decided to eliminate the “News from Mrs. Ryan’s Class” page. When I originally included this page I hoped that it would replace the weekly update emails that I send out to the parents of students in my class. Now that I think about the public nature of my hub, though, I realize that some of what I share in my communication to parents contains information that could be considered private. I often share the locations and dates of upcoming field trips, or specific school and community events. I also use teacher names (especially if we are working on a special science or library project in collaboration with another teacher). I’m not sure that my colleagues would like to be featured on my public digital hub. I think that the private nature of the “news” section should be kept to direct emails to parents in our private school network that requires a login and password.

I added content to the Parent section of my hub, and since i am in the middle of parent-teacher conferences this week, I have been thinking a lot about ways to involve parents more into my hub. I added a “child” page in my parent section called “What we mean when we say…” I borrowed the idea for this page off of an exemplar site that I studied earlier in this course, and I added acronyms and phrases that are specific to my school community.

I also updated the Teacher section and added links to my unit and lesson plans that I created in my EDUC 7720 class and ORMS MOOC, but again the plain text is visually unappealing. Over the next few weeks I hope to find images or other content to spice this page up a bit. After reviewing the rubric for the EDUC 7720 class, I think I am lacking in the ORMS presence in my hub. I would strive to earn 5 points in the relevance category, but as of now I am far from a hug that “supports and engages students in online collaborative inquiry, online reading comprehension and online content construction.” I need to do some thinking and learning, and find some exemplars (maybe even from my classmates!) to help me further develop this piece of my hub. I would also like to add content for teachers to use any day, not just when trying out and ORMS lesson. I am considering adding an advice page on ways to integrate technology into classroom teaching.

I am grateful that this project is all about the process, and refining and revising. It seems that every time I visit my site I want to make changes! I appreciate the “work in progress” nature of this assignment and I hope that I can nail down some ideas to stick with, knowing that a part of this hub will be ever-changing and evolving.

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