I work in a K-5 school, where I teach technology. While my innovation plan and corresponding online course are geared toward professional learning with my colleagues, there are some ways in which online courses could benefit the learning of my students as well.
Because my district’s communication and collaboration platform is Office 365, it is the tool I would have to use for any student-centered online learning course in my building. Office 365 provides a safe environment for our young students to collaborate and discuss with other members of our district environment, and it is both approved and monitored by district administration. Keeping in mind that I am working with K-5 students, I would likely focus on 4th and 5th grades for any online course, since they would be most prepared to use the digital tools needed for doing so (keyboarding, terminology, login information and email addresses).
Each year, I spend a significant part of the first semester teaching students about digital responsibility and safety. I would use OneNote as my online learning environment for this “course” posting weekly assignments for students, and allowing them to submit responses (in the form of images, videos or text) within their shared notebooks. I would include instruction in crediting sources, and creating and responding to blog posts respectfully. I could choose whether to configure each assignment to be shared or to be saved privately in each student’s notebook. I would also be able to embed any required videos to student notebooks, where they could be viewed and discussed as assigned.
Another online course I could teach using O365 is in the area of creating presentations. Assignments would include the organization of student research in Word, the creation of outlines, and the ultimate development of a PowerPoint or Sway presentation.
In each of these scenarios, there would be no automatic grading, as students would each have their own independent ideas, contributions and creative works.