The following is a guest blog post by Megan Dougherty. Megan is one of our online US History eLo teachers along with a Social Studies teacher at Waubonsie Valley in Naperville, IL. Megan also serves as the Head Dance Team Coach for Waubonsie (@WaubonsiePoms). In this post, Megan connects the recent journey and growth of her dance team with the journey and growth of eLo including the importance of practice. You may follow Megan on Twitter, @MeganDougherty9.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” During state practices for the Waubonsie Dance Team, one of my senior members reminded our team of this. As I sit here and reflect as a coach about our practices and performances leading to the state series, I begin to connect that quote and our teams’ resilience, to that of my eLo experience.
Both experiences parallel to a journey.
Each year your team starts out brand-new and untrained, very similar to the new eLo Consortium. The Waubonsie dance team season showed progress, success and persistence throughout the season. Similarly, I began to realize how much online learning in District 204, 203, and 200 has also blossomed and developed throughout the year.
Trophies, grades, and placements often measure success. However, success on a team or in a classroom is sometimes measured more by growth and improvements. Furthermore, the question often coming from our parents, is “What did you learn today?" Learning may take place at school, practice, from friends, or on a television show. We all strive to learn each day. Moreover, when we learn, we practice learning.
As children, when students begin their twelve years of school, they become acquainted with the process of school. How to pay attention, how to take notes, how to ask good questions. All of these skills, students have been practicing since kindergarten. Many students now in the last two, three, or four years of grade school are still practicing. Therefore, this journey through school, and practicing to be a good learner, student, test taker, or critical thinker, are all skills we begin to apply to the new online learning environment, eLo.
I have observed from semester one to semester two a greater awareness of the discussion board conversations. My semester two students are more active, articulate, and personable. They have taken more ownership, have increased their collaboration with classmates and have a better awareness of due dates. Students have learned to become more self-sufficient to their online course participation through practice. Just as our journey through grade school took dedicated, long-term practice, the journey of online learning requires just the same.