Models for Asynchronous Online Learning & Support

Facilitator: Tom Daccord
Affiliation: EdTechTeacher, Inc.

Overview: How best to engender 21st century collaborative learning in asynchronous online environments? The conversation will focus on models for asynchronous online classroom instruction and professional development using wikis, online social networks, group audio blogging, voice-to-text technologies, and more. Examples include “The Great Debate of 2008,” an online project that connects students around the country via a wiki and online social network to share information and ideas related to the presidential election. Also featured will be online asynchronous professional development in technology integration. We will explore both opportunities and challenges in asynchronous online learning and blend conceptual frameworks with practical demonstrations.

Conversations: synchronous face-to-face, synchronous online, and asynchronous online.


Conceptual Framework: References

  • Clayton, Christensen, et al. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (McGraw Hill, 2008)
  • Friedman, Thomas. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century (Picador, 2007)
  • Gardner, Howard. Frames Of Mind: The Theory Of Multiple Intelligences (Basic Books, 1993)
  • Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. (Harvard Business School, 2006)
  • Garrison, D. Randy. "Cognitive Presence for Effective Asynchronous Online Learning: The Role of Reflective Inquiry, Self-Direction and Metacognition" in J. Bourne & J. C. Moore, Elements of Quality Online Education: Practice and Direction. (Olin College, 2003)
  • Pink, Daniel H. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (Riverhead Trade, 2006)
  • Shneiderman, Ben. Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Need and the New Human Computing Technologies (MIT Press, 2002)
  • Solomon, Gwen and Schrum, Lynn. Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools (ISTE, 2007)
  • Wagner, Tony. The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--And What We Can Do About It ( Basic Books, 2008)
  • Wu, Dezhi and Hiltz, Roxanne. "Prediciting Learning From Asynchronous Online Discussions." JALN, April 2004

Skill Development Goals
  1. creativity & inventive thinking (adaptability, problem-solving)
  2. collaboration and communication(synchronous and asynchronous; cross-cultural)
  3. digital age literacy (collect, analyze, synthesize, distribute, present information)

Teacher as "catalyst"
  • more important than role as "facilitator" or "guide."

Asynchronous Online Learning Goals & Characteristics
  • blended & seamless learning
  • multiple temporal realms
  • engagement & motivation
  • student ownership & responsibility
  • interactive and constructive asynchronous online learning supports "virtual communities of inquiry" without diminishing the time and space independence of the learner.

Asynchronous Online "Communities of Inquiry"
  • Reflective Inquiry
  • Self-directed learning

Building classroom communities:
  • The Great Debate of 2008 Project provides middle school and high school students from around the nation with a forum to explain and discuss issues related to the 2008 presidential election.
  • A Day in the Life of a Hobo” interdisciplinary creative writing/historical simulation involving blogging and creation of "1930s Radio Show" podcast.
  • The Flat Classroom Project empowers students from multiple nations together to research and explore topics from Thomas Friedman’s book The World Is Flat.
  • Social Mobility & Inequality in America Voicethread unit-culminating activity.

Research & Goals in Professional Development
  • Teachers primarily change practice in response to other teachers
  • Duration matters and real change takes time
  • Real change requires buy-in from all school stakeholders
  • The 21st century economic and civic spheres are changing so quickly and dramatically, that our schools and classrooms are going to have to change with equal urgency to prepare effective citizens for the future.

Building professional development communities