Suzanne Ensmann: FATDEC and Face to Face Learning

In the beginning… After we all got over the fear of what students might do with the internet if we allowed them to access it, face-to-face (f2f) learning incorporated technology and elements of online learning.

Then we said “run with it” and some literally did… Never to be seen again.

Now in the era of persistence to complete and transition students, it’s time to go back to the basics. Research reflects that time-after-time success is directly correlated with the relationships we make.  So we call the students right?  And, we call.  And, we call.

Fast forward to this era.

How many friends do you have at work?
How many friends do you have on Facebook?

How often do you have time for meaningful conversations in the workplace?
Do you even have time to wait for an answer to the standard: “How are you?” greeting?
Think your colleagues really take the time to answer this “greeting” or do you get a “Fine, thanks.  How about you?” standard reply?

Do they take the time to tell you their dog died; they just found a deal on a car; their long lost aunt just flew into town; or they are just really sad today?

I can tell you our students are having these meaningful conversations.  They’re not long.  They’re succinct and to the point.  But, they’re of meaning.  And, their network of friends is vast!  Employment, community, friendships… relationships are happening via social media sites!  Why should your virtual classroom be any different?

Did you know Skype and Facebook had a baby?  A new f2f experience to enhance relationships was born!  Is this too scary of an endeavor to take on at your school?

Learn how to keep it simple and see how you can use FB to put education “in the face” of your students 24/7, form relationships with them, and just maybe flip education as we know it.

Stop centering student learning on classroom  and curriculum  infrastructure.  Offer the exoskeleton to your students and see how they take off with meaningful learning!  

But, don’t go it alone!  Let’s place this experiential learning, jumping on board with relationships and f2f student contact in the center of our e-learning education together!

To learn more, come join in this synergy of collaboration at the next FLC conference session entitled “Florida Adult & Technical Distance Education Consortium: Making F2F Classes for Online Students a Reality” at 10am on Friday, May 11th,!

Suzanne Ensmann: Technology and Playing games

According to Facebook statistics, there are over 800 million active users on this social network.

The US Census Bureau’s reflection of 312 million residents in America seems to pale in comparison.  If 50% of these Facebook users logon daily (and, yes, those are the actual numbers who do), that number is still higher than every resident living in our country.

How many of those 400 million do you think are in your classrooms?  Oh, I know, your students are a different population.  They don’t have computers (or those skills), right? Do they have a smart phone in their pocket?  Take a poll.  A quick survey in a few of my Student Success classes informed me that 100% of my students had cell phones (AKA computers), 100% of them have laptops, and 100% of them had a Facebook account!

The physical classroom where I am currently teaching does not have computers, but my students do!  Don’t know an answer to a question I pose?  Google it!  Amazingly this engages the students and eliminates that “deer in the headlights” look.  Taking a quiz and not certain if you answered correctly or not?  Immediate feedback returned when they hit that submit button!

One third of my students polled were kinesthetic learners.  They learn through playing games.  So, we play a game to review prior lessons every class on our cell phones.  Think about it.  Do you think students prefer to do classwork or play games while they learn?

The power of words goes a long way in my class.  We clarify if they “have to” come to class or “want to”.  After we break down the cost of their education (tuition, gas, time) and focus on the value, power of positive thinking, and the career pathway goal they are setting out to achieve, their attitude changes.  We’re in our sixth week this semester and I have close to 100% attendance, with the exception of those who’ve experienced the common cold here and there.

Use of technology and affirmations in the classroom are a starting point to foster student persistence, but I can’t say it’s the only ingredient for improved attendance. Since “cell phone” is no longer a dirty word in my class, though, my students will actually use the technology outside of class for their education like they do with every other world activity they partake in.   Communication, communication, communication!  They text me if they’re running late, out ill, or forget what chapter we’re reading.  I remind them of their test on Tuesday, that project that’s due next week, or post a popular motivational video to our Facebook class page.  Literally, I’m placing the reminders in their face where they’re playing.   But, I know your students can’t do these things.

A literacy teacher just boasted to me about the high completion rate she had for her students over the last few months.  Interesting, she has them all listed under her contacts in her cell phone.  Text messaging is a common occurrence (24/7) with her students.  Too much work?   I guess it’s about perception. A full classroom and completions?  I call it fun.  She seems to also.

Not a believer yet?  Read stats from the Deputy Director for Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

If you want to support student success in your classroom and move them into Career Pathway in today’s digital revolution era, think Connect to… Complete to… Careers!  Analyze, create, and plan, but most importantly act on incorporating social media and digital technologies in your classroom today!