Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nice to meet you!

Hello all,

My name is Drew Norkoli and am currently a 4th grade teacher at an elementary school in Colorado Springs Colorado.  I have been teaching for 8 years now and came into teaching as a second career.  I started my professional career as an Assistant Superintendent on a golf course.  I quickly realized the golf business wasn't for me.  After working for a year for my teacher's license, I got a job teaching English Language Arts in an online setting for Kindergarten through 6th grade.  That was a tough job and I learned a lot about distance learning.  The next year I got a job at my current school and taught 3rd grade for five years.  This will be my second year teaching 4th grade and love it so far!  I decided to get my masters in Instructional Design and Technology because of my intrigue into using technology to change education.  I have been using a flipped classroom model to teach math for the past four years and think there is a lot of room for change in our traditional educational system.  Over the past year, I have been learning a lot that will help me in this endeavor.  Hopefully, you will all have some kind of impact on my career.  I look forward to working with you all again and some of you for the first time.  Here's to another great class!

Drew Norkoli

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The future of distance learning...

The future of distance learning...

            This is an exciting time to be studying instructional design and distance learning.  The future of these two areas is intriguing because of their high amount of growth over the past 10-15 years.  Since I graduated high school over 15 years ago, the amount of educational opportunities out there in the distance learning format is staggering!  The online learning environment is becoming more accepted by the general public.  Many people have seen the advantages of this style of learning.  Being able to work at your own pace and on your own time schedule is intriguing for many people.  Because of this intrigue and acceptance, I feel like the world of distance learning and online education will continue to grow at a staggering rate. 
In the next 5-10 years, I feel like we will start to see the inclusion of distance learning into a high percentage of high schools throughout the country.  I also feel like every university will have online degrees available to go along with the traditional programs.  In 20 plus years, it is hard to say what will happen for the world of distance or online learning.  I think the programs will be more widely accepted and the online classes will continue to change and evolve with the technology.  Looking back on when I took classes for my teacher’s license, my online learning experience was much different than this online learning experience.  The classes now are different because of the changes to the technology and to the evolution of instructional design.
As a future instructional designer, I feel like I can help make it more accepted by the public.  I am just an elementary school teacher, but I feel like I can still use the principals taught in this class to help increase distance learning acceptance.  With the help of technology, allowing students to do some form of learning online in my 4th grade classroom is becoming more realistic.  Looking to have a blended type classroom will help parents of my students see that online learning can be a valuable resource.  Many people in the general public still feel like online learning or distance learning is only good for high school students and adults.  But as an elementary school teacher, I feel like this is a false misperception.  Many students can learn online or at a distance.  What is most important is the instructional design of the learning.  If the learning is designed properly for the distance learning environment, than the students can learn, no matter their age.  As a properly trained instructional designer in the future, I can design quality lesson for the online environment for my students under 10 years old.  This can help change people perception that online learning is only for teenagers and adults.
There are a few things that I will do to help continue to improve the field of distance education.  One thing that comes to mind is to stay up on the current research and strategies that are being used in the field.  The foundations of research class helped me see the importance of keeping up on research.  This applies to the field of distance learning as well.  There are continuous changes to the field and keeping up with the newest trends and strategies will help me utilize and promote the program effectively.  Another thing I can do in the future is to continually try the new strategies and tools that are coming out.  Sometimes we need to start using tools and strategies that are uncomfortable.  Relying on what is comfortable is very easy, but making sure you are using what is relevant and backed by research will help your credibility.  Feeling the discomfort outside that comfort zone will help us grow and change as instructional designers.  In the future, I hope to be a professional that is willing to take those risks to help grow the field of distance learning. 

Distance learning has helped me grow as a professional and don’t know where I would be without the opportunity to learn online.  I became a teacher because of online learning and am currently earning a higher education degree because of online learning.  That makes it even more important for me to promote the field and help it reach its full potential.  The potential of distance learning is unknown, but it extremely exciting to know that I as an instructional designer can help play a role in its future growth.