Thursday, December 8, 2016

Failure to Launch...Blackboard

The Beginning

Last spring I took the Blackboard 101 TDP course, and most of the time I was thinking a combination
of 3 things:
1. How can first graders use this?
2. How can dual language students use this?
3. How the heck can I use this?

My head was swimming in a sea of content files, items, learning modules, and a vast array of other tech speak I was still not even near fluent in.  I suppose that's why it was a 101 course.

I made it through, and I made a unit about telling time.  It was really clunky, and I'm still not quite sure if it would've worked or not because I never let my kids use it.

This year, though, I was determined to give it a try.  Now that I'm in my fourth year of teaching I'm kind of ignoring Todd's constant "Be the tortoise" and thinking more along the lines of "Work smarter, not harder."  I wanted to build a Blackboard course little by little so that I could get things figured out and all uploaded to my Blackboard course so that NEXT year I'll have almost everything I want to teach all laid out for me already.  No more searching through my Google Drive to find that one worksheet on graphing that the kids somehow thought was interesting or poring over file folders and stacks of papers to find that one great worksheet in English that a colleague gave me that I colored over with White Out and wrote the Spanish translation on top of.

No.  Last year when we had to make all of those Language Workshop planners I was kind of begrudgingly doing them.  This year, though, my language workshop is all planned out for me already!  If I do the hard work THIS year, I won't have to do it next year and hopefully for years to come until we get another big change like Common Core again.

Well, I got my course built with a little help from Wendy Liska and my knowledge from Blackboard 101, and launch day came.  I had the kids all sit down and I talked them through logging onto the new Blackboard App.  Miraculously we got through it in only 15 minutes!  I was feeling great!  They'd have so much time to explore and use my new unit!  But...I missed one crucial step.

I failed to enroll my students in my class.  I ended up getting the kids on one of the apps that they would've used as part of the Blackboard unit, and I scrubbed the rest of the day's math plans for another day.

Stay tuned for my follow-up to this about what happened when I actually did launch Blackboard and how things went.

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