Amber is a pleasure to talk to and work with. We touched base after class on Wednesday. I shared by Development document with her via a google doc that evening and we created a shared doc where we could keep notes as we looked through each other’s work. Our interactions were informal and conversational. Amber confessed to feeling behind and overwhelmed due to it being the end of the school year and her need to travel for a conference. We agreed that we could be flexible and check in during multiple brief meetings over the next few days to accommodate her busy schedule.
Amber was thorough and generous in her feedback. I was very happy for her perspective – I am very familiar with this content and have been concerned during the development phase that I was belaboring information that my audience might already know. Some of my learners, however, will have had limited formal training in child development, early literacy skills, early literacy practices, and storytime programming. It was great to have feedback from Amber precisely because she was coming into the content cold and could point out that more description was needed in terms of learning objectives and formative feedback in each of the submodules. She also made the suggestion to offer means for interaction that participants could choose to engage in, even if it wasn’t required, to help the experience feel less isolated.
I will be applying as many of her changes as I can as I iterate my project. I decided I will add a Padlet for participants to share information they have found useful. I will also add a Flipgrid to allow participants to record short videos of themselves. I will think about how to clarify the objectives and feedback while keeping the feeling of the course conversational and less formal given the audience and purpose of the intervention. Amber noted that she enjoyed the tone of my writing and the clean design of the LMS shell, so these are both attributes I will try to continue through the iterations.
In terms of giving feedback, I do suffer from a bit of imposter syndrome when evaluating the work of people who have been formally trained as K-12 educators, since I have neither training nor experience in that arena. I also have not had a biology class since my undergraduate years, so I was feeling out of my depth in terms of the audience and the content. Once I got over those hesitations, however, I felt I was able to give Amber constructive feedback, most of which was positive and positive feed forward. Amber’s hands on activities seem engaging and motivating, and that was one of her main concerns. She is using many different modalities and incorporating formative and peer feedback. The only bit of negative feedback I had was about the flow of her overall lesson. I wasn’t sure how the individual pieces were fitting together but I acknowledged I might be missing context. The only other suggestion I had was regarding the design of her slides – I thought they might be better served by less text and the addition of images and/or audio or video elements. Looking at Amber’s work also helped me to think about my own work. While there was nothing that Amber was doing that I wanted to lift completely into my course, I always think our brains are making connections subconsciously and I would not be surprised if a seed of an idea that I got from Amber sprouts in my own work down the line.