This is a topic I know I'm going to revisit a lot over the next couple of months. It all goes back to when I first started teaching. When I worked one on one with a student we could have a conversation about what it said and I could highlight and elaborate on the parts I knew would engage the student. I could ask the right questions at the right times to guide the student through the text. It's a great experience that every teacher has. The problem is that it's just not feasible to do this with every student and the text you often use as the core of your lessons is fixed. I needed a way to add questions and additional information right into the text.
Fast forward six years later and I had the opportunity to recreate my school's curriculum from 100% paper (stagnant) based to 100% online. The idea was that we could not make the lessons more relevant and flexible because we could more control over the content, delivery, and assessment options. That was true and the curriculum I created as a big improvement. The problem was that I was still doing worksheets for my students, just online worksheets. Students would read a section of text and then go to their worksheet and answer some questions. As a result I had to ask a lot of leading questions to help some of my students.
Example: I want to ask students how the existence of mitochondrial DNA supports the theory of evolution. I can't just jump that question because students may have forgotten or missed some key information in that long reading. So I asked some basic questions like "What is the role of the mitochondria?" "Does mitochondria have it's own DNA?", they're dumb questions that are just there for the real question. It wastes my time thinking of these questions and my student's time answering them.
Forward a year and DocentEDU has been created. I thought great, I can just use these existing questions and apply them to the CK-12 text we're using. WRONG! those basic questions like "What's the role of a nucleus" were suddenly pointless because I could embed it right after the paragraph or video that gave the answer. Ack! I thought, this won't work... and then I realized, that's great! I can now assume students just read the information and now I can ask real critical thinking questions.
This was a bigger mind shift than I originally thought it would be. I realized that the limitations of the tools I was using were having a negative impact on my lessons. I had to worry about so many different factors like student reading/comprehension levels, switching between tabs, missing links, how to organize media/simulations/readings with my old traditional method. DocentEDU suddenly freed me from these problems and let me focus on the lesson. I can now guide a student through a lesson the way I would if we were having a conversation about it. It's made me a better teacher because I can focus on what I want my students to learn and not worry about how I'm going to deliver the lesson.