Monday, December 17, 2007

Reflections on Teaching and Learning in a Networked Classroom

What started as a substitution course turned into a new way of viewing the possibilities of the web in instruction. Enjoying the embedding of technology doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. I’m living in a different world which will is rapidly becoming the only reality current students know. My mind swims, I can’t keep up with my RSS feeds, answering a question usually leaves me with ten windows or tabs open forgetting the original source of inquiry. In this world, we still expect students to sit in desks, listening to lectures and doing writing assignments? Do we expect teachers and staff members to do the same as we train them to think as students think?

The possibilities, even in professional development for educators are endless. Podcasts, Second Life, Wikis are just a few of the tools available. It was most meaningful in this course not to just learn about them, but to be responsible for creating them. The most difficult was reading about these possibilities. At least I’ve discovered that what used to be ADD is now just connected learning.

My regret was not assuming a more regular pace through the course. The typical final cramming didn’t afford the best understanding of blogs. For instance, during the last week, I discovered ways to edit code that would have customized my blogger template. Had I done the challenging podcasting assignment earlier, I would have – scratch that - might have come across the tutorial blog that links to customizing other features. I say might, because one thing this course has reinforced is how difficult it can be to retrace research steps. That is the value of a blog – linking to the pages at the time of thought so that they’re only a few clicks away.

As I was writing my blog on Wikis, I thought it might have been fun to collaborate with classmates on a project, but my timing probably would have been the weakest link. It was clever to begin the course by becoming course editors through the WetPaint wiki; at least I understand how it works. Setting it up for others will be a larger challenge.

I'm pumped that my Senior Partner extended an invitation to discuss ideas for the coming year. He has demonstrated a desire not only to keep apace with Web 2.0, but to revolutionize the way we do business. I would enjoy using these tools to teach teachers, to facilitate discussions about learning, and incorporate it into the processes attached to mapping.

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