Saturday, January 27, 2007
I have put a ton of work into developing my courses this semester. I am having students blog and we are using a wiki and reading and writing a lot in both my reading and writing classes. Now, a week into the semester, I would have to say that these things don't seem to be working the way I wish they were. My student (Yes, at the moment, ther is only one in each of thse classes. Of course, at the moment there is only one in the whole ESL program, but that is another story for another day.) isn't embracing the tools as I had hoped he would. He has blogged on a class blog before, so this isn't an entirely new experience for him. He has done webquests before, which is basically what we are starting with on the wiki. So what is the problem? Why isn't he more excited?
I don't think we can decide whether or not something works based on students' initial response to it. But I wonder sometimes how long we continue an activity before we decide it isn't working. If I wait all semester to give this student a chance to really try out the wiki and personal blogging and he never "gets" it, am I doing him a disservice?
The worst thing about having real small classes is that there is no momentum built. If this student doesn't immediately buy into the blog and the wiki, there is no one to pull hm along into it, to serve as an example, to build enthusiasm for it.
And I will admit, it seems a little odd to be using these social tools in a situation where there is no built-in audience. What is the purpose of doing this online rather than on paper? I know that my purpose is structuring the course this way was to increase my students' computer literacy and to generate a different energy in the class by doing something different. The computer literacy goal is still valid, and my student will improve his ability to use a computer and to function online. But the energy thing is going to be harder to achieve.
Obviously, I will have to wait until the end of the semester to really evaluate all this. But I can't help asking myself on an almost daily basis whether or not it is really working.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
In some ways I feel like the parent who can't wait for their first child to walk and talk and then spends a number of years not being so sure it was a good thing after all! I keep writing, keep finding things to say -- not that they are always profound or even interesting, but I keep finding words to put out there. Sorry for inflicting some of these past two years on you. Thank you all for stopping by from time to time to take a look.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
But then yesterday I saw Miguel's post about the Linutop. I showed it to my husband, and he cried! It is smaller and certainly does everything he wants. We can't wait to see how much it is going to sell for!
By the way, I got a new Acer 5102 laptop that is now running Linux as well. Acer is selling units with Linux on them overseas, I heard. They may be my new brand of choice. (My son has an Acer laptop, too. He isn't careful with it, and it seems to be doing great. He runs Windows, of course.)
Friday, January 19, 2007
I wasn't real happy about starting another blog, but I think it will be OK. If I were more organized, I would try to separate the posts out in some way -- posting certain kinds of things on one and other oens on the other. Actually, I already do that -- or am trying to --posting tech stuff to my blog Using Technology at School.
For the time being, though, I will be writing in both places, so if you are interested in checking the other blog out, it is called Moving Along.
By the way, the new one is on wordpress.com/. So far I really like it!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I'll let you know when they are up and running.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
2 points – link, thoughtful response
1 point – link, poor response OR thoughtful response and no link
0 points – no post
30 points - Explanation shows evidence of thought . Grammar and spelling mistakes are minimal. Links all work.
25 points – Elements are all there, but one of them is weak.
20 points – Lacks one of the elements required for 30 points.
15 points – One element is missing and one element is weak.
10 points – Lacks two of the elements required for 30 points.
5 points - Two elements are missing and the other one is weak.
The "Best Posts" post is intended to help them make some sense of tying it all together. Also, I wanted to make blogging valuable enough grade-wise that they would be "inspired" to do it.
I am also giving extra credit for responding to comments on their blogs. I wold like to give credit for commenting on blogs of others outside our class, but I am not sure how to do that. Guess I will leave it for another time. If I actually get this going the way I want it to go, I will be real happy!
The Best Posts idea is one I got from Dennis Jerz . I commented on his rubric a couple years ago and revisited it yesterday. I wrote about it back in 2005. At the time I thought the rubric was too specific, but I have come to see that my students want to know exactly what I am looking for - specially in an online environment where they are not as sure of themselves yet.
I'm excited! Now if I can only get my students excited about it!
Blogged with Flock
Friday, January 05, 2007
As a writing teacher, I know the value of finding your voice. I have had my students journal for a long time. But somehow or other I hadn't made the switch to having them blog for the same reason. My blogging assignments had been more just that -- assignments. Students didn't necessarily buy into them. I think I need to work more on this.
What comes to mind right now as I am writing this is that I need to start having my reading students blog. I can set them up with a Bloglines account to follow blogs on topics that they are interested in. They can read and report on news articles or basically anything else they want to. This is something that will encourage them to read in English, so it ties into my course goals. The students in that class are the ones who blogged last spring with some degree of success, so the idea will not be totally new to them.
The next problem, of course, is how to evaluate their blogging. I really don't want to evaluate it. I could do a simple post count and give points that way. I guess I need to think about this part of it more.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
You can get more information and register by going to http://evo07sessions.pbwiki.com/.
Hope to see some of you there!