Exploring

So now I have spent some time exploring a few things: how to use this site, other blogs (based on my one comment – thanks for reading), twitter, and delicious.  I am somewhat intrigued, but mostly overwhelmed.  As an educator, I have always known that learning is not linear.  I have struggled with the age-old question of how to create linear, organized learning despite all the unknown variables.  Exploring social networking has allowed me to see not only how learning is not linear, but also how it could possibly work in an educational setting.  This has mostly created a lot of confusion for me.  So my question is, are students able to navigate through this confusion to learn something meaningful or do they just get overwhelmed as well and just scratch the surface of  the learning possibilities?

I have implemented some specific resources in my classroom.  We are presently doing an inquiry-based project in my grade 8 science class.  We are studying different aspects of the phenomenon of the feet that have been showing up off the coast of BC.  My students have created delicious accounts and are using them both for research and to share their findings with other members of the class.

However, I am still unsure of how to implement blogs and twitter into this type of inquiry.  Any suggestions?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Exploring

  1. I think that twitter and blogs allows you to pull in other outside experts. The students could see if there are hashtags for conversations going on about the phenomenon and perhaps follow some of the scientists or institutes who are “in the field”. You could create a twitterID for the entire class and all students could use it.

    Students can blog about how they feel about the impact of these phenomenon now and in the future and peer review each other’s posts by commenting. The writing itself could be collaborative or each student could have own blog. The ability to send links to the blog via twitter could bring more experts in on the dialog.

    Just a few ideas.

  2. I’d suggest holding off on bringing tech stuff into your classroom until you have a broader, deeper sense of the experience of learning with these tools. Why? We tend to bring the new tools into the same old educational processes (and paradigms). By keeping the focus on your own experiences of learning, I think you develop an understanding of a new paradigm of learning (and therefore, teaching), of what’s different or possible that you might not have considered earlier.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I actually learned that one the hard way. I encouraged my students to sign up for a delicious account and put it up on the data projector to show them how to navigate it. It ended up being a bit of a gong show, because I hadn’t spent enough time navigating the site myself. Live and learn. I wish I had read your comment first.

      • Karen makes a great point. Too often, we as educators jump on the bandwagon of technology, without completing understanding its use. Many of my teachers were able to get their feet wet with Web 2.0 by starting with smaller tools like a Voicethread or Prezi product for their students to create and build on ideas and then they were able to have students create Blogs or add to an existing course Blog. You might want to start with using a Blog to post an essential question – students can respond as a homework assignment prior to the instruction of the unit and then respond again at the end. This was something I tried during a novel study instead of using journal entries and the kids loved it. More importantly, they felt the dialogue enriched their understandings and allowed them equal air time, which doesn’t always happen in a classroom setting.

  3. As well as blogs and Twitter, you could get them to create a wiki to act as a resource page that they could add to. The blog could be a student’s view of a different resource that they were investigating

  4. I think that it’s great that you’ve incorporated Delicious into your classroom already! As for blogging, perhaps the students could use their blog posts to keep track of their research day by day, and to post about their feelings in regards to what they have discovered during each class.

    Good luck with your project! It sounds very interesting!

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