Thursday, March 13, 2008

Change of viewpoint.

One of my co-workers here is all excited about the possibility of using technology in the class. She's loading up a blog for her students. She told me, with some excitement that she is going to force them all to post their homework on it.



*sigh*



This kind of misses the point. The idea is not that it is another system for handing in assignments, rather that it is another entire way of interacting with the world, and people from all over, and since the only real purpose in learning a language is to communicate and interact with others, that may just bring home a reason to USE a language, rather than memorise and regurgitate verb conjugations.


It is also an enormous opportunity for the students to engage with an almost infinitely wider variety of topics and themes which can be explored in English...again bringing the lessons to life and motivating them.



Forcing them to to post homework? Same paradigm, different tool. There is an openness to other options though the leap to the new place remains elusive.



The difference here is that in the old student the teachers job is to tell the students what they need to know rather than providing them with both the opportunity and the desire to ask, and seek it out information.



Totally different.

9 comments:

Theresa said...

My kids usually just get assignments to look stuff up on Internet. I wish they would give them the opportunity to do something more creative with the computer, like create their own blogs. My eldest has a blog, since she saw me having fun with mine, and I think the schools could really use this kind of thing to get something more out of the students.

Anonymous said...

You sure put things well!

Sounds to me that the teacher in question issubconsciously assuming her studnets will work harder, do better homework, if they have "public humiliation" hanging over them!
Am forced to consider this as there's a scandal here about a group of high school students driving their newest "country hick" classmate to despair and refusal to attend class.
Her classmates had been chatting about her viciously and cruelly on the local high school blog - and the girl had done nothing worse than not been the cool, sophisticated city teen. GM

Beth said...

The best teachers I ever had (and the ones I remember) are the ones who instilled in me a love of learning - and the skills to pursue it.

Lynda said...

I stumbled upon a blog from a 15 year old girl in New Zealand a while back. She was writing the blog because it was a class exercise, and was not enjoying it. The reason it sticks in my head is because of the way she wrote it was a combination of phonetics and txt style - almost illegible to me until I worked out the code. It frightened me to think that she might one day need to fill a job application, and wouldn't be able to write a sentence. My own adult daughter is now forbidden to send me emails without punctuation or capitals. It drives me mad.

oreneta said...

Theresa, I think my kids must have four or five, I am starting to loose count..they like setting them up more than posting to them I think...

GM, On line bullying is quite a hot topic, and some teacher somewhere wasn't supervising that site well enough, nor were the kids well enough educated before hand...

Beth, yes indeed-y....

Lynda, I am of two minds about it...the text writing is kind of cool, and it is neat to see the emergence of what is essentially a new language, by the same token, they need competence in the normal written english as well....

elPadawan said...

I'm not sure in here such things would be possible. The city is full of "parental control" and "internet is dangerous" propaganda. Unless their blogging was overwatched by a grownup at all times...

sirdar said...

That is definitely a misuse of the technology. I can see here thinking, but I think she should look at it as an addition to their studies, not a place to use it for their studies. For example, she could post a question and she could encourage the kids to answer it with a comment. This way all the kids can read the other comments and it could spark some discussions.

The blog can be kept fairly safe by making it private and only allowing the kids to access it via a password of by having them on a whitelist.

oreneta said...

elPadawan, just like we need to teach kids about how to deal with traffic and freaky men on the subway, we need to teach them how to handle the internet...not ban it...I know what you mean, there is a knee jerk fear response, but I don't think that will last, the wired generation is rising fast..

Sirdar, YES YES YES.....homeschoolers are SO good at seeing outside the box!

dawn said...

Our school board offers some online courses based on socratic method of study. They have a classical books course in which the kids read classical novels (Ivanhoe, The Illiad etc) and each week, log in and have socratic discussion on the reading of the week. The moderator asks questions and people put in answers and so on. My kids have not taken advantage of the courses available, much to my dismay, but they don't find the Classical books course to be in line with where they are going in life. I think the learning in these courses would be tremendous. I believe there are teachers here who require students to submit their work on line. I am not sure how it is working.