Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blogging, a forum for Healthy Debate???

I recently read Mr. C's post, Are We Having Real Conversations Using New Media? and followed his link to Philly Teacher's: Politics and Education post. Although the main post was not particularly engaging to me, Mr. Hauck from MS made a comment refuting the purpose and effectiveness of technology in the classroom.

Originally, I was enthralled by his idea that teachers integrating technology into the classroom encouraged tech addictions and furthers tech-makers' agendas. It wasn't until I continued reading the comment exchanges that his original ideas lost credibility for me. The tone of his words, the personal attacks, and the pushiness to continue the argument was all but flattering.

With that being said, it leads me to my main point. Be careful how you represent yourself online. In his response post, Mr. C expressed his wavering faith concerning online communication because it would seem that poor online etiquette is rampant. Online communication can be and is essential to expanding perspective, sharing ideas, critiquing productions, and exchanging cultural glimpses. However, all of this is only healthy and effective if we refrain from making personal attacks by maintaining professionalism and abiding by momma's philosophy, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."

As I reviewed this, I realized that Mr. Hauck might perceive this as a personal attack on him. So the solution seems less clear than I would have thought. How do you support your point without hurting another's feelings as a result of limited textual expression? When words can be read so many ways, how can we bridge the gap between non-aggressive facial expressions and our fingertips?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation not in vain

Hi Ms. Caryl,

I hope you made it home safely! Pensacola was my final destination-- so my last leg was short and sweet.

I have been brainstorming further about the teacher-student teaming project that you inspired. Dr. Strange's class is superb in that any student who wishes to study a tangent that is related to the material is free (encouraged) to do so-- however, that opportunity is lost on many of his students because his curriculum is missing the intrinsic motivation that comes by creating one to one relationships with elementary students. Right now, he asks his students to participate in a project called comments for kids, which is great because it exposes aspiring teachers to online classrooms around the world. Unfortunately, many of the comments left by his students are relatively bland and often directed at a whole class instead of an individual-- thereby undermining the value of the project.

I am going to propose to him that we target classrooms that have individual students work available and team one college student with one elementary student all semester long. By doing this, I hope we will achieve more accountability and genuine responses that are created by deep thought and inspection of the students work and maybe the class site as a whole. This idea does create a problem which I am looking for feedback if you have any.

The problem is that by teaming one teacher to one student all semester long, you limit the exposure of your college students to other tech-savvy classrooms. A couple possible solutions I have thought of are as follows:

a.) Strange could reduce the frequency of the commenting aspect of comments4kids so that his students can prioritize one student instead of many, but still require his students to look through a different class blog each week.

b.) The Doc could ask his students to leave links to other related class rooms in the comments for their teamed student to emphasize the relevancy and global connectedness of their work for appropriate elementary submissions-- which would prove their research of other classes.

As you can see, I am still in the framework stage of this project idea. ANY helpful tips, insight, or foreseeable collapses are greatly appreciated.

I do appreciate your open support and kindness and look forward to hearing from you again. I am equally excited to hear about any volunteer excitement or novel/ artwork developments you have occur. Please do keep me updated.

Eager to succeed,

Anthony Capps