Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Enthusiasm meets reality for a much needed chat

A necessary conversation today with Kathy, a colleague at BHS who co-teaches one section of English 10 with me. She has spent the last month trying to keep me aligned as I hop around to every new web 2.0 toy I discover. She's got some patience, and I respect her opinion immensely. Well, she looked over my ever-in-revision wiki assignment and suggested that students unfamiliar with this type of work environment might find some of my assumptions about how they will actually do this project a bit difficult to follow. I need people like Kathy to keep me grounded and focused on this question: "What is it I want the students to know and to be able to do?" I modified some of my expectations, again trying not to let the digital dog wag the tail of learning. Believe it or not, with all this talk about 21st Century Skills and digital natives versus digital immigrants, these last two wiki projects are likely the first time my students have encountered such digital tools. That puts me, Kathy, and the students all in the same boat, different seat.

Based on Kathy's input, I decided to put together a PowerPoint slide to briefly explain how to use the page. The tutorials on wikispaces are wonderful, but this was more site-specific. I uploaded the PowerPoint presentation to Slideshare and embedded it in the wiki. Check it out here.


Nancy McKeand said...

Wonderful idea! I think my students understand what I want them to do on our wiki, and they think they understand it, but a resource like the one you created would be great for when they (inevitably) get confused. Thanks! I am going to have to put something like this together.

Clay Burell said...

Hey there,

Interesting post and very nice wiki.

I've been having a similar dialog with a non-geeky teacher sharing my wiki unit with me, and he tries to ground me as well.

Maybe I'm a worse listener, but I often find myself asserting that student confusion and frustration is actually good and ripe for the exploiting, as "frustration tolerance" and problem-solving are habits of mind they'll need to acquire--and what better way than to throw them in the river and tell them to learn to swim?

I really like that wiki. I'll study it and surely steal from it later :)