Saturday, January 20, 2007

Poised and ready poolside, wiki and blog in hand

It may not be summer yet, but I feel like I'm standing at the edge of a pool, a big pool, waiting to build up more nerve to jump in. I'm getting there.

My sophomores responded well to the blogging the first time around. I'll keep incorporating that into my instructional repetoire, expanding it as we grow more and more comfortable. I'm doing my planning and scheduling with Google calendar, and posting documents on Google documents and spreadsheets, which I then link back to my website. I'm taking a second plunge with a wiki. Maybe this time the expectations are a little scaled back. Instead of forcing the wiki into my unit, I realize I need to let the learning drive the use technology. It's really quite basic. First, what do I want the kids to do and learn? Next, how can I can use these new tools to stimulate that and make it easier?

My wiki project will start next week. The most difficult part of putting something like this together is getting past the initial feeling of awe when playing around with different toys, and moving down to the ground-level thinking necessary to make it happen in a classroom. There's some admitted nervousness. The last attempt to "wiki" was not as successful as I'd hoped. Looking back, I probably had unrealistic expectations that once we began the kids would just morph into these spirited, tech-savvy bunch, eager to use their new digital tools to soak up the learning. It wasn't really like that.

I have to say I got myself a bit overwhelmed as I discovered the different toys available for me to play with as a teacher. But just because it's cool for me, doesn't mean my sophomores are going to be just as smitten by the newness of it. I mean these are kids who freak out when I move the tables around in the room.

For now, I'm happy to dip my feet into the swimming pool of web 2.0. I'm getting wet. I'm not drowning. I'm looking forward to a nice swim when I get used to the water.

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