As many of you know, a team of folks are participating in Blogging for Education (I encourage you to join in).
So, as somewhat of a closeted tech geek, I want to share with you three insights into how I see new media being integrated into the classroom:
Blogging: One area of education that I believe is being slighted is creative writing…not writing creative essays which are written by students according to strict guidelines spelled out by our English teachers but true stream of consciousness, bold, out-of-the-box creative writing. Blogging is one of those tools that can give a blooming creative writer an outlet to let his true, from the gut creative voice be heard. Rather than asking for an essay to be written on sheets of notebook paper and a number 2 pencil or typed on a Word Processor, how about trying blogging for a next assignment and then allowing those blog posts to be read by everyone in the classroom? Give a little bit of breathing room…just for this one assignment, skip grading the assignment on spelling and grammar. Instead, grade the post based on new thinking, pushing the edge and your students’ ability to open up your mind to an idea you have never considered in the past. This assignments can then be followed up by a discussion on Twitter. Now onto my next point:
Twitter: Twitter is one of those tools that is hated by many and that many “love to hate”…many people say they are addicted and have a love/hate relationship with the micro-blogging tool symbolized by a bluebird. Many people say that Twitter is a useless tool that occupies WAY too much of our time and is being used is less than benevolent ways. But, if we take the blogging entries suggested above and ask our students to throw out provocative questions on Twitter based on the blog posts they took the time to read, they can learn the art of
short, powerful questioning and the rich use of dialogue. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so if used (and not abused) in the classroom, Twitter can open up a world of thought simply by asking provocative questions…get our kids THINKING!
Texting: Again…another sore subject in the classroom. Teachers are complaining that students are using their cell phones for texting way too much in the classroom, so let’s take advantage of the tool. Get your students to take their cell phones out of their pockets, place them on their desks and begin texting answers to the provocative questions entered into the Twitter stream. The majority of cell phones can now be connected to Twitter, so the rich dialogue and discussion can appear in real time, because the teacher can connect her laptop via LCD Projector and let the students to watch as the discussion unfolds real time on Twitter.
So, problem solved? Not completely, but my point is this: We have the tools, and we are fighting our students over them. The more we make the use of media banned in the classroom, the more students are going to want to push the envelope to see if they can get away with texting or tweeting. So rather than fight and waste valuable time scolding them on their use in the classroom, let’s bring them out into the open and give our students permission to use the tools in a productive way.
I encourage you to Blog for Education this week. You never know who you are going to impact!