Saturday, February 10, 2007

Blogs and the 21st Century Classroom

Two years ago Tammy Townsend and I spoke on the subject of blogging in education at the TYCA-SE conference in Jackson, MS. Here are some of the handouts we used then.

Blogging in the English Classroom
Blogging Terms

So much has changed. So much has remained the same.

Blogging software got somewhat more sophisticated. Podcast quickly overtook blog as "word of the year" for 2005 (blog had that honor in 2004). MySpace and Facebook have been hugely popular with college students in ways that Live Journal only ever dreamed of. Cell phones have gotten far more sophisticated, and Internet gadgets are so much more common that there hardly seems a need for a word to describe blogging from a mobile device. Moblogging, in other words, just never caught on as a household term. It's all just blogging to us.

The biggest difference, though, for me is simply that I've used blogs more and have more opinions about them. This time, instead of talking about ways that teachers might use blogs, I'd prefer to talk about ways that I have used blogs.

Professional Discussion Forum--With Composition Southeast, I've communicated with other composition instructors from all around the country and from all types of institutions. We've shared ideas and assignments, debated theories, reviewed books, and forged friendships and professional ties.

Class Bulletin Board--With Dr. Gerald's Blog, I've made class announcements, distributed handouts, given instructions and feedback on assignments, and provided links to outside resources for my students. I can post things once there and never have to worry about whether I remember to take extra copies of a handout with me to class for those who lost the first copy or were not present to get it. The students find this just as convenient as I do, and if I forget to post information, they are quick to remind me.

Classroom Discussions and Presentations--Students in my morning literature class are currently using Dr. Gerald's World Literature Class to publish their group reports on class discussion topics. The students have responded well to the assignments, and I've found their collaborative work to be more motivated and better thought out than in other formats I've tried for similar assignments.

Conference Preparation--This blog, Casting Classrooms, is my preparation for the TYCA-SE conference. I am going out on a limb and refusing to put together a PowerPoint for this particular presentation. I believe this will be more useful in the end because it is the visual aid that keeps on giving. All the audience has to do is keep up with the URL in order to take the whole thing home in the end.

No comments: