Back to School (2.0)

Things have been absolutely crazy the past two weeks, but that has been good for me especially as I get back in the swing of teaching. As I begin the semester, there are a few things that I’ve been thinking about that I want to capture here and come back to think about more later.

First, in my writing class, the students have pretty much jumped up to each new technology that we try. On the first day of class, we began a wiki and I had students post some intro material there. This week, we created Google accounts and got set up with Blogger and Google Reader. All this is leading them to create their own research agendas, affinity groups for a multimodal presentation, and to become writers in their professions in the 21st century. Based on their initial surveys, there was a wide range of tech skills, and they are willing to help one another in the classroom, so that is good. Based on what I have seen, this will be a very “school 2.0” type of experience for them.

Second, in my methods class, we began a wiki, too. Unlike my writing class in which things are organized more thematically and students will have some choice about the types of writing that they do, I have to organize this class around a slightly more structured curriculum. That said, there is still lots of room for flexibility and I will be inviting them to do some digital composition as well. They, like the writing class, were a bit apprehensive at first about writing on the wiki, but in an activity tonight, they were doing quite well. In fact, one student synthesized a few lists of responses from separate groups on one page without being asked (as we learned last week that overwriting can be a problem). I also showed them Google Docs, and some seemed intrigued. So, we might go in that direction a bit, too.

All of this is just to say that I have been reminded again and again about taking things in slow, manageable chunks. One student half-joked that she was thinking about dropping the writing course after the first day (she didn’t, thank goodness, and did well today setting up her blog). It reminds me that some students know quite a bit about this and can help others. And, for everyone, it is nice to have reminders and tutorials; thus, I am going to look for tutorials on YouTube for everything that we do so they can go back to it later to be reminded (or, perhaps, I will make my own with Jing).

At any rate, this has me very excited about the semester and the fact that students are taking to the school 2.0 kind of learning. I appreciate all the podcasts, blog postings, and one-on-one coaching that my colleagues have provided to me so I can be at this point — and look forward to sharing thoughts back here. More to come as the semester progresses.

Happy back-to-school (2.0) to all of you!