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It’s Been a Busy Quarter

January 30, 2011

I hope that this finds all of you well.  I know it’s been quite sometime sine I have written anything but it’s been for a very good reason.  I’ve been busy with teaching and continuing my curriculum revisions.  Quite simply, at the end of the day, I didn’t have the time to update.

Blogs

This went very well.  My students’ enthusiasm for their topics really shined through in their research and narratives.  What worked best was having them write about their passion about the time period.  This allowed them to take ownership of their blogs and learning, and in someways customize my course to suit their learning pursuits.  Some of my students even discussed their learning with other faculty, and some of my colleagues followed along with my students throughout the semester.   Each time a blog post was due I was really excited to read what they had done and learned.

But, nothing is perfect.  I still have to find ways to reach out to all of the students and engage them.  There is no one size fits all approach to any of this, and the thing about being pioneers in this is that I have no models to fall back on.  My colleagues and I are creating the models.

Another thing to make sure of is that this does not turn into a ubiquitous, ho-hum kind of assignment.  Some of it is novel, but if it becomes something that everyone is doing just to do it, or doing without purpose then the power of this assignment is lost.  Additionally we have to be sure that students aren’t being asked to manage too many different blogs and accounts all at once.  Blogs are supposed to be learning journeys…ideally they could maintain one blog for four years that could be a portfolio.  But to get there we have to take baby steps, and I feel that this blog project was a baby step.

Wikis and Copyright

My U.S. II Wikis were a learning experience.  We as educators need to engage students in understanding copyright and intellectual property.  As I see it now students see citations, works cited and bibliographies as an added and troublesome step in research and/or summative projects.   This is a conversation we are having at our school, and it’s one that should be occurring at every school.  What I ran into with the wikis is that not everything was cited properly (which is common on many research assignments), some of the material used was not allowed to be used according to the copyright holder, and that students confused “public domain” with “don’t have to cite or accredit”.  This is a major task that I want to tackle in the Spring Semester.

The content itself was great, and the students did put unique voices into the work.  I was pleased with their final products in that respect, and I feel that they did connect with the human side of the Great Depression.

The Future

For this coming quarter I plan on using Diigo to manage group collaboration in my classes, embarking on student analyses of the use of social media by politicians and government officials, continued conversion to Project Based Learning in my courses and the continued revision of curriculum Understand by Design.  As these things unfold I’ll be here asking for your help and sharing my progress.

Using Wikis in U.S. II for the Interwar Period

October 19, 2010

As I work with Web 2.0 tools more and more I am learning more and more about them.  I am learning how to use them.  I am learning how to teach with them.  I am learning how to teach how to use them.  All of it is hard work, all of it seems daunting but in the end all of it is turning out to be worth it.  🙂

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Update: Classical World Blogs

October 19, 2010

It’s been a very busy open and I can’t believe that the First Quarter is already half over.  Our blog project is going well and I had some great and interesting conversations with the students as they were starting research on their second blog post

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Excited about Blogging in Classical World

September 26, 2010

So far things are going very well, better than I imagined that they would.  With each passing class session that we use to discuss social networking or how to operate a blog I become more and more excited about this project.  And my colleagues Marci and Heather are so indispensable to this process — their investment in Web 2.0 in the classroom will make this meaningful for my students and help me grow professionally.

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Omni-post: Classical World and U.S. History II

September 12, 2010

Out East today it’s rainy, in the 60s and otherwise unpleasant.  Perfect day to be inside watching the NFL and thinking about school and next week.  (And depending on what’s going on on the TV screen I’m more focused on one than the other!).  I have taken my Classical World Blog idea and fleshed it out some more.  Here is the  that I have now, and I think that it’s going to be closer to what the kids will be getting on Friday.

Classical World Blog Project Second Version

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Student Blogs: Project Planning Starting to Come Together

September 7, 2010

Today I met in the IMC with Marci Zane and Heather Hersey and other colleagues and we discussed the blog that we will be using in The Classical World.  What I can’t believe is that we spent about two hours talking about how we are going to present, explain and structure the project.  It seemed like it was 20 minutes!  Time flies…!

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Idea for Student Blogs

September 1, 2010

I had a pretty relaxing vacation at the end of August, but school’s opening is here now and I’m pretty excited to begin my next big thing.

Students who take the  Classical World course at Central do so because they’re interested in the ancients and the world they created and inhabited.  Some of them are even taking Latin simultaneously!

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