I’ve started a new professional development course at the PI called Enhancing Student Performance and Professional Development Online, http://tinyurl.com/esppdo. Its impetus is ostensibly to help teachers in the Intensive English program familiarize themselves with the tech tools that are being taught to the students there by their computing teachers, according to materials that I, as one of the computing teachers, am helping to prepare. These tools are, in particular, Delicious and Google Docs, but in facilitating the course it is hoped that needs for other useful tools will emerge, and we can include those.
Accordingly an email was sent out to all of PI including all the students here that the course was on offer. The inclusion of students turned out to be a good thing because at the first class there were no teachers present. Instead 4 guys showed up, two graduates and two undergraduates. One couldn’t stay, but the three who were there seemed appreciative and keenly attentive throughout.
As noted above, I was expecting to be flexible with the program,and for this reason I had only prepared the first lesson. I had prepared printouts of two articles which discuss what teachers should know in the way of digital literacies:
- Stevens, Vance. (2010). Writing in a multiliterate flat world, Part I. Multiliterate approaches to writing and collaboration through social networking. Writing & Pedagogy, Vol. 2.1, pp.117-131.
- Stevens, V. (2010). How can teachers deal with technology overload: Reader response to Allan, J. (2009). Are language teachers suffering from technology overload? TESOL Arabia Perspectives 16(2), 22-23. TESOL Arabia Perspectives 17(1), 22-23.
The first is a handout of an offprint I’ve been sent, but the second is available online at: http://multiliteracies.ning.com/profiles/blogs/how-can-teachers-deal-with
My plan was to start the teachers on the Web and Internet search materials I created for our Computer Literacy course. The materials I have created follow a three-step approach. The first step is familiarity with the tools, the second is content creation with the tools, and the third would be to enable creativity and critique with the tools in question.
This Web and Internet Search course adheres to the first step in the process. It is a set of materials created to be done by teachers and students together with no need for anyone to have accounts for the tools tested. Rather, Web search is done with Google, which everyone is familiar with already, but then participants are shown searching with Delicious, Twitter, and Spezify at http://spezify.com.
Adapting the Plan to Class #1
Because those present were not the audience I was expecting I felt my way by dialoging with the three guys about what they knew already about Google and search, and then I used as an example a search on Creative Commons, and we landed on http://creativecommons.org/. We had a look at the way you could blend licenses to copyright your work to be shared from the menu of restrictions: attribution, share-alike, non-commercial, and no-derivatives. We discussed why people would want to share their work online, and I noted my preference for the Attribution Share-alike license here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
We looked at Creative Commons in the context of http://slideshare.net/vances where I found one of my slide shows where @All Rights were reserved, and I set this one to the Creative Commons license above. We talked about finding images on the Web and whether or not we could use them in slide shows we created and posted to Slideshare. We used http://images.google.com to browse for images on a topic suggested by one of the guys present and found a set which we weren’t sure if we had rights to. So I showed them in advanced Image Search where you could filter the results to give you only CC images. We found an image and checked, and sure enough, its owner had specifically given us the right to share it as long as we attributed the source.
View on screencast.com »
Having nailed the concept of sharing online by specifically granting license to do so, we moved to Delicious, where the guys all signed in with their Yahoo IDs. We discussed the concept of tagging and how it can be used in project management; for example how I can get a list of all my students’ Delicious accounts by having them each visit their bookmarks and tag the page with a unique tag, like this: http://delicious.com/tag/comp020pi04me. But we were there to do one thing mainly. In order to benefit from use of Delicious as a “social” bookmarking site, you have to specifically set your bookmarks to Public Domain, or to one of the Creative Commons licenses offered. So I showed them how to visit their Settings in Delicious and set their RSS Fees Rights/Licenses to Public Domain:
View on screencast.com »
What might happen in Class #2
This was where we left off after an hour. The next class will have totally new people in it so the program will be as planned for the first. That is, we’ll have a look at the Web and Internet Search materials, chapter 4 here:
I think for the teachers, there’s plenty of material there, but if there’s time (or next time) we’ll start on Delicious here:
Somewhere in here we will start to transition from the first step in the 3-pronged approach (familiarity) to the second (content creation) and get Twitter, Yahoo (for Delicious), and Google accounts (for Google Docs).
There are other things we could do. It would be fun to experiment with writing collaboratively using http://docs.google.com and one of the Etherpad clones. That is we can look at the particular affordances of each in a synchronous classroom environment and then compare those with an asynchronous task using a wiki to see which would work for given assignments.
We can also look at the many ways that Delicous can be used to manage classroom communications through tagging. And we can develop this thread through further exploration of Tag Games: http://braz2010vance.pbworks.com/TagGames
Here we usher in our Introduction to PLN, with some consideration of whose microblogs to follow. The following are given here: http://goodbyegutenberg.pbworks.com/2010Sept_Week2
- Barbara Sakamoto’s Starter_PLN on Twitter: http://twitter.com/barbsaka/starter-pln/members
- Mark Pegrum’s list of Tweetworthy followees: http://e-language.wikispaces.com/Twitter
EdTech Podcasts are invaluble for connecting with a PLN and keeping abreast. Here’s a great resource: Ed Tech Crew’s favorite podcasts (a LOT of them, and good ones!)
We could add to these activities by using them as starting points for further exploration, and this in a sense is my design for the course, to get started in certain directions, and then as we did in the first class, branch out in tangents as we feel is appropriate, and finally record where we went here and/or in a wiki somewhere.
If you’re coming to class #2, this should give you some idea of what to expect.