Moving Into The Read/Write Web

I have the incredible opportunity to be teaching a class of six students right now. Six. I’ve never taught a class of six students. And having just come out of an intense EdPsych Seminar with 18 students, I wanted to try something a little different. I’ve been reading Will Richardson’s Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classroom – or perhaps the better words are “playing with” Will’s book, I’ve been wanting to use a shared website. Never done it before.

I love the idea of sharing the intellectual space with students in such an obvious way, and of forcing them to deal with each other (and me) in this very real tangible letter-by-letter collaboration. So I selected wikispace as the program to use after finding out the the original program I had selected was going to take five days to get approval. Hmmm. Five days would have taken me into the second day of the course. No thank you. I wanted to dive in day one. And dive in I did.

We seven are a varied lot. No one, myself included, super sophisticated in terms of tech expertise. Some still trying to figure out the click-and-drag thing. But we took it slow, everyone had an iBook, we hauled tables into the room from another class so we could sit around a table face to face, and I started to take them through the course using a projector and then had them put themselves into the course by interviewing each other, writing up the interviews, and uploading the text. The last half hour was spent talking about the “current directions” we were going to be interested in and I think we are “off” in terms of finding a topic of interest. Now tomorrow, I’d love to get at least one or two pairs of students to work together on a trend or at least to create one page for two closely associated trends. We’ll see.

What have I learned so far.

1. start simple – demonstrate all, assume nothing.

2. build a way into the first moments of the course for students to get in, write, and publish

3. build a way into the first moments of the course for students to edit someone else’s work (in this case, someone else’s writing of an interview with you)

4. be aware of students who have limited access and have paper backup

5. constantly monitor if the technology is driving or serving the daily outcomes – my goal is to serve, not drive

6. I don’t have to know it all. Hmm, where have I heard this before.

What I need to get better at.

1. putting myself out there in terms of being one of the content providers

2. provoking discussion

3. immediate feedback to students

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Charles Rathbone

Retired. Emeritus. UDL consultant, FIrst UU Racial Justice Committee, photographer, married, four children, five grandchildren. Embracing life, all of it. "Today is tomorrow's past."

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