Admittedly, it does feel like it’s been ages since Internet was a rather expensive means of spending your time, but in fact, it has been less than a decade since flat rates have been widely available. When I first started using AOL back in 1996, it cost 6 DM (3 Euros) per hour plus the landline call fee, and for this, the content was exclusively available to members, as were the chatrooms – which was on some level a big plus, as it kept the gazillions of idiots out who now crowd basically every chatroom there is. But in the long run it did not work out, at least not for most common interest publishers.
On Sunday, Frank McCourt died of cancer, aged 78. Even though his death is not much more than a side note on the news, for me, this is a much greater loss than the recent deaths in the celeb world. But I’ve already put my rant about that on my German blog: http://druzilla.de/2009/07/21/so-long-teacher-man/
So why is this related to education and thus worth a post on this blog? Well, I think all English teachers – maybe all teachers – should read his books, especially the latter ones, in which he describes his career as a teacher. Rarely have I read more enthusiastic, more dedicated, yet still convincing accounts of the job: It’s hard, it’s a struggle, it’s a job you probably would like to quit every other week, but if you stick to it, it’s still rewarding. Know what you sign up for, and you’ll manage.
Thanks, Teacher Man. Say Hi to DNA for me.
Task 6: Please research which theorys fit to educational (micro)blogging. Take one of them and develop a small usecase for your future pedagogical field of practice using this theory.
Communities of Practice
During my research for this task I mostly stuck with different constructivist theories, and decided to chose Wenger’s and Lave’s “Communities of Practice” for my usecase. This theory was first developed during the 1990s, though Wenger states that “the phenomenon it refers to is age-old”¹. Communities of Practice (CoP) are groups of people with a common interest, who interact with each other to share their learnings and thus learn from each other’s experience as well as their own practice. Read the rest of this entry »
Task: Answer the following questions. Have you read anything about barriers and/or resistance in this context?
- How can adults be “taught” to use the internet not like classical media?
First of all, the only way to teach anybody to use the Internet properly is to have them get to know it thoroughly and discover the opportunities at hand. Nobody can be expected to embrace the usage of a technique they have not even understood yet. This goes not only for adults, there are still a lot of students who also prefer their classical media. Even if they are digital natives, they still have spent a lot more time using books and paper than computers. Nicole Melander¹ recently wrote a blog post on her experience with offering online exams, reporting that still more than 50% preferred doing it on paper.
Having read several blog entries on How To Use Micro-/Blogging (like Kerry Turner’s and Laura Walker’s), I started looking for blogs that actually make use of these theoretical approaches. Turns out theory is very different from real life: I hardly found anything worthwhile, so this post is, again, mostly about theories on Web 2.0 apps as learning tools.
Nevertheless, there were some blogs I found which seemed to be somewhat successful approaches to using technology in non-IT subjects:
- Grundkurs Deutsch (http://gk-deutsch.blogspot.com/).
The owner of Grundkurs Deutsch is Peter Ringeisen, teacher in Bavaria, who has set up this blog in 2004 and has been using it with several courses. The layout is quite plain, and it is a mixture of student-generated content and recommendations posted by the teacher (aka rip). The student-generated content is often just written homework, so not really very Web 2.0-y, but sometimes they create videos or share recommendations about books etc. The teacher posts new tasks or interesting projects from other schools. He’s doing the same for his Leistungskurs Englisch (http://djd-elks.blogspot.com/), and the students there seem to get even more into the community aspect of using a blog for their course.
All in all, these blogs certainly aren’t perfect, but students make frequent use of them, so it obviously works and is at least a step in the direction of using EdTech in school.
A nice little video to send to people who think new technologies aren’t necessary: