Monday, October 27, 2008
Communication Tools
We started the lab this week with online student evaluations. Then, I opened the floor for any questions that the students may have had about Monday's lecture. There were no questions. As I passed back the lecture worksheets, I asked them to name some tools that they use to communicate. Instant messaging, Facebook, text messaging, cell phones, and e-mail were mentioned. I asked if any used Twitter and was surprised that none of the students had heard of it. So, I demonstrated how I can send a "tweet," which is a micro-blog of sorts, from my cell phone. I explained that the message is then transmitted to others' cell phones who are following me. It also updates my Facebook status and can be seen on my Myspace page. I showed them some of the accounts of people I am following, including educational technologist David Warlick, and explained that Twitter can be for personal uses, such as updating family and friends, as well as professional uses, such as posting ideas and resources relating to teaching or technology integration.

I then led them through two activities in which they experienced two communication tools - Oncourse's forums and Google Groups. For each tool, I allowed time for the students to participate in the discussion then showed them some additional features. I then facilitated a discussion about positives and negatives of each, ways that teachers might use these tools, and challenges for teachers and students in using communication tools.

The session wrapped up with the students working on their third artifact proposal. I encouraged them to use the feedback I had provided on their first proposal in crafting the third. I added a bullet point on the artifact proposal form for where they could state what they plan to create for their portfolio. I'm hoping that this will remind them to be more explicit about what will come out of the proposal.

Though I like the idea of collaboration spanning all of the lab sections through the Google Groups workout, it would have been better if our section was able to have their own group to facilitate more participation. By being one of the last sections for this week, I felt that the students didn't have as much of a part in putting together the top 10 website lists. Though they did provide comments about sites already posted and added some of their own, the pages for the most part already had plenty of sites posted from previous sections.

They seemed to be tuned in to the discussion about teacher challenges with using communication tools. There are many things we could have done in this lab relating to communication tools. I think that it would be helpful when teaching this lesson again for the students to take on the role of teacher in the communication tool workout, such as facilitating discussion, setting up discussions, crafting questions or scenarios that lend to good discussions, etc.

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posted by SG @ 8:40 PM  
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Location: Houston, TX, United States
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I am attempting to develop practical instructional applications of developing technologies and provide educators with tools to implementing instructional technologies effectively.
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MUVEs, Web 2.0, assistive technologies, digital video

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