Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Quite a Development
So, today's focus is professional development. Because last week's class was cancelled due to snow, I sensed some confusion concerning course activities among the students. I had looked into the chatroom on Oncourse a few times and noticed some of my students' comments. I e-mailed these students directly, but I wanted to clear up the questions with the entire class before moving forward into today's lesson.

I was surprised that many had forgotten about their blogs on Blogger that they created the first day of class or otherwise missed the connection between these blogs and the make-up assignment from last week, which was to write a post about integrating technology into a standards-based lesson in the content area of interest. (I did not specify in my announcement to the students that the blog posts would go on the blogs. I assumed they would know this, as it didn't cross my mind that they would go anywhere else!) One student creatively used his Delicious account to tag the lesson plan and then wrote his comments in the description area of the bookmark. I had planned to begin class with a follow-up activity stemming from these posts; but because so many had trouble, I decided to postpone the activity until a future session. Instead, I demonstrated how to post to their blogs and offered them a second chance to complete the assignment, because I felt too important a lesson to skip.

I also demonstrated how to get to the correct lecture worksheet for each week and where to find my and their classmates' e-mail addresses in the Roster area of Oncourse. I encouraged the students to visit the TTL or e-mail me with future questions and avoid getting sucked into the negativity that has seemed to surface in the course chatroom. I compared the chatroom to the teachers' lounge, saying that it can be a great place to vent but can also drag your perspective down as you listen to others' complaints.

I then introduced the professional development plan assignment, describing each section of the plan and how they were to be graded using the rubric. We then moved on to the digital storytelling workout. I explained why learning how to create digital stories is important for them as future teachers (it is a great strategy for involving our digital native students in interacting with the content that they are studying) and offered a few suggestions for how it might be used in the content areas. We reviewed the web resource from University of Houston that outlines the components of a digital story and the kinds of tools that could be used. I then demonstrated from start to finish how to create a digital story in Windows Movie Maker. I explained the difference between their Windows Movie Maker file (.MSWMM) and their published digital story (.wmv). I instructed them to submit their published digital stories by uploading them to the Artifacts page of their e-portfolios. Knowing that this is a multi-step process, I created a tutorial and posted it this week's Resources in Oncourse. I asked the students to attempt to follow the tutorial, and then ask for help if they got stuck on one of the steps. Providing the tutorial at least initially reduced the number of times I had to walk the students through the process.

I provided them the option during the second half of class to choose what they wanted to work on. Some chose to work on their professional development plans and do their digital stories in the quiet of their own rooms, where they wouldn't feel awkward recording in front of others. Some decided to go ahead and do their digital stories in class or in the TTL. Many fixed their blog posts from last week. And I circulated and answered questions as needed.

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posted by SG @ 3:32 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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