I was asked to present a half-day technology session for middle school literacy teachers – which I immediately agreed to! It could be so fun!
I was asked by a a district office administrator that has been working with these middle school folks to design a new literacy course for sixth grade. The idea is to include something in the curriculum that is about communicating electronically…which is supposed to get the students ready for future learning…aka “21st Century Learning.” The suggestion by this administrator was blogging.
Sure – sounds simple enough. But I have 3 hours to explain that there are about a million possibilities to use blogging, and they not only have to figure out how they are going to use it, but also the other possibilities (because in about 2 months they are going change their mind once students start blogging with them). They also need to understand what a blog is, and how it fits in to the bigger picture of tools. The teachers have to understand how our district blog site works and then all the outside, free, blog sites that they can pick from. Will the blog be open only to the students? Will the students create avatars or user names, or will they be required to put their real name? Will the students need e-mail addresses? Will the teachers need to create an e-mail address for them? What parent permission form will they use? Will the teachers approve the blog posts as they are posted or will they approve them ahead of time? Will students have a required number of blog posts? Will parents have access to this work? Are teachers taking the students’ digital footprints into account in this work? Will the teachers save the blog posts year after year? Will students be required to comment on other students’ posts?
And I will figure it all out in 3 hours.
So as I tried to explain my concerns about focusing on one tool for 3 hours, I had a really hard time. I needed an analogy for ed tech and how fast it changes, and how the blogging is sometimes the end and sometimes the means. It is the automate vs. informate question. Maybe that’s how I should have explained it…