Obviously there is a blindingly obvious link between the vertically challenged, publicity addicted, chesticularly blessed “celebrity” and my effective use of technology in the classroom. No, i am not dating Kanye West. No, i have no plans to star in my own range of smellovision perfume commercials. However, I am going to confess to a sudden interest in shoes… platforms to be exact.
Wherever Kim totters, she is supported by an array of unaffordable shoes designed by unpronouncable surnames. Her every dainty jaunt is structured and given balance by the skill and guile of thousands of hours of highly skilled craft…and it was precisely this that made my first week of paperless teaching stop short with a bit of a jolt…To go with the Kardashian metaphor, I realised that i had my brand new dress on, I had done my hair and makeup but, fashion disaster of fashion distasters, i hadn’t anything on my feet ! How would people see me, how would i survive moving from red carpet to red carpet and party to party demonstrating my 1:1 ness….more importantly, what would the fashion critics say ?
I was pleased, perhaps even feeling a little smug. I had set up a dropbox account, a facebook account and had emailed all of my students when a colleague, with vastly more IT experience and a glint in his eye, asked me what platform i was using ?
After a slightly uncomfortable silence ( akin to “you did remember to hide the red paint from your toddler before letting her play on the new carpet…didnt you ?”) and some sounds that nearly resembled words from may part…it became clear that i wasn’t really sure what he was talking about…It also became clear that my drop box and facebook accounts are really nothing more than resource banks or libraries and that i need something that i can use with the students for their day to day personal and group based tasks. In short, i had the dress and the makeup but no shoes, and therefore no way of getting to any of the wild and crazy parties that Ryan Seacrest would be at.
As a way of cobbling, my college suggested evernote and live minutes as a platform. This would enable students to work individually or collaboratively, and as a way of providing us all with access to mark/comment/revise ongoing tasks. As a convert to google docs, i am intrigued with how this will work, and am hoping that the wifi network can cope with a group research and document producing task i am now busily planning ! I guess that this is the testing of the pudding and it will show me if we can go beyond the IT resources and actually do some 21 C collaborative learning…i will let you know how this pans out.
Linked to this idea is an interesting article that i came across which talked about the School of One in NY, which seems to be a type digital platform that works at the moment through the maths curriculum at the school. In short, School of One looks at a digital teaching and learning platform that self-generates according to students learning styles and needs and provides for pedagogical input.
Finally, as a side note, it was a little strange, (but in a good way), to have a student ask me if it was ok for him to use a pen and paper to make notes in my film class last week, as he had forgotten to bring his blackberry to class. It is nice to see that sometimes the students may have the technology or the means but perhaps they aren’t always aware of how best to apply or use it !
This point became even more lucidly clear to me as, in keeping with the challenge of not using pens or paper for a year, i have had to adjust to hiding pens and paper on my desk and to look for other ways of noting down the things i need to do, as well as the important (!) meetings i need to be a part of. I tried google calender, but found that my inbox was soon overflowing with email reminders. Another teacher suggested sticky note, which i tried and couldn’t get on with, but I am pleasead to say that i have found a good fit in the form of Microsoft office note… a program already living quietly under my very own nose. I wonder how many other things there are, that i have already, but that i dont know about or dont use… I am becoming a co-learner as well as a teacher !