Yesterday we had a discussion about technology that featured Mohamed Esa and Robin Armstrong.
Robin shared with us her use of blogs in class and showed us some examples of blogs on her classroom site. Her main experience is that students are able to engage more heavily in the material and apply it to their own lives. The most positive aspect of the blogs is an increase in the engagement of her students with the music she wishes them to learn about. She stressed that the blog is essentially a tech-ed up low stakes writing assignment, but noted that she’s asking students to write and connect ideas in a medium with which they are already familiar and do most of their thinking. Some students post entries every day, showing her an increased engagement with the material.
Mohamed was fresh off of a conference presentation entitled “iPod, You Flip, We all Skype.” Mohamed shared his use of iPod Touch devices which allow his German language students to read newspapers from Germany and to find out what is happening in Europe while in class. He has students use flip cameras to video themselves speaking or having conversations and these can be stored and later revisited. Mohamed also employs Skype for language conversation. All of these devices allow students to engage in speaking, listening, writing, and reading – which are all essential skills in language development. He also noted that 100% of the students complete 100% of the homework nearly all the time, something he’s never before had happen.
Thanks to those of you who came out to hear about these pedagogies that are supported by technology. A workshop on how to set up Blogs will be offered later this semester through InTech.