Currently, both of my classes are in a computer room which has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the main advantages is having a direct access to computers in class so that students can complete their blog entries before exiting. However, some students have difficulties staying on task and are easily distracted by the Internet. Also, the computer labs do not provide the most conducive environment for group work due to the room setup (e.g., table setup, pillars, dividers, etc.). I’m planning on changing the in-class activities and agenda a bit for next week and see if that makes a difference. Up to this point, we have visited the blogs briefly in the beginning of the class for comments and discussion points, gathered for small/large group discussions, and worked on our reflections at the end of the class. Next week, I’m planning on starting with group work first and finishing with blog entries and comments.
It has also been interesting to notice how the two groups embrace blogging very differently. One of my groups had hard time setting up their accounts, but regardless of the difficulties in the beginning, they are quite receptive to blogging and manage to stay on task. The other group, on the other hand, are very savvy technologically, but have harder time staying focused in-class and are more resistant to blogging. They were also resistant to the idea that other students would be posting comments on their blogs.
Regardless of these trials and tribulations, both groups have blogged about (1) common challenges that students are faced with in their first year of college and (2) differences between high school and college as well as their expectations about college. Steve’s SSY260 class will join the discussion on Saturday by responding to my students’ blog entries.