Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best class 2.0 experience

After a collaborative activity across sections, I posted here I was able to have ENG 99 students switch positions in the peer review process--they were able to go from reviewers who were giving feedback to writers (of another ENG 99 section) to writers who received feedback (from my ENG 101 students) on the same kind of activity they had critiqued before.

A lot of composition theory addresses the simple reality that college students at the start of their career are very self-centered--not as a generational flaw or a sign of the decline of Rome but because that is where young adults are, developmentally, at that point of their cognitive development. Activities which allow them to see themselves as others see them and, more importantly, to see others as having the same needs (even simple needs for feedback on their work) they do help students both as writers but also as public citizens. Yet conducting such exchanges within a single class brings its own set of challenges, not the least of which the artificiality of it. One of the advantages of 2.0 environments is that we are used to receiving feedback, often even unsolicited, on items we post. So when students are called to critique blogs of people they do not have as classmates it feels as a more authentic real-world experience than a classroom activity to pass the time.

As I was looking at posts (my own and others') from so far I realized we often tend to focus on technology problems or discuss using technology in general, yet when I looked back at activities like the one I mentioned I realized that there are greater advantages to 2.0 platforms than the fact they are non-proprietary or that anyone can join and follow (qualities that are nonetheless important). 

1 comment:

  1. I agree--it is the pedagogical effects that interest me. 2.0 lets students "understand" who they are as learners at this point in terms of the larger group, discover that there are other ways to do what they are doing, and take responsibility for their feedback.

    That is why I take our *anecdotal* student stories about learning-by-lurking very seriously.