Thursday, March 15, 2012

Being flexible and reflective in ELL 101 Honors

There were a few glitches at the beginning of the semester--technological and otherwise. On the first day of class, I thought I'd check out my computer lab a few hours before class--just to get to know the tech, see whether it was a PC or Mac lab, my access to turning on and off the projector. (I find that working in a lab needs to be choreographed a bit beforehand--setting up videos so they've already buffered, "publishing" blog posts I haven't wanted students to see beforehand, etc.)
To my shock (!), it wasn't a computer lab! And here the first class lesson was shaped all around creating blogs, posting, learning how to create documents in Google Docs and linking them to blogs, etc. Fortunately, that was settled by the second week (i.e., this past Tuesday), but I've fallen away from having them use Google Docs (wonder if I'll recover the time...?) because I can't let this class be about technology.
Having said that, things are going smoothly and the students seem to be enjoying learning to use and practicing on these platforms. (I'm using Google Docs, spreadsheets/forms, surveymonkey, etc.)
The blog list on Blogger has a glitch that we're needing to work around and I guess that "needing to work around" is the big theme in my teaching now. Things might go wrong, they certainly won't be perfect, but if I can model to students that it's worth having visions/ideas of how things can be, taking risks, succeeding in some, failing and/or fixing others, AND that I can tolerate it in myself and in them, then I think I've succeeded in something about teaching and learning. Maybe it's the value of being flexible and reflective and how much room it leaves to be playful even when you're setting the bar high.
More particulars in ensuing posts!  

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