Sunday, May 19, 2013

Activity update

Well, I expected the second half of the online peer review to go more smoothly but that's not been the case.  That very well could be due to end of year/student laziness phenomena but it is still frustrating.

In the first round, about 3/4 of the students were able to complete all or most of the activity -- uploading their outlines to the wiki and providing feedback to two classmates.  At this stage, a fraction have done that for the second outline.

During the first phase it seemed many students could not figure out how to work the technology, but I chalk that up to lack of effort.  Many were able to perform the assignment and find unique, innovative ways to provide feedback.  Either way, if utilizing the technology itself is getting in the way of carrying out the task itself than that is problematic.  I've thought at time that it would have been easier to simply have the students print out their outlines and have their peer reviewers simply write their feedback directly on the hard copy documents.

This of course would defeat the purpose of the 2.0 ethos.  But we have to ask ourselves if new media is actually helping to facilitate learning or is merely providing another barrier to effective instruction.  I think, looking ahead, these activities will run much more smoothly during the summer and fall terms.

4 comments:

  1. There may be a kernel of wisdom in the idea that students couldn't figure out the technology. Looking back, was the connecting activity something that served them pedagogically? Was the wiki a facilitating platform? How did the feedback help to improve their outlines? Your question, is new media "actually helping to facilitate learning or is [it] merely providing another barrier to effective instruction" is a fair one and something we definitely need to consider as we design activities, sequences, assignments, etc. around Web 2.0 to bring groups together. Questions surface for me like: What are Ss learning (AND/OR what am I teaching)? Is this the best platform? How is "connecting" to others in this activity enhancing their learning experience?

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  2. I had a little of a problem about that... see my post to share frustrations :S

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  3. "...if utilizing the technology itself is getting in the way of carrying out the task itself than that is problematic."

    Well said, Robert. I'm skeptical of technological panaceas for deep-seated teaching/learning problems, especially when the tech actively gets in the way. Like you, I've wondered if the my students and their counterparts weren't better off writing down and exchanging their work on paper. Then again, it would be a logistical (and environmental) nightmare for me to photocopy multiple copies of everyone's paragraphs. Facebook makes this process supremely quick and easy, once everyone has figured out how to create and account etc.

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