And Now Classes Start….

This is the week that classes get underway. It’s a little strange (I think) how my university does it. Classes start on Tuesday. I have one class that meets on Tuesday, but the other meets on Monday. So this week – no Monday class. My Monday class will meet a week from today and then have Labor Day off. By the time my Tuesday class has had three sessions my Monday class will have had one. I don’t get it, but it’s out of my control.

So – what are you looking forward to in your classes this semester? Do you have any specific goals for your teaching? Last year I had a lot going on what with applying principles of gamification and then working on how to use twitter effectively. Just one of those was enough in and of itself.

This year I don’t have any large scale grand overhauls in my teaching like I did last year. This year is looking like it will be all about refinement. And that’s fine. We don’t need to be doing complete overhauls of our teaching every single year. There are moments where we need to slow down and just tweak. I think that’s my jam for this year. Here’s a brief look at what I’m refining this semester:

Twitter Use

In some ways, twitter use will look very much the same as it did in the spring. I’m still using classroom tweeters. Tweeting during and between classes is optional (for the most part – more on that in a second). I’ve left sign up slots for parts of class, and people can sign up and commit to tweet during a specific segment of class when we meet F2F (because both my fall classes are hybrid). I’ll take a look at what people did and award XP. Pretty straight forward and easy to do.

I have added an option to tweet during class but without signing up for a slot. Doing so this twitteroption requires students to create a Storify and post it to the class wiki within a specified time frame.

I do allow for anyone to tweet between sessions – again, totally optional but it does earn you XP. I’m realizing now that I set this up so I have to go in and count tweets. Dang it. I told everyone to tweet 3-5 times a day for most days. Can we say dang it again? I’m not big into counting. I’m going to leave it in place as I’ve sent the syllabus out. I could change it. Class hasn’t started yet. But I’ll leave it. I’m changing this in the future.

One of my classes has to engage in an extended twitter chat. We do this during our online meeting weeks (see here and here). While I do want students thinking about quantity and quality – and I do give guidelines about this – I’m ultimately not counting tweets. I’ve got a new system for awarding XP in twitter chats which asks students to think about what they got out of the experience. I’m interested in seeing how this goes.

Blogging

Blogging is a requirement in one of my classes and optional in the other. However, I’ve made the decision to shift off of individual blogs and use a class authored one. I’m hoping this gives us a better way to bring in and grow readership. The downside, of course, is that this blog will only be used during the fall semester (much like the Politics of Reading blog only generates new content in the spring). It limits our audience I think because we are not regularly generating new content.

However, after a year the Politics of Reading blog seems to have generated good readership, and it continues to grow. Even in the off months, stats are showing that we consistently have more viewers each month in Year 2 than we did in Year 1. We have about 800 more views in August of Year 2 than we did for the entire Year 1. While it would be nice to generate steady content for the majority of the year – at least in the fall and spring semesters – the consistent uptick in views leads me to believe that people are interested and finding some value in what has been written.

Gamification

I’ve refined the gamification principles a ton. A ton. I’ve written a lot about gamification, and you can see the posts (and how I evolved in my thinking and application) here. I’ve focused on thinking about how I can use gamification for creating options for my students. Not everything is optional (or at least not without consequences!), but gamification has allowed me to open up my teaching. Could I do the same thing without it? Yes, probably. But the concept is what got me here.

In particular, the application of gamification principles helped me think about class participation. I had gotten rid of grading in class participation long ago because it was far to subjective for my taste. But with thinking about pop-up quests in class, I could start to see how XP could be awarded and used in a way that was much more objective when it came to scoring participation in class. Pop-up quests are here to stay. At least for awhile.

It’s easy to think about gamification in terms of points. When you view class through the lens of a video game it all becomes about points. And yes, I do allow for XP to be awarded throughout any given class. Opportunities are constant.

XPBut, as the instructor, you can’t get hung up on the points. You have to think about the experience you want your students to have and then work backwards into the points. Consider what you are asking them to do – in terms of length of time and complexity – and then consider what the XP could be worth. Sometimes I offer a range of XP for a single in class quest based on decisions students want to make about how to engage with it.

And that’s it. That’s my starting point for the academic year. I’ve got some new quests I’m trying out, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they go and sharing that with y’all.

In the meantime, I will note that I have planted an Easter Egg in the syllabi for both my classes. It is the exact same egg for both. It does require students to do some work in advance of the first day of class, but it is minimal and ends up benefiting them as the semester progresses. To my knowledge, only one person has found it. Or maybe multiple people have ignored it. Who can say? I’ll update on that soon once the deadline for it has passed.

Have a great semester!

One Year Ago

Two Years Ago

Featured Teacher: Eddie Kim

Today, I would like to welcome you to a new segment that I plan to take up: Featured Teacher. There are a lot of great educators out there across all levels, and I am constantly using them to refine and inspire my own teaching. While today’s featured teacher is appearing in my regular Monday post slot, moving forward I plan to do this on Thursdays. I’ll be starting with once a month and then moving onward from there.

If Eddie’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I recently wrote a post based on his work around video game theater. His work was so inspiring that I wanted to learn more about him as an educator and thus this section was born. I was curious to know his thinking behind video game theater, the challenges with implementing it, and his thoughts on what people like myself could do to help others develop the kinds of skills and thinking needed to do similar work.

Note: In the following sections what you will read are predominately Eddie’s words with very minor editing.

About Eddie

I graduated with a degree in Theater from Amherst College in 2000. Then I taught English in Koshigaya City, Japan, for two years after that. I’ve been teaching theater at the Pierrepont School in Westport, CT, since 2004.

What Kinds of Support Did You Have in Developing Video Game Theater?

Pierrepont has provided me with a great amount of support. Since 2007, I have been creating pieces and performing with students from the school. Rehearsals take place at the school. Many projects including the 2012’s Japanese ghost stories and 2013’s stories from Livy started as live-action theater pieces performed in my more traditional theater classes. My talented colleagues have provided original translations of works for me, assisted with press releases, and even designed postcards for my shows. In addition, this past year, the school has taken upon the expenses of my many workshops in area schools.

What Do You Think Teacher Educators Can Do to Support Teachers in Ways that Would Contribute to the Kinds of Innovative Work You Do?

Educators need to keep an open mind about the use of technology in the classroom. In my experience, students have been able to engage with text more deeply through the use of video games. My students become experts on the stories once they create a piece out of them.

Also, I just returned from creating a performance with a group of high school students in Tainan City, Taiwan. My team worked closely with this group of students for 5 days and created an amazing piece based on a section from Journey to the West that was performed in Chinese. Early on, these Taiwanese students admitted to me their nervousness about performing in a large auditorium. The technology allowed them to perform before a large audience without stepping onto the stage in a traditional way.

What Has Been the Most Challenging Aspect of Implementing Video Game Theater?

eddiesstudents
Some of Eddie’s students at work.

Technology can be fickle. Computers update and games are patched presenting compatibility issues; hardware breaks; batteries run out. Once we had a subscription run out in the middle of a performance at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In our workshops at schools, we’ve also had problems accessing video games as they often are blocked by the schools’ firewalls.

What Has Been the Most Rewarding Aspect of Implementing Video Game Theater?

The audience at my professional performances often sees my work as being quite technical and out-of-reach. Kotaku.com said of one of my pieces, “The basic concept is simple: breathing life into classic literature via video games. Yet the execution is anything but.” This has not been my experience at our school workshops. It is wonderful when students see my performances, see the potential in them, and are inspired to create their own work. This is evident when they contribute their own ideas for how they would choreograph different scenes or ask me how they might incorporate one of their own games.

 

Do you know an interesting educator who should be featured? Email me at leighahall39@gmail.com

One Year Ago Today

Two Years Ago Today

Virtual Presence

I’m over halfway through reading a book by Ethan Nichtern called The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path. Yes, I identify as a Buddhist. However, it doesn’t matter if you do or not as the book is full of ideas that can give you much to consider in terms of how you live your life. In this case, I started to think about how some of Nichtern’s ideas could be applied to teaching.

There is a section of the book – pages 128-129 if you have it – where he discusses being present and what it means to be present in relation to technology use. I love the following quote:

Physical reality and virtual reality are locked in a twenty-first-century tug-of-war. The answer is not to destroy our technology and go back to some pre-virtual paradise – the answer is to turn communication into a mindfulness practice. We need to know the guidelines for when we are physically present with someone, and when we are virtually present with someone, and to create principles around each of those periods of communication, so that we engage in each more fully (pg. 128).

When I read this quote, I found myself asking the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be present both virtually and in person?
  • How do we use technology in our teaching mindfully?
  • How can we help students engage in technology mindfully?

At this point, it seems critical to define the term mindfulness. I found a great page that expounds on it here. While I am sure there are many different ways to understand what mindfulness is, I do like the concept that it is about paying attention on purpose, within the present moment, and in a non-judgmental manner.

And let me tell you, that is really, really, REALLY difficult to do. But it’s something I work on.

With a good working definition of mindfulness set in place, I’d like to take a look at the questions I posed. What I want to do in this post – you’ll notice the title is Virtual Presence – is move beyond the idea of how to get students to stop screwing around online during class and instead think about the issues of mindfulness and technology in terms of how do we (as teachers) stay present and then how do we help our students do the same.

What Does it Mean to be Present both Virtually and In Person?

I’d like to start off by considering what it means to be present virtually. You might teach an online class, or (like me) you might find yourself teaching a blended/hybrid class. In these cases, students are expected to maintain some sort of virtual presence and so are we as teachers. What does this presence look like and what does it mean to stay in the moment?

As Nichtern stated, there is a constant back and forth for our attention between the physical and the virtual reality. As I write this, my attention could be pulled away from any number of things. And we might determine that some of those “things” are more valid than others. My dog standing by the door needing a walk was definitely a valid pull out of this virtual space and into the physical one.

On the flip side, one could be present physically in a classroom – as a student or a teacher – and have any number of virtual distractions attempting to pull your attention out of the physical. I recently bought a fitness watch that would buzz whenever I had a twitter alert. It constantly snapped me both from the physical into the virtual and from one virtual task (such as writing a blog post) into a different one. I turned off notifications because the distractions were interfering with my work and in no way beneficial. But I give the example to show that it is also possible to be tugged across virtual experiences just like your attention could be tugged across physical ones (you want to pay attention to a class discussion but you also want to have a side conversation with your friend).

So being virtually present means doing all of what I outlined before I started this section: paying attention on purpose, within the present moment, and in a non-judgmental manner. So whatever space we are in, these are some basic guidelines to be attuned to. The thing is, it’s not an either/or situation. As my dog demonstrated to me, I could choose to stay in the virtual – and not walk her – but there would be consequences for me that I would not enjoy. So to some extent there is always a dance. We have to figure out how to bound this dance to some degree – like when I turned off watch notifications – but this is something we each have to figure out on our own.  I can encourage my students to engage in mindfulness, and we can even discuss it, but I am not about to quantify it for them.

How Do We Use Technology in Our Teaching Mindfully?

Technology pushes and pulls us in and out of physical reality. And yet, for most of us, there is a need to us it. I will admit that I can get distracted when shown a new technological tool that I *might* be able to use in my teaching. But I’ve gotten better at staying focused. It’s fine to get distracted by a piece of technology at first – to think, “Oh – look at this shiny new thing. I wonder if I can use it in one of my courses?” – but then it’s time to settle down and consider if it can REALLY be used.

When I think about using technology mindfully in my teaching, I generally start with examining how a tool can be used to help or enhance learning. I also consider how it might be used to completely redefine what we are doing in my courses. As basic as it sounds, I love tools like Twitter because my students can keep talking to each other throughout the week. It changes the dynamic of what it means to be a student and a teacher. It’s not just about showing up for class once a week and then wandering off until next time. We can start to use technology to think about regular, sustained engagement and what that looks like.

And this is where the mindfulness really starts to kick in.

Because we all know to not use a tool for the sake of using a tool. We all know to evaluate how the tool might connect to learning. But the interesting thing about technological tools is that they can transform learning in ways that push us to be mindful in different ways as well. As we use a tool, learning can start to look different. In my twitter example, I started to see what it meant for students to engage in interactions between sessions. But then I had to start to be mindful about what it meant to engage. What did I want to encourage in my students and in myself as an instructor? This is where I believe mindfulness starts to get really interesting in our teaching.

How Can We Help Students Engage in Technology Mindfully?

Like any of us, our students will operate along a continuum of how mindfully they engage with technological tools required in our class as well as the general push and pull between the digital and the physical. I do think that how we set up experiences for students, and the guidelines we use to frame them, can contribute or inhibit how mindful they are being.

For example, in the spring of 2016 I worked to think about how to use twitter chats with my students.  The first time I did this I was focused on how many times a person tweeted. This encouraged students to be mindful of the total number of tweets they produced during a week and probably not so mindful about how they interacted with others. And I can’t blame them. I directed them to be mindful about quantity.

So I changed it up. The next time, I still had a focus – though greatly diminished – on quantity but now I was trying to communicate to students that I wanted them to engaged in sustained and interactive participation during the week. But it still came down to me counting people’s tweets. Things got better, but the focus on quantity was still higher than I liked.

In about a month, I am trying this again with a more focused effort on quality (I think). I’m also not going to be counting anyone’s tweets. While I do try to help students think about quantity (because they will want to know something about this which is fair), I have shifted to having them demonstrate how they think their participation is going. Ultimately, they do not get points for participation in and of itself. They get points for examining and reflecting on their participation and considering what they like about it and what they want to do differently.

Whew. I think I might have something decent in place. Finally.

Mindfulness is an Ongoing Process

The twitter example shows how I had to work to get an experience for my students to a place I was happy with and that supported the things I wanted it to support. The first time I tried twitter chats I  was very mindful about what I was doing. However, in practice I started to see where it all fell apart and did not support what I wanted it to.

So I refined it.

And then I refined it some more.

But because I was always mindful about what I was doing, and because I was willing to examine and refine an experience, each iteration got me closer to what I was aiming for. Ultimately, I want my students to be mindful about their interactions when using twitter. However, they are in a class, and they are receiving a grade. Therefore, the structures I put in place will guide them to be mindful about particular things. This might mean they ignore or do less of the things I want because of the very structures I put in place.

Sometimes, I am responsible for a lack of mindfulness in particular areas from my students.

I am looking forward to seeing how this newest version of my twitter chat assignment shapes students into being mindful and engaging with each other.

One Year Ago Today

Two Years Ago Today

 

The Decision to Blog as a Class

I’ve written a decent amount about my experiences with blogging as a teaching tool. In this post, I want to stop and reflect on my decision to not just have students blog in individual spaces, but to have a class blog. If you’re interested, some of my previous posts on blogging include:

At the masters level, I’ve had students set up individual blogs. I did this for a reason. First, I really believe it’s important to teach my students (classroom teachers) the importance and value of having a professional blog. I thought that if they had their own space, and used that space throughout the program, they might continue on with it on their own. I knew that not everyone would do this, but I thought at least some of them would. I don’t think anyone ever has.

In my Politics of Reading course (undergrads), we do a single class authored blog. When I initially made this decision, it was born out of practicality. Students were going to be blogging about issues relevant to the course, but those issues fell under a specific umbrella (the political nature of reading instruction in schools). We didn’t need 20 or more blogs on that, and I thought we could also better promote a single blog if we did it as a class.

With my masters course, one of the biggest struggles has been to gain readership for the teachers. I assume this is because most are not super active on social media (beyond FB) and do not have an audience in place to read their posts. While I can and do share their posts – and have a larger audience to share it with – it’s very difficult to keep up with sharing posts from a bunch of individual blogs. Plus, I start to feel like I’m the only one who cares when I seem to be the only one doing the sharing. If I’m just sharing off a class authored blog I don’t feel overwhelmed – even if I’m sharing the same amount of posts. That’s likely because I just log in to one place instead of 10+ different blogs.

Why Am I Leaning Towards Class Authored Blogs?

It comes down to this: better readership. My Politics of Reading class blogs January-April of each year. The rest of the time the blog is silent. No new material goes up (although I did just compile a Best Of page). And yet, the darn thing continues to grow in terms of readership. Between January 2016 and the end of June 2016, the blog had 400 more views than it did for the entire 2015 year (granted, that was the first year of the blog, but still!). It’s about tripled in average page views per day for the 2016 year when compared against 2015.

In 2016, we have had people from 65 countries – not counting the U.S. – look at the blog by mid-July. In 2015, 23 had people from 53 countries – again, not counting the U.S. – look at the blog for the entire year. Readership is definitely growing, and it appears to be remaining consistent.

This is what I want for my students. For me, a central point behind having students blog is to get others outside the class to read their work. And having a class authored blog, as opposed to lots of individual ones, seems to be the way to go. While I don’t have access to the stats for the individual blogs, it is something that has come up in class before. Most people report that their stats are very, very low to the point that it looks like no one outside the class is reading it. Although some do get readers in other countries and outside the class, most get very little (if any) of that.

Beyond the Class Authored Blog

Ideally, I’d like to move beyond the class authored blog. What I mean is this: While I would like to have a blog for my courses (as it makes sense to do so), I would like for others to join in as authors. I would like to have other classes connect with mine and join up to develop the blog. This gets us further along in developing readership and expanding what gets discussed on the blog. What I’m moving towards here is a multi-class authored blog.

Multi-class authored blogs do not need to be any more complicated than a single-class authored blog. And single class blogs are not complicated to run. All it takes is teaching students how to sign up for a time on a sheet for their post to go live and then scheduling themselves in wordpress. I don’t think I’ve ever had a student get confused or make an error here.

I’m hopeful about finding someone to partner up with in the future to make this happen.

Two Years Ago Today

One Year Ago Today

 

How Do We Help Bring in the Digital?

Not too long ago, I came across this fascinating piece. The article looks at how a high school teacher (Eddie Kim) and his students developed a business where they take classic texts and play them out in a video game format. If you click on the link, you can see some examples of their work and read about it further. They also have a website.

As I was reading the piece, I came across the following quote:

Despite his devotion to the classics, Sedlacek emphasizes the importance in letting them find new forms. “I don’t think it helps to act as if the classics occupy a sacred space isolated from the rest of culture. It’s better to allow these texts to be played with, to put them into conversation with the other media that make up our world.” He describes video game puppetry as a “postmodern mashup of old and new, high and low. Video games lend flair and fun, the stories lend wisdom and gravity. Together, they give the audience a chance to appreciate both for the unique feelings and thoughts they can evoke in us.”

This quote, along with the work that Eddie and his students have been doing, led me to the following question:

To what extent are teacher educators engaging educators in ways that allow them to do this king of work and/or develop the capacity to do so?

I’m not here to say that every teacher needs to learn how to translate the classics into a video game. What I am concerned about is how well we support teachers in developing the background knowledge and thinking abilities that allow them to engage their students in creative and new ways. I think doing so is going to require us to think very differently about teacher education. Specifically:

  1. We have to stop looking at things in silos, and we have to stop organizing classes that way.
    1. While my institution doesn’t offer a specific educational technology class in the programs I teach in, I could imagine that such a class isn’t unheard of. The masters program I teach in does offer a content area literacy course (how to help kids develop their abilities to read/write in the academic disciplines), and we use edtech tools in the course, but not in ways that merge and blend to the extent that Kim has done.
  2. I can see the argument for silos. If I teach a course in content area literacy, then (theoretically), it should allow me and my students to go in-depth into that topic. In reality it doesn’t. It allows for a superficial skimming. To be more in-depth the class would have to be more specific – like developing academic literacies in English/Language Arts for secondary students. This thought leads me back to…
  3. Making an argument for competency based education and getting rid of classes as the way we structure education – at least from the Masters level on – in teacher education. While such a model is not a guarantee of a better education, what emerges is the opportunity for students to create a plan of studies that allows them to go more in depth and overlap disciplines.

So you can see that my point here isn’t to argue that we need to add more classes or different classes because I think the existing model is limited and dated. What we need to do is find ways to help teachers think critically about content and the pedagogical techniques they use to employ that content. It’s not just a matter of learning content or learning tools. It’s how we think about them and employ them in our teaching.

In some ways, this requires a mindset shift from teachers at both the pre and in-service levels. All teachers want tools to address the issues they are facing and help their students learn. I get that – totally reasonable. But if you’re the teacher who shows up and wants to be handed a list of the best tools and how to use them – with the intention of pretty much just plunking them down into your instruction – then you have to make some changes. Now and then this mindset is ok and works fine, but it can’t be the default mode if you want to get to someplace as interesting, creative, and relevant as Kim has.

We Have To Engage With the Digital

The article discussing Kim brought home to me the importance of engaging with the digital in K-12 instruction. I consider myself to be someone who is relatively up to date on edtech issues and tools, and I am always interested in learning more. I work to infuse my courses with technology in ways that serve learning. I want the teachers I work with to learn tools in was that are useful and relevant to their learning of course content, but (ideally) they will gain insight into how to use those tools in their own classroom.

So how do we help teachers start to use digital tools in ways that extend and reshape what learning looks like in schools? I don’t have the answers here. I barely had suggestions. I only know that I look at what Kim does and I want to figure out how to help the teachers I work with acquire the skills they need in order to design experiences of that caliber.

 

Two Years Ago Today

One Year Ago Today

 

Scoring Twitter Chats

Last year, I had a goal to improve how I used twitter in my instruction (read about it here, here, and here). My biggest struggle with using twitter has always been how to score it. How many points do I assign someone? How do I know if someone participated enough in terms of quantity and quality? How would I even begin to keep up with it all?

Well, maybe I don’t try to keep up with it all. Maybe I just let the whole idea of quantification go, and instead have the students demonstrate what they did and experienced.

twitter mingleIn the fall, one of my masters classes will be participating in an extended twitter chat seven times. Last year, I had this class participate in a synchronous twitter chat that met when we would normally meet face to face. I’m getting rid of that because I think we can have better discussions if we make the discussion ongoing throughout the week. However, I’m not going to try to keep up with how many times a person tweeted. I will participate, but I’m done with counting.

What will I do? Well, first, let’s take a look at the directions:

Directions for the Extended Twitter Chat

1. I will release three questions during the week [when the chats occur]. They will be released on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 5:00 PM.
2. I will tag questions with the course hashtag.
3. Questions will be numbered Q1, Q2, and Q3.
4. You can respond to (or ignore) any question at any point during the week. Questions are used to help facilitate the discussion. However, they are also suggestions for what to discuss.
5. When you respond, start the tweet with A1 (if responding to Q1), A2 (if responding to Q2) and so on.
6. All responses/interactions must be posted under the course hashtag. You can use any other # that you wish, but YOU MUST use the course hashtag to get credit.

A few notes here:

  • I’m inserting questions into the conversation just to help keep moving things along. I am not requiring students to answer them.
  • Remember that tweets can be automated using Twuffer.
  • I do not tell students how often they should tweet, but you’ll see in a minute that I do give them some basic suggestions for how to think about it.

Awarding XP

I will award XP four times during the semester for the twitter chats. Here is how it will go down:

Earning XP is about participating in the chats, but it is also about how your participation in the chats shapes you as a XPteacher [remember that I teach teachers] and a learner. To earn XP, you will need to demonstrate the following:

  • Articulate how well you participated in the twitter chats. This is done at two time points. The first time point happens from 10/11-10/18. The second time point happens from 11/28-12/6. At each time point, you should examine and reflect on both the quantity and the quality of your participation. You are free to articulate your insights in any manner you wish and submit them however you wish. Consider the following:
    • During a chat week, do you participate with three or more tweets for at least four days?
    • Are you engaged in sustained and interaction participation for four or more days? Sustained and interactive participation means you do more than posts links or make statements. While you can, and should do these things, it also means that you talk to others who are participating and actively engage them and engage with them in some fashion.
    • XP for first time point = 8000; XP for second time point = 20,000
    • Due Dates: I will only accept submissions for the first time point between 10/11 (starting at 5:00 PM) – 10/18 (ending at 5:00 PM); No late submissions; The second time point can be submitted anytime from 11/28 (starting at 5:00 PM) and ending on 12/6 at 5:00 PM. No late submissions.

 

  • Curate a top 10 list (from the twitter chat) of resources that people other than you provided. These resources should inform your teaching about how to enhance students’ disciplinary literacy abilities. They may or may not have to do with the use of graphic novels specifically. Lists can be shared however you wish to curate them. XP = 30,000. Can be submitted anytime starting 11/28 – 12/6

 

  • Demonstrate how your thinking has shifted as a result of your experience with the twitter chats. You can do this however you wish. XP = 70,000. Can be submitted anytime starting 11/28 – 12/6.

Some notes here:

  1. You will notice that the way students demonstrate what they are doing/learning is pretty loose. I did this intentionally. I am interested in seeing what I get.
  2. I am thinking about starting a Pinterest board to help with the top 10 list; that way students can collectively pin resources there. However, students could also just pin to their own boards whatever they find useful and then shift that into a top 10 list later.
  3. Having a top 10 list where students curate resources others shared requires them to post resources themselves. Otherwise, how will anyone complete the assignment?

Shifting off Quantification

You can see that I’ve shifted off of trying to keep up with how many tweets any one person does. Instead, I’m asking my students to think about their participation, reflect on it, and then demonstrate what they have learned. I do try to give them some guidelines for how to think about participation without being overly prescriptive.

I’m excited to try this out. In my experience, students tend to get anxious when things aren’t nailed down for them. I understand that. However, I also think that by being looser in my directions I am able to allow for students to be far more creative than if I tried to quantify every little detail. We’ll see how it goes!

Two Years Ago Today

One Year Ago Today