Since the begin of the 2014 academic year I have been in a limbo stage of sorts. During the first few weeks of class I had unlimited access to the internet and of of its resources. My family and I purchased a home and were plunged into the near primitive existence with only marginal internet access during my planning and lunch times. If my family didn’t live in a cellular black hole, I would have likely forked over money for a digital cellular plan.
Life without internet while taking and teaching digital reliant classes is just shy of impossible.
Anyhow… Here is some of the knowledge I have gained and tried these past few weeks. I will combine them on this blog to allow for quicker reading/recapping.
First, as taking an online class is difficult when technology doesn’t cooperate, so is teaching a class dependent on technology. My students do about 95% of classwork, tests, and quizzes on technological media. Google Docs and Edmodo usually combine for a nice platform for assigning work and assessing student progress. However, when there is a fly in the ointment even the best planned lessons quickly fall apart. What I have learned form this is to always have a back-up plan. Teenagers are impatient with spinning wheels as they wait for a Google Doc to load and tremendously quick to give up entirely if they cannot be handed something to do while they wait.
Another thing that I have learned is that students need one on one time to develop as writers. This is an ongoing thing for me. Nancy Atwell discusses several times in her book, In the Middle, that students learn more through support and conferencing than through traditional repetition.
More to follow…