Thursday, September 24, 2009

COETAIL pays off

Aspects of COETAIL are definitely creeping in to my day to day pedagogy, as well as into my reflective work after each class. Technology, like any new influencial force in education is subject to the ebb and flow of the pendulum of critical analysis. Much has been written on both its value and limitations. Lately, I'm hearing the voices of the sceptics more clearly than those of the proponents of technolgy in education.

Some studies report that tech gadgets and relentless multi-tasking behaviours are destroying youngsters' ability to concentrate on anything at all. Other articles describe how teachers are relying too heavily on power point presentations and should be teaching "naked" (a movement in some university levels that has professors lecturing without leaning quite so heavily on the crutches of technology).

In addition to McG's Connect-Ed, I've opened up a new blog site for parents of my science class who want to stay current with what's happening in seventh grade. Having tried classroom blogs before, and dismissing them as "time that is not being spent to help students", and having tried multiple other tools to communicate with parents, I have now reinstated a blog format for an audeince of what I precieve to be overly-concerned parents for four of my classes, albiet in a very couched manner.

While I do appreciate the blogging aspect in this course and for this audience, other ideas from COETAIL have been more meaningful to me. I think that through the learning in this course, my students are benefiting from the power of web 2.0 and shared info delivered directly to them on a daily basis in my classes.

Through google docs, the four different science classes I work with throughout the day are able to collaborate not only with each other, but with other students, in other classes, share ideas, communicate events, and blend their tallents to write 360 degree observations. The process involves significant modern life survival skills including reading for content, critical analysis, writing for a purpose, writing for an authentic audience.

As the critics battle over the vertue vs. the drawbacks, I like to hope that with a close enough eye on the debate, we can seek out and hang on to the enduring elements in this movement.