In Just 45 Minutes…

I head to campus to begin another semester.  I am teaching a course called Designs for Technology Enhanced Learning.  I have taught some version of this course to pre-service teachers for the past five years.  It began as a one-credit class that focused on technical skills, but as the students have become more familiar with the tools, the course has morphed into a two-credit class that focuses more on how to use the tools in the classroom.  I am more excited about teaching the course this semester because I really feel like I have hit my stride with it.

The one area where I am a little concerned is with the additional of a online personal learning network component.  This is clearly something that others are thinking about as well since my first look at Twitter this morning led me to Will Richardson’s post on the subject. I am going to have my students join a the VSTE Ning network and participate for the whole semester.  This assignment replaces the blogging they used to do as I grew discouraged with that assignment over time.  It became increasingly quantitative (x number of posts and x number of comments) and few students seemed to ever realize the potential power of blogs to support their own learning and reflection.  The Ning assignment is much more open ended: get involved in the community on a regular basis.  I have invited Sheryl Nussbaum Beach to come in as a guest speaker since she’s my hero when it comes to these communities.  I’m hoping she can provide some motivation for them to get involved AND stay involved even after the course is over.

The other part of this assignment is that I am hoping it will motivate my own learning and involvement in an online community.  I tend to live on the peripherals of these groups.  I was never much of a “joiner” in the real world and that habit has remained in the virtual one as well.   Like Will, I am very much in the midst of examining my own practices and also looking towards life after my degree is completed.  So, while I am nervous about this assignment, I am also excited to have an opportunity to really engage in an authentic activity with my students.  I’m just hoping they will feel the same way!

And now it’s time to get ready…I’m walking to campus this morning to benefit myself and the environment but that means an early start.  Class begins at 11 and if you want a sample of what we’re doing, here’s my agenda.

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