Compilation ? Refelction

Well…been working on a compilation of my blogs so far for Potcert and it appears not many assignments were actually done as required. So I need to distract from these omissions by reflecting on where all this useful content has been squandered.

First my job has changed in the period of the class and it now involves basic housekeeping of previous online courses to ready them for wider distribution and moving to our updated LMS. This is necessary work as wider distribution means more tuition coming in and if I was an accountant I’d be really excited. With no design work nor contact with practicing instructors it seems I’m locked in my office for the next year pushing buttons on my computer.

To compensate for this I’ve tried being present in my blog but talking to myself is what I already do all day. Also find blogging frustrating. Like talking into the void with no response. After a while a person gets tired of being the most uninteresting person at the dance and has to start reaching out. How can blogging be useful to students when it so isolating that we need to order them to “reply to three others” in every assignment? How absurd is it to have to force young people to talk to each other? Could it be that the blog is some twisted illusion of “empowerment” by locking students into the same old model of demonstrating learning by speaking in the singular under strict guidelines knowing that even the comments received are requirements of the assignment?

It seems that there really isn’t a revolution in education going on here, only a move to another medium and some pretty decoration. When was it decided that telling people what to do would cause them to learn? Are we confined to producing highly polished little mirrors of the material we teach that never penetrates below the surface?

Anyway, this course has caused me to see education as background data to a conversation that may never resolve itself. The courses I’m reassembling are simply catalogues and stock piles of information—objects. Learning is happening somewhere else.

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  • Rachele DeMeo  On November 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I understand how you feel about blogging. I like blogging about fun stuff going on in my personal life but prefer to simply “do” (using tools suggested to us in POT) than just write about them. I also wonder who reads our blogs and if those who respond are simply “forced” to in some way… I also think the blogging is a way to review what we have learned. With students, perhaps blogging would be a way for them to review the lesson and put in practice some of the things learned…

    • scottx5  On November 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Hi Rachele, I do follow other bloggers and enjoy responding to posts but actually creating my own seems odd to me. Certainly isn’t because I’m ever at a loss for words:-) Only that I prefer conversations and text discussion boards over declaring this or that. There are times when writing acts as a way of solving a problem by putting words on paper where I can look at them and, as you say “do” something. My new role at work is becoming too isolating (alone in my office all day) and I’ve gone through all sorts of schemes for reconnecting by starting a learning community or posting useful stuff on the College’s Facebook page and then it occurred that having my office next to the cafeteria why not walk in and have my bag lunch there? Wonder if that counts as an “innovative” application?

      One of our teachers a few years back had students freeze on her when it came to essays, even personal stories. She brought in a few small reporter’s tape recorders and asked the students to talk out a story to be edited at first one on one and this broke the aversion to writing for some of them. Some of it was shyness and some was simply a case of never being asked what they thought. Many of our Power Engineering students struggle with writing but if you replace the keyboard with a tablet and stylus they are fine. How do we get these people to blog? It’s too big a jump in cognition for many in our 2 year community college programs.

      One way to get students comfortable with writing is maybe using Facebook. Going where they are already present and comfortable might work but could seem like an intrusion into their private relationships? Of course we could always ask. One thing that IS vital is feedback and it might be better to reverse the process and let students practice responding to someone they don’t know rather than write into the void. Allow them to permit themselves to have things to say.

      • Lisa M Lane  On November 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

        It’s interesting about Facebook. Using Groups means no one needs to overlap their social life there with their work/education life if they don’t want to. You don’t have to friend anyone to be in a Group – I’ve done it with both POT and with my students.

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