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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Around, Running the End

I've been watching the NFL playoffs, and just saw an end around. They never do that in the NFL, unless they are desperate or think they can surprise the opposition. These guys were desperate. It's funny how so many things remind me what it is like in public education, especially when it comes to the integration of technology. So many of my experiences have been the necessity to "go undercover" to reach my students where they were so I could take them where I wanted them to go.

On November 4, I made a statement that I can't get out of my head.
The library must make their walls transparent, if not fully dismantled. I have even begun to wonder if the fight against filtering is worth it, or if the manner in which we provide homework should change to something more Web 2.0. In other words, since the students and teachers can't access many of the great Web 2.0 tools at school, perhaps the teacher and/or librarian ought to consider homework that is conducted through Web 2.0 apps like YouTube, Wikis, IM, and blogs. If done this way, perhaps, assigning homework might make sense to me. Give students work at home that CANNOT be done at school. I might actually be on to something here...but then teachers would have to be willing to work at home.
The words in orange are the thoughts I continue to revisit. In The MC, we have been recording video booktalks, and people are viewing them. They cannot get to them at school, but word is getting out around school. Our two 6th grade students come in every Tuesday to record. (Their parents have provided written permission for them to be on the Internet as part of DMS). I digitally record their work, import it to iMovie on my MacBook at home, then upload the video to Google Video (blocked at school). I embed the video on our BookTalk blog, using Blogger (blocked at school), and then the fun begins.

Going to Google Video, and searching "Booktalk," you will usually find our students at the top of the list.

These are our results:
  • Artemis Fowl - 204 views
  • Giant Rat of Sumatra - 100 views
  • My Side of the Mountain - 58 views
  • The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs - 38 views
  • Eragon - 687 views
  • The Akhenaten Adventure - 33 views
This is 1120 views of our work in a little more than 2 months. The data indicates that Eragon is a favorite, probably due to the movie coming out last month. This will help us plan on the books we do in the future. With this success, we are linking the Google Videos back to The MC web page.

Now back to the haunting words: giving students homework that cannot be completed at school. The ease of publishing to the student's world (online) is such that I am beginning to believe that the kind of work we give students to do at home should be structured to be something that is totally different than what they expect to get at school. We have had several more students ask if they could contribute to the booktalks. I think we will be able to do this in the near future. Perhaps their homework should be to create their own school-related videos. They enjoy the process. There are so many things they could do to enhance their learning and the instructional process would be more engaging.

I'll be thinking more about this.

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