Tuesday, 8 January 2013

To blend or not to blend. Isn't that the question?

I've come to realise that in order to blend, it is important to go the whole way. By this I mean, the way students access notes, where they hand in homework as well as a place to collaborate with the teacher and other students. 

Over the last year or so I have gone from thinking that eLearning is the way to save modern day education. I then swung back after a little more research of my own to decide that it was just the old wrapped up in the ways of the new. Now, I guess I am somewhere in the middle. 

In my classroom I have created a fully online environment. On the first day of class I tell the students that there will be no paper. All work will have to be submitted online and all handouts can be downloaded online.

Of course there is some trepidation by the students and teachers. I had one student who told me that he had never used Wikis or computers before. He was genuinely worried about the whole prospect of this tech class. Anyway, I gently pointed out that all students in the class had never used a Wiki and together, as a class, we would learn how to use it. 

Anyway, that student became one of the heaviest users of the site. He was embedding video, changing the code, collaborating with other students online, emailing me for advice. I have experienced this a few times now and I have come to an understanding regarding tech in the classroom. 

The students will do what is asked of them. If we tell them to upload work online they will learn how to do it. If we ask them to create a web page with pictures, writing and links, they will do it. I  used to think that I shouldn't use too much tech for fear that they will not be able to use it. I now realise it is my own fear that prevents me from trying out new stuff.

I hope I am / have gotten over that fear now. 

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