Thursday, November 12, 2009

UTT 5 Minutes of Fame 2009 presentation notes

I teach Educational Technology to pre-service teachers. They are full time students, and this TECH110E course is given in the second semester, first year. Given that we are supposed to teach the students how to use technology tools in the classroom themselves, a major part of the course is to use the tools ourselves! So we set up Blackboard shells.
But...

We were not getting great enthusiasm for the Blackboard 6 installation. We knew that our students were techno-capable and even techo-philes from their activity on public sites. Students were very much into the social networking sites, such as Facebook, Tagged, Hi 5, Tubely, etc.

In an attempt to get our EdTech students to all use one site for management of course materials and student-created work such as videos and podcasts, etc, we determined that we should try using the social network features of a site to attract the students, and to see if they would interact with a work/study-related website in the same way that they interacted on a private site.

We had 2 classes participate.

One class was directed as to how they should interact with the site - a private group was created for them, and they were directed to upload files at specific times, etc.
The other class was turned loose on the site without any direction as to how it was to be used, but they did get an intro as to the features and the functions available on the site.

Instructor interaction on the site was quite intensive, but we found that other students were taking on a tutor role, answering questions, posting resources and taking the initiative before we managed to get to the questions! Students did additional work that was not requested - such as videos beyond what was required for the class. They posted all their practice materials and got really good feedback and comments from the other students.

There was a lot of online discussion and commenting that fed into and out of class discussions. We did notice that commenting seems to a be an activity that the students really seemed to like. Discussion forums were less popular, and chat features weren't popular AT ALL. Videos and photo uplaods were very popular.

Only problem was that some students posted inappropriate profile pictures - bikini shots, etc. But even that led to a teachable moment, as they did reasearch on and discussed internet safety and personal information on the internet, internet stalking etc.

To see the video of the presentation, click here