Knowledge in classrooms is not simply passed down from teacher to students; instead some of the most meaningful knowledge is co-constructed through discussions and interactions between learners (and instructors). In this section of the assignment, you will be responsible for recording and then reflecting on the ways in which you have contributed to the learning of others in your class. This should include specific details, such as a record of responses to other students’ blog posts, feedback to presenters/students/instructors on Twitter or other online spaces, or meaningful face to face discussions of student writing in staff groups. It should also include a reflection (3-4 pages) on how you your contributions have aided in the collective construction of knowledge in this class.
While knowledge in the past has been handed down from teacher to student, the students being seen as a vessel to be filled by the knowledge of the teacher, this is continuously adapting as it becomes easier to invite student participation in the classroom through use of technology as well as more traditional face to face conversations outside of class between students. In order to engage students in these conversations however, the teacher has to be engaging enough to make students want to continue their learning outside of the classroom.
Blogs – And that was my initial problem with the blog assignment – it is easy to assign students to make responses to the material but it can become static and artificial rather than a true visceral response to what is going on in class. It is useful to read other student responses to the readings that I had also read but I struggled with the mandatory aspect of the assignment, which caused a lack of contribution to my own and others learning. It would be great if you could hit a button that would randomize the blog entries so you are not scrolling through 30 entries on the same thing and then see a variety of entries that are not necessarily on the same subject.
Typically commenting on the blogs centered around on the idea of asking questions of clarification or adding something that the author may not have thought of about the particular reading and an example of this is after the class discussion on standardized testing and how in some areas it has an impact on your wage. We briefly discussed the way it hinders your ability to look at students in a positive way, especially in a classroom that may have students who are struggling. In class – we briefly touched on this idea but by talking about it again on the blogs it was easier to make a more personal connection to the topic.
Twitter – When #useful and #ecs210 was introduced to the class and not made mandatory, it became very easy to engage with other students and influence learning through Twitter. I looked forward to the Twitter conversations that would enable grow out of class content and presenters and these Twitter conversations often lead to face to face conversations outside of class and in other classes as well. This is likely due to Twitter’s ease of use, it is much easier to write a Tweet while copying down notes than to write a blog post about the topic and also easier to follow because of hashtags. I did notice that I was frequently ‘talking’ to the same people on Twitter each time, but my tweets were being read by different people due to their being “favourited” by different people each time I was on Twitter. This is something that would be difficult to overcome in the classroom, keeping all students engaged in the discussion as well as contributing to it.
The conversations that were the most constructive were ones that were about controversial topics such as the standardized testing debate and school funding as well as a discussion about the value of making post-secondary education free. For example, when discussing the final project for this class, the discussion transformed from a simple comment about the creativity in the planetary example to a discussion on the value of creativity in assignments and how professors seem to see it as a detrimental aspect to formal writing. (https://twitter.com/j_hamilton67/status/402833389616504833) This conversation really demonstrated the impact that Twitter can have on discussions because it allows people to jump in at any point and reply to others at any time as well as going back to it at a later date/time.
John Loeppky and I frequently discussed the aspects of lecture on Twitter during the lecture but would also continue the conversation for a time after class and again in our ELANG 300 class later in the day. It usually added to our understanding of differing conceptions of what was discussed in the lecture or on Twitter because of our varying backgrounds. I noticed that in discussions, especially with John, I would focus on the financial and rural vs. urban aspect of discussions while he would focus on ability/disability as well as his coaching experience. Typically, we were both able to get the other to look at things from outside of our comfort zone or area of expertise, which meant for much deeper learning.
During the November 26th ECS class, I ‘tweeted’ about something that the presenter Grant Urban had said that struck a nerve at first in which it seemed as if he would follow the pattern of other presenters in a multitude of ECS classes in which he assumed that by knowing what class/faculty we were in he knew ‘our story’. Though his following lecture did show that this was not what he believed – it did open up a discussion between myself, John Loeppky, Michael Cappello, Kalena Anderson and Grant Urban as well (https://twitter.com/j_hamilton67/status/405370652401496064). I find this interesting as I was not only using Twitter during this class, but the ‘Todays Meet’ which Grant Urban had also introduced to the class. We only had one class to use Todays Meet however I think it could have been really useful to introduce to the class as an alternative to Twitter because for Today’s Meet you don’t have to make an account.
Twitter Handles referred to:
@j_hamilton67 – Myself
@Cymru_Et_Canada – John Loeppky
@41mikes – Michael Cappello
@UrbanGrant – Grant Urban
@ReesePuff7 – Jesse Reese
@LenaPrussian – Kalena Anderson