Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back to the world of technology!

After various delays, I was able to get my students back online today, much to our collective excitement. My sophomore classes participated in a live blog with the other sophomore-level classes in a conversation in reaction to an essay by Richard Rodriguez. It was quite an experience to have roughly 80-100 students participating in a Coveritlive conversation at the same time. Fortunately, the other teachers in their classrooms were able to help me manage the discussion, so I wasn't too overwhelmed (for the most part).

Live blogging has several useful components to it. While it is true that spelling and syntactical errors appear, as does text message spelling, the writing itself is raw and unedited, and for some, more real. The level of engagement goes just about through the roof since the students are involved in conversations in a medium in which they (mostly) feel comfortable. One student remarked that he wished they could live blog every day because he was enjoying it and learning quite a lot.

For second language learners, live blogging enables them to participate in the conversation at their own pace and rhythm. Being able to scroll up and down the screen to review others' postings and comment on previous observations opens the doors for them in a manner in which traditional classroom conversations may not enable. This also holds true for students that are generally shy and even for those who process information more slowly. In many ways, live blogging is one of the more valuable classroom tools that I possess.

The next cool thing I'm working on is an author event with Kristin Cashore, hosted by the Boulder Bookstore and the bookclub, which I'm starting back up next week. I'm taking the year off from the climbing program simply due to time constraints; fortunately the bookclub isn't quite as time intensive.

Things are starting to settle in to (more or less of) a routine for me, which is always nice. Helps when I know what to expect on a day to day basis for sure.