Sunday, 14 December 2008

Reflections of ELSS part 1

Top of the head phrases

- is there anybody there? said the traveller (in cyberspace)
- what if they gave a collaborative working exercise and nobody came?
- the natives (cf Prensky) are not nearly restless enough
- the sound of one blog blethering

This really started to emerge for me during week 3 when it seemed that the tumbleweed was blowing through the deserted alleyways of the VLE. Then, when I signed up to follow all the participants' blogs that I could find, I noticed that only Patsy was following anyone else's blog.

It's early days, I thought, and sure enough Marion found her way to mine, (welcome Marion! - a 100% increase in readership already), but other blogs remained unvisited.

This connected for me with a suspicious feeling I have about much of the Internet, that there are an awful lot of talkers and precious few listeners.

In the context of the course, and especially when getting ready to work collaboratively, it played right to my insecurities.

I'll say something positive in a later post, but I want to get this feeling in focus first, as it coloured my experience of the course considerably.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Playing Catchup

Well here we are at the end of Week 4 and I'm just getting to grips with part of Week 2, playing with Delicious. Most of what I've bookmarked has been folkie videos (simply because some friends I'm in touch with over Facebook keep sending me stuff that I wanted to keep... the problem with this internet business is how one thing leads to another...)

I can see the benefits of developing a group resource or reading list: one of the goals for the students I teach is to broaden their horizons, develop awareness of what's going on in the region and the world.

Also it would perhaps help with the ever-present problem of plagiarism, if students know that the resources they are using are already available to the instructors - although most of the plagiarism we have to deal with is not that sophisticated: a basic google search tends to come up with anything suspicious immediately.

Have also been doing some reading - the Franklin and van Harmelen piece was interesting.

Think I can see plenty of opportunities in students creating a Wiki... students often have to work as a team to research a topic and present their findings in report form - a wiki might be a good option.

One thing I have noticed as an English Language teacher with student writing is that, even with word processing, once things have been put into a given written form, they tend to stay that way... corrections and re-writes tend to focus on the rather superficial elements - "surface errors" rather than serious structural problems.

I wonder whether wikis would encourage more flexibility of approach to drafting and re-drafting? Also of course another way to create a shared reading/resource list.

Well... I hope to find out!