Monday, May 18, 2009

Thing 17

My first impression of Classroom 2.0 was amazement that there were so many educators coming together to collaborate, but then I became overwhelmed. I guess I just don't understand the organization of it. I almost thing I was expecting a wiki, but combining that with blogging and micro-blogging. I eventually became a little disappointed, because it was different than what I expected. I did find parts of it useful. I enjoy the forums and having the ability to post a question and get feedback from so many teachers and from so many backgrounds and perspectives. I also found a Middle School Math group to join, but I have not had time to do that yet. I really feel strongly that participating in a Ning related to professional practices can benefit all teachers. Having that connection and the collaboration available is not only empowering, but also stabilizing. You will always have a team there to help with challenging questions.

I was disappointed because not only did I not find a math section on the list, I did not find a math ning. Now granted...I did not read every single one of them, but still. I can imagine so many different ways that a ning can improve instruction. As a math teacher, I have a number of methods to teach students how to calculate specific things. Having a math ning would give me other teachers to ask if I can't seem to get my students to understand. You would also have a network of teachers to ask about classroom management and to bounce assignment ideas off of. Maybe they have tried an assignment that you want to try and either knows that it won't work or knows some tricks to make it work better. It's common planning at its best.

I would definately create a ning for my class room, but I am confused as to how I can integrate it with my blog and my wiki. Would it take the place of those?

I have just started using Plurk and I love it. I also love that Caroline convinced someone to unblock it at work. With that said, it can be distracting. For instance, when I'm at work it would kind of be nice to only get work related Plurks. Plus, I found out today that if you have a Promethian Board, you can't leave your Plurk window up even if it is not the one showing because it dings everytime you get a new Plurk. I definately identify with their reasons, because they have the same reasons for using microblogging as I do. Since I am using microblogging, it is a component of my PLN. Right now, it is serving as a sounding board and as a place to just chill out. People don't just plurk about work; they plurk about everything from motherhood to mowing the lawn. I would love to use microblogging in the classroom, but I wonder how you can do that effectively when you don't have a constant access to computers for your students. That seems to be the main or first hurdle to implementing all of these "things." That, and getting them unblocked.

1 comment:

  1. Classroom 2.0 can be incredibly overwhelming, especially with as large as it has gotten. It wasn't nearly that large when I first joined, so it was far more manageable. When I go, I typically am looking for something, so I go directly to the tags on the right side to see if there is a link to what I'm looking for. If not, then I search the threads. I don't bother with the blogs or the videos. No time for that.

    As for a math Ning, I'm sure there is probably one out there, but I just don't know about it yet. I'll be sure to pass it along once I find out about one.

    Personally, when I think of a Ning and the how and when to use it, I consider a Ning best suited for a larger group of people. The discussion threading in Nings is better than Wikispaces, which it's built for. Also, if you wanted to have contained blogging in a private area, a Ning is also useful for that as well, but it requires logins, which can be troublesome for students to get since they require email addresses.

    With wikis, you can have multiple pages of content with discussion pertaining to each page. You can't do that in a Ning.

    Hopefully, that will help clear that up a bit. If not, then examine what it is you hope to accomplish. What are your objectives? Once those are answered, then you can examine which tools best fit your needs.

    I personally don't believe everyone needs constant access to a computer to microblog. Depending on how you structure the use of the microblog, it can be used in a variety of ways. Granted, to get the most out of it, yet constant access would be best, especially to get feedback during a discussion - even if it is a yes/no answer to a question, but even without constant access it's doable. It all depends on the structure of the use.

    BTW - That annoying little "ding" in Plurk can be turned off :)