Reflecting on initial changes
Posted August 25, 2009on:
One of the reasons I maintain this blog is to model processes of edublogging. I don’t claim to be a perfect model, of course, as there is always something new to learn. As I ask my trainees to maintain blogs as platforms for reflection, I think that I should use this blog to reflect on my course design.
What has changed this semester? Well, much of the core curriculum for one and my use of group blogs for another.
The course is now called “ICT for Meaningful Learning” (it used to be “for engaged learning”) and that was more or less a top down decision. But I have no objections to that because I have always been in favour of getting teachers to integrate ICT meaningfully and powerfully. (Sometimes I look back at my old entries and wonder at the number of times I mention those terms!)
As I am now taking care of a larger number of trainees than I normally do, I changed my strategy of requiring my teacher trainees to maintain individual blogs. Individual blogs were great for looking into the minds of each learner, but I felt that they did not interact and exchange ideas with one another enough. So I opted to get my trainees to maintain blogs in groups of six or seven.
So have these two changes made an impact?
In the first week, I customised my lessons to focus on two fundamental questions: 1) what is ICT? and 2) what is meaningful learning? So far the most common response from my trainees is their realisation of the importance of the two-way communication component in ICT. So fundamental and so important, but glossed over in previous semesters. (My only regret is that the self-introduction activity I do with my classes every semester had to make way for this. But I am already thinking of how I can better utilise our class wiki to do this.)
While it is early in the semester, I am seeing greater and better interaction among some group blog members already. I am particularly pleased to note how a few have started mentioning how they are learning outside of class and from one another. Two of my classes are engaged in e-learning this week and the blogs are buzzing with activity!
I am definitely asking the same questions and keeping the group blog format next semester.