Communication and Collaboration-EDTC6431
Well I have to say I feel like I am getting into the swing of things, finally, with this class. Although I have let the technology explorations take over my every free moment it has been worth it. My kids and husband would probably have to disagree though. But, I feel much more comfortable then when I first started. We explored Podcasting, Microblogging, Google Wave this week and the impact they have on distance learning, remote collaboration and social and emotional learning. Through this exploration a recurrent theme kept popping up in many discussions: Setting limits in this limitless world.
Firstly, while I have to say that the digital youth portrait of Dylan that we viewed intrigued and impressed me it also it made me question when enough is enough. Although he seemed to be a very happy, engaged and immensely talented young man, I have to wonder how socially adapt he may be in a non-virtual world. His creativity and boundary-less collaboration with world-wide projects astounded me but his social behavior with his friends all revolved around a virtual reality. This was also a main theme in many of the discussion this week. One classmate even referred to it as a “digital leash”. I think it is so important to find balance between a virtual vs. real world and the socialization in both. So I am left wondering about the social and emotional reality of learning that Dylan is able to glean from all this interactive virtual absorption.
Secondly, I explored the world of podcasting. While this is not a new thing to me, I feel that, I learned many new uses for the classroom. I especially like the Radio WillowWeb and the collaboration of the students to create exciting and engaging presentations. Not only were the kids working on reading skills group skills and social skills they had to use inflection and intonation to convey a certain emotional state for the listeners to understand the meaning of each show. I liked the idea that you could do this with younger age children and empower them to use and develop listening and constructive critiquing skills. Thus involving student’s social and emotional learning.
Lastly, I examined the trend of Microblogging by reading 7 Thing You Should Know about Microblogging and exploring through two different mediums, Google Wave and tumblr.com. I admit that I have not been a big fan in the past of the Twitter-type microblogging, I did see value in this type of communication when examined through an educational perspective. I found Google Wave to be quite exciting for both educational and personal use. I found it to be simple and fairly user friendly. It seemed like all the features of e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google docs, You-Tube, iTunes, etc. have been assembled into one spot. The playback feature is genius for a teacher to see a development of a project or idea and could also be helpful for anyone coming in later to a conversation. I was blown away by the instant language translation feature and can’t wait to give it a try. Tumblr was not as exciting for me. Although I eventually figured out some of the features I felt either boxed into my little page or overwhelmed by the huge sea of blogs out there when I tried to explore. I did not see as much value in this tool for the classroom but as a tool for social networking, hobbies and sharing your ideas, videos, pictures, poems etc. it could be great.
All in all this Module 2 Communication and Collaboration was very interesting. I have learned about tools that I hope to use in the classroom and for personal use. I have accepted that it will take time and that not all tools are going to be necessary or developmental/age appropriate. It will be important to pick and choose what works with individual curriculum and classes. Especially since each cohort of students will have a different abilities and challenges; each year of technology in the classroom will need to be tailored for that. I think it is important to remember to be open to new things, new thoughts and new challenges and to set specific time so as to not become immersed in only work and no play. Life does continue outside this technological world and it is important to be part of that, too.
I have included this article as another opinion about setting limits for children and screen time.
Children and Emotional Intelligence: Why Limits on technology Matter
Educase. (2007) 7 things you should know about Microblogging, Creative Commons. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/