16 August, 2007

Feeling the "disconnect" firsthand

Some illuminating comments followed recent posts by Will Richardson (on managing RSS) and Gary Stager (on posting timely comments). These discussions have helped me frame my thinking on best practices for engaged learning in the edublogosphere, specifically, and in learning communities in general.

Richardson calls the new technology "disruptive" in the way it shakes up the process and places so much responsibility back on the learner.

Confession: some days I long to be a passive, mouth-breathing student again!

It's a juggling act between reading my feeds, trying to compose thoughtful and timely responses to others' great ideas, documenting insights and "a-ha's" on my own blog, and managing the demands of a full-time graduate course load at a bricks-and-mortar university.

What is troubling (and ironic) is my "linking" and "lurking" in the blogosphere is a totally self-driven, self-directed effort that runs parallel to my "formal" education within an IT master's program. Maybe I wouldn't be so scattered if these two endeavors intersected more often instead of existing on separate planes.

Seldom, if ever, the twain shall meet.

I am gradually finding ways to integrate the two, such as the independent study I described here in this blog a few days ago. But other than some notable exceptions in my core area where the professors effectively utilized Moodle and TappedIn to stimulate student engagement and raise accountability, my classes have largely mirrored my undergraduate experience nearly (gulp) 20 years ago. Even with universal availability of Blackboard on our campus, this very expensive course management platform is grossly underutilized by most instructors, from what I have witnessed.

In "Wired students need wired approaches," Melanie McBride writes that ". . . today’s students are disengaged because teacher training programs and schools are invested in traditional instructional and curriculum paradigms that are deeply disconnected from a web 2.0 generation."

I am a reasonably confident, self-aware adult learner.

If I am feeling the disconnect, imagine how the "wired" youth in our elementary and secondary schools must feel!


ms. whatsit said...

I know what you mean by feeling disconnect. To me, it's a matter of simply being overwhelmed by everyting that's out there.

Your comment on Blackboard piques my interest, because this is the year that my district has decided to sock it to us with it.

I hate to be so cynical about my employer, but it is so willing to spend buckets of money on ok technology, while at the same time skimping on more immediate classroom needs of teachers. But that's just between you and me.

Jennifer K. Lubke said...

I hear you!!

I am not so much against Blackboard as I am schools spending "buckets of money" on tools without investing in the requisite support and training for teachers (and administrators, for that matter) to effectively integrate the tools into their daily practice.

Will there be the expectation (built-in accountability) to ensure principals, teachers, and students utilize Blackboard in meaningful ways?

Also, why Blackboard as opposed to something free, like Moodle? I really don't understand what drives these decisions. Just curious.

I hope as the school year unfolds, you will reflect in your blog about the implementation of Blackboard in your district. Your perspective on this as a classroom teacher would mean a lot to me.

Melanie said...

"What is troubling (and ironic) is my "linking" and "lurking" in the blogosphere is a totally self-driven, self-directed effort that runs parallel to my "formal" education within an IT master's program."

I think your explorations are important as is sharing your voice and ideas with those who are actually listening.

BTW - thanks for the link! how did you find my blog/post?