As I prepare to leave tomorrow for the National Writing Project‘s annual meeting in San Antonio, I am overwhelmed with things to do. I think I have finished almost everything I need to do here at work. I still have to pack and go to the bank, and all those kinds of things, of course. But I also have a number of things I want to write about. So I will start by mentioning several of them here. As time allows, I may follow up with longer, more meaningful posts on these items.
First of all, someone recently mentioned JiTT. I don’t remember who, and I can’t seem to find it in my Bloglines account. I haven’t taken time yet to read all the way through the website, but what I have seen has caused me to think hard about what I want to do in my classes next semester. Their “What is JiTT?” page starts off with the following quote:
Learning technologies should be designed to increase, and not to reduce, the amount of personal contact between students and faculty on intellectual issues.
(Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education, 1984)
The website, as I said, has made me look at things differently. I am going to delve into it more as I am preparing for next semester.
Another thing I found really interesting but haven’t taken time to really write about is Will Richardson’s post Get. Off. Paper. I have really loved not getting a single one of my students’ “papers” this semester on paper. I can read from a screen. They can read from a screen. So why print it out? I have been doing writing classes this way for a long time, and it seems so logical that I am amazed when colleagues talk about stacks of papers! Like Will, though, I haven’t had as much luck making presentations without handouts. A couple years ago I gave out a little business card with the url of the wiki that had links to all the sites on it. People looked at me as if I were crazy. They would have agreed with the woman who told Will,
“It’s a wiki,” I said. “You can’t click the links on paper!”
“I know,” she replied. “I just need to have paper.”
Another really interesting post I would like to talk about more is D’Arcy Norman’s content is not enough. He said:
Content is the least important part of education. What is far more important is what takes place between and among the students. The activities of the community of learners. What they actually DO with the content and with each other.
I couldn’t agree more. What we teach them in terms of content can easily be obtained in other ways. What can’t really be duplicated is what learners do with the content. Yes, we can duplicate the activities (and quite likely will next semester or next year), but the product of those activities will never be exactly the same. And what the students get out of the activities will be different, too.
There are other things I would like to write about. And there is more I would like to write about these topics. We’ll see if it happens or not. But for now, I hope I have made you curious about the posts and site I have mentioned. If you haven’t yet, why don’t you check them out!