Monday, September 1, 2008

Teaching with Blogs: A New World at CBU

So this is all very interesting. I am using blogs to teach all four of my classes: 2 sections of freshman english, 1 section of developmental english and 1 section of Metaphysical Poetry: 1603-1660. What I find interesting is the amount of resistance I am getting to this blogging software. In the 2 freshmen sections, only 8 students of 40 have produced blogs and gotten with the program. In the Senior class only 1 has come on board. I have not pestered the developmental folk, as I will meet them in a lab on Wednesday and at the end of the day we will have blogs.

I am so new to this blogging in the classroom concept myself that I perhaps have not set up the learning expectations properly. Perhaps it is all too much all at once for them to take in. I mean their classroom expectations and behaviors have been programmed by years of old style dump and discipline classroom praxis. Here's what Dr. Michael Wesch thinks about this:

Here is Wesch lecturing at the Library of Congress this summer.

Classrooms are designed to help students acquire information
Information is scarce and hard to find
Therefore we put an expert at the front of the class
The room is essentially an information dump
This classroom is not about discussing information
Authorized information is beyond discussion
Trust authority for good information
The classroom teaches “obey authority” and “follow along”

Questions are the catalyst for great learning.
Students haven’t learned how to ask the kinds of questions that are good for learning. Students can go on a great quest if they have the right questions.

The kinds of questions rooms like this encourage are:
How many points is this worth?
How long does this paper have to be?
What do we need to know for this test?

We have what Dr. Wesch calls the Crisis of Significance
Students are not finding any significance in their education beyond just getting a passing grade and just getting a degree.

Memorization has a place in education, but less than it once did.

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