education, technology, and everything else

Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Should we teach web publishing?

Posted by Miranda on November 3, 2009

We do not teach web 2.0 tools or online communication mores at the school where I work.
I think this is very unfortunate.

We now have two platforms for web publishing here on campus, a media server, KUtube, and a WordPressMU installation.

The faculty who have set up blogs on our WordPress install have needed help to do so, they do not instinctively know how to use the tool even in a technical sense. Why would we assume students would? It is obvious, looking at one of the few student owned blogs, one for ModelUN, that this student had no idea how to use the platform – he commented on the example post from Mr. WordPress and then abandoned the blog entirely.

Yet when they go out into the world, our students will need to know how to create web content and how to join in the online conversation as a citizen of the world.

Even the Chairman of the Republican party has a blog, though I’m awfully disappointed that he changed the title from “What Up”.
I am not saying that students need to learn how to negotiate blogs in particular, the method is not so important I think. What’s important is that they learn the etiquette, the mores of web publishing.
I read in the Baltimore Sun that

In Anne Arundel County, an online course that began last month is required for staff members who want to create a wiki, said Val Emrich, the instructional technology manager. It includes an Internet safety component, along with how-to lessons on setting up the sites and using them for instruction, she said, as does another for blogging. For students, a mandatory digital citizenship curriculum was launched in social studies and health classes this year, Emrich said.

emphasis is mine

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we do not serve them well

Posted by Miranda on September 20, 2009

Two of the faculty asked me to sit in on classes while they introduced the blogging platform we’ve set up. I really enjoyed getting a taste of what the school is supposed to be about – learning, education. I think that often those of us in departments that do not teach tend to forget that this is the raison d’etre of our employment. I do at least. So it’s been good for me to hear the students in the class discussions, and see how good teachers teach.

It’s been pretty disturbing though, to see again that so many of our students are woefully ignorant of the tools that they use – the internet, software and the computer itself. In the last week I had one student tell me that he supposed that the reason he could not access a certain web address was because his battery was low. Another studiously typed a full internet URL – the whole thing beginning with http:// into her Google Search bar, coming up with search results every time.

Many of our students have no idea how to double-space a document or center text in Microsoft Word. I see kids that put a return after every line to double-space or center using the space bar. As for using the interactive web – creating web content instead of mindlessly consuming.. forget it.

In one of the classes a teacher asked the students – “how many of you feel comfortable with technology?”

Out of the class, three or four hesitantly raised hands. Yet over and over I have faculty and administration blithely tell me how kids today have no trouble with technology, that they just naturally pick it up, that there isn’t any need to teach them anything about it.

Bull. I disagree strongly. We are sending these kids off to college with no idea how to use these tools and I really think we are doing them a disservice.

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