August Institute

August Institute

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Overcoming the Barriers

Participants taking this course for graduate credit are required to author a blog post that demonstrates how strategies learned at this conference will be implemented and what are the barriers that they must overcome in order to be successful. This post must include links to current scientific research related to the concepts of the post. An example might be: digital tools that help to over-come the barrier of time in making data driven decisions in the RTI process. Participants are required to author their blog post, monitor responses and comment on a minimum of 2 other posts.

Playing with Media 
I would like to include Wes Fryer's ebook, Playing with Media, as a link and reference in our new class Moodle called Digital Media.  This is a new blended class that we will be offering this fall.  We were going to introduce several of the strategies and tools he mentions in his book and more.  This would serve as a great resource for students.  This class is an introduction to using different digital media such as text, image, audio, video and plan to cover digital footprints, internet safety and copyright.  Mr. Fryer has a lot of great ideas on how to do this.

I like the way he starts his Digital Text chapter with getting students whether they have ever received a hurtful text message or read one that a friend received.  He goes on to state that words do not have to be published in books or magazines to be both powerful and impactful.  I think this is a great way to start out the chapter.  He then describes a Blog or Wiki? activity that would be great for the Digital Media class. Students have sixty seconds to explain to someone near them to explain the difference between "blog" and "wiki."   We would then have a classroom discussion about the differences and take it a step further to discuss how these might be used in the classroom.  The goal would be to end up with the students coming up with the idea that they could use these to interactively share their work.  Mr. Fryer gives two examples of outstanding wikis that could be share with students as examples.  He has hyperlinks to these examples which students could explore.  Blogs are a great way to give students an audience beyond the classroom.

I don't really like the blog feature in Moodle.  I do like the idea of creating a moderated class blog using Posterous.  Some blogs are used as broadcast sharing such as an assignment blog.  Other blogs are used a professional reflection blog and some are used as a collaborative class blog.  Mr. Fryer includes a link to the many education blogs that he reads.

I have only begun to explore the many resources available in his book.  I plan on reading the entire book and then go back through a pick a couple of things to integrate into my classroom right away.  

One of the barriers that I am sure I will run into include our district filter system.  While there are a lot of great resources in Mr. Fryer's book, I know there are going to many websites that will be blocked, such as Flickr. Another barrier I am sure that I will run into is the shifting of how students view "online writing."  I have found in the past that students want to keep their online written word to  text sentences instead of full sentences.  While I believe this is a barrier that we can overcome, it will take reinforcement with students and an explanation of the difference between  "personal writing" (using Facebook) and "professional writing" such as a forum in Moodle.

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