I don’t talk enough about the classes I work with. I’m trying to change that, starting with my own class, T&L 521: Educational Technology.
I ended up teaching this class because they had a last minute schedule conflict with the person who normally does it. It was a one credit class with pre-service teachers who are working in classrooms full-time Monday-Thursday. They are also prepping for the state certification exam. They are a very over-extended bunch.
I decided that as they had already had some training on classroom tech that I’d focus on use of net-enabled tools for professional development. Not “How can I teach with this tool?” necessarily, but “How can these tools help me to be a better teacher?” which is the real question. One of the central pieces of that was that the students were suppoed to use their Twitter feed and other tools to find three articles a week they thought were particularly helpful, book mark them on Pinboard.in, and write a brief summary. I’ve become a big fan of this approach, which sits somewhere in between blogging and micro-blogging as a format, and builds personal habits that can be of use.
In any case, I looked at the class Pinboard account today — and over the semester the eight students in the class have summarized 228 articles. These are informal, and make an awkward (teacher required) pivot to class topics in some cases, but they are mostly solid summaries of good articles.
And there’s 228 of them. That really blows my mind.
Pinboard’s a pay once, stay up forever sort of account, so the account will stay up for their use afterwards, and any article we talked about is just a Pinboard search away. We may have future classes contribute to it as well — if you’d like to use the account for your class, just let me know, I’ll give you the password and login.