So the Times highlights some of the pioneering work done by Bob Sprankle in podcasting at Pat Delaney in blogging. It’s really great to see Pat’s contributions highlighted as he was one of (if not the) original edublogger who has been off-blog for the past couple of years.
Mr. Sprankle’s experiment with podcasting in the classroom is just one of the interactive technologies some pioneering teachers are using in schools nationwide. Most work teachers have traditionally had students do online – searching Google instead of card catalogs, doing exercises online instead of in workbooks – has largely been in the mold of offline coursework.
These days, though, some teachers are building coursework around low-cost, software-based technologies. Some other programs include a blog shared among students in rural Maine and inner-city students in San Francisco to promote writing and cultural perspective; a voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, exchange among schools worldwide to practice foreign language and debate skills; and an urban planning course that’s taught using a virtual world.
Even better, the article raises some of the tough questions that we’re all beginning to grapple with:
Still, some educators are not completely sold on the value of interactivity. “If interactivity becomes the fundamental basis of the educational process, how do we judge merit?” asked Robbie McClintock, a learning technologies expert at Teachers College of Columbia University.
The push by some teachers for greater interactivity in the classroom also goes against the current emphasis on testing. Testing requires a known body of material, but interactive learning often involves students’ seeking out topics on their own.
What a concept, huh? I LOVE IT! And, I love the Skype Foreign Language Lab in Del Valle, TX. Phone pals among 47 schools in seven countries!!! What an awesome idea.
Now you and I read this and go “this is the future!” But I wonder how someone with no real context for these technologies and these shifts feels. Wonderment? Fear?
Go blogs. Go!