Saturday, July 10, 2010

EDUC 504: Back to the Future (Reflections on July 9 class)

It's possible the thing I'm going to remember most about today's class is the "cinematic moment" with Dick York.

I'm stumbling a bit on my post-class reflections, because I feel like I covered a lot of the relevant ground in my pre-class reading reflection.

The hour or so of class we spent on reviewing technology content resources will probably be useful in the long run, but (as Kristin acknowledged during class) the lecture presentation style was hard to reconcile with a day when we were also looking at Dewey and experiential learning. Maybe the lesson could be re-spun to a half-hour scavenger hunt in teams of two or three, followed up by some group discussion on how it went, with a long list of the useful and the curious to be found through MEL, including e-library elementary, Lexiles, MEL PR materials, and turf grass?

In the Dewey discussion, my biggest reaction was that his quote, "I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.", is a false dichotomy. It's not either-or. Education is BOTH a process of living (the life of student, with all of the fascinating questions of intellectual, social, and identity development that entails) AND a preparation for future living. Which is actually true of all of life -- we're all constantly learning something from what we're doing right now that will prepare us for how we deal with our futures.

The post-lunch discussion of "respectful work" was interesting and had some good thoughts to chew on, especially moving kids from "cut & paste" to actually synthesizing content, but the discussion was more dominated by the profs than I would have expected.

The "in-service day" exercise was fun -- it was good to sit down and brainstorm on something as relevant as how the oil spill could be spun into teachable content for the various content areas. It was also fun to finally play with a wiki instead of just talking and reading about them. Tactically, our team (physics) found it somewhat awkward to manage the version control when more than one person wanted to edit -- can other wiki software show you each other's edits live (like google docs) or is this someone an inherent limitation of all wikis? Content-wise we had a lot of great ideas and if we were actually going to come up with a workable final product we would have probably needed to down-select to a few of the best ideas rather than trying to cram it all in. And in a real school context, we would want to make it interdisciplinary and bring in the earth science of the reservoir and the oceanography of the ocean currents and the chemistry of the oil in the water and biology of oil-eating bacteria in the water and gulf and coastal environmental impact.

It was interesting to see what the other groups came up with -- I think the two most awesome things I heard from outside the Physics group were the Language Arts group's rejection of the poetry response blog "because the peoms suck" (after a brief investigation, I agree) and the comment from another group that "Everyone talks about the spill without mentioning Mexico," which blew my mind because it's completely true and such a great teachable topic.


  1. Yes the profs did talk a bit much during the discussion on synthesizing and the like. I have been checking that tendency out in this class. I have experienced trying to lead fully participative discussions not being able to shut myself up too. I guess we just keep trying to figure it out.

  2. I hardly remember the post-lunch/pre-oil spill activity discussion. I think I probably tuned out because I felt it was not inclusive enough ..... now that we've exposed to this idea of "substantive conversation" in 402 we should start applying it to conversations in other classes?

  3. It's funny that you should say you're having difficulty with the post-class reflection; I felt that way too before I started writing mine. I've kind of taken the philosophy of approaching the post-class posts from a meta-cognitive perspective (please no one shoot me for bringing up the taxonomy), trying to think about how we thought about the issues from the reading, and what/how specifically the classes added to them

  4. Wikis are a bit dull-headed about two people editing in the same area at the same time. The cautionary recommendation in class was to have one person editing in each section at a time; as long as you're under a different header from the other editors, you should be OK. Google Docs is a bit smarter than Wikispaces, and it also gives you a warning if your content was submitted simultaneously with someone else's.