Sunday, January 25, 2009

Starting Out Fresh

Monday brings with it a whole new group of students to my ITV hybrid course. For students who have never taken an ITV course (Instructional Television), this is already a new experience. For those who have taken them before this will still be a new experience.

No 45-minute lectures but discussions about how the content applies to their everyday life, sharing ideas, collaborative projects, and building relationships with one another over the airwaves. Our 45 minutes together each day is too precious to waste by me doing all the talking and silencing my students. They have a voice too. I share this with my students on the first day. I let them know that they are important and that I care about what they have to say.

Building this course into a hybrid one facilitates the sharing of their voices both to me and to their peers. Even though students are located at up to 4 different schools, they can still work together on group projects. They can still share their thoughts both synchronously through live chats and over TV as well as asynchronously through discussion forums and blogs. Students do not have to worry about sending or receiving faxes, waiting for packages from the delivery service, or waiting for grades until the end of the semester. All of these things are well managed through Moodle where all of the content and assignment instructions are stored. We spend a good chunk of the first day playing with the technology, setting up the required accounts, etc. This is exciting for them from my experience.

Students have been very receptive to the heavy use of technology in my courses. They are very open and generally very fluent with the various tools that I have them use, even when it may be a new tool for them to begin with.

My goal is for the students to walk away from my class on the first day saying, "Wow, that was really different, but also very cool." I want them to experience some 21st century learning.

Good luck to all of you that are starting new classes this week. Does anyone have any cool stories to share about how they start their classes?

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