Reflections of Blending English and Technology in the Classroom

Posts Tagged ‘twitter

#Iowaish – Connecting Iowa and Sweden

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What began as an off -the- cuff request on twitter has snowballed into a collaborative project connecting BCLUW AP Literature students with students from The International School of Helsingborg in Sweden. Each year I teach Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” and struggle through the lecture, questions, and discussions over Existentialism. At the beginning of the school year I met John Noonan a philosophy teacher in Sweden. I approached him for help and a possible guest lecture spot, but after many discussions we decided to connect our students for a collaborative lesson.

Starting in early October, students have connected through twitter(using the hashtag #iowaish), blogs, and Skype.  October 12, will be the first face to face meeting between the two schools. Throughout the next couple of weeks, students will identify characteristics of Existentialism, participate in a Skype video lecture on Existentialism given by Mr. Noonan, and apply their understanding of the philosophy to discussions, readings, and blogs. In November, students will be placed in small groups with members from both the BCLUW AP Literature class and ISH Philosophy class. Collaboratively, they will defend an argument based off of a question posed by myself and Mr. Noonan. A debate will conclude the project.

The 2009 -2010 school year was the first year of the BCLUW 1:1 laptop initiative. The ISH is also a 1:1 laptop school, making the collaboration and connection accessible outside of the walls of the school and hours of the typical school day. Having an opportunity to collaborate with students other than their normal peers, plus with a diverse group such as the one found in Mr. Noonan’s International School, cultivates an understanding of different countries, cultures and opinions. The collaboration increases the writing, speaking and debate skills of the students by constructing an audience other than the typical teacher they interact with daily. The project has already exceeded expectations and the students are looking forward to future connections and the final project.
I will update this blog periodically with our progress!

Written by sfarnsworth

October 12, 2010 at 3:26 am


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Last week I started following and connecting with enpsteacher on Twitter. Reflection on an interaction we had has led to the post you are now reading. We were discussing how to assess student creativity on assignments/projects with thenerdyteacher when enpsteacher suggested a category on a student rubric labeled as “go all out” . This “go all out” category would be difficult to assess yes, but aren’t most of the things we grade subjective? #GOALLOUT began morphing into more than just a measure of creativity on a rubric and at the end of the exchange  we decided to adopt the slogan as our motto for the year. #GOALLOUT would be the focus for teachers, students, and administrators – producing the most effective year ever on record. Although it may have originally been amusing and unintentional, I have decided to adopt this for my focus. I promise to #goallout this year – for my students and myself. I am willing to put in the hard work because I know success and effective, engaging teaching will not fall into my lap. It is not easy to be an exceptional teacher, or else everyone would be one. I do not want to be remembered by my students as a mediocre teacher, I want to be remembered as someone who has influenced their lives and made them thirst for knowledge. It is with this thirst that I will make little differences and send them out into the world to make big ones. I will be prepared, I will challenge thinking, I will engage students, and I will demand greatness. I realize that this is the only 2010-2011 school year my students will have in their lives. I will not take the easy way out and slide by with poor lessons or useless assignments; nor will I allow my students to coast through the year and end up in the same place they began. This year I will #GOALLOUT – will you?

Written by sfarnsworth

August 23, 2010 at 2:52 am