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My Blog

http://mcwilliamsenglishclasses.blogspot.com
  • I teach....
    • sophomore college English
    • sophomore workshop English
    • junior college English
    • junior honors English
    • Creative Writing II(for juniors and seniors)
    • Read 180(computer program for low-level readers)

Read Write Web Learning

My Reflections on Web 2.0 from Tuesday's class:

1. What do you see as the greatest benefits of the new Web 2.0 technologies? How have you used technology to transform your teaching?
  • Thus far, I have not used too much technology to transform my teaching other than my own research, my students' research, the use of email, the use of powerschool, and use of the antiquated computer lab at Deering to do standard research and word processing. Now, after having taken this class on the Web 2.O, I am so excited to use the blog and wiki in my classes. My students will create a blog in place of their mandatory research paper. My creative writing students will create a blog in place of their final portfolio. I am also excited to learn more about google docs as a way to make my classroom a paperless classroom while also preserving the essential skills of writing, drafting, revising, peer editing, peer feedback, and reflection.
  • (Shalimar) I would like to comment about this response as well as something you shared in class, "I am a hands-on, paper and pencil kinda person.". I, too am excited about the possibilities. I find a great deal of value in "traditional" methods of making art and find kids have plenty of exposure to technology tools at home, in other classes, libraries, media centers etc. However, I do feel as long as I don't offer students opportunities to explore art making and other aspects of the arts education (such as art history and criticism), I am holding them back from connecting what we do in the art room to their future. I expect young people (and those of us who wish to jump on the train) will have every opportunity to utilize technology in most job/career experiences in their future. Among many ideas, I am planning to create a blogg for "the artist of the week" where students can go to their class and look at masters who approached similar problems to those students may be working on in class. I'm not sure how to assess this student effort though. Any thoughts?)
2. On the flip side, what do see as the greatest pitfalls of the new media? What might educators do to mitigate some of these problems?
  • I consider the potential lack of real, personal human contact as a possible pitfall. I have always impressed upon my students that our relationship as teacher and student is the first relationship, then the parents, administrators, and staff. I encourage students to come to class, to come on time, to come find me outside of class, and to be personable with me. Once everything is online and global, I wonder if it will take away from the human connection and social interaction that I feel is such a vital part of a literature class. Literature is about life, it is personal. I want to maintain these very valuable connections between me, my students, and the characters whom we read about. Empathy is at the heart of good reading. I want it be part of all of this technology. That might be harder when my students spend more time hidden behind screens and less time in intimate discussion.
3. What do you think educators most need to know to navigate the new digital landscape? What technological skills are necessary? How can teachers build the skills and knowledge they need?
  • I think educators need to watch the video Did You Know 2.0 so as to realize that the digital landscape is not going away. Contrarily, it will only become bigger and more ubiquitous in our lives. As educators, we need to understand the vast role that technology plays in our students' lives and the wonderful benefits, as well as dangers, that it brings to our world. Trying to avoid it will become as odd as evading telephones, even cell phones these days. At minimum, I think an educator needs the basic technological skills of emailing, web navigating, using database programs, and word processing. Ideally, learning to be collaborative educators by using blogging, social networking, and feeding would be great. I agree with you, but I think we have to recognize that having students work collaboratively through technology is another thing that is here to stay, like cell phones! These shifts are tough for those of us who didn't even know what a computer was until we went to college, and even then, it was a huge contraption that took up a whole room. The speed of the changes is phenomenal and we have to shift our thinking more often all the time. I should show Did You Know? to my sister who is a resister! --Grace

My Final Project


My final project is a voicethread that I have made about my family. I will use it as a model for my creative writing students. I am very excited and curious to see how this will go. Wish me luck. You can enjoy this voicethread on my blog. You can also go to voicethread itself. Thank you.