Posted by blk1 on 15th August 2007
As our Summer Institute fades from the present, I want to remember the Tech Literacy Strand that we instituted this summer. Last summer when I returned for the last week of our SI ’06, from Tech Matters ’06 held for tech liaisons at Chico,CA, I was able to invite our TC’s to create personal blogs on the last day of the SI as they came to the lab as a group to reflect on the SI experience. Many thanked me for beginning the process for them in a way that was user friendly and comfortable. I linked their blogs to an HVWP SI ’06 blog from edublogs and I,over the year offered prompts to respond to, sending friendly emails to encourage them to continue the community we had established during our SI, Not too many participants responded to these gentle calls.
This summer, with the HVWP Tech Team established and meeting monthly, my own blogging experience under my belt and my collaborative work on the web with Kevin Hodgson, Karen McComas,Troy Hicks and others, I was motivated to pushed for more precious SI time for collective web work with the new TC’s. Many interviewees talked about their interest in exploring technology. As usual, I presented my digital stories and and this year, a returning fellow worked on a piece he has been comitted to creating with software that I suggested.
As a group, though, we included 5 sessions during the SI for a new Tech Literacy Strand durng the SI schedule. During the first session we had participants create a personal blog as a place to share their drafts with the rest of the SI community for feedback. In addition, the community shared responses with the entire community on our SI blog that was linked to participant blogs and websites and blogs that I thought might be useful and helpful to the community in the future.
Once the individual blog was created, I moved them to register for the E-Anthology and take a look at what the anthology could offer them as they began to create drafts for our SI anthology. Some participants jumped right in, but many moved more slowly, concerned at first ,about the public issues of sharing on the net. Some were confused about the personal blog, the home blog, the E-Anthology. In the future it would be better to create one and then the other on a separate session.
I also pushed them to put something on the net by the end of the first week. Was that too soon? Most participants, in their reflections felt it was important to be pushed, even though it was tough to start. I think that participants needed a sheet to keep track of all their user names and passwords and a basic set of paper directions as well. I think it was great to have tech support provided by a returning fellow and participants that jumped in to help. As the Si moved along more participants, confident with the process, were able to support their community as well.
By the end of the SI, everyone had been using the E-Anthology to post pieces for feedback and read other pieces, especially from a sister site experiment with Western Mass and people were using their blogs and commenting and posting on our SI blog.
Sure it’s not the same as face-to-face feedback, but more sessions for writing groups were provided, There the problem was that some groups used writing group time to write. Can we find more time to write?
As the SI ended I collected anthology pieces and created an online anthology and a new blog to allow for comfortable threaded discussions. I’m thinking that maybe a site like CLassroom 2.0 might be a better social networking blog to offer in addition to the E-Anthology. I have to get in touch with the Facilitator of Western Mass to debrief as well.