Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Power of Comments on Blogs

On Tuesday September 1 Matthew Needleman visited (via Skype) two of my EDM 310 classes. This was very exciting for me and, I think, for my students as well.

On the previous Thursday, when leaving the TT 11 class, one student mentioned that she had a comment on her blog from "some guy named Matthew that I don't know." Immediately behind her, the student said "Yeah, I had a comment from him too. Isn't that the guy who wrote the movie?" I interjected, "What? You got a comment from the author of 'Mr. Winkle Wakes', Matthew Needleman?" "I think so. How did he find us?" I guessed as to how he found us (and was wrong it turns out). The students left. And then, checking my email I had one from Mr. Needleman volunteering to speak to one of my classes the next Tuesday. I could hardly wait. What serendipity! A chance to demonstrate the power of their assignments to comment on kids blogs (see the post immediately below this one).
In my email thanking Mr. Needleman for his visit, I explained why I assigned my students to comment on other kids blogs (as Mr. Needleman had done for several of my students). I include this here because it is important for my students, and other teachers, to understand the power of the new communications technologies. Oh yes, and all of this is FREE! And thanks also to Mr. Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain) who taught me how important it is to leave comments!

I make the assignment to my students to comment of kids blogs around the world because I want to:
a) Encourage comments on blogs they visit
b) Get them to see what kids can do with blogs (kids - not students in a college class!)
c) Get them to see real classes that use technology - and to understand its role in the curriculum
d) Let them identify teachers who could be helpful to them when they start teaching
e) Get them out of a classroom into the world
f) Use the technologies themselves

And now, take a few minutes and listen to Mr. Needleman and the conversations he had (after a brief introduction) with my students! It skips a bit since, even in our labs, there was insufficient broadband to have a perfect transmission of the video and audio. But that did not matter to TT 11 and TT 2. Enjoy. And don't forget to leave a comment!