I’m pretty happy with the variety of discussion formats that we’ve used for this class: (“conversations” through the comment sections of our blogs; the teachingscience2.0 wiki, and D2L), and I’m happy that we finished out the course with the threaded conversations on D2L. They were a nice change of pace/format, and actually seemed like they were more of a conversation, if that makes any sense. Maybe because there was more back-and-forth than on blog comments, where I felt like I was chiming in every once in a while, but not actually writing to the author (even though I was).
I see three themes that came through loud and clear (and many of my classmates have commented on these already):
1. The increased confidence that comes from getting to know a few tools/skills, having had the chance to test drive them for a while. And even though this course was carried out “in public” (out there in the blogosphere for everyone to read my assignments!) it still felt pretty safe. We were collectively willing to admit that some tools were frustrating, or that we had problems loading, embedding, getting audio levels and image resolutions right. But I’m sure that each of us found websites, software, and new tech tools that we will definitely use (to good effect) in the coming year. We’ll also try some things that won’t work out as planned, and that’s okay too.
2. Students will have similar range of reactions to the new technology, and they’ll need some time to practice and get comfortable with new tools as well. I’m not entirely convinced that all kids take to technology as quickly as we (as teachers/adults) think they do. I’m skeptical of lumping all students in any category (especially one as broad as general as “digital natives“) just because they’ve been around computers since they were born. They’ve been around food since they’ve been born, and some are still picky eaters.
3. The chance to connect with new teachers and expand our personal learning networks has been invaluable, and will continue to be a useful resource. We come from all kinds of schools, we teach different age levels, and we teach various subjects (within the broad heading of science). But we are all interested in making science education better, and we have found new colleagues with whom to share information. I’m happy to have made some new connections, and I look forward to hearing about your classes through the coming year.