EdTech Transmissions: We Control the Vertical and Horizontal
Jim Groom, Instructional Technologist and Adjunct Professor at the University of Mary Washington, introduced blogging at UMW. Now there are 5109 UMW Wordpress blogs posted by 6656 users at this small university in Virginia. It's a community of students and faculty working together.
They used a blog to distribute student research on Civil War markers and realized how the community could be reached with this approach. They didn't dictate how students could use their blogs and Groom appreciates the creativity and the ability to capture and aggregate what has been happening at his institution. It's important to give students their own space -- "a domain of one's own" -- that they can take with them when they graduate.
Examples include an online exhibit, History of American Technology, has aggregated student research blogs on different aspects of the topic. Other blogs include documentation of the struggle to offer a women's studies program at UMW. Student travel blogs are aggregated in Study Abroad Blogs because over 35 students responded to the invitation to add their travel blogs' URLs to the site. Art students have used blogs as portfolios of their work. Some students are using their blogs to document all of their academic work. They post their research, writing, resumes, etc. The blog is a consistent space that can then be transferred to a post-graduation domain. Faculty who move to other institutions do this as well.
UMW analytics track visits, page views, and average time spent on the site. It's obvious from this data that the content the UMW community has created is generating hits.
Groom challenges MCCCD not to invest in Blackboard but rather to invest in people. It's a bigger institution and could really control the vertical and the horizontal!
The great Wikipedia project involved a faculty member whose students did library research to improve Wikipedia articles. The FA.team got involved.
An Asian American literature class started using the UMW Wiki to share resources for the class. Blog content can be moved into wikis to serve as an ongoing resource.
How are we thinking of the classroom itself as a space for revolution?
#ds106 is a digital storytelling course Groom has taught for three semesters. The last class was completely open. Anyone could submit assignments. It was available as an open online noncredit class. 150 people who were not students participated. He wanted to put students in a position of power. Students were told to obtain their own domains. They added their work to a central site. MOOC Students could submit their own assignments. Over 800 students submitted work. An assignment regarding iTunes playlists was permutated and appeared in various places online.
Take iconic media images from a movie or TV show. This became a dynamic repository to which many contributed.
DS106 Radio was an attempt to get away from Elluminate, which was dismissed as follows: "It's a box." They used a Nicecast server to broadcast from computers and used it to tell stories and play music. People from around the world could participate.
The next step was DS106TV for live broadcasting. Old media can be used in new ways. We need to imagine new uses for old tools that can be changed and reimagined.
Twitter offered a way for former students to participate in the class.
No one dropped the class. "They were in for life." This is a class about consistent engagement over time, not just a couple of papers and a final exam.
Minecraft, an online sandbox building video game, also was utilized.
This summer he'll teach the class as a character. When the instructor and students are all playing characters isn't that the ultimate digital storytelling class?
#4life - DS106 isn't necessarily a class. It's an experience, a way to share. Education is packaged but it should be a process, an experience.