Making connections

This is continuing from yesterday’s speach.

There are no digital natives in web 2.0, because most of the technology is less than 5 years old.

MW uses a wiki for the semester, and have the schedule out there (which the students are not allowed to edit 😉 ), and the students can enter their notes on lessons. They collaborate on making ie an exam review. The second year he let the new goup build on what the lastyear students did, and the scores went down… He also thinks this is a failure, because it still focuses on memorizing a lot of facts and not on the kind of learning that will stick in the long run.

If you are working with kids, be careful about public wikis and public stuff so that it cannot be abused in any way. Be aware of search bots that might find words you have put in an innocent setting, that could be put in a more malicious setting.

MW has a research schedule instead of a syllabus in one of his subjects, including with large classes. All this is also on a public wiki, and they all work together and create/develop the research they do.

MW goes on to show more of how they use the tools like wiki, netvibes, diigo etc. Their netvibes page has an rss feed that picks up on the tags the students use in diigo.

Outline of a purpose-driven course

  1. exploration stage
  2. guidet introduction to the field
  3. self-guided research
  4. publish research paper
  5. share with world (video, website, etc.)

Ex. of 1.: 16 students created, between two classes, a database of 95 articles. Everybody read 5 articles, and the summary of all the articles that the class found. This sets off a tremendous discussion. They were also required to make a video, a trailer, of their final project, to force them to think early about a problem. They get no training in making videos, but just gets told to do it. There are many easy tools, and tutorials on the web, and going out to learn it themselves makes them learn better.

What about copyright here? His students obviously also uses clips from tvshows, movies etc in their videos.

The students continue to collaborate online, and are very motivated. MW gives them assignments all the time, to keep them moving forward.

Demonstrates smartpen (livescribe). These will be showing up in classrooms, it is a very valuable tool.

A great aspect of the wiki is that you can get up what each student has done/edited.

The class has a blog where they can publish any finished work.

Goes back to talk about the big class he showed yesterday (the students in this class are low motivation students, about 50% on average will drop out of college), and how he tries to motivate them to work. Starts off by making each student find out something about a bit of the world, generate statistics and put it all together to create a picture of the state of the world today. Every student picks up on their major subject: The economics major focuses ie on the economic aspects of the rain forest.

At the end of the year, they get together and simulate the world history from 1450 until today. They have to create rules for everything too. This seems kind of childish, but it illustrates a lot of important points about world systems! The completed simulation is put on the wiki and recorded, and ends up over 20 pages long.

Question from audience: what about copyright? MW exploits the fact that they use copyrighted material in their trailers, because they are not published when they’re made, but he tells them that they are going to get published, and they must check up on that. This makes the problem very much real, and the students are interested in learning about copyright laws because they have to know what of their material is coyrighted. Everything that is published is done so legally from MW’s classes.


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