Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Learning is a social activity

I'm a firm believer that learning is social. My kids have many opportunities to talk to each other throughout the school day so that they learn from each other and develop their thinking through discussion. We even have discussion boards on our classroom blackboard site (thanks Tree!).

However, sometimes this goes too far. While creating websites for a social studies project many kids added guestbooks. Not a problem - yet. Instead of working on their projects they then began 'conversing' on the various guestbooks.

I'm not impressed with their intelligence as evidenced by this episode. Many are complaining that they won't be able to finish the project in time, but they're using their class time to post on each other's guestbooks. And they're signing their posts! I can't possibly believe that they think this is a valid use of their time on this project. Do they not realize that I can look at them, too? Are they really so clueless that it hasn't occurred to them that I'll be able to tell how much time they spent doing this? Does their self-absorption truly extend to delusions that their comments and these conversations are so important that they should be participating in this during class?


Jeff said...

It's not about their intelligence, it's about their Internet and classroom savvy. They may not think of their online personas as being accessible by their teacher. But think about what else is different here. It's not that students are goofing off because of the technology, nor is it new that students are misusing their class time to work on projects. No, what's new is that you can tell, even if you're not in the classroom when they were supposed to be working on it, that they were not working on it.

Don't worry, they'll catch up to the technology with all of its implications for their classroom experience. They'll figure out backchannels to have those conversations again without you finding out. [It just might be back to pen and paper....]

organized chaos said...

i started to write earlier today but then realized i would be doing exactly what the kids were doing, using my planning time (when i complain about not having enough) to write in someone's guest book when i could do it later. so, i'll refrain from the witty comment i was going to make about your children, because, it appears, i am the same.