Monday, 3 September 2007

Learning over the shoulder

I listened to Nancy White's lecture on learning 'over the shoulder' and here are some of my thoughts.

  1. Very impressed with Nancy's ability to multi-task between giving presentation and responding to the 'chat' going on in the text area. I was trying to imagine giving a talk in that way (and no, I'm not volunteering ;) and thought how tricky it would be to keep 'on task', maintain control of the technology, think about the audience and their technological expertise, respond to comments and complete in 10 minutes! I'm sure it comes down to practice (as with all forms of 'presentation'!) but still impressive.
  2. I went for a little surf from blog to blog - can't remember where I started but I ended up here and a discussion about using twitter in the classroom. The use of this tool was raised by Nancy in her talk and I went to the twitter site for a brief look around. My initial thought was 'nah, I won't use that' but the few examples identified in Darren Kuropatwa's blog discussion have made me think again. I find that when I learn about new online tools (such as those described as Web 2.0) I can picture their use with higher education students (or adults in general really) but I instantly put up barriers at the thought of using them with children. (I think like Mark Greenfield (in his recent post) that these tools don't always allow for 'control and direction' which is what I'm used to when teaching). However, the more examples I read the more possibilities become apparent. [Note to self: must stop thinking 'but that won't work with kids'].
  3. Sharing a workroom with colleagues has always led to 'over the shoulder' learning in my experience and I love the idea of being able to remotely gain technological help. This week I asked the ICTS department to give me access to Elluminate from a work computer so that I could catch some of the online lectures 'live' and a lovely tech guy took remote control of my PC, and guided me through the process of setting it up through a little chat tool in the corner of the screen. He logged off once I was happy that it was working - well, we'll see tomorrow if it actually works! But, I thought this was a nice, related example and it worked well - it saved him the 30 minute journey to the classroom for me to look over his shoulder for real!
  4. Also, when I was teaching ICT I found that some learner's would know far more than I would about all the available web sites, tools, software etc. The beauty of having interactive whiteboards linked to the internet meant that the whole class could learn over their shoulders.