We live in an age where our programmed default is documentation. We post things on Facebook, we tweet, and we chronicle. Last night I took a picture of the Texas brisket sandwich I ate in a restaurant in York Mills. I tweet about every new comic book I’ve read that I’m impressed with. I write Yelp reviews. I blog! Any of you who have been following this blog know the bulk of what has been going on in my brain (in regards to e-learning) for the last two months. I’m a pretty open book.
I read a blog post recently called Documenting for Learning . What I found is that this same sort of documentation that we do everyday is very beneficial in the classroom. When we hear people complain that today’s society chronicles every piece of their lives on social media, I wonder if we can’t approach our classrooms and student learning with that same rigor and drive.
If we could start having students keep a record of everything they’ve done and learned and felt in the classroom, and we as teachers starting keeping a record of everything we’ve tried and things students have said, the body of evidence and richness of the content we would have to draw from would be tremendous.
We would be able to look back and make conscious changes. How many times have any of us taught a great lesson, with class engagement and involvement, and then the next day forgot what was said? All of us. What if those wonderfully raw reactions students have with material and discussions could be remembered? What if every teachable moment I’ve ever had was still accessible to me?
E-Portfolio in D2L is a good place to start. Students can start collecting their work in a database that they can always access. Teachers can use it,too. With the advent of Google Docs, I never have to worry about losing great stuff.
The idea of this is fantastic–students and teachers (and school boards) retaining a large body of incredible learning that has happened–it’s like an interactive piece of History that doesn’t take up any space.
So, talking about this is one thing—but how do I start? I think a good starting place is getting students on board. Perhaps we have a discussion, and students tweet their thoughts while we discuss–then we can go back and look at them, and NEVER lose them. They can always go back and remember the great things their classmates said, and I can remember, as well. I’m going to be teaching 3C English a lot longer than these students are going to be taking it.
They only take it for 5 months. I will probably see 25 years of 3C English, so it’s more my responsibility to gather, assess, and tweak my own performance and growth over this time.