Metawriting posts from the new blog location

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Technology: How much is too much?

I was suddenly sucked into a vortex of class concocting, pedagogical pondering, and technology taste-testing last night. I don't know what hit me. There I was living my life as usual (cooking, cleaning, caring for child and dog, performing administrative duties) when suddenly I was struck with the urge to build my fall course. This compulsion was so fierce that I never did go to sleep last night. Wow. I've suffered such creative compulsions before but never for writing a syllabus or assignment sheet.

I have a lot of ideas for making this class exciting, challenging, fulfilling, and fun (too tall an order for a general education class? well we'll see).

One of the primary things I want to focus is on genre awareness and all that entails (that is a whole 'nother blog post though so I won't get into it now) and part of my brainstorm is to utilize various web publication tools to emphasize that. But that does lead me to the all important question of how much technology is too much? I am not much of a subscriber to the belief that digital natives are super techno-savvy. Perhaps that is simply because I've had to explain to too many people how to use BlackBoard and even email. I think just like anything else -- they know what they use but there is a whole world of technology out there they don't use -- so they don't know it. But again that is another blog post.

I'm teaching a general education (as in required for everyone and taught in many different incarnations although with the same basic goals by many different instructors) writing class. The class is online and our university utilizes BlackBoard to support all classes. So that is one form of technology we will need to use -- albeit sparingly.

I'm also fairly definite about the use of student blogs to display finished products and allow peer comments -- perhaps more but still deciding the parameters there.

I've got a couple of short introductory assignments (very short!) which made me start to think about using a twitter feed as well. Is that too much? Still thinking about what I would do with that...but I do like the idea of using these different technological tools as well as other assignments to make my students think about the importance of communication and words in general as well as the role genre and audience etc. play in communication. But oh much technology to require and how much to simply encourage. How much is too much?

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