Digital Learning Day

Today is Digital Learning Day. I am not sure what that means exactly. The irony is that I clicked on the hyperlink for the website and it is down! Oh, technology. Okay, it’s back up now. Going to check it out.

That is pretty much my relationship with technology in a nutshell. I like it when it works, but when it doesn’t I get all miffed and wish for the days of old when it wasn’t part of my life.

In terms of my personal teaching goals, one goal this year was to integrate technology more fully into my teaching. In the fall I didn’t really do that, but during our winter term I am proud to say that I have accomplished a major feats:

I taught my first class 100% online. What does this mean?

It does not mean it was an online course. I don’t really believe in online instruction, neither for myself as a student nor for the student population I teach. But that’s another post.

What it does mean is I have started to tap into the wealth of ePortfolio. Our school uses ePortfolio as a platform for both a course management tool (you post assignments, grade assignments, post your Powerpoint lectures from class, etc. on ePortfolio under the courses that you are listed teaching) and as a portfolio system for students and faculty. Last semester–when I taught reading and writing–I did not use ePortfolio. I felt the students needed written feedback on their work as emerging writers, therefore I had them turn in work to me and then upload it to ePortfolio as a repository for *ahem* my future research (always good to have samples of student work!). But this semester (our winter term, a 6 week double-time course), I switched gears.

1. I posted most of their assignments on ePortfolio (no more paper handouts!)

2. I collected all their work on ePortfolio (or via email if it was late b/c I am such a softie and so slow to grade/return work).

3. I graded all their work on ePortfolio (this was easier to do because I taught an Art elective and didn’t feel the pressure to give quite as much feedback on their writing as I do in an English class)

4. I email blasted students news & information on our class field trips

5. I created a course tab on my own ePortfolio called Arts in NYC and curated little galleries of images from our trips or for use in classes for our weeks

And I know this doesn’t sound like much when I put it into words and write it down here, but I was a HUGE effort and shift in my pedagogy.
I’m proud of myself.

Check it out: here’s a link to my ePortfolio:

The National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE–an organization any/all English teachers should belong to!) has developed a Framework for 21st Century Curriculum & Assessment and under this framework is Context for NCTE’s 21st Century Literacies Framework. The first element of this framework is that students should: Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology.

As an educator, I hold myself accountable to the same standards I expect my students to achieve. If I want them to read, I read. If I want them to write like motherfuckers, I write like a motherfucker. If I want them to engage in meta-cognitive practices, I take time to reflect. And, if I want them to engage in their ePortfolio’s as a place to curate their work as students, I need to use ePortfolio to promote myself as a professor.

Sometimes, walking the walk is a lot of damn work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.