Where are all the other days?

12 01 2010

This is the final entry in this tale of my first semester of connected learning, and clearly I need to answer one nagging question: how can you manage to only teach 32 class days and still get paid? In the case of this journal, there were several class days I left out, primarily because there was nothing to tell. For example, most Fridays were spent in project teams, which meant there was very little connected learning action taking place. Also we took exams, completed a multi-day negotiation exercise, and dismissed class one day for an on-campus event. Trust me, I really did teach the whole semester’s worth of material.

As I write this conclusion, it is January and a new semester has begun. Optimism reigns and I arrived at my classroom yesterday confident that the network connectivity issues of Day 1 last fall would be a thing of the past. Of course if you’ve read any of this site, you know better, and as I was standing in front of 80 new students trying to explain this whole “connected learning” thing (and why it didn’t seem to work) our network guru was on the phone with our vendors, trying to figure out why all the campus access points seemed to be dead. Deep breath. Sigh. Oh well. We’ll try again tomorrow.

One of my goals in this whole adventure was to use connected learning tools in virtually every class session, and we managed to do that. Another goal was to identify when and where the tools work best; at this point my opinion is that these tools are okay at streamlining class administration (attendance, etc.) but their real potential lies in enabling new methods of teaching and interaction. These are the applications I hope to try in the current semester.

Someday soon we will reach a point where wireless access to the internet is ubiquitous and, just like electricity and running water, we can assume it is available just because it always is. For students accessing the net via 3G phone, that day (at least at somewhat reduced speeds) has already arrived. For others, we will continue to wrestle with connection issues from time to time, and this will, if nothing else, keep us nimble!

This is where the profound closing line is supposed to go, but I’ve got nothin’. Enjoy the journey, both the ups and the downs.

The Connected Prof




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