June 11, 2013
We have a dozen or so students leaving for Kenya this summer. They are pre-doctoral scholars, who will learn on their own. It is a rich experience. Multidimensional nature of field learning is hard to capture using summative evaluation.
I had first used blogs as a homework tool for Community High students in 2005, when I was a community resource partner working with a teacher over three semesters. When the students completed their short writing assignments the level of engagement changed. They were receptive to the new topics learnt down the road and felt connected to the class topics, as they were actively processing the information for later reflection.
Reflection on learning promotes higher learning and metacognition. Blogger was a new tool, but the high schoolers were able to use it without major complaints.
At the time, blogger had the ability to do audio posts via telephone calls, which was since gone away: It was made available, but the students did not use it. I thought I would miss the facility, but looking at real life use proved that it wasn't relevant. Showed me how certain features that sound awesome, are just not realistic enough.
The scholars going to Kenya should have few or no technical issues, which is crucial in the context of traveling to a developing region and using technology in the field. I look forward to the quality of the content and any issues that might arise in real time.