Monday, March 17, 2008

Connecting Communication to Student Learning Part 1

I am preparing a presentation for the AzTEA conference on May 3rd. I will be presenting on the connection between communicating among students, parents, and teachers and the impact on student achievement.

Well it appears that for once I was ahead of my time. I did this little thing called a dissertation back in 2003-2004 when I was still in the science classroom. At the time nobody thought much of my topic. Probably because it was geeky and nobody really cares about dissertations.

What I looked at was how communication with parents and students through my website impacted instruction.

Big deal right?

Here is the big deal (and I am still beginning to truly understand pieces of this myself) I was using Web 2.0 technologies from 2001-2004. OK I know according to Wikipedia web 2.0 didn't get coined until 2004. Yet check this out as I go back and look at my dissertation I was writing in it about the 2-way communication I was having with my students through my website.

Get it - 2-way = 2.0

I have been talking about web 2.0 for 2 years now and didn't make the connection that I was doing it with my kids 6 years ago. Why didn't I connect it? Because it didn't look and feel like it does now. It was pretty clunky but here is what was going on:

From 2001-2002 I started using web based forms created, through all things, using frontpage. I would collect student reflections (journal entries) through a web form - export it to an excel spreadsheet - and type responses to each student. I would then hand out the papers to my students. This evolved into an actual on-line database where I was able to do all of this through the web. I guess it was Twitter before twitter - or something like that.

This video explains what I did and how it worked.

A version of it is still up (Thanks 211 and Conant High School!) and running at this link. You can work your way through it - just pick a unique username and password. Let me know if you post something and I will respond.

Over the next few days I am going to write about what I learned through this practice. Now that there is some interest in this type of thing maybe what I learned will be of use.