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Can I do something related to this -
How this class has made me re-think how/what I teach
Both in terms of Don't Make Me Think - as a concept and also as far as using hyperlinks and wikis

I love the way we kept notes on a wiki page of our readings. I think this was a great organizational thing.
I also like how using hyperlinks as citations takes some of the intimidation out of citation for students and gets them in the practice of citing their sources.

I like the concepts of usability and sort of upsetting or overturning the conventions we've relied on... I'm not sure where this would go in a paper, but...???

I just was going through the links of places we didn't get to for class and found [[||Writing Spaces]]. This looks like an amazing resource for me to use for my classes! Ohhhh... I'm so excited! I think I will chose one of these essays and read it and blog about it until I've read them all. Maybe I can write my own essay and contribute it here one day! Now that would be cool!

=====Putting My Thoughts Down=====
Reading through the Krug text got me thinking about how I communicate my purposes or objectives to my students in everything from D2L to weekly announcements or formally written assignments. D2L is a structured online learning platform that I don't have any control over how it's set up, and frankly, it is often very confusing to students, especially students whose main form of engagement with technology is through a smartphone or a tablet - not an actual computer. The conventions are so much different. When you cannot tap something to go there, students often don't know what to do. Clicking the dropdown menu is often foreign to them as well, so I find myself often writing out detailed instructions on how to navigate D2L to get to the areas where I've posted content or assignments. This takes a lot of time, sometimes leads to confusion for the students, and overall... I'm not sure it's valuable.

One big thing I realized this semester was that less can be more. I saw this on so many levels. First, the course itself was set up very bare bones. We had a wiki page where course information and assignments were posted. Our work load was consistent: read the assigned texts, take notes on the wiki. Due dates stayed the same, expectations stayed the same. I found this to be really liberating. It was awesome to know at the beginning of each new class week, basically what to expect. This allowed me to manage my time and concentrate on the actual readings and note-taking and not have to be distracted by sorting out due dates or deciphering new assignments. This aligned with Krug's concepts of creating a minimalist web page - one where the creator has really defined his objective and has eliminated anything that might be clutter or noise, allowing the audience to think about what it is the creator wants them to think about and nothing else.

In my teaching, I tend to get very excited about content and materials. I tend to overload students with content and assignments because I'm so excited about those materials. As a result, I find myself designing several mid-week assignments and a variety of types of assignments, and my thoughts behind this is to keep students engaged, to reach all types of learners, to keep the class from getting stale or monotonous; however, what I'm realizing now, is that sometimes, monotonous doesn't have to mean boring. By mixing things up, I might be adding extra anxiety to students, preventing them from really being able to maximize their potential because they are spending time trying to figure out the "conventions" of that assignment or how to navigate the material.

====Applying Krug to the Classroom====
- From Chapters 1 and 2, I like his principle to make sure the user has a positive experience
- From Chapter 3, I like his principles of structural hierarchy for developing written assignments. While I already employ many of these concepts, I was doing it more or less intuitively, not based on someone's formula. I can see where this could be useful for assignments, especially to make it a priority to have each assignment fit the same template. This would allow students to feel like each new assignment looks familiar, and they could focus on the content of the assignment rather than trying to figure out how to read the document.
- Chapter 4 is also important for designing instructions - to be sure to include help when/if needed and at the right moment for students.
- Chapter 6 was about navigation and orientation. Students need to feel oriented in a class, like they know where they are at, so this is a reminder to keep the calendar updated and to give verbal or written indicators once in a while to let students know where they are at in the course and what lies ahead.
- Chapters 7-9 were really about usability and testing. I think this is where assessments and evaluations and reflections come in to play. I don't usually "test" an assignment before I give it. The first time a class does the assignment is the test. I'm not sure how practical these concepts are for the way our system works. It sounds ideal, but not realistic, probably.
====Applying LaFarge to the Classroom====
LaFarge argued that online reading could be even a better experience than print reading because via hyperlinks and technological advances (along with creativity, vision, and innovation), readers could plunge in to the experience. There could be no end to the depths the reader could travel to. I love this idea, but I'm wondering how to get some of my students there. I have some who would read everything humanely possible between class periods, putting their own health at risk because they felt they had to read everything to get the good grade, and then I have those who will barely read at all. How do you get students to read for the experience of it?

====Applying Vennavar Bush to the Classroom====
Bush's concept of the Memex as a way of storing personal information might be really useful in helping students achieve the desire to plunge in to reading online the way Lafarge argues. In this class, we used the wiki pages as a sort of Memex to contain our notes and our thoughts on what we were studying. I'd like to assign something similar - something that the students could constantly be adding to and changing as they read new texts or visit new sites. It might be motivating for them to watch their own pages fill up with notes as they study. Especially, if they can look in at what their classmates are doing - to add a little competitive edge to it. Asking the students to keep notes about the things they've read or sites they've visited, will also provide some type of reward for the student because he/she will be documenting what they've done in a way that both students and instructor can see it. This might motivate students more than just being asked to read but them not being provided any opportunity to demonstrate the work they've done. The additional benefit of using a form of a Memex is that the student has something preserved for future use.

====Applying Mcluhan to the Classroom====
What really stuck with me from Mcluhan's essay was this phrase, "...unconscious consumer of industrial folklore." I think he's saying we are consuming the media blindly and recreating it unwittingly. His article motivates me to try and find an innovative way to wake students up from that slumber - from their passive existence (and ours) as blind participants to progressive and proactive thinkers. I'm deeply troubled by the state of education in my sons' school, especially in the area of technology. Four years ago, when my youngest started kindergarten, the Rochester Public School District rolled out their one-to-one ipad initiative. The quality of education at our school plummeted soon after. I cannot blame the teachers. They were forced to implement the use of ipads in all of their courses without much training. Even my husband, who teaches P.E. in the district had to find ways to use the ipads as an integral part of his P.E. curriculum. He's a great teacher, and he was able to do it successfully, and his solution addresses this topic perfectly, but before I explain his solution, I want to step back and talk about what was going on at my sons' school. Suddenly, with this pressure to use the ipad, my kids were getting homework from every class due on the ipad. We saw endless math programs and reading programs. My kids were being introduced to a plethora of "educational" games on the ipads. But one thing all of this new high tech curriculum had in common was a consumerism focus. The kids consumed or completed a very dictatorial task, and that was it. There was no curriculum (and still isn't) dedicated to helping the students become the producers, creators and innovators. Students are introduced to a new program, learn the conventions, meet the objectives, end of story. My husband found a creative way for the students to make the technology work for them. Twice a year he does fitness testing. Once at the beginning of the year and again at the end for students to assess their progress. The students use the video camera on the ipad to record themselves (or with a partner) doing their push-ups or squats or whatever exercise. Then the student watches his/her own self, critiques his/her own form and repeats the exercise, making any necessary adjustments. I love this because the students are using the technology as a tool that is useful for them. Of course, it doesn't leave room for creativity and innovation, etc... but they are not simply consuming.

I'd like to use Mcluhan's idea in a classroom to get students to try to see how they have been consumers and to find creative ways to step outside of that. Maybe just ask the students to seek out ways they could change how they engage with some of the technology or media they consume everyday and report back to the class what they did. This could be really empowering for students and eye-opening. Using [[||Jill Walker Rettberg's book]], we might be able to delve into the way technology is shaping us a bit more, but I haven't decided whether I want to use these things as texts or as optional texts. ???

====Applying Ted Nelson to the Classroom====
I believe it was Nelson that argued in Computer Lib that it was a myth that the computers were hard to understand and on the elite "geeks" could dabble in this science. Nelson claimed that everyone needed an understanding of computers... and I think this argument goes for many things in our society. We live in a society that functions on the idea that you either are or you are not, or you can or you cannot. We don't really operate with the mentality that you can learn something if you try.

This semester was very energizing for me because I was one of those fixed mindset people in many ways. I didn't believe I was tech savvy or that I could be. I thought it would be much more of a struggle than it actually was once I got my feet wet and actually went into the water. I also had to reevaluate my own self-perceptions. I realized I had a very narrow definition of what it meant to be tech savvy. I thought it meant to understand the way computers operate, to know how to code and develop software, to hack the systems, etc... I wasn't really considering the ability to navigate systems that are already in place (something I am quite efficient at). I wasn't thinking about how I could engage with different sites or content online, and I wasn't thinking about my own contributions. Bringing technology and media from something out there to something very personal was life-changing for me. Nelson ponders why humans tend to think of some machines (like the toaster) as a warm machine but a computer as a cold one. I don't know that I would go so far as to say people think of their toasters as warm in any other way than literally when they get hot during use, but it did make me think about how one's perception of a machine can certainly be altered based on the experiences one is having with it.

That brings me back to the classroom. Many of my students do not look forward to my class. They feel intimidated coming in. English has never been their "thing." They say. Other students, however, love reading and writing. It is totally their thing. So, I do work hard to try and kindle a flame for literature and writing by helping students understand what it's all about. To take them from the position of outsider and welcome them in. But maybe there's something to be adapted here from these guys who were so enamored with the hyperlink and it's ability to draw people in. Maybe using hyperlink rich texts, I can help some of those students who are nervous about reading to find their own way in. Maybe having the links there will feel like having second chances and third chances. If they aren't feeling one text, there's another one to choose from. I like the control this gives the student.

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