Sunday, December 14, 2008

Student Seminar Series

Well, I had a brainflare the other day and this one might be pretty decent if I don't say so myself. Most of these end of going nowhere, like my idea to setup a Wii for teachers and students to use during discretionary time periods throughout the school day (I think the Wii is an incredible platform for learning through play, collaboration, and socializing). I'm impressed by what Tom Barrett over in the UK is doing with the Wii in his classroom.

Anyway, the Wii isn't what I'm talking about in this post. My idea has to do with some suggestions and thoughts put out there by students in our first student focus group podcast from last week. During this focus group session one of the students talked about a recent class project (she is a sophomore) which required some collaborative writing. She suggested to other students in her group that they should use a google doc for this process, but many students in her group/class didn't know about google docs as a platform for this type of work. This is a student who is in the Gator Radio Experience, so she has some experience using a google doc to write collaboratively.

This student's story got me thinking about how we could get the word out to students about some of these platforms, tools, and techniques for working together. One of the thoughts that came across my mind was some type of voluntary monthly seminar series where interested students could come and participate in some type of hour long overview of digital resources that they may not be aware of. So it got me thinking about some possible sessions and they are as follows:

1. Free and Open Source Software...what it is and why you should care about it (we could even provide CDs loaded up with software for the students to have at the end of the session).

2. Harnessing the power of RSS in the research process - our incredible librarian, Mary Jean Conlon, would facilitate this session.

3. Collaborating near and far with google docs and wikis

4. The cell phone as a powerful learning instrument

5. Under the hood of Wikipedia...a look at the underbelly of the world's largest encyclopedia (again, facilitated by Mary Jean Conlon, our librarian).

6. Screencasting for students

These are just a sampling of the sessions, many of which could even be faciliated by some of our students (how powerful would that be!) I know the challenge will be logistics and getting very busy students to actually show up. Finding a way to plug this in to an already packed school day and schedule will be tricky. But if we record these and post them, perhaps we could transcend time and space a bit for those unable to attend.

What do you think?? Is this a decent idea?? Any suggestions for sessions and logistics??

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