Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Senior Seminar Series Reflections

Today I had the good fortune of teaming with our powerhouse librarian, Mary Jean Conlon, on a "College Research Survival Guide" type of presentation. We worked with three groups of 20 students for an hour each this morning. Our time together was spent participating in several different multi-dimensional activities (we were "quadrupal" tasking at certain points for sure). By the end of the period we wanted every student to know how to collect RSS feeds from a variety of locations (including the ProQuest database, Google News, and a few others). We also had the goal of testing cell phones as an interactive response platform through the use of Poll Everywhere. Finally, we wanted to take some time to challenge the students to begin (if they haven't already) thinking about their digital identity. To keep this post short, I simply want to say that I think we were fairly successful with most of our objectives in this experience.

Here is a layout of how we implemented this activity:

1. We started out with a few ice breaker polls...we had students straggling in late to the sessions and the poll provided a fun way to start things out. It set a light tone, which I think is quite important for seniors at this time in the year. It also served the purpose of introducing students to the concept of interactive audience polling via cell phones, which is a technique that many of these students may use for future presentations of their own. Poll Everywhere worked great as a tool to collect responses to these ice breaker activities/questions (see our presentation embedded below to see some of the questions that we asked students to weigh in on via their cell phones).

2. After a few polls, we showed the students Michael Wesch's "A Vision of Students Today." I have to say that this was the highlight of the session for me. Upon completion of the video, students were encouraged to send a text message with their first thoughts on the video. Students were encouraged to text a sentence, a phrase or even a word that indicated their feelings about the video. Some of the responses were light and silly, but many were very, very deep. Check out their responses online here.

3. The next portion of our time together was spent with Mary Jean, our head librarian, leading a conversation about RSS, Readers, and feeds. This was fantastic, with all of our learners getting their Google Reader up and running and populated with a few feeds. The students really enjoyed the Commoncraft RSS in Plain English Video as well.

4. We closed out with a far too brief discussion of "Your Digital Identity." We essentially encouraged students to think about what they want to appear on the results page of an open Google web search for their name. Over the next four years of their lives it will become increasingly important for the students to manage this identitiy, and while we just scratched the surface today, I'm glad we at least had a few minutes to consider this topic together.

Slides from our presentation today (I recorded audio and at some point in the future will post a slidecast over at Slideshare).

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