Firstly I’d like to thank Russ Goerend, William Chamberlain, and Chris Moore for their thoughtful comments and feedback to my last post. Russ even went so far as to turn his comment into a post of his own and solicit additional feedback for me that way. I never cease to be amazed at the helpful, engaged, and thoughtful teachers that are out there wanting to challenge themselves and improve their classrooms and teaching — all with the goal of helping their students.
Certainly I think that getting my students more involved with other classrooms will be a vital component of this, and that is something I’ll strive to implement in the upcoming months. In fact, I’ve already had a few students contribute to Shelly Blake-Plock‘s Western Civ class wiki by writing some questions for his students’ “dailies.”
Ironically, I think I’ve always known that this would be vital, as I’d started a post back in August entitled “Blog Swap” (which would probably garner higher ratings, or at least seem less odious than “Wife Swap”) focused on seeking other teachers whose classes would be interested in this type of collaborative exchange. Perhaps I’ll still get around to writing it, though you essentially just got the CliffsNotes (or should I have said “Reader’s Digest Version,” as to not appear to be encouraging academic indolence?) version there.
In any event, I think I’ve come up with a technical solution for how to aggregate and easily present my students’ posts — Yahoo Pipes. While I’ve previously had mixed success using Yahoo Pipes on my own (e.g. without the assistance of my much more tech-savvy brother-in-law) I did manage to wrangle it successfully so that it would spit out all my students’ posts with the most recent first. Then, I created a badge from the RSS feeds and embedded them in the class wiki, which you can check out here. Aesthetically, it’s not too bad:
My students’ most recent posts are about Alfred Crosby‘s Ecological Imperialism, which they read over the weekend, wrote a review on, and which we’ll then discuss in class. If any of you, dear readers, would be willing to offer some comments on my students’ posts about Crosby, I’d be quite appreciative. In particular, any comments you can offer about the nature of my students’ critiques of Crosby’s argument would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
Again, here’s the link to participate in the newly launched #Comments4Sophs!