Friday, May 4, 2012

Reading and Writing with my shadow?

Learn in isolation?
This week I have learned a lot about reading and writing. The articles written by Krajka and Mei-Ya Liang were really thought-provoking and very illuminating.  They provided proofed-tested strategies to be implemented for promoting the development of Reading and Writing skills. There is no doubt that the guidance they provided will be useful for many years to come. I think that Krajka’s writing prompts are particularly valuable means to boost that skill. Who will not feel tempted to write about a special character in history or contemporary times? These articles, however, were written when the technology was not as versatile as today´s in the sense that, even though the made use of internet as a resource of authentic material, the focus of learning was still individualistic. Of course my perception could be wrong and by no means am I saying the strategies they proposed are incorrect, it is only that they need to be adapted to today´s technology possibilities to promote a more social learning environment.  As a teacher who has been in the field for a while now, I have felt the wind of change with respect to using web tools 2.0 to promote reading and writing. There is a world-wide tendency to favor strategies and web tools to foster collaborative learning. New terms like “Collaborative writing” and “crowd sourced books”, “social reading” or “social annotation” are trendy in many tech forums and other popular articles these days. Need an example? Search for these newly coined words to get a sense of what I mean.  If you check Breaking news English you will see a good example. These exercises are great and I think they were meant to be printed off for the use of the student, so they were designed for “the individual learner” and there´s nothing wrong with that, but it could be adapted to be used for a group. How much more learning could merged individuals learn? I hope to get my idea across. Any comments?  
Crowd-sourced learning?

On the other hand, I learned lots about writing lesson plans from a very outstanding School software :D  Yeap. I really liked it that its layouts included all the cards to be played. For example, each lesson included Institutional Standards, language level, objective, strategy, activities, technology standards, age, etc. Everything perfectly combined to get an expected result. I suspected of this equation combination before. Lesson plans involve more than just the learning objective. I wish I could have a software like that!! How they did it? 

To wrap up, after my immersion with readings and web pages during week 4th , I came up with two teaching/learning paths to choose:  Should  I  take “in isolation” boosting or “crowd fostering” for reading and writing on my students? The answer my friend is blowing …in student´s learning styles and needs as well.  Or else? What do you think?

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