I am often amazed at how shallow my knowledge can be if I haven’t taken the time to play. I can get the concept that a given tool or idea is useful, but until I actually put it to use, there is very little that I understand about how it works or why I would use it. And when I do finally do get around to using it, I find that I could have used it in so many other ways in other recent projects if I would have just taken the time to create something with it originally.
So, that is our task together. We need to spend some time with the tools that we have worked so hard to learn about. We need to make a case for their existence in our workflow. We need to create something of value and then present that value to others. In order to do this , we must first answer one simple question: What is the itch that we need to scratch?
If we do not have an actual problem, elemental in nature, that we are trying to solve with Advanced Online Learning tools then we really don’t need them and they will be able to fall by the wayside quite easily. However, if we are able to define and articulate what it is that Dropbox alleviates or Posterous allows us to do then there is a better chance of us putting into practice some pedagogically sound actions. It isn’t enough to state that simplifies posting content or syncing files between computers. It isn’t enough that we brainstorm what we “could” do with it. The problems that we define must be ones that we have experienced for years or that are too pressing to ignore. Things like a specific unit that has always been a chore for students or an area that has too much content to cover in the given amount of time. Scratching those kinds of itches are going to lead us to create something much more worthwhile than simply sharing resources or doing the first things that come into our head.
So, I would like you to start planning and to start creating. Create a Google Document called My [insert your name instead of my] Pedagogical Itch. Share it via a link and then post it to our Moodle course by clicking on add a resource and then add a link to a file or website. This will allow all of us to check in on one another as we start to create and talk about our act of creation. At the end of today, you should have a plan and a working prototype for how you will bring a single tool (or cohesive collection of tools) into your practice. This can look like a lot of things, but the thing it can’t be is vague. Dig into a unit or theme or content area. Build out a resource that you can be proud of. We will be doing a presentation of what we have created as the culmination of our course. Enjoy.