Tuesday, February 19, 2008

oops, I did it again

Dina Strasser writes:
If I scan a page of a vocabulary workbook into the computer, convert it to PDF, and add digital fill in the blanks, my kids may be “motivated” to work on it– but it’s still the same damn workbook that has no basis in effective teaching practice, flexible problem solving, or language acquisition research.
She's right. She re-made the workbook, but this isn't a useful example of technology integration.

There's no point using any tool, tech or otherwise, if the only dividend one hopes for is student motivation. The real goals are student comprehension and ownership over content.

How about Blabberize? Simple, surely not "elegant", but I'd bet $1000 to a nickel that the kids will take greater ownership over their vocabulary, and no surprise here, know the words.

There's proof of it right here, right now. I've taught Sadlier-Oxford, Level G for a decade. A decade!!! Seriously, try inspiring a love of 'concomitant' every semester. Damn near impossible.

But just the other day, a student used 'concomitant' in a sentence. She spoke the word and it gushed forth like any other word in her vernacular. No test. No scantron. No assessment in progress. Just a second-semester senior using and owning content.

And seriously, when did trying to do something different become so distressing and unsettling?

Even low-tech teachers revamp and revise. And if they're not, then let's show them that sweater table over there at The Gap.

They're more than qualified to refold. And refold. And refold.


Andrew Marcinek said...

I want to teach via a llama on blaberize!!

alytapp said...

Love this post, Ken. As a tech coach/English teacher myself, I am in complete agreement with you. Just yesterday, I thought about our endless slog through Sadlier-Oxford when we al know there are better ways. I'm also a big fan of blabberize for its power to be the candy that hooks the kids into the learning goal. Yea you!

Ken Rodoff said...

@alytapp: thanks for checkin' in, and the kind words. Blabberize is one of those apps that when you show the site to other teachers, they tend to respond with 'it's so lame looking' or 'is that an alpaca?'

But when they listen to a student-created 'blabber' and then they are reminded about the scripting and revising that took place prior to recording, well, you know the rest!