31st Day

The Last Challenge

In order to answer as I should, I must quote and link to almost every Blog I visited; as I can’t possibly do it, I will address all my gratitude to The Comment Challenge “general quarters”.

1. What did you personally gain from the Challenge?

R. A growing sense of belonging to a Community, the discovery of several unique “voices” at Edublogs, the adventure of writing and reading in a sharing perspective, the joy of rediscovering the beautiful English language – (my translation studies just seem to have been reactivated from a distant past).

2. What did you gain professionally?

R. My students will have a word to say…In the meanwhile, I may add that now I know where are the fundamental sources I must consult to study and put into practice the art of blogging and using web20 tools in the context of School.

3. Is this something you would do again? Why?

R. I certainly would, though I hope not in May again; it’s the most busy month of the whole school year as we have to correct tests twice and to deal with the ones sent by the “education government department” and to prepare the school festival; July or August would be most welcome. I’ll do it again because it enlarges my horizon and turn me to others, it makes me a better blog citizen.

4. What do you think you will do differently now?

R. I will share my e-learning endless quest, as I’m not alone any longer; my personal effort to put into practice what I’ve learned and admired will be more effective and systematic; I will use social bookmarking as a means of organizing my work while sharing it at the same time.

5. Top Five Lessons:

R: 1 – The use of several web2.0 tools.

2 – A more acute sense of duty, of commitment towards others and the joy that comes with it.

3 – A greater awareness of rights and duties implied in the exposure and building of our on-line identity.

4 – A growing sense of responsibility concerning on line possible issues for young students and more effective knowledge to counteract.

5 – The most subtle lesson, the most hard to express: the lesson on humanity that irradiates from such wonderful posts I’ve been honored to freely read and friendly comment.

30th Day

An Improved New Teaching

I’m going to take the liberty to interpret this activity for day 30 as if it was a sort of interview made by Michele  Martin to each of us; it will  spare me a precious amount of time, although I’m very sorry for not being able to respond with the deepness this reflective task deserves.

1. What have you learned about the give and take of commenting and how it might apply in a classroom?

R: This “give and take” brings along an human enrichment to individual writing; the fact that you share your thoughts and knowledge opens your inner world to the virtual  presence of others and, without noticing, you begin  to reflect and even to act as a member of a community.

In the classroom I’ve noticed how much young students enjoy to share their own texts reading them aloud in front of the class or silently reading  long answers by their colleagues that I extract and copy  from their tests; since we have started to dwell on-line they have shown their enthusiasm on publishing their writings.

Now we may not only enlarge and multiply our ways of sharing our work, but we may introduce this totally new feature of mutually commenting our written  work, thus generating and enhancing conversations.

2. What lessons did you learn about what it means to “speak up” through comments that is applicable to working with students?

R: To “speak up” trough comments  may allow shy students to find their own “voice” in the “maelstrom” of the class; it may act as a strong motivation to write, read and to create new ways of communicating meaningful content; it will certainly develop new and more rich interaction in the classroom; it may improve class citizenship, the sense of fair camaraderie and eventually new friendships may blossom through these  intense cross conversatios.

Technically speaking one may “speack up” through several different media,  combining audio, video, drawing and so on,  thus enhancing the chances of self expression and  “community expression”.

3. What did you learn about how to deal with dissent, asking questions, communications… that might influence your teaching practices, either on or off-line?

R: I think I will be more careful when managing students reciprocal dissents, questions and communications; I will try to elaborate a more “fine pitched” quality of listening, and I will show them how different connotations of words may inflect the original meanings intended by the authors, thus generating misunderstandings that may harm the union and consistency of the group. We will then reflect upon several different ways to avoid and counteract these issues.

Perhaps they will be interested in dressing a sort of “Chart” listing a good commenter’s duties and rights, clarifying  what it means to democratically  dissent, question and argue, thus preventing or correcting possible obstacles to a growingly free and enjoyable communication.

29th Day

Project for a  Student’s Comment Guide

As I’m running out of time, I’ll try to summarize my thoughts on this activity, without going deeper on the subject, as it requires from me a certain amount of research and reading that I unhappily can’t provide. I apologize for avoiding proper and due quoting to save time; my main source for this post has been The Bamboo Project itself and my main future source for the project itself will be Miss W posts on the subjec.

1. I’ve been talking to my young students about the concept of “brand” and I’ve told them the story of those young man that have been haunted by their confidences made too wastefully in My Spaces. They were surely shocked; they didn’t had the feeling that their adolescence and their youth could project its shadow upon their adult life in the future; they were angry that google had such a long memory.They agreed it will be necessary to reflect upon a strategy both on posting and on commenting.

2. As most of our students remain in our school until they enter university – until they are 17 or 18 – I thought to choose some of my ex-students and invite them to talk to my young ones. The oldest could even suggest some questions to be asked and the youngest would add their own under my supervision. The different interviews could be video played during recreation, for instance, and then viewed and analyzed in the classroom.

3. From that basis we could draw some conclusions leading to outline our commenting strategy. We would of course be relying on and including, since the beginning of this critical task, our “Terms of Use” about comments in general.

4. Once completed, our Students would share their Comment Guide with their parents and friends, using web2.0 tools of their choice, to make it known.

28th Day

Foundations for Building a Comment Strategy

As for the concept of branding, I had to go through the process of progressively distinguishing several layers in the possible application of this concept of “strategy” concerning comments, ranging from an economical and marketing context up to a more personal one.

In the meanwhile, I’ve learned something new about the respect that those who earn their life by blogging deserve; I understood they have to deal with branding, they have to build comment strategies but I didn’t see the point of me having to reflect on that, before. Now I feel I’m closer to them than I thought.

Now I see this need to be “strategic” as an essential feature of the commenting activity; I’m not quite sure yet about how I would express this “strategy” myself, but, If it’s true that I – like most of us – am on-line for the love of reflecting and sharing, whatever strategy I draw to improve my comments must remain at the service of these leading values.

As for those who make their living on line and have to struggle in a competitive environment, it’s up to them to make up smart and strong strategies as long as they don’t harm their spontaneity or their authenticity; and in that professionals keep close to amateurs: both must remain faithful to their own consciousness, if they are to stand free in the “hurricane’s eye” – I mean amidst the turmoil of adversity we all must learn to face in our human dwellings.