27 October 2009

Linkworthy

One of the things I've been doing the past few days is looking at a mountain of links collected by teachers as examples of "technology integration" to share with other teachers. Mind you, the mountain represents only a minute amount of content available on the internet---and the selections made by the groups varies quite a bit in terms of focus. Some picked resources for teachers to use as lesson plans...others went heavy on the "tools" and left their uses wide open. There were groups who picked simple wordsearch games and those who selected projects to flex students' critical thinking. Since I was not involved with these groups, viewing the work has been a bit of an anthropological project. I don't necessarily agree that all of their choices were the best of what's out there on the interwebs, but the variety does say something about how teachers view the use of the internet in their classrooms.

It has left me wondering: What is linkworthy?

With young students, teachers have to make very conscious choices about what they ask students to write. Young minds and hands have only so much attention and motor skills---whatever you ask of them must be of the utmost importance to capture. I am starting to think about time on the computer the same way. The fact is, most classrooms do not have access to a computer lab very often. Perhaps there are only a few computers in the room at any given time with lab days sprinkled in a few times a year. For the precious time that there is, do we want students doing a wordsearch on the computer...or do we want students to learn about advanced search functions in Google?

I can't help but think of Elaine and her horde of sponges...having to think carefully about whether or not a suitor was "sponge worthy." Perhpas we should be as picky and miserly with our computer time with students.

How do you decide what links to collect and share with peers and students? What makes a link worthy of your attention?

3 comments:

John Spencer said...

I'm a big fan of "The Paradox of Choice" and think that sometimes too many tools, too many ideas and too much information becomes a cluster-bomb to learning.

You become like the barbecue guy who is convinced he needs a ton of tools when all that's necessary is expertise, knowledge, a hunk of animal flesh and a flame.

Perhaps I'm too simplistic, but it's just a thought.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

That strikes a loud chord, John, as I sit here in my study pondering my expensive library that could probably be reduced to a few compelling titles!

Clix said...

Just as in sharing books, I tend to give students "gateways" and colleagues more tailored items. Frex, I share professional books with fellow teachers, and I've mentioned several of the blogs I follow as well as the EC ning. With students, I'm looking for something that will lead to other sites or books. (This is one of the things I really like about Wikipedia - it's fairly well cross-referenced.)

Just yesterday I discovered that NONE of my seniors had the faintest clue what snopes.com was. !! (I did not, however, mention The Onion.)