Much like Dug, I have an attention problem. “I have just met you and I love you” is definitely a problem that I have when it comes to pedagogical ideas. There is always another squirrel handy to catch my attention and make me want to change my whole class to focus on the most recent squirrel.
And so over time, my classes have embraced various trends including moving online (in 2003) and utilizing a variety of tools (from Blackboard to Twitter to Google+) to do so (and doing it well if I say so myself), incorporating writing workshop, focusing on community, embracing writing about writing, transitioning to WAC/WID, incorporating writing studio, celebrating blogging and low-stakes writing (hurrah for six word stories and memes), and most recently harnessing the power of project/passion based learning (PBL) and gamification – and let’s not forget comics! This semester I am using PBL, low-stakes writing, gamification, and BYOD (bring your own device) for both of my First Year Seminar comic book classes as well as my professional writing class – plus my FYS class will include writing studio and service learning. Apparently I am the acronym queen – Squirrel!
In all fairness, I am always eager to try out those new seductive strategies and tools, but I don’t abandon those that work. I just keep polishing and perfecting and folding the proven old tools into the mix along with the sweet new ideas. It makes my class prep more time consuming (I can never just reuse last year’s lessons even though I’m often teaching a class I’ve taught before) but I also think it is more fun and interesting – keeping things fresh!
It also make it difficult when I receive an invitation to present at an educational conference. What do I want to share the most? SQUIRREL! As if I could pick a favorite child (well I can, one of the advantages of having just one), but it is an apt metaphor. I love teaching with comics, I love gamification, I love PBL, and I love teaching with technology…but what do others want to learn more about…what do others need to learn more about what I am doing in my classroom?
Maybe someone else can tag a squirrel for me. Here’s hoping!