Monday, January 12, 2009

Wikified English - Pt 3, Over Complicated?

As I finished the last Wikified English post it struck me that maybe I've been making this unit seem like a far bigger task than it needs to be. Afterall, isn't it as simple as this:

  1. Find your sources of inspiration
  2. Write your narrative (type it up as a word document)
  3. Copy and paste your narrative into a page of the wiki
  4. Upload any necessary material to the wiki (videos, images, etc)
  5. Go through your story and add hyperlinks as appropriate to the relating texts - either held on other wiki pages or external websites (remember some may not be available at school).
So why did it take me two decent sized blog entries to deal with a project that can be summarised in five easy steps? If it boils down to those five steps how is it anymore complicated than the traditional task of writing a narrative based on some stimulus items?

It's the "extra" stuff I want to see happen in this unit that makes me wonder, what's really important? Shouldn't we be focused on what the syllabus states and not the extra?

As teachers we're responsible for students being exposed to the content specified by our curriculum bodies as essential and for assessing in accordance with the guidelines - however, I see our job as more than that. We are also responsible for helping young adults develop the skills they will need to interact responsibly and appropriately in the wider world and that takes more than being able to write a narrative.

This unit offers us the chance to talk to our students about things like copyright and Creative Commons, about safe internet behaviour, skills like uploading files, modifying the size of files, embedding, hyperlinking (what it is, how it's done, the possibilities it offers). These things are as equally important for them (and our staff) to be exposed to - in addition to the curriculum Englishy stuff of narrative structures and critical awareness of texts. In my opinion these are all equally important "lessons" in this unit, and despite my opening question I can't in good faith say I've over complicated things.

Mind you, interesting that someone confident (mostly) with the technology and concepts we'll be working with would have that moment of "Too much?" Definitely a timely reminder for me as to what the less confident staff will think about the idea.

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