This week’s blog is an interesting topic with much debate. Some people would say that a closed forum is more beneficial than an open forum and to be honest I don’t know which side of the fence I would be on. I have thought about different pro’s and con’s that come with both types of forums, however, I think it all depends on the type of students you have, the material being taught, the kinds of resources etc. that you are using. Have you done pre-teaching in terms of being good digital citizens prior to introducing them to the world of forums?? So many things to think about when it comes to the online world!!
Chalyn discussed in her blog this week about her experiences with different types of forums. To be honest I am in a similar position as her and in my own learning the only forums that I have been introduced to have been the ones through the online classes I have taken. I do agree with Chalyn that the google plus community is very informational, supportive and could have been an asset is all grad courses not necessarily just the online classes.
Google plus also allows everyone to take responsibility for their own learning, you are able to post, view, read other posts etc. which can expand your knowledge and introduce you to new areas of learning. Chalyn and Ashley both talked about the age of your students being a deciding factor on whether you have an open or closed forum. I do agree with this statement and I also feel that it is dependent on the personalities of your students as well. Many teachers wouldn’t introduce a forum on the first day of class generally because you haven’t had an opportunity to get to know your students and perhaps do some pre-teaching in regards to appropriateness, online etiquette etc. in those types of spaces. As an educator it is our job to determine what type of space best suits the needs of our students and we need to incorporate these spaces appropriately and for a purpose rather than simply incorporating to say we did.
Aimee also brought up some valid points this week that are worth touching base on. One main, very important point she discussed was the safety of our students.
When working with open and closed forums we need to keep in mind their safety, what types of things are others going to know about them, what information are we showing to others, their name, location etc. If this type of information is visible for others to see are we doing our due diligence and keeping our students safe?? We are trying to help our students in creating their digital footprint, however we need to ensure that they are safe and that they are creating and leaving positive footprints online.
I was really able to relate to Aimee when she was discussing being an itinerant teacher and the challenges that may be faced with incorporating forums into our classrooms. Once challenge that is faced is we teach many or almost all students in the school and without the support of our colleagues and administration it would be nearly impossible to even attempt to incorporate forums with all classes into our classroom. Media release forms is another challenge, it would take a lot of effort on the part of the classroom teacher and myself to figure out who all had media release forms and had permission to participate in the forums etc.
One way I see forums working in our position is if the classroom teachers already had some type of forum created for their own classroom and added us on as admin so we could add/edit/change things that are relevant to the material we are teaching. I think collaboration between colleagues is essential if any itinerant teachers would be interested in incorporating forums into their classrooms.
Natalie brought up a really good point that is worth touching upon. She mentioned how audience can play a key part in the learning of our students. Often times if students know that there is a larger audience, ex. That their work may be displayed on YouTube they are more likely to put in a better effort and the end result may be greater than if they knew their audience was simply going to be their classmates and the teacher. The novelty of others viewing and being able to comment on your work is pretty amazing…. so we need to make sure our work is amazing too!
Lastly, Jessica talked about the different roles that she takes on (mother, teacher, student) and how a closed space seems more safe, comfortable and authentic. As a mother, teacher, and student myself I would have to agree, I feel that a closed space is more fitting for my learning style and my comfort level.
I do see the benefits of an open space and how many people would enjoy and appreciate those spaces, however for my own learning purpose and my personality I do feel that the closed space allows me to feel more comfortable and confident.
Many thoughts and ideas were running through my head as we have been discussing this in class. One thought was how do I even incorporate any type of forum into a physical education classroom setting?? In our group discussion last week seesaw was mentioned. I have never used seesaw, however as they began to describe the program and gave me ideas of how I could incorporate a forum using seesaw into my phys ed classrooms the idea really grew on me. A goal of mine upon returning back to work from mat leave will be to touch base with my teachers and see what types of forums they are using in their classes and if there is a possibility that I could be involved as well!! I am excited to try new things in my teaching and I think my students will be just as excited!:)