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[ICTs in English] RE: Re: FW: ictenglish discussions

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  • From: "SARA, Deb" <dsara1 AT>
  • To: ictenglish AT
  • Subject: [ICTs in English] RE: Re: FW: ictenglish discussions
  • Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 13:49:08 +1000

Thanks for your considered response, Karen

From: Karen Melhuish [mailto:karen.melhuish AT]
Sent: Monday, 31 May 2010 12:52 PM
To: ictenglish AT
Subject: [ICTs in English] Re: FW: ictenglish discussions

Dear all,

Defining protocols is always a hard call on online forums such as this. We are all busy, busy, busy - yet we want to keep contributing, be it reading or writing. So, often, brevity is the order of the day to keep the conversation humming along. Certainly, on my MEd Moodle course, we are told to try and keep our posts shortish. I guess it's like trying to make sure that everyone's responses are offered up and balanced, as in a meeting or classroom where we try to encourage a bit of sharing from everyone.

At the same time, if we want to try and use this forum for professional inquiry into our own learning (as Deb was trying to do), perhaps our responses will start to lengthen and develop as we reflect on our practice and these may not always be edited to publication standard...

I'm not sure what the answer is here, but there are definitley different types of conversations that occur on this forum and that's what makes this community so vibrant and meaningful to its members. Maybe the trick is in the subject line so we can signal if our response is an in-depth one....?

What do you think?

Karen Melhuish  |  Online Professional Learning
Learning Media Online Learning network:

Twitter: virtuallykaren I Skype: karenmelhuish  

On 31/05/2010, at 11:04 AM, SARA, Deb wrote:
Dear All
I am forwarding the following to you as an apology and an explanation for my hurried posts many of which contain spelling, punctuation and possibly even grammar errors.
While the following is an explanation more than an apology I am aware that my responses are rough drafts and I do apologise if some teachers find that irksome. I can't promise that I can always edit my responses to the nth degree however. I hope some of you can still bring yourselves to the task of reading them, and that you can uderstand some of the ideas in them.I will endeavour to be more careful.
The following is a reply I sent to a reader's criticism, earlier. (Line added inread has been added since the reply I sent earlier):
Dear XXX

Re your feedback re my paragraphing.
I hope you appreciate the context in which teachers make comments - particularly long ones- on the site. We respond in a very brief period of time between lessons etc.
It's very difficult to give adequate time to this. I do my best under the circumstances. - which is not the best I can do, of course. I'm aware that my post also has lots of spelling errors. My apologies.
I guess I might have made the unconscious assumption that if I took the time to contribute this, in a busy teaching day, that the recipients could take the time to understand it - or at least enough of it to make it worth while. Given its rushed delivery that is an ask but I don't think it is too big an ask. Where a teacher feels it is, he need not read it. You are not compelled to read these posts.
No, I am not illiterate. Just very busy, yet very passionate about teaching and very moved to contribute what I can to understandings of these importany changes to pedagogy, in the few minutes I have available each day to read and respond to posts. 
Just between you and me, I do mind your criticism, given the above context. Just between you and me anyone who would take the time to count the sentences is possibly taking a lot of time to find fault - time that could be taken to understand the content.
I guess anyone who is willing to speak out out publicly is bound to get petty criticisn at times. I addmitted to not  being able to do justice to the task of amswering Craig and Karen's questions. I gave it my best shot under the circumstances and I had hoped - even trusted - that my readers would understand that I did so as an extra professional task -  not one I had to do and not one I had ample time to do. The rushed nature iof the response is not in deabte. I thought teachers would unerstand that it was rushed because of time restraints.
Your response may have been more palatable if you had ended on a positive note, by the way. I try to do that with my students. I hope you don't mind i I find it hard to end on a palatablenote here.I can't promise that I will have time in future to proof read and edit my responses to the Nth degree. This is after all "Chat" as far as I am aware. I think that if we all agree that this is chat -and we won't, of course- then sometimes we will over look typos and long paragraphs. But of course some will NOT overlook such errors. I accept that.
I also make the assumption that this chat (or discussion , if you like) line is more about ideas that grammar, spelling and paragraphing, and that an analysis of any chat or discussion - particularly a spoken one- would find it littered with errors or grammar etc.  The process of throwing ideas back to others in a passionate way is a creative process and I am happy for that to be done quickly and received as a type of brainstorming exercise. To stop and edit absolutely everything is not being cognizent of context, in my view.  But I know some people cannot neglect to edit anything, and I accept that personalities and beliefs differ.  This is not to say that I think grammar etc are unimportant. It is probably realistic to say, however,  that I will at times only have the time to send a rough draft. For you who are apparently offended by that,  please remember the delete button.

Hi Deb

I'm enjoying all the contributions on the mailing list and people like you are providing some great links & thoughts. 
Being a teacher, and one of the audience for your email, it's like a Pavlovian response to give feedback and I hope you don't mind me saying: I felt that squeezing 65 lines of writing into only 3 paragraphs detracted from the content.

Hi to Craig and Karen and everyone else,
These questions , Craig and Karen, are very big questions and I won't do them justice in this e mail or by myself.
But I'll say what I can, knowing that it is inadequate, in time, space and expertise , etc... This shift is a process and this is a very small part of that process. The discussion group is an important part. 
  1. Firstly I CTs are tools to an extent (but also repositories, always developing innovatively, interactive, connect with anyone wnywhere around the world, encyclopedia, social networking sites, etc etc) but can't teach writing. We are the teachers who must - I believe and many many many share my belief - learn to use them ( and all the capacities they bring to our classrooms and lives and the lives and classrooms of our students) -  to teach writing, and other language skills. That is supported by an enormous amount of research, some of which makes very interesting and very inspiring reading. I'll attach somethong that I found on Tuesday. The ressearch - proven effectiveness - is  why we are asked to engage. The research has proven to a lot of influential English professional that ICTs are most effective in teaching. But they aren't teachers. We are. We need to read about how they can be used, and ultimately we need to use them. Ideally we need to use whatever students are using so that we know whether and/or how we can tap some or all of these uses in our classrooms fopr the benefit of kids. We need to discoverfor ourselves: Why they are thought to be so good. Why kids who aren't engaging otherwise engage with learning thhrough ICTs. Why kids who are already engaing find learning more meaningful and enjoyable with ICTs. No, a microwave doesn't improve cooking. But not many people are throwing them out, so what does that tell us? Is it because of a clever marketing campaig? Or is it because they are a great tool for this day and age. And any day and age, arguably,  but many today are thankful that their only tool is not the wood stove, today. Particularly in such a fast moving society.  These tools both suit, compliment and help create this life style, one would have to say, I think. One of these facts supports the use of ICTs. That is the reality of constant change in this culture/ society. The www etc etc help us all keep up with those changes, to some extent. There is heaps to say, but we all need to do some reading, I believe. Just to make sense of it all for ourselves. Craig to focus on thhe claim that some teachers don't see ICTs improving kids' writing, there is a lot of evidence to show that it can and does. We can't see it when we start out, but for many - and myself included now, but not a year or so ago - it can be used to help a teacher improve kids' writing. That said it leads to more studnet autonomy too. So our iinput is different. WE need to set things up for the students. This all seems a mystery at first, but It's journey that is well worth the time and effort. And so very enjoyable forus too when we learn to do it. It's such fun!!! I can't wait ti getto work each day. I can't get to sleep at night. It's an exciting journey and unprecedently inh the history of teaching, I'm sure. Kids love it. Teachers love it when they get into it. And there is so much help out there, although it doesn't feel like that when one starts out. I was freaked and and angry and felt abondoned without help even a year ago. A lot of the help is accessible through ICTs. Huh!! The full circle.Go for it. You'll love it. ( I can remember using a slate, by the way.)
  2. I think that addresses to some extent both points raised by Craig and Karen albeit too briefly.But Karen the question of engagement and motivation which you raised. There is again a lot of reading that is helpful for making the conection between engagement, motivation and learning.  So that would be a good way to go. THre is a lt on the www. Peole have been researchingthis area for somethinginn the vacinity of 25years, all around the world. Cell phiones are also being used in classrooms. I don't use them but our school is moving in that direction. oNce again, because they are communication, verbal language devices used by students they must have the potential for use in English classes. Obviously when they text Mum they aren't necessarliy shifting their understanding, but neither does leaving note for Mum on the kitchen table. I think it helps to see that the traditional tools used in English classrooms don't in and of themselves shift students understandings and / or writing skils either etc etc "without a coherent, strategic bit of planning and teaching around it." So there is definitely a challenge here and that is to learn how to use these new tools, but also why. Learning how will to some extent help with the why, but not completely.
  3. Re the R & J assessment Item. this is very new for me , and untested. In relation to interactivity, collaboration through a shared interactive to-ing and froing could be used in the planning, processing, getting and developing ideas stages, and then this could be developed     independantly by     the student into a creative text, I would advocate. There are of course literary texts made up of letter and diary entriesn (Anne Frank and  Letters from the iNside by John Marsden, for eg). The latter may be largely made up, although always, too, based on the real     experiences of the writers and people in his/her life, I guess. So I can imagine interaction/ collaboration with at least one other studnet in the processing development and teaching stages ( eg, playing out /         role playing the interaction on e mail or some other chat site, which is probably more relevant than e mails which young peole don't use much anymore. (This is how ICTs can be used to teach in     the classroom, but only one example of thousands). But there'd be no collaboration in the putting together of the Assesment Item, unless it were a spoken task. In Queensland we're permitted to have   the option of  one  (one only) spoken Asst Item which is interactive, although prepared intricately in advance, of course.Each student must speak for a certain amount of time and each student is assessed separately, of coursse.

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  • [ICTs in English] RE: Re: FW: ictenglish discussions, SARA, Deb, 05/31/2010

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