I've been visiting a variety of sites throughout the ed-tech blogosphere that tout the benefits of online classes and the necessity for students to experience asynchronous learning environments before they leave high school...and I get it...educators need to push the use of online and collaborative environments for students.
But I often wonder, are these experiences any more enriching than traditional face to face classes or are we all simply caught up in the novelty of using the technology ? I ask because of how my former district purchased and implemented technology in the classroom. We often purchased computers and other peripherals but the purchases were often teacher centered. Smart Boards were just expensive chalkboards.
I am taking, and have taken, online classes but they were just extensions of the traditional lecture. Instead of seeing the professor, I would watch a pre-recorded lecture video. Instead of the quiz taking place in class, it would take place online. This isn't exactly a paradigm shift. It's just the same old school dressed in fancy new clothes.
I've set up my Moodle install for next year...but I would really like to collaborate with other teachers so we can do more than just use it to post assignments. How can we truly integrate something like Moodle into our classes so that students take ownership for their learning and not just use it to take quizzes.
I've used google docs with my department in the past to write lesson plans....I would like ideas from other educators on other ways to use collaborative technologies with teachers. How can we use technologies like google docs, skype, etc...to collaborate...in real time...during the school day for the benefit of our students ?
So....any thoughts ?