For our course, we will be using Tapped In to meet as a class and to post materials, and one of your assignments is to attend a professional development opportunity at Tapped In. Therefore, you are required to:
Explanation of why you have to join a "group" for the course:
I have an "office" on Tapped In that I use to meet with students as well as other colleagues. The information in my office can get a little confusing if I have multiple things going on. Because our class will be meeting to hold actual class discussions and presentations online, it was important that we had our own space that you as students could "join" as a community. Groups (unlike offices) allows all of us to use, add, edit, and delete resources in a dedicated room of our own.
Both sections of 4325 will be using this group space, so you when you are there, you might be interacting with students who are not in your section, but covering the same material. Feel free to collaborate and communicate with all of your colleagues.
My hope is that you will help build that group space with links, files, and resources that will be of value to not only this class, but future classes. To that end, please familiarize yourself with all the tools in the Brown4325Classroom, make it one of your favorite places (or your home room), and feel free to add materials.
Instructions for Joining Brown4325Classroom
Before signing on and trying to join the group, please be sure to have read the orientation materials on these coursepages as well as Tapped In's introduction to the interface and Professional Code of Conduct. If you have read those and have gone through the process of registering, logging in, and finding my office (danikab's office), you should have enough of a sense of the environment to follow the instructions for joining our class group.
Once you are online and in my office (so you aren't in the reception area where people may be talking to you, which you might find distracting at this point), click on the "Tapped In" tab in the upper right corner of your screen. The view should change to offer you selections in a purple menu. From that menu, choose "Groups." A list of letters will come up of all the groups on Tapped In (you can browse those groups for anything that might interest you; notice the number of people around the world using this space for collaborating!). There is an option to "search groups." You can click on that option and enter Brown4325Classroom as the search criteria (alternatively, you can browse the list and find it that way). When the search returns the group, you will see a little next to the group name. Click on that link to bring up the group information page.
From the information page, you will find an option to "Join" the group. When you select that option, you will become a member of Brown4325Classroom!
Instructions for Finding Workshops/Meetings on Tapped In
One of your assignments for the semester is to attend a professional development activity on Tapped In. You are free to choose any open workshop or meeting for this assignment (except Tapped In Tips and Tricks, which is a recommended orientation, but not a professional development activity). Please be sure to begin exploring opportunities early. If you put this activity off, you will find yourself attending something less interesting/useful to you than if you choose early.
To explore the activities on Tapped In, click on the Tapped In tab. Choose "Calendar" from the purple menu. You will see a calendar that indicates the events going on everyday. If you see something interesting, click on the link to get all the information about it. Pay attention to whether you need to register for the event (if so, you will need to follow instructions to do so; most events do not require pre-registration). These events are "real time," so it would be just like going to a class or workshop on campus. If you want to attend, you will need to go to the meeting site on time. You will want to behave professionally as you interact at the event. You will want to pay attention to what is being said and to participate in a meaningful fashion.
Tapped In generates transcripts of any conversations you have while online. Your complete transcripts are emailed to your registered email address every time you log off. Your evidence of attendance for the event will be that transcript. I will be looking for some indication that you were participating and paying attention to the event. You will also write up a brief summary that indicates what you got out of the experience.
Tapped In has a "Festival" going on the week of July 25th. That's great for us, because it gives you lots of opportunities to participate in some events. While you are required to attend at least one event, I will offer 5 points of extra credit for any additional events you attend.
Instructions for Online Class Meetings
We will try to meet online at least once a week (perhaps more if you enjoy that) for class discussions. The reasons for that include allowing you to practice communicating (including "listening") in different contexts, especially that emphasize reading and writing skills. You will also be making "presentations" to your classmates of online teaching resources in our online meetings. Making those presentations online gives everyone the opportunity to explore the resource as you present it and provides you the opportunity to practice what is becoming an ever-more common way of sharing information.
When your course calendar indicates an "Online Meeting," we will not be meeting in our regular classroom, but rather in our group classroom on Tapped In (Brown4325Classroom). You will need to have become a member of our group prior to that meeting time. You may sign on from anywhere that is convenient to you. If you are on campus, you may use any of the available computer labs. If you are at home, you just need to have at least a dial-up connection and a browswer that supports java.
At our regular meeting time, sign on to Tapped In and come to Brown4325Classroom. While you are in the classroom, you may "talk" as appropriate. I encourage you to participate in discussion as much as you feel comfortable with. I expect you to be following the conversation closely, even if you are not "talking." If I am talking at length about something, giving you instructions, or if one of your classmates is presenting, I ask that you not just "talk," but that you use the "action" feature and raise your hand (to do this, simply type :raises hand in the dialogue box. The colon : makes your input an "action" rather than something you say). Aside from being "virtual," our online classes should go pretty much like any regular class, but, you will get a copy of the full transcript by email, so it's like a recorded class for your use.
Presentations of Online Teaching Resources
One of your assignments is an online presentation of a teaching resource. The purpose of this assignment is for you to discover that there are many resources available to support your teaching and tutoring activities. Additionally, I want to emphasize that teaching is a collaborative endeavor. We depend on each other for ideas, support, strategies, and information. A major part of what professional teachers do is develop curricular strategies and luckily, the internet has enabled us to share those strategies effectively! For this assignment, you will be researching resources, evaluating them and determining how they might be incorporated into classrooms, and then presenting them to your classmates.
There is a variety of resources available out there. Please try to give this assignment some thought and do not just randomly pick a site and present it. Consider what might be a valuable resource for your own interests or needs. Check out a number of different resources and evaluate them in terms of quality, applicability, and accessibility.
Here are some examples--
Perhaps you are planning to teach English in high school. You would like to find some resources for creative assignments for teaching Shakespeare. You might do a simple search for "Shakespeare High School Activity" on your favorite search engine. Your search would return approximately 2 million results! Do not pick the first one that comes up and leave it at that. Go through some of them, check them out, think about where you plan to teach (would some of these be more effective in Ohio rather than in the Valley?) and choose something that seems really useful. Also note if the site you go to has multiple resources. For example, I have chosen "Perfect Mate: An Assignment on Romeo and Juliet," for a sample resource. If I were to present this resource to you, I would briefly explain that it is an informal activity that asks students to generate a description of their "perfect mate." Then, the students have a parent describe what they think would be the perfect mate for the student. That activity would set up the theme and issues in the play itself. Additionally, I might add, the activity encourages students to talk to their parents about what they are studying in school. I would provide the URL for the resource, ask you to look at it and maybe make a comment or two about the assignment. If I felt creative, perhaps before even telling you about the resource, I would ask the class to briefly write a description of a perfect mate; or to write about a time when members of the class and their parents differed on your opinion about someone they were dating (or someone they wanted them to date). I might discuss ways to tailor the activity for different classes or even other texts.Finally, I would also point out to my classmates that the resource was part of a larger resource site (TeachersFirst.com) that has many other assignment ideas, activities, and additional resources for teachers.
Now, perhaps after that presentation, another of you in the class checked out this TeachersFirst site and found that there were also "Professional" resources. That is, you were more interested in finding resources on how to be a teacher rather than a specific classroom activity. You might have decided that after some of our class readings on pedagogy and all the roles teachers have to play, you would like to find some resources for professionalizing yourself as a teacher. Perhaps you decide that one resource on that site that seems really important would include "Bullying," a page that gives advice on how a teacher can address and deal with bullies at school. Your presentation might start with a brief discussion (or even some statistics) on the issue of bullying. You might explain to the class why it is important that teachers have strategies to deal with this issue. Then, you would share the resource and discuss what makes the advice there useful and appropriate. You might want to mention a couple other resources on the issue, or give an example of how this resource would make a difference in specific situations.
Especially strong presentations would offer multiple resources or a "bibliography" of relevant material and will be concrete discussions of the resource's usefulness. Additionally, since your presentation is a sort of teaching moment, you might want to include some interactive activity to engage your classmates in what you are presenting (like the brief free-write in the Shakespeare example).
We will schedule your presentation times in class.
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