Oct 112012
 

It’s not often that I write about what’s going on in my classroom, but this semester, I’ve spent quite a lot of time revamping certain courses and considering new methodologies. Teaching intensive English courses to foreign students and teaching American Literature at the same time is a challenge, particularly as it’s been nearly two years since I’ve taught American Lit. There’s so much background work; plus, I have to re-read everything I’ve assigned and of course add to my extensive notes with each re-read.

Do not mistake this as a complaint. I’m thoroughly enjoying it all, but education moves so rapidly, and I want to stay on top of the resources available to me. Over the summer, I researched online platforms and made the switch from Edmodo to Schoology (a change I’d like to talk more about in a future Notes from the Classroom post).

Today I discovered Storify. I should say, however, that from the different education chats I haunt (and sometimes participate in) on Twitter, I had heard of Storify but clearly had no idea how to use it in the classroom. Previously, I thought it was a way to curate Twitter conversations. So I googled “using storify in the classroom” and came up with some really interesting information. Essentially, Storify gives you the ability to collect information on a specific topic across a number of platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Google), pull that info to your “story” and publish. You can then share that “story” across platforms as well.

Because I feel like I have to cram in more and more information in less and less time, I thought this was kind of genius. One of my goals in my classes is relevancy – for the information I teach but also for the course itself. By pulling important and current information related to class discussions and lectures, I make it relevant in a way that tech-obsessed students “get” – and I also ensure they are using technology that makes them relevant.

This article from Hybrid Pedagogy even shows a really cool way of using Storify to assist with student research, as does ProfHacker in this cool story on Storify. There are so many arguments about student research and open source information, but I truly feel that not allowing students to use the, very often, useful and valid information available to them is a mistake. Using Storify would be a great lesson in the importance of citation from the perspective of a student who may or may not have thought of online content as authorial or worthy of source material.Here’s the story I put together on learning classroom techniques for Storify:

So how am I planning on using it? Today I created a dummy story for an introductory discussion on Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, which we’ll begin reading next week. That way students can check out the story and the information I’ve curated before class. Students will be expected to respond to the information in whole or in part on a Schoology discussion board. I’m hoping the result will be students who have a basic understanding of the historical context of the novel as well as the enduring controversies regarding its content. You can check out what I’ve done so far on my story.  

Is anyone else out there using Storify? Or Scoop.it? I feel a bit like a fish out of water, but I’m definitely interested in learning. In the meantime, what other cool online tools am I missing out on?

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