I really appreciate the readings from week three – especially “Small” Teaching Online by Doug Lederman. In particular, his point that “we struggle to know what good teaching and learning looks like in online classes” really resonated with me. As a trumpet teacher, I cannot expect my students to play with a beautiful sound if they have never head a beautiful trumpet sound before. As a novice to online teaching and learning experiences, I am seeing for the first time the possibilities of what this can look like, especially when thoughtfully presented as is the case with DigPINS. I am hearing the music for the first time, so to speak.
In this spirit of “small” and making progress incrementally, I am writing this post. I have been contemplating the readings and your posts in previous weeks, but have been reluctant to join the conversation. Part of this is my own inexperience in the digital environment. However, it makes me wonder about one of Lederman’s assertions that “every student has a voice online”. As a student, I was always eager to discuss and ask questions in a traditional classroom setting. But, I am finding I have allowed myself essentially no voice in the written conversation over the last few weeks. In the same way that we all have certain ways of reaching students who are reluctant participators in a traditional classroom, how can we help students who are reluctant participators in the digital environment?
To me, this relates back to Week 1 and the whole digital identity issue. After more reflection, I’ve found that I keep my identities very separate where any cross-over feels almost uncomfortable or foreign. I wonder if students have traditional classroom identities as well as digital classroom identities, and if they feel uncomfortable using their new identity as well. I also wonder what we as instructors can do to foster a digital classroom identity in our students (some students may have never developed these before as it’s likely different from a digital personal identity).
A very good question. I don’t have the answer, but I simply try to apply the same principles I would in a face-to-face context. “Meet students where they are.” By that I mean learn about them and connect on some individual level. Teaching is about relationships. Of course that may mean you need to reveal something of yourself in the process.
I find it interesting how online learning can privilege certain participants–and in my experience–it is often those most reluctant to speak up when face to face. I think it might have something to do with a different conception of time. For those learners that are either naturally introverted, or those that take some time to process information, an online discussion can allow them to shine. Whereas in the real time mix of the traditional classroom, they may be less able to jump in.
Your case is the opposite at this point, but I think that time and experience will lead you to more comfort with the affordances of online interaction.