And Then They Made Me Their Chief


Here’s a tid-bit from Chapter 4 of the Blendkit course I’m taking at UCF:

Traditionally, in a lecture format, the instructor provides motivation (scheduled class time) and content in pre-planned units according to the course’s relation to the program of study. As information has become more public and distributed, the role of instructor as organizer and dispenser of information has shifted. Learners can readily access online lectures, articles, podcasts, and other resources to augment the information provided by the instructor.


This passage made me think of the hunter-gatherer dichotomy. Here are all of my students, running across the open plains of information, flinging their spears and shooting arrows at the mastodons of knowledge. And when they bring back the carcasses, it’s my job, as their chief, to help them parse, digest, and assimilate that knowledge. To make sure that what they’re doing with it will benefit the tribe.

So.

I want a headdress. And a sweat lodge in my classroom. 

I also want an App for my class.

As in, “Are you taking English 1101 this semester? There’s an
App for that.”

The Blendkit2014 chapter suggests
Online materials are central to a blended course’s success, and the students’ work online must be relevant to the in-class activities. I want to take this one step further. I want my class to be relevant to their lives, thus making the class central to their success as hunters.


And hunters need Apps.

And I’m not talking about all of the Apps that would just “help” them in college in general.

Blackboard has an App similar to what I want, but my College hasn’t subscribed to it. So, as a good chief would, I'm doing the equivalent of a rain dance, asking the mother goddess to send me an App to strengthen my tribe.

I want my hunters to be able to whip out their Smart devices—at the beauty salon, at their kids’ t-ball games, while they are running through the prairies of information—and dazzle the other hunters with their accuracy at spearing a mastodon. When someone says, “Hey, what’s that App?” I want my students to say, “It’s my English class. I just read ‘Shooting an Elephant.’”

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