Thursday, January 26, 2006

chat pioneers

I used chat with my first class: a high-level writing class that has been doing a project on Wal-Mart. The assignment was to bring a url related to Wal-Mart to the chat. We opened it up & had a very lively session. I might write more extensively about this. Here are some observations, after perusing the transcripts...

-I actually taught the distinction between Tom, Mr. Tom, and Mr. Leverett, something I always do on the first day of class, unsuccessfully, and wish I had more opportunity to review later. The informal setting of the chat (14 students typing away) allowed this to happen; people read it, responded to it, learned it (I thought)...

-it was fast & lively, emoticons all over, some of them over my head; some were scared or frustrated & left unhappy; others loved it. I collected the url's and will post them soon at the class page.

-my gut feeling was that chat helped their sense of reaction, reading, responding, conversational expression, etc. The real-time, fast nature of it was fascinating; the combination of reading-writing in a fluency setting made it for all intents & purposes a new medium.

IF 3/4 of all emoticons, abbreviations, etc. are not shared by everyone, it will be interesting to find out which ones survive, if we continue the experiment. It will be an experiment in community-building.

And along those lines, I continue to be amazed at how much more I learn about my students, by simply participating in the media in which they are most comfortable.


At 4:36 PM, Blogger Lynne Davis said...

I found your students' Wal Mart articles very interesting! I don't think I quite understand what you mean, though, about using chat. I am not technologically sophisticated. Did you and they all go into a chat room at a specified time? And why did students get so emotional when chatting about Wal Mart?

I wonder.

This is good stuff, though.



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