personal course blog for 300:462

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

innovation, efficiency, community

Yesterday while driving to school this short and punchy version of the course mission statement finally occurred to me. The idea of the three-pronged approach was well developed in my head, but I wanted a way to get the idea across as succintly as possible.

I like this because it's an easy way to get a grip on the goals of an activity. The idea builds on a concept I learned in Eugenia's class too: a lesson must fall somewhere on the graph of innovation vs efficiency. Too much innovation and you make no progress, too much efficiency and there is not much excitement for students.

In my own teaching I usually go way too far in one direction or the other, but being aware of these ideas is helpful. Like the lines painted on the side of the road. A beginning driver might veer back and forth between them but in time you learn where your lane is, I suppose, to torture a metaphor.

I like the layer of community over both of these. Good relations, real engagement, will bind all your other goals together. If your classroom is a community your students will help you through any tight spot. And god knows, you can't build a society of friendly people through technology alone but in the busy modern world of the high school student it's very natural to connect online.

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