On Nings, Blogs, Prezis and Other Technological Organisms in The English Classroom

1 Jun 2010

This is the first of seven posts written by Dr. Tibby Lynch. She is the English teacher who I have been helping to transform her courses to paperless courses through technology integration. This post was written in late November or early December 2009. I have included it as part of my 21st century pygmalion series of posts.

I am coming up on the end of my first techno-semester, and responding at last to the faint whimpering heard occasionally from the file I opened back in August that was to be dedicated to a frequent and eloquent flow of reflections on the experience, I am ready to make a few tentative pronouncements that might serve to encourage those who are contemplating a move in the same direction.  While I have, I believe, already been introduced by my mentor, Steven Katz, and my husband and principal, Harry Grzelewski (an approach that may have seemed coy, but was actually motivated by terror), you need to know that previous to this August, my technological repertoire included: (1) being able to show a video to the class even when “12:00-12:00-12:00” was flashing on the VHS player the whole time; (2) being able to use the word processor like a typewriter ; (3) being able to input grades if, and only if, I followed a handwritten list of instructions taped to my hard drive, the function of which I have never been entirely certain about.  (I was the only person at a dinner party a few years ago who didn’t laugh when someone told the story about the guy who wrote his computer company asking if he could order a new “cup holder” because the one on his hard drive had broken off.) So when I made a sort of off-handed remark to Steve and Harry last spring that I might try turning my British Lit class in the fall into a laptop course, I didn’t really expect them to start making plans.  After all, neither man had ever actually shown signs of being mentally unbalanced.  Strategies for evasive action began to formulate in my head:  I wasn’t ready…  someone else, a person with more of a can-do spirit, would be better…  I wasn’t really feeling all that well … etc.  I probably should have been suspicious when Harry suddenly bought me a laptop as a “gift” right before we left Texas this summer, but it all just seemed so remote.