Welcome to 2012, Jeff! In future classes, I would definitely like to include more of a technological element to my class design. I think I will start by having students post reading responses to a blog. This will hopefully allow them to connect on a deeper level to the literature we are reading, as well as fostering a community of readers, thinkers, and writers. The more they can help each other come up with ideas, the more enriching the experience will be for everyone.
Another thing I thought of doing was having students create their own blogs, and creating assignments as blog posts. I recently started a blog for my own creative work, and I find that when I know a something is going to be posted for the world to see, I sit down and finish an entire story in two or three hours. And the quality of what I write is much better than if I just sit down to write with some vague hopefully-one-day-someone-might-read-this-if-I’m-lucky audience in mind. I think students know their work will be published will go a long way toward having them complete their best work.
I’m teaching a nonfiction writing class next semester, and one idea I had was to have students create a short podcast as their major assignment. I’m a big fan of podcasts, and this could be an exciting way for them to see their writing transformed into relevant entertainment.
I’d like to try to use other forms of social media as well. One idea that came up on a web site I read was having students Tweet for a week in the voice of a character from a novel. Brilliant! Have them use their beloved cell phones for good!
This web site is a gold mine for ideas on how to use technology in the classroom:
How do you take advantage of the beautiful shiny screens that we stare at all day?