Fostering Responsive Reading and Reflective Thinking
As I mentioned in my introduction, I am most
interested in how technology can, when used carefully, encourage students
to look at how they have looked or think about how they have thought about
something. The tools listed below were both used extensively in the
course, and they each foster active learning, but do so in different ways.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Writing Platforms
A synchronous writing platform--such as "chat rooms" or IRC, or
a MOO--forces participants to "think on their feet" because they work in
"real time," with text scrolling by on the screen quickly (sometimes very
quickly!) and people often juggling several conversations at once.
On the other hand, an asynchronous platform--like email or an electronic
bulletin board--takes place over a relatively long time, as messages are
posted/sent, pile up, and are read at the leisure of the participant; thus,
this technology allows for, even encourages, reflection. Each program
supports or helps to develop a different thinking style, if you will.
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