Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Scholar Writes about My Teaching--A Very Cool Experience

Back in 2011 I participated in a webstitute (online PD) on the English Companion Ning. Gary Anderson invited me to contribute a session about teaching Shakespeare.

Fast Forward to last winter.

I was contacted by Luke Rodesiler PhD, a professor at the University of South Florida, and asked if he could use my ECN session as part of an ethnographic study of English teachers in online contexts.

Fast Forward to summer 2014.

I had forgotten about being contacted by Professor Rodesiler until I received a "scholar alert" from my friend Michael LoMonico, senior education consultant at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Professor Rodesiler's findings were recently published in the CITE Journal in an article titled "Weaving Contexts of Participation Online: The Digital Tapestry of Secondary English Teachers." 

Title Page from CITE Journal
Although I am not one of the five teachers Dr. Rodesiler focuses on in the article, he did include a substantial section about my participation in the ECN webstitute as part of his analysis of Gary's online life. I am so excited and honored to have my work featured in a scholarly journal, and I'm grateful for Professor Rodesiler's positive analysis of both the webstitute and of my session.

Professor Rodesiler characterizes my session's commentary and video components:

In her forum, Glenda facilitated a discussion about teaching the works of William Shakespeare by tapping the multimodal affordances of the ECN. Her forum featured an animated presentation, embedded videos from her classroom that showed students engaging in instructional activities such as line tossing (Video 1) and silent scenes(Video 2), and hyperlinks to corresponding assignments and handouts she had uploaded to the ECN. 

Opening a virtual window into Glenda’s classroom, those multimodal components helped to facilitate dialogic interactions, as attendees responded to the embedded videos by expressing concerns about how such activities might work in their unique teaching contexts and by seeking clarification about the goals of the instructional activities shared.


Of course, there is so much more to the article, including examples of PD via Twitter chats, online queries for lesson and unit planning help, ways technology enhances "alphabet writing," etc.

At this juncture, there should be no doubt that social media and online tools both enhance our teaching lives, help us form friendships with other teachers, and break down the barriers so that we find solace in our common struggles and teachers who will celebrate with us in our successes.

I'm thrilled to have been a small part of the ongoing body of evidence validating organic PD and teachers having an online, professional presence.