Friday, January 30, 2009

Journal article review of: Chatting It Up Online written by Pamela Livingston

This article was about a new and innovative tool for classroom teachers that allows students to chat with the author of a book they are reading in the classroom. The students are able to have a one-on-one discussion with the books author and gain insightful information. This is a great tool for students aspiring to become better writers. The article tells the story of Chestnut Hill Academy, which is a K–12 all-boys school in Philadelphia, which recently participated in an author chat and what a great experience it was for their students and teachers.
The main theme of the article was preparation. For this classroom experience to be a positive one a lot of preparation before hand happened and a lot of communication was needed. I think this is a great lesson for future educators to take to heart. You can never be too prepared and in a learning environment things can happen quickly that will disrupt your lesson and you have to be prepared to regroup and move on from it. Lucky in according to the article Chestnut Hill's students had a great learning experience with no glitches. From what I read the chat with the author is a bit hectic but still organized. The students submitted their prepared questions ahead of time so the author could prepare for the experience for themselves. The article basically described the event just the way a normal internet chat room would function. It really sounds like an invaluable experience that the students had. They learned more from the chat with the author than what they could have learned from reading a text book.
I personally would love to use tools like this to get students in touch with authors and other experts in the field. There really is no substitute to learning something from an expert that has has first hand experience in a subject. This was a very interesting article to read. It was great hearing about this experience from a teacher that has went through it and came out with positive results.

Q1. I wonder if it would be a good idea to use this type of interaction with authors using video instead of a chat room?

A1. This could work if you and your students are professional about it. However the authors may not want to appear publicly and would like their privacy. Many things could go wrong with video communication at ether end. It would be a very neat thing to chat with your favorite author over a web cam, it would be more interactive and personal than just exchanging text. I would love to get artists to do live activity's in their studios and have students be able to see first hand what processes are involved, and what the imagination can produce.

Q2. How would I implement activity like this into my lessons?

A2. I would go from the example in the article and use the technology to get my students chatting with the author of the book we are reading in class. It would be great if I could also get other professionals in other fields to chat with my students. It would be an invaluable experience and it would inspire students to learn about subjects they never would have thought interesting. One question I would always like to ask is how did the person get into their profession, what inspired them to choose their path. I am sure there are many untold story's that these professionals have.

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