This post will be a bit different from the previous three, there will be no research or citations or formal writing per se. I am simply sharing a moment I had the honor to witness and explain why I am SO GLAD I use Google+ for my online course discussion platform.
I teach an online educational technology course for preservice teachers. It is generally the only course at our university where they will have hands-on experience using technology as a teaching tool. One of the assigned “readings” is the video “Did You Know 6.0”. Many of you have probably seen this video in one incarnation or another, but whatever version you watch they all have the same statement; “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist…using technologies that haven’t been invented…in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”
One of my students chose that statement on which to comment. Even though it’s only the second week, his passion to become a teacher was evident in his first week’s video discussion post. You could tell he had some idea of what it means to become a teacher as he described his desire to help his students go on to college if that was their choice. But when he got to that statement this week and started to discuss the implications; that he would play a large role in helping his students prepare for their futures, his face changed. You could see that at that exact instant he finally understood the depth of his responsibility, the profound understanding that he would be a part of his students’ successes or failures. It was an amazing moment and one both he and I would have missed had he been using a text-based only format.
As I wrote in the beginning, I don’t want to delve into the research on this right this second. The emotion is too fresh and I want to enjoy the feeling of observing his discovery without deep explanation. But I do believe this format allowed him to express himself more fully, at least in this instance, and revealed emotions even he did not know he had until then. Not everyone is a brilliant writer, some struggle to put their feelings into words. But if the mode of communication allows you to express yourself with words and emotions, occasionally those watching can have a glimpse into something wondrous.