Aug 5, 2010

Digital Student Teaching Syllabus, Not A Bad Idea

My approach to student teachers has always been to give them as much of a "real life" experience as possible, while still maintaining the role of a mentor.  Over the course of my teaching career, I have had the privilege of working with some really great student teachers.  What I found really great about these future teachers, was that they were self-starters, highly motivated individuals that were eager to teach and eager to learn, but at times weren't always sure what they should or could be doing besides designing lesson plans and teaching.

To help my student teachers with this, I created a syllabus.  Not only does this outline what they may be doing over the next six weeks, but they also know what my expectations are.  This is nothing new or particularly innovative because I "borrowed" this idea from another educator.  However, I took the traditional syllabus a step further and created it as a wiki page.  The beauty of this digital version is that becomes an interactive, ever-changing document that can continually be updated and accessed 24/7. 

The advantages of a digital syllabus are many.  Much of the same information is included in a traditional course syllabus, but with some extra features like hyperlinks and PDF's.  Plus, the great feature of a wiki page is that it allows multiple users to contribute to the content.  Here are some things to consider including.
      • Contact info
      • Course Description
      • Goals & Objectives
      • Ideas, Projects, & Things-To-Do
      • Links & Web 2.0
      • Blogs & Social Media
Using Wikispaces, I was able create different pages all related to the student teaching experience, but maybe not applicable to the actual syllabus.  There is a Conducting page, Leadership & Teaching, and Thoughts from a Student Teacher page.  Again, with a wiki, anyone who is given permission can contribute to the page.  This makes it a very powerful resource.

The Thoughts from a Student Teacher page is perhaps one of the great aspects of the wiki.  It is a place where students teachers, past and present, can leave their ideas, tips, and thoughts for future student teachers to read.  Under the Ideas, Projects, & Things-to-Do, a student teacher can list any great lessons they taught or projects they completed.   Imagine 5 or 10 years from now the amount of knowledge that will passed on from student teacher to student teacher.  This is the power of the digital syllabus.  Not a bad idea, huh?
    You can view my digital syllabus here.

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