Scavenging on the Web
Again I sat down on this Saturday to prepare my Monday and Tuesday classes, and ended up spending my whole afternoon scavenging on the Web. I should avoid checking my email first, because that’s where I get distracted. A message was waiting for me from www.webtools for Education so I started to check out what was offered. One site led to another. Some I bookmarked, using Furl. Some I emailed the links on to other teachers who might have an interest in their content. Some I simply read through.
Then, already in that rhythm, I opened another email, Stephen Downes’ OLDaily – a newsletter on the educational use of technology that comes out every weekday. Again I scanned, bookmarked, forwarded, and read. I was three days behind in reading my OLDaily messages, so I checked through the ones I hadn’t got to yet, scanning, bookmarking, forwarding, and reading. At least I didn’t go to my Bloglines account where I have over 20 blogs aggregated. I could have spent another couple of hours going through what was new in my collection of education and technology blogs. What a way to avoid getting down to my lesson preparation!
Before I get too hard on myself, I have to look a bit more deeply at what I’m actually doing. While it’s true I had intended to think through my lesson and create the Web pages needed to direct my students in class and for their homework, I can still do that tomorrow afternoon. What I did today was research. Not organized, pre-planned research, but scavenging through the massive influx of information that the Web provides.
And it is scavenging! I find Web sites that I can link to the Web pages I prepare for my students. I’d rather find and share information and instructions than recreate them. (I think my students benefit from seeing how much they can support their own learning by finding helpful sites on the Web.) I find Web sites that I can send to colleagues, and thereby keep in touch with them. I find free Web tools that allow me to expand what I can do without spending more money than I’ve already spent on my computer, the broadband access, and the propriatory software I use. I also find information about teaching theories and practice. I learned a lot this afternoon, as I always do when I research by scavenging.