@newtechnetwork Bring on the A/V to Echo Tasks! #echoAV

Over the past two weeks, as part of the 2012 University of Illinois Writing Project summer institute (#UIWP2012), so many passionate teachers who love writing and who want to see the teaching of writing improved have surrounded me.  Each day in the Writing Project, we have immersed ourselves in writing, reading and conversations that have been directed by our own interests or expertise.  The best part?  We always seem to come back to how we want to see change in how we teach, evaluate and reach students through writing.  Thank goodness I still have two more weeks around these reflective practitioners, because this has perhaps been the best type of professional development that I have been afforded an opportunity to engage in.  (And, so, too has NTAC been on my professional growth; New Tech has truly changed where I see my career going.)

Change can come in many forms and initiated in many ways.  I love what I am doing in the Writing Project, and I look forward to bringing a lot of what I learn back to my New Tech school.  But, as I move through the phases of change for the betterment of students, I will be calling on the New Tech Network (NTN @newtechnetwork) to make some changes to the Echo course management system to help me help my students.  With some help from NTN, I hope I and many great educators across the United States, will have the tools for some of the changes I would like to make, particularly in regards to how I assess students’ writing as well as other projects.

The idea for this feature came to me as I have participated in the UIWP and reflected on writing assessment/feedback practices.  The change is one that other online platforms feature (more later), but one that may require some attention by the NTN Echo web development team. When teachers/facilitators provide feedback on student work, we are limited to just what our keyboards can transfer – the numbers/grades and the comments we type into a box before hitting “Save and next”.  My change calls for an addition that would make feedback multimodal.  I hope to see that Echo Tasks will allow teachers to record audio or video feedback as part of the assessment process.  In short, bring on the A/V to Echo Tasks!

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”  ~Alvin Toffler

Over the next month or so leading up to the New Tech Annual Conference (NTAC), I will be writing a short series entitled, A call for @newtechnetwork to add “record to this Task” or “upload back” features in Echo Tasks.  The blog series will be broken down into three major themes, with an undetermined number of posts dedicated to each: theoretical/research basis, applications in the classroom, and design concept.  (I anticipate my blog and online presence may even evolve to include video blogging as well…YouTubers, get ready for this.)

As a reader, you have a part, too.  Since Echo is an online platform, I hope to leverage my readership’s expertise in this cause, too, to create an online campaign.  As I write through this series, I hope my readers will see the importance of adding this feature, help me cultivate a vision for the idea, and participate in its promotion.  Any of my posts now feature a commenting system that allows my readers to freely authenticate into my blog using Facebook, Twitter, Google or Yahoo credentials and easily share their feedback. I am also now opening a Google Form that I hope you will generously share applications of this tool (specifically, how teachers/facilitators would use this added feature and the foreseeable impact it would have on students).  Only with a discussion can this idea be refined.  Finally, I will be starting a Change.org petition that I hope anyone – teachers, parents, students, administrators and other stakeholders – will sign in support of the feature addition.  With an extensive online presence and diverse support, we will hopefully see that New Tech joins the discussion, too, and facilitates the upgrade.  Follow the Twitter conversation with the hashtag #echoAV.

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4 thoughts on “@newtechnetwork Bring on the A/V to Echo Tasks! #echoAV

  1. LOVE.

    I did my second UIWP video last year on writing for social action, and this is exactly the kind of ‘mentor text’ I would use with my students. I’m going to get the GoogleForm and petition later today, but wanted to say that I like the series of posts idea, and am looking forward to following it.

    1. Thanks, Syd. I’ll be posting a lot more as the week goes one. I hope to have something I’ve been working on posted by Sunday morning. Glad to hear some vocal support!

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