New York Lori posted the following to Buth's first entry on the blog. Great post, Lori.
My response is below her entry. Please feel free to add your own concerns and comments.
My main concern about using Web 2.0 technology for my English classes is the time factor. I'm worried that I'll be "on call" to my students 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. I envision having to check blogs, emails, podcasts, wikis every single day of the week in order to give prompt feedback to my students. I think of all the writing assignments that my students send to me for reading and editing via email. All of the above is in addition to the daily research, planning, and preparation time that I want to do in order to conduct my dynamic and productive English learning classes.
In the good old days, teachers taught class, gave homework/project assignments, and didn't have any contact with the students until the next class. I think all of these Web 2.0 tools are incredible and I can't wait to start utilizing them in my classes. But at the same time, I panic thinking that I'll never have any downtime between classes. I'm also not sure I'm comfortable that students have 24/7 access to me.
That was also my primary concern with I started using Web 2.0 tools. I can remember being totally frustrated when we had an online teaching expert tell us that he set up virtual office hours on Sunday afternoons. Since I am in the U.S., I thought, that is my weekend, I need those hours free!
What I have learned though is that I don't spend more time online than I do with face-to-face classes and office hours. Of course, I type very quickly and this helps me, but I have learned to tell students not to expect instant turnaround (48 hours is fine). I also tell them I don't respond on weekends (though I admit I do sometimes if the question is easy). I choose at most two tools per class or there is too much to check. Unless the assignment includes review of drafts by me, I tell students I will only look at small sections of their essays--not the entire thing. Wikis are great tools for peer editing. We will discuss how that works during Week 4.
I will admit that it takes more time at first, especially as you learn to work with the tools and decide what you want to do with them. However, once you have spent time with them and know what works for you and your students, it can be much faster than preparing for a traditional class.
Remember when you first started teaching and it took ages to get ready for class. Learning to use Web 2.0 is a little similar to that. However, as teachers, we have to keep up with the times and Web 2.0 is not going to disappear. Take a deep breath, remember the little engine that could(I think I can, I think I can) and move on up the hill.
For those of you unfamiliar with the little engine story from the U.S., take a look at the wikipedia entry below. Although the entry is not entirely positive about the story, what I remember about it from my long ago childhood is that if we just keep trying, we will succeed.