I'm a nice guy. I genuinely enjoy sharing what I know and helping people. I like showing students how to add a blog to their bloglines account.
But I'm in a cleft stick that I've created for myself: my own desire to be helpful has created a work overload and sheer physical and mental exhaustion is preventing me from doing that.
Today for instance: I wanted to show students how to create a flickr account, as it would then be easy for them to blog flickr photos direct to their blogger blogs (and these postings would come with neat little credits which show who originally uploaded that photo).
Three students are quite unable to see their blogs - just a blank page comes up - despite the fact that they can login and edit their blogs quite normally (to add to the mystery, they (and other students) can SOMEtimes see these ghost blogs....)
A half-dozen students could not remember if they had created bloglines accounts or not...so they wasted a lot of time trying to login with various guesses at passwords and email addresses they have...
The room is not set up for demonstrations: there is no teacher console or screen, and all the workstations are around the edge of the room, facing the walls.
It occurred to me today: why don't I just assign them the task of creating a flickr account, learning how to upload photos to it from their cell-phones, and how to blog photos to their blogs from within flickr. No explanations. Force them to collaborate.
One reason I have not used such an approach up to now is that many of my students are borderline: they are the low-motivated types with low self-esteem and low self-confidence, who will try (maybe), balk at the first obstacle or difficulty, then give up. And hope that I won't notice or call them to account. I have felt that this approach will reinforce their image of school as an unfeeling place where everything is "hard" and people frankly don't care if you can't hack it. Perhaps I've been wrong.
It's a tough call.