Eleven Weeks of Learning

09 Apr

This past week in AP GOV really hit hard with characteristics of online learning. The project we are currently doing is one of the biggest this term and we had to work with three other partners to design a new electoral system with rules governing the media, financing, and campaigning. Considering the importance of the project and the depth of research, it is no surprise that a lot of Google hangouts and Skype sessions were required to complete the project. Although much of this technology was not new, it was definitely a more interactive process. For the most part, I had only used Goolge Docs to share documents with my teacher for grading. With this project, I got to actually jointly write a script with my group. Besides our class review Skype sessions, I also had not Skyped with more than one person before.

Looking back over the past eleven weeks, I’m not at all surprised at how far we’ve come in collaborating over the Internet. When we began AP GOV I was afraid that my lack of technological skills would impair my learning. On our first group project I spent hours trying to work through different sites like Google Powerpoint and Voicethread. Eleven weeks later, it is clear that our whole class has grown very proficient using these online tools. The directions to this recent project were informative enough to let our group know what was required information wise, but abstract enough to allow us to collaborate through creative means. For example, the page we design must have some narrated portion and instead of assigning the video to one person in the group to make by themselves, we decided to utilized voicethread so we can all contribute.

I know it may seem fairly redundant to be discussing blogging on a blog, but entering the class, this was certainly one of the areas I was most ignorant in. Overall, blogging has also become much easier than it was at the beginning of the term. As I mentioned previously, before I entered the class, I had never written or looked at a blog before and largely underestimated their importance. Besides from this public class blog, we are also expected to keep a current events blog, so needless to say, our class has received a lot of experience blogging, which will undoubtedly be more important for the future. To participate in this class, I also read a great deal of blogs and realize how enlightening it can be to discuss ideas with people who I would never otherwise come in contact with. Also, I now find that when keeping up with current events, it is most efficient to use Google Reader.

Considering all the new tools I have learned that the Internet holds, it is easy to show that Online Classes offer much more than the information one would gain from reading a textbook in a classroom. Looking at modern society, it is clear that more and more things are turning to the Internet and in this changing environment, I am confident that the girls in this online class will be prepared for these changes.


Posted by on April 9, 2012 in 21st Century Skills, Learning, Technology


5 responses to “Eleven Weeks of Learning

  1. Mike Gwaltney

    April 10, 2012 at 11:37 am


    Normally I leave public commenting on our class blog to other visitors, but as your teacher I want you to know how pleased I am to see you using Google Reader to keep up with current events – fantastic! Organizing, Curating / Filtering information are essential skills in this era of digital information ubiquity and it looks like you’ve developed a great strategy. Nice job. 🙂

    Keep up the good work.


    • julia528

      April 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you so much Mr. Gwaltney! I have certainly gained so many useful tools from this class!

  2. Jon Smith

    April 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Great job. I love the insights you have gained from this experience. Blogging and working in a collaborative manner makes learning much more fun and “real.”. This is the way life will be and I’m glad you are getting a great start. Keep up the good work.
    Jon Smith

  3. racanelli

    April 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Outstanding job! I love that you can recognize your learning and the importance of growth through digital learning. As a senior I’m glad your are learning to use this tools efficiently. You will be so much more prepared for college. Keep up the great work.

    Dana Racanelli
    6th grade teacher, Texas

  4. JudyArzt (@JudyArzt)

    April 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you, Julia, for your thoughtful comments about blogging as an interactive learning tool. I have been following this blog all semester, and have found the work of your class most impressive. It is also ingenious how this blog has formed given you are all taking the course online. I wonder if you have even met each other in person. The topics and issues under discussion reflect sophistication and a mature understanding of modern history, politics, the legal system, and pressing issues related to media and the forms and directions in which the media have evolved. The students have a solid grasp of difficult concepts and world issues, not just issues here in the US. So, now what happens once the course ends? Do you stay in touch? Where do you continue your journeys? Are most of you graduating high school at this point given this is an AP course? If so, what kinds of future plans do most of you have? Are any of you leaning in the direction of themes covered in this course, given all of your background through the coursework and collaboration?


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