Early on in our first chat session as a class, we went through some technical details: browsers, windows, clicking. One user kept getting dropped; he felt this might have been caused by resizing the window.
The first topic discussed in any detail was the students’ success or challenges with the research assignment. Some students seemed to have worked out the kinks, while others had trouble and asked for specific advice about how to do a better job.
The group mentioned the Cuban book and his research and opinions regarding effective vs. ineffective use of technology. The group got the impression that Cuban was opposed to school districts investing in technology that was un- or underused. [The professor] confirmed this, based on her personal experience hearing Cuban speak at a recent conference.
There was a discussion of the users’ experiences with MySpace. Although teachers recognize it as a powerful resource that holds a lot of fascination for our students, we also know that “media hype” has prejudiced many parents’ opinions. One anecdote was about an Internet scavenger hunt assigned to a set of 8th graders, and involving the teacher’s own (skeletal) MySpace profile. Even though parental permission was required to participate, students were told not to log in to MySpace, and an alternate assignment was provided, a small group of parents effectively shut that down through vocal overreaction.
Woven into the discussion of technology integration was discussion of the mechanics of the chat room itself. We considered letting [the professor] strictly moderate the discussion, but since she never explicitly agreed to that, we went ahead and typed away. We agreed to providing more context, though, by addressing the speaker whose comments we were responding to.