Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Can Google jockeying work in your class?

Some time ago, I came across this short piece from Educause Learning Initiative on 7 Things You Should Know About Google Jockeying. The idea is intriguing--designate a student to "surf" the Web during class and for terms, definitions, images, etc., related to the ongoing lecture or discussion--in order to make class time more interactive, less teacher directed, and potentially more engaging to students. I wasn't convinced, though: wouldn't this just add to classroom distractions? 

Now, Maryellen Weimer has posted about Google jockeying in an Environmental Sustainability class, as reported in a recent Journal of Chemical Education article. I'm coming around to the idea of maybe incorporating this technique into my next class. What's helpful about Weimer's post, and about the JCE article, is that they are forthcoming about what worked, what didn't work, and what caveats remain. In particular, this line in Weimer's post made me think that maybe this can work in my class:
The authors do acknowledge that a strategy like this depends on course content. They don't see it working well in a highly structured, content-heavy course. But for a seminar, maybe in courses for non majors, it's an interesting option that proved very successful in this course.