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‘Jockeying’ for position? November 29, 2012

Posted by IaninSheffield in Inspiration, Teaching Idea.
Tags: , , ,

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by electricnerve: http://flickr.com/photos/electricnerve/1168546515/

Recently started reading “The World is Open” by Curtis Bonk which promises to stimulate my thought buds in several different ways. Barely through the first chapter (‘To Search and to Scan’) though, he mentioned in passing the notion of a ‘Google Jockey,’ a completely new term to me. A quick search (yes … with Google!) revealed it’s actually quite a well-know idea; Educause defines it as follows:

A Google jockey is a participant in a presentation or class who surfs the Internet for terms, ideas, Web sites, or resources mentioned by the presenter or related to the topic. The jockey’s searches are displayed simultaneously with the presentation, helping to clarify the main topic and extend learning opportunities.

It seems to me there are several advantages to using Google Jockeys in the classroom, but that there are three groups who benefit:

  1. The Jockey – able to practise and hone his/her Web searching skills whilst being able to take an alternative or sideways look at the topic and learning activities in class. They aren’t constrained to focus on the teacher and have the opportunity to follow what piques their interest in the area of study. They bring a new perspective, viewing the topic through their lenses … and perhaps inspiring other students to see things differently too.
  2. The rest of the class – provided with a bunch of supplementary support resources that they might not otherwise have had the chance to experience.
  3. The teacher, who, thanks to the efforts of the Jockey, is blessed with someone finding resources that they might be able to use with subsequent classes working through the same topic.

I guess that some teachers might feel that a parallel information channel could prove distracting; I suspect it would need practice to not only become comfortable with, but to make the most of those serendipitous teaching moments which bubble to the surface as a result of the Jockey’s meanderings. But if having a ‘live’ feed was too intimidating, perhaps devoting the plenary to an exploration of the finds with the while class might be more manageable? It would also be a shame if those finds were lost when the lesson has ended, so perhaps the Jockey could be adding their nuggets to a LiveBinder, ScoopIt or Popplet so that their peers can access them at a later time … perhaps to support their homework?

Now what if the role was actually commonplace in most lessons across the curriculum, or at least where appropriate? Through regular exposure, students would have the chance to sharpen their search skills as they learned from the searching and information mining of their fellow Jockeys. Think also of how much interesting material could accumulate in a relatively short time – clearly an opportunity for learning about managing and cataloguing/tagging information … maybe involve the school librarian if you’re fortunate to have one?

Still only just started thinking about the possibilities; you might already be using them or have a different slant, so please do chip in with a comment. My one reservation is the term, Jockey. Maybe it’s a cultural thing or maybe it needs to be that funky(?!) to be appealing … or maybe it just doesn’t matter. Anyone think of a different expression?


1. largerama - November 29, 2012

This makes me think of further deployment of Digital Leaders in the classroom Ian. You could have a whole spectrum of ‘guides on the side’ here. Good piece and good ideas. Me likey lots 🙂

ianinsheffield - November 30, 2012

Darn! Digital Leaders – of course! Makes perfect sense. Good on yer for spotting that sir. Thanks.

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