That was pretty disappointing.
First, there was the technical bother. On Firefox, the log-in page for the Windows Media stream wouldn't accept the username or password they sent me.
There was a second choice - the malware plagued Real Media. When I went there, my password and username were accepted, but Firefox demanded a plug-in, which it then wouldn't load. FF said I should download a desktop version. Nope. Not gonna.
Next, I tried Chrome. (It's useful to have more than one browser.) No joy with the Windows Media stream, but, wonder of wonders, the Real plug-in worked, and so I got to watch. But not interact - some functionality was lost, as they say.
Later on, when things got boring-er, I tried Internet Explorer. No Windows Media (still!) but the Real Media stream now offered me the chance to send a question.
So, yeah... I'm looking at all this, and I'm thinking, seriously, dudes, why didn't you just stream through a free service like Ustream or JustinTV where you've got tools to archive, in-house chat, and a twitter stream besides????
Well... What about the content?
Listen, I think they're probably all swell folks. And they all had PhD's, so that's pretty nice.
And I'm okay that they think we all need to sound-out our words, and that oral reading fluency is an important skill. I mean, that's wrong. Reading aloud is a performance skill, like singing aloud from a songbook. But I understand where they're coming from. They're auditory learners, and probably do use sounding out when they read. So, for them, "decoding" does mean sounding out (in some mystical way). Me, I'm visual. I "decode" by looking inside words for their roots or at the front or end for indicators. Same world, different universe.
It is 2010, right?
A "new idea" they had was letting learners take low-level high-interest books home. One of them added that public libraries have these books. And, they agreed - their brainstorming knew no bounds - facilitators could encourage learners to read to their children.
Now, wait, one says. Don't just let 'em read at home. Giv'em homework. He also asserts that maybe 26 hours of class time "wasn't long enough" to show gains. Ya think?
Another pointed out that "background knowledge was generally very low in our sample" (that's what they call learners who are being studied by scientists). Well, says another, for background knowledge, "television is a completely untapped resource." (Completely untapped - I like that!) The third points out the existence of computers - heavens, here they all began talking at once they were so excited! - and online learning resources.
At this point, they almost stumbled upon a comprehensive adult literacy class. They were missing co-construction and functional learning, of course. They mentioned computers, but not email - or even responsive journaling (you know, where you and the learner write back and forth in the same book). Nothing about stress reduction, breathing or body learning stuff. And they completely overlooked reflective practice. Still, they were getting there....
But then they quickly reverted to fragmentation: the scientific picking apart of the reading process.
Anyway, I didn't get quite to the end. I meant to. But JustinTV also streams the War Time channel, and they were showing The Dirty Dozen, and, you know....
Well, I mean. Television is just so untapped.