Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tool #6: Using Web 2.0 Tools to Promote Discussion In and Out of the Classroom

Cover It Live: This tool requires a little bit of playing with to get used to, but once it is figured out it is very useful. I particularly like the amount of control it gives the moderator in terms of pre-screening participant posts before comments end up on the discussion board. This is great in the classroom to moderate live discussions especially if the the teacher has an iPad. The iPad allows the moderator to moderate from wherever they are standing as opposed to having to be tied to a desk top or carrying around a cumbersome laptop or netbook. Freedom to move among students while they are participating is important to the success and effectiveness of this type of classroom discussion. Additionally, this tool is great getting a group of unfamiliar students to participate in a discussion. I used Cover It Live to conduct the advisory lesson on cafeteria cleanliness and behavior. I posted the guiding questions from the powerpoint as they came up in the presentation and had the students respond to the questions. The students were focused, engaged, and were all held accountable for participating by peer pressure rather than teacher pressure. They all want to read what each other thought and began connecting with students they realized shared similar points of view.

The advisory Cover It Live session is embedded in the left side bar.

VoiceThread: I like VoiceThread because it increase the level of concern in students because of the "voice" requirement. Often they repeat/recorded their dialogue, change their script, look up new words to use in their script, edit down their script because of length restraints, and do not seem to realize they are learning via planning and creating. I have found that 99% of students complain about the voice piece, but 100% record their voice and seem to feel a sense of accomplishment when they hear them selves reciting a script they created in a professional looking product. A tremendous amount of preparation is funneled into a 1-3 minute long product. The VoiceThread product is literally the tip of the iceberg!  I have had students use a teacher created account in the past, but students creating their own accounts is less complicated.

Below is a VoiceThread two sophomore boys wrote the script for and created on the Holocaust.

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