Thursday, November 7, 2013

Discussion Boards

My Wall of Discussion at   Padlet
Outline of Presentation
  1. Introduction- What is Haiku?   (Peter)
    1. management structure for 24 hour access
    2. engaged from anywhere in the world (teacher & student)
  2. Why we use discussion boards in a learning platform
    1. Problems of Democracy
    2. Haiku- add responses to discussion posts
    3. assignment list
  3. Assessment- 
    1. AP US History Assessment retakes
    2. Usage Statistics Data
    3. Wiki Projects
  4. Common Core 
    1. RH.11-12.4 Craft & Structure 
    2. WHST.11-12.6 Production & Distribution of writing.
    3. selecting a topic- collaborating and writing- RH.11-12.7 Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
  5. Assessment
    1. Rubrics- Zombies & Asynchronous learning
    2. Video Discussion- NAFTA, Peer Editing (no picture!)
    3. student input- the Pen Pal Project
  6. -Possibilities
    1. video chats while gaming (Google Chats) 
    2. twitter
    3. publish   ie-
I am a social constructivist. I believe that discussion in its many forms leads to better published ideas, better outcomes and meaningful writing.  I believe that people need incentives to engage in productive discussion.  Reading alone is not enough of an incentive.  Reading is complex and it requires many experiences with text for truly contextual connections.  This is why I offer a classroom in which games, simulations and activities are practiced or observed prior to discussion, prior to writing.

Teachers benefit from presenting the same content year after year in a variety of engaging experiences and knowing their content well.  I was raised in the era of Sage on Stage and began my career learning how to lecture to an audience.  My first teaching experience was in a school that embraced Gardiner's Multiple Intelligences; student research was based on their interest and discussion was not an interest of the majority. In the 1990s I attended workshops on the Socratic Dialogue prior to the use of the internet. I still have a 4 digit Yahoo! account. Yup.  Vintage. My teaching network spread out across the country where I studied with game designers for economic standards. I was taught how to introduce an economic principle, present a hypothesis and then offer set rules for a simulation. Interactions led to discussions which led to constructed proofs.  Over time I developed a myriad of ways of engaging students.

Discussion format is forever changing. The tools for discussion are never the same even though the outcomes always yield the same positive results.  Students who discuss knowledge own their knowledge.  Which is why I am surprised and disappointed that it is not a direct Common Core standard.  Asking clarifying questions, defending an idea, ranking, racing a clock, hearing rhythms, repeating an idea are all forms of discussion. Chats, Polls, Messaging, Tweeting have given us tools for clarifying an idea in the shortest of dialogues.  I edit my tweets at least three times before sending.
Students who have to defend their thesis orally, often make quick changes based on positive feedback and then write a perfect thesis. Students who collaborate in discussion about different Silk Roads are better able to write a compare contrast essay of discoveries and inventions based on long distance trade.

What is next?  I'm assuming that video playback especially in short form will follow tools similar in style to Twitter.  Students revel in quick messaging.  Why not follow that trend?  My students do not like posting to a flat site.  They like posting to spaces that offer immediate feedback. Asynchronous dialogue is also essential to dialoguing as newcomers enter or leave a conversation at any time.  I'm now considering teams students together with one student gaming and the other tweeting like a commentator on the progression.  The analysis of all contributing commentators would give students an experience for final analysis. Or require students to Tweet commentary while watching a film or video.  What if their initial reactions to characters in a film changed over the course of the film? That would be fun to analyze.

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