Monday, 15 November 2010

iTeach180 Project Days 29-30

Shouting fire in a crowded theatre is bad. Similarly, tweeting about blowing up an airport is just as bad. Last week you may have stumbled upon this story reported first by The Guardian. I found it via Mashable under the title “#IamSpartacus”. The writer’s of Masable pose an interesting question at the end of their adapted article,

Was Paul Chambers really breaking the law when he joked about “blowing the airport” on Twitter? Subsequently, are all the Twitter users who have repeated the message breaking the law, too?

The easy answer is yes, however it strikes up a good debate. This is how I will start my class today. This article raises many good lessons about using social media responsibly and understanding your audience. It also presents students with the realities of how using social media irresponsibly can result in serious consequences. 

Students will be able to explain how to use social media responsibly
Students will be able to analyze how to use social media responsibly


Depending on your class size split the room in half. One side will argue for Mr. Chambers and the other side will argue against Mr. Chambers.

Allow each group a day or two (again, depending on class size and time) to research the story and construct their argument. Each group must share a google doc with their group members and the teacher. This document will house the minutes from group meetings, links to secondary sources, and each member of the groups’ role.

During the debate one member from each group will backchannel the debate proceedings with the hashtag #chamberdebate (or what ever hashtag you decide to use) NOTE: Later on we will analyze the thread of the backchannel and use it to evaluate the debate and reflect on the effectiveness of each groups’ argument.

Another option for this exercise is to use to broadcast your debate to your personal learning network or possibly the school. I have done this before and it really gives the students an audience and produces excellent feedback. Make sure you consult with administration, parents, and your academic technologist before going through with this. 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

2010 EDUBLOGS Award Nominations

My nominations for the 2010 EDUBLOGS Awards 

Most influential blog post: The Power of Flexibility by Sarah Edson
Best Individual Tweeter: Dr. David Timony (@DrTimony)
Best Group Blog: Connected Principals 
Best School Administrator Blog: Burlington High School Principal's Blog 
Most influential tweet/ series of tweets/ tweet based discussion: #edcamp 
Best use of a PLN: The Educator's PLN
Lifetime Achievement: Chris Lehmann

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

iTeach180 Project Day 28

Yesterday students started working on projects that identified the positive and negative effects of online learning communities on high school students. My students targeted five sites, researched how they are used, how they could make this community better, and guidelines for acceptable participation within these communities.
Today, as students present their communities to the class, I want the members of the viewing class to backchannel on a Google doc. I consider backchanneling a type of learning community that focuses on a central issue(s) and examines it by constructively criticizing or highlighting what the presenter is yielding. In the case of this class, I want my students to test the waters of backchanneling by setting up a shared Google doc.
Students will be able to use a backchannel for feedback
Students will be able to assess presentations effectiveness through a backchannel
1. Briefly define what a backchannel is for your students. If you have extra time in class, you can set them out to find the definition on their own along with examples.
**NOTE: If you use twitter, you may want to summon your PLN and ask them how using a backchannel can promote constrictive feedback and transfer new information to a larger community of learners.
2. Set up a Google Doc and share it with the entire class. Give your students some guidelines before they start to backchannel in class
A. If you present criticism, be constructive. Offer options or solutions for your classmates. No empty criticism or attack criticism will be tolerated.
B. Highlight the key points to share. Don’t just look at what others are saying and copy their idea. Develop your own thinking on the subject and present it on the doc.
C. Respond to other’s assertions and criticism. Part of backchannel is creating a dialogue of ideas in a uniformed fashion. While you want to construct your own ideas and highlights, it is good practice to participate in the conversation that is unfolding.
D. Maintain a high level of interest in the presentation. Do not let the backchannel be your only focus. You are still watching your peers present and you want your primary focus to be on the presenter while checking in with the backchannel periodically.
E. The conventions of the English language still count in the backchannel. While the purpose of the backchannel is to be short and brief, you still want to articulate your message effectively and provide a coherent message. Remember, your peers will be looking back at this document and learning from your responses. Make sure they can read it. Be concise and coherent at the same time.
3. Once you cover the ground rules for the backchannel, make sure you instruct the presenters to focus on their content and not to feel ignored if they see the heads of their peers looking down to type a few lines about the presentation.
4. For a follow up or homework assignment, have students write a reflection blog post on what they learned from the presentation combined with what they gleaned from the backchannel.

Monday, 8 November 2010

iTeach180 Project Day 27

Introducing online learning communities

During our last session students created presentations highlighting the positive and negative aspects of social media. Each student group researched social media and conducted interviews with students, teachers, parents, administrators, and guidance counselors. Their finished presentations highlighted how social media can have a positive and a negative effect on a student’s identity.

This week we will be taking what we know about social media and working with learning communities. Today’s lesson will focus on the parameters and guidelines for becoming a contributing member of an online learning community.

Students will be able to define an online learning community
Students will be able identify guidelines for using an online learning community

Today’s lesson will be guided by student research and analysis of various learning communities that can be found online. Students will work in groups of two to three (depending on class size and your procedures for grouping students). Each group will analyze a different learning community and present a list of guidelines (rules) for using that learning community. Students will take some time to join the learning community and find ways in which a student can use this tool effectively in a high school setting.

Here is a list of learning communities your students can research:
1.     Wikispaces
2.     Flickr
3.     Diigo
4.     Facebook
5.     Goodreads

Each student group must present the following items at the end of this project:
1. Address the following questions:
·      What is the objective of the learning community you researched?
·      How can this type of learning community be used in a high school?
·      How are members using this community to further their learning?
·      What are some downfalls of this learning community?
·      How could you make this learning community better?

2.  What type of community decorum guidelines would you suggest to students?
·      Develop a list of guidelines your group feels are necessary for getting the most out of this learning community.

3. Observe how others interact on this site
·      Present ways this site can be used effectively by students
·      Present ways in which you could foresee students using this site irresponsibly.