Tag: Collaboration

Online Discussions & Blended Learning

Online classroom discussion, when done well, should encourage student participation and interaction. With minimal effort on the teacher’s part it is possible to engage students even with little to no face-to-face contact. By adjusting the way the question is posed, or by asking students to answer questions collaboratively, can make for a much more meaningful learning experience.

Many of us are now looking to engage the use of Dragons’ Exchange (DX) as a powerful blended learning tool, with online discussions, playing a significant role. So how can we use online discussions, like those in DX, to promote sustained engagement and participation?

Convergent Thinking 

The “how” or “why” questions, although they essentially promote convergent thinking, certainly have a place in online discussion. Post an article, Podcast or video and ask a question of this nature. Rather than invite students to piggy back on the response prior to their own own, hide comments for the time being and once all students have responded, unlock for all to see. Students can now engage in discussion by responding to one another. These types of discussion questions can often lead to sustained debate, particularly once differing options are revealed.

Divergent Thinking 

Questions that get students to think about the outcome or consequences associated with certain events have the potential to sustain ongoing interest since it empowers students to take a more creative approach in responding to the question. For example: Pose a scenario related to the ethical concerns of genetic testing. What are the implications of the choices made in this situation? Posing the question as a scenario encourages students to connect with the situation and engage more meaningfully with the discussion.

Evaluative Thinking 

Why not try a collaborative online debate to promote evaluative thinking? Pose a debate topic and separate the class into two groups – those for and those against. Any online response to the topic of conversation must be either for or against. You could even look to create a third group, those that can pose questions to either argument. This type of online discussion can promote healthy competition while maintaining ongoing dialogue.

Online class discussions have the ability to:

  • Build communities
  • Encourage reflection
  • Promote critical thinking
  • Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts
  • Promote consensus building

Online discussions complement and improve the interactions that occur in your classroom by providing students with the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with ideas and with each other. Blending these discussion opportunities into your instruction can also be a powerful alternative to traditional homework.

Blending online discussion opportunities into your face-to-face instruction is an excellent alternative to traditional homework, also complementing and improving face-to-face discussions. It gives all students the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with ideas, and with each other. For further information on the benefits to students and their learning, see Eric Brunsell’s article Blended Learning: Adding Asynchronous Discussions to Your F2F Classrooms

How to update Seesaw class settings

The ES are doing great things in Seesaw, including lots of student, teacher and parent activity. There are a range of different settings you can explore to find ways to customise the Seesaw experience to your class or grade level. In the following video, I’ll show you how to:

  • Add specialist and co-teachers to class journals
  • Edit students’ preferred names & icons
  • Add parents & allow parent access
  • Add/edit folders & skills
  • Allow student comments & “likes”

We will continue to add Seesaw resources to the Ed Tech blog. In the meantime, please let Bec and myself know anytime you have a question or celebration around Seesaw or if there is another resource you think would benefit the school.

Sam

Collaborative Systems in the Elementary School

At ISB we are lucky to have access to a wealth of tools and systems facilitate teaching, learning, and collaboration in our classroom and in our school. Unfortunately, all of these systems can sometimes get confusing: which one is best at which time?

To help our new (and returning!) teachers in the Elementary School, Sam, Bec and I shared a quick 45 minute presentation that helps to clarify three of our main tools for collaboration: Outlook (specifically accessing Groups and making calendar bookings), Office 365 (Groups v. OneDrive, sharing and collaborating on documents), and OneNote.

Small Bytes – Working with Groups in Office 365

Thanks to all the teachers who came out for our first round of Small Bytes. We had a healthy turnout as we discussed Working with Groups in Office 365. It’s always interesting to get a group of teachers together to discuss these tools and platforms because it always helps us understand all of the different ways that teachers are using them in their classrooms!

We mainly had a chance to play around in a Sandbox Group, free from the fear of messing up *something important*. We also talked a bit about how to subscribe/unsubscribe from notifications and how to use conversations. Finally we spent some time discussing how the shared files work and how to share files between Groups using links rather than making a copy of the document.

I’ve embedded the simple slideshow that we used to help guide our discussion. If you have any questions about any of it, or about anything else related to Groups, leave a comment or swing by the Ed Tech Office!

https://isbdragons-my.sharepoint.com/personal/chamada_isb_bj_edu_cn/_layouts/15/guestaccess.aspx?guestaccesstoken=Cqkf8U7KlZJdGd4dgXggkv6Ha2PMldYyoWQwnHraPhQ%3d&docid=061ddd6b14c474a02a02696730c088dcb&rev=1

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