I have been pretty excited about using the Collaborize Classroom platform for my online Literature Circles in partnership with another school. My students have a completed a few Collaborize Classroom “Icebreaker” activities that focus on appropriate online discussion behaviours and how to respond to a classmate’s post. The “netiquette” activities were created by Catlin Tucker, a teacher in California but were available to me through Collaborize Classroom’s Topic Library; downloading to my classroom page was simple and I could edit the document to suit my needs.
Initially, some student responses were short, off topic and contained “text talk.” One of the activities involved students agreeing to follow specific online discussions rules and express their opinion about the rules. A few students were disappointed that there was an “avoid sarcasm” rule but it created a lively online discussion thread. Students were able to voice their affection for sarcasm with others but they also were able see that sarcasm was not going to move online discussions “forward.”
Here is a student response to “the rules” of online communication: “When you keep a postive attitude and follow the rules that are applied then you are going to keep a good online conversation going. I like the rule that tells you to use people’s names because then you know who’s talking to you or who the message is directed to! The hardest rule is probably keeping an open mind because not everyone agrees and it usually becomes a huge online fight..”Posted By XXX on 04/05/2012 08:42 PM Reply
I recently started using Collaborize Classroom to create my own assignments and have found it to be quite easy. I have been very careful about creating assignments that require students to:
- read or view something
- think about what they have read/viewed
- respond in writing
My students are getting better at writing and expressing their ideas in such a short amount of time. I noticed a big improvement (quality and quantity) in student’s written responses when I required them to type their response into a googledoc or word document, proofread it and then copy & paste it into the reply box. Students found it helpful to use sentence starter prompts when replying to another person’s post. I found the sentence starters to be an effective way to reduce the number of “Good job Eric/Erica!” comments. For the time being I decide who each student must reply to so that no one is left out. Maybe I will use some sort of stickpin app this week to make choosing easier for me and totally random. Is anyone familiar with such an app?
I have found Andrew Churches’ wiki invaluable for Digital Taxonomy rubrics. I love the recent edition of Starter Sheets for various Web 2.0 tools. Starter sheets introduce a tool or technology, provide step by step processes for getting started, offer ideas for using the tool in a variety of settings and also provide an alternative web-based option. This is a resource you will want to check out!