How to Transform your Classroom Discussions with Technology
(for those that are new to tech & discussions)
- Basic Back Channel
This one may be most common but I have always loved having an inner circle and an outer circle for my discussions. If Have students in the inner circle discuss aloud, while others “chat” on the projected backchannel. This can allow those who are quiet to communicate, direct, and provide input to those in the middle. If you want to let students choose to go ahead, or make them do both for a certain amount of time and flip-flop.
If you are using Ebackpack or similar apps then you already have a discussion format built in, so you could rely on that for your backchannel.
(for those that are looking to add flipped classroom model)
Use flipgrid to have students respond to questions, topics, or assignments in a video discussion format. This tool can be used for so many things, but if you plan on having a Socratic Seminar here are some tips for execution with technology!
Post the Topic on FlipGrid the night before and have to students respond to prepare in mini-videos. If they are unlikely public speakers or too scared in the moment, use this towards part of their participation grade and to hear what they have to say before they’ve heard others speak on the spot!
Flip your Socratic Seminar by having it on flipgrid outside of class. When students come in to school with this as their homework you could have them reflect on their response, or a peer’s response in on On Demand Prompt to make sure they followed along and listened! Or, you could allow them to use the videos from FlipGrid on a quiz or test as a resource as a reward for those who completed the assignment!
(For those looking for ongoing seminars)
Use Slack to have constant channels always occurring around different issues, topics, or projects. I imagine Slack to be an awesome tool in so many ways for the classroom.
With Slack you can create discussions for home as students work through content (Event Based, Concept Based, or More). Example: Have a channel for Solving Quadratics that students can chat about on Slack consistently.
You could also have ongoing class discussions around lengthy projects and processes. This can allow you to spend class time answering those questions students have provided through discussions. This also allows students to reach a higher level of learning through helping others to learn on the channels.
(for those with students that need to move)
- Gallery Walk with MultiMedia
Have students Walk to different stations display different media, or better yet, asks them to create different media and discuss through the process. At the end reorganize the groups so students all end available to discuss what they did in their groups to reflect and compare.
Example History: Each station has a different Media around a time period (A song from the Vietnam War with Lyrics, a Video of a March, A slideshow with Content and History of the War, A Blog/Article online). Students could respond to the same questions on each, or different questions that can be left at the tables. *To do this you may want to leave available links or ways to get to the media if you don’t have extra devices.
Example English: Students could be asked to create Videos at different stations that represent a piece of writing (four poems all on the idea of Racism or four Articles all on the Roaring 20’s of different content). The Clips could summarize, compare, contract, or recreate!
(for those who want the silent discussions)
Provide students with a subject, topic, concept, or problem and have them share a Google Drawing with one another (pairs, groups, or more) they don’t have to sit next to one another. THEN have them draw their answers, ideas, or solve problems with drawings. Attach essential questions to review and reflect on the drawing process. What was hard? What did you both have in common? How did you work together without speaking? And more!