How many students participate in a class discussion? A handful? Five to ten? Answers vary depending on the class, time, and topic, but to get all students to have a voice is every teacher's’ challenge.
Today, all 26 students in Jeff Bernadt’s (@jbernadt) history class thoughtfully participated in a class discussion using their iPads and a back channel at http://todaysmeet.com.
Students were given a choice of 12 different articles to read about the Holocaust from the American perspective and the following writing prompt on the back channel at TodaysMeet.com:
“What are your thoughts after reading about the Holocaust from the American perspective? Reference information from readings in your post.”
Students began to read with a purpose, the room fell silent, and the conversation lit up online. Students purposefully posted comments to the back channel using their iPads and shared facts, feelings, and questions based upon the article(s) they read. Mr. Bernadt, spent his time reading and responding to students throughout the activity.
The class period zipped by at 4G speed! Before we knew it, we had 19 pages of discussion and the class period was nearly over.
“We had a great little discussion,” Bernadt said to conclude the class. “I am hearing lots of voices today. In a traditional class discussion, there are always just a few that have a voice. Here it gives all of you an opportunity to have a voice and listen to alot of view points very quickly.”
Written by Ann Feldmann