More than ever, it’s possible to have students read, write, and think for each other (as opposed to doing such things for their singular teacher) – making the activity more real, more connected, and perhaps more fun. In recent years, I’ve been employing various digital, web 2.0 technologies to get my students to connect and collaborate with students in classrooms from other campuses. (Go here to see how my students at The OakridgeSchool connected with classes at two other campuses, Greenhill School & TheHockaday School, to read together James Joyce’s collection Dubliners. Of course, we did it again last year, this time studying William Shakespeare’s history play, Richard III.)
One of my favorite methods we experimented with was getting students from one class to frame questions for their peers in other classes from different campuses. We did this through various means:
-my students at Oakridge collaboratively posted blog articles (here) that always concluded in a series of questions for Greenhill and Hockaday students. Greenhill and Hockaday would respond employing various modalities of expression such as text, video, or mp3. (More examples: Greenhill which leads to Oakridge's response; Hockaday which leads to Oakridge's response; Greenhill which leads to Oakridge's response and then to Hockaday's final word)
-we also had the advantage of augmenting our digital collaboration with visits in person to each other’s campuses – something that’s only possible with the benefit of geographical proximity. Using the responses of the Greenhill students (which were born out of the blog), Mr. Garza (teacher from Greenhill) visited The Hockaday School, bringing his students' questions to their Hockaday peers.
-Hockaday blogged about their perspective of the visit, providing insight and more questions for both Greenhill and Oakridge classes as we struggled with what were very difficult literary works.
-Greenhill students made use of Audacity to record an mp3/podcast both for Oakridge and Hockaday students. Their recording was guided, of course, by the evolution of questions being posed by classes from the other campuses.
-Using GarageBand, Oakridge then responded in kind by putting together their podcast response; here's some highlights:
|Oakridge student citing Hockaday student's blog post|
|Greenhill student addresses Hockaday teacher's point|