Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who Done It? Practices for Engaging Students in Online Groups

This workshop has started out with a poll that users respond to by sending a text message response, a la American Idol.  The service is called Poll Everywhere. Seems like a fun tool to use in the classroom and let students make useful use of that annoying phone. Also a good substitute for clickers in the classroom.  You can show live screen results coming in - cool!

She talked about WetPaint and Blogger as tools for collaborative work. She noted that their research found that students participated more using tools outside of the Course Management System (they are using Blackboard8). She also saw that students used more of the tools available (inserting YouTube videos, using color, using widgets), even though Blackboard had many of the same tools.

On a wiki project that she described, she had students that were in their late 20's to 50's and it was the first course in their curriculum. Many complained about the technology (even though they were specifically trained on how to use it) and having to use different things.

Now they are talking about VoiceThread, a technology I learned more about at a conference earlier this year. It is like PowerPoint combined with discussion boards combined with voice. It is really, really cool and if you are not familiar with it, you should have a look. Here is a blog that the presenter shared that has some research on the efficacy of VoiceThread - VoiceThread of Inclusivity.

I liked this presentation. Although they did not present any tools that I was unfamiliar with, as my summer quarter class rapidly approaches, it gave me some ideas of ways that I might use these familiar tools to build community in my class.


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