Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 3

Some problems have surfaced:
  • One boy wanted to be in a group, but he is #6 and the limit is 5.
  • One boy joined a group, which is done by signing on to a paper sign on the board, and "took the place" of another boy who anticipated belongint
Actually, all of the problems have been about "belonging." I wonder if this is really the issue that is foremost?

Anyway, I have decided that it is not the issue. Deal with it.

Tomorrow, students in my classes may not sit in a table group (there are 5) with anyone else in the project team. Or leave the classroom with a person in the group unless there is a research purpose.

What has gone well:
  1. Groups are using the wiki structure and using it from home (not required)
  2. Some groups have realized that the Comment feature is a good way to collaborate; others are using the wiki authorship (picking up the pen)
  3. A few groups are making polls
  4. One group has realized that cameras (video, still) can help to make the case - they have borrowed my stash of technology and gotten mini-lessons in using the tools
  5. A few groups are using Word and/or Excel to build tools (eg polls, surveys), then uploading the files to the wiki (but we have had some problems with the wiki app in this regard)
  6. One group is tagging on to another group to use their research results
  7. One group is editing and commenting on the work of another group
What is not going so well:
  • This is not a friendly format for some students. I have designed alternative projects for three students. For some kids, collaboration with multi-layer directions is a step too far. These students will meet the collaboration, research, output standard but not use the wiki format.
  • Groups are still an issue - this is 8th grade. So, I have had to deal with many more inter-student issues than I would have liked. By and large, projects are being done by groups within the same core class. This means that there is a lot of chat, not enough work.
  • So - I have to be hardline about expectations. If you don't credit yourself on the wiki, you don't get credit. I think I got that point across today.
  • I set this up to be digital communication collaboration, but find that I am having the best teaching moments by talking 1-1 with kids. Hmm - this is a bit conflicting.

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