Learning Inspired By Students

9/17/2005 12:00:00 pm

For several years now I've encouraged all my classes to get together in groups of 3 or 4 and form study groups. A lot of learning happens when kids talk to each other.

One of the goals I have with regard to incorporating blogs into my classes is to encourage student dialogue. My grade 10 class has taken this to another level. They started using the blog as a chat room. I received over 60 email notifications that a comment had been left on the blog! A lot of "Ha ha ha, lol, ;-) :P :S " One of them suggested we get a "Shoutbox." Never having heard of this I looked it up.

While they were still chatting in the comments. I installed the shoutbox, changed the name to chatbox -- I'd rather they didn't shout at each other ;-) -- and posted to the class blog about it. They jumped right in and started chatting immediately! (How's that for being responsive to students needs?)

A student from another of my classes stumbled over the grade 10 blog and asked: "Why doesn't our blog have one of these?" So I had an email conversation with the fellow behind the Shoutmix site. I explained what I wanted to use the Shoutboxes for and he was very accommodating. He made it easy for me to set up 5 free accounts! (I had asked for 4 because I'll have that many concurrent blogs running next semester.)

Today I posted at my other two classroom blogs and installed the chatboxes. I'm eagerly awaiting feedback from my students. Check them out and leave your feedback in the comments to this post. Thanks. ;-)

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