My first session here at NECC was Increasing Student Collaboration Online by Harry Tuttle, Syracuse University. Much of the discussion centered around making online conversations work, but Dr. Tuttle shared some really interesting ideas for projects which can be applied to videoconferencing.
He talked about exchanges between classes, which we are familiar with in the Read Across America format. I really liked the idea of having small groups connect to small groups in another class. This format would require some online/email collaboration as well as the videoconference. The videoconference could be used to start and end the small group collaborations. I want to think more about how this could work with specific content.
How to find partner classes. An interesting idea Dr. Tuttle shared was to ask the students, how many of you have relatives in another country? Then the relative may know a teacher and from there the classes can work out what technology can be used to connect with each other for a project.
Another cool idea a participant shared was to ask new students about their previous school and then do a project with the teacher and class the new student came from. This way the new student knows students in the partner class.
Another intriguing idea was to do collaborative projects with another class (in another state, region, country) around a controversy WebQuest, Tom March’s preferred format. I’m still thinking about how this could look with a videoconference – maybe with 4 sites and the quad screen format – and each site presents/represents one of the perspectives addressing the controversy. This reminds me of the Decisions, Decisions format from Tom Snyder Productions. I’d love to see a project like this…
Other ideas included having several classes research various families on the underground railroad and follow the trail together with various experiences along the way; comparing schools in different areas with surveys and graphing and discussing the answers; comparing architecture in various locations; and 2nd grade sharing information on the 5 types of trees closest to the school. All intriguing possibilities! Now off to learn more!