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My first thought is that you could have student collaborating in a cross-classroom discussion forum about the literature you are reading, using a tool like Schoology or Google Groups (both are free).
My next thought is that students could conduct collaborative research on different topics brought up by the literature you are reading, using social bookmarking tools (diigo, delicious, etc) to gather and annotate the sources, or EasyBib (if your school subscribes). Then use Google Docs to have them actually create written products like a paper or presentation, collaboratively.
I am having 9th graders define what it means to be a hero using Google Moderator, and then create a rubric using Google Forms. They will then conduct research on someone they think is a hero, and their classmates will judge whether the chosen person is a hero based on the criteria they determined as a class.
What is the next piece of literature you are going to use?
I guess that is where I get stuck. Yes, I understand about using discussion forums.....but i haven't found one that makes sense to me....I am a true novice......I am on a "Google" platform, my kids have google chromebooks. I looked at Schoology (and Boards2go and quicktopic, and google groups) I guess just getting the basics up and running....of how to set-up as many as 15 different groups in any of those sites. I use doctopus and goobric - which are totally awesome - and have set-up some groups with directions in there......and have done some specific small group "sharing" of documents (such as essays, personal writing, responses to lit) etc.....and taught the kids how to comment, etc......I've done 2 of the intel classes on collaboration.....lots of great information, but actually applying it to a new project.....Part of my issue seems to be with the student roles - figuring out how to assign - or at least provide options for=-the different roles.....
And yes, I use diigo - but am too new at it, to teach kids how to use it....think it would be great....but just hearing about the sites isn't enough for me to be able to use them.....
Love the ideas behind your hero unit....that makes sense to me.....but, again, I haven't played with google Moderator....
I'm playing with the intel units - using the lit e-circles one right now.....but still struggling with the whole discussion board issue.
But thanks.....I'll keep playing
Have you tried voicethreads yet? You can load a presentation with your voice or text prompts for the students, then they can respond to the presentation using text or voice. Here is a link to a voicethread that I created for an online class that included students from around my state.
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Shannon has come up with some fantastic ideas and has used them, so reach out to her (or me) if something doesn't make sense.
What have you currently done, with or without technology? This will give me a starting base of knowledge.
What websites or applications are you comfortable with? This will give me a comfort zone to work with.
What equipment are you using in the 1:1 environment?
Can't wait to see where this challenge leads!
Taming and Training the Technophobe
We've gone "google" - I use chromebooks and have access to the wide world of apps.
I use "doctopus" and goobric to create assignments (way beyond just sharing a document, although I do some of that.....) and that has a group feature in it.
I'm just overwhelmed by the number of "blog" style sites.....and coming up with one that is easy enough for me to figure out......we have Edmodo, which I don't like......I like the interactive features of Moodles, and MOOC's - I've been playing with creating a class....My 2 real requests.....I am specifically looking for a way to set-up this type of feature - the one we are talking on right now......Post and respond, follow threads, etc. Secondly, I think I am looking for examples of student collaboration - what is each child doing to contribute to the whole (this is not necessarily about the e-tool to use, because I think I can pull it off with doctopus, if I can figure out what to have the kids do)
I am doing my first www.epals.com activity starting next week......which has an assortment of features, and some guidance.
as I responded to the first post, I'm playing with the intel units and am trying to think through the process of creating actual units of study (ala Backwards Design) and incorporating the technology tools to help. Once I see, feel, get comfortable with the structure of the units, then i can apply the thinking to new units. That is one of the advantages of using the posted intel units......to get a feel for how it builds.
You mentioned "I am specifically looking for a way to set-up this type of feature - the one we are talking on right now".... Moodle, Edmodo, Schoology and others have this Forum feature. Many you can set up to be open (everyone sees all conversations), or response first before seeing others.
Also, you said "if I can figure out what to have the kids do"....I decided to look at Common Core for 8th grade in New York
RL 6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor
Either in Forum or collaborative writing, have students take on a different role as they examine a story, or rewrite a suspense into humor. I think of the movie, Murder by Death.
RI7 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor
Have students rewrite into a neutral story, neither suspense of humor, or completely different.
RI8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Use Intel Showing Evidence
RI9 Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation
Use charts or infographics
W6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
PREZI presentations of Google Presentations would be great for collaboration. With Google (or PowerPoint), set up the slides in "make a decision" format. Viewers will click on a hyperlink with their decision, which will take them to the specific discussion.
W8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
Have students locate the information used from someone else's citation page.
Hope this gives you some thoughts. If you want more specifics or a different trend, please ask!
From reading this discussion, it sounds like you are trying many different things already in your classroom. If I could give you any advice, it would be to keep it simple for now. You can always build on what you have later.
To start real authentic collaboration, I would begin with Google Docs and/or Google Sites. Both of these tools are allow for students to work together in real time,
Then I would recommend Schoology as a place to grow from there. Schoology is outstanding for collaboration. To get started, you can watch video tutorials at https://support.schoology.com/hc/en-us and Schoology can be linked to student Google accounts.
I hope this is helpful.
Best of luck,