Increasing Student Connectivity

Tomorrow is a test day for my 6th graders. As I sit and watch my email as various individuals turn in review packets that they have completed online (many of them via iPad at home), I am thrilled and quite relieved at just how easy technology comes to the kids. They embrace the new way of doing things (not that they knew of an old way for this class…another advantage, I guess).

I am trying to get them to increase their math discussions online, and I would like to try to find a way to get them online and communicate more often. I use Schoology discussion boards, but I need to do this even more and with a more robust level of topic (simply “adding a post” won’t do…I need to hold them to higher expectations). 

The material is increasing in difficulty, so the students are fading away from their early, exploratory behavior. However, I think I can continue encouraging them to find ways to explore concepts within the realm of STEM components (TED talks, etc.). One of the pieces of my professional development program (Powerful Learning Practice) has shown me that listening to students and their discoveries can be more powerful than lowering my own shoulder and trying to create something myself.

As the next few weeks move on, I will try to find ways to get students to present material that they discover through various media (Glogster, Keynote on the iPad, iMove, etc.) If anyone has an idea for this kind of project, let me know!

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