Just YESTERDAY I was like, "Ooooh... look at me, so content to be imperfect and put off blogging for the summer." Now TODAY I get a chance to look through some emails and realize I needed to share something with the world.
Two weeks ago I worked with about a dozen educators in an Online Intro to CRISS workshop and we were discussing Authentic Questions. The discussion took several turns but it included managing relevant/irrelevant questions, collecting questions, brainstorming, etc.
Mary Williams of Jefferson High School in Boulder, MT shared with me some of what she's been doing in her science classroom. First, she shared that she had been using Padlet with her students. It was an app/service I hadn't come across before but now I see how nifty it can be. People (students) share questions and ideas on digitial sticky notes that appear on that particular padlet. The admin (teacher) can respond to each with comments. Students can see all the results. Two examples are below. Mary says she respond to most questions in class but can use this to catch the rest.
She said she also started using Google Classroom so that kids could respond to each other's questions. She said her freshmen are required to ask one question on the content for one bellringer a week. Then, they must answer one or two quesitons that someone else asked. While she deleted last year's examples, she said she'd make a stream like the one below and then students would interact. I'm not very familiar with Edmodo but I believe it has similar capabilities.
Finally, I was reading a short article about Slack the other day and went down a rabbit hole. Basically, it's like Twitter and Google Chat/hangouts/messenger and a few other 21st century communication apps all in one. I'm not sure I would ever be able to convince my students to sign up for something else but this might work really well for students working on group projects to communicate with each other. You could perhaps set the students up yourself and create a channel for each group. Students plan/interact here (outside of class) and you can monitor the progress and join in with questions and ideas. Other groups could pop in for inspiration or to ask questions, etc. Truly, my biggest issue with getting some of my students to use these sorts of tools was having them use an email to sign up. Perhaps in a classroom you could create 30+ generic emails (4thBio1, 4thBio2, etc. all with an easy to remember pw) and then manage the screen/display names. Worst case, a student changes the pw and you make a new generic account. Point is, if you put in some of the upfront work, this could be pretty powerful. Maybe. I'd love to hear from you if you've tried it. Here's more info on Slack in education here, here, and here.
Thanks for sharing, Mary! You made me go down a few fun paths today messing with the tools you shared which dug up more. I really appreciated your ideas and contributions in the workshop and I have no doubt others will appreciate these ideas, too.