Post by Perrine, Classroom 2.0 participant.
This project is flying by and my students are flying along with it. Their draft digital projects are due next Friday and we're getting close to a big check in point. Last week, we finished our lengthy lessons on avoiding plagiarism and I taught my students how to ask effective questions. This is a skill they are still working on, but they seemed to start to grasp what I was getting at and were able to develop a few good questions. The most exciting part of the week, though, was finally using some new media. We all got onto Edmodo and homework was to do two things: 1) 1 member per group had to post a) what their topic was, b) what they planned to convince D.C. City Council to do, c) What they had learned so far about their topic, and d) who they wanted to interview; 2) EVERY student was required to write 2 constructive comments for 2 other groups -- they could choose from any of my class periods and I gave them sentence starters to come up with feedback.
Though not everyone completed the assignment (about 20 students were hold outs), the other 80 or so posted non-stop. I awarded the most active students with Edmodo badges and they started to post even more. It was beautiful. Everyone was supportive and truly collaborative as each student built off of the previous one's comments. The next day, the students were so excited about their projects and couldn't wait to see the rest of the feedback they had received. Those who had left inadequate posts were prodded by their peers to provide more information.
After a test on Friday, I allowed some students to go online to find phone numbers and email addresses for some of the people they wanted to interview. A few got on the phone right away and set up appointments to speak with a number of people around the city. Two young ladies called the Environmental Protection Agency and followed the phone trail until they got someone on the line to interview about recycling and composting. They even set up an interview for Tuesday with a second person there. Over the weekend, I received emails from my students indicating the different people they had contacted and the appointments they had made. We've set up interviews with professors, judges, staff at homeless shelters, non-profit leaders, the police, etc. The excitement is contagious!
The next step will be of course conducting the interviews and then trying to weave everything into a persuasive message presented via new media. Time is not on our side, but enthusiasm is!