This post was started on May 3, 2011, however life got in the way and delayed its publication.
My classes have been observing the events of the last few days and commenting on them through their blogs. Today my Honors Civics class was given a choice before viewing videos of the recent events. The first option was to view the videos and respond via their Edublogs accounts; while the second option was to comment while watching the videos using CoverIt Live (CIL).
Their response was unanimous in favor of live dialog. I quickly created an event through my CoverIt Live account and embedded the code for the event in my class wiki. This enabled me to archive the event and keep it public. The link was pushed out to the students through our Edmodo classroom. By pushing the link out this way the students do not need to type in urls, they only have to go into our classroom and click on the link. This makes it easier for them when using our class iPod set.
Once the students were on the CIL wiki page, they typed in a short greeting as prompted and we started watching the news videos. There was no need to post any starter or ice breaker questions, the students jumped right in with comments. Several of my most even-keeled students were set up for approved comments without moderation, while most of the others had to have their comments approved. This was just a safety precaution, students usually get approved to post once they show they are acting responsibly. I walked around the room using the CoverIt Live application on my Droid X to moderate the debate.
Most of the students were commenting appropriately, they a a great group of Freshmen. There were several comments that needed to be adjusted, there was nothing inappropriate or rude about the comments. However, some of the wording could have been misconstrued, especially the tone or intent when read later on the Internet. The students viewed the comments, and rewrote them to get rid of any ambiguity. Most of the students agreed with the rewrites, and understood how the misconceptions could occur.
The debate was rather spirited on the topics of the day. The students were very opinionated about the world events, but respectful of opposing opinions. This was the third time the students have used CIL in class and they are becoming much better at working on the iPod platform and commenting appropriately. The students were also getting better at using “@” to direct comments to specific authors in response to their initial comments.
While writing this I now realize that I forgot to hand out the class iPad, which rotates to students in lieu of an iPod who request to use it.