Digital Conversations

We know that our students like to be social, and often we are the first to have consequences in our classrooms for students who are off-task, socializing with their friends.

What about channeling that energy to facilitate discussions around thinking and learning by embedding higher level questions into our classrooms and expanding that discussion to outside our school building walls?

That is where web 2.0 comes in and the ability to facilitate digital discussions with our students by using a variety of tools.

So, before we start having these conversations let’s answer this question:

What does it mean to have a digital conversation and how can it stimulate thinking in our classrooms?

Global exposure…don’t our students deserve it?

An amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was sitting at my laptop, checking out TweetDeck when I saw a tweet:

@shhartley Please encourage my students in their Society and Culture blog journey: http://bit.ly/MgZ1A

I was curious sense I just put a tweet out for teacher or student blogs that I can share with the teachers at my workshop on digital conversations this coming Monday. So, I clicked on the link and there I was immersed in issues about society and culture that Mrs. Hartley’s students are starting to explore.  I have to be honest, I only clicked on it to see what the blog was about and how it was set-up.  I stayed for over 20 minutes… why, because I was engaged.  The topics were interesting and thought provoking. I found myself thinking, and the more I thought, the more other questions came up in  my mind. So, of course I had to comment.

That is the beautiful thing about blogging… the thinking part. Some of my friends ask me why I blog.  I blog because it makes me think. It challenges my thoughts, expands my knowledge, and encourages me to question.

So, after I thought about the power of the media, about how we judge others by their appearance or cultural differences, about how sleep deprivation affects teenagers, and how our global identity affects how others see us, I really got to thinking.  Thinking about it all, about how I connected with a group of students in another country about topics that are relevant to us all as global citizens.

It also made me think about our role as educators.  Is it our job to expose our students to global ideas, thoughts, and opinions?  If our students are only exposed to their local community and culture are we doing them a disservice?  And if we believe that global exposure is important for developing open-minded, well-rounded students who think and can see other perspectives, how do we expose them to this world?

So, global exposure… do our students deserve it?