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?

17 thoughts on “Digital Conversations

  1. Kids are already texting and IMing eachother about assignments, so it only makes sense to tap into digital conversations on more crtical thinking that is initiated by me, and them, in a blog. I’m not sure how this is different or better from using Blackboard discussion board, which my students are already using, though

  2. Digital conversations provide people with an opportunity to share thoughts on a variety of subjects. Distance and time become non-issues.

    The chance to collaborate and share with people from around the world can invigorate students . Blogs open the door to the sharing of diverse opinions and experiences, allowing students to break out of the norm.

  3. I think some or most students would feel more comfortable sharing ideas digitally than in speaking in front of a group of students. The anxiety or fear of speaking in front of a group of people is minimized when using digital technology to discuss a topic that I think it would create a deep and meaninful discussion of higher level questions…just a thought

    1. I agree Katie…I have seen many of my quieter students open up through the use of discussion boards. I have found that modeling and guiding students through this process helps students to reach a deeper level of thinking and responding to each other.

    2. @Katie, you’re absolutely right. I see a big difference in the number and quality of participants on Blackboard discussion board from kids who wouldn’t normally jump in in class discussion. Blogging and Bb does, however, allow for brief, unsupported comments that, if offered up in class would be probed further by the teacher. In this forum, you have to rely on the students to question each other further, and sometimes they do.

    1. @Katie, I agree this would be a great forum for students that have ideas but aren’t comfortable sharing.

  4. Students are often more social in art than in other classes. This can be very beneficial for a lot of students, so creating an art blog can help to redirect their focus to things related to art. Using a blog in the art classroom can serve two very important functions: students can utilize web resources (and there are many) on contemporary and working artists who often have sites, and comment on them. Blogs can also serve as online forums for critiques, which helps to promote a risk-free environment, as many students may be hesitant for fear of embarrassing their classmates.

  5. Using digital conversation to stimulate thinking in our classrooms is a way for students to expand their knowledge and communicate with others around the world. It is a way to voice opinion or even post research that a student has done.

  6. I struggle with this every day with this class of 3rd graders. They are so bright and have so much to share. They are always in conversation. So instead of fighting against it I think blogging would be a great way for my students to communicate. They are so technologically savvy already they will love it.

  7. Instead of stifling students’ need for social interaction we definitely should embrace it and encourage it, beginning at the elementary level. Let’s get moving on those 21st century skills! I would think a fairly easy way to introduce them to digital conversations is with a discussion board – responding to a deeper question sharing their thoughts about a topic. Then they could read/respond to each others’ thoughts…making it an interactive discussion.

  8. Students are texting, IMing, and using social networking sites on a regular basis. They feel comfortable communicating in this arena. It makes sense to bring digital conversations into the classroom to enhance instruction.

  9. Digital conversions should be very useful in the art room. The students be more apt to share thoughts and feelings about artwork than vocalizing these.

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