Group Work at a Distance
Ever since the Keystone Conference last year, I've wanted to try out an idea I learned from Carol Fleck and Kim Perry, two teachers who videoconference together on a regular basis to team teach a class. Their presentation at Keystone was titled, Together in the Trenches: Two Teachers Share the REAL Story of Daily Videoconferencing. One thing they shared was how their students work together in groups. To make the two classes into one class, they have groups that are made up of students from both sites. They rotate through using VC, phone, and web communication tools to communicate for group work.
This week with the workshop we're doing with Lamar and Paris ISD in Texas, most of the groups consist of teachers from each of the three sites. We've been rotating between using VC and chat/discussion group spaces. I highly recommend this format! It was certainly challenging for the participants to meet via a chat after doing a VC, but the incredible value of planning a project with teachers that you can actually do the project with! Here's quote from one of the reflection blogs:
I think that the best part is that you can actually implement what you are planning, because you are already partnered with people from other areas. :)The participants have been great and flexible in using the various technologies to work with each other - even to the point of giving up some of their VC time to another group who needed it more!
So I encourage others of you doing PD to partner up with another site like we did because of the amazing value for the participants in the class.