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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interactive Whiteboards for the school bag?

Categories: Limestone, Other

I don't know how other Geography teachers feel, but I think there is a lot of repetition in the Intermediate course when teaching landscapes. The land use conflicts which occur in one are just as likely to occur in another, and for students, the devil is in the detail-using appropriate examples from case study material and so on. For the teacher, the challenge is to determine where time needs to be spent to avoid treading water, and vary learning actvities to liven up similar content. In an attempt to do that, I am going to try using dabbleboard as a kind of interactive whiteboard for homework. This is an online tool which probably lends itself best to mindmapping. Students can add text, connectors, images, files and more to a constantly evolving piece of work. The best thing about this for me is that students will be able to see each others changes in real time. My hope and expectation is that between them, the students will be able to succesfully map out all of the conflicts which affect limestone landscapes without having to construct the whole thing themselves. Another example of crowd sourcing a solution.
This leads me on to a discussion I had with a colleague who asked me how would I know that students were not just concentrating on what they were adding at the expense of the other information. I think there are a couple of ways round that. First, the teacher could assess knowledge using this as the 'text' with a group of students, the students could assess each other, or the students could 'teach' a part of the topic to the class on which they had not made a contribution. I also think that the biggest issue with using this tool is trust. There is a chat function and as changes are in real time, there is scope for abuse. I have used etherpad several times, which is similar, but have had complete control over this as it has been a classroom based activity. I will be sharing the link via edmodo
, which allows me to keep it relatively private, but part of me also thinks how can we teach responsible use without giving the responsibility in the first place? I hope to be able to post the result here, and regardless of the outcome, will likely feed back on how the learning was affected by the use of this tool.


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