This was a discussion topic that arose out of a recent Behind the News segment (and search for India sport). Castlemaine North PS invited us to discuss with them the above topic “Should Australians go to India to play sport?”. Our grade 6/7 students watched the program on Behind the News and discussed the issue as a class, brainstorming their ideas onto a whiteboard.
The Castlemaine teacher, Dr Bob Sbaglia, had setup mixed groups of students across the two schools.
An initial 5 min video skype linkup allowed students in each group to visibly introduce themselves to each other.
Students then went to the Castelmaine North PS website, found their group and the etherpad link for their group.
Once inside the etherpad page, discussion flowed and conversations were shared on the topic.
All students were engaged for approximately 30 minutes chatting in etherpad, sharing their viewpoints and ideas. They were on task and engrossed. So, a big thank you to Castlemaine North PS for including us in this activity. The final 5 mins was another skype linkup with selected students sharing their reflections on the session.Reflection on the use of etherpad.
Students would sometimes overwrite another’s conversation. They need to work on a line that is clearly vacant.
Students would often write their viewpoint without following and fully reading the conversations that were taking place.
Etherpad would drop out at times and we found that it was quicker to reconnect by refreshing the page.
Some of our students went to the chat window and talked in there. They need to be on the main section or page.
Will look at discussing the same issues with one of our contact schools in India.
Results of Brainstorming
Potential Uses for etherpad
Advantages of etherpad
- user friendly. Students require little or no instruction on using the space.
- simple to set up, especially the public spaces
- easy to log into for all age groups. Simply provide students with the link for their group to etherpad.
- Students can be identified using different colours.
- the discussion can be exported back into a word processing document eg MS Word
- Students are learning appropriate digital citizenship skills and netiquette.
- If a large number of groups require their own page, it will take some time to set up pages in etherpad and record the links online in eg a blog or wiki for students to find.
- It can drop out, and may take a while to reconnect. We found ‘refreshing the page’ was the quickest way of getting back in.
- Still a Public space still but students can be relatively anonymous.
- There may be a limit to the size of the group working on one etherpad page