I am presenting a session at a CAIS workshop tomorrow at the Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury, CT.
A colleague and I will be talking about the series of environmental debates that we do with our seventh grade classes. In the grand scheme of things, our presentation (and the project itself) are fairly low-tech. What makes it a 21st Century Skill-type project (and why we’re presenting) are the elements of collaboration, research, writing, and communicating effectively that the students are required to do. The students also have to think on their feet, anticipate what their opponents will say, and have evidence ready in order to respond effectively. The technology piece is there (Google Docs helps students share information with each other, and helps them keep track of drafts and revisions of their prepared remarks; the vast majority of the research they do will be online; and they use PowerPoint and YouTube to show graphs, images, video, statistics, etc, in support of their points), but the technology is integrated into the project. In fact, we used to do this project with pens, paper, and BOOKS! And I’d argue that it fostered these “21st Century Skills” even then, way back in the 20th Century.
Our talk is entitled Using Debate in the Middle School Classroom: Getting Everyone Involved.
More to follow.