Chatting with 4th graders

ISB just launched PantherNet. Our Moodle system that syncs (or is trying to) with PowerSchool. It’s still in Beta but early feedback from teachers: “Where has this been?” That’s a good sign! Yesterday I met with a fourth grade teacher eager to see if PantherNet could fit into her classroom. I haven’t used Moodle much in the elementary but there is only one way to find out if it could be beneficial in the learning process. The only way to do that is find a teacher who is game to give it a go, spend some time with it, and see what happens with the students. I met with the teacher for about 30 minutes yesterday talking about her classroom and finding out what she wanted from the program. It’s not about doing one more thing, it is about replacing something the teacher is already doing and then see if: A) It works for both the teacher and the student.B) See if there is added value in the learning process. After our 30 minute talk the teacher was very excited, asked if I could come back in an hour to give chatting a go with her students. So, we created a simple chat in Moodle to see if there would be any use of it in a 4th grade classroom….a clear and simple experiment. The topic: What are some of your favorite things? We chatted in class for about 30 minutes. It was interesting to watch the students interact in this way. Some would write something and then run over to their friend to see if they saw it. A couple observations: Keeping the chat on topic was difficult. Both the novelty of using chat and the ability to say thing you might not say in class came up. We talked about both issues when we debriefed at the end of the session. Taught students to use @ when responding to someone on a specific topic. They picked it up very quickly. Looking at the image above, students are still trying to use complete sentences and proper grammar when chatting. Is this the correct writing style for a chat? As the student were chatting the teacher and I watched and discussed what we were seeing. My favorite moment came when she turned to me and said, “This is like a new genre. We need to be teaching students how...

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