Saturday, December 17, 2016

Using a Classroom Discussion Board in High School Math


We are a 1:1 ipad school and I love it!  I have found many uses for technology in my classroom - see previous posts about using google slides, Crossword Puzzles, etc.

But one thing I never thought I would use is a Discussion Board.  I can see the value in a discussion board in an English or History course, but I didn't really feel that it would be something I would use in my high school math class.

Until...one day right before exams I gave a review guide and I did not have time to go over the entire thing.  [It was a great review guide if I do say so myself : ) ]  I really wanted my students to do it and they needed a little extra credit...so I decided to try the discussion board that we have in our LMS (Learning Management System) - we use Schoology.


I bribed asked my students to contribute to the discussion by asking a question and then answering someone else's question.  If they did both of those things, I offered them a little bit of extra credit for the quarter.  I had to lay down a couple of ground rules, like their question had to pertain to the review guide and that they couldn't answer their own question.  

And then I sat back and watched...I watched all afternoon and all evening.  Students asked many questions and other students answered - I had to step in a few times when someone answered something incorrectly, but overall I was super proud of my students.  Quite honestly, I had to stop myself from stepping in sometimes when there was a pause and no one answered for a few minutes.  But, someone always ended up answering after a little while.  It was awesome watching the students work together even though they weren't all in the same room.  They were courteous, kind, and helpful to each other.

I asked one of my students the next day if he thought the discussion board was helpful and he said Yes - it was a great idea :)  [Awesome - reason enough to try it again sometime]

There are certainly limitations...typing math notation is difficult at best, but students easily found a way around that by inserting pictures of their work.

If you've never tried a discussion board for your students - I urge you to give it a try!  Comment below with things you've learned from your experience.


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