Digital Collaboration Session Two
The following week we got to work. Again I shared student work, and shared our Writing For Change Site that had other samples of student work for those who wanted more information or models. Something interesting I noticed right away was that students whether they are in their early teens or in their twenties had similar reactions to this assignment. We had issues with the iPods functioning in the classroom due to internet availability, and soon students in class emerged as tech coaches or writing partners as students created their movies. They knew they had to have the piece completed by the end of the period, and that created some angst among some of the students. But we managed to persevere, even if it meant we used the iMovie program on a laptop, or we sent it by the end of the evening. But the interaction did not end with that face to face session.
Creating a Communal Space
During this project, we set up a communal space using Edmodo for students to respond and share their work. Initially this space was created for the teachers to communicate with the students. As students posted their pieces and ran into issues, they posted on this wall. Here is an excerpt of one of our wall posts.
During the weeks we created these projects I began to share the comments and questions the grad students had with my middle school writers by posting the Edmodo site in my classroom. On my end, the students were excited to see the work of these grad students and more importantly to me, my students began to look at the work itself not as something unattainable, but rather as writers and collaborators. Students noticed the voices, that students in these graduate courses were English learners, still struggling with their own English skills. The immigrant stories and stories of friends and family mirrored their own experiences. They could see that their pieces, and similar mentor text, had inspired the graduate student work. I could see that look that said, “Maybe I can see myself there too.” A few students in my class reworked their own pieces, and that larger audience inspired me to create a showcase space.
We posted completed work from both my students and student samples from the University of San Diego as a culmination of the work of this project. It stands as part of the work my students completed last year both in class, and as part of our writing club. It is a page that my students would visit long after the project was over.