Transcript from my class the other day:
Anonymous User 9243: Who is doing what questions in Group 3?
Anonymous User 2152: I will attempt question 3 g3
Anonymous User 5228: group 3 i wanna do the 3rd question
Anonymous User 8917: Group one, I think we should split up the questions 2 people one Q1, 3 people Q 2, 3 people Q3??
Anonymous User 2744: ok i’ll find a meat group 2
Anonymous User 4163: G3 – who just did question 2
Anonymous User 2152: k who wants to do q3 in g3?
Anonymous User 7809: i want number one!!!
I decided that the only way to face my fears of chat abuse was to make the class communicate entirely through the chat. The setup for the assignment was that since Romeo & Juliet didn’t get a wedding, the class would create an Elizabethan wedding for them. I looked over a few similar projects on the net, and tried to break ours down into the easiest way possible. I split the class into three groups and had them tackle the questions and insisted they could not talk, but only use the chat in the Google Doc.
I had purposely forced the group to work with one Doc, so they would be a bit overwhelmed by the chatter, and need to sort through it on their own. Many students commented that there should a different Doc for every group, and of course ideally for collaboration that would be the case, but I wanted them to find a way to organize themselves and not just coast through. I really believe that the harder you work through something, the more you gain from it. I know there is a limit to how difficult something needs to be, but I will never be one to just hand out an answer and expect results from it.
All in all, the experiment seemed to work out well. They chatted with each other using the program, and some really used it to their advantage. They took the questions and started to turn them into menus, invitations, and itineraries. Now we’ll just have to make sure they get cracking on their paraphrasing skills. Oh, and of course I don’t believe in all work all the time, and I’m glad that the students can also have a little fun now and then.
Anonymous User 7866: yes we do