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Using Scoopit to Teach Students about Evaluation and Persuasion

Page history last edited by Bill 8 years, 2 months ago

Using Scoop.it to Teach Students about Evaluation and Persuasion


Direct link to these resource materials:  http://bit.ly/GCC14Scoopit 


Backchannel for this session:  https://todaysmeet.com/GCC14Scoopit 


Regardless of grade level, effectively navigating today's increasingly intense and complex literate environments depends to a large extent on a student's ability to identify the differences between facts, opinions and reasoned judgments in a text and to identify places where authors support their core positions with convincing evidence. Developing these skills in students requires a TON of practice. Students need to read nonfiction text with a critical eye time-and-again before these dispositions become second nature. 

Scoop.it -- a service that allows users to curate public collections of weblinks around individual topics -- is a digital tool that session presenter Bill Ferriter is using to give students multiple opportunities to evaluate the reasoning that authors use to take stands on controversial topics. What makes Scoop.it unique is that it automatically searches for new content that users might want to add to their public collections and then makes adding that content -- along with a short written description of why it is worth believing -- easy. 

In this session, participants will evaluate the Scoop.it pages created by Bill's students and identify ways that Scoop.it can be integrated into their own curricula.



Today's Slides


The slides for today's session are embedded below.  They can also be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking this link.  




Using Scoop.it as a New Literacy Starting Point 






Student Project Handout:  http://bit.ly/TRContentCuration 



Recently, two of Bill's students used this handout to create a public collection of resources related to the New York City soda ban and to the costs of space exploration.  Notice that Bill's students posted a short annotation to every resource, explaining both the author's position and the rationale for adding that resource to their public collection.  Bill wrote about his experience with Scoop.it in the classroom here.


Like blogs, curating public Scoop.it pages gives students opportunities to raise their voice on issues that matter and to have their thinking affirmed and/or challenged by commenters.  Public Scoop.it pages also give students opportunities to practice managing multiple streams of information and evaluating the reliability of online sources -- two additional skills that define literate 21st Century citizens.


But curating a public Scoop.it page is far less intimidating than maintaining a blog.  There's less content to generate and less writing to do.  That makes it a nice starting point for teachers and students that are interested in taking first steps towards publishing content for a global audience. 



Three Tips for Structuring Successful Scoop.it Projects


Tip 1 - Create ONE Classroom Scoop


A lesson that session presenter Bill Ferriter learned early in his work with digital projects is that they are far more vibrant -- and attract far more attention -- when they are updated regularly.  The challenge for students, then, is generating a constant stream of content for readers to consume.  The solution in Bill's classroom is to always START Scoop.it projects with ONE classroom Scoop that MULTIPLE student can make contributions to.  Doing so takes the pressure of generating content off of individual students simply because multiple writers can contribute content at any time.



Tip 2 - Focus Scoops on Causes that Matter to Kids


Bill also tends to create Scoops that are focused on a specific theme or topic rather than general Scoops that contain content across several domains and/or interest areas.  By focusing Scoops on specific themes connected to causes that his kids are passionate about, he can tap into the desire of students to "do work that matters."  He sells these kinds of projects to his students as an opportunity to raise awareness about important issues.


That does mean, however, that his blogs often have clear starting and ending points.  Once students feel like they've covered an issue completely, they are generally ready to move on to something new -- and their Scoop becomes a static home for people interested in learning more about an interesting topic.




Tip 3 - Recruit Commenters to Push Against Student Thinking


For any student creating content for the web, the ultimate reward is crafting a piece that resonates with readers and leads to a TON of comments. 


Every comment left for a student on a digital project is proof positive that they DO have an audience and that they ARE being heard.  Just as importantly to classroom teachers, however, every comment is an opportunity for students to have their thinking challenged -- and the tension that results whenever thinking is challenged ALWAYS leads to new learning as students are forced to refine and revise and polish their positions on the topics that they care about.  


The challenge, however, is that student projects won't AUTOMATICALLY generate enough attention to receive comments.  The simple truth is that in a digital world where tons of content is being created every hour, "being heard" isn't nearly as easy as "getting published." 


To address this challenge, Bill always recruits volunteer commenters when his students are working on digital projects.  Most of the time these volunteers are parents or PTA members who want to help at school but can't find the time to get away from work during the day.  Bill will ask them to monitor digital projects for a month at a time and to leave two or three comments a week that are designed to challenge students.  


If you're interested in establishing relationships with other classrooms that are creating digital content, spend some time poking around the growing collection of student projects at the Comments4Kids website.  And if you're trying to generate comments for individual student posts, consider sharing a link to the content in Twitter using the #comments4kids hashtag




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