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Module 2:  Discussion Board as Collaborative Learning

Objective:   (Click on the images on right for a "magnified" surprise!)


After Ms. Virginia models her Wikispaces Classroom site, Engaging Classroomsprofessional development Assessment project to her 8th graders, students will demonstrate their mastery of collaborative learning on a discussion board by conducting five discussions on Wikispaces Classroom based on three articles on student engagement, an article on rubrics, and a website on Bloom's taxonomy.


1.  Students set up their own email accounts and enroll as members in the Wikispaces Classroom wiki Ms. Virginia set up for them called EngagingClassrooms, choosing their individual avatar, or symbol.  (Here we chose muppets for the most part, taking great care to only use images from the public domain.   Have you ever tried to download muppet images from the public domain?)


2.  Students post on the Wikispaces Classroom discussion board ( their thoughts about what makes them feel engaged in school.  


3.  Students read three articles on student engagement and respond to them on the discussion board over three days. The first one is Heather Wolper-Gawron's "Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement" in Edutopia magazine. The second is Dr. Lori Desautels' "Incentivizing Your Class: The Engagement-Based Classroom Management Model" in Edutopia.  The third is Ms. Garland's excellent, entertaining, and deceptively short PDF from the Mandan School District in North Dakota called "Ways to Assess Student Engagement."  They respond on the Wikispaces Classroom discussion board to these articles.


4.  Students read Heidi Goodrich Andrade's article on rubrics called "Using Rubrics to Promote Thinking and Learning" from Educational Leadership on the ASCD website and then post their responses on the Wikispaces Classroom discussion board by suggesting elements of student engagement to include in their upcoming student engagement rubric.


5.  Students read about Bloom's taxonomy, looking at Donald Clark's website on Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains (, including the MNPS Bloom's Digital Taxonomy, a taxonomy chart of online higher-order thinking skills, and respond on the discussion board.


Web 2.0 Tools as Assessment:  The Wikispaces Classroom discussion board illuminates how the students are thinking about the content they've absorbed, and about whether they've absorbed it.  The pros and cons of the Web 2.0 tools used here are on the page "Web 2.0 Tools" in the Menu.  


Assessment:  Ms. Virginia will be able to see her students' understanding of the articles and websites on student engagement, rubrics, and taxonomies of higher-order thinking because they will display their relevant and original reflections on the Wikispaces Classroom discussion board (


Assessment of Teacher for PD Class:  Students will each complete feedback surveys, similar to the one here from Survey Monkey. com (Web 2.0 tool) about their own level of engagement with this module.  Ms. Virginia will write a self-reflection on this module and the surveys and post it to the classroom blog (, a Web 2.0 tool), similar to the one shown here.


Plagiarism, Authenticity, Diversity, and Student-Centered Learning:

Since Ms. Virginia and her students will be working together so closely on this module there will be very little opportunity for plagiarism!  The work she and the students do together is authentically their own, with their own choices for writing responses to the content.  This module honors diversity by allowing each person to express their own individuality with great leeway as to how they express themselves.  In addition, all photographs will include alternate text for visually impaired participants.  This module is a wonderful example of student-centered learning as it potentially holds value for each student and is an opportunity for them to be creative.


Detail of first Page of Module 2, Engaging Classrooms, by Ruth Virginia Barton, from Wikispaces Classroom.  Further detailed screenshots (from Awesome Screenshots (chrome://apps), a Web 2.0 tool, Google Chrome app) can be seen by clicking on screenshots at the top of this page.




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