No matter the subject, nearly all classes make use of discussion at one time or another. Discussion helps students learn the material while making connections with peers. Beyond subject mastery, the all-important soft skills are also emphasized in class discussions. Students must learn to converse civilly and (we hope) intelligently about the matter at hand. Using technology in discussions not only aids in developing these skills, but also provides an opportunity to save on paper. (In fact, most of these tech tips can implemented in a paper-free classroom!)
Real Lesson Example
Create a wiki your class can use to respond to discussion questions you post. This is also a great program for other types of group work! I've created accounts for everyone here, so if we'd like to check out the wiki together, we can!
PowerPoint Discussion Stimulator (see attachment below)
-Create a discussion guide for small groups (see example attached below) and share it via Blackboard, a class website etc. Break the class into numbers 1-4. Have evens sit together in small groups, and odds together in other small groups. In the first round of discussion, have the odd numbers discuss one section of questions, and evens the other. This means the students will have half the questions answered at this point. Next, mix the odds and evens together in small groups. Have the students share their responses. In this way, students will fill in the rest of the questions through their peer discussion.
-Create a visually-stimulating PowerPoint or Prezi laced with discussion questions (see advertising example attached below). Have students discuss each question in small groups or as a class. This is wonderful when starting a new unit or topic. Also, this is a great time to also model note-taking skills using your computer screen. Simply switch back and forth between the presentation software and MS Word as you talk.