Analysis Of Talking It Out: Online Discussion Forums In The Social Studies Classroom

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The following online discussion is from a blog format in a sixth grade, single gender, 87% free and reduced lunch, diverse, World History classroom. The online capabilities used in this classroom, as well as the entire school are, iPad usage, class websites through weebly.com, a blog model, PDFs, and writing apps. I chose to analyze this discussion because of the technology being used and the way the teacher implemented and applied online discussion through a blogging format to meet the World History standards. This type of online discussion has intrigued me since the entire Social Studies team has implemented it in our school. In the article, Talking It Out: Online Discussion Forums in the Social Studies Classroom, Whitney G. Blankenship …show more content…
Using a blog in the Social Studies classroom with challenging content, the comments students can make can aide in their understanding, especially if students are too shy when it comes to a classroom setting. In addition to analyzing the discussion and its effect, I am also going to dive deeper into the effect of online discussion in a single gender environment. An important note on this particular lesson with the extended discussion took place as an anchor activity in the classroom. An anchor activity is an assignment that is homework, but if all other work is done, this assignment is what is expected to be worked on. Blankenship (2016) explain that, “Unlike traditional classroom discussions, where the teacher leads discussion, and determines who speaks, online discussion forums allow students to post their comments when ready” (145). This feature allows for flexibly in and out of the classroom and is also applicable at home. In this school environment, homework is not usually given for several reasons: 1. students at home can be caretakers for younger siblings, 2. students do not have online capabilities, 3. students do not have the parental …show more content…
Students are compliant to the directions, but the initial questions did not facilitate discussion. Questions were not open ended questions, about which Blankenship says, “discussion requires learners be actively engaged in answering open- ended questions. These questions should force them to justify thoughts and ideas and to substantiate claims with evidence” (141). Questions did require evidence to prove their claim, but the questions were rigid and closed. Students were not guided on how to extend their learning, and the teacher did not intervene to ask prompting questions in order to continue the discussion. The teacher’s frame provided all of the information the students needed in order to be successful to answer the questions, but it was not strong enough to facilitate the discussion. Even though it would seem that the discussion itself failed, Blankenship (2016) continues to defend this type of

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