Educators want young people to participate in digital spaces in order to collaborate, communicate, share their voices, and learn from others. But digital spaces open up the potential for trivial or even uncivil and hateful exchanges. How can we encourage young people to have meaningful dialogue online?
In February, we welcomed Chris Sloan, high school teacher and PhD candidate at Michigan State University, who shared how to foster civil, meaningful, and respectful dialogue among young people in digital spaces. He discussed specific techniques such as "conversation moves" and thinking routines to support positive online dialogue, with a focus on middle and high school students. He showed examples from Youth Voices, Out of Eden, KQED Education: Do Now, Twitter, and PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs.
11:50 -- "[Open online discussion] facilitates perspective taking. When I have my class communicating with other students all across the world, it helps them see those people from their own perspective, if we do it right. It helps us all see people differently."
38:45 -- "Another thinking protocol that I use in conjunction with this is the Circle of Viewpoints. If you don't know about the Visible Thinking Curriculum, it's pretty amazing. I use it quite a bit in my teaching of adults and my students." ... "I use Circle of Viewpoints in combination with ProCon.org to have them take on different viewpoints and represent both sides or all sides of issues using that thinking protocol."
51:50 -- "Generally the kind of writing we [students] do is not too personal. The big difference, I think, and problems that people can get into as teachers, is if we say, 'Let's go online and you write about what you're feeling today.' That's good, I think maybe that's better for a journal that I keep to myself. Because one crucial thing I always tell my students, is you don't put private information on a thing called the World Wide Web."
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