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Students explore waste using a think pair share strategy in Edmodo.  The following activity is a version of a grouping strategy we have been using on projects to encourage students to collaborate and work together online.

Grouping structures are important they allow students to develop and learn leadership, teamwork and independent thinking skills.   Grouping structures are important in offline classroom management and they are just as important in organising online classroom management.  Well structured activities that involve students in first reflecting on their own thoughts, then going deeper by sharing them and finally presenting their findings to the whole class group can make or break the learning.  Poorly structured online activities can mean that students are overwhelmed by the amount of information provided to them and find the experience of working online frustrating.

One common teaching strategy that is used often to ensure productive thinking about a concept is the ‘Think, Pair, Share’ strategy.   Let’s apply this idea to an offline teaching activity eg brainstorm ideas to solve Sydney’s rising waste problem.   Firstly we might research the topic to get an understanding of the issues.  Next you may have students come up with a huge list of ideas without much detail, just raw brainstorming.  After this you might ask the students to partner up and decide on a list of three or four activities they would like to investigate further together.  Finally you might ask each pair to present a final solution to the class.  This activity is great because it means that students are constantly refining their ideas and are constantly actively engaged in and responsible for their learning.

This activity is equally suited to an online teaching strategy eg using Edmodo.  An example of this might look something like this:

Waste!! Waste!! Waste!! It is piling up in this city and we need to find a solution. In this group you will first find out all you can about the waste problem in Sydney and the possible solutions.

1. Read the resources in assignment 1 and place a comment after the assignment giving your opinions and current knowledge
2. Work with your partner in your ‘pair’ group and discuss the best option and put a case forward for your idea
3. In the main group post your final idea and comment on at least two other ideas, identify the strengths and weaknesses
4. Vote on the best option and put a comment explaining why you chose that option

In this activity the students are making comments and exploring links to understand the spectrum of ideas, using small groups in Edmodo to discuss their ideas and finally the voting tool to perform a peer evaluation activity.

If you have used a teaching strategy such as this in an online environment then please share it with us by leaving a comment.

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