Collaboration is cemented as one of the four C’s in education, right along with communication, critical thinking and creativity.
When it comes to digital collaboration, one characteristic highlights almost all of our approaches.
A lot of sitting.
The concerns with obesity and Type 2 diabetes are well documented, along with the harmful effects of too much sitting on the brain.
How can we make a small step to get students out of their seats — and encourage them to share with an audience of their peers?
Meet the digital gallery walk
It’s a simple idea, but it can be a powerful one. The digital gallery walk lets students display, share and discuss work much like a visit to an art museum.
1. Students create a digital artifact of their learning. Some examples we’ve covered include infographics, stop-motion animation, classroom friendly Instagram Stories, Caption This! image activities, or icon boards.
2. When everyone is finished, students display their work on their screens. If they created in Google Slides, they might click the “Present” button to enter presentation mode.
3. Students stand up and leave their devices on their desks.
4. They circulate the room, stopping at their peers’ desks (and devices) to check out their work.
5. (Optional) Students can use the comment button in many apps/sites (especially G Suite) to leave feedback. They’re like digital sticky notes.
Why does this work?
The digital gallery walk goes beyond the traditional way we think of collaborating with our digital creations. Often, we share digitally, letting students view each other’s work on their own devices. We encourage students to view and interact individually at their seats.
This gets students to move. The brain benefits from this can extend into the next activity.
It encourages them to have face-to-face conversations — an art they have less and less opportunities to practice in a world filling up with digital communication.
Plus, it’s a change of pace.
How to extend the digital gallery walk
Want to add a new dimension to a digital gallery walk? Give students extra opportunities?
Add comment conversations. While student work is on the screen, encourage the students that visit to write comments. In G Suite, look for the black speech bubble with the plus sign. Students who view the work can add a comment with feedback (what they like or what they’d change). They can give an additional detail. They can share their opinion or their personal experience with the topic. Then, the original author can circulate back to his/her own work occasionally to view comments and reply back to them.
Create poster sessions. In a class of 25 students, pick five at a time (five rounds) or six (four rounds) or eight (three rounds) to deliver a short presentation about what they’ve created to a small group. They can also answer questions. Students can rotate around to hear other students’ presentations. After that round is finished, pick another group of students to be presenters. This type of presenting is less formal than a presentation in front of the whole class. It’s more interactive. Plus, it’s less intimidating because the groups are smaller!
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