Identity Accelerator #5: Group Word Searchmkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching
Last week we had another great ETAD Studio (#etadsi) at St. Paul’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan. While there, someone (thanks, JR!) mentioned a couple of excellent books by Patti Shank:
Shank, P. (2007). The online learning idea book: 95 proven ways to enhance technology-based and blended learning (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.ca/Online-Learning-Idea-Book-Volume/dp/0787981680
Shank, P. (2011). The online learning idea book: Proven ways to enhance technology-based and blended learning (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.ca/Online-Learning-Idea-Book-Volume/dp/0470472308/ref=dp_ob_title_bk
This ideas comes from Shank’s first edition. On page 173, Shank describes the use of a custom word search puzzle as a synchronous activity. (Shank indicates that the idea originates from Karen Hyder (managing director, Kaleidoscope Training and Consulting, Palmyra, NY).
In this activity, the students will see a word search puzzle on screen, and it is their job to locate the words. There are a number of ways that this task can be done so as to encourage collaboration and teamwork.
- Synchronous – A word search puzzle can be done at the start of a synchronous session while the instructor is troubleshooting or awaiting the arrival of participants. If the vocabulary chosen is directly related to the topic of the class, it can be used as a springboard to discussion.
- A word search can be made using Hot Potatoes or a variety of different software available online (examples: Word Search Maker, PuzzleMaker from Discovery Education, Instant Online Word Search Maker, Word Search Generator from Super Teacher Worksheets).
- When you start your session, you can take a screenshot image and upload it to the whiteboard. Then, allow the students to use the whiteboard tools to circle the words they locate.
- You may wish to divide the students into groups and assign each group a colour. Tell each group to set up a private chat with their moderator.
- Then, give moderator status to one person in the group thereby encouraging the group members to discuss where they see the words in the puzzle image.
- Generally, the instructor would be responsible to set up the puzzle image—particularly if the activity is intended to pass the time at the start of a session. It can also be fun to ask one group (before the session) to select key words from their readings and set up a puzzle to share with the class.
- The instructor or the group (who selected the words) can debrief the class by providing definitions of the words and the reasons why they selected the words.
- Shank recommends making the instructions explicit by putting them on the screen. The instructions can also be described verbally and in the instant messaging space (make sure that you know the capabilities of your synchronous system).
- It is also important to set a time limit so as to avoid taking up time from the core of the class.
I am anxious to try this activity. It would help pass the time at the beginning of a session when participants are checking their audio settings and troubleshooting technical issues. By asking the students to work together in locating the words in the puzzle, it gives them an opportunity to interact in a goal-oriented way. Similarly, if a group of students is asked to collaborate to produce a word search puzzle, discuss their selections, and provide definitions prior to class, they once again have an opportunity to share ideas and get to know each other.
To be rated . . .
Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.