Hi all,

I teach Year 8 English (13 and 14 year olds) at a high school in Melbourne, Australia.

Would love to collaborate with some English teachers with classes of a similar age to conduct a series of formal debates via YouTube or some other video sharing site.

Anyone interested in getting something happening?

Megan Bailey

Tags: english, sharing, video

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Megan,
I am excessively intrigued by your proposal. I've been looking for an opportunity to get my students to expand their understanding of issues and concepts by reaching out to the global community, and this looks like a smashingly good avenue to do it. I've been tinkering around a good deal with my school's digital camera as well, so I think I've got enough proficiency as a classroom facilitator to make this happen.

Let me know what kind of topics you want to explore and the general format you have in mind. My interest is substantial. By the by, I teach the same age group you do as well.

Thanks,
Jason Strong
Warsaw, VA, United States
Megan,
I like your thinking. I have several obstacles in front of me right now, but I think I might be able to work something. The greatest of these obstacles is the fact that I will be short on time and resources. Presently my school is on spring break for the next week. When we return we will have 3 weeks until Virginia state standards testing begins, at which point my school becomes an instructional technology black hole, as every computer that would otherwise be used for instruction is utilized for testing. That lasts for two weeks, then there are only roughly three weeks remaining in the school year. The upside of this is that it gives us about 5 weeks to put together a more finite plan, and it gives me a fantastic program of study to finish the school year. When does the school year conclude in Melbourne? I believe our last day is June 12th. How does this fit in to your schedule of events?

I had my students do some multimedia opinion presentations earlier this year on the dead horse topics you mentioned like capital punishment, gun control, and animal testing, so I feel like the kids at least have their feet wet in engaging in the debate research process. I really like your notion of exploring the difference betwixt our cultures through this process, and how each topic influences the social climate. My thinking is that the more relevant the topics are to their lives, the more likely they are to committ to the research, expression, and presentation of ideas. For example, cell phones are a bit of a hot button issue at my school (students aren't allowed to have them). On the other hand, we'd want every topic to have enough grit and substance to require them to consider a number of perspectives.

I'm not sure about the YouTube issue; I'll have to check on it. Would you like to present the videos as is, or should we make use of some video editing software to help dress up presentations and bolster the students ability to create a compelling product? I like the latter, as it gives the students another tool to explore.

Looking forward to more discussion with you on this!
Jason
Warsaw, VA
I think this an interesting idea also. Let me know if you are looking for another school. I teach 8th grade reading in northern WI. We debate issues when reading current events so willing to give something new a try.

Thanks-
Kate
Hayward, WI
Hi Kate, If Megan isn't interested in debating another school, I'd be interested in having my 8th graders participate. I know New Jersey isn't nearly as exotic as Australia, but it may still be interesting. We are an urban school made up mostly of Hispanic and African American students. Let me know if you'd be interested!

Jeff
Bridgeton, NJ
I am interested too. I teach Sociology and am in school until June. My students are seniors and as the weather warms, they tend 'check-out' on me. This may be a way to keep them interested. We are currently talking about racism. Voicethread.com may be another avenue for collaboration. Count me in--if you like.
Hi Megan,

Firstly, Let me introduce myself. I am Lina. I teach the year 9 students and am planning to organize debate in my school.

Do you have any topics relevant to the current issues where students can debate on? By the way , I like your idea on sharing the videos in the YouTube.

Lina
I teach Grade 7 (13-14 year olds, a couple of 12-year-olds) in New Brunswick, Canada.

I've been wanting to have a class debate about homework - helpful or harmful? I may do it in-class, but there's a possibility of opening it up to a 2.0 format. I'm currently intrigued with Skype, but haven't used it enough. Any thoughts?
Hi, Im Maree.
I've just started teaching this year at a school in Victoria, Australia. I'm currently embarking on debates with my Year 9 English class. In the future I can see that this is a fabulous tool to use and could even be used within a school with inter-class debates, extremely efficient if your English classes are in different blocks.

In relation to Pat Cook (April 15, 2009), i've had a little bit of experience with Skype on personal levels and from my understanding its an internet telephone, hence you have a two way conversation... so if the other school has it at the same time it could be useful, hook up a webcam with built in mic (most webcams have this) and have a live broadcast, engage your whole class in taking notes and preparing response, have down time in the middle where each class ends the call and formulates response or reflects. (Note: sometimes this program does have a tendency to drop out).

Good luck with this concept, im going to keep popping back to read this and see how it evolves.

Maree
Are any of you debating with each other this school year? How did it go last year. I am very interested in this type of project with my debate students. Please email me if anyone wants to participate in this online debate collaboration.

Thanks

Mark Arnold
Brownsburg High School
Brownsburg, IN, United States
Would like to begin debates with your group when your new term begins in Jan. 2010

Michael Cunnigham
Contact me at mcunningham@del-valle.k12.tx.us we can either web conference debate or video debate

Thanks
Would like to begin debates with your group when your new term begins in Jan. 2010

Michael Cunnigham

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