The GenWe Classroom

                The GenWe Classroom should be a mixed-age environment, allowing students from each grade Middle School through High School to attend the class together. This means the class may have a larger number of students than a typical Middle School or High School class. For this method to work best, there should be at least two adults (two teachers, or a teacher and a librarian). If it is possible, four teachers or three teachers and a librarian are ideal.

                In order to understand the process the students will go through, the first Module of the GenWe Classroom course will require you, the teachers, to answer the Big Question you will pose to your students. "What will the classroom constitution look like?" All of the teachers who will be involved in the GenWe Classroom should collaborate on this project, whether or not they are taking the course. You will need a method for students to share ideas seamlessly with one another as they work in self-organized groups. As you collaborate with your colleagues, explore different ways you can communicate ideas using a blend of presenting materials online and face to face.

                The idea is to research together and create a constitution. Create a database your students can refer to. Make sure your students can add information and post comments about the information in the database. If your school is networked with another school implementing the GenWe Classroom, make the database interactive between the schools so the students can get feedback from even more sources. Suggested software for the database is Diigo or Edomo. Diigo is great because students will be able to use stickies to leave comments and feedback, and it is reasonably priced at $10 per month. On the other hand, the database can be as simple as using a publisher program to make web pages. The web pages do not need published to the internet. As long as the students can access the pages and add information to them, they can remain private, in network.

               Here is a link to a pdf version of web pages made from Microsoft Publisher. If you have a computer with a publishing program, the students will be able to add information and interact as if it were online, but it would only be accessible in-network. Keeping the information offline is a good way to help students decide what is worthy of being put online. They can make the end result of a project to publish their own web page. Having to think about what will be posted, and getting constructive criticism from peers, will help them learn what is appropriate and what is not. It will also help them realize posting every idea instantly may not be the healthiest way to interact online. Integrating technology into the classroom should not be difficult or a hassle. Start simple. If the students want something better, they can plan to use their budget to purchase the software necessary to make it more complex. You can observe and learn along with them. Integrating technology should be stress free and fun.

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