Kyra Garson wrote,
I wonder if it would help to offer my particular approach to leveraging this diversity in order for it to function as a resource?
In classes of anything up to 350 students (i know this isn't online yet but I'll come to that later)I use a snowball group discussion technique. It starts with individuals and develops into a whole class level. To this is added the use of voting technology (clickers, PRS, EVS etc).
I ask the student to write down their idea or concern before sharing it in small groups. Each group discusses it and comes up with an agreed idea to be posted on the screen/software.
Each individual then votes and the results are shown in a pie-chart set in relation to each other.
The pie chart is generated from the student dialogue offering the multiple perspectives in the room. It displays the collective view on an issue with qualitative and quantitative data.
This is a unique measure of student experience in which the diversity creates and is displayed within the pie-chart. This then becomes a resource for dialogue and individual thinking. It can also be shared online for others and there's a whole host of stuff can be done by grouping them etc.
I've given my creation the term Shared Thinking and if anyone would like to know more the web site is at http://www.sharedthinking.info
I've used it for induction that brings together international and regional students and in the research that continues it shows cognitive and situative development as well as creating new research possibilities.
End of this advertisement! :) but i hope you can see how it relates to developing community consciousness around the diversity that in turn serves to create a resource on both the issue and on the community.
I'll do you a free webinar if you like! :)
Faculty of Education
University of Glasgow