Saturday, September 23, 2006

Special Interest Groups

Next year we are planning to offer students the option of joining Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that are tied to our normal mentor/counselling groups.

In the past all students were timetabled to attend a mentor/counselling group for 30 mins once a week with a teacher. This year one of these groups was set up around a student area of interest so that rather than students having a common teacher or subject they have a common interest. It has worked very well with much better attendance and enthusiastic participation.

Several groups of teachers have now decided to offer a range of such Special Interest Groups for 2007. The idea is that two or more teachers will combine their mentor/counselling groups to form a larger group that is facilitiated by a team of teachers. Students are curently nominating a SIG on their 2007 enrolment forms.

Student interest has been very high. The details have yet to be worked out but in essence the groups will have one timetabled meeting each week with other activities organised by teachers, students or memebers of the wider community.




outdoorStudents will be offered coffee and raison toast (a big hit with this year's group) and special events in and out of school.

We still have many details to work out but the notion of a group of heterogeneous students meeting and chatting about an area they are passionate about has a lot of appeal...

Today I read about the Virtual Learning Commons at the University of Manitoba via George Sieman's blog. This is a great idea and I'm wondering if we can extend the special interest concept to self-organising student groups as well - even if they are just virtual.

Should we get our students to use 43 Things and add a tag for our school so that students can find each other or should we (could we) do something like the U of M?

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At 5:30 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Hi Roger. I think you're familiar with Elgg -- to me, that might seem like the perfect environment to form online versions of your special interest groups. Sounds like a very cool program you've got there...

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Oops...forgot to add the link:

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Roger said...

Hi Jeremy - yes I've been looking at Elgg... and reading your great blog for a while now.

The idea of an integrated online and ftf approach to the SIGs appeals to me. I'll be interested to see how the students want to establish and maintain their relationships with others of like mind.


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