Monday, February 13, 2012

The Virtual Student Constitution

Last week my seventh grade students collaborated online to create a "Virtual Student Constitution" on a collaborative wiki (a wiki is basically an online document that more than one person can edit).  The project was framed around a current event, based on an article in the Guardian, Mob rule: Iceland crowdsources its next constitution: Country recovering from collapse of its banks and government is using social media to get citizens to share their ideas.

My students were each given a laptop and met online (rather than face-to-face) in cooperative groups to rewrite their student handbook.   The Edmodo social network was the virtual meeting place.  Edmodo has the look and feel of Facebook, but it is private and secure.  Students were given five other student handbooks from middle schools from around the state as a reference.  Each group edited a portion of the wiki, which included both text and embedded Voki talking avatars.  There was one wiki for each of my 4 seventh grade class sections.  Over a 5 day period, there were 415 revisions from 94 students.

Here is the link to the final revision of their wiki:

Following the project, students voted via SMART Response System interactive remote whether or not to ratify (approve) their Virtual Student Constitution wiki.  The result at the end of the day was that the Virtual Student Constitution did not pass.  Only 40.5% voted to ratify.  A 2/3 (66.7%) vote was required to pass it.  After the vote we compared the US Constitution with Iceland's new draft of their constitution which, interestingly, begins with the phrase, "We, the people who inhabit Iceland..."