Does anyone know if it is possible, easy, straightforward, etc. to create a simple classroom forum similar to this RaspberryPi Forum.
In my efforts to improve student skills in key areas of English, Math, and Computer Science I find myself often giving long and dense responses to student emails. I think that students find such direct input helpful, the feedback personalizes my instruction, the feedback models good writing, and the surgical nature of my responses allows me to direct student focus onto important problems which are difficult to address properly in class.
That said, I find that am repeating myself multiple times to multiple students on small variations of the same problem. For example, I enclose below a recent exchange between myself and a student. It would be great if I could post that student's email and my response to a Forum category (e.g., Homework Questions) so that all of my students could benefit thereby saving me the effort of writing 10 individual variations of the same email.
8:15 PM (11 hours ago)
Dar Mr. Gallop,
Could you please help me with something. I am having a ton of trouble with putting this into the right words. Please save me. "Due to Bard's murder of Smaug and his survival, Bard preserved through adversity, which made him a hero."
Gallop, Sean <[email protected]>
8:02 AM (10 minutes ago)
As an English student you have been trained for two outcomes: 1) to analyze chunks of text to extract meaning (e.g., why does the Ploughman turn away from the disaster . . .) and 2) to relay plot details. This year, I am going to ask you to elevate your game by developing abstract ideas about a text (i.e., Musee des Beaux Arts is about how indifference to the suffering of others is embedded into human nature).
This third English outcome is going to be hard, and you (and you classmates are going to struggle). With perseverance however, I am confident that you (and your classmates) are going to develop independent and powerful ideas which are fully supported by the text.
For now, please let me suggest a theme to you which you can use, change, or reject: Perseverance is a key skill of a modern hero. That's an idea, and not only is it an idea, it is an idea which you can support with the plot element that Bard persevered, and, in so, doing, became a hero by killing Smaug.
I hope that helps,