ScootPad is a platform for reading and math learning; however, it hosts a number of other possibilities. One benefit that I stumbled upon quite recently was by accident. I was helping my students connect socially on ScootPad, to help foster engagement before summer vacation. One aspect of this was to encourage them to send each other shoutouts. At first they were frustrated that they couldn’t type whatever they wanted. They were also dismayed at the limited number of text options available. They immediately came to me to “fix” the problem.
I explained to them that I could not change the program and these were the limitations they were going to have to work with. I was interested to watch their problem solving at work. Some simply complained and gave up. They sat sullen, having no idea what to do with the time allotted, feeling as if they could not accomplish their objective. Some remained that way for the rest of the time. Some, still dismayed, asked if they could do a practice instead of connect with friends. While not my original intent, this seemed an appropriate solution for them, so I said yes.
Other students, however, were not deterred. They, too were frustrated at the limitations, but they chose a different route of coping. Instead of giving up, they got creative. They began putting together simple sentences, sent them along, and used them as a launching off point. For example, when Francis sent Adam a “super job” shoutout, it initiated an in person conversation about what each was doing well on in ScootPad.
Instead of me telling them they were doing a great job, they were telling one another!
What hidden ways have you discovered to foster student connections on ScootPad?