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Teaching Critical Thinking and Writing Online

Session 4
Ted Bongiovanni, Lisa Springer, Evan Friss — New York University

Instructors will share strategies and tactics for collaborating on writing at a distance and using eReaders. Our goal: a set of best practices and the identification of potential partners for online writing programs. We will share activity examples from the online Critical Thinking and Writing Course developed for the NYU Abu Dhabi Summer Academy.

This program is designed to enhance the academic profiles of highly motivated Abu Dhabi-based Emirati high school students in preparation for entry into top-tier, English-language universities. The program is co-educational, cross-cultural in approach, and rigorous in its educational offerings. For two summers after the 10th and 11th grades, a group of 30 students study for five weeks at NYU Abu Dhabi, Florence, Italy, and finally in New York City. After summer, students continue their studies online.

For this inaugural group, we also decided to experiment with Kindles so that students, all non-native English speakers would have access to a learner's dictionary, and be able to easily clip and share sections of the text. The course is taught online because the students attend different schools throughout the UAE and the instructors reside in the US. Our approach to teaching critical thinking and writing, which involves blogging, engaging in discussions, making presentations and competing in debates helps students build these skills. We are interested in how other instructors are putting technology in service of education to teach writing online, read critically using eReaders and learn at a distance. We hope you will join us for an engaging conversation.

Conversational Practice

We will begin with a brief introduction of our approach to working with this population online. We will then break off into smaller groups where each group will be able to share practices employed in their writing classes, whether online or onsite. Groups will contribute to a shared Google Document and share 3 to 5 approaches. We will also brainstorm approaches for working with students at different sites. For example, if we had a group of students writing at the 10th grade level, perhaps we could find a similar class to read the same text and respond to one another. The idea would be to break down the boundaries of the classroom so that students can learn from those in another culture. We are exploring methods for having remote groups join virtual breakout rooms so that they could contribute as well.

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Presenter Profiles

Ted Bongiovanni
Ted Bongiovanni
New York University Abu Dhabi


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