Active use of Topics on the 100mentors platform is your first step toward creating an innovative educational experience for you and your students – even for virtual classrooms. Topics are virtual rooms created by the teacher, for their students to submit questions and get 100-second video answers – asynchronously.
If you’re not actively using Topics just yet, you may have already joined the 100mentors educational community, but, for the time being, haven’t created your Topic. Or, you may have created your Topic, but haven’t invited your students to submit their questions. Either way, you have a sharp tool in the box that you may not have used yet – and it can be your most valuable one for your distance education needs.
Educational Technology shouldn’t be looked at as a variety of “products” alone – these should come backed by and supported with pedagogical content that upgrades them to all-inclusive teaching and learning tools. On 100mentors, our efforts are focused on the empowerment of inquiry-based instruction from every edtech perspective.
One of our most prominent features – that makes the 100mentors experience distinct – is our educator-guided Topics:
What can Topics do for educators’ teaching and students’ learning in an inquiry-based framework?
1. Embrace student questioning
Questioning lies at the heart of every inquiry. Questions reflect students’ need to satisfy their curiosity, create meaningful links with their existing knowledge and real-life experiences. Topics are the place where students’ questions live and flourish; they may seek for basic information or indicate wonderment – we welcome them all. As an educator, collecting them all in one place can offer the opportunity to work toward the refinement of students’ questions, for them to become more relevant, more feasible, and contain greater learning potential.
2. Provide scaffolding
Students’ questions remain focused on the Topic that the educator has created. By setting this “cognitive border” students proceed with their inquiry without getting lost. They can see what their peers are wondering about, reflect on this input, and advance their own. Students utilize educator’s Topic within 100mentors as a point of reference for their research, so they don’t get lost in non-educational content on the web or count on a copy-paste from Wikipedia.
3. Upgrade asynchronous teaching and learning
Asynchronous instruction has been the lion’s share of our remote education strategies. What was our only option, in the beginning, has now transformed into our preferred option. Topics are the epitome of asynchronous instruction: questions can be submitted the moment they are born; answers can be answered any time by the educator and/or another field expert. This content is available to all Topic participants, nurturing the further development of students’ inquiry.
4. Bring the class together
Connecting through Q&A processes may seem natural in everyday educational settings, but it is hard to achieve when the class can’t actually meet. But inquiry-based learning shouldn’t be a road taken by single travelers; social interaction and meaningful collaboration can give the quest a spin. By using Topics, educators can establish continuous subject-based communication, starting with the student who asks and expanding to all members of the class. Extra tip: within these student-generated inquiries, valuable ideas for assignments and projects may be discovered!
5. Create educational content
Recently we launched Discover, our digital library of ready-to-use Q&A cases. This new feature is the display window of our educational community question-answering platform. The gates are wide open for our registered educators and students to explore best practices for Q&A. Your class can make their own unique additions to this depository and enhance the sense of belonging and contributing to their community – with a universal footprint.
You may come with even more ideas to use this valuable tool, in reference to the specific needs and leverages of your subject. But, these five utilities are a powerful beginning!
By creating your first Topic, you will have already made essential steps to empowering your students’ questioning and communication. Or, if you’ve already done so, you can jump back in by asking a question of your own to set the pace for your inquirers.
What are your students wondering about?