‘What do you know?’ (A great seminar starter activity)
Give students something to do, not something to learn, and the doing is of such a nature to demand thinking.
(John Dewey, 1859–1952)
The ‘What do you know?’ activity is a very successful strategy to help students dive right into your seminar topic. (It works face to face and in cloud learning.) This is how you could go about it:
- Ask the seminar class to jot down what they know about topic X (and they have only one minute)
- You or your chosen ‘scribe’ writes the students’ answers up on a white board
- Then ask ‘What do you want to know about topic x?’ (Write up on whiteboard).
6 reason why you might want to try this activity
- Writing is physical prompt for thinking
- Writing gives students thinking time in order to contribute to discussion
- It focuses everyone on the key concept or topic of the seminar
- Helps less experienced students to access the content
- Forms a negotiated learning outcome for the seminar (‘what do you want to know?)
- Identifies for you where the students are ‘at’ with the topic
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Dewey_in_1902.jpg