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Describes uses of online role-play to teach argumentative writing along with examples of a role play related to the issue of identifying "unhealthy" foods.

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  1. 1. Using Online Role-plays for Teaching Argumentative Writing in Science Richard Beach
  2. 2. Text complexity: Argumentativewriting Cognitivist and social practice perspectives (Newell, Beach, Smith, & VanDerHeide, RRQ) “Writers are never separate from the rhetorical situation in which they write. They do not study the situation as something apart from them and then create in a vacuum a text that will change the situation; instead, they fully engage in the situation and respond to it.” (Marilyn Cooper)
  3. 3. Textual, ideational, and socialperspectives (Bloome, Newell, etal.)
  4. 4. Formulating arguments usingonline role-play/games • Select an issue • Formulate a primary argument • Choose roles and conduct research • Post arguments on a blog or online forum • Step out of roles and reflect
  5. 5. Collaborative arguments:(May, English Journal)• Formulate alternative arguments• Test out different arguments o "House": determine alternative diagnoses• Find common ground to develop solutions
  6. 6. Creating an onlinerole-play: Students:• Select an issue• Formulate a primary argument• Choose roles and conduct research• Post arguments on a blog or online forum
  7. 7. Online role-play/gameresource sites• Letters to the Next President• The Persuasive Games site• Democracy• A Force More Powerful• Peacemaker• The iCivics Project• Evoke• Debatepedia• Debatemapper site
  8. 8. Through online role-play, students learn to: construct a persona employ rhetorical appeals support their position with reasons identify and refute counter-arguments revise or modify one’s own positions
  9. 9. Advantages of onlineversus face-to-face role-play: participate over an extended time period incorporate use of images and video access to all students’ posts and comments review posts to reflect on and cite quotes draw on role-play material for use in their own writing
  10. 10. Selecting an issue Selecting an issue with possible opposing positions versus a “one- sided” issue Question: What contentious issues could you use that would engage students?
  11. 11. Use of a story or narrative Provides a context and characters Creates a conflict/dilemma to address First Fleet 18th century convict farm settlement in Australia: Convicts just steal food
  12. 12.
  13. 13. Censorship: The Perks of Beinga Wallflower The PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) of Maui High School is looking for feedback on the following book titles available to students through the school library and/or taught by the English department. Several parents and guardians have contacted school administrators about the questionable content and educational merit of these and other books.
  14. 14. Issue: Blocking websites inschools Tension: Access to sites for learning Legal protection of students from porn/problematic sites
  15. 15. Social bookmarking:• Set up Groups based on classes• Students share bookmarks to the class• Students tag bookmarks• Students annotate online texts/sites using sticky notes
  16. 16. Use of Diigo: Online role-play• Sharing sites related to the topic of violence and video games• Supporting evidence: Links and sticky note comments
  17. 17. Using Diigo sticky notes to reflect on a role- play
  18. 18. Use of Diigo: Online role-play• Sharing sites related to the topic of violence and video games• Supporting evidence: Links and sticky note comments
  19. 19. Email from Diigo group
  20. 20. Platforms Forums with threaded discussions Profile creation Ning: Ban “unhealthy” food
  21. 21. Using a Ning as the platformfor online role-play:
  22. 22. Threaded discussion allows students easily
  23. 23. Students use their role to create an arguments and use hyperlinks
  24. 24. Students use the bio pages and commentssections to personally connect to othercharacters.
  25. 25. mapping to identify roles and
  26. 26. 2008 study -- perspective takingEmoGirl: Critique of schoolInternet policies I think the internet usage policies are ridiculous. The policies are almost impossible to find. I spent half an hour trying to find them and Im a young, computer savvy person.
  27. 27. Use of “forwarding” other’spost material (Harris, 2006) As a student at the high school, I respectfully disagree with the argument that students feel suppressed by the rules and guidelines. And do you have any proof to back up your statement about possible security measures that may occur in the future?
  28. 28. How can you model the useof argumentative writingstrategies? Formulating positions Constructing believable ethos Providing relevant support/evidence Seeking audience identification Formulating counter-arguments
  29. 29. Students evaluated themselves by usingthe rubric below (see handout forrubric)
  30. 30. Students step out of roles andreflect on:• Use of arguments• Comfort in role• Targeted audiences/alliances• Who has power? oReasons: strategies• Sense of potential change
  31. 31. . Students wrote a paper from their own point of view addressing a problem with Internet access
  32. 32. Reading strategies in onlinerole-play Reading the rhetorical landscape/social hierarchies Recognizing shifts in positions Perspective-taking to gain identification with other roles Critically interpreting stances and discourses Constructing intertextual links
  33. 33. Critical discourse analysis(Gee, Fairclough, Rogers) Discourses as ways of knowing/thinking constituting identities Legal, scientific, political, psychological, feminist, business, etc. Ideological stances Students “double-voicing” discourses
  34. 34. Discourses: Con studentaccess Students will access problematic/porn sites that will adversely influence them (“Strict father” cultural model” (Lakoff)) Students are not mature enough to select appropriate sites (Developmental discourse)
  35. 35. “Strict Father” cultural model:Charles Hammerstein III The issue with sites like YouTube is that it is a helpful site when used correctly, but the ratio of students who would use it to the students who would abuse it would greatly favor the later of the two. R-rated sites are not ok because they usually contain information and content that may be considered offensive. The internet policies are very clear, if your grandmother would not appreciate it, then you probably shouldnt be doing those kind of things at school.
  36. 36. Identifying tensions betweenpolicies and practices Today I was attempting to do some research for our next Youth Against War and Racism meeting and I came upon a school Block when I was looking for Abu Ghraib, and SURPRISE! It’s Blocked. It’s blocked for Obscene/Tasteless content. Do you know what I find Obscene and Tasteless? The idea that a school has a right to hide things from students. Are we communists that we are going to restrict what our students can know?
  37. 37. Identifyingtensions/contradictions:policies and practices We can’t get onto Nazi websites, but Mein Kampft is on display in the library. I can understand that you can’t go on websites, but we can read this book, but we can’t go to a website that might have historical facts.
  38. 38. Achieving change• District tech staff lifted the blocks on sites• Allowed teachers access to YouTube• Enhanced sense of student agency
  39. 39. Student’s reflection• I think it was a valuable learning experience because we actually got to argue back and forth with other people. If this had just been a writing assignment, it would have only been one- sided. You can use persuasive arguments in a paper but you can’t have a back and forth conversation on it. I really felt like it helped me get into someone else’s shoes and think like someone different from myself.
  40. 40. Summary: Students: Exposed to multiple audiences and arguments on the Ning Sense of shared concern/need for change Aware of counter-arguments to refute Identified contradictions in systems Policies versus practices Used the role-play as “prewriting” for essay Employed collaborative argument to achieve change
  41. 41. Topic: Identification of“unhealthy” food Issue: Should “unhealthy” food be banned from grocery stores or schools Pro: Yes: should be banned Obesity/diabeties a “national epidemic” Foods can be identified as “unhealthy” Con: No: should not be banned Difficult to distinguish “healthy/unhealthy” Negative economic consequences
  42. 42. Criteria for “unhealthy” food > 35% from calories > 10% calories from fat > 25% calories from total sugar High sodium >480 mg a serving Low fiber <1.25 g a serving
  43. 43. Results Over half (57%) of the study products were high sugar, and 53% were low in fiber. Cereals were not only high in sugar (93%), but over half (60%) were low in fiber. Over one-third (36%) of prepared foods and meals were high in sodium, Nearly one-quarter (24%) were high in saturated fat, and nearly one-third (28%) were low in fiber.
  44. 44. Adopt a role consistent with that stance:farmer, parent, grocery storeowner, nutritionist, food manufacturer, fast-food restaurantowner, scientist, teacher, school lunchroomoperator, student, etc.2. Review some of the documents in the Blogsection or search online for evidence tosupport your position.3. Post a Reply message to this discussionthread arguing for your position. Begin byidentifying your role, for example, Fast-foodrestaurant owner:……4. Respond to other messages with counter-