Debating issues online brings out the worst in people. We often see disagreements turn into personal and frightening attacks. Our students need to learn the value of stimulating debate, which focuses on issues and strays from personal attacks. Additionally, our students need the skills to deal with online trolls and bullies. These skills can help them cope with the ugliness of the Internet and may save their lives. This is why in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom, one of the missions is for students to engage in an intellect online debate. Students post their arguments and counter-argue. They are also encouraged to reflect on how counter-arguments force them to think more deeply about the issues and give them more knowledge. They are motivated to see their most worthy opponents as competitors who make them stronger thinkers just like any famous athlete learns more from their best competitors. We can’t be our best without challenges and skilled competitors who push us beyond our boundaries. As a class they also collaborate to defeat an online troll. Join us every Sunday on Twitter for the #EdtechMissions chat (10am to 10:30amET; click for more time zones) where we share ideas and resources.
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