Using an International Videoconference in Problem-Based Inquiry Projects: The Role of Public Voice, Audience, and Positionality, pp. 4 of 14

The student projects had several components. The overall goals for the project were to have multiethnic/faith students identify common community problems, engage in inquiry to find ways to address these issues, and then develop an action plan to address the issues in their community. To meet these goals, the projects followed a semi-structured model that borrows aspects from two well-established civic education programs - Project Citizen and Deliberating in a Democracy. The model was flexible to maximize teachers’ curricular control, but the steps followed this basic structure:

  1. Identify Common Community Problems/Issues
  2. Research the Different Perspectives on Problems/Issues
  3. Deliberate Using the Perspectives on the Problems/Issues
  4. Research Multiple Ways to Address the Problems/ Issues
  5. Choose or Develop a Way to Address the Problems/Issues
  6. Develop an Action Plan to Address the Issue in their Community
  7. Share Action Plan with International Peers at Videoconference
  8. Share Action Plan with Community Stakeholders
  9. Revise Action Plan Based on Feedback
  10. Take Action on Problems/Issues

The problems/issues were chosen entirely by the students, who were in groups of 8-12. The students chose a range of issues, from the issue at the center of this study, marriage equality, to cyber security and immigration. The students deliberated each problem/issue in their groups and engaged with different perspectives on the problem/issue. The students engaged in research that included data collection techniques, such as surveys, meetings with community members, and interviews with stakeholders. The action plans included pertinent information from the previous steps, which they shared with the community members and Macedonian peers in the videoconference. Then, once they received feedback on their action plan, the students revised their plans and took steps to implement it in their community.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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