My previous experiences facilitating successful panel discussions led me to believe that a panel would be a good method to use here. In an effort to create a panel that represented a diversity of functions and practitioners, I ended up with too many panelists and, consequently, an ineffective exercise. As the instructor and panel moderator, one has to manage the questions from the class as well as rein in the excitement and enthusiasm of the panel participants to impart their wisdom.
A large panel makes that difficult. I asked the class for feedback following the inclusion of two panel discussions. They loved the panel but wanted to have time to ask more questions and hear more from each person than time allowed. In reflecting upon their feedback, I had an epiphany: Then you can decide whether you want to pursue that person… or not! Employing a speed dating model in the classroom in place of a panel can be an effective way for students to learn a variety of perspectives in a short amount of time.
The design should be intentional and well-thought-out.click
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Twelve pairs of students asked the same questions to twelve different practitioners, essentially receiving twelve different insights on one particular issue in the same amount of time used in a traditional panel discussion. Each pair turned in a list of three-five questions ranked by their specific interests.
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As the instructor, I assigned one-two questions per pair. I added follow-up questions to each set so students could delve deeper into the issue if time allowed. Planning the event requires thought and organization.
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Prior to the actual event, the questions should be sent to the panelists so they can organize their thoughts. The students in the class should be provided with short biographies for each panelist. Having this information prior to the event will allow the students to use their short time it is a speed event after all most effectively. Small touches will make a difference. Students arrange themselves so that each person is sitting across from one other person. Place a visible countdown timer so that students are able to manage their time well.
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Use a graphic organizer to focus the listener and facilitate active participation. Example from History of Anything project Have the students switch times depending on the desired outcome of the activity. In my experience, less than three is not enough, more than 5 and the students start to tire of the activity.
Provide time for the students to process the questions they heard and the feedback they received. Twitter Facebook Email Pinterest.
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