What an amazing example of what is possible with cross-classroom collaborations and connected educators!
I know that this post is from a couple years ago, but I am just now finding it, and I am so glad that you captured all that you did for this project. It is clear that it took an immense amount of work and the level of detail with which you were able to think through all sides of this debate is wonderful!
This debate (about homework) is a great example of what is possible when you put the conversations going on in the classroom into the larger global context in which they exist. I think too often we believe that the conversations happening between students are inconsequential or are disconnected from the very real debates and conversations happening elsewhere. You didn’t let that happen here. You let the kids take part in something that was authentic, something that had a real audience of their peers and a real purpose for trying to persuade.
My favorite part, though, is how you were able to make the thinking of your students (and of all of the participants really) more visible and transparent. The planning is in a transparently shared Google Doc. The notes are in a transparently shared Google Doc and on the Twitter Hashtag. The entire debate is recorded and can be reflected upon again and again. It is the act of capturing the learning of students and the planning of the teachers is something we should be doing for as many learning activities and tasks as possible. It not only presents a model for others (teachers and schools), but also models for students just how transparent their learning can be. You are modeling ways of creating a digital footprint that are both positive and about growth. Not everything went perfectly (hangouts being blocked and having spotty access), but in these micro-failures are each lessons for teachers and students that in those moments, there is learning too.