One such post was by Royan Lee "The Power of Introverts~ Spicy Links." Royan shared on his blog Susan Cain's TED talk "The Power of Introverts" along with links to his interview with her on her website. Susan also has her new book out now - "Quiet: The Power of Introverts".
As we all know, one of the hallmarks of 21st Century Learning is collaboration. Cooperative learning is everywhere. Students collaborate on projects, discuss texts they've read to hash out meaning, co-write text, peer-edit, etc. Susan Cain reminds us that it is not always the loudest or most vocal, however, that has the best ideas. Most teachers realize this, and we often torture (and I don't think "torture" is an exaggeration) our introverted students begging them to share their ideas, because we know the rest of the class would benefit from their insight. (Then we give them a level 2 for Oral Communication- which if we really were evaluating based on the Curriculum expectations we'd realize that Oral Communication is so much more than being able to speak publicly- but I digress.)
Royan's answer to this issue is Social Media. (I've been following his blog since I saw Lisa Donahue at Reading for the Love of It last February, and she mentioned him- one of the best things I ever did for my teaching practice!)
I found out how right Royan is when I began using Blended Learning this year. Blended Learning incorporates a combination of face-to-face with on-line instruction. We use the Ministry's Learning Management System the Desire 2 Learn (D2L). Using the D2L has allowed me to use "Office Hours"- time when my students can contact me via the D2L outside of the regular school day. Most of my students have taken advantage of this feature, but I find it is my shy students who use this feature most regularly. One student explained that she has "so many questions" but is uncomfortable asking them out loud in class. The D2L makes it easy for her to ask questions.
We have also been using the Discussion tool. This tool has given those quiet thoughtful students an equal opportunity to have their voices heard. Introverted students often like to think before they speak. The fast pace of a group discussion doesn't allow for that. They also aren't pushy enough to interrupt those extroverted students who know exactly how to have their voices heard. Using the Discussion tool solves both of these issues - they can take as much time as they need to think before they "speak" and everyone has to "hear" them.
Social Media allows us to use cooperative learning while still considering the individual needs of our students. For some of my students, having to "write" their ideas into a Discussion Forum is painful; writing ANYTHING is painful. The Discussion Forum on the D2L also allows students to compose their messages as an audio file. Now that is differentiation!
I'm going to order my copy of Susan Cain's book today!