Crowdsourcing in the Classroom?

Crowdsourcing seems to be a new term that is in vogue right now. I recently read a blog post from Catlin Tucker about Crowdsourcing Information in the Classroom, and I've got to admit, I was intrigued! With all of the success the Boston police had in identifying and capturing the culprits for the marathon bombing due to crowdsourcing, I thought this was a term my 7th graders needed to understand the value of for future needs. Coupled with my recent study of Design Thinking strategies, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for my students to dig into the new content we were about to begin in class...Texas and the Civil War. So the assignment was simple. I divided them into groups and divided the topic into 5 categories. They were to find important pieces of information pertaining to their category. Throughout the day, students kept adding to the body of knowledge. They had to review what was already added and find information that was was some pretty engaging stuff! Below are some pictures detailing our progress:

Now, normally technology is the first tool we go to when we begin our classroom, that is mainly our iPads. But for this activity, trying to be "nimble thinkers" generating lots of information quickly, our iPads became our second tool to use when we began to snap pictures of all of this content. Loading those images into our Evernote account made all of the information searchable once we synced our accounts.

Our next assignment...we're going to take this information and organize it into Thinking Maps...From there, they are going to construct some scripts to podcast the information. Finished products will be posted soon! 
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