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IDEA offers video debate platform

February 9, 2013

vbateLast Friday our center sponsored “Debating in the Classroom,” a workshop presented by Alex Dukalskis, a PhD candidate in Peace Studies. Alex has been very active in the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), which provides training and resources for debating.

Alex calls debate “the Swiss army knife of pedagogy” because, as a strategy for teaching and learning, it can accomplish all of the following:

  • Promote critical thinking
  • Develop public speaking skills
  • Consolidate conceptual learning
  • Provide evidence of student learning
  • Apply course material creatively
  • Motivate students to research and study
  • Facilitate teamwork
  • Examine a problem from a different perspective
  • Provide a break from normal activities

If you’d like to learn more, start with IDEA’s Debating Guide.

Video debates

Being an educational technology geek, I really perked up when Alex mentioned VBates, a video platform that allows debates to occur in virtual space. Debaters participate asynchronously, removing the barriers of location and time. You can follow a pre-set format or create one in which you decide the number and length of speeches, as well as the amount of prep and research time between sessions. VBates can be private or public, and may be published after finishing. Debaters record, shape and review speeches before sharing them. The platform includes modules for providing text and video feedback, as well as voting, comments and social media link. I am planning to give VBates a try in my multimedia class. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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