Co-operate, work together, integrate, join forces, team up, participate, combine – these are just some of the many synonyms of collaborate. As mentioned in my previous post, collaboration is one of the key features of 21st learning. Having been in industry for many years I can testify that the word individual is very rarely heard in the workplace – it is common knowledge that the power of many far outweighs the power of one. While there is still an argument in the Technology subjects, and perhaps others, for Direct Instruction and highly scaffolded learning (e.g. the demonstration of how to use workshop tools) students seem to be better engaged and develop a deeper understanding of knowledge when they work together and learn from each other – in other words, when they collaborate in the social construction of knowledge. These days, younger generations spend so much of their time outside school interacting with New Media and ICT’s, it makes perfect sense for educators to incorporate this into their pedagogy and content delivery (Prensky, 2001; Koehler & Mishra, 2009).
Effective use of technology in the classroom can not only help to transform the curriculum (Churchill, et al., 2013, pp.344-350), it can also help to empower students to self-direct their own learning and provide them with a sense of value through their contributions. The key word here is effective as experience from my prac’s shows that quite often technology is used to substitute rather than redefine the learning experience (Luca, n.d.).
The Connected Classrooms Program (CCP) focussed on 3 key initiatives to assist collaborative learning – Interactive Classrooms, Learning Tools, and Next Generation Education Network (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2010). A series of related videos, online resources, and case study evidence demonstrate how these initiatives can and have been incorporated into classrooms to enhance the learning experience, as well as highlighting the relevance of Web 2.0 technologies.
In relation to the KLA’s of Design and Technology and Engineering Studies the CCP’s blogED and video conferencing facilities look particularly useful for helping students share their knowledge and get expert advice from outside the confines of the classroom. IWB’s and Web 2.0 technologies will also be extremely beneficial for collaboration, a concept that is embedded in these KLA’s and typical of the future employment roles that these lead to.
Churchill, R., Ferguson, P., Godinho, S., Johnson, N.F., Keddie, A., Letts, W., …Vick, M. (2013). Teaching making a difference (2nd ed.). Milton, Queensland: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol9/iss1/general/article1.cfm
Luca, J. (n.d.). SAMR – A model for instructional technology use. Retrieved from http://jennyluca.wikispaces.com/TPACK+and+SAMR
NSW Department of Education and Training. (2010). Connected Classrooms Program in Action. Retrieved from http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/detresources/ccp_in_action_compendium_FNOouLXKim.pdf
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf