Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Collaborative Learning: Not All Bells and Whistles

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Collaborative Learning: Not All Bells and Whistles

It's not always easy to work with other people.  Let's be honest; we don't like everyone we meet and we all have people in our workplace that we wish we didn't have to see on a daily basis.  Now there has been a shift in education which encourages collaborative many that sounds like torture!
I'm an introvert.  I have always enjoyed working independently yet now I'm told I must work in groups!  And the key work is COLLABORATIVELY not COOPERATIVELY!  Did you know those words mean different things?  Cooperatively means working on the same project but dividing the workload and putting it together at the end.  Collaboratively means working together throughout.  "For collaboration, group members must actively communicate and interact with each other with the intention of establishing a common focus and achieving a common goal" (Kirschner, Paas & Kirschner, 2009, p.32). What if you don't jive with your group?  Everyone has different ideas and different personality types.  Some people are natural leaders!  If it's difficult for an adult learner to collaborate successfully, can you imagine what it is like for an adolescent?  It could be explosive!

There are many tech tools that provide opportunities for collaboration.  I want to introduce a few of my favourites.

1)  Google Docs: Google Docs allows anyone with the link and permission to view/contribute/edit the document.
2) Padlet: I love Padlet!  It's a great way to share ideas or brainstorm
3) TodaysMeet:  Teachers set up a chat room for the awesome!
4) Scribblar:  Great whiteboard for brainstorming
5) FlipGrid: I love FlipGrid!  It can be used to gather qualitative research, and to collaborate on projects as you send short videos.
6) Skype: A wonderful video conferencing tool
7) Dotstorming: Add an idea to the web the teacher uploaded
8) CoSketch:  Exactly what it sounds like...draw an image or add a picture through the chat feature

There are so many tech tools for collaboration.  I am learning new ones every day!  We have the we just need to teach the students the art of collaboration.

References - Online Whiteboard Collaboration. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from

Dotstorming. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from

Flipgrid. Ignite Classroom Discussion. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from

Join the millions talking on Skype. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from

Kirschner, F., Paas, F., & Kirschner, P. A. (2009). A cognitive load approach to collaborative learning: United brains for complex tasks. Educational Psychology Review21(1), 31-42.

(n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from

Padlet is the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Teach Your Students, Online. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from

TodaysMeet. (n.d.). Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. This post really resonates with me, Ilana! I have always preferred independent work, for a number of reasons. Working through graduate studies is starting to convert me, though. There are so many digital tools that facilitate great collaboration, and everyone in the program is similarly motivated (which I think was my problem in undergrad... some people just wanted to coast, and that put a huge damper on collaborative work). I have seen some awesome examples of emphasizing teamwork and collaborative skills in the classrooms I've visited, and I think those teachers are on the right track!