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Collaborative Learning

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Sing, C. et al (2011) suggest the process of collaborative learning and creating active lifelong learner’s work hand in hand with the advantages of collaborative learning seemingly outweighing the disadvantages. These advantages are evident on two fronts, both cognitive and social and include (a) enhancing cognitive function (b) enhancing knowledge through building collective understanding (c) sharing the cognitive load when engaging in complex problems (d) developing higher thinking skills by interacting with more capable peers and encouraging more inquisitive thought (e) acquisition of skills required for 21st Century Learning including managing personal emotions and those of the group.

Similarly the use of social interaction through Web2.0 tools supports and enhances collaborative learning.  I am considering using a blog in my series of lessons. This blog is through the closed environment created via a virtual classroom available only to students in Queensland through the Learning Place. The children in my class are in Year Three and many of them have not used a blog before. It is the perfect introduction to an environment which allows them share knowledge, jointly construct knew knowledge and comment on the thoughts of their peers through their blog posts, ultimately motivating learning through  building a deeper understanding and communication as suggested by Poling (2005). The idea of being a ‘good digital citizen’ can be explored and reinforced at the same time. Students will be encourage to support and question the ideas of their peers, giving suggestions and encouragement, facilitating co-construction of knowledge across time and space (Sing et al. 2011, p22).

References

Sing, C., Wei-Ying, L., Hyo-Jeong, S., Mun, C. (2011) Advancing Collaborative Learning with ICT: conception, cases and design. Ministry of Education Singapore.

Poling, C. (2005). Blog on, building communication and collaboration among staff and students. Learning and leading with technology.2(6). ISTE. Retrieved form http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ697316.pdf

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2 Comments

  1. Matt Smith says:

    I too enjoy using collaborative learning tools and so will also be incorporating a web 2.0 tool for this purpose. I decided to use Moodle’s forum so students can collate information and share with their peers. They will then use this information to create an eBook. I do find that collaborate activities are more engaging for students than more traditional work. It does enable students to learn from each other and build on their existing knowledge. It puts the teacher in a facilitator role and supports a constructivist approach.

    Since I started using Moodle and other Web 2.0 tools I have no looked back. I think Year 3 is a great age to start them.

    Skooville is another resource I have used as young as Year 2 to start students using collaborative learning tools in a safe and responsible way.

    Regards

    Matt

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  2. Vikki Rhodes says:

    Hi Tracey,

    I used a blog in my Stage 3 class in 2013, and again with my Stage 2 class last year. We used it to post our writing tasks, and by blogging it, it allowed others (students and parents) to post comments about the content and the quality. We found (we did it as a stage task), that the students were not only very supportive of each other, but also improved their own writing as a result of reading others’ work. We also found that they took more care with their editing because their work was now open to a wide audience. I say go for it!

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