From this module I have been able to identify the reasons why I have had little success with collaborative learning in the past. I had done little planning in the set up process and not much in the way of setting ground rules or assessing students within the context of the collaborative work.
I now have some good ideas to consider and I realise how much planning and scaffolding is required. Using the framework ensures that I don’t leave anything out in the planning phase.
I particularly like the concept of using checklists to base assessment on during the collaborative process; and using rubrics to help students learn how to behave appropriately and understand what is expected of them. I also like the idea of assessing students on more than just the calculation part of mathematical skills and expertise.
I found module 2 to be very inciteful. I learnt so much about planning for collaboration and on reflection, I have realised that I have not really planned for collaboration very well in the past. I have not necessarily had a clear purpose in mind, nor have I really analysed what sort of collaboration would be most effective for the learning outcomes. Now that I have the framework to follow, I feel much more confident in my ability to teach students the skills to collaborate effectively and achieve the learning goals.
I found the section on the benefits of the peer support aspect of collaboration very thought provoking, especially with regard to the idea that peers learn far more from each other than from a teacher when working collaboratively.
I really liked the assessment checklists and proformas. I sometimes find it difficult to work out how to effectively assess individuals in a group collaboration activity. These tools can be easily adapted to suit the prupose of any activity which is great.
Til next module,
This module was very useful as it gave me specific teaching strategies and collaborative activities that I can implement in my classroom. It is no longer a case of just organising group activities and hoping all goes well, I now have a structure to follow and ways to monitor it's success. The framework allows me to tailor the collaborative experience to the specific learning outcome.
I especially liked the assessment rubrics that help focus both the teacher and students on the task at hand and help with the problem of making sure all students are engaged during a collaborative activity. I love that these rubrics allow me to assess the students, the students to peer assess and also to self assess.
I am looking forward to exploring more global collaboration through the development of student blogs and a class wiki. We are hoping to have video conferencing facilities installed at school in the not too distant future, and I am hoping this will open up even more global collaborative experiences for my students.
Who would have thought that collaboration is a powerful assessment tool? By completing this module I have made myself reflect on what is my learning intent for my students and that for them to work collaboratively is an important part of the learning and assessment process. How I would collaborate with them myself during the unit was also an important consideration when planning for collaboration. For example I will get my younger students to start their collaborative journey using web 2 tools working in pairs as I believe it is an easier dynamic in which to introduce and have successful collaboration for a long term collaboration.
There are so many digital tools that can be used. Checking availablitity at the school first was a good reminder when choosing digital tools. I thought the checklists were an excellent idea. This module has shown me a clear and concise way to map out the how and why of collaboration for and with the students before they embark on a unit of work and the necessity to explicitly teach collaborative skills to students. It's not just about putting them into groups.
I look forward to incorporating collaborative practices using digital tools into my next units of work.
Just wrote a reply and I can't find it so will write another...
I enjoyed this module and it really got me thinking about the purpose of collaboration activities - rather then as a tool for students to learn content more effectively. With such a push on establishing in our students a repsonsibility to their own indivdual learning and understanding of the skills involved in collaboration activities, it seems that makes sense to reallyt think about the WHY of using colalboration in learning and how each activity can assit withe the purpose of collaboration.
In my own teaching I can see that I use a lot of collaborative activities but have not really focussed on thinking about why i chose each activity and how it can beneift the stduents.
I love the assessment tools and see the self-assement as a tool for the students to further understand why they are collaborating. I am a little sceptical of the students focusing on what they thing the teacher may want to see and marking accordindgly. This is where if established and used correctly peer-assesment could keep the students honest with their self-assesment, this could also assist the students in kowing how the others see they contribute to the collaboration tasks and therefore adjusting their behaviour appropriately.
I think this framework is particularly useful when planning collaboration. The key is PLANNING and being mindful of your purpose for collaboration. The use of a collaborative activity like the class pooling their knowledge of world heritage sites on wallwisher got them interested in the topic immediately. Once, the students were hooked they then set about sharing their research on scoop.it. This part of the project needs to be explicitly added to the assessment rubric as I saw it as a vital element in the collaborative process. I think as teachers we need to not only teach students how to research but also assess them on their process. While I did this informally with students when I filmed them, I think it would have been a more meaningful experience if this had been added to the marking criteria for the project. I am more mindful of the process of collaboration now.
I found this module really useful, with many practical ideas for planning and implementing collaboration in the classroom. Our cohort team adapted some of the assessment rubrics for use with our Year 4 students. They were helpful in giving the students structure around the group processes of their work as well as the content and presentation. They were able to access the marking guide before the presentation day so that they could ensure they had addressed all elements. Of course it would be preferable to have the students involved in constructing the rubric. We were clear about the purpose and scope of the collaboration but we need to work on ensuring it is true collaboration not just cooperation. We will need to revisit the process regularly to ensure we are building these skills progressively - both for students and for teachers. I've saved all the resources to use in the future.
I found this module to be meaningful in terms of the framework. Having reflected on my previous attempts at collaboration, I can see that I usually 'fly by the seat of my pants' without putting a great deal of forethought into the process. I totally agree with Catherine, that planning is the key! To make the opportunities more meaningful for the students, the learning experiences should be more effectively planned out. Having the process laid out in black and white allows greater focus for me.