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Sharing useful technologies that support collaboration

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Started by Jane Armstrong Bos 28 Apr 2012 2:23pm () Replies (3)

I have recently been putting together some new videos for the Enabling e-Learning website looking at the difference ultra-fast broadband has made to teaching and learning at St Hilda's Collegiate. Much of the change is focused on collaboration. Students are now easily able to access the Internet to communicate for example in language learning with partner schools in other countries. They can upload and download media rich content using tools like Google docs, Moodle, Dropbox, wikis, and e-portfolios to create new information which is easily shared with teachers and parents to receive feedback and feedforward. Teachers commented, "learning is truly differentiated."  

You can see the videos in the Media gallery on Enabling e-Learning in the Leadership, Teaching, and Technologies sections.

Many schools will have now been notified that they are to receive ultra-fast broadband. How are you planning to take advantage of the opportunities it offers for collaboration? What tools are you using to facilitate collaboration and how are they making a difference to student learning in your classroom?

Replies

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 01 May 2012 1:43pm ()

    Many tools online are perfect for collaboration as they allow students to work with a wider variety of people. As a VoiceThread advocate, I think this is a brilliant tool for getting a variety of perspectives on a topic. I particularly love this example where students from three different schools across the USA joined together on this VoiceThread to share their ideas around political cartoons related to the crisis in Darfur. I love the way they read each other's ideas and then built upon these in their own comments.

    I also think that wikis from providers such as Wikispaces and Google Sites are also fantastic tools for working with other students online.  This is a presentation I found in SlideShare that I think shows some of the interesting ways you can use these tools for collaboration.

    From my own experiences, I think that the design of tasks when using these tools is key for making a difference to student learning.  A lot of what I see called collaboration is actually information sharing with students working on discrete sections of a VoiceThread or a wiki without having to engage with the information created by other students or without having to work with other students to create the content.  I don't think that this is necessarily a bad starting point for teachers starting to use these spaces but it shouldn't be confused with true collaboration.

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 04 May 2012 11:30am ()

    Great point about true collaboration Suzie. I agree that teachers need to start somewhere but definitely have a goal that they are working towards in mind. This is where the e-Learning Planning Framework can be very beneficial. The teaching dimension gives a clear outline of the different stages of progression teachers can move through beginning from:

    • Emerging - Technologies supplement teacher-directed activities.
    • Engaging - Technologies begin to meet needs and support higher-order, collaborative learning.
    • Extending - Learning activities integrate technologies appropriately to support authentic, higher-order, collaborative learning.
    • Empowering - Student-centred, authentic, higher-order, collaborative teaching and learning is enhanced by ubiquitous technologies.

    On a separate note - teachers looking to use different technologies for collaboration might like to check out, and vote for the top 100 tools for learning 2012

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