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FORUM: New technologies and collaborative processes | An Enabling e-Learning event

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Have you ever been in a meeting where ideas were bounced around the room? How did it make you feel when your concepts were embraced by others? What happened as a result of this collaborative process?

As the old saying goes,‘Many hands make light work’ and teachers are good at sharing planning templates, resources and ideas for teachable moments. Check out this video from Roxy Hickman on, Teacher Collaboration from her post in Collaborate to Enhance UDL.

In this podcast (24m.11s), Ewan Macintosh talks about the complexities of collaboration between different people, but equally highlights the potential for creativity.

imageSo, how can we harness that potential for the wider good? What e-tools can we use, that enables several people to come together (beyond our local contexts) and co-construct new knowledge - anytime/anyhow/anywhere? How might we encourage our students to do the same?

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 8.30.35 PM.pngThe education system is moving towards an increasingly collaborative model. One of CORE Education’s 10 trends for 2014, describes Networked organisations as; more fluid, borderless, relationship-based organisations, where new partnerships are formed and collaboration encouraged and respected within a high-trust model.

The hierarchy has changed and now anyone can network together socially or professionally to meet personal or common goals, through the use of web-capable mobile devices and social networks.

"Better community connections are an obvious way for schools to access the resources they need to provide 21st century learning experiences. Stronger engagements between the education sector and other sectors will also be needed if there is to be engagement by the wider community in supporting the kinds of changes and innovations that have been argued for across the future-oriented educational literature." Future-oriented teaching and learning A New Zealand Perspective, NZCER (p 54)

The potential of our Virtual Learning Network community, is the ability for each of us to drive our own personal learning, within a culture of continuous learning - right across NZ. Take a look at what happens when teachers connect and co-construct new knowledge together in the VLN.

Registered Teacher Criteria 7: Guiding question

How can we promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment that embraces e-learning and engages learners?

As schools evolve into more networked organisations (within and beyond the school itself), students are also adopting more collaborative, co-constructed approaches as part of the learning process.

In this Enabling e-Learning video, Developing key competencies through writing collaborations (2:13) students share the process of story writing (crafting, modifying) using Google docs, which have helped to develop key competencies - such as critical thinking and relating to others through constructive feedback.

In this Enabling e-Learning recorded webinar, Tim Gander shared how his secondary students reflected on their learning in a collaborative manner, using video and Google apps. You can read more about this process in Tim’s blog links: http://bit.ly/VjA7uN and http://bit.ly/14VkARF.

Want to know more about collaborative skills and abilities? Here’s a useful definition in, What are learning skills?

We’d love to hear from you too. We’d love to know more about how you, your teaching colleagues and students are using technologies to promote communication and collaboration and why this has been beneficial to the learning process. Any barriers, pitfalls or lessons learned - all welcome! 

Please feel free to share your examples below >>>


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  • Carol Dickinson (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2016 7:52pm ()

    New technologies and collaborative processes

    I have seen many examples of collaborating by using new technologies for older students, and think these are great opportunities for engagement for students and making the important connections with families. As I work with younger students entering school, I am debating whether my role is largely scaffolding the process to prepare students for collaborative environments, or should I be working on more independent opportunities in the classroom? And if so, how has this been effectively implemented and sustained in similar classrooms? I do value the collaboration process, and student voice and in this post I am exploring about what we do at present in our school, and looking for ways forward.

    Collaboration in education has been encouraged over the past few years, and its implications go beyond the learner and the teacher in the classroom. The education system is moving towards an increasingly collaborative model. One of CORE Education’s 10 trends for 2014, describes Networked organisations as; more fluid, borderless, relationship-based organisations, where new partnerships are formed and collaboration encouraged and respected within a high-trust model.

    This is reflected in the eLearning Framework that guides and supports school, providing a rubric to help schools reflect and review where they are on their journey, highlighting a strong emphasis on collaboration. Examples that are considered empowering in the dimensions outlined (e.g. leadership, teaching and learning and beyond the classroom the framework), show that collaboration is emphasised through Student-centred, authentic, higher-order, collaborative teaching and learning is enhanced by ubiquitous technologies and blended communications enhance the way partnerships actively engage in sustained response to the impact of technologies. Using new technologies to support the collaboration process encompass the learner, school staff and the community. Schools are expected to use community and networks to work in partnerships to reflect and plan, and teachers are expected to work collaboratively alongside students to create personalised, higher-order, real-world learning, to be effective. Collaboration is also expected as  one of the PTC’s is to promote a collaborative and inclusive learning environment. I used the following question to help shape my thinking. What e-tools can we use, that enables several people to come together (beyond our local contexts) and co-construct new knowledge - anytime/anyhow/anywhere? How might we encourage our students to do the same? 

    Over the years teachers have been engaged with learning that can be used effectively for students too. Recent technologies have allowed us to further develop relationships for collaboration. Supporting teachers in school using PD and scaffolding effective processes will provide confidence to staff who may feel overwhelmed by using new technologies with students who see it as their second (or primary) language. The ways in which our school up skills teachers in using technologies to collaborate, and in turn providing opportunities for students to create higher-order, collaborative learning are:

    • Online resources- Teacher have been using online websites to research and collect resources. They have used different ways to share with students such as youtube to engage and explain concepts. Pond is one way our staff have created a collection of relevant resources that they have found to share, especially for our school PD and inquires. Creating a storage place for students such as google classroom or Verso has been used for students as well. Using free online resources makes learning accessible to all and allows for equity for all as they can used on any device, and they are not closed (e.g. I once used a book creator app, until I found it published in ibooks and I was not able to share). Some programmes are accessible for students at home to cross physical boundaries for learning. Using the SAMR model to review your resources will help teachers to promote a more collaborative, inclusive learning experience.
    • Communications- We have used online surveys with staff to understand their learning needs and also for audits into . We have also used the NZCER surveys, Wellbeing and Inclusive practice to not only gain student voice, but also community voice to drive the direction of the school. "Better community connections are an obvious way for schools to access the resources they need to provide 21st century learning experiences. Future-oriented teaching and learning A New Zealand Perspective, NZCER (p 54) We have also used email to contact parents and parent portals to inform parents of student achievement and important dates and events. Using Facebook is another to connect with parents who find it harder to connect with school due to work commitments. Our students are already using online networks both socially and academically, and in the future they will use it professionally as well. As teachers we need to encourage and support students to prepare for future. Also see e Portfolios.
    • Planning- Using Google docs supports teachers planning and sharing ideas, which in turn allows teachers to reflect and refine work. The use of Hapara Teacher Dashboard has speed the process of sharing, giving and receiving feedback with students. Using Google docs to share team-meeting minutes allows teacher to add their voice before the meeting and provides clarity on learning. This is true for students too as they can go back to their documents and add or delete, and sharing with them has the LI and goals clearly laid out. In staff meetings and PD we have used Google docs as a platform to share ideas in an effective way, e.g. bus stops but them the ideas are automatically recorded and stored in a shared place that is easy accessible for all. 
    • e Portfolios – Our school made the decision to use e Portfolios for the students three years ago. To enable the transition the teachers created and used the e-portoflio for personal use initially. This was a place they could store their inquiry planning and resources, and collect and share evidence for their appraisals. The following year students shared their learning with their parents. The e Portfolio is a place that special needs students have also uploaded videos, using positive self modelling, to demonstrate what the KC’s look like in practice.

    New technologies do open up another way to communicate with students, teachers and whānau, and I look forward to hearing more about effective practices for our youngest students in school. However, I will not forget the importance of face-to-face communications, and building those important relationships with parents and students at the beginning of their school journey. New technologies are another way to support these fundamental connections. 

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