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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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  • Christine MacDonald (View all users posts) 02 Jul 2016 1:26pm ()

    Hi there, it’s been interesting to read your comments Carol, about having a collaborative environment in schools where the student, parent community and staff are all consulted and involved as well making this equitable for all and inclusive of all types of learners.  We have started on this road!

    I’m in a small school (year 1-6) with 4 teachers and around 85 children. We are a low tech school with plans to develop our e-learning for both students and teachers.  In the past our strategy for accessing ICT for students was to seek grants from the community and we were successful with some of these and have purchased some 4 laptops (now over 7 years old) and 15 netbooks (around 4 years old) and 5 i-pads (1 year old).  These have been useful devices for our school and have been mainly used for researching, presenting and publishing work but some are getting old and slow.   

    As a school we are planning to integrate more learning using ICT as we are aware that our approach in the past has been piecemeal.  Last year we trained and encouraged our staff members to starting using Google docs (which is used some of the time). We have continued to consult with staff and are keeping in mind the need to upskill most of our staff to move into a more fluid and seamless learning environment.  We are currently consulting and collaborating with the school community about what their ideas and views are on their children using ICT for learning and have had 2 meetings so far to discuss this.   As Carol said, “Using new technologies to support the “collaboration process encompass the learner, school staff and the community”.  We are trying to do this as it is really important to get the buy-in from all who will be affected by the change.

    Last year, I trialled BYOD in my class with a group of children with learning differences.  This was successful and these children were able to access the curriculum and made progress in their learning.  This year I don’t have those students and am aware that they are continuing to use their own and school devices for learning.  Feedback from parents in this trial indicated that they are keen for their children to learn using both BYOD and school devices as they could see what was being learned as well as their child’s confidence had grown and impacted positively on their learning.

    I’m not in a position to answer your questions Carol or Hannah, but I do have some of my own. My questions are these, what PD have other schools utilised for staff development to help migrate staff from traditional learning environments to modern ILEs?   What other advice would you give us as a small school moving on this future-focused learning journey?   

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