Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Empowering Collaborative Learners

As we enter the 13th year of the 21st century, many teachers are still challenged with moving their classrooms forward and addressing those skills colleges and employers demand.  Agreed, the changes in education over the past few years, coupled with new academic standards, presents challenges for even the savviest of teachers.  Absorbing it all does take time, as does finding ways of using it effectively in the classroom.  This article in Edutopia, Five Tips for Building Strong Collaborative Learning, addresses strategies in working collaboratively that reach beyond putting students together to do “group projects”.  Empowering students with the proper tools is essential.  And using technology as a collaborative strategy is a no-brainer.  
CC Connection: Collaborative learning is fundamental in math and language arts settings. The ELA standards for Speaking and Listening require students to “prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively”. Using tools like Google Apps, students can work together in analyzing textual evidence, evaluating content, and comparing work.  Creativity tools, including slideshows and video creation, allow students to demonstrate learning to a wider audience.

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