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Connecting Collaborative Learning to the Standards

Connecting Collaborative Learning to the Standards

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will understand the intersection of the ISTE standards and the 4Cs to collaborative learning. 

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and today we will be looking at a lesson on connecting collaborative learning to the standards. Today's lesson will cover four main objectives. By the end of this video, you should be able to answer the questions who are 21st century students and what are their learning needs, how does collaborative learning help meet these needs, what are ISTE standards, and how are ISTE standards and collaborative learning connected.

Let's start by thinking about who our 21st century students are. 21st century students are growing up in a world that is so dependent on technology. These students need to have skills necessary to function in this technology-driven society for both work and college readiness.

So what is our role as teacher to these 21st century students? Our job is to help our students do many different things, navigate complex problems, and think critically, learn more deeply, and ready themselves for what lies ahead, college or work, by applying skills in life and work settings. In doing so, students should become effective communicators, collaborators, and self-directed learners.

Using collaborative teaching strategies, or having students work together in their learning, is essential to help our students meet all of these skills.

It's also extremely important for our students to have 21st century learning skills, and these skills are referred to as the four Cs. Communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. These four skills are each a piece of the puzzle. Together, they help develop students who will thrive in today's society.

Research from John Hattie, Robert Marzano, and AIR on deeper learning all point to the positive impacts of communication and collaboration on students' learning. The four C's are interwoven throughout the ISTE standards as well. So what is ISTE and what are the standards?

ISTE stands for International Society for Technology in Education, and they have several different standards, or sets of standards. Standards for students, teachers, administrators, coaches, and computer science educators. Throughout this lesson, we'll be focusing on their standards for students. For more information on these standards, you can visit their website.

So let's take a deeper look at the standards and see how these four C's and collaborative learning are interwoven throughout. The first standard is creativity and innovation. Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

They do things like apply their knowledge to generate ideas, create original works, and use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues. Two of the four C's, creativity and critical thinking, are essential to the standard.

Standard two, communication and collaboration. Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. They do things like interact, collaborate, and publish, communicate information, develop cultural understanding and global awareness, and contribute to project teams to produce original works and solve problems. Here, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, three of those four C's, are essential to this standard.

Standard number three, research and information fluency, involves students applying digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students will do things like plan strategies to guide inquiry, locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize from a variety of sources of media, evaluate and select information, sources, digital tools based on the appropriateness, and process data and report results.

Here, it's essential for students to have critical thinking skills and creativity. Standard number four is critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. It's here that students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

They identify and define authentic problems and significant questions, plan and manage activities to help develop solutions or complete their projects, collect and analyze their data to identify the solutions, and make informed decisions, and use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions. Critical thinking is essential to this standard.

Standard number five, digital citizenship, is where students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology, and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students here will allocate and practice safe, and legal, and responsible uses of information and technology, exhibit positive attitudes towards technology that supports collaboration learning and productivity, and demonstrate personal responsibility for their lifelong learning. They'll also exhibit leadership for digital citizenship. Here, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking are all essential to the standard.

The last standard is technology operations and concepts. Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. They will understand and use technology systems, select and use applications, troubleshoot systems and applications, and transfer their current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

This standard requires students to have not only critical thinking skills, but also collaboration and communication skills as they work through problems that might come up with technology and learn more deeply about it. You can see by looking at these six standards for students from the International Society for Technology in Education, that it's so important to think not only about the standards but also about the importance of those 21st century learning skills and also the effect of collaborative learning on all of us.

Let's review what we learned today. We discussed the questions who are 21st century students, and what are their learning needs. How does collaborative learning help meet these needs? What are the ISTE standards, and how are these standards and collaborative learning connected together?

Growing up in a world that's so dependent on technology, these 21st century students really need us as teachers to instill skills that will help them develop what they need to become successful workers and successful college students, and apply all of their learning to real world scenarios.

Collaborative learning helps meet these needs by helping students to reach those four C's, communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. The International Society for Technology in Education has developed a set of standards. Specifically we look at the standards for students today, which entails six different standards where those four C's are interwoven throughout.

As teachers, we can use collaborative learning as a tool to help students meet those 21st century skills, and also meet the ISTE student standards. Let's take a moment to apply these ideas by reflecting on the questions, which of the ISTE learning standards did you relate to the most. What might the challenges be in thinking about both collaborative learning and ISTE standards as you develop lessons?

Thanks for joining me today as we discussed connecting collaborative learning to the standards. For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please see the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks, useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Connecting Collaborative Learning to the Standards"


(00:00- 00:31) Introduction/Objectives

(00:32- 00:50)  Who are 21st Century Students?

(00:51- 01:30) What is the Role of the Teacher?

(01:31- 02:07) 21st Century Learning Skills

(02:08- 02:35) ISTE and ISTE Standards

(02:36- 06:20)  Description of Student Standards 1-6

(06:21- 07:28) Recap

(07:29- 08:12)  Reflection 

Additional Resources

Connecting Project Based Learning and the Common Core Standards

In this blog entry, Thom Markham reviews six instructional areas where PBL can be used to support instruction using the CCSS. These areas include moving from instruction to inquiry, balancing knowledge and skills, going deep; teaching teamwork, establishing a culture of inquiry, and blending coaching with teaching.

ISTE Standards: Students

The student standards include the six key areas for appropriate student use of technology in learning: creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and informational fluency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, digital citizenship, and technology operations and concepts.