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Enhancing Collaborative Learning with Technology

Enhancing Collaborative Learning with Technology

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will learn how to enhance collaborative learning opportunities through the purposeful integration of technology in the four key areas of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Creativity.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and today I'm going to be discussing the topic of enhancing collaborative learning with technology throughout this video lesson. As we move through this lesson we will work towards one main learning objective, how can we enhance collaborative learning by bringing in technology to the four C's-- communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. During this lesson, I will be giving you examples of tools that are available for you to enhance collaborative learning in your classroom. We will discuss each of these tools, and I will give you information on where to more deeply explore these different tools online. Don't forget to write this information down or take screenshots to reference this information later.

Let's start with tools that are available to enhance one of the four C's, communication. Technology can help students communicate anytime, anywhere, and this is the goal of these tools in particular. Let's talk about social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook as a social networking website that makes it easy for your students to connect and share online together. Twitter is a social networking service where users or your students can send and read short 140 character messages called tweets. Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read these tweets. Both of these sites can be used by students and teachers to communicate with each other anytime, anywhere.

Let's look at messaging tools, tools like Instant Messager, Vox, Chat features in Google Docs. Instant Messager is a type of online chat, which offers real-time text transmission over the internet. Vox is a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple-- to explain the news. Google Docs offers a chat feature. When you're working on a file at the same time as others, you can chat with a group viewing the file making communication much easier. Anyone viewing the file who is signed into a Google account will be included in this chat. The chat button is at the top right corner of the screen when you're signed into your account.

Google Phone is a telecommunications service by Google called Google Voice. The wide use of cell phones allow for the use of text features on mobile devices or even on some computers and tablets. Voice Thread is a collaboration tool that is interactive enabling users to add images, documents, and videos. Other users can add voice, text, audio, and video comments. In Video Conferencing, two-way video and audio transmissions are used to communicate face-to-face with others.

There are many tools available to help our students collaborate with each other in real-time across many different settings. Skype is a tool where students can use web cams to have spoken conversations or a video conversation with others over the internet using the software application. Google Hangouts can bring conversations to life with photos and even group video calls for free. This is an instant messaging tool and video chat platform developed by Google. Teachers can use Google Docs and presentation or slides to help students collaborate with each other as well. Here students can work on documents or presentations synchronously or asynchronously.

Moving on to critical thinking, we can offer our students a variety of tools to help them problem solve. Tools like Google Scholar, which is an online search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. It searches a wide variety of sources, including sources that are more scholarly in nature. InstaGrok is an educational search engine for students and teachers as well. It's a tool that provides many resources on a keyword like concept maps or webs, videos, images, websites, and even quizzes all from entering a keyword or phrase. Advanced searches allow students to combine search terms by setting specific parameters for their results. It's a full search of the entire dictionary text, and when it finds a term, it does it throughout the entire dictionary.

Boolean Tools and Boolean logic help us define logical relationships between multiple search terms. This is using operators like the words and, or, or not to connect search terms and refine your search. Coding is another hot topic right now in education and something that some are pushing to add more of into our students' learning. Coding is what makes it possible for us to create software, applications, and websites. Analytics is the discovering communication of meaningful patterns in data. This is the systematic analysis of data or statistics, and this process can help teachers gather information about students on what is working and not working.

Gapminder is a nonprofit venture that promotes sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. They aim to increase the understanding of statistics and other information that is social, economic, and about environmental development at all levels of society local, national, and global. Wolfram Alpha is an engine for computing answers and preventing knowledge. It works by using a vast store of expert level knowledge and algorithms, and it automatically answers questions, does analysis, and generates reports. All of these tools can be used to help us promote critical thinking and problem solving skills in all of our students.

The last of our four C's is creativity. There's a wide range of technology available to assist our students in expanding their creativity when they're creating and publishing work. These tools are exciting and innovative. Blogs and vlogs, or blogs that consist mainly of video, are great tools for the classroom. These can be created by individuals, groups, or even the entire class. And they can be set up to be private or only accessed by certain peers or groups or put out for the entire world to see and comment on.

Digital storytelling can be used by students to take their story, and tell their story using digital tools. This tool is also gaining popularity quickly in the classroom setting. Prezi is a cloud based software used for storytelling and presenting ideas on a virtual canvas. Thinglinks is also used for storytelling, and it creates images and videos for web, social, advertising, and education channels. Students can create websites to showcase information or projects on. And Vines are short form videos that are shared online. This service also lets users record and edit looping video clips and re-vine these or share other's posts with followers. A wiki is a website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its own users. Wikipedia is probably the best known wiki. However, your students can create wikis on anything to share with anyone.

So let's review what we learned today. We covered the following question, how could we enhance collaborative learning by bringing in technology to the four C's-- communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Now that you're more familiar with these resources to get you started with collaborative learning in your classroom, let's apply these ideas. What tools are you familiar with for integrating technology into the four C's? Who can you collaborate with to learn more about current resources available?

Thanks for joining me today as we discussed the lesson-- enhancing collaborative learning with technology. I hope you found value in this video lesson and the resources that I gave you and are able to apply these ideas and tools to your own teaching. As you reflect on this new information and how it can be applied, you may want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Notes on “Enhancing Collaborative Learning with Technology”


(00:00- 00:49) Introduction/Objectives

(00:50- 02:46) Tools for Communication

(02:47- 03:31) Tools for Collaboration

(03:32- 05:51) Tools for Critical Thinking

(05:52- 07:26) Tools for Creativity

(07:27- 07:38) Recap

(07:39- 08:29) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Using technology to enhance collaborative learning

This research supports the use of technology to enable collaboration across settings.

Teaching Routines to Enhance Collaboration Using Classroom Network Technology

Although this article focuses on the use of Group Scribbles, the strategies apply over a variety of technology tools for collaboration. The article focuses on the theoretical and research basis for using teaching routines to support assessment of student learning.