The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has developed a vision for student success for our global economy called the Framework for 21st Century Learning. This Framework describes the skills, knowledge and expertise students must master to succeed in work and life.
Every 21st century skills implementation requires the development of core academic subject knowledge and understanding among all students. Those who can think critically and communicate effectively must build on a base of core academic subject knowledge. Within the context of core knowledge instruction, students must also learn the essential skills for success in today’s world, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. The focus on collaboration involves:
- Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
- Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal
- Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member
How can we leverage collaborative technology tools to support this type of communication and collaboration in the classroom? How can we plan lessons that effectively engage students and support learning goals? The factors with the greatest influence on student achievement are instruction, professional learning, collaboration and learning time.
Technology tools that exist to support collaboration can:
- Facilitate real-time and asynchronous text, voice and video communication.
- Assist in basic project management activities
- Support co-creation by enabling groups to showcase learning in real-time or asynchronously.
- Facilitate consensus building through group discussions and polling
- Simplify and streamline resource management
- Enable locate and remote presentation and archiving of completed projects (Deal, 2009).
Teachers should not only learn how to effectively integrate collaborative technology tools into the classroom but actively participate and apply these principles to their own learning and understanding. We also want to make sure we are using sound pedagogy when using technology to support learning and aligning our instructional goals with the National Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S).
Get ready to collaborate!