Leveraging tech tools to support collaboration

FRAMEWORK FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNING
FRAMEWORK FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNING

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 thinkingproblem solvingcommunication 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!

 

Collaborative Technology Tools in the Classroom

This term I am teaching a new online class for Portland State University for their Instructional Technology Certificate program.  The course topic is collaborative technology tools in the classroom.  Just as my students are reflecting on their work – I too will be documenting our progress and sharing my own thoughts and ideas.

How can we leverage collaborative technology tools to support 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).

In this course, students will 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).

Portland State uses Desire 2 Learn (D2L) for their learning management system.  This program is fine but too many instructors have only used the text and discussion forum features.  I plan on integrating Portland State’s Google Apps program with D2L.  We will use Google+ hangouts for some webinars, shared documents, email, etc.  Also we will be USING all the collaborative tools each week like Edmodo, Diigo, Twitter, Collaborate and ones that individual students choose to explore (VoiceThread,Prezi, Evernote, etc).

One of the things that I will be playing with is including a weekly podcast lecture using iTunes U.  Last week I set up the iTunes Course Manager and added my written weekly lecture.  What I hope to do during the term and record a weekly podcast related to our week’s theme.  This will give me an opportunity to talk directly to my students, discuss current trends and share new resources.  Students can subscribe to the course and automatically receive the podcasts each week.

Next Week:  Talking about Digital Citizenship when using collaborative technology tools.

 

Deal, A. (2009). Collaboration tools. Teaching with technology white paper. Retrieved from Carnegie Mellon University website:  http://www.cmu.edu/teaching

Celebrate Poetry on Monday 4/30/12

April is National Poetry Month and our school is having several events to celebrate.  Students are encouraged to submit their original poems to the “Poet Tree” in the Library all month.  We plan on sharing poems for “Poem in your pocket” day on Thursday, the 26th.  I am thinking of coordinating a semi-field trip to Verselandia – a poetry slam sponsored by Portland Public Schools on the 25th.

On Monday, April 30th we will host our all-day poetry celebration in the Library.  The morning session will be for community members as the creative writing and guitar students share their original poems and poems put to music.  Throughout the day various classes will visit the Library for an open mic poetry reading.  Anyone is welcome to attend and share either an original poem or read a previously published poem.  Selected classes from other schools will Skype into our reading and share their poems with us.  If your class would like to Skype with us – contact me at colette (dot) cassinelli (at) gmail (dot) com.

Poetry Day Celebration with Skype

Our high school is hosting an open mic poetry day in the Library on Friday, April 29th 8-2:30pm PDT. We would love to have various classrooms Skype in for 5-10 minutes and have students (ages 10+)  read a poem – original or published. Contact me to get on the schedule — still plenty of open slots! colette [dot] cassinelli [at] gmail [dot] com

This is our culiminating activity for National Poetry Month http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41

Have you seen Skype in Education?  http://education.skype.com/projects/505

Nominate your TOP TEN Young Adult books by 10-10-10

Join a collaborative project.  Go to: http://10-10-10.wikispaces.com/

Get Involved:

This wiki is open to anyone who loves YA books. You don’t have to be a teacher-librarian to share your love of reading!

Choose a theme:

You can recommend your TOP TEN YA books of all time, TOP TEN YA fantasy books or even your TOP TEN YA paranormal romance books (you know who you are!) or any genre you want — and you get to decide how to organize your list!

Create your own page:

Add a new page (click link on upper left hand side) to the wiki with your name and then list your YA books in any order. Write a short summary of the book and give a short explanation of why it is included in your TOP TEN. If you use summaries from Amazon or TeenReads – please be considerate and cite your sources. Feel free to share your blog URL or Twitter name on your page. Please keep the listing of pages in alphabetical order.

Get your students involved!

Do you teach Middle or High school students? Do you have a book club? Have your class vote and nominate their TOP TEN list.

Celebrate!

Take time during the week of October 10-16 to look over the recommended lists and do something special to celebrate reading. This is perfect way to get teens excited for ALA Teen Read Week the following week: October 17-23.

Blogging and beyond

Blogging can be used in any number of ways. It can be used to form a reading discussion forum or posting short current events articles and invite students’ thoughts. You can use it to foster communication among multiple classes or serve as a student progress log on a lab or research assignment.  Some teachers use it to post photos and homework assignments online.  No matter how you decide to use your class blog, make sure you encourage the conversation but at the same time moderate the comments.

Activities to do with your class blog with your students or school community:

  1. Post a homework question and each student writes a one-paragraph response.
  2. Start a discussion by posing a question and require that students post several times over the course of a week or curriculum unit.  Invite parents, other grades or schools to comment on student work
  3. Illustrate ideas and connections through written and visual explanations.
  4. Have students post discussion questions for the next day’s class.  This works great if you know students are having a hard time understanding a concept and they post questions they want you to review.
  5. Have students write their notes for the day.  Assign one student per day to be the scribe for the class. This is great for discussion-based classes where you want students to focus on the discussion and not have to worry about taking notes.
  6. Post progress reports on team projects.  Students can post their work to the blog so that others can see what they are doing and comment on each other’s work.
  7. Have students create their own blogs for any independent study
  8. Conversations around books:  If you know the author of a book you are reading, have students write feedback and have the author respond, if possible.
  9. Participate in a student blogging/comment challenge.  For a set period of time, challenge your students to post or comment on another student’s blog. Sample at:  http://wyatt67.edublogs.org/student-blogging-challenge/

Blogs are great if you are looking for an organized, formal connection with other global classrooms. Cross-country projects can open a wider world for your students while meeting lessons objectives and standards. Students can discuss global issues and compare how each country is working towards solving the problem. Students can share informational links on how they are making a difference or simply just learn more global issues

Organized programs:

  • Taking IT Global Online community of youth interested in global issues and creating positive change. http://www.tigweb.org/
  • iEarn International Education and Resource Network:  A non-profit global network that enables teachers and students to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.  http://iearn.org/
  • ePals K-12 online community that safely connect, collaborate and build community across 200 countries and territories. http://www.epals.com/
  • Youthink! gears international development issues to a youth audience and encourages young people to get involved in solutions to global problems, such as HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and gender inequality. http://www.youthink.worldbank.org/
  • Global SchoolNet: Focus is to develop literacy and communication skills, foster teamwork and collaboration, encourage workforce preparedness and create multi-cultural understanding. http://www.globalschoolnet.org/

These social networks are great places to start looking for teachers who have planned a project and need collaborators, or just a place to see other projects and how they work.

Directory of Classroom partners for VoiceThread projects

voicethread.pngA year ago I began the VoiceThread 4 Education wiki.   It has grown into such an incredible resource for educators who are looking for real VoiceThread samples from classrooms of all grade levels and subject areas.

The VoiceThread Ning is another great place to meet other educators who love using VoiceThread.

At the suggestion of Brad Wilson, I added a new page to the VoiceThread 4 Education wiki: Classroom Partners. On this page, educators can add their contact information, VoiceThread project description, project dates and grade level if they are looking for collaborators on projects.

Consider adding your information and help spread the news about this directory. Thanks!