Monday, May 18, 2015

Collaboration is an Essential Skill for Today's Learner

When an educator evaluates a new digital resource, it is important to start with the essential skills that can be connected to the tool. Too often, a tool will fail to meet its full potential when the teacher simply uses the tool to distribute content. A web quest is not innovative if it is little more than a digital worksheet.
Don't get me wrong, I have experienced some incredible learning in classrooms with technology at the substitution level. The substitution level of the SAMR model can be a great starting point for incorporating EdTech. I do believe that if a tool is never used beyond substitution, it may live up to its potential to support teaching and learning.  
Tools must support good teaching before I think about the connecting the tool to any content. I want every tool I use to support at least one of the 4Cs of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. 

My go to skill is collaboration. I am a strong believer that we learn best by sharing. I try to blend digital and face to face collaboration in my classroom on a daily basis. 
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. Students will:
  • Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
  • Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
  • Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
  • Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

With the help of my incredible PLN, I've compiled a list of tools that can support collaboration in classrooms. These tools can also be used to support teacher professional development.  

Here are some great video clips connected to collaboration:
What other tools can you recommend to build collaborative skills with students and staff?

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