One of the most vital of the five elements indicative of a successful learning community outlined in Schools as professional learning communities is collaboration (Kruse, Louis and Bryk, cited in Roberts and Pruitt, 2009). Today, with the development of digital tools that allow students and teachers to collaborate beyond the walls of the classroom, at any time and in any place, the potential for collaboration is limited only by our imaginations.
This is echoed by Sir Ken Robinson, world renowned speaker. Here, he speaks of the importance of creativity and collaboration for the 21st Century.
In an online environment with multiple tools to choose from, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly where to begin when developing collaborative networks. To assist teachers make this start, the ResourceLink team have picked four tools which we think are great for beginning to develop a culture on online collaboration.
We have spoken about Diigo in one of our previous posts: 12 Reasons Teachers should use Diigo. Diigo is not only a great tool for teachers but also for students to collaborate as a team of researchers. Using Diigo, students can share found information from the web, develop critical literacy by using the forum and discussion tools to share reflections and collate information by sharing documents.
Learn more about Diigo
Stixy takes the traditional bulletin board and brings it well into the 21st Century. As a digital bulletin board teachers and students can collaborate by posting virtual ‘post it’ notes which can contain personal reflections, links to websites, pictures, documents and to do lists. These boards can be made as public or as private as you choose, and there is even an option to password protect them! There are great examples of how Stixy can be used here.
Voicethread is an online learning environment which has been developed for learning and teaching, where teachers and students can develop an interactive and collaborative multimedia slideshow. The slideshow can hold images, documents and video, and allows comments by viewers to be made in multiple modes. Learn more about VoiceThread by viewing this one below.
The word Google is synonymous with having the capacity to access learning from all over the world. Look beyond the search bar, however, and you will find multiple tools to create and collaborate anywhere and anytime. Learn more from Google below
Before truly successful and productive collaboration can take place, it is vital to take the time to model and foster a collaborative culture within the classroom. This culture will be shaped by clear expectations for students, and will require students to be aware of how to protect their online identity, and to develop skills in critical reflection and constructive commenting.
Once this culture is created, the huge range and variety of tools available online will provide students with engaging platforms where they can share, create, collaborate and succeed anywhere and at any time. Learn about other available online collaborative spaces here.
Have fun collaborating online! Share your experiences in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!
A Stixy has been created for both the Primary and Secondary Assistant Principal Religious Education gathering days. The primary stixy is available at http://www.stixy.com/guest/180007 and the secondary stixy is available at http://www.stixy.com/guest/181029 . APRE’s are invited to use these spaces with their staff to share their learnings, thoughts and reflections on these tools and the day. (Please note this Stixy is specifically for Brisbane Catholic Education APREs, and as such is password protected. The password will be provided during the APRE gathering days in the coming weeks.)