Teacher Tap

Collaborative Technology

Collaborative technologies are generally web-based tools that involve two or more people working together in a virtual environment to create something greater than could be build independently. Rather than simply viewing existing information, emphasis may be placed on authoring content. These environments may be predominately text-based or may incorporate audio, video, and animation.

Although we talk a lot about collaboration, our students really don't truly create synergy. Instead they tend to work as teams and assign separate roles.

sheepCollaboration involves cooperation, interdependence, and synergy. For example, individuals, classes, or clubs at different points along an earthquake fault might analyze the ground movement and share their findings on a wiki.

Or, they may share their animal tracking data regarding big horn sheep. It would be impossible for one person to collect all this data independently, but by working together they have more data for research and learning.

In another example, the local historical society would like to create a history of the town. They invite anyone who has lived in the area to share facts and figures, along with their insights and experiences. The resulting wiki contains multiple perspectives that would probably have been missed if the project had been created by an individual or small group.

Let's use Google Docs as an examples. You can create collaborative documents, spreadsheets, and presentations!

Why is virtual collaboration important?

  1. Develops essential life skills
  2. Allows for differentiation and cross grade assignments
  3. Promotes synthesis, creation, and evaluation skills
  4. Encourages synergy
  5. Enables access to work 24/7

computer iconBrainstorm!
Discuss the skills involved in learning to work as a collaborative group. What kinds of assignments could strengthen specific collaboration skills?


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