Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Being Social is the Name of the Game!

The idea of cooperative learning has been around for awhile but with the advent of new technologies, cooperative learning can be even more powerful than before.Cooperative learning is directly related to social learning theories in that students work collaboratively in groups to construct new knowledge (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).Social learning is a very active process where students are involved in the creation and building of something.This is why cooperative learning fits in perfectly with social learning theories because students are actively engaged in the thinking and collaboration process while working toward a common goal.

Technology can greatly enhance the effectiveness of cooperative learning.Today, students have the ability to connect with each other any time and anywhere due to many social media sites and collaborative web resources such as blogs, wikis, moodles, and voicethreads.Cooperative learning, with the enhancement of technology, gives students the ability to become both the teacher and the learner, and many students will learn more through teaching others in their group than from being dictated information from a teacher’s lecture (Orey, 2001).The ability of students to work together to create large and complex multi-media projects, such as videos, websites, and prezis shows the real power of technology integration into cooperative learning, which supports the essential role of social learning theories.

One of my favorite cooperative learning activities when I taught American History was the webquest.I chose to use webquests specifically for the level of inquiry and engagement required by students.As supported by social learning theory, students were asked to research and construct new knowledge based on the directions of the webquest.Furthermore, webquests with new technology can be even more powerful as teachers now have the ability to create their own customized webquests for students to use that are tailored to students’ needs in the classroom (Pitler et al, 2007).Ultimately, cooperative learning is effective because it teaches students to work together in a way that is meaningful and practical for them as future citizens and leaders.

Link to my Voicethread:   https://voicethread.com/share/2902688/

                                                                      Resources

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom
instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Added for a little bit of humor...this is NOT what collaboration is all about!

I prefer a Dell...just saying!



6 comments:

  1. Web 2.0 and some of the other enhancements (technologically speaking) have come a long way in supporting collaborative learning. I will admit to not being familiar with all of the programs and software that you mentioned but agree that webquests are a powerful tool for both teachers and students. Anytime we can have students critically think their way through an inquiry, whether individually or collaboratively, then we are preparing our students for a lifetime of learning potential.

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    1. Sandra- I think that as education becomes more and more technology focused, more time and energy will be given in training teachers to use the technology properly. We are already learning so much in this program but imagine the transformation if even more teachers bought into the idea of technology integration and truly used it properly in their classrooms. I think that VoiceThread has miles of potential and if teachers can start with one or two new technologies at a time, then they can keep building their technology "toolbox" and increase student engagement even more.

      Scott

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  2. Scott,

    Though cooperative learning has been going on for decades, I agree that new technology makes the experience more powerful and enhances the effectiveness. Technology gives teachers and students the means to experience cooperative learning outside of the classroom. Students are more likelt to become lifelong learners we can that can make associations to things they find important, like peers and socializing.
    I also agree that students learn more through teaching others. As a teacher, I have come to the realization that I understand the way math works now that I teach it. It was always easy for me and I got good grades in class, but now I REALLY understand the many connections.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures :)

    Liana

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    1. Liana-

      To be honest, when I first started teaching Economics four years ago I thought I had very little experience with the subject other than the college courses I took. The more I taught the concepts and ideas behind Economics, I realized I was learning so much more than I ever imagined and now I keep trying to learn more so that I can improve my teaching to benefit my students. I too think that if we are to create life long learners, we need to teach skills along with content that will help students become the future leaders of tomorrow.

      Scott

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  3. Scott

    I agree wholeheartedly that technology enhances the educational experience, and it certainly brings a new aspect to cooperative learning. When you use webquests, do you create your own or use some that are already made?

    Alisha

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    1. Alisha- I would love to try to create my own webquests but I have not thus far. I usually use others created by teachers but I think that it is a good idea to create your own webquests because it will have more meaning for the students knowing you created the webquest and you are now facilitating it.
      Scott

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