What are Anytime/Anywhere Collaborative Learning Activities?
First, collaborative learning in the classroom is more than just putting students in a group and having each group complete the same assignment (this is cooperative learning where the group members support each other in completing the learning task! Cooperative learning involves at least TWO people working together, sharing their individual knowledge, to construct new knowledge – usually on a task of their own choosing! Teachers may suggest ideas, but the partners or small groups decide what and how they will investigate a topic and present their ideas. Collaborative learning is one aspect of problem-based learning, and is often present in professional learning communities (PLCs). So, what types of activities promote collaborative learning? Those types of activities that encourage talking with others – jigsaw discussion activities, think-pair-share, 3 step interview, speed-dating, knotty problems, round table, discussion leaders, role play, debates, case-based learning, and of course, brainstorming! And, the list goes on!
When these activities are enhanced with technology, the collaborative learning can take place anytime and anywhere, with others who are not physically in the same room with their fellow collaborators! Check out the tools below that are useful for this purpose, and the categories that work well for this type of collaborative learning! The following video will give you an idea of what is possible!
Best Practice for Teaching using Collaborative Learning Activities
Once you understand what collaborative learning is all about (see the references below) . . .
- Gibson. V. (n.d.) Clarifying the Confusion about Collaborative Conversations.
- Commonly Asked Questions about Teaching Collaborative Activities (Enerson, Johnson, Milner, & Plank, 2007)
- Ideas for Collaborative Learning (University of Wolverhampton, n.d.)
- Collaborative Group Techniques (UMass Amherst, 2014)
THEN, you can begin thinking about tools that are appropriate for enhancing that learning!
Technology Tools That Enhance Collaborative Learning
There are specific tools that work well for different types of collaborative activities:
Google Drive Docs & Presentation
- 100 Ways to use Google Drive in the Classroom (TeachThought, 2014)
- Sharing is Caring: 50 Collaborative Google Apps Activities (Miller, n.d.)
- The Paperless Classroom using Google Docs (Curts, 2012-13)
Popplet for Brainstorming Ideas
- English Lesson Plan Lesson (Poppletrocks, 2012)
- Learning to Use Popplet in Your Classroom (Noska, n.d.)
- How to Use Popplet App in the Classroom (Appedreview, 2014)
Twiddla in the Classroom:
Microsoft Education Network Resources for Teaching with Office 365
Education in the Classroom with Office 365 ebook (Microsoft Education in the Cloud, 2014)