The Collaboration Space
I had no intention of using this space. I can’t imagine why as It’s something that I am a massive fan of. The target I set myself in July was definitely a little underwhelming! Once I started to receive feedback and information by letting students work in this online space… i just kept pushing to see what else we could do.
- Sharing our Twitter Handle: A super simple start for us. We all joined twitter. I created a table in the collaboration space and encouraged the students to add their handle. An instant Twitter phone book (so to speak).
- Asking Questions, Analysing our Answers: I usually head off to answer garden (or some other note taking site) to ask students to share their thoughts on a question. This time I decided to use OneNote. On a blank page entitled “why tech” I was able to gather an understanding of my students prior knowledge (and in most cases misconceptions) around why technology should be used in a classroom. They really enjoyed this process as they watched everyone around the room add their voice to the IWB.
— Jacinta Fong (@JacintaFong) September 6, 2017
Once all of their ideas were there, I asked them to identify the themes that kept appearing. Each group was then assigned one of those themes and asked to highlight evidence of it (in a particular colour) You can see this in Jacinta’s tweet above. Once this was done we were then able to discuss our groups bias. What was the general consensus around WHY we should use technology. In each classes case the answer was biased towards an idea of “engagement” (one that they couldn’t yet define), or the idea that they need it because of the world we live in. Neither of these answers would get them anywhere near the marks they needed on this assignment and this gathering of prior knowledge, enabled me to help focus them (very quickly) on the research and frameworks that demonstrated the power of technological tools for improved outcomes for students.
In this instance One Note was enabling individuals to share opinions and explore them as a collective – accelerating our understanding of our current thinking and giving us a great base from which to leap – into success (hopefully!! )
- Working in Collaborative Groups
Having had the whole class collaboration go pretty well, i decided to see if I could create collaboration tabs for groups of students in a class. Again, using the data from the previous workshops’ rubric, I had the students sit in groups of similar ability, I then dished out different paragraphs of text. I did so using the collaborative space, creating a tab for each example text and then directing students in the groups to the appropriate tab. I’ve since discovered that I could speed this process up by setting up these tabs before the lesson and assigning them to the students before hand. It is possible to do this so that they can see certain content and not others – ensuring that they’re working on the right task. I could then open all of the tabs up once their work is complete and invite them to comment on each others’ work in the online space as well as in a whole class discussion.
The paragraphs I selected for collaboration were actually from responses from previous years and were strategically selected as a model for the students to mark (using their rubric). This turned out to be a great task and it produced A LOT of great questions from the group. They’re all pretty harsh markers too I’ve discovered! 😉
There was only one group for whom I was unable to differentiate the task in this way. This happened for two reasons. 1) Half of the class hadn’t actually highlighted their rubric and so I was left in the dark when it came to grouping and 2) it was quite clear that there was still some work to be done around the key understandings of the content (SAMR TPACK etc.) and they took priority. This group were shown one example on the IWB and we worked on it together. This is perhaps the way I would usually have worked without the information from my One Note. It didn’t feel as effective as were not able to generate as much discussion around the approaches the students had taken, what was working well and what they needed to do to improve.
I was a little nervous about sharing examples from previous years. However, this is something I swear by as a High School English teacher – A bit of Assessment for Learning can be a powerful thing! Next year, I want to be braver and make sure that there are some really strong examples amongst those I share. There were definitely students in the groups who wanted that challenge and i wimped out a bit. Not next year!