Communication and collaboration are two of the 4Cs of 21st century learning. The 4Cs include critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.
Collaboration is theact of working together on a common goal. Not only is collaboration an important life skill, it can have apositive influence on student engagement.
Time for productive collaboration is a must in today's classrooms.
- Phillip Schletchy identifies qualities of the work teachers give students that affect engagement. Affiliation, that is, opportunities to work with others, can be a positive influence on student engagement.
- A study on cooperative learning found that "subjects who worked cooperatively spent more time working on practice exercises and reported greater satisfaction than those who worked individually."
- "Studies have shown that groups outperform individuals on learning tasks, and further that individuals who work in groups do better on later individuals assignments as well (Barron, 2000b, 2003; O'Donnell & Danserau, 1992)." Powerful Learning by Linda Darling-Hammond, page 19.
- Having the capacity to collaborate is an important component in project-based learning and an essential personal and professional skill.
- The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national organization formed by government, corporations, associations, and individuals, has developed a framework that fuses the 3 Rs with the 4Cs. The 4Cs are:
- critical thinking and problem solving
- creativity and innovation
Working effectively with others is an extremely complex endeavor. Collaboration skills are complicated to learn because they are actually people skills. Learning these skills takes guided practice and quality feedback. Teacher's shouldn't expect their students to work together effectively without explicitly teaching and modeling collaboration skills. These skills include:
- Active listening
- Positive Attitude
- Social Awareness
Collaboration is the act of working together for a common goal. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills says that mastering collaboration skills requires the ability to work effectively with diverse teams. It also requires the ability to "be helpful and make necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal."
Simply telling students to work together won't lead to productive collaboration. Teachers need to develop activities and projects where students have reasons to collaborate. We must teach students how to be good group members through modeling, role playing, discussion, and facilitating. Collaboration can be taught and learned by
- Assigning clear responsibilities
- Showing students examples
- Assigning a leader
- Encouraging self-direction
- Charting progress
- Conducting group and self evaluations
- Designing rubric to measure the process and product
- PollEverywhere for polls and surveys
- Wordle.net and Tagul.com for making word clouds
- Edmodo is a teacher-controlled social network for schools
- Group Code: 5e67bs
- TinyURL for shortening web addresses
- Popplet for collaborative mind maps
- other collaborative diagramming tools
- Scribblar as a collaborative whiteboard
- Linoit for collaborative stick note canvases
- Google Docs
- Share any document by click the Share button and choosing Anyone with this link and checking Allow anyone to edit (no sign-in required)
- List of Interesting Ways Google Presentations collaborative slideshows
- Skype for video conferences
- Awwapp for simple drawings
- Socrative for collecting student responses
- OpenClipArt for public domain images
- Advanced Google Image Search for searching by usage rights
- PicMonkey for simple image editing
- iPiccy for image editing
- Gallery of Infographics
- 20 Tools to Create Your Own Infographics
- Creating and Using Infographics in the Elementary Classroom
- The Crumpled Piece of Paper activity about bullying
- Tony's Burying the Lead cartoon made at GoAnimate
- GoAnimate for making cartoons
- Pen.io to create simple and instant web pages
- Made to Stick Infographic
- Make customized Bingo cards for printing or playing online at BingoBaker
- Record up to 30 seconds of audio at Croak.it