A classroom using collaborative learning is exciting. In Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat (2005), we are reminded of the exorbitant possibilities when communicating locally as well as globally with the use of technology. There were abundant suggestions of ways to teach using collaboration methods that were described in Pitler’s book. There was mention of using videos and presentations as an effective group activity. Other techniques discussed by Pitler (2007) include “web resources, Ask an Expert, Keypals, ePals, Web Quests, collaborative organizing, web enabled simulation games and communication software.” Website creation can be used in various ways. Examples that were explained included a “5 phase plan to build websites for cities to promote tourism by including a proposal and presentation (Pitler, 2007). Students can also work with “students in a class around the world” on “projects, calendars, blogs, wikis and with collaborative organizing” (Pitler, 2007).
Incorporating projects into curriculum was a topic in the videos this week. “Students are the center of the learning environment and they use the knowledge as the need it,” is annotated in Project Learning: an overview video (Eutopia, 2009). Students do feel empowered when given a choice and work harder to produce quality work. The excitement show by the students was apparent on the videos. I found it interesting when students used “project based learning to mimic what scientist do” (Eutopia, 2009). This hands on learning reminded me of my districts Global High where students utilize hands on learning and technology to learn engineering skills.
As an educator, I am excited about collaborative classrooms that fully integrate technology. Our public schools are now in financial struggles and cost prohibits many things. I agree with Pitler (2007) that teachers must think about curriculum first before thinking about technology. Technology must be based on what to teach prior to the technology tools that can be used in teaching the curriculum.
Solomon, G. & Schrum, L (2007). Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 99-116.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 139-154.
Edutopia.org (nd). Project Learning: An Overview. Retrieved on October 5, 2009 from http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-overview-video.