The benefits of collaborative learning with tech tools are many. “What our collaborative learning style empowers and enables is a student’s resilience—how do you look to your neighbor as a resource, how do you test your own theories, how do you understand if you’re on the right track or the wrong track?” Monique DeVane, head of school at College Prep, told Edutopia.
Facilitating this collaboration has never been easier than it is now, with hundreds of tools at every teacher’s fingertips. These five tech tools will help you encourage group learning in and out of the classroom.
Microsoft Word limits collaboration between students. With real-time editing and collaboration features, Google Docs takes out the middle man, allowing partners or groups to easily work together, regardless of where they are.
Using Google Docs in the classroom encourages students to make changes and talk about both the tech tools and the work as they’re happening. This gives them a chance to explain their work, edit, revise and publish together.
The best part: the tool is free, and everyone with Gmail has access to it. Also, Google forms, slides and sheets all allow real-time collaboration, so students can work together on a number of projects through Google’s suite of tools.
2- Online Discussion Forums
This unusual teaching tool is a favorite of edtech expert Alfonso Gonzalez, who uses it as a way to enable collaboration in class, without making shy students participate in a traditional way. “Forums add value to your classroom, giving every student a chance to speak up and show their knowledge,” said Gonzalez.
Forums also make it easy to continue the conversation outside of class. Students can find and share resources about the topic while they’re in class and after the discussion finishes.
Use the discussion forum that comes with your LMS or look for web apps like ZetaBoards.
Facebook’s site model is one that encourages collaboration, but it may not be the most appropriate tool for your classroom. Whooo’s Reading, an online education tool that allows students to log reading and then comment on and like peers’ activities and responses is a safe option built for students.
Not only does this platform motivate students to read more, it also provides kids with a fun and safe place to discuss their reading as a group, making reading an enjoyable and collaborative process.
This collaboration tool allows students to work together while learning a new skill—how to record and edit themselves. Not only does it give students a chance to explore language, but each student can insert their own voice, learning how it fits in with the voices of others, both literally and figuratively.
Use this tool as an alternative to traditional book reports or homework assignments.
Brainstorming requires collaboration, and Mindmeister makes that process more visual and organized. What’s more, students can edit their group mind map in real-time, simultaneously, making collaboration possible both at home and in the classroom. Encourage students to share their final mind map on the classroom social media accounts to create a more authentic learning experience.
Collaboration is an important aspect of learning, and these tech tools make it easier than ever to facilitate that both in and out of your classroom.
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Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn
. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter
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