a note on collaboration
Educators know the importance of collaboration. We ask students to work in groups, and we focus on growing their speaking, listening, and conflict resolution skills. We place our students in situations where they work with friends, work with acquaintances, partner with their same-ability peers, participate in a groups of mixed abilities, but how often do we ask students to collaborate virtually?
As an educator, I enjoy the collaboration I have in face to face situations at work, in my own studies, and in my home as a wife and mother. However, my thinking gets pushed in so many more directions when I reach out to collaborate with my colleagues across town, across the country, and even across oceans! I think that as our world continues to become connected through digital means, we have a whole new set of skills to teach our students - those related to collaborating through the screen.
This series of tools will give you and your students opportunities to practice digital collaboration for a variety of purposes. Don't be afraid to jump in, play around, and learn with your students. As Amy Poehler says, "be open to collaboration. Other people's ideas are often better than your own."
To learn more about my own experiences with online student collaboration, read my blog post about cross-building literature circles.