What are Collaborative Environments?

Collaborative environments are online spaces — often cloud-based — where the focus is on making it easy to collaborate and work in groups, no matter where the participants may be. As the typical educator’s network of contacts has grown to include colleagues who might live and work across the country, or indeed anywhere on the globe, it has become common for people who are not physically located near each other to nonetheless collaborate on projects. Joint classroom-based projects with students at other schools or in other countries are more and more common strategies used to expose learners to a variety of perspectives. The essential attribute of the technologies in this set is that they make it easy for people to share interests and ideas, to easily monitor their collective progress, and to see how ideas have evolved throughout the process. These tools are compelling and widely adopted because they are not only easy to use, but they are also either very low cost or free, and often accessible with a simple web browser.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Most technology is built with collaboration as its main engine…Twitter, Google docs, Storify, etc. However, many our core subjects continue to follow the path of singularity–math exams, finals, homework, etc. Somehow we need to make a fairly major shift when teaching skills and content that has collaboration as a building block. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Jan 26, 2014
  • Very relevant to learning at all levels - collaborative research, co-creation of multimedia products, multiple networks and liaisons that are becoming common place, or should be, in our classrooms. Students can access other learners across the world and are not confined to learn with and from the same small set each day. The possibilities are many, and we have only just scratched the surface. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014
  • 4 C's specifically say collaboration. Common Core is explicit about collaboration and technology. - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • Agree with the above. Like mrkeeler, I too was going to say that collaboration is key to the idea of 21st Century skills. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014
  • Students are being asked to do community service as a major part of 21st century skills. Students in the U.S. can (I do this with my students) collaborate with students all over the world to share ideas and to support global community service projects. The worry of many schools is that social media is not secure enough. Edmodo has been the answer to a more educationally based social media platform, but it lacks many of the features associated with twitter, and Facebook for example.lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014
  • external image 21st-Century-Learner.jpg
  • It is crucial that the concept of collaboration, per se, and its associated technologies is not assumed to result in cognitive shift on its own. Collaborative technologies can provide opportunities/enablers but the context for their use needs to be grounded in clear curriculum goals and supported by a pedagogy that both supports collaborative endeavours and allows for other pathways into learning too. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Coming to an understanding of what 'collaboration' means in a digital learning environment. Or rather, the different forms of collaboration and understanding that some use more higher order thinking skills than others.- lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014 - leslie.s.conery leslie.s.conery Feb 8, 2014
  • Co-creation using online collaborative tools - to collaborate and build something together at a distance, online is a challenge and removed from the simple collaborative learning we usually consider, but one that ties in with emerging technologies and alternative pedagogy. - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014
  • Global collaboration as a subset - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014
  • PLN's - it would be useful to look at these as a subset of this topic - lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014
  • Yep, agree with above. I would add project based learning strategies apply as well. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014
  • I am understanding this term to relate to Learning Management Systems? The state education system within which I work provides a superb suite of resources to support collaboration between students anywhere in Queensland. Unfortunately the firewalls presented by the system to protect student users - frequent forced password changes and no access beyond our state system hinder the real potential. We have access to web conferencing (Elluminate), project spaces (edStudios) and Virtual Classrooms (Blackboard). I understand that other states in Australia have similar LMSs that are perhaps not as restrictive. - FionaBanjer FionaBanjer Feb 9, 2014
  • I agree with Lindsay. Global collaboration.
  • Collaboration as a vital feature of future-focused education but in its broadest form. So, collaboration across generations, across subject areas, across schools/districts...as a means to foster relationship growth and to connect previously isolated pockets of knowledge. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Have a look at the so-called classified ads…notice the word–collaboration; it's significant and yet, our instructional model rarely includes this format. Collaboration needs to be either a part of the course and/or taught as a separate course. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Jan 26, 2014 CONCUR - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • True collaborative work dictates alternative assessment models. Digital tools allow for transparency, but still teachers require individual contributions die to assessment constraints. Creative inquiry in a collaborative sense has the ability to unleash great learning potential - once again scaffolded by technology.- lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014
  • Creating more collaborative learning opportunities is a shift in how education currently looks. Something as simple as collaborating on a Google Doc makes teachers drop and gasp, it is easy to see the game changer in it and the need. This starts a cultural shift to "We" - mrskeeler mrskeeler Feb 1, 2014
  • This time lindsay beat me to it. For most of us, collaboration in school was interpreted by the teacher as "cheating". Today's work environment uses multiple forms of collaboration over digital networks & must be an educational strategy moving forward. - jon.k.price jon.k.price Feb 6, 2014
  • Implication for assessment developers (including work being done with PISA, the AT21S, and the Collaborative Assessment Alliance http://www.caa21.org/. I'm not saying that testing needs to drive the agenda but am suggesting that if we value collaborative as a skill then we need to be able to create learning environments in which genuine and meaningful collaboration is taking place. As online collaboration continues to grow as a requirement in the modern workplace, we need ways to support and develop and assess online collaboration skills in learning environments. Again - the power and potential is huge for breaking down the walls of traditional classrooms and altering the role of the educator. - leslie.s.conery leslie.s.conery Feb 8, 2014
  • Potential to allow for co-creation, the input of many voices in a social endeavour to work towards shared understand - this has real civic significance. Clearly, traditional assessment modes are only just beginning to be reimagined, and only in pockets. Requires a clear vision for why this is an important mode in which to work, how it can foster the kind of learning that we know makes a difference and how it can support an inclusive, broad approach to programme design. - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Flat Connections global collaborative projects (formerly Flat Classroom) http://www.flatconnections.com/flat-projects.html implement learning environments for asynchronous collaboration and co-creation.- lindsay.julie lindsay.julie Jan 28, 2014- leslie.s.conery leslie.s.conery Feb 8, 2014
  • "Beyond Your Back Door" a project designed to engage students in collaborative practice of writing persuasive arguments in preparation for national testing of writing (NAPLAN). Classes shared a digital postcard, posted persuasive writing about their local area and critiqued writing from other classes in state schools around Queensland. We did intend to finish with a Google Earth trip, unfortunately this didn't eventuate. My project partner and I are in the process of developing a similar project with a focus on the new Geography curriculum. - FionaBanjer FionaBanjer Feb 9, 2014
  • "String Peace"String Peace is a project-driven think tank established by middle school students in search of creative solutions to challenging world issues. Each year think tank members tackle one new world-changing project. The founding think tank members are graduates of Children’s Culture Connection (CCC)*** curriculum programs where they developed a strong understanding of current world issues.students share videos and stories with students in Afghanistan. Students at Saint Andrew's Middle school in Boca Raton, Florida have encouraged a network of schools from all over the world in the Round Square Organization to get involved.http://www.stringpeace.org lisagustinelli- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 9, 2014
  • Rock Our World / Flick it On - media creation through collaboration across schools - karen.melhuish.spencer karen.melhuish.spencer Feb 9, 2014~

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