Ten things #5 – Collaboration

This is the fifth of the ‘ten things’ I discussed in my talk at TMClevedon

One of the ways in which technology allows us to do genuinely different things (as opposed to a digital version of the same thing) is in the way that we can collaborate. If you ask my Mum the best piece of technology in the last 20 years and she’ll probably tell you that it’s either the text message or Skype. It let’s her see her Grandchildren (and children for that matter) without having to be in the same physical location. If it’s unblocked in your school, Skype can provide a great way of bringing experts from around the world into your classroom.

Another form of collaboration is the ability for multiple users to be able to edit the same document at the same times, regardless of whether they’re sat next to each other, or on the other side of the world. We’re a Google Apps school, so we’ve got access to both Google Docs and Google Sites that are allowing an ever greater collocation between staff (for example of preparing or sharing schemes of work), between students (now a group slideshow really is, rather than just the Powerpoint that the most contentious one put together) and even between staff and students.

If if you don’t have access to Google stuff, sites like wikispaces allow teachers to create spaces for students to work together to create something themselves under supervision. This, combined with the opportunity to present the work to a genuine audience can lead to great new learning opportunities that simply didn’t exist 10 years ago.

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