Collaborative teaching and learning
... Angeliki and I work as a primary school teacher in 1st Experimental Primary School, in Alexandroupolis, NorthEast Greece. I am a life long learner and you can often meet me in MOOCs and eTwining Leaarning Events, Webinars, online and onsite seminars where I'm trying to learn new things to refresh my teaching methods.
ahhh...and this is me, according to the trading card
...this is my school!!
I teach in 1rst Exmerimental Primary school for about 12 years now. It is the school that I started years ago...as a pupil....
My school's building is one of the greatest and oldest classical buildings of Alexandroupolis. It is the building of the Academy of Pedagogical Studies which took the name from the donor George Zarifis.
My school's main purpose is to become a vibrant learning organization, a creative community of students, teachers, parents, and knowledge.
In this school attend pupils aged 7-12 years old and from 1rst till 6th grade. During the day pupils learn about Greek language, grammar and literature, math's, history, science, geography and they are doing religious lessons. Pupils are also learning English, German and French. They learn simple things about computers and web tools in the school computer lab. During the week they have the chance to come in contact with arts: they attend music course and they have the opportunity to express ourselves through theater and painting. They are also doing gym. After the formal program pupils have also the chance to attend courses in learning clubs.
My school is near the sea, in Alexandroupolis...the same is my home...
Course timeline and events
1. What is Collaborative learning?
1.1 What is collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning is for me a group centred process during which pupils work together to achieve common goals developing at the same time skills like to be able to listen their mates, to persuade and negotiate, to present, to evaluate.
1.2 Collaborative learning in a flexible classroom
I must admit that unfortunately my classroom is not as flexible as I would like to be. Furniture arrangements are made to facilitate my pupils to work sometimes in pairs and very often in groups of 4. They also use the computer lab to work in pairs but in the classroom, when is needed, we use tablets, 1 per group, to create video or presentations. As for the online collaborative tools we use them often while developing eTwinning projects. We use for example TitanPad or zooburst to write a story, a song or google forms, answergarden to vote.
1.3 Collaborative learning through project-based learning
I often carry out projects in my classrooms during which pupils have to work in groups and achieve common goals. We use technology to support our work, either computers and tablets. Pupils do like to work in groups. We discuss also the positive and negative results of the group work. Pupils are very serious when discussing the pros and cons of their group work and they try to avoid the negative ones in their next project.
1.4 A foreign language teacher’s experience of collaborative learning
The management of pupils’ behavior is very important for me while developing a project. I try to move around and facilitate them in order to achieve equal members’ participation and work in groups. When discussing the pros and cons of collaborative work and product, seems that they can figure out who worked and who didn’t. As for the tools mentioned in the video I used almost all of them and some others while developing my eTwinning projects.
1.5 A History & Geography teacher’s experience of collaborative learning
As a lot of colleagues pointed out here, collaboration between teachers is difficult because a lot of them are not willing to leave the “comfort zone”. But when it happens, when we have interdisciplinary approach of a project’s topic, then the result is really good. I have this kind of experience either in National and eTwinning projects. I often collaborate with the gym, the music or the art teacher and pupils really enjoy it. We should make this question to ourselves: how can we ask from our pupils to collaborate when we, as teachers, don’t dare to risk it? As for the pupils I often notice that some of them are willing to do the task while others in the group are too lazy to follow. I think that the big challenge is to achieve equal contribution from all members participating in the group.
1.6 Learning Activity
Low level collaboration:
Pupils worked in pairs to make food mascots from recycled materials.
High level collaboration:
Pupils worked in transnational teams in an eTwinning project, searched for information during a web quest concerning bees and upload their products in common padlets.
1.7 Resource Section
2. How can you design collaborative learning in the classroom?
2.2 Embedding collaborative learning into lesson design
Important collaboration skilles of:
- conflict resolution
- agreement on what must be done
- distribution of tasks
- listening to the ideas of others
- integration of ideas in a coherent whole
Having collaborative skills as Dr. Butler mentioned is not a personality trait. I strongly believe that it is something that we should learn how to do it as well as to design learning activities to help our pupils do it. Technology supports us with tools to achieve our goals while collaborating.
2.3 The 4 Collaboration Questions
What are the big ideas in collaboration?
- Are they working together? Students work together when the activities requiers them to work in pairs or groups to:
- discuss an issue
- solve a problem
- create a product
Students work inpairs or groups might also include people outside the classroom. 1. Students in other classes
2. Students from other schools
3. Community members
- Do they have shared responsibility? Students have shared responsibility when they work in pairs or groups to develop a:
- common project
Learners have to collectively own the work, and being mutually responsible for its outcomes.
- Do they make substantive decisions? Students make substantive decisions when they have to resolve important issues that will guide their work together concerning the conent, the process, or the product of the work.
- Is their work interdependent?
These 4 questions mentioned by Dr. Butler are very useful in designing collaborative activities. We should have them in mind every time we focus on developing collaborative skills with our pupils. I use to observe them while working in groups and have in mind if they share responsibilities, if they try to work together to solve a problem or to product something.
2.4 21 CLD Collaboration Rubric
The rubric mentioned by Dr. Butler is very useful because it helps us evaluate the collaborative activity in which our pupils work on. To tell the truth I haven’t used such a rubric before although I prepared one during a MOOC I attended. When I design a collaborative activity I usually observe my students how do they carry out it and see also the results.
2.5 Collaborative learning scenarios
Very useful scenarios and template!! I used these steps of the template in an EUN MOOCin the past, while designing my Learning Activity using the Learning Designer tool.
2.6 Module 2 Learning Activity
Learning Activities (Module: 1.6)
Low level collacoration
I believe that the code in low level collaboration activity is 3 because pupils worked in pairs to make food mascots from recycled materials but their work wasn’t interdependent, meaning that the work wasn’t carry out by all of them and they didn’t make substantive decisions together.
High level Collaboration
On the contrary the code in high level collaboration activity is 5 because pupils worked transnational teams in an eTwinning project, searched for information during a web quest concerning bees and upload their products in common padlets. Their work was interdependent reaching the goals while working collaboratively.
2.7 OPTIONAL Peer Review activity
"Lovely Learning Diary! I saw the low and high level collaboration activities from Module 1.6 and 2.6. I think you chose coorect code 3 for collaboration activity in low level collaboration.Also the code 5 for high level collaboration is perfect for an eTwinning project,cose pupils worked transnational teams and they work collaboratively." Adina Macu
"I agree with you about the code you assigned to the learning activities you realized in your class. Reading your learning diary has been an interesting experience. It is always useful to know how other colleagues from other countries work!" Nicola Spoto
"I really appreciate your LD with your ideas and suggestions. I'm and Italian teacher of English as a foreign language living in South Italy. As for the reviews, I think that the codes you assigned to your LA are right. Very good jobs! I only remained with the curiosity of knowing more about the two activities you set up in your classroom and have a more detailed canvas, not for the review in itself, but as a source of inspiration and hints for future PBL, especially about the collaborative work about the bees' life, as my father owns them." Chiara Torchia
2.8 Module 2 Resource Section
6 Example Learning Senarios
3.3 Assessment for improving collaborative learning
Strengthening the improvement of learning collaboratively....
Αssessment needs to make learnerstake responsibility for their own learning by:
- helping to regulate their efforts
- identify their strengths and weaknesses
- enable them to seek help in order to overcome difficulties
- encourage students to learn collaboratively and not encourage competition
- contribute to a collective conscience
- encourage students to benefit from thisprocess
We should keep in mind that:
- feedback about assessment must be brief, clear and timely
- self-assessment and peer assessment can be fast, timely and objective
When we assess collaborative learning, we must take into concideration if:
- it is implemented in parallel with learning activities
- it uses the same language used by group participants
- it is conducted diplomaticallyso as not to create obstacles in the social relationship of the group
Αssessment has to be useful for learning!!
There are 3 types of assessment:
- can help to improve teaching strategies and students’study
- provides very contextualized feedback both to students individually and to groups,as well as to their teachers
- Simple assessment tools
- importance of the selected assessment tools
- acknowledge of their value
- immediate feedback with direct effect on the learning process
- should focus on individuals and their commitment, motivation, engagement in teamwork and their ability to achieve personal goals
- group goals can be formulated
- provide a formal academic record of students’ learning progress
- establish proficiency levels
3.4 : A sports teacher's experience of assessing collaborative learning
The sport teacher refers:
"I had to make the evaluation in each group using three different factors: individual performance, group performance and the group’s functionality. As far as the first part is concerned, the assessment took place on both the written outcome and the music performance. During the writing process I walked between groups overseeing their writings discreetly, trying to see if they satisfied the requirements of poetic forms and guiding them, if necessary, through advisory feedback.
At the end of the presentation, a discussion followed at plenary level. I made questions, which helped students to implement a peer assessment, such as:
- What point did you like most in the other group’s presentation?
- Did you find something different in their performance?
- What would you keep from their presentation?
- Which would you like to use yourself in a future performance?
This worked really well with the children. What is amazing here is that they didn’t only receive positive feedback with satisfaction but they also accepted negative feedback not as an arid critical statement but as a step that will make them better by improving their subsequent performance and practice."
Further more she made questions like:
- Did you devise a plan before starting to work?
- What difficulties did you experience that you didn’t expect?
- Is there something you would change if you could start from the beginning?
"Each student completed a self-assessment sheet to evaluate his/her personal contribution to the group functionality:
- Did I participate in an active way providing information and ideas for my group?
- Did I listen carefully to what the other members suggested?
- Did I applaud and encourage the efforts of other members?
- Did I do something to alleviate the tension and the conflicts within the team?"
I believe that either self or group assessment could be very useful to us if we want to evaluate the group work as well as the learning outcomes. The questions that the gym teacher made to be used from pupils could be very useful to us while make an evaluation sheet, like a rubric or a questionnaire. These questions, in my opinion, are not so difficult to be answered from pupils even at the primary level of education.
3.5 An ICT teacher’s experience of assessing collaborative learning
"Digital eXplorers was my first eTwnning Project.....n this project we implemented formative and summative assessment methodologies supported by Web 2.0 applications:Prior to the implementation of the project, we developed a checklist with several rubrics for assessing students about these items of our project: creativity, autonomy, cooperation, quality of work and presentation of the project. These items were presented to students at the beginning of the project.A numeric scale from 5/Very Good to 1/Very Poor was used which allowed teachers to assign a grade to each student involved in the project.
SMART was my second eTwinning project. During this project we used several assessment methods:Individual assessment was done by the analysis and observation of the work carried out by the students and by their participation and contribution to the project. Students prepared and maintained individual portfolios, using Lino and Padlet applications.Students were organized into small working groups, and asked to perform collaborative tasks. Peer review was done by students in collaboration with their partners.For this purpose we used TeamUp, an application that facilitates the organization and management of small group assessment: TeamUp allows the publication of materials produced by each group of students, which are then made available for review by the other groups of students.TeamUp records students’ group work through audio transcripts, which can be used for the presentation of their conclusions. I can identify the following benefits of collaborative learning assessment:
- It is a student-centered process
- Promotes students involvement in the assessment tasks
- Promotes students responsibility and motivation towards the learning process
- Promotes self-reflection and students argumentation
- Students can learn socially from each other
- Promotes digital literacy through the use of digital web 2.0 applications
- Promotes development of 21st century skills and competences"
I totally agree with what it is said by Antonio. As an active eTwinner I develop projects throughout the curriculum of a primary school and very often my pupils have to work in groups as well as in transnational teams where they have to collaborate with classmates from abroad. Of course I agree with the 7 mentioned benefits as I do agree that web tools offer us a support while planning activities and also evaluate them. As for he challenges mentioned, it is something that we should have in mind while developing projects either in National and International level.
3.6 Collaborative learning and student peer reviews
As Anna mentioned I often leave my pupils free to decide who they would like to work with and help each team to set up members’ role because I believe that good collaboration starts even from this very beginning. I also agree with her about the random picking of peer reviewers and when it comes for evaluation concerning the collaborative work and results I use padlets, googleforms, kahoot and answergardens.
3.7 Collaborative learning - What to assess and how?
I made my first rubrics about a MOOC that I attended but I never used rubrics before to evaluate my pupils because I often use padlets, googleforms, kahoot and answergardens to do it so. When developing eTwinning projects I try to involve my pupils in evaluation by asking them to write words of emotions about the project or to form questions. After words I use these questions in google forms in order to make a questionnaire and send it to them.
3.8 Answers to teachers’ questions on assessing collaborative learning
I often give my pupils the role of assessor and it seems that they find it interesting and serious because they try to focus more on the learning procedure. I usually observe them acting like teachers and this seems to empower them.
3.10 Resource Section
3.11 "Questions and Answers" Session with Prof. Deirdre Butler!
4.2 A primary school teacher’s experience of teacher collaboration
- Teach and Reteach
- Simultaneous Teaching
- Supplemental Teaching
Co-teaching Rotation model:
- 2 teachers alternating betweeen presenting and supporting roles
- older pupils taking the teacher's role
- pupils of different ages to work together
"Successful teacher collaboration begins with finding time to connect with colleagues, remaining open, sharing thoughts, and being ready to provide support."
I think “co-teaching rotation” model is an interesting and challenging way of teaching and in order to be successful, teachers should always be open minded, ready to share their thoughts, to collaborate and offer support. As I work in an experimental school this year we decided to implement to co-teaching rotation model for the first time in two classes with two teachers in each class and we are waiting to see how it works. I have to mention also that the last two years I have the chance to co-teach with students from the Pedagogical department of the local University who are making their training. It is an interesting experience, because we have to collaborate on the topics we are going to present and of course during the lesson to give the best of our selves. I have to say that it is also a good chance for professional development for both of us.
4.3 A secondary teacher’s experience of teacher collaboration
According to ISTE standards, teachers should:
Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
Participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning
Develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital age communication and collaboration tools
As an addicted eTwinner five years now, I often collaborate with colleagues from abroad to develop projects about several topics, because I believe that this kind of collaboration is an inspiring way to teach our pupils. I also use social networks mentioned in the video such as Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn which helped me a lot in my professional development and show me the way to follow different paths than gossiping….
4.4 The benefits and challenges of teacher collaboration
- Collaborate to design a task together
- Build effective community of practice among students and teachers
- Teachers become effective modeller of collaboration
What are the challenges of teacher collaboration?
- Finding time for teacher collaboration
- Explore digital tools for collaboration
- Build-in collaboration opportunities during school day
- Need a support school culture
- Collaboration across subjects and themes
- Build-in collaboration opportunities outside of school day
I often collaborate with my colleagues at school when developing a project or being member of specialist in school clubs and I find it interesting and challenging at the same time. On the other hand as an addicted eTwinner I often collaborate with teachers from abroad when developing projects or participating in Learning Events and carrying out several tasks. I have to say that I learned a lot of things both on teaching methods and web tools.
4.5 Skills and conditions needed for teacher collaboration
Skills needed by teachers to effectively collaborate with other teachers:
- Ethical dimension
- Personal skills
- Emotional skills
- Psycological skills
- Groundwork needed ahead of time
- Leadership skills
- Shared responsibility
- Move beyond the sharing
Conditions needed for teacher collaboration in the classroom environment
- Space in the curriculum
- Time for:
- building team skills
- getting to know team members
- building trust
I agree with the list of skills mentioned in order to have effective collaboration among teachers. I could add also patience and positive attitude if needed. In my school I often collaborate with other teachers, especially the ones from subjects like art, music, gym or ICT and our head teacher gives us space to do it so. In fact I could say that he encourages us to collaborate with each other.
4.6 How technology can facilitate teacher collaboration
I often use technology to collaborate both with my colleagues and my pupils. Web 2.0 tools like TitanPad, padlet, googledocs and a lot of others give us the chance to collaborate and share ideas and of course the safe environment in Twinspace platform or in Edmodo provides the place to expand it.
4.7 Irish teachers’ reflections on teacher collaboration
Although it is difficult to find extra time to collaborate with other colleagues within the school day, I try to do it so almost every day, discussing things that we should do concerning an idea or a project to develop. I collaborate also with my colleagues using google forms to share ideas or exchanging mails. As for the collaboration with other teachers from abroad, eTwinning platform with adobe connect or eTwinning projects give me the chance to collaborate and benefit from it.
4.8a Learning Activity
My lesson Plan for the Learning Activity of this module was made according to the Driving question: Were "green" little humans ever existed?
I made it using the Learning Designer tool and you can find it by following the link: https://v.gd/qdRj6x
or pressing the following button: