Simple, yet profound. Few great achievements have been accomplished individually. They are usually the work of collaboration. Everyone contributes to the achievement of the team. Likewise, education requires every one working together to achieve success. All members of the community work together for student growth and learning.
Collaborative efforts allow students and staff to use the collective knowledge of the group to build everyone’s capacity for learning. Tools for collaboration allow students and staff to work together, share reflections, and create work product.
Google Drive is one of the most popular collaborative tools because of the ease of use and document sharing possibilities. Documents can be shared with others, so multiple people can be working on the same document at the same time. I have had students collaborate on a Google Presentation, worked with staff on updating curriculum in a Google Document, and used Google Forms to receive feedback from staff, students, and parents.
Google Drive provides great opportunities for writing collaborative stories, creating group presentations, and peer editing. Different Google Apps can be added to your drive that allow you to insert and use rubrics for grading and place voice comments. In my college classes, I use Google Drive to check in weekly with students to see what topics they understand and which ones they are struggling to grasp. This allows students to share privately and refleect on their learning. I can then tailor the class to limit discussion of topics with which students are comfortable and I can provide more support in areas where students are struggling.
Another example of a collaborative tool is Padlet. Padlet acts like a posterboard with participants posting comments, much like placing Post-It Notes on the posterboard. I have used it, as a participant, in various PD settings. This is an example of my first Padlet that I created with the help of co-workers and members of one of my Voxer groups.
I like how Padlet can be used anytime and anyplace, as long as an Internet connection is available. This allowed me to share the link and invite others to join. People for all over North America were able to share as long as they had the link. We did not all have to be sitting in the same room.
If I were to do this assignment again, I would be more specific about the directions. Being specific would create the potential for more uniform posts. I believe this would be of particuular importance when working with students. I believe they would be less likely to write the longer posts, but they may have some of the smaller posts.
Padlet provides opportunities to activate prior knowledge and check for understanding. By using Padlet, you can have students place share their learning. When reading a class novel, students could make predictions about the upcoming chapters. Additionally, you could have smaller groups create specific ‘poster boards’ for their novel or a specific component of the learning activity. With the moderating feature, the Padlet could be used to have staff or students recognize students and broadcast to the class or school.
I look forward to continuing to utilize these two apps and others for collaborative learning and planning.
If you have used these apps, please share how you have used these apps or let us know about other tools for collaborative learning inn the comments. Or you can email me at email@example.com.