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Collaborating on Collaboration. K. Burrell A. Fazio A . Pepenella Saturday May 14, 2011 – 5P42. Agenda. Introductions What is collaboration? Collaboration as an effective way of learning Collaborative assessment Making use of technology and space Collaborative activities and models

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Collaborating on Collaboration

K. Burrell

A. Fazio

A. Pepenella

Saturday May 14, 2011 – 5P42


  • Introductions

  • What is collaboration?

  • Collaboration as an effective way of learning

  • Collaborative assessment

  • Making use of technology and space

  • Collaborative activities and models

  • Application activity

  • Conclusion

What is collaboration?

  • Placemat Exercise

col·lab·o·ra·tion (n)

  • typically working together with one or more people in order to achieve something

  • methodologies and environments where learners engage in a common task

  • each party is dependent on and accountable to the other in varying degrees

  • usually as group work to:

    • search for understanding, meaning, solutions, or to produce something about their learning

  • reorganizes typical student-teacher roles

  • can include:

    • writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debate, study groups, others

  • Educause: Learning

Think about it…

What is your greatest concern about teaching collaboratively?


Think about the following statement:

In your experience, collaboration with others is an effective way of learning.



2. Move to the area of the room where the sign is placed which indicates your stance and wait for further instruction.


  • In your corner divide into groups of 2-4.

  • In your groups of 2-4, discuss why you made the decision to stand there (you have approximately three minutes).

  • Be prepared to share your own response or your group’s response(s).

FOUR CORNERS ACTIVITY: Activity Conclusion

  • Move back to where you were originally sitting.

  • Share your responses with the class.


  • What did you like/dislike about this method of collaborative learning?

  • Could you use this where you work?

  • Where do you think this would be most appropriate?

Collaborative Assessment

According to Black & William (1998) there is a considerable evidence that assessment, when practised effectively, can improve student learning.

Collaborative Assessment

Collaborative Assessment

  • “Assessment for learning”

  • learning is defined as ‘meaning-making’ rather than ‘acquiring’ information

  • Formative assessment as "practice."

  • Collaborative Assessments are Formative Assessments

  • Used specifically to enhance learning processes or performances, rather than just measure them.

    (Watkins, 2004; Hargreaves, 2007)

Collaborative AssessmentThe Process


In the moment observations

Questioning strategies

Self and peer assessment

Group assessment

Student record keeping

Grading for attendance

Reflection assignments

Application projects

Interplay of private and public reflection

Behaviours (Increase)

Applying knowledge

Learning to learn

Problem solving

Awareness of self

Communication fluency

Making sound moral judgements

Active, involved, exploratory

Performance in formal exams

Positive attitude towards course content

Collaborative AssessmentMethods

(Garrison, 2011; ARG, 2002; Watkins, 2001; Watkins, 2004)

Collaborative AssessmentConsiderations

(Webcast, D. Reeves)

  • Goals the educator intends to reach

  • Consequences of the evaluation

  • Assessment could be subjective

  • Generally summative assessment is applied to collaborative learning environment

  • Consistency with Learning objectives, learning environment & learning assessment

  • According to Douglas Reeves defines it as: intellectually and emotionally demanding

  • The enemy is never each other – the enemy is ambiguity

Collaborative AssessmentValidity

(Hargreaves, 2007)

High degree of validity if the following conditions are met:

  • the assessment for learning actually leads to further learning of a kind that is consistent with other social values

  • the form and content of the assessment for learning reflects and encourages valuable learning

  • the assessment is an inquiry rather than a measurement

  • classroom conditions are conducive to valuable learning

Collaborative AssessmentTeacher Moderation

  • Powerful to improve instruction practice

  • Benefits:

    • Consistency & Reliability

    • Collaborative planning

    • Fairness and Equity

    • Alignment of Instruction (plan with the end in mind)

  • Moderation Process vs. Independent Assessment

  • Creating a Culture of Trust and Productive conflict

  • Importance of Common Assessments

  • Collaborative AssessmentTeacher Moderation - Roles

    (Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat, 2007).

    Collaborative Assessment

    Think about it…

    Rate your level of expertise (low, medium, high, no experience) with the following:

    •  classroom technologies (computer, projector, whiteboard, document viewer, clickers, etc.)

    • online web tools (blogs, wikis, social networking, Google apps, etc.)

    • learning management systems (Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Sakai, Moodle, etc.)

    • What technologies have you used to support collaborative learning?


    • there are many opportunities to utilize technology for collaboration in & out of the classroom

    • often requires account setup with username and password

    • often limited to the tools available based on learner’s experience to keep it contained to a few sites


    • Online Polling and Surveys

    • Wikis

    • Social Networking

    • Video

    • Blogging

    • Document Sharing

    • Skype


    • configuration, outfitting & accessibility can promote or prevent successful collaboration activities

    • know what is appropriate and in what space

    • you don’t NEED technology to be collaborative

      • space and facilities requirements for collaborative work are more specialized

      • many spaces, especially classrooms, were not designed with collaborative activities in mind


    3 categories of learning spaces


    COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Activities and Models

    Some examples of Collaborative Learning are:

    • Placemat

    • Four Corners

    • Think Pair Share

    • Jigsaw

    • Round Table (Round Robin)

    • Double Entry Journal

      *There are many other CL Activities and Models to consider. (See: Bennett & Rolheiser, 2001 and our wiki link [referenced on your handout] for more details)

    COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Activities and Models


    • A question is posed.

    • Think about how you would respond to the question posed.

    • Pair up with someone and discuss your thoughts.

    • Open up discussion to the group and share your thoughts.

    COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Activities and Models

    • For example, let’s use Think Pair share to respond to the following:

      “what is your favourite type of comfort food?”

    COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Activities and Models


    • Groups of 5-6 work best.

    • Divide up a lesson, strategy, etc., into 5-6 parts. Each person in responsible for becoming an expert on one segment of information in each group (allow sufficient time to do so).

    • Each expert is to share their own segment’s information with the others in their group.

      * I find this activity works best when there is a template which can be filled in by each person.

    COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Activities and Models


    • A question is posed to people seated in groups who have a piece of paper and a marker/pen.

    • The first person shares their thoughts and jots down their response passing the sheet to the next person who then shares their thoughts, jots them down, etc., etc., until the facilitator stops the activity.

    • Groups are called upon to share their responses and then similarities and differences can be noted.

    COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Activities and Models

    DOUBLE ENTRY JOURNAL (an example)

    • This information can then be shared in pairs and/or large group setting to become aware of the different interpretations and insights people gain from the same reading material.

    The Marshmallow Experiment

    • Your task is to build the tallest freestanding structure in 15 minutes.

    • The successful team will be the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling, or chandelier.

    The Rules

    • The Marshmallow Must be on Top:

      • The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.

    • Use as Much or as Little of the Kit:

      • The team can use as many or as few of the 20 spaghetti sticks, as much or as little of the string or tape. The team cannot use the paper bag as part of their structure.

    • Break up the Spaghetti, String or Tape:

      • Teams are free to break the spaghetti, cut up the tape and string to create new structures.

    • The Activity Lasts 15 minutes:

      • Teams must not be holding on to the structure when the time runs out.

    Final Thoughts…

    67% of our students learn best actively, yet many lectures are passive.

    69% of our students are visual, yet we often choose primarily verbal material.

    28% of our students think globally, so we can help them more with the ‘big picture’.

    (Cassidy, 2005, p. 13)

    Check out our Wiki:

    Feel free to add resources to it as well!


    Assessment Reform Group (ARG) (2002) Assessment for learning: 10 principles. Available online at: (accessed 12 May 2011).

    Bennett, B., and Rolheiser, C. (2001). Beyond Monet: The Artful Science of Instructional Integration. Toronto, Canada: Bookation Inc.

    Cassidy, A. (2005). Problem-based Learning, Collaborative Learning, Problem-solving and Use of Cases to Enhance Learning: What’s it all about? Retrieved May 8, 2011 from

    Collaborative Learning Workshop. Retrieved May 8, 2011 from

    Garrison, C. National Middle School Association, Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom. Retrieved May 10, 2011 from

    Hargreaves, E., (2007). 'The validity of collaborative assessment for learning', Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 14: 2, 185 — 199.

    Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat (2007). Teacher Moderation: Collaboration Assessment of Student Work (Special Edition #2).

    Lomas, C., Burke, M., and Page, C. L. (2008) Collaboration Tools, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative advanced learning through IT innovation. Retrieved May 8, 2011 from

    Teach Science for All. Retrieved May 9, 2011 from

    The Principal’s Office. Retrieved May 9, 2011 from

    Watkins, C. (2004) Classrooms as learning communities, NSIN Research Matters, 24.

    Watkins, C. with Carnell, E., Lodge, C., Wagner, P. & Whalley, C. (2001) Learning about learning enhances performance, NSIN Research Matters, 13.

    Webcast: Collaborative Scoring of Student Work

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