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Collaborative Learning Environments

Collaborative Learning Environments. Jaunine Fouche Igino Sabucco Rebecca Streetman Cory Valentine. EDUC 730 Dr. Holder Liberty University Summer 2011. Collaborative Environments.

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Collaborative Learning Environments

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  1. Collaborative Learning Environments Jaunine Fouche Igino Sabucco Rebecca Streetman Cory Valentine EDUC 730 Dr. Holder Liberty University Summer 2011

  2. Collaborative Environments • “Collaborative environments are online spaces where the focus is on making it easy to collaborate and work in groups, no matter where the participants may be” Horizon Report 2010 K-12 Edition

  3. Why Collaborate? • Students and teachers are now interacting from different locations at different times • Studies suggest that seeing and reading other group members’ ideas is thought to lead to mutual cognitive stimulation • There are indicators that this style of learning better reflects the real-world business environment; thus, it prepares students for the workplace • global organizations working across time zones • strict deadlines in the business world

  4. Theoretical Impact • Dewey • Reflective inquiry • Community • Vygotsky • Knowledge construction occurs through reflective thinking • Communication and collaboration with others

  5. Socialization • Pre-requisite for effective collaboration • Also the outcome of collaboration • Persistent throughout entire process • Studies indicate that a simple icebreaker at the beginning of the process may not be sufficient in developing and maintaining mutual trust and social presence

  6. Theoretical Framework Community of Inquiry (COI)

  7. Explanation for Framework • Prior research focused only on social presence • Teaching and learning elements must be included as well

  8. Knowledge Creation Process • Socialization • Externalization • Combination • Internalization

  9. Elements of a CLE • Different verbiage within literature, but all agree that certain elements should be evaluated: • Individual participation • Interaction among group members • Social cues • Cognitive skills • Meta-cognitive skills & knowledge

  10. How to Structure Collaborative Environments • In order to be effective, teachers should structure CLEs to include: • Basic clarifications and identification of relevant elements (the problem is identified) • In-depth clarifications where a deeper understanding of the problem is established • Inference where deductions are made in regards to solving the problem • Judgment where the decision has been made • Applications where action occurs

  11. Designed with Assessment in Mind • Teachers should design CLEs so that results can be easily translated into quantitative indicators • Easy to acquire • Avoid delays in mail delivery • Easy to process • Needs to allow for immediate feedback

  12. Specifics • Teachers should not just look at participation alone: • Extent of participation • Attitude • Extent of roles • Rhythm (regular participation) • Reciprocal readings • Depth development • Responsiveness to contributions • conclusiveness

  13. The Missing Pieces • Much of the literature suggests assigning roles to group members: • “there is a clear benefit to having a defined management structure, with a precise division of tasks” (Gosper, McNeill, & Woo, 2010) • the project “in this case would have clearly identified roles for easy allocation according to member strengths” (Jones, 2010) • But none of the literature we found indicates how to go about structuring those groups

  14. Elements of an Effective Group • Comfortable social atmosphere • Regular group involvement from all members • Consideration of other group members

  15. Blended Format • Some of the literature indicates that the most successful CLEs consists of a good mix of the following: • Face-to-face meetings • Online collaboration • Asynchronous discussions

  16. Face-to-Face (F2F) • Something worth noting is that the literature actually indicates that a blended format is best. • Studies have shown that F2F meetings at certain phases are critical • Synchronous interactions add a human touch that can be missed otherwise

  17. Evolving Process • Also consistent throughout the literature is the fact that establishing success factors does not happen automatically nor is it predetermined at the onset of a project. They must be nurtured in order to evolve throughout the process and are based on the dedication and cooperation of all team members.

  18. Teacher’s Role • Establish clear indicators of success • Distribute information to students on a regular basis • Provide individualized responses to bridge gaps • Assist in creating mutual trust among all students • Identify experts within each group • Ensure participation and interactivity

  19. Initiating the Project • Determine the nature and scope of project • Understand environment • Identify students and their expectations (know your customer) • Establish diverse groups • Have clearly defined goals and align these with agendas • Strict deadlines should be built into the project

  20. A Teacher’s Work is Never Done • An effective teacher should monitor throughout the entire process • Identify risk factors and develop strategies to manage these risks • Utilize tools which are equipped with effective interaction management scaffolds (monitoring instruments)

  21. Misconceptions

  22. Trouble-Shooting • If there are problems within a group, the instructor may need to step in • Send encouraging messages • Identify obstacles that may be preventing participation • Rotate roles within group

  23. Project Management Methodology • Plan • Execute • Monitor • Problem-solve • Closure

  24. Incorporating Technology • Consistently, throughout the literature, studies have proven that technologies play a major role in contributing to the success of CLEs • Helps to facilitate regular communication • Overcomes distance barriers • Keeps instructors up-to-date on progress

  25. Selecting Technology Tools • Teachers must carefully select the technology tools to be used • Should be driven by the needs of the learner and context of learning • Should be designed to help students scaffold each other’s learning • Cost of technology (purchases, maintenance, security) should not compromise availability of support staff

  26. Technology for CLEs

  27. Key Technologies • Virtual Environments • Shared Document Editors • Social Media • Collaborative Multimedia

  28. Virtual Environments • Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs) provide virtual space in which users can collaborate and interact through avatars in computer simulated environments. • Examples: Second Life, Active Worlds, and Whyville

  29. Second Life • New York middle school students entered Second Life to create avatars based on characters from a novel about the American Revolution. After the design and description of their avatars, they interacted with characters from other novels. • (Weir, n.d)

  30. Pros & Cons • Benefits • Cross-cultural interaction increases intersubjectivity • Students engage more freely in CVEs, pool knowledge and resources within the group context, and create final products with contain fewer errors • Most CVE allow groups to meet in private learning areas • Challenges • Time constraints • In some cases, students felt learning to navigate CVE difficult and distracting from the learning process

  31. Shared Document Editors • Shared document editors allow for collaboration on single products. • Examples: Google Docs, EtherPad, wikis, and group blogging

  32. Showdocument.com This shared document editor exemplifies some of the key features of this type of technology. http://www.tothetech.com/tools-and-utilities/online-file-sharing-and-net-meeting-in-one-place.html

  33. Pros & Cons • Benefits • Production of higher quality documents • Increased student engagement and reflection • Challenges • Reluctance to edit another user’s work • Students with higher digital competence felt more positive about the technology than those with less digital competence

  34. Social Media • Social media facilitates the connection to like-minded users and the sharing of knowledge across distances. • Examples: Video conferencing (Skype, Google video chat); and FaceBook, Ning, and Google+

  35. Real-time Communication Using Skype Sharing vital information with incoming students on facebook http://blogs.miis.edu/recruiting/2010/03/02/new-facebook-group-for-incoming-students/

  36. Pros & Cons • Benefits • Online social interaction engages cognitive processes with potential to advance academic achievement • Video conferencing provides real-time, “face-to-face” interaction • Social media sites allow students to interact with those of like educational interests through “groups” • Challenges • Legal issues arise regarding the public sharing of student information • The “social” aspect of social media can be a distraction from the learning process

  37. Collaborative Multimedia • Technology that allows the creation of products expressing content through video, audio, graphics, and other digital media. • Glogster and TeacherTube/Youtube

  38. Digital Posters This glog about the “Sharks of Virginia” includes interactive images that link users to a website providing more information about each shark.

  39. Pros & Cons • Benefits • Creative expression and blending of content through various forms of multimedia • Challenges • Accessibility and site navigation

  40. Assessment in CLEs

  41. Types of Assessment • General types: • Assessment of the CLE itself • Student self-assessment • Peer to peer assessment • Instructor to student assessment • All are important, but the last three are most critical to evaluate learning

  42. Engaging Students • Engagement is: • critical to effective CLEs in which deep learning occurs (Community of Inquiry model) • enhanced when assessment is used • drops off when assessment is over

  43. Effective Assessments • Assessing learning: • Process (measure of purposeful collaboration skills) • Product (measure of co-created content) • Most effective assessment is: • Varied (form./summ. and types) • Timely • Consists of feedback (targeted, constructive, substantive) and grades • Has numerous opportunities for self, peer, and instructor components

  44. Benefits • Assessment is easier in CLE because: • Interactions within the CLE are trackable • Data collection methods and programs can be used to analyze interaction patterns and responses • Conventional assessment results (e.g. – tests, quizzes) can be given to students automatically and immediately • “tools and resources [in CLE] provide an easier and more effective system to conduct problem-based assessment because of the emphasis on interactive, formative and continuous assessment” (Moallem, 2009)

  45. Example of Measurement Tool

  46. Drawbacks • Assessment is harder in CLE because: • Interactions outside of the CLE are not trackable • More difficult to assess equality of contributions • Authentic, problem-based assessment requires: • Formative as well as summative components • Additional time on part of instructor • Use of philosophical constructs, instructional components, & assessment strategies that instructor may not be familiar with or comfortable using • Rubric creation is much more complex

  47. Gaps & Future Research • Gaps and areas for future research: • Peer assessment empirical studies in educational contexts are rare; makes designing more effective peer assessment challenging (Van Zundert, Sluijsmans, & Van Merriënboer, 2010) • Processes and terminology regarding assessment components and designs are yet to be agreed upon across the literature

  48. Gaps & Future Research • Gaps and areas for future research: • Parallel research is needed in related fields to bolster findings and deepen understanding • Assessment is limited by currently used formats that assign “jobs” or “job descriptions” to students; If roles were able to be left more open-ended, and students would still engage, more authentic assessment scenarios with shared responsibility may occur – true collaboration & self-regulation

  49. Gaps & Future Research • Gaps and areas for future research : • Methods for assessing deep learning may conflict with current focus in education • closed product vs. open-ended inquiry/problem-solving • Assessment for learning vs. assessment for grading • Studies that explore student engagement and its impact on the quality of peer assessment are needed (e.g. - motivational, emotional, competency); these factors may be difficult to study empirically; may need qualitative studies

  50. Gaps & Future Research • Gaps and areas for future research: • Impact of self- and co-regulation on assessment performance (process and product outcomes) quality needs to be examined • Underlying theoretical framework (e.g. – CoI) research is needed to better explain interaction of learner presence and assessment performance (process and product outcomes) quality

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