Distance Learning Sparked Tech-Driven Collaboration
The distance-learning approach laid the groundwork for a more technologically driven education sector. Teachers had to adapt and incorporate more tech tools to maintain some form of collaborative learning. Now, they’re better equipped to use technology to foster greater collaboration among students.
Online learning tools, such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, were widely adopted to maintain collaborative learning environments at home. These tools allowed students to work together on shared documents and communicate easily with their peers and educators. Virtual breakout rooms also became part of the learning experience, allowing students to break off into smaller groups to collaborate on a piece of work or project, enabling a more engaging peer-to-peer learning style.
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Blended and Asynchronous Learning Through Collaborative Education
Classes based on a blended-learning approach strike the right balance of engaging teachers, student collaboration and educational technology. Blended learning in the classroom led to an 8 percent improvement in student performance, according to a recent study by RAND and the Department of Education.
Incorporating technology into collaborative learning means students can work together on a single task toward a common goal. Based on their learning style and interests, students can choose the activities they want to engage in — quizzes, games or media — while interacting with their peers. Today’s market is awash with technological tools to facilitate this dynamic classroom learning environment.
Interactive tools such as Flipgrid, Pear Deck and Minecraft: Education Edition are great for engaging students in the learning process and enabling them to participate in content creation. Adopting these tools creates a dynamic classroom setting where teachers take on more of a guiding role than a purely instructive one. The platforms are geared toward fostering peer-to-peer learning, group problem-solving and building social skills.
Educational podcasts have also exploded, providing fun and digestible content for kids. Entire classes can listen and learn together before engaging in discussions regarding the material. Students can break off into smaller groups, each with a different podcast, then share what they learned with other groups.
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Educators can try similar models with asynchronous learning and flipped classrooms where students are first exposed to the content at home before coming into the classroom to discuss it with their peers.
Collaborative Education Builds Social Skills
Collaborative education also supports social-emotional learning. When working together, students practice good communication, learn to work within a team and enhance their abilities to compromise and lead. Instilling these qualities at the K–12 level prepares students for today’s teamwork-based workplace environments.
Using technology to facilitate a collaborative approach to education helps teachers deliver a more dynamic learning experience. Classes can be tailored to students’ individual needs. Harnessing online tools helps students work at their own pace and pursue tasks they enjoy while interacting with their peers. Students learn best while having fun, so this collaborative learning environment will help strengthen educational outcomes.