Sep 21 2023

Technology Enables Collaboration on K–12 Student Projects

Project-based learning flourishes in classrooms where educators embrace the full capability of tech tools and productivity suites.

Certain technologies lend themselves to increased collaboration in the K–12 classroom. Educators often rely on interactive displays, cloud software and screen-sharing tools to encourage students to work together. As a result, many K–12 IT departments are investing in the software and infrastructure solutions that support this modern learning environment.

Still, as technology advances, schools are looking for new ways to push the boundaries of learning through collaboration.

One way they’re achieving this is through project-based learning. Schools such as Seattle’s Maritime High School rely on technology solutions including Google Workspace for Education to support student-led projects, which give students agency over their learning progress.

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How Tech-Empowered Projects Better Student Learning Efforts

Students who attend the school are trained in marine science and maritime operations and have the opportunity to do field work on the school’s 40-foot ferry. In addition to learning about technologies specific to vessel operations, such as GPS navigation, they also use Google’s cloud-based software to complete projects and showcase their learning.

Maritime High School evaluates students in a mastery-based learning model, so students are responsible for digitally completing and submitting projects that they feel represent their competency in certain subject areas.

“There are seven competencies that students should be able to demonstrate before graduating from our school, and embedded within all of those competencies are essential standards like common core math or common core science,” says Tremain Holloway, the school’s former principal.

“They have to be able to take this portfolio of work and upload it to the mastery-based transcript portal,” he adds. “Students are doing way more than just creating PowerPoint presentations. They have to be a lot more self-directed at our school when it comes to utilizing technology.”

 
 
Watch the full video to learn more about mastery-based learning at Maritime High School.

 

Educators Connect Students Around the World with Classroom Tech

Students at Penn Manor School District in Pennsylvania don’t have a retired passenger ferry in which to host maritime lessons, despite the district’s proximity to the Susquehanna River. “We probably have some tractors though, because we’re in a very agricultural area,” says Judy Keller, a technology training specialist with the district.

With or without heavy machinery, educators can find creative ways to introduce exploration and collaboration through technology.

DIVE DEEPER: Collaboration between educators and IT specialists transforms learning.

“We do use Google Sites as a portfolio for students,” Keller says. “When they’re working on a project, they’re putting it all in one area so somebody can see it.”

This year, the district is introducing a global project with a school in Mexico City. “We’re going to be using the Google tools because they have access, we have access and we can collaborate,” Keller explains. “We’re also going to use Google Meet to bring everyone together and put students into breakout rooms so they can collaborate.”

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