Triggering Question: As a third grade teacher, what tools and resources can I use to develop collaboration that supports individual learning and contributes to the learning of others?
ISTE Standard 2 involves designing and developing learning experiences in the digital age. One way to design lessons with a digital focus is to gear them toward collaboration and working with each other. In this way, they are learning from one another’s thoughts and extending ideas through conversation and discussion. The focus of learning from one another and a learner’s environment is seen in Vygotsky’s social development theory. Ciconni (2013) describes new computer programs being used in classrooms that are providing academic collaboration over media. The kids are boosting their own learning by listening to one another’s thoughts. “Using technology to engage students in collaborative endeavors deepens their understanding of math concepts by offering rigorous learning through relevant projects with authentic audiences.” (Ciconni, 2013, p 64) The program “Voki” allowed students to create avatars (computerized persons with attributes) and use the avatars to share ideas through typed text, computer microphone, sound file upload, or phone. They are exciting venues for students that create engagement and a chance to make meaning out of their learning.
Students are able to have autonomy over their learning by using these programs to find their own voice and path to understanding lessons at school. Another way digital resources can foster autonomy is through individualized accounts on eBooks. A member of my learning circle posted a resource on the effectiveness of eBooks and though it doesn’t answer my question towards collaboration, it does assist in making students feel in control of their learning and progress. An online reading program called ICANREAD (Ciampa, K. 2012), studied whether electronic eBooks would motivate 1st grade students, change attitudes about online reading and improve students comprehension literacy skills. Studies found that students were more engaged and interactive with devices, able to track their own reading progress, and access to a wide variety of resources. Although I still prefer physical books, this article suggests the benefits of online reading programs and how successful they can be when implemented properly.
Ciampa, K. (2012). ICANREAD: the effects of an online reading program on grade 1 students engagement and comprehension strategy use. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 45 (1) 27-59
Cicconi, M. (2013). Vygotsky Meets Technology: A Reinvention of Collaboration in the Early Childhood Mathematics Classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal 42: 57-65