Communicate and Collaborate

There are many resources and options for  Communicating and Collaborating in schools.  These do not necessarily translate to “easier” teaching and at times it can be downright overwhelming. The skills stressed in 21st Century pedagogy reflect changing education and work environments. Teachers adopting 21st Century pedagogy need to focus upon the process by which content is mashed-up in a communicative and collaborative environment.

Todays “Group Discussion” might involve communicating with the student beside you while collaborating with a student in another country or even a class mate who missed the bus. There are many tools to support communicating and collaborating effectively.

Google Hangout and Skype are two examples but the list is long.

We struggle teaching self-direction, as well as effective communication and collaboration.

By allowing students to work in groups they get to practice these skills. However, in order to improve efficiency students need constant feedback regarding how they can communicate and collaborate more effectively.

“Experience only leads to proficiency through practice and practice requires feedback from someone more skilled than you, usually the teacher.”

Some teachers believe that by giving students more experience they will develop these skills. For example, having them work in groups. But experience is not the same thing as practice. Experience is only that you use a skill; practice means that you try to improve by noticing what you are doing wrong and formulating strategies to do better. Practice requires feedback, usually from someone more skilled than you are. This is where the teacher facilitator’s role is paramount.

How we as teachers and students access and use content is as important as the content itself. Students are no longer reading from textbooks in isolation. They are active and engaged learners who are constantly in contact with others. We need to capitalize on this!

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