Collaboration among human beings is a staple in human interaction It is as necessary as the air we breathe. Across disciplines and in everyday life, humans function better as they interact with others and, longevity in life is often attributed to healthy lifestyles which include, healthy diets, exercise, and healthy human relationships. Neuroscientist John Cacioppo (2008) favored connections to other people as a marker for a long and healthy life. Cacioppo (2008) explained that “as individuals, and as a society, we have everything to gain, and everything to lose, in how well or how poorly we manage our need for human connection. Echoing this sentiment (Rheingold, 2008) contended that this desire for human connection is the natural outcome of the need for people to work together and collaborate in groups. In education, this notion of collaboration runs parallel to constructivist theory, where our ideas are best defined as we reflect and collaborate with others. We fine-our ideas through questioning, validating extending, or amplifying. Each of these practices is innate, and the interaction groups provide is the natural catalyst for learning.
Technology plays an integral part in facilitating collaboration. Using constructivist theories, it can propel discussions in educational settings utilizing Skpe, Google Hangouts, etc to provide an environment enriched with meaningful experiences, social interaction, and active participation, which (Driscoll, 2005) argued are primary factors that influence learning. In addition, technology can facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles through blogs and wikis, both of which allow students to interact, engage, and explore their environment to make meaning and discover knowledge. (Bruner, 1996) asserted that internal factors as well as external factors influence learning outcomes, adding that when students are interested in material, it entices the students to learn. Integrating technology by allowing learners to collaborate through wikis, blogs, think-pairs, group writing, and other forms of generating ideas collectively, not only promotes interest but also boosts student confidence. Facilitating collaboration using technology also enforces the social interaction of each learner trying to develop meaning individually, which then according to (Gibbs, 2014) requires the learning to understand issues as a whole and in parts.
That’s my take, Linette Rasheed
Below is a link to research conducted by the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence on how collaboration fosters effective classroom discussion.
Check out this blog on the effectiveness of collaboration for online learning
This Youtube video illustrates the practical application of building an environment for collaborative teaching and learning in the classroom.
Bruner, J. (1996). The culture of education. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Cacioppo, J. T. & Patrick, W. (2008).Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connection. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.
Driscoll, M. P (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed). Boston: Pearson
Edutopia. (2013, August 6). Remake your class Part 3: Exploring a cooperative. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml17ynz8FG4
Gibbs, S. (2014). Constructivism. Retrieved from www.mrgibbs.com/tu/ppts/Constructivism.ppt
Instructionaldesign.org (2013). Constructivist theory (Jerome Bruner). Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist.html
Morrison, D. (2012, October 9) 5 tools and strategies that support group collaboration online [Web log post] Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/5-tools-and-strategies-that-support group-collaboration-online
Rheingold, H. (2008). Howard Rheingold: Way-New Collaboration. [Video file] Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html
University of Waterloo. Centre for Teaching Excellence. Collaborative online learning: Fostering effective discussions. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/alternatives-lecturing/discussions/collaborative-online-learning