The personal learning network for educators
The three R’s of global collaboration are receive, read, and respond. When we are working in a collaborative environment we should make sure that we are able to receive the information that should. We should check to make sure that the sender’s email is not sent to a spam folder. In whitelisting, we give senders the privilege of sending us important information regarding projects. We may also want to communicate with those who set up our email delivery systems to let them know of specific senders of email who may not be allowed to communicate with us specifically. It is of great importance during a project that we read our email daily. In this way, we can keep up with the most current information and respond back in a timely manner. Which leads us to the last “R” in the three “R’s” of global collaboration-respond. Every attempt should be made to respond back to senders of email in a timely fashion (and perhaps right after the email is received and read because the sender could be waiting for the response). Even if it is the briefest of messages letting the sender know that the message was received and/or what action may need to taken. It is interesting to note that in researching these “Three R’s of global collaboration”, some thought that “Four C’s” should be added to them. These “Four C’s” are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The belief is that they complement each other.
By allowing those who have a certain area of expertise and real world experience into the classroom, students get the sense that education and experience matters. For example, educators can talk about the importance of reading and writing, yet when a student meets and collaborates with someone who has written one of their favorite books, the importance of reading and writing becomes real to them. Another example could be students who are developing a project and an expert can provide much needed advice and keep them from straying too far off from the goal of the project. Because most of our children believe that where they are is all there is of the world, these experts can help them to see the larger picture, one of the future, where these students will collaborate and work with those from all over the world. The importance of expert guidance can give students ideas, experience, and keep them from making mistakes that have already been worked through.
Because students listen more to their peers than they do to parents or educators, a student leader could be a valuable asset in managing a project. When we allow children to take on responsible roles within certain parameters, it is a win-win situation for them. Students who are respected, responsible, and can inspire others exist in every classroom. There are students who are the “go to people” because they have their work organized and completed on time, and they are honest, friendly, dependable, and can make decisions. These students would make wonderful project managers. Although students learn much from their teachers, they listen well to their peers.
The ways in which students can be involved in collaborative projects is endless. There are lots of projects online and many books written about how to set up projects. Students could participate in blogs, wikis, posts, and tweets (and that’s a small beginning). It is important to note that students should also be given the opportunities to be involved in authentic learning activities that are related and lead to real world experiences. In allowing students from all different learning backgrounds and capabilities to participate in a collaborative environment, they have the opportunities to let their lights shine and discover that they are good at doing things they have never thought of doing before. Children become motivated and less fearful when participating in a group setting.
Assessments for project learning should be thought of in the backwards sense. It is important to think about what we want the students to get out of a project before we actually plan for the project. If it is an authentic learning project, it will be complemented by an authentic learning assessment. The goals of the project should be clearly defined in order for the students to know how and what will be assessed. Each student should participate and be held accountable for their share of the project’s outcome. As a teacher it might be important to have students assigned to certain positions or duties to do throughout the project. The teacher may also rotate these positions or duties for future projects so children do not get stuck in one position. It is also important to know what a student can and cannot do or handle as far a project goes. For example, a struggling student may not be able to take good notes or read instructions as well as others in their group, so they need to have a different duty during the course of the project. The teacher should be there during throughout the project giving ideas, advice, and monitoring students to make sure that all participate and succeed with the projects outcomes.
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