|Create Date||March 24, 2017|
|Last Updated||March 24, 2017|
By Ranjit Singh, CEO, and Carl Sheen, education training consultant, at Genee World.
Collaboration is one the most crucial skills that children can learn in school, and it's one that is universally teachable. All subjects can include a team or group working element, allowing pupils to discuss topics and solve problems together.
The use of technology in the classroom has increased hugely in recent years for similar reasons, as many jobs now require digital skills, but the use of technology has often been limited to the individual. So how can schools effectively integrate the development of these skills across the curriculum?
Develop key traits
There are many benefits to using group work in the classroom. It helps pupils to develop the key traits that they will need for the working world, such as communication and listening skills, the ability to debate and compromise, and the confidence to make decisions, both as an individual and as part of a group.
By working in a team, pupils can combine their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. For example, some pupils may be more able to get their heads around theoretical concepts, but less confident in public speaking, whereas others might need support with the content, but are happy to stand up and present to the rest of the class. Bringing these pupils together will help them to draw upon the confidence of their peers, and this also means that students of all abilities will benefit from the outcomes of the lesson.
So how can we accomplish this with technology? Often, the use of ICT means that pupils sit alone at PCs working on their individual tasks, such as researching and writing up information on a topic, or completing on-screen exercises. However, there have recently been big changes in the potential of edtech, especially considering the increased use of tablets in the classroom, and the enhanced functionality of touch-screen displays.
Software like Google Docs means that a group of pupils can all be working on the same document from different devices, bringing their own contributions to the piece which can then be presented to the rest of the class. This opens the door for some fantastic, unguided research projects, where the pupils can find an element of a topic that really interests them and run with it, with access to a huge range of materials including news reports, online encyclopaedias and even video content, to work with.
Collaboration can be achieved across the entire classroom using tablets linked into the front-of-house display. For example, you might want to brainstorm ideas on a topic, asking the pupils to come up with any words or phrases that come to mind around this. They can use their tablets to send information up to the board, without having to worry about putting their hand up or fearing that they’re wrong.
For the teacher, this increases the engagement of the class, as well as retrieving answers from multiple students at once, without there being chaos and loud voices. The pupils can then discuss the ideas on the board, perhaps finding points that they had not considered in the process.
Tech on offer
There are also other technologies available now that allow for collaborative working. For example, the enhancements in touchscreen technology and flat panel displays now mean that multiple pupils can work on one board at a time. There are even touch tables that pupils can sit or stand around and work simultaneously. Multi-touch technology means that pupils can either all interact with the same content, or even work individually on their own area of the screen, without their writing being disrupted by the work of others.
There is a great deal of technology on offer for schools today that can really enrich the collaboration process and create some really interesting and inspiring learning environments. Bringing collaboration into the digital sphere means that pupils also get to grips with a range of technologies that they might be interacting with in the future, preparing them for the world of work ahead!
Genee World is a manufacturer and supplier of ICT equipment, including interactive whiteboards, visualisers, interactive displays and learning technology.
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