COLLABORATE:

Guidelines For Designing Collaborative Teacher and Student Learning Projects




Why should we collaborate?

In today`s knowledge-based world, the ability to work together in face-to-face as well as in online situations is becoming increasingly more important. Moreover, recent research has shown that a wide variety of organizations, including business, academic, government and educational organizations now recognize the importance of developing and using collaborative knowledge-building and sharing skills. The Quebec Education Program (QEP) states that, "Certain objectives would be far more difficult to attain without the collaboration of all concerned." (QEP , p.34) Group collaboration skills have also been identified as some of the most important 21st century skills that people of all ages need to develop.

What do teachers and students gain by collaborating?

Collaboration amongst teachers encourages the sharing of best practices, cooperative knowledge building and the development of support networks. For students, collaborative projects allow them the opportunities to practise their creative, research and writing skills, as well as learning to use the latest information technology to share the products of their work with authentic audiences. This could include fellow students and teachers and families and friends within and outside their own communities.

How the process actually works?

The acronym “collaborate”, which is seen below, is designed to remind us of some of the important steps in the process that facilitates the building of collaborative teacher and student learning projects. As in any group or team process, the following steps are simply reminders of aspects of the project planning, monitoring and evaluation process. It is not expected that they will be followed in lock-step order, but rather, groups working together will review and revisit different aspects of the project as it develops and takes shape. Each of the steps encourages people in the group or class to contribute their ideas and take responsibility for completing different tasks in the collaborative project building process. The purpose of the process is to encourage collaboration and team work that leads to deeper learning on the part of those involved. It is important also to remember that collaboration amongst students does not happen naturally. It becomes essential for the teachers, before starting this process, to guide and model what collaboration looks like and sounds like in real situations.


STEPS TO COLLABORATE

  1. **C**onsider Topics
  2. **O**utline the Purpose
  3. **L**isten to Each Other
  4. **L**ist the Key Features
  5. **A**ssessment
  6. **B**uild a Project Outline
  7. **O**rganize into Support Teams
  8. **R**eview the Progress
  9. **A**ssemble the Project
  10. **T**echnology in Action
  11. **E**valuate the Project and Share it