Reflections on Our First Collaborative Project

On September 6, 2010, in General, Madeleine Brookes, by Madeleine Brookes

The ‘Introducing….’ project was our first attempt at collaboration with our two classes.

With the exception of one or two slight late submissions due to a technical hitch, all artifacts were submitted on time. What an achievement! How often do we ask students to contact another student in a school, ask a number of probing questions as well as a few images and video footage, then create an one-minute artifact to introduce their partner to the world? Yes, the whole world as each and every artifact is now viewable by anyone with access to the Internet.

What learning took place? We asked our students to reflect on their experiences in their blog entry. Here are some insightful extracts:

Kyle from WAB wrote:

I learned that it’s not as easy to communicate with others via the internet as I thought it would be. It is difficult to be on at the same time, and I also couldn’t not really control your partner, so it was up to me to trust my partner.

Bhargav, Kyle’s partner from BISS has similar views:

I had problem communicating but later on it went very smoothly and I was starting to have a lot of fun knowing new people. The thing I really enjoyed most was communicating with my partner.

Alex from WAB reflected:

First off I learnt many things about my partner Shawn. He was quite different from me in terms of technology use and also in the terms of how much technology he owned. So I found it quite interesting to see exactly how others understand and use technology in their life.

What were our aims as educators?

  • To have our students understand and develop online collaboration skills. We feel that we achieved this goal as evidenced by all students submitting a completed assignment.
  • For students to deepen their understanding of being responsible on-line; not only did they have to seek permission from their partner to display the artifact but also they learned more about creative commons licensing and the use of copyright-free images and sounds.
  • Importantly in an international school, we wanted to gauge the students’ command of the English language; often we are faced with students who, although very be quiet in class, have good written communication skills. By encouraging communication through the internet, most students used type-based tools such as MSN, the Ning message system and the chat feature in Skype. This allows students the time to work out the messages asked and to craft their own messages. The final products and the blog entry are also evidence of the level of English and a good starting point for us to work from.
  • Finally we wanted to see the level and diversity of technical skills which will be very important in our preparation for the major piece of internal assessment, the development of an original IT product for a specified client.

In terms of syllabus coverage, everything that the project entailed could be directly related to the ITGS – the use of technical tools, research techniques, the use of the Internet as a communication and collaboration tool, working with rubrics and examining social and ethical issues – the main ones in this project being: 1.4 Intellectual Property, 1.12 Digital Citizenship and 1.8 Globalization and Cultural Diversity.

I think that we also touched on all aspects of the IB learner profile: risk-taking, communicating, reflecting, principled…..

So all in all, this was a very successful project on many levels. For me, with any new class, the key is to ‘start with the learner’ (Bruner), and now we have some great formative assessment and evidence from each student from which we can build on and plan for.

Please visit the blog section of the ning to view the students’s work. We will also be posting in the wikispace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *