We’ve looked at a continuum of equipment/software solutions for videoconferencing, a continuum of interactivity, and a continuum of depth of learning. Today, let’s think about a continuum of collaboration. We can think about it on several levels.
Continuum of WHO Collaborates
- Students may collaborate within the classroom to solve a problem posed by the other class (MysteryQuests, preparing ASK questions, Math Measurement Riddles, etc.)
- Students may collaborate across classrooms via videoconference and using supportive technologies such as wikis or blogs. i.e. Blogging in ASK Deluxe to respond to the book before interviewing the author.
- Teachers may collaborate to design an interactive videoconference.
- School videoconference coordinators may collaborate to partner classes in their buildings for weather or reading activities.
- District or educational service level coordinators may collaborate to bring video conferences to teachers in both areas. For example, Lori Colwill, Dallas ISD collaborated last year to share Weather Buddies, ASK Ice Bear and Little Fox, and Black History Month Fact or Fiction. In another collaboration, Gail Desler and I collaborated to bring a Tuskegee Airman to talk with our students. Sometimes a collaboration continues through staff changes, as our collaboration with York Region District School Board to share Eric Walters between our schools.
- How are you collaborating and with whom? How does it benefit your students?
Continuum of Collaboration
The level of collaboration in a videoconference is closely related to the continuum of interactivity. Think about this:
- The simplest level of a collaboration is where both classes present to each other; then ask each other questions. This is the most common method and the easiest way to get started. Many Read Around the Planet connections start at this level; and most of the collaborations in CAPspace are at this level too. The Around the World with 80 Schools uses this simple format as well. Is that bad? I don’t think so! Teachers have to start with something simple and easy; not too threatening and with a low commitment/preparation level. I am reminded of Jen Wagner’s concept of puddle projects vs. well projects. It’s ok to do puddle projects!
- Involving the other class in your presentation. You may still present, but figure out a way to involve the other class in the presentation. Roxanne Glaser shared many ideas in the Read Around the Planet teacher guide, and in this blog post: Lights, Cameras, Interactions.
- Students collaborate within the classroom. There are many collaboration or project formats where students work in groups to collaboratively solve a problem: MysteryQuests, preparing ASK questions, Math Measurement Riddles, etc.
- Students collaborating across classrooms. This method of collaboration seems to work best when supporting technologies such as wikis as used to provide asychronous support between videoconferences. These collaborations tend to be longer term as well. One example would be the novel in an hour format Roxanne Glaser used in her ISTE workshop this year. See the results on the wiki here. Another example would be the CILC Vistas in depth projects, where students work collaboratively to solve community problems.
Have you experienced this continuum? Where do most of your videoconferences fall along the line? Any other insights to share? Please comment!