Cooperative Learning: Generalizations
- Organizing groups based on ability levels should be done sparingly.
- Cooperative learning groups should be rather small in size.
- Cooperative learning should be used consistently and systematically but should not be overused.
Use these to improve your practice.
- Use a variety of criteria to group students.
- Use informal, formal, and base groups.
- Keep the groups to a manageable size.
- Combine cooperative learning with other classroom structures (Pitler, et al., 2007, p. 139-140).
Brainstorming for Videoconferencing
What current ways do you use cooperative learning in videoconferencing?
- The deliberate design of teams in COSI’s Gadget Works program.
- The “turn to your neighbor” strategy used by Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in their Geometric Transformations program.
- Groups presenting in MysteryQuest and other collaborations.
- Groups researching in MysteryQuest and the spinoffs.
- Students creating together in projects such as Texas Twisted Weather.
- Small groups in the Jazz Workshop.
How can we improve our current practice?
- Create deliberate roles for projects such as MysteryQuest andTexas Twisted Weather (like COSI does). Choose from these 28 roles. Create role descriptions like this.
- Apply the generalizations and recommendations above – small groups, vary how groups are assigned, etc.
- Keypals. Interestingly, the technology book includes keypals as part of the examples of using technology with cooperative learning. Two students, paired to email each other. Some of the Read Around the Planet partners continue on with e-pals and follow up connections. One of my teachers did Animal Riddles with TX in March and they are still communicating as e-pals. A focused, structured pen pal program can tie in nicely with videoconferencing to meet each other. Here’s a little clip of our very first pen pal VC in 2000. What should be included to make this a stronger interaction?
- Videoconference plus multiplayer game?! I wouldn’t have thought this would be practical or possible until I read about Heather’s project of Virtual Reality plus Videoconference. The technology book gives the example of Revolution, a game about the American Revolution. What if students played in groups of 7, with 3 of the students from one class and 3 from the other class? This would be another project to do only with high speed Internet and a 1-to-1 laptop program. The videoconference would be used for real time communication that might be needed between the groups, and also for teacher led processing.
What other ideas do you have? How do you already use cooperative learning in your videoconferences? How can you improve your practice? Please comment!
Reference: Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.