Thursday, 20 September 2012

Contribution & Collaboration #flatclass

I've just finished Chapter 6 of Flattening Classrooms and what a great read! Lots of useful reminders about the things we need to consider when collaborating online, including avoiding 'lurking' where people watch but do not contribute. What is the justification of just 'taking' from the community and giving nothing in return? Apart from preventing others benefiting from your insights or challenges, you deny yourself the energy and inspiration that comes from such communication.
One of the key questions that arose was:
Am I embedding opportunities for collaboration and related assessment into curriculum design?
I think I don't do badly on this front, but there's more to be done. I now need to start formally assessing contributions alongside subject-related content. Hasn't it been shown time and time again that if it's not being assessed, it's probably not being heeded much by learners?
Up to this point, I've used rubrics for collaboration as stand-alone assessment (AfL) tools, but for summative assessments I can see the benefit in having these criteria given prominence alongside the other skills and knowledge traditionally assessed in the classroom. The tension remains, however, between school-dictated assessment models based on rather outdated standards and the need to move our learners into the 21st Century workplace with an appropriate toolkit.
And it's not all plain sailing. Without a doubt, online collaboration is extremely challenging with asynchronous workflows and the associated time-lags allowing for disengagement, and miscommunication. With the online conference happening tomorrow, it'll be very interesting to hear others' experiences of this mode of learning with all the inherent challenges. Do the suggested solutions really yield positive outcomes? Watch this space...

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