Classroom technology & collaboration

What are the key issues raised in this article about collaborative learning for teacher and for students? How do you think these difficulties might be overcome?

Relating to ICT there are regulatory, temporal, spatial and technical constraints. Specific support strategies should be designed to aid students in collaborating effectively through Web 2.0 technologies. Social confidence is mentioned as another issue, though for many the social aspect of collaboration is a motivating factor. This could be addressed by effective modelling of how groups should be interacting and breaking down the work into smaller, manageable components (like how our modules are structured).

Another issue raised was that whilst most students are comfortable with aspects of ICT, relatively few produce knowledge or content (independently or collaboratively). Learners are also often reliant on the instructor for links, rather than developing their own research skills. This can be improved by asking students to find additional material beyond what is provided.

Bringing social networking tools into the classroom for collaboration might also be problematic due to its association with free time and socializing. Perhaps using a similar online tool, that allowed more synchronous communication, but only for school purposes might address this. A shared google document with skype might also work.

Collaborative learning through ICT might be done too simplistically (lacking sophistication) and thus requires well-scaffolded learning and flexible teachers who are able to guide their students whilst still allowing them their own direction.

Describe briefly (one or two sentences) what a group of your students would look like if they were using a form of ICT of your choosing and participating in each of the following:

Form of ICT: group work to produce a poem via tweets and responses

  • Group interaction – they would be working independently with students by exchanging twitter handles (probably safer to have them make class ones) and communicating online without teacher involvement
  • Authoritative interactivity – I would be tweeting instructions and leading questions to which they would respond. Perhaps I would tweet the framework of a poem and they’d reply to fill in missing words.
  • Dialectic interactivity – I would give them a detailed framework to follow and question their choices as they collaboratively produce the desired poem.
  • Dialogic interactivity – This would involve the group really exploring their options and tweeting back and forth line options as they research and collaborate to create an original poem. I would point them in the direction of useful material/techniques but leave most of the decision-making to the group.
  • Synergistic interactivity – students reflecting on their own group work and analysing others, seeing issues and resolving them to create a more complete text whilst utilising the ICT medium to its fullest extent.

Which of these, or combination of these, do you see your assignment focusing on?

I would prefer to focus on dialectic interactivity to model the task before moving on to dialogic interactivity for the main task with the potential for synergistic interactivity if time in the sequence permits.

Which of the learning theories explained in this article best describe the approach you will be taking in your assignment and lesson planning?

I would  look at using a conversational framework rather than a more conventional teacher-dominated. I would want my students to be engaged in the activity and feel like they are actively solving problems through ICT and challenging each other rather than filling in the blanks and following instructions. I want students to feel like they own their work whilst developing their own understanding, rather than it being prescribed.


Beauchamp, G., & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 54(3) pp. 759-766. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.033

Chai, C. S., Lim, W. Y., So, H. J., & Cheah, H. M. (2011) Advanced Collaborative Learning with ICT: Conception, Cases and Design, Singapore. Retrieved from:

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M. and Mee, A. (2009), Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners, Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2) doi: 10.1080/17439880902921949


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