The world we live in continues to change at the speed of technology. Innovations in technology shape our interactions with one another, our gathering of information, and our decision making. Educational institutions are integrating more technology in classrooms to increase collaboration and engagement among students. Solving real-world problems using groups of students interacting with one another is referred to as Collaborative Learning.
Research from hundreds of university professors and government research agencies from around the world prove Collaborative Learning is an effective tool for accelerating knowledge transfer. Other proven benefits include:
- Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills
- Promotion of student-faculty interaction
- Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility
- Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives
- Preparation for real life social and employment situations
Collaborative Learning Technologies
Educational institutions are investing in many technologies designed to stimulate student engagement and interaction. Let’s look at a few of these technologies and how they contribute to Collaborative Learning.
SMART Learning Suite: SMART Technologies have integrated their multi-touch SMART board and their interactive education software to form a very powerful learning platform. With SMART Learning Suite, teachers create and share interactive lessons via SMART Notebook. In addition, students partake in interactive assessments created by teachers through mobile devices via SMART Response 2. Lastly, SMART Amp enables students to work together, and with their teachers, across laptops and tablets in a workspace designed specifically for education.
Cisco Connected Classroom: Integrating a school’s IT network into a secure catalyst for collaboration is one of Cisco’s many specialties. Outfitting school networks with Cisco Meraki Access Points and Cisco Catalyst Switches enables secure access and sharing of resources among students. In summary, Cisco Connected Classroom allows students and teachers to seamlessly use mobile devices to collaborate on assignments.
Microsoft Office 365 Education: Microsoft has taken Collaborative Learning to the next level with Office 365 Education. Using the cloud, Office 365 Education grants access to the entire Microsoft application suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.). Students can create multiple projects, share those projects and collaborate on them using built in features of Microsoft Teams. In addition, teachers provide feedback to students in real-time and publish video content using Microsoft Streams to share among students.
Collaborative Learning’s impact on classroom learning continues to evolve as the technology evolves. Collaboration between students themselves as well as between students and teachers equate to a better understanding of individual learning styles. In short, when students and teachers are engaged in the learning process it benefits schools and society as a whole!
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