The learning strategy in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works that we studied this week was cooperation and that goes hand and hand with Connectivism and Social Learning Theory. In our DVD presentation, Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009) maintains that the social learning theory is the idea that “students actively engage in constructing artifacts and conversing with others.” By completing group projects (cooperation) students are practicing the social learning theory. Through technology and web 2.0 tools students can experience collaboration and group skills at a distance. Wikis, Google Docs, WebQuests, blogs, and many other technological means are beginning to revolutionize collaborative education. “Technology can plan a unique and vital role in cooperative learning by facilitating group collaboration, providing structure for group tasks, and allowing members to communicate even if they are not working face to face.” (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p. 140). This is awesome for both teachers and students. This can eliminate the “strong willed” student who takes over a group project with their influence. Conversely, a quiet/shy student may be more aggressive or participate more because they are not face to face with other group members.
Another collaboration tool I explored was some of the web resources in our text. Pitler, et al. discussed web collaboration, keypals, web-enabled multiplayer simulation games, and communication software, such as blogs and wikis. The great part about these sources is that they all allow for group learning and facilitate collaboration. Collaboration is not limited to groups in one classroom, technology allows for cooperative learning from anywhere on Earth there is computers and the Internet. Students from Reedsville, WI where I teach can learn from students in Japan or England. I could have my students working on a wiki about the novel Number the Stars and students from throughout the world could make changes and learn from my students. It would be great to hear from some Jewish students, students from Germany or Denmark. The technology makes studying novels more engaging and the ability to converse with students from throughout the world makes wikis a great educational tool that correlates with the social learning theory. Some of the simulation games such as Revolution and Civilization III allow students to interact with players throughout the world. Students learn by participating in actual historic events. The ability to learn while playing a game with authentic historical events while interacting with historical figures is an awesome way to learn about history and a way I wish I could have experienced in school.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 8. Social Learning Theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD