Final Project – Tech Tools for Collaboration

Why Collaboration?

For my final project for course 3, I chose the professional learning option, as I wanted the opportunity to work collaboratively on a learning experience for staff. I formed a working group with Alex, Saadia and Matt. We decided to focus our efforts on collaboration and specifically focussed on the ISTE standards 4a-Dedicates planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology, and 4b-Collaborates and co-learns with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues. This project would also provide me with a useful presentation that I could utilize in the near future at my school. The topic of collaboration is one that fascinates me. We all collaborate, a great deal of the time, but what makes for effective collaboration where the product we create is actually better than what we could have produced individually? How do we collaborate effectively in order to produce quality and creative work? What tech tools help us to enhance our collaboration? These were some of the questions that I wanted to provide answers for.

How Did I Grow?

During course 3 I definitely grew as a facilitator and a collaborator. For two of my blog posts I had the opportunity to seek feedback from students, who can be the most honest, and harshest of critics. My blog post A Collaborative Discussion provided me with the environment to discuss with students their social media habits, and Curb Appeal, allowed me to seek feedback from students regarding a previous learning experience I had provided for them. Facilitating these discussions allowed me to work on and improve on my ability to listen in an authentic manner. Facilitating discussions with these students also made me work on my questioning skills. As a collaborator, like the last course, the challenge was working with group members from around the world (USA, Japan, South Korea). While a great opportunity, this also presents the challenge of being very timely with deadlines in order to allow group members to move their work forward.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Am I Creative?

This course definitely allowed me to unleash my creativity. I would not typically label myself as someone that is creative, but I would definitely label my work this course as creative. From the opportunity to build an infographic, to reworking a previous learning experience for students, to building a new learning experience for educators, I am definitely proud of this work, and I think all of it, besides having solid content, is highly visually appealing too!

Photo by Briana Tozour on Unsplash

What Do We Want Others to Learn?

With this learning experience our hope is that educators walk away with three things. The first is to reinforce why they collaborate. I think most educators know why they do it, but it is always good to dig into research about any topic and to reinforce “The Why”. Additionally, having conversations around this can help to eliminate any doubt about the benefits of collaboration amongst students and amongst teachers. Also, providing participants with new options for how to collaborate.  Lastly, giving educators some options when it comes to tech tools and collaboration. We carefully selected 6 tech tools that can drastically enhance collaboration, and I think there is something new for every participant.

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

How Do We Know They Have Learned?

Although we did not facilitate this experience, I plan to at some further point in time. There are a few ways to understand the depth of learning that has taken place. The first would be to use the data collected from the Google Form and determine what the key takeaways from the session were for participants. Secondly, I would follow up with participants to dive into the tech tools and determine how we could incorporate them into their own professional learning communities, or their classrooms, for them to use with students. Another option would be to have superstars (those that are effectively using the tools) highlight how they are using them at a staff meeting. I find it always more powerful when teachers can teach teachers, the learning is much more authentic that way. Overall, I think that this learning experience will be highly beneficial for any educator, whether an experienced or novice collaborator.

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