Week 6: Collaboration & Mystery Skype

According to Student ISTE Standard 2, students are expected to collaborate using technology tools. True collaboration is more than “working together.” There needs to be a shared responsibility where each member is invested in the outcome of the work. Collaboration often involves giving feedback to peers and having a chance to incorporate feedback received from peers. There are clear benefits when students and teachers alike collaborate.

For teachers, there is a huge push to collaborate! John Hatte, author of Visible Learning, says that collaboration among teachers has a significantly high impact on student learning. In my experience, collaborating is extremely helpful and meaningful work, as long as all partisans are invested in the process.

I have enjoyed experimenting with new ways to allow my students to collaborate using technology. Last week, my 3rd graders collaborated on a powerpoint presentation using Microsoft PowerPoint online. Other tools for collaboration include OneNote, Sway, Office 365, Twitter, Wikis, and Haiku.

This week, we had a chance to participate in a Smackdown, where we each shared one resource we found useful. I had a chance to present technology tools for the review of my colleagues. Here were some of my favorites that I could see using in my teaching setting:

  • Stoodle : A whiteboard program that allows for students to collaborate. Everyone can see the whiteboard on their own screen and everyone sees changes as they are made.
  • Storyboard That : A great, easy to use, fun tool for students to make storyboard comic strips. Write a personal story or create a storyboard as a summary of a story they’ve read. For reader’s theater, students could create the scenery as a storyboard.
  • Seesaw : An app that facilitates student digital portfolios. Students can upload photos, video, audio, files, etc. to document and share their growth and achievements as a student. Students can comment and like each other’s posts. Parents can view classwork from their mobile device.
  • Britannica School : Online research database that reads articles to students. Provides multiple levels of the same content (accessible to students who have difficulty reading). Includes an easy citation button.

Lastly, in class we signed up for Skype in the Classroom and participated in a Mystery Skype. We played twenty questions with our mystery Skype guests to find out what country they were from. As we asked questions, we eliminated continents and countries on our map. It was interesting to Skype with students from Australia and hear how they’ve used the tool in their classroom. Skype in the Classroom allows users to connect with teachers and students from around the world. What a wonderful way for students to gain a global perspective on a topic! Students could Skype with peers across the world to find out what experiences they share, what differs, etc.

I would love to try Skyping with a classroom perhaps from another state who is also doing BURST. We could collaborate on ideas for a particular reader’s theater performance.

If students are anything like teachers, they’ll be highly engaged in Mystery Skype activities. Mystery Skype offers another method of collaboration via technology tools. Opportunities for collaboration are everywhere!

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