Transforming Through Collaboration

Rather than start with a completely new set of goals this year, I prefer to continue to build on the achievements of last year.  One of our major district-wide objectives last year was using technology to transform teaching and learning; at the end of the year I began talking about transforming teaching and learning through collaboration.  A few teachers immediately began the process of forming connections with classrooms outside of OTMS and taking the first steps to establish relationships with other educators and classrooms that would impact the learning in both classrooms.  As you begin making plans for this school year, think about how you could connect yourself with other educators and classrooms.

As you start thinking about collaborative projects, start small and work to more complex collaborative tasks as you and your students become comfortable with the process.  In their book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Lindsay and Davis describe a Taxonomy of Global Connection with five levels of progressing collaboration (54-56).  Each level represents more complex tasks and student independence.  I’ve listed the levels below and details on each level can be found here.

  1. Interconnection Within Your Own Classroom
  2. Interconnection With the School or Geographic Area
  3. Managed Global Connections
  4. Student-to-Student Connections with Teacher Management
  5. Student-to-Student Connections with Student Management

I shared several collaborative tools at the end of last year, and I plan to share them again in the coming weeks.  But before we begin talking about tools, take some time to explore how collaboration can impact the learning of your students.  THE Journal just published an article titled “6 Ways Videoconferencing Is Expanding the Classroom” that may spark some ideas as you continue thinking about connecting yourself and your students with learners around the world.