Since my pedagogical focus is primarily on collaboration inside and outside of the classroom, I focused my search on tools and applications available to assist me in livening up my curriculum. Through my research, I found mention of incorporating “peer leaders” within the school to assist students with the hurdles they may face regarding using technology. I thought this to be an interesting way to collaborate as teachers struggle with lack of class time to teach new tech tools to their students. By allowing the students themselves to mentor and teach their fellow classmates new tech tools, confidence and a commitment to one another may develop based on their willingness to learn from each other and fight through some of the struggles they face concerning technology.
Furthermore, by digging into an article on “teachthought,” I found some great suggestions for digital collaboration tools. What I liked about this article, was that the author not only introduced and explained the tech tools, but also described how he used them in his own classroom. A few tools that I thought might be useful with my students were VideoAnt and Padlet. VideoAnt allows the class to annotate Youtube videos. This way, students can collectively give input and analyze materials before they’re shown in class. Students can then view the videos and gain a deeper understanding, having a more critical eye than they may have otherwise had. Likewise, Padlet offers a more direct approach to collaboration as students can communicate directly with one another, creating new conversations and strands which increases connectivity across the class. By getting to know one another in this way, more honest and insightful communication can be had.
Yet another helpful bit of information was found on Kelly Walsh’s blog post on EmergingEdTech. Here, he simply outlined a number of collaborative tools with snippets of information about each. What caught my eye about the title of his blog is that they are free. Seeing as cost may be a barrier with administration, my attention was drawn to his listing of free tech tools. One such app that I may try is Twiddla. This is an interactive white board that allows the teacher to post images or pieces of information on the screen. Students can then log in and share the space, having the ability to all mark on the same board. Twiddla even has a chat option embedded in the program, which increases communication among classmates as well as their collaborative efforts.
Below are listed a few of the links I found to be the most insightful. Hopefully, you’ll find them to be as helpful as I did!