After spending some time watching a number of videos pertaining to classroom collaboration, I found a few that spoke to me in different ways. I started thinking about why I wanted my students to collaborate, what they can learn from each other, and the benefits of group work. I’ve watched kids work together in my classroom and have been amazed at the ideas and insight my students have. It made me think about how hard we work in the educational field to advocate for collaboration, but do we, as professionals, collaborate with each other, either within our content area or across the curriculum as often as we should? I’m almost embarrassed to say that within my own school, we all seem fairly compartmentalized. Because of this, I looked for some ideas and found a video that shared how two schools were collaborating through a virtual reality class, connecting students and teachers in the different schools. This, I think, is pretty cool, because it gets students familiar with those kids from other schools, connects them through VR, and enhances teacher to teacher, and student to student collaboration. We learn best when we are open to learning from one another.
Likewise, I found another tool called collaborizeclassroom.com. This is a free online learning platform that allows teachers to work together across curriculums to create meaningful content for students. It serves as a way for teachers to hear every kid’s voice, by posing meaningful questions to spur on conversations, connecting learning in different content areas.
Finally, I was inspired by a TedTalk I watched in which teacher led instruction took a back seat to student voices and ideas. The speaker is a teacher who allowed her students to take an idea posed in the classroom and run with it. What I really love about this video is how big kids think. It reminded me that as adults, we often times think too logically, putting limits or parameters on ideas because we think they can’t be done. However, this group of innovative thinkers dared to think big, and because of it, an entire school was affected by their ingenuity, drive, determination, and willingness to dream. By getting out of our students way, we may be able to see what they are capable of. Collaboration happens naturally when students are excited about their learning.