Collaborative learning has been a recognised method of teaching for many years. The benefits are obvious – students working together on a project can share strengths and improve on areas of weakness, it develops problem solving, interpersonal skills and conflict resolution as well as making each individual accountable to their peer group, not just their teacher. These are all good life-skills and pretty much essential in today’s commercial environment where a ‘job for life’ is something your grandparents tell you about. These days, more than ever, learning to work with people collaboratively is just as important as knowledge and talent.
The introduction of new technology into the classroom is allowing teachers and pupils to take traditional collaboration to the next level by leveraging the power of the internet. Pupils and teachers now have the opportunity to collaborate and forge relationships with people not just within their own school or even schools in the local proximity, but with schools across the globe.
At this years’ BETT it was obvious that collaboration was a key theme – the top-down approach to teaching is rapidly being replaced by teacher pupil collaboration with digital apps, mobile devices and touch technology enabling the change. Some believe that we are on the brink of a revolution in education. John Couch, Apple’s VP of Education told a packed room at BETT that technology will change the way we educate completely rather than simply making it easier to carry out traditional teaching.
70% of schools now use tablets in one form or another according to research from the charity Tablets for Schools. Software such as DisplayNote enables teachers to mirror their screen to every student device, whether they are in the class, at home or the other side of the world. Pupils can add notes and share and collaborate with each other in real-time. Collaboration is nothing new to today’s students – they are already sharing much of their life and collaborating with friends and their wider network via Twitter and Facebook, so collaborating online on a school project is perfectly natural to them.
With this in mind, Clevertouch Buyers’ Guide to Classroom Technology provides the answers to some of the most regularly asked questions by schools when selecting technology that can open up the potential benefits of collaboration between pupils and teachers from John O’Groats to Timbuktu.