These are my notes from Erin Freeman and Heath Sawyer’s presentation “Collaborative Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools” at Learning@School 09 in Rotorua, New Zealand today. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. ERIN IS TEACHING AT AN AMAZINGLY INNOVATIVE SCHOOL WHICH PERMITS STUDENTS TO BRING THEIR OWN LAPTOPS TO SCHOOL. THEY HAVE FIVE CLASSROOMS NOW WHICH ARE STUDENT BYOL ENVIRONMENTS.

Erin is teaching at a year 7 and 8 school where all students have laptops (Fairfield Intermediate School)
– previous school we had about 4 computers in the entire

Health started with ICT back in ’95
– was pretty raw back then
– has been a primary school principal for about 8 years
– worked for TKI
– now a facilitator for a cluster, working with different schools and integrating ICT
– last year had a laptop class

Today we are looking at what you CAN do in the classroom to get children talking to each other (and not just children)

Site for today: http://collaborativelearning.wetpaint.com

Last workshop I went to was about Google Applications
– lots of “what if” conversations in the room about how you can use technology in the classroom to communicate

What is collaboration?
– cooperative learning vs collaborative learning
(from the presentation wiki)

Collaborative Learning vs Cooperative Learning

students also joining in today via Google Chat and Skype from Hamilton, NZ

Now discussing use of ePals to find classrooms for collaboration

Classroom examples

Example of students in New Zealand and Australia teaching each other
http://littlelanguageexperts.wikispaces.com
– kids used Flip video recorder

ICT provides opportunities that children don’t have normally

Our Nation project wiki
http://collaborativelearning.wetpaint.com/page/Our+Nation
– kids created their own tribe, had to make their own rules, what were the going to take
– kids using collaborative documents to come up with policies and artwork about their history
– student work is shown on the Our Nation wiki

Question on Wetpaint wiki requirement for students to be over 13
– students have their own account approved by their account
– have parents joined as well
– use the wiki as an electronic portfolio as well

Also at times use a classroom account for Wikispaces

Next Example: Small World

Small-World was a space created for a unit of work based on Globalisation and how it effects all of us as individuals. Two classes (a Year 5/6 class from Canterbury, NZ and a Year 7 class from Hamilton, NZ) worked together to discover what it meant to be a young person in the 21st Century. Students were given the following task:

Project wiki for student collaboration in Small World Project: http://small-world.wikispaces.com

Also used Edmodo for a educator twitter-like environment
– can create groups of people on Edmodo
– have given code on main toolbox page of our presentation wiki

Good list of embedded videos which are inspirational and challenging

Recommendation: decide on a username you’ll use for many of these web 2.0 sites
– use a password that you do NOT use for your online banking sites

THAT IS VERY GOOD ADVICE!

MY QUESTION TO ERIN: HOW DID KIDS LIKE EDMODO VERSUS OTHER COMMUNICATION TOOLS
– In her past classroom with only 4 computers the kids really liked it. In her current 1:1 environment, she anticipates students will like Google Chat more than Edmodo because of the instant communication aspects

Edmodo was a different way for us to come up for these kids who were 1000 km apart to collaborate
– Edmodo support is very quick to respond to questions and needs

We used Skype as well
– all these tools are listed on our “Making Connections” page

It is good protocol to use your same userid for your online identity

Authentic audience for students is very powerful and important

Google documents have been very important

Google Apps for Education: can sign up and everyone at your school with your school email addresses can use those Google Applications
– there is a company that will do this for you (WatchDog) – set up your Google Domain

People on Diigo are on Twitter so that support is very quick/fast/responsive

Using Glogster.com to create webpages as homework that are portals to their websites

We do back up our website, within Webpaint under Settings there is a tab for BACKUP and you can EXPORT MY CONTENT

Parents love that I post the homework up to our class wiki

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5 Responses to Collaborative Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools by Erin Freeman and Heath Sawyer

  1. Hi there–

    I am always encouraged to see educators incorporating technology in the classroom.

    For many students, tech tools and apps are a comfort blanket, and should not be taken away at school. Conversely, students that do not have exposure to technology at home should be granted that experience at school.

    The school where Erin teaches- which features bring-your-own-laptop classrooms, is a great example of a school embracing and encouraging the use of technology. I recently tweeted (on twitter, username @Cramster)asking the community how many of them work at a school that allows students to bring their own laptops and/or access the school’s wireless. Unfortunately, these schools are few and far between. I hope BYOL the trend catches on.

    I work for Cramster.com, an online learning community. Our site encourages peer teaching and collaboration. It’s great to see students sparing some time to help their peers. Our members also include educators, parents, and subject enthusiasts, and the community efforts allow Cramster to thrive.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Hi Carleigh. Thanks for not only letting me know about Cramster, but also for adding a thoughtful comment to this post rather than just posting a link and what amounts to an advertising comment. (I generally delete those.)

    I’d be delighted to learn about other schools which are utilizing BYOL policies for student laptops besides Erin’s in Hamilton. It’s the first one I’ve heard of like this, ever. I agree it’s very encouraging to hear about schools adopting progressive policies like this with respect to student technology.

  3. Wesley,

    Thanks for the response!

    I actually “tweeted” about the topic and came across a school that was allowing students to bring thier laptops as an experiment of sorts. Laptop use was at teacher discretion– though the educator said most students were using their laptops for notetaking and research. The educator planned to survey the students, so I’ll follow up and let you know what I find out!

    P.S. Are you on twitter? I’m @Cramster

  4. Wesley Fryer says:

    Carleigh:

    Do you have a link for that school or for a news article/blog post that covers their innovative laptop policy?

    I am wfryer on Twitter. 🙂

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